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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FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENTS:

Family Day at Fort Langley
Come and learn the traditions of the families at Fort Langley – from varied backgrounds like Scottish, Hawaiian, First Nations and Metis, the workers embraced their cultures here! Enjoy the feature presentation on First Nations resources, make some Scottish bannock, or challenge your skills playing ‘Ulu Maika – a game meant to train Hawaiian warriors. • Fort Langley National Historic Site, 23433 Mavis Ave. • Feb. 10-12 • http://www.pc.gc.ca/fortlangley

Massey Madness: Family Arts Fest
An all-inclusive day of arts activities and live theatre performances for the whole family to enjoy. Includes theatre performances for young children with Axis Theatre’s Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish (11 a.m.); a First Nations story by Joseph Dandurand, Confessions of a Grocery Store Clerk (2 p.m.); and The New Conformity by Cause and Effect Circus and Travis Bernhardt’s comedic magic (7 p.m.). There will also be free family activities in the lobby and the Plaskett Gallery from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. • Massey Theatre, 735 Eighth Ave., New West • Feb. 10 • $5-$25/single show tickets, $10-$35/full day pass, ticketsnw.ca, 604-521-5050, masseytheatre.com

Enjoy some of Travis Bernhardtâs comedic magic at Massey Madness. SUBMITTED PHOTO/BONNIE ALLAN PR

Lunar New Year at the Library
Lion Dance and Music: Start the Lunar New Year with a lion dance, qigong and kung fu demonstrations, then explore the beautiful sound of world music with musical performance), and make wishes for a lucky and prosperous year. Feb. 10, 12:30-2 p.m., VPL Central Branch, 604-331-3603 • Sound of World Music: Explore the beautiful sound of world music with performances, and make wishes for a lucky and prosperous year. Feb. 10, 3:30-4 p.m., VPL Kensington Branch, 1428 Cedar Cottage Mews, 604-331-3603 • Free, vpl.ca/events

 

VSO: Platypus Theatre: Peter and the Wolf
In a fresh take on a well-loved classic, Peter is a dreamer who suddenly finds himself in the middle of an adventure: a mystifying mission to capture a wily wolf. Two dancers and an actor, colourful sets and incredible masks make for a modern and humorous re-telling of this enduring story. Peter and the Wolf brings listeners in on the action as they help catch the mangy marauder once and for all. • Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe St. • Feb. 11, 2 p.m. • 604-876-3434, 


vancouversymphony.ca

PJs, Paws and Jaws: Family Day Sleepover at the Aquarium
Learn about the fascinating ways that animals camouflage from their predators by paying a visit to see them outside. Then head inside for an evening snack and get hands on with cool artifacts like sea otter paws and shark jaws. Then everyone will call it a night and head down to Underwater Steller’s Bay to catch some z’s. Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. followed by time to explore the galleries. • Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, Stanley Park • Feb. 11-12 • $92/$115, vanaqua.org

Jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium. SUBMITTED PHOTO / PNG

Children’s Arts Festival
A fun-filled day of creative interaction, entertainment and more. Visitors to the festival will be able to wander through multiple zones where they can enjoy fun performances for kids of all ages, participate in hands-on arts and crafts or sign up for Creativity Classes led by professional artists. • Richmond Cultural Centre, 7700 Minoru Gate • Feb. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. • $5, childrensartsfestival.ca

Cinderella
With wit and humour for all ages, DuffleBag Theatre charms audiences with their original adaptions of fairy tales and classic stories. They create a magical experience by inviting up audience members to become the stars of the show, making an exciting, interactive, and unique experience for everyone, and this time is no different. Cinderella’s life is storybook perfect. That is, until circumstances force her into a life of drudgery in the home of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. • Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 9201 Corbould St. • Feb. 12, 2 p.m. • $12, 604-391-7469, chilliwackculturalcentre.ca

The DuffleBag Theatre’s production of Cinderella. SUBMITTED PHOTO: ANN GOUDSWAARD, MARKETING MANAGER, CHILLIWACK CULTURAL CENTRE

