Beat the heat with these portable air conditioners that are good on energy and can be stored in the winter.

portable air conditioner

If your home lacks central air conditioning, you don't have to settle for using fans or window-mounted ACs to keep you cool. These portable air-conditioners can be moved from room to room, but require the use of an exhaust hose that is typically vented through a window. The last two on the list are evaporative coolers that do not use a compressor or require a venting hose, but they are most effective in hot dry climates and with room windows open.

Best Tech: Frigidaire Smart Portable Air Conditioner


This big Frigidaire just might be the smartest piece of tech in your home. You can remotely turn the unit on or off, change temperature, and control mode and fan speeds. This all adds up to saving energy. The A/C unit will remind you when the filter needs to be changed and about any other maintenance it needs. It's rated to cool a room up to 550 square feet.

Best Value: Honeywell Compact Cooler and Humidifier
HONEYWELL


This portable AC unit from Honeywell packs a ton of features into a value-priced product. In addition to serving as an air-conditioner, it can also be used as a fan and humidifier. Other features include low energy, carbon dust filter, and a remote control. It's available in five sizes, from 176 to 525 CFM.

High Performance: Whynter Eco-Friendly Air Conditioner
Whynter 14,000 BTU Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioner


This 3-in-1 portable A/C operates as a air-conditioner, fan, and dehumidifier. Its dual hose exhausts and drains all condensate,

which allows the unit to perform at its peak. It rolls on casters and can be used in computer/server rooms, bedrooms,

classrooms, and garages/workshops.

 
 
Best Design: LG Portable Air Conditioner
G LP0817WSR 8,000 BTU 115V Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control in White Portable Air Conditioner


This all-white sleek portable AC looks great in any room. The auto-swing air vent circulates the cool air more efficiently,

which lessens hot spots in a room. The auto evaporation system allows for continuous use, and like most other portable

A/C units, it includes a programmable 24-hour on/off timer, which monitors and controls the temperature while you are away.


Most Versatile: Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner
Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control


The Honeywell can cool and dehumidify areas up to 350-400 square feet. It includes a full-function remote control allows

you to operate each feature from across the room. The auto-evaporation system allows for hours of continuous operation,

with no water to drain or no bucket to empty. Included is a flexible exhaust hose and window venting kit, which can be

removed when the A/C unit is not in use.

Best for Large Spaces: Portacool Jetstream
Portacool PACJS2401A1 240 Jetstream Portable Evaporative Cooler


When you need serious cooling power for working on home improvement projects or in your garage, the Portacool

Jetstream evaporative cooler is one of the largest portable coolers you'll find. It can cool garages and shop spaces

up to 1,125 square feet, as well as provide a welcome breeze of 4,500 CFM to patios and decks. Connect your garden

hose and fill up the 50 gallon tank, then fire up the pump and fan and you are ready to go. Bonus: It's made in the USA.

 
Easy Mobility: Black + Decker Portable Air Conditioner
BLACK AND DECKER


Black+Decker is more than just tools. They now make a lot of household products including portable air conditioners.

This full-featured air conditioner is one of the lightest available, and rolls easily on casters with handles for transport.

Most Compact: Honeywell Portable Evaporative Cooler
Honeywell CL201AE 42 Pt. Indoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler with Remote Control, Silver

This little unit packs a chilly punch that can cool a room up to 280 square feet. Evaporative coolers like this one are most

effective in dry conditions and draw less electricity than typical air conditioners. Fill the top-loading ice compartment plus

5.3-gallon (42-pint) water tank, open your windows and doors, and enjoy the cool breeze.

Best Remote: Hisense Portable Air Conditioner

This unit from Hisense can be controlled via an included remote, or your smart phone, which allows you to cool the room

before you arrive or turn it off while you are away. It runs quiet and the cross-flow fan design cools a room quickly. The

included window ventilation kit installs quickly in horizontal or vertical windows from 18 to 50-inch wide openings.

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Seller’s market at-a-glance

  • More buyers than homes for sale
  • Prices tend to be higher because of increased demand
  • Homes sell quickly
  • More likely to be multiple offers on a home, which gives sellers negotiating power (and conditional offers may be rejected)

Buyer’s market at-a-glance

  • More homes on the market than buyers
  • Prices tend to be lower because of increased supply
  • Homes are more likely to sit unsold
  • Housing surplus can slow rising prices and even lead to price reductions
  • Buyers have more choices and more leverage to negotiate

If you’re looking to buy (or sell) a home, it’s important to know which type of market you’re entering into. If you’re unsure, ask your real estate agent. Of course, selling a home in a seller’s market is optimal, as is buying a property in a buyer’s market. But people don’t necessarily have the luxury of timing their home sale or purchase to coincide with the most advantageous market. It could be quite likely, for instance, that you’d be buying in a seller’s market or selling in a buyer’s market.

Tips on selling your home in different housing markets

Selling in a seller’s market is generally quick and easy. In a buyer’s market, with an abundance of properties sitting idle, you may want to do some legwork to help sell your home. There are a number of things you can do to improve your chances for making a sale. These include:

  • Understand the local market and your competition
  • Price your home right (and conservatively)
  • Make sure your home is ready to be shown at all times (consider using a professional home stager who can help show off the best features of every room in your house)
  • Be accommodating to your real estate agent's/prospective buyer’s schedules (think of every showing as the one that could get you the sale)
  • Be flexible with your terms (offer an extended closing date or lower your asking price)
  • Be patient (and stay positive)
  • If you get an offer early on, give it serious consideration because a better offer may not come along

Multiple offers

In a seller’s market, with fewer homes available to purchase and more buyers looking, you’re more likely to get several offers on your home. Here are some things you can do to help increase your likelihood for getting multiple offers:

  • Keep your home clean, clutter-free, presentable and ready to show (hire a professional stager if you can – see above)
  • Consider pricing your home slightly below its fair market value
  • Work with your real estate agent to to ensure that your home has sufficient market exposure (i.e. list on REALTOR.ca), create print materials, such as flyers or postcards with key selling points and a professional quality photo of your home, post on social media, consider newspaper/magazine ads, list on other real estate listing web sites and your agency’s company web site)
  • Be ready to show your house on demand (with no appointment necessary)

Tips on buying a home in different housing markets

With more homes for sale than buyers and potentially lower prices, a buyer’s market could be a great time to buy a new home. Before doing so, however, consider the possibility that home prices could continue to fall, meaning your new purchase might be worth less than you paid for it in no time. Of course, what goes down may eventually come back up. Still, if you wait for prices to drop even further, you might miss out on a great opportunity.

If you’re looking to buy in a difficult seller’s market, there are things you can do to improve your likelihood for success.