Family Day at the Carousel
Celebrate Family Day at the carousel with a special program designed for families with young children. Enjoy the antics of a children’s entertainer, get creative with children’s art activities, join in some heritage games and enjoy unlimited carousel rides. • Burnaby Village Museum, 6501 Deer Lake Ave. • Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. • $6.50, drop-ins welcome if space allows, pre-registration recommended, 604-297-4565, burnabyvillagemuseum.ca

Family Fun on the Farm Spend the day on a working farm right in Vancouver. Meet the chickens, goats, sheep, horses, and ponies. Roast marshmallows on the bonfire. (Pony rides available for $10/child.) A huge garage/moving sale includes horse books, tack, equipment, and clothing. Home baked goodies and coffee available. Wheelchair accessible. • Southlands Heritage Farm, 6767 Balaclava St. • Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. • 604-261-1295, www.southlandsfarm.ca

Family Day Concert with Rick Scott
Celebrate Family Day with beloved children’s entertainer, Rick Scott. Combining music, storytelling and humour, this lively participatory concert is great for all ages. Rick Scott will be joined by Nico Rhodes on electric piano. • The ACT, 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge • Feb. 12, 1 p.m. • $15, 604-476-2787, theactmapleridge.org

Into the Arctic: B.C. Family Day
The Vancouver Maritime Museum will be at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for a family-friendly day of arctic exploration. Check out the Into the Arctic exhibition and make Inuit-inspired snow goggles, check out the Arctic-inspired music of Thomas Beckman and drop-in for free hot chocolate. • Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St. • Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. • vancouvermaritimemuseum.com

Lunar New Year Fest
Celebrate Lunar New Year with free family fun including cultural music, dance, crafts, lucky draws, a traditional lion dance, and more! • Central City, 10153 King George Blvd., Surrey • Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. • Free, 604-587-7773, centralcity.ca

Kids Takeover UBC at MOA
The Museum of Anthropology will be celebrating Family Day with a kids takeover event. Bring your whole family along for a day of youth-led art activities, dancing, and live African fusion music by Zhambai trio. The event is part of the Kids Takeover UBC event, with activities happening all over campus. • Museum of Anthropology at UBC, 6393 NW Marine Dr. • Feb. 11, noon-5 p.m. • Free with admission, 604-822-5087, moa.ubc.ca

Family Day with Will Stroet & Pebble Star Artists
Celebrate B.C. Family Day with concerts by CBC Kids star and Juno-nominee Will Stroet, along with fellow Juno-nominee Ginalina, Bollywood dancer Karima Essa and The Blues Berries. • Jewish Community Centre, 950 W. 41st Ave. • Feb. 12, 11 a.m. • $12/early bird tickets, 604-727-4413, pebblestar.eventbrite.ca

Family Day at the Canadian Museum of Flight
Have your photo taken in a real Canadian Snowbird or Starfighter jet, enjoy museum tours, crafts and the really, really big candy bowl! • Canadian Museum of Flight, 5333 216th St., Langley • Feb. 12, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. • By donation, museumofflight.org

Family Day at the Canadian Museum of Flight. SUBMITTED PHOTO/CREDIT, THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF FLIGHT

Family Flag Day
Spend Family Day with your clan by going back in time. This free, fun-filled drop-in event for all ages will include an opportunity to discover the various flags, tartans and coat of arms families once used to represent themselves. Visitors can even make a family crest of their own to take home as a keepsake. Enjoy a guided tour of the house, pioneer children’s games and more. • Historic Stewart Farm, 13723 Crescent Rd., Surrey • Feb. 12 • Free, 604-592-6956, surrey.ca/heritage

FlyOver Canada: Flight of the Dragon
Follow a mythical dragon as you soar over some of China’s most spectacular landscapes and scenery – including the Great Wall of China, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the city of Shanghai and more. Then take off again to experience FlyOver Canada, an exhilarating journey from east-to-west across Canada. • FlyOver Canada, Canada Place • FlyOverCanada.com/Flight-Of-The-Dragon

Soar over China at FlyOver Canada’s Flight of the Dragon. SUBMITTED PHOTO/FLYOVER CANADA

Family Valentine’s Train Ride
Enjoy a Valentine’s train ride and crafts. • Bear Creek Park, 13750 88th Ave., Surrey • Until Feb. 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. • $6, bctrains.com

Family Day at the Vancouver Aquarium
Celebrate Family Day with our aquatic family. Meet a tortoise and a penguin, pose for family pictures with Ollie the Sea Otter, and enjoy aquatic-themed puppet shows, story time and face painting. Receive 25% off Aquarium membership over the Family Day long weekend. • Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, Stanley Park • Feb. 10-12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. • $22-$39, vanaqua.org

B.C. Sports Hall of Fame: Red Mitten Weekend
In conjunction with the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame will be hosting an event that honours British Columbia’s Olympic and Paralympic heritage with a Red Mitten Weekend. Participate in a 2010 Olympic-themed scavenger hunt, and re-live all the highlights and unforgettable moments of the Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics on the Hall’s big screen. • B.C. Place, 777 Pacific Blvd. • Feb. 10-12 • bcsportshalloffame.com


OUTDOOR FUN:

Family Day at Surrey Nature Centre
​Celebrate being a family outdoors this Family Day. Test your skills at the family challenge station, go on a guided nature walk, join a story time and more. • Surrey Nature Centre, 14225 Green Timbers Way, Surrey • Feb. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. • Free, metrovancouver.org/events

Robson Square Ice Rink
Renew a classic Vancouver tradition and enjoy some old-fashioned fun at Robson Square’s outdoor skating rink. Come and celebrate winter in style with free skating in the heart of downtown Vancouver. • Robson Square, until Feb. 28, opens daily at 9 a.m. • Free, skate rentals available, robsonsquare.com, 604-646-3554

Extreme Survivors: Winter Wildlife
From chickadees to crows, insects to amphibians, and shrews to squirrels, animals display a bewildering variety of adaptations for surviving the winter. Bundle up and take a walk with Stanley Park Ecology Society and begin exploring how wintering animals beat the cold and meet their shelter, food and water needs. • Stanley Park Nature House, Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park • Feb. 11, 1:30-3:30 p.m. • $5-$12.50, 604-718-6522, stanleyparkecology.ca

Take a walk through Stanley Park and learn how animals survive the winter. NICK BRANCACCIO /WINDSOR STAR

Family Day Campfire
​Drop by a cozy campfire and learn about nearby nature through story and song. Bring a mug for a taste of hot chocolate. • Pacific Spirit Regional Park, meet at the park centre on W. 16th Ave., west of Blanca Street • Feb. 12, 12:30-3:30 p.m. • Free, all-ages, drop in, 604-432-6359, metrovancouver.org/events

Mt Seymour Family Day Weekend: Free Lift Tickets
To celebrate B.C. Family Day, children 12 and under and a maximum of two children per paying adult, can enjoy a complimentary lift ticket after 2:30 p.m. Some terms and conditions apply. Check website for full details. • Mt Seymour, North Van • Feb. 10-12, mtseymour.ca

B.C. Family Day Long Weekend at Sea to Sky Gondola
Have some winter fun this Family Day with 50% off lift tickets. A full weekend of family fun has been planned including snowshoeing, snow-tubing, and children’s activities like face-painting and live music by Will Ross on Sunday. • Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish • Feb. 9-12 seatoskygondola.com

Enjoying the view from the Sea to Sky Gondola bridge. PNG


MARKETS:

Eastside Flea Spring Markets
Features more than 50 local vendors, rotating food trucks, seasonal drink specials, artisan showrooms, pinball, door prizes and great tunes. • The Ellis Building, 1024 Main St. • Feb. 10-11, plus every other weekend until May 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. • $3 admission, eastsideflea.com

Cannery Farmers’ Market
This unique indoor winter market features local food and artisan merchants inside a historic cannery setting. • Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, 12138 Fourth Ave., Richmond • Feb. 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. • Free admission, 604-664-9009, gulfofgeorgiacannery.org