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage first, so you know how much home you can afford
  • Put forward a strong offer with a significant deposit amount
  • Move quickly on a home if you like it (and be aggressive without being annoying)
  • Make your offer as attractive and uncomplicated as possible (i.e. eliminate as many contingencies as possible, such as a contingency on sale of your existing property, shorten the closing date or come up with a larger down payment)
  • Be agreeable and responsive
  • Be flexible with your move-in date
  • Appeal to the seller with a personal letter

Bidding wars

If you should find yourself in a bidding war with another potential buyer, try to not show your hand to them or the seller. Instead, try to figure out the seller’s trigger—such as a specific closing date that would work for them—and include that in your offer. This could potentially give you an advantage over other offers. Also, keep in mind that sellers prefer offers that have no conditions attached.

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With home sale activity dipping below long-term historical averages, the supply of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver* reached a three-year high in June.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,425 in June 2018, a 37.7 per cent decline from the 3,893 sales recorded in June 2017, and a 14.4 per cent decrease compared to May 2018 when 2,833 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 28.7 per cent below the 10-year June sales average.

“Buyers are less active today. This is allowing the supply of homes for sale to accumulate to levels we haven’t seen in the last few years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “Rising interest rates, high prices and more restrictive mortgage requirements are among the factors dampening home buyer activity today.”

There were 5,279 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in June 2018. This represents a 7.7 per cent decrease compared to the 5,721 homes listed in June 2017 and a 17.2 per cent decrease compared to May 2018 when 6,375 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,947, a 40.3 per cent increase compared to June 2017 (8,515) and a 5.8 per cent increase compared to May 2018 (11,292). This is the highest this total has been since June 2015.

“With reduced demand, detached homes are entering a buyers’ market and price growth in our townhome and apartment markets is showing signs of decelerating.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2018 is 20.3 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 11.7 per cent for detached homes, 24.9 per cent for townhomes, and 33.4 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,093,600. This represents a 9.5 per cent increase over June 2017 and is virtually unchanged from May 2018.

Sales of detached homes in June 2018 reached 766, a 42 per cent decrease from the 1,320 detached sales recorded in June 2017. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,598,200. This represents a 0.7 per cent increase from June 2017 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to May 2018.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,240 in June 2018, a 34.9 per cent decrease compared to the 1,905 sales in June 2017. The benchmark price for an apartment is $704,200. This represents a 17.2 per cent increase from June 2017 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to May 2018.

Attached home sales in June 2018 totalled 419, a 37.3 per cent decrease compared to the 668 sales in June 2017. The benchmark price of an attached home is $859,800. This represents a 15.3 per cent increase from June 2017 and is virtually unchanged from May 2018.

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Tree pruning can be a difficult concept for many growers, but proper pruning is essential to proper growth and fruit development. When it comes to pruning, it seems like an arcane a mixture of art and science. When my dad bought his first fruit tree, he tried pruning by himself. His idea was that pruning was more for looks than anything else. He’d take the time to cut them into a nice shape and take off any dead or dying branches. He’d also do it about once a month. He was also doing it all wrong.

Pruning is far more than just a cosmetic treatment for your fruit trees; it’s a necessary part of growing process. Improperly pruned trees can end up overloaded with fruit or bear no fruit at all.

(For more info on growing your trees, look here.)

When Do You Prune?

Any cutting of dead branches and shaping done throughout the year is more akin to cleaning. Pruning is specifically designed to make it easier for the tree to grow and bear fruit. The primary time to prune a tree is at the tail of winter, at the end of the tree’s dormant cycle, or very early in spring. There are no leaves or fruit to bar your way and you have a clear vantage of the branches. There’s nothing worse than trying to cut a tree branch and end up falling off your ladder, cutting through a branch or being hit in the head by falling fruit. (Been there, done that). The other time to prune is during the summer, but that's only to time down trees that are over grown or too big.

Pruning a Young Tree

Young trees need to be pruned heavy. You basically turn small trees back into sticks in the ground. You’ll want to keep any small horizontal branches and get rid of any that are growing more vertically or downward below 90 degrees. Ideally, you want branches that are shooting for 45 to 60 degrees. Of course, any damaged or diseased branches have to go, as well as any small trees sprouting at the base. These are called suckers and compete for nutrients and do nothing for you.

Pruning a Larger Tree

When trees get larger, consider topping and thinning. Be careful of topping versus thinning trees. Topping a tree means cutting the tops of the tree into a snowball or flattop shape. This is drastic, and I always leave this to a professional arborist. If done wrong, topping can severely decrease the foliage of the tree as well as create several new shoots going off in all different directions. Topping is usually only done if the tree is so large that it could cause damage to property or if it is near power lines. Thinning means complete removal of the branches back to the main stem. You can keep the overall shape of the tree and new growth is distributed via numerous areas. You also want to cut off any branches that have turned and are growing towards the tree.

Buds Versus Branches

Trimming buds should be done right where the bud and tree connect. You don’t want to leave any stubs. You want to prune buds and shoots if branches become too overgrown or too heavy with fruit. Remember, each bud will become a small branch. The old way of pruning branches was to do it flush with the trunk of the tree. The problem was this wound allowed organisms to enter and infect the tree. The accepted way now is to prune just outside where the collar is. This creates a circular wound as compared to oval if cut to close to the main trunk.

My dad never did get the hang of pruning, but that’s no reason why you can’t become an expert.

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Giro di Burnaby

Thursday, July 12th, 2018 marks the 11th anniversary of the Giro di Burnaby!

The sound of tires hissing, cowbells clanging, and crowds cheering only means one thing -  the Giro di Burnaby! The Giro di Burnaby (pronounced GEE-ro) is part of BC Superweek, the richest event in Canadian cycling, drawing professional racers from around the world.

The Giro di Burnaby was named in honour of Italy's most prestigious cycling race, the Giro d'Italia, and is a nod to Burnaby's vibrant Italian community.

This City of Burnaby event is quickly drawing attention from athletic and promotional circuits around the world, doubling the number of spectators and drawing an impressive number of cyclist entries. The quality and safety of the course, the generous prizes and "primes" (short races with prize money) and the unique atmosphere of the Heights neighbourhood have all contributed to the event's burgeoning reputation.

Event Schedule

Bike Valet Opens (3:30 - 9 p.m.)

Our bike valet service is open from 3:30pm until 9:30pm. Bike valet is located on Madison Avenue at Hastings Street (parking area on the west side of Madison, south of Hastings).

Boffo Breve Youth Race (5:30 p.m.)