Nat Bailey Winter Farmers’ Market
Each week you can look forward to finding locally grown vegetables and fruit, meat, and seafood from local ranchers and fishermen, artisan cheese and bread, herbs and seasonal nursery items, baked goods, prepared foods and artisanal craft. There will also be a selection of food trucks and hot drink vendors on site, along with market musicians. • Parking lot and plaza of Nat Bailey Stadium • Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. until April 21 • 604-879-3276, eatlocal.org

Hastings Park Winter Farmers Market
Shop for farm-to-table goodness from more than 30 farms and producers each week, including a great selection of winter produce, meat, fish and eggs, artisanal cheeses, bread, and prepared food, craft alcohol, wild harvested product, handmade craft, and delicious food truck offerings. • PNE Fairgrounds, 2901 E. Hastings St. • Sundays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., until April 29 • Free admission, 604-879-3276, eatlocal.org

Port Moody Winter Farmers Market
Find fresh, locally grown produce, meats, artisan baked breads, treats, prepared foods, food trucks, craft beer, wine and spirits. • 300 Ioco Rd., Port Moody • Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., until April 20 • makebakegrow.com


MUSIC & CONCERTS:

Destroyer
Canadian rock band from Vancouver, fronted by singer-songwriter Dan Bejar. On tour in support of their 12th studio album, The Wild Ones. With guests Mega Bog. • Commodore Ballroom, 868 Granville St. • Feb. 9, 9 p.m. • $25, ticketmaster.ca, livenation.com

Frontman Dan Bejar of the band Destroyer. IAN LINDSAY / VANCOUVER SUN

Tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (The Jersey Boys)
A Las Vegas-style evening featuring four of the U.S.’s most sought-after singers paying tribute to Broadway’s smash hit Jersey Boys and the timeless music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. • Blue Frog Studios, 1328 Johnston Rd., White Rock • Feb. 9-10, Feb. 14-17 • $47, bluefrogstudios.ca

East Van Mardi Gras
Jazz, horns, funk, costumes, stilts, parades and more all go in the hall pot to create a magical evening of a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras – East Van Style. With the Big Easy Funk Ensemble. • WISE Hall, 1882 Adanac St. • Feb. 9, 8 p.m. • $15/$20, brownpapertickets.com

B3 For Bunny: Pat Bianchi Trio
Grammy-nominated organist and winner of Downbeat Magazine’s 2016 rising star poll, Pat Bianchi has established himself as one of the premier organists on the international scene today. • Frankie’s Jazz Club, 765 Beatty St. • Feb. 9 and 10, 8 p.m. • $20, coastaljazz.ca

VSO: A Romantic Pops Valentine
Love and romance are front and centre as conductor William Rowson and the VSO perform music that will get you in the mood for Valentine’s. Joined by pianist Jon Nakamatsu, soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen, and tenor Frédérik Robert, the orchestra dials up some of the most sensual and romantic music ever written, including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, sizzling selections from Bizet’s Carmen, and beautiful music by Strauss, Puccini and Mascagni. • Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe St. • Feb. 9 and 10, 8 p.m. • 604-876-3434, vancouversymphony.ca

Kimbra: The Primal Heart Tour 2018
Pop singer-songwriter from New Zealand tours to support her latest release, Primal Heart. • The Imperial, 319 Main St. • Feb. 9, 9 p.m. • $26.50, ticketweb.ca, Red Cat, Zulu, timbreconcerts.com

Ndidi Onukwulu
Canadian singer-songwriter’s style is classified as jazz and blues, but she often combines several musical genres in her songs including surf music, electric blues, gospel and country. • Shadbolt Centre, 6450 Deerlake Ave., Burnaby • Feb. 9, 8 p.m. • $40, 604-205-3000, tickets.shadboltcentre.com

2007 Maple Blues Award and two-time Juno Award nominee, Ndidi Onukwulu. HANDOUT PHOTO/JARED BOWLES, SHADBOLT CENTRE

PIGS: Canada’s Pink Floyd Tribute
Features selections from the entire Floyd catalog, including a few special surprises from Floyd solo records. In addition to classics from legendary albums like Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall, the band will showcase material that has rarely—if ever—been performed live by Pink Floyd. • Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 9201 Corbould St. • Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m. • $42, 604-391-7469, chilliwackculturalcentre.ca