Kicking off the evening’s races, we’ve got the Boffo Breve Youth Race, presented by Boffo Developments starting at 5:30pm. The youth riders will compete in a 12 minute race + two final laps. Don’t miss your chance to cheer on the pros of tomorrow!

Beer Garden Opens (6 p.m.)

Back for it’s third year is the official Giro di Burnaby Beer Garden at the corner of Hastings & Madison. Visit the beer garden for prime viewing, bleacher seating, and enjoy a cold Steamworks beer and an Italian sausage on a bun from Rocky’s Meats! Must be 19+ to enter!

Women's Pro Race  (6 p.m.)

Our pro racing begins at 6pm with Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan starting the women’s race. The women will race for 40 laps on our 1.14km course!

Men's Pro Race (7:15 p.m.)

City Councillor Pietro Calendino will start the men’s pro race at approximately 7:15pm. The men will race for 50 laps.

Awards Presentation (8:30 p.m.)

Podium presentation for the men’s and women’s pro races!

*Please note: All times are approximate and may be subject to change without notice.

Course Map

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Home buyer demand continues to decline across the Metro Vancouver* housing market. 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,833 in May 2018, a 35.1 per cent decrease from the 4,364 sales recorded in May 2017, and a 9.8 per cent increase compared to April 2018 when 2,579 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 19.3 per cent below the 10-year May sales average.

“With fewer homes selling today compared to recent years, the number of homes available for sale is rising,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “The selection of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver has risen to the highest levels we’ve seen in the last two years, yet supply is still below our long-term historical averages.”

There were 6,375 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in May 2018. This represents a 5.5 per cent increase compared to the 6,044 homes listed in May 2017 and a 9.5 per cent increase compared to April 2018 when 5,820 homes were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,292, a 38.2 per cent increase compared to May 2017 (8,168) and a 15 per cent increase compared to April 2018 (9,822).

The total number of listings available today is 17.2 per cent below the 10-year May average.

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2018 is 25.1 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.7 per cent for detached homes, 30.8 per cent for townhomes, and 41.7 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“For home sellers to be successful in today’s market, it’s important to price your property competitively given the shifting dynamics we’re experiencing,” Moore said. “It’s also important to work with your local Realtor to better understand these changing conditions.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,094,000. This is an 11.5 per cent increase over May 2017 and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to April 2018.

Sales of detached properties in May 2018 reached 926, a 40.2 per cent decrease from the 1,548 detached sales recorded in May 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,608,000. This is a 2.4 per cent increase from May 2017 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to April 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,431 in May 2018, a 29.3 per cent decrease from the 2,025 sales in May 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $701,700. This is a 20.2 per cent increase from May 2017 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to April 2018.

Attached property sales in May 2018 totalled 476, a 39.8 per cent decrease from the 791 sales in May 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $859,500. This represents a 16 per cent increase from May 2017 and a 0.6 per cent increase compared to April 2018.

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Get ready to set those alarm clocks, Canada.

The FIFA World Cup is nearly here, with 32 teams descending on this year’s host country, Russia, for the chance to hoist the most prestigious trophy on the planet.

 

It all begins on June 14 in Moscow, when Russia takes on Saudi Arabia for the first match of the tournament. That’s the beginning of 64 matches, with the final set for July 15.

There’s 11 time zones in Russia – more than any other country in the world, but matches will be contained on the western side of the country, spread across three time zones.

The earliest match is scheduled for 3 am PT in Vancouver (that’s 4 am MT in Calgary and 6 am ET in Toronto and Montreal), with the latest match set for noon PT (1 pm MT / 3 pm ET).

Noticeably absent from the below schedule are Italy and USA, who both failed to qualify for this year’s tournament. Canada, who hasn’t qualified since 1986, will also not participate in this year’s World Cup.

Every match will be broadcast on TSN and/or CTV in Canada.

Here’s the tournament schedule:

Group A

Teams: 

  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Egypt
  • Uruguay

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Thu, Jun 14 Russia vs Saudi Arabia 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Fri, Jun 15 Egypt vs Uruguay 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Tue, Jun 19 Russia vs Egypt 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Wed, Jun 20 Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Mon, Jun 25 Saudi Arabia vs Egypt 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Mon, Jun 25 Uruguay vs Russia 7 am PT / 10 am ET

Group B

Teams: 

  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Morocco
  • Iran

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Fri, Jun 15 Morocco vs Iran 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Fri, Jun 15 Portugal vs Spain 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Wed, Jun 20 Portugal vs Morocco 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Wed, Jun 20 Iran vs Spain 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Mon, Jun 25 Iran vs Portugal 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Mon, Jun 25 Spain vs Morocco 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Group C

Teams: 

  • France
  • Australia
  • Peru
  • Denmark

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Sat, Jun 16 France vs Australia 3 am PT / 6 am ET
Sat, Jun 16 Peru vs Denmark 9 am PT / 12 pm ET
Thu, Jun 21 France vs Peru 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Thu, Jun 21 Denmark vs Australia 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Tue, Jun 26 Australia vs Peru 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Tue, Jun 26 Denmark vs France 7 am PT / 10 am ET

Group D

Teams: 

  • Argentina
  • Iceland
  • Croatia
  • Nigeria

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Sat, Jun 16 Argentina vs Iceland 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Sat, Jun 16 Croatia vs Nigeria 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET
Thu, Jun 21 Argentina vs Croatia 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Fri, Jun 22 Nigeria vs Iceland 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Tue, Jun 26 Iceland vs Croatia 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Tue, Jun 26 Nigeria vs Argentina 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Group E

Teams: 

  • Brazil
  • Switzerland
  • Costa Rica
  • Serbia

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Sun, Jun 17 Costa Rica vs Serbia 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Sun, Jun 17 Brazil vs Switzerland 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Fri, Jun 22 Brazil vs Costa Rica 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Fri, Jun 22 Serbia vs Switzerland 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Wed, Jun 27 Switzerland vs Costa Rica 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Wed, Jun 27 Serbia vs Brazil 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Group F

Teams: 

  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Sweden
  • South Korea

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Sun, Jun 17 Germany vs Mexico 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Mon, Jun 18 Sweden vs South Korea 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Sat, Jun 23 Germany vs Sweden 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Sat, Jun 23 South Korea vs Mexico 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Wed, Jun 27 South Korea vs Germany 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Wed, Jun 27 Mexico vs Sweden 7 am PT / 10 am ET

Group G

Teams: 

  • Belgium
  • Panama
  • Tunisia
  • England

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Mon, Jun 18 Belgium vs Panama 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Mon, Jun 18 Tunisia vs England 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Sat, Jun 23 Belgium vs Tunisia 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Sun, Jun 24 England vs Panama 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Thu, Jun 28 England vs Belgium 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Thu, Jun 28 Panama vs Tunisia 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Group H

Teams: 

  • Poland
  • Senegal
  • Colombia
  • Japan

Schedule:

Date Match Time
Tue, Jun 19 Poland vs Senegal 5 am PT / 8 am ET
Tue, Jun 19 Colombia vs Japan 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Sun, Jun 24 Japan vs Senegal 8 am PT / 11 am ET
Sun, Jun 24 Poland vs Colombia 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Thu, Jun 28 Japan vs Poland 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Thu, Jun 28 Senegal vs Colombia 7 am PT / 10 am ET

Knockout round

Date Match Time
Sat, Jun 30 Round of 16: C1 vs D2 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Sat, Jun 30 Round of 16: A1 vs B2 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Sun, Jul 1 Round of 16: B1 vs A2 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Sun, Jul 1 Round of 16: D1 vs C2 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Mon, Jul 2 Round of 16: E1 vs F2 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Mon, Jul 2 Round of 16: G1 vs H2 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Tue, Jul 3 Round of 16: F1 vs E2 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Tue, Jul 3 Round of 16: H1 vs G2 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Fri, Jul 6 Quarter-final 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Fri, Jul 6 Quarter-final 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Sat, Jul 7 Quarter-final 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Sat, Jul 7 Quarter-final 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Tue, Jul 10 Semi-final 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Wed, Jul 11 Semi-final 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
Sat, Jul 14 3rd place match 7 am PT / 10 am ET
Sun, Jul 15 Final 8 am PT / 11 am ET
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Knowing how to perform maintenance jobs around the house is an important part of being a homeowner, especially in the event of an emergency. From turning off the main water supply to resetting a tripped breaker in your home’s electrical, here are seven things every homeowner should know the location of around their property.

1. Gas Shutoff

It's important to know how to turn off the gas supply to your home in case of emergencies. The location of the gas shut-off valve is usually right beside the gas meter. You will need a wrench to turn the valve, so obtaining one ahead of time is crucial in keeping your home safe. Like water lines, individual appliances usually have their own shut-off valves as well. If you reach the point where you need to shut-off the main gas supply, contact your gas company and make sure everyone is safely out of the house.

2. Electrical Power Box

An electrical power box against a brick wall.

Houses typically have one electrical panel that regulates all the power to the home. The location of the panel will vary, but they are usually tucked away in the garage, basement, or a closet. You may even find the panel outside in certain parts of the country. You need to know the location of the panel in case a circuit gets overloaded and needs a reset, or if you need to shut off power to an area of the home for a project.

 

3. Major Home Appliances

You should know the location of all of the major appliances in your home, specifically the hot water heater and HVAC system. You should regularly inspect the hot water heater for leaks and adjust the temperature of the water for maximum comfort. The HVAC system should also be inspected on a regular basis and filters swapped out whenever they get too dirty.

4. Attic Space

A ladder leading up to attic access in a ceiling.

Knowing how to access the attic is important if you are doing repairs like running electrical wire or troubleshooting a leak. Finding the entryway to the attic is a fairly straightforward process. Just go to the highest floor in your home and look for a small door in the ceiling. A lot of homes also feature the attic entry inside the garage. If the home has been remodeled, you may discover multiple entryways to the attic.

5. Property Lines

You should have a good idea about where your property starts and ends. Most of the time, not knowing this information is not a big deal, but there are instances where it is important. You should know your exact property lines, for example, if you want to build an addition, if a neighbor’s tree encroaches on your yard, or when you are doing a little landscaping. You can find out about property lines by calling the county assessor’s office, looking at the deed, or hiring a licensed surveyor.

 

6. Safety Equipment

A fire detector in a ceiling surrounded by smoke.

You should know the location of all of your home’s safety equipment in case of emergencies. This includes fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. You should also inspect these safety devices on a regular basis and make sure they remain in working condition throughout the year.

7. Main Water Turnoff

Knowing how to shut off the water to your home can save you a lot of time and money when a plumbing issue hits. In the event of a major leak, turning off the water mains can prevent the water from causing serious damage to other areas of your home. You may also want to turn off the water when you are away for a long vacation. Most homes usually have two places where you can turn off all of the water: an inside valve and a street-level valve. Most faucets, toilets, refrigerators, and other water sources will also have their own shut-off valves. If you cannot find the location of the main water shutoff, your local water company should be able to assist.

 
 
 

 

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Break out the soil and seeds and start gardening already with these beginner gardening tips

 

 

Spring is in the air! This year you're going to start a veggie patch to enjoy the fresh and rich flavours homegrown vegetables have to offer. You are not alone; in fact you are part of a growing movement—some call it a revolution—of people reconnecting to the pleasures of growing food.

 

Here are some pointers on how to get your garden started, what you can plant when, and the best places to find help! Most of this information is as applicable to container gardens on apartment balconies as it is backyard plots.

 

Choosing a location for your garden to grow: soil, sun/shade

 

Back in the day, many of Vancouver's homes had a veggie patch. When I moved into my place I was excited to find the back quarter of the yard had rich soil that had obviously been home to a flourishing garden many, many years before. We had to do a lot of weeding to bring it back to a vegetable garden, but it has been worth it.

 

Take a spade and do some digging in your own yard; you're looking for dark crumbly textured soil that is rock free.

 

If you're dirty reconnaissance reveals rocky, sandy or hard pan clay, then you've run into the common soil of our region—a result of till deposited with the retreat of glaciers. Not the best for growing veggies in!

 

The solution? I would suggest building up your soil with lasagna gardeningpicking up some free soil or buying a good garden blend.

 

Make sure that the spot you choose for your garden has at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. You can still grow veggies if have a shady garden space, but you’ll have to re-think the varieties you plant.

 

Look for a spot that is not surrounded by big trees or neighbouring buildings. If you are south facing, align your garden running east to west; this will mean that your plants get a more even distribution of sun. Tall plants (pole beans, tomatoes, peas) go north of shorter plants (basil, bush beans, zucchini).

 

Leafy greens (kale, lettuce, spinach) can tolerate some shade because they prefer cooler weather.

 

 

Garden plot

 

 

Square-foot gardening provides high yields and is super easy to do.

 

Start small and try square-foot gardening

 

If this is your first gardening year then start small. A 2-x-3-metre plot is more then enough to get you started!

 

I would recommend taking Square Foot Gardening out of the library. This system of planting is great for beginners because it breaks down planting a garden into a small area (one foot at a time), which is less intimidating, it provides high yields and is super easy to do!

 

Composting keeps plants healthy and disease resistant

 

Vancouverites are good at staying in shape, and we can keep our plants healthy too with a regular dose of compost. Making your own compost is easy in your backyard or apartment. And I've found great success with vermiculture (a.k.a. worm composting).

 

If you are just not ready to become a Compost Captain, you can also try organic fertilizers from Gaia Green or the Kelp Man to make sure your plants are getting the nutrients they need.

 

Coral bead vine, Rosary pea

 

 

Once you've chosen a spot to garden you'll have to figure out what you want to plan. 

What are you going to grow?

 

Here is a rough guide for planting your garden. The West Coast Seeds Planting Chart is an excellent resource and a more comprehensive list.

 

Many gardeners in the Lower Mainland use the May Long Weekend to mark the date that it is safe to plant their garden. This works well for tomatoes, beans, basil and other heat-loving veggies, but you can start planting lots of cool weather loving veggies today!

 

April

 

Sow: arugula (or rocket), broad beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radish, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, potatoes
Sow indoors: peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, melons

 

Gardening glossary

 

Sow: To plant your seeds; can be done directly in the garden, or inside to protect from cold weather.


Transplant: To take seedlings that are growing indoors and planting them out in the garden.

May

 

Sow: arugula (a.k.a. rocket), bush beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, spinach, swiss chard, turnips


Sow indoors: cucumbers, squash, pumpkin

 

June

 

Sow: arugula (a.k.a. rocket), soy beans, corn, bush beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, squash


Transplant: melons, eggplants, tomatoes, cucumber, squash, pumpkins

 

July

 

Sow: arugula (a.k.a. rocket), bush beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, squash, peas

 

August

 

Sow: arugula (a.k.a. rocket), carrots, lettuce, peas, spinach, swiss chard, turnips

 

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The Metro Vancouver* housing market saw fewer home buyers and more home sellers in April.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,579 in April 2018, a 27.4 per cent decrease from the 3,553 sales recorded in April 2017, and a 2.5 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 2,517 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 22.5 per cent below the 10-year April sales average.

“Market conditions are changing. Home sales declined in our region last month to a 17-year April low and home sellers have become more active than we’ve seen in the past three years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “The mortgage requirements that the federal government implemented this year have, among other factors, diminished home buyers’ purchasing power and they’re being felt on the buyer side today.”

There were 5,820 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in April 2018. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,907 homes listed in April 2017 and a 30.8 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 4,450 homes were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,822, a 25.7 per cent increase compared to April 2017 (7,813) and a 17.2 per cent increase compared to March 2018 (8,380).

“Home buyers have more breathing room this spring. They have more selection to choose from and less demand to compete against,” Moore said.

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2018 is 26.3 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.1 per cent for detached homes, 36.1 per cent for townhomes, and 46.7 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,092,000. This represents a 14.3 per cent increase over April 2017 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to March 2018.

Sales of detached properties in April 2018 reached 807, a 33.4 per cent decrease from the 1,211 detached sales recorded in April 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,605,800. This represents a 5.1 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to March 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,308 in April 2018, a 24 per cent decrease from the 1,722 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $701,000. This represents a 23.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to March 2018.

Attached property sales in April 2018 totalled 464, a 25.2 per cent decrease compared to the 620 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $854,200. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to March 2018.   

 

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car-free day

The City of Port Moody invites residents and visitors to mark their calendars for Car-Free Day on Sunday, August 19, 2018. This community celebration, filled with local businesses and artisans, delicious food, live music, and activities for all ages, will take place on St. Johns Street, between Douglas and Moody streets, from 12 noon to 7pm. 

“Last year, more than 20,000 people enjoyed Port Moody’s first-ever Car-Free Day, and more than 100 vendors participated,” says Mayor Mike Clay. “This event provides a great opportunity for local business owners and artisans to connect with Port Moody residents and visitors from around the Lower Mainland. I invite members of the public to save the date on their calendar, and encourage local businesses to be a part of this great event by reserving a booth today.” 

Car-Free Day is a community celebration featuring:

  • live music on the Main Stage;
  • great food, available from local restaurants;
  • Brewers Row Beer Garden at Queens Street Plaza;
  • family-friendly activities, like rock climbing, street hockey, face painting, and a bicycle skills and safety zone;
  • roving entertainers and mascots;
  • booths presented by local businesses and artisans; and
  • electric vehicle demonstrations.

Please visit portmoody.ca/carfreeday for more information. Local business owners or operators interested in reserving a booth must fill out an application form online by June 8, 2018. Businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities are invited to email carfree@portmoody.ca or call 604-469-4535. 

Car-free days take place across the country and aim to inspire people to get out of their cars, interact with each other, and explore alternative modes of transportation. 

St. Johns Street, between Douglas and Moody streets, will be closed to all vehicle traffic from 6am to 10pm on August 19, 2018. Commuters are strongly advised to take alternative routes. On-street parking in the area will be extremely limited, so the City asks residents and visitors who will be attending Car-Free Day to consider alternative ways to get to the celebration: walk, bike, or take public transit
 

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Home buyers and sellers were less active in Metro Vancouver* throughout the first quarter of 2018. 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,517 in March 2018, a 29.7 per cent decrease from the 3,579 sales recorded in March 2017, and a 14 per cent increase compared to February 2018 when 2,207 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 23 per cent below the 10-year March sales average.

There were 6,542 home sales on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver during the first quarter of 2018, a 13.1 per cent decrease from the 7,527 sales over the same period last year. This represents the region’s lowest first-quarter sales total since 2013.

“We saw less demand from buyers and fewer homes listed for sale in our region in the first quarter of the year,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “High prices, new tax announcements, rising interest rates, and stricter mortgage requirements are among the factors affecting home buyer and seller activity today.” 

There were 4,450 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale in Metro Vancouver in March 2018. This represents a 6.6 per cent decrease compared to the 4,762 homes listed in March 2017 and a 5.4 per cent increase compared to February 2018 when 4,223 homes were listed.

There were 12,469 homes listed for sale in Metro Vancouver during the first quarter of 2018, a 0.8 per cent decrease from the 12,568 sales over the same period last year. This represents the region’s lowest first-quarter new listings total since 2013.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,380, a 10.5 per cent increase compared to March 2017 (7,586) and a 7.1 per cent increase compared to February 2018 (7,822).

“Even with lower demand, upward pressure on prices will continue as long as the supply of homes for sale remains low,” Moore said. “Last month was the quietest March for new home listings since 2009 and the total inventory, particularly in the condo and townhome segments, of homes for sale remains well below historical norms.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for March 2018 is 30 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.2 per cent for detached homes, 39.9 per cent for townhomes, and 61.6 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,084,000. This represents a 16.1 per cent increase over March 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to February 2018.

Sales of detached properties in March 2018 reached 722, a decrease of 37 per cent from the 1,150 detached sales recorded in March 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,608,500. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase from March 2017 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to February 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,349 in March 2018, a decrease of 26.7 per cent compared to the 1,841 sales in March 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $693,500. This represents a 26.2 per cent increase from March 2017 and a 1.6 per cent increase compared to February 2018.

Attached property sales in March 2018 totalled 446, a decrease of 24.1 per cent compared to the 588 sales in March 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $835,300. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from March 2017 and a two per cent increase compared to February 2018.

*Editor’s Note: Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

The real estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2017, 35,993 homes changed ownership in the Board’s area, generating $2.4 billion in economic spin-off activity and an estimated 17,600 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transacted through the MLS® system in Greater Vancouver totalled $37 billion in 2017.

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Planting bulbs is a fun way to add a pop of color and character to your yard, and getting started with the process is easy!

While the world of spring bulbs is simple to navigate, there are tips for any beginning gardener to follow that will ensure a

successful growing season. Read the best advice below and you’ll be on your way to gorgeous florals this spring!

Select Quality Bulbs

A pair of gloved hands holding flower bulbs.

Not just any bulbs will do for your yard this spring. Instead, opt for high-quality bulbs that are both plump and firm. Stray away

from bulbs that are soft and mushy, and obviously avoid any that have mold growing on them. Remember that bigger is better

when it comes to bulbs: the larger and more robust the bulb, the bigger the plant it will yield. Choose wisely for a bountiful

garden.

Choose the Right Spot

The world of bulbs relies on a wealth of smart choices. Deciding on the right spot to plant your bulbs is important in the fate

of your garden. Most bulbs grow well in areas that receive at least six full hours of direct sunlight each day and that have

well-drained soil.

Go for the Right Depth

Bulbs being planted in a garden.

Finding the right level of depth for your bulbs can be tricky, especially if you’re not used to planting year after year. This is a

common question, so don’t fret. Dig a hole about two to three times deeper than the bulb you’re planting is tall. For example,

if your bulb is approximately three inches tall, your hole should be between six and nine inches deep. This is a simple rule of

thumb that goes a long way in the success of gardening with bulbs.

Plant Them Correctly

What does it mean to plant a bulb correctly? Simply put, they should be planted facing pointy side up. Most bulbs possess a

pointed end, so this rule of thumb makes it easy to plant effectively. However, if your bulb doesn’t have this characteristic,

be sure to plant with the root side pointed downward to ensure a successful flower or bloom.

Provide the Right Soil

Spring flowers growing.

Most bulbs will prosper in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. This means that the soil used for your bulbs should

be mixed with compost, which is especially important in soil that is heavy and clay-like or in a ground that is consistently wet.

Water Correctly

Especially for those who are new at planting bulbs, watering well can prove to be a tricky balance. Bulbs certainly appreciate

a good drink after they’re planted, which encourages them to send roots into the soil and to become well-established. Water

robustly, especially after initially planting, to eliminate air pockets in soil that are prone to causing your bulbs to dry out.

Plant in Groups

Planting bulbs in soil.

To achieve the best aesthetic possible with your bulbs, be sure to plant them in big and irregular groupings around your yard

or landscape. This looks better than planting them in straight rows. (But if that's the look you want, go for it!) A good tactic to

d

ecide where to plant a group of bulbs is simple: toss a handful of them onto the ground and simply plant them where they fall!

It’s okay if they’re unevenly spaced—this only adds to their natural look and will provide character in your yard.

Try Containers

While bulbs certainly look great planted freely around your yard, another great idea is to try planting them in containers. Tulips,

daffodils, and hyacinths look great in differently shaped and sized containers around your yard. These can be easily moved

and can be brought inside once cold weather hits, keeping these plants alive for a long life of beauty for you to enjoy.

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Weekend guide for Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

 

 
 

Friday, March 2

YOUNG SINGERS
The annual CDMF Performing Arts Festival concludes this weekend with the vocal competition, held at the Trinity United Church (2211 Prairie Ave., Port Coquitlam): today and Saturday until 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Winners have a chance to earn a spot at the honours concert on April 8 and, possibly, the provincials. Admission is free; however, donations are accepted for entry. Visit cdmffestival.ca.

 
 

TROY, GABRIELLA
Gareth Magel plays Troy Bolton and Christine Joy Orcullo is Gabriella Montez in the Archbishop Carney regional secondary school production of High School Musical, taking place tonight and Saturday at the Terry Fox Theatre (1260 Riverwood Gate, Port Coquitlam). Email tickets@acrss.org for seats at $15 each.

SHOW ADDED
Riverside secondary gives the SD43 premiere of RENT: School Edition — with direction by Nicole Roberge, Glenda Ottens and Krista Wallace — at the Port Coquitlam school (2215 Reeve St.) tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the musical are $12/$10 at the door. Call 604-941-6053 or visit brownpapertickets.com.

GREAT BIG SEA
Great Big Sea founder Séan McCann plays a solo concert at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) at 8 p.m. Some extra tickets were released by the venue this week. Call the box office at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.
 

 

Saturday, March 3

TREASURE TROVE
Volunteers with the Eagle Ridge Hospital Auxiliary mark the fifth year of its thrift store (2811B Shaughnessy St., Port Coquitlam) with a customer appreciation sale and celebration. The store is open today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 604-469-3338.

NEW ART
The Art Gallery at Evergreen (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) opens a new ceramics installation by artist Gailan Ngan titled Chronicles. The display runs until April 22. The gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.

STRUM IT
Ukulele instructor Patrice from Paliatsky Music Lessons is at the Terry Fox Library (2470 Mary Hill Rd., Port Coquitlam) to teach beginners how to play the instrument, in a four-week course that starts today at 2 p.m. Admission is free; however, registration is required. Visit fvrl.ca.

SET HER FREE
A fundraiser for the Talitha Koum Society, a charity empowering women with addictions, the annual Set Her Free gala takes place at the All Saints Parish Hall (1405 Como Lake Ave., Coquitlam) with a dinner starting at 7:15 p.m. The event, sponsored by The Tri-City News, Harmony Properties, Beedie and Vancity, includes a silent auction and entertainment. Tickets are $60 per person (tax receipt provided). Visit talithakoumsociety.org.

SWINGIN’ WITH REMI
Montreal jazz saxophonist Rémi Bolduc and his band will be at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) to make up for their cancelled Feb. 3 performance, playing a tribute to the late Canadian pianist and composer Oscar Peterson in an 8 p.m. show titled Swingin’ with Oscar. Tickets are between $15 and $29 for the concert, which is part of Evergreen’s TD Music Series. Call 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.

JUST DANCE
The Hot Salsa Dance Zone leads another weekly party in the rehearsal hall at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) with a merengue lesson at 8 p.m. Instructor and DJ Alberto Gonzalez lights up the dance floor with salsa and Latin tunes from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Admission is $10 at the door or visit hotsalsadancezone.com.

 

Sunday, March 4

FRESH FOOD
Tour the Port Moody recreation complex (300 Ioco Rd.) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. as Metro Vancouver vendors sell their produce and wares at the Port Moody Winter Farmers Market. Visit makebakegrow.com.

FASHION SHOW
Dress up in your vintage fashion faux pas for a show at 2 p.m. with Ivan Sayers, a benefit for the Port Moody Heritage Society. The renowned Vancouver fashion historian will host his fun fashion-bloopers event called I Can’t Believe She Wore That! featuring disaster outfits from 1900 to 2000. First and second prizes will be awarded to the worst dressed in the audience, at Inlet Theatre (100 Newport Dr., Port Moody). Tickets at $28 include refreshments ($3 discount if paid with cash or cheque), available at the Port Moody Station Museum (2734 Murray St.). Call 604-939-1648 or visit portmoodymuseum.org.

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"I don’t feel we’ve done all we can to make that lower,” says Mayor Mike Clay

 

 
 

Port Moody residents may want to prepare themselves for a hefty property tax bill this summer.

Taxes are currently set to go up by 4.6 per cent, and with two more deliberations on the city’s five-year financial plan yet to come, the city’s finance committee is struggling to lessen the hit.

 
 

“We’ve got a very high number as a tax increase this year, and I don’t feel we’ve done all we can to make that lower,” Mayor Mike Clay told last Tuesday’s meeting of the committee.

 

But acting city manager Paul Rockwood said any further paring of the budget would mean cutting services or eliminating some new positions, such as a fire prevention officer, that have already been approved. He said staff wages are the biggest driver of the tax increase, accounting for 2.83 per cent of the boost.

Coun. Zoe Royer said residents have become accustomed to a certain level of service from the city and cutting any services would be a tough sell.

“I think we have many pressures from a city that is on the verge of some significant growth,” Royer said. “I don’t know that we can aggressively cut this budget.”

Clay said economies need to be found.

“In an organization as big as this, if we said we need to shave one per cent off our budget, we could do it,” he said.

The proposed budget for 2018 also includes a .75% increase for the city’s police department as well as a 1% levy to fund the city’s master transportation plan.

Staff will now prepare the bylaws to implement the financial plan for further deliberations by the finance committee April 3 and 17 before they’re referred to council for first reading at its meeting on April 24.

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A sold sign is shown in front of west-end Toronto homes April 9, 2017.

OTTAWA — Foreign buyers make up a minuscule portion of the overall housing market in this country, new research shows, but what they own is more expensive and newer than the average Canadian homeowner.

 

And there are indications foreign buyers are moving out of the traditional bases of Toronto and Vancouver and into new cities.

Non-residents owned 3.4 per cent of all residential properties in Toronto and 4.8 per cent of residential properties in Vancouver, according to new housing statistics by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and Statistics Canada.

 

Largely what foreign buyers scoop up are newer, more expensive homes. In Vancouver, non-resident owners, as they're known, had homes valued on average at $2.3 million compared to $1.6 million for the owners whose primary residence was in Canada.

 

Stepping into condo market


In Toronto, the average detached home owned by a non-resident was valued at $944,100 compared to $840,600 for residents, a difference of $103,500 or 12.3 per cent.

Foreign owners are stepping into the big-city condo market where, again, what they own is more expensive than the what residents own. In and around Toronto, the average assessed value for a condo owned by a non-resident was $420,500, compared to $385,900 for a resident. In Vancouver, the figures are $691,500 and $526,700, respectively.

 

CMHC says that overall, foreign buyers owned less than one per cent of the condo stock in 17 metropolitan areas across the country.

The figures mark the first time that CMHC and Statistics Canada have measured foreign ownership in the country's hot housing market to see how much influence foreign buyers have over skyrocketing prices.

The lack of growth in Toronto and Vancouver, combined with the increases in Montreal, indicate the possibility of a shift from these centres after the introduction of foreign buyers' taxes in Ontario and British Columbia.

Ontario and B.C. have rules in place to dampen foreign interest in buying properties as investments.

The data from CMHC suggests that the foreign buyer tax in both provinces has shifted foreign ownership to other parts of the country.

The CMHC survey found that downtown Montreal and the city's Nun's Island had the largest increases in the share of non-resident owners over the last year. On Nun's Island, the rate went from 4.3 per cent in 2016 to 7.6 per cent this year; on the island of Montreal, the rate went from 0.9 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

"The lack of growth in Toronto and Vancouver, combined with the increases in Montreal, indicate the possibility of a shift from these centres after the introduction of foreign buyers' taxes in Ontario and British Columbia,'' CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a release accompanying the data.

 
 
 

"Other factors attracting demand to Montreal include lower housing prices and a relatively strong economy.''

The head of CMHC has publicly argued that foreign ownership is not the main driver for increasing housing prices. Evan Siddall has previously said that foreign ownership makes up less than five per cent of the housing market.

"Foreign ownership is a thing; it's not the thing,'' Siddall said in an interview earlier this year.

"The sources of demand that are pushing prices higher are many-fold and the sources of investment speculation...in the real estate part of our economy are many-fold and more domestic than foreign.''

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Metro Vancouver* home sales dipped below the long-term historical average in February.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,207 in February 2018, a nine per cent decrease from the 2,424 sales recorded in February 2017, and a 21.4 per cent increase compared to January 2018 when 1,818 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 14.4 per cent below the 10-year February sales average. By property type, detached sales were down 39.4 per cent over the same period, attached sales were down 6.8 per cent, and apartment sales were 5.5 per cent above the 10-year February average.

“Rising interest rates and stricter mortgage requirements have reduced home buyers’ purchasing power, particularly for those at the entry level of our market,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “Even still, the supply of apartment and townhome properties for sale today is unable to meet demand. On the other hand, our detached home market is beginning to enter buyers’ market territory.”

There were 4,223 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in February 2018. This represents a 15.2 per cent increase compared to the 3,666 homes listed in February 2017 and an 11.2 per cent increase compared to January 2018 when 3,796 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,822, a three per cent increase compared to February 2017 (7,594) and a 12.6 per cent increase compared to January 2018 (6,947).

“The spring is traditionally the busiest time for home buyers and sellers in our market. We’ll wait to see how they react to the taxes and other policy measures that our provincial and federal governments have introduced so far this year,” Oudil said. “To help you navigate these changes in today’s housing market, it’s important to work with your local REALTOR®.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for February 2018 is 28.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 13 per cent for detached homes, 37.6 per cent for townhomes, and 59.7 per cent for condominiums. 

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,071,800. This represents a 16.9 per cent increase over February 2017 and a 1.4 per cent increase compared to January 2018.

Sales of detached properties in February 2018 reached 621, a 16.6 per cent decrease from the 745 detached sales recorded in February 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,602,000. This represents an 8.2 per cent increase from February 2017 and is virtually unchanged from January 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,185 in February 2018, a 7.1 per cent decrease compared to the 1,275 sales in February 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $682,800. This represents a 27.2 per cent increase from February 2017 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to January 2018.

Attached property sales in February 2018 totalled 401, a 0.7 per cent decrease compared to the 404 sales in February 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $819,200. This represents an 18.1 per cent increase from February 2017 and a 1.9 per cent increase compared to January 2018.

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1,818 homes were sold in January — up 19.4 per cent from the same time last year

Townhouse and condo sales were above the 10-year January average by 14.3 and 31.6 per cent respectively, while detached homes fell 24.8 per cent below it, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Townhouse and condo sales were above the 10-year January average by 14.3 and 31.6 per cent respectively, while detached homes fell 24.8 per cent below it, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

 
  • The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says demand continues to be high for condominiums and townhomes in the region, but less so for detached properties.

The board says 1,818 homes sold in January — up 19.4 per cent from the same time last year, but down 9.8 per cent from December 2017.

However, townhouse and condo sales were above the 10-year January average by 14.3 and 31.6 per cent respectively, while detached homes fell 24.8 per cent below it.

The board says the sales-to-active listings ratio last month, which looks at how many properties sold compared with those listed, was 57.2 per cent for condos, 32.8 per cent for townhouses and 11.6 per cent for detached properties.

A figure below 12 per cent for a sustained period suggests downward pressure on prices, while jumping above 20 per cent for several months indicates movement in the opposite direction

Demand elevated, listings scarce

The board says the composite benchmark price for all types of properties in the area was $1,056,500 in January — up 16.6 per cent from the same month last year and 0.6 per cent higher than the previous month.

The benchmark price for detached homes was up 8.3 per cent from the same time last year at $1,601,500. It was up 27.4 per cent for condos at $665,400 and 17.5 per cent for townhomes at $803,700.

REBGV president Jill Oudil says in a statement that demand remains elevated and listings scarce for attached homes and condos, while buyers looking for detached homes face less competition and have much more selection.

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Ever since the B.C. NDP formed government last summer, the public has been waiting to see how the party plans to address the province's out-of-control housing market – and now the wait is over.

In her 2018 budget speech Tuesday, Finance Minister Carole James highlighted some of the government's 30-point plan for making buying and renting more affordable for British Columbians. The comprehensive strategy focuses on measures to discourage speculation, decrease demand from foreign buyers, and increase the supply of available housing.

"Housing affordability affects us all," James said. "Nurses, construction workers, teachers, engineers, city workers are building careers, growing families and contributing to our province. They should be able to put down roots."

Here's a rundown of some of the major changes the NDP plans to put in place, which, notably, do not include the $400 renters rebate promised during the 2017 election campaign.

 

Increasing and extending the foreign buyers tax

Effective Wednesday, the 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers is being hiked to 20 per cent, and for the first time the steep levy will be applied outside of Metro Vancouver.

Going forward, the tax will apply to foreign purchasers who buy in the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna.

"We think that foreign buyers should contribute more for the quality of life they enjoy when they are in our province," James said. "Extending it to other communities ensures that we don't simply push the speculation to other markets."

The hiked tax is expected to bring in about $35 million for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
 

Foreign buyers tax


Introducing a new tax on real estate speculators

Starting this fall, the government will also be applying a 0.5 per cent speculation tax to residential properties in the province's major urban areas that will target any buyer, foreign or domestic, who doesn't pay taxes in B.C.

Exemptions will be offered on principal homes, some long-term rental properties and other special cases, but James said the goal is to strongly discourage people from parking capital in the province's overheated housing market.

"B.C.'s real estate market should not be used as a stock market, it should be used to provide safe and secure homes for families, for renters, for students [and] for seniors," James said.

Though the tax doesn't come into effect until the second half of 2018, the government expects it will bring $85 million into the coffers this fiscal year.

Investing $6.6 billion into affordable housing

Perhaps the biggest announcement is the investment of $6.6 billion into homes and housing supports over the next decade, with funding promised to be shared with every corner of the province.

The investment represents the largest housing investment in B.C. history, according to the NDP.

"Families are squeezed, students are struggling, seniors falling through the cracks. We came into government with a vision to fix this, and we're taking action," James said.

"We're going to build the homes that people need. These homes will be a mix of housing for students, people with disabilities, seniors and families, and will range from supported social housing to market rental housing."

The plan would see more than 14,000 rental units added to the province's housing stock, which could provide much-needed relief for renters in cities such as Vancouver, where the vacancy rate has hovered around one per cent for years.

Those units will be in addition to the 1,700 affordable rental homes funded in last year's budget update.

Shining a light on hidden ownership

Another measure is designed to bring an end to hidden ownership – the practice of using numbered companies, offshore trusts and stand-in owners to obscure where the money flowing into B.C. real estate really comes from.

Under the current system, the government has no way to identify the owners of nearly half of Vancouver's most expensive properties, according to the NDP.

"A lack of transparency in our land registry means true ownership is not clear. We're going to change that," James said.

Under the changes, Property Transfer Tax forms will require additional information about "beneficial ownership," and a new registry on beneficial land owners under the Land Title Survey Authority will be made publicly available.

The NDP said the registry will help police, as well as federal and provincial tax authorities, conduct investigations into money launderers and tax frauds.

Beefing up the province's auditing and enforcement abilities 

New rules and regulations can't accomplish much without enforcement, and the B.C. government has proposed strengthening its own powers to crack down on people abusing the system.

The province is increasing the time-limit for assessments to six years, letting auditors collect more information on buyers, and introducing new penalties for non-compliance.

Though James describes the government's measures as "bold," she acknowledged they will not provide a quick fix for the troubles that have long been festering in B.C.'s real estate market.

But she said they are a start.

"People have clearly been hurt by the housing crisis," James said.

"The problem has been ignored for too long, and the consequences are being felt through British Columbia."

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