An Intimate Evening with Shari Ulrich
From Pied Pumkin through The Hometown Band, and on as a solo artist this Juno Award-winning multi-instrumentalist has put out twenty-three albums – including her collaboration with solo artists Bill Henderson and Roy Forbes, Barney Bentall and Tom Taylor, and more recently The High Bar Gang. • Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 9201 Corbould St. • Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. • $30, $32, $35, 604-391-7469, chilliwackculturalcentre.ca

West Coast musician Shari Ulrich. SUBMITTED PHOTO/ANN GOUDSWAARD, MARKETING MANAGER, CHILLIWACK CULTURAL CENTRE

Dan Auerbach and the Easy Eye Sound Revue
Eight-time Grammy-winner Dan Auerbach announces the 20-date Easy Eye Sound Revue Tour, featuring Robert Finley and Shannon Shaw, with special guests Shannon & The Clams. • Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St. • Feb. 10, 9 p.m. • $45, ticketfly.com, livenation.com

Dan Auerbach brings his Easy Eye Sound Revue Tour to the Vogue Theatre. DARIO AYALA /MONTREAL GAZETTE

Hippie Sabotage
Sacremento electronic music duo formed by brothers Kevin and Jeff Saurer. • The Imperial, 319 Main St. • Feb. 10, 9 p.m. • $20, livenation.com

Old Dominion
American Music Awards-nominees blend old-fashioned country charm, lyrical wit and rock n’ roll grit. With guests Cold Creek County Washboard Union. • Abbotsford Centre, 33800 King Rd. • Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. • $39.50, $59.50, $69.50, ticketmaster.ca

Country music band Old Dominion. DAVID MCCLISTER / VSUNWP

The Boots & Babes Ball
New Country 93.7 JR-FM presents the 5th Annual Boots & Babes Ball, featuring James Barker Band and Meghan Patrick, with special guest JoJo Mason. • Commodore Ballroom, 868 Granville St. • Feb. 10, 8:30 p.m. • $25/$30, ticketmaster.ca, livenation.com

Brassfire
An eclectic mixture of musical genres and styles from classical to jazz, exemplifying the capabilities of the modern trumpet, featuring Master trumpeter Jens Lindemann. • Kay Meek Centre, 1700 Mathers Ave., West Van • Feb. 11, 3 p.m. • $29-$45, 604-981-6335, kaymeek.com

Strings Attached
The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra is pleased to join Sound of Dragon Society in co-presenting this unique chamber concert, featuring cellist Bo Peng and his octet Cellissimo, Lan Tung (erhu), and the talented young string players of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Der. • Orpheum Annex, 823 Seymour Street • Feb. 11, 3:30 p.m. • $15, $19.99, $30, brownpapertickets.com, vi-co.org

Jenn Grant
Canadian folk pop singer-songwriter brings her Western Canadian Tour to Venue, with Mick Flannery. • Venue Nightclub, 918 Granville St. • Feb. 11, doors 7 p.m. • $17, venuelive.ca, Red Cat, Zulu, Neptoon

Jenn Grant is a Canadian folk pop singer-songwriter. VSUNWP


STAGE –  COMEDY & CABARET PERFORMANCES:

Snowed In Comedy Tour 10-Year Anniversary
This comedy show celebrates its 10-year anniversary with Scott Thompson, Pete Zedlacher, Paul Myrehaug and Dan Quinn. • Rickshaw Theatre, 254 E. Hastings St. • Feb. 10, doors 8:30 p.m. • $35, rickshawtheatre.com

The Comic Strippers
A fictitious male stripper troupe played by a cast of some of Canada’s best improvisational comedians performs a sexylarious improv comedy show. These guys try to be sexy… it just comes out funny. Semi undressed and completely unscripted, The Comic Strippers take off their shirts and take on your suggestions to create a whole new genre of comedy. • Feb. 9, Bell Performing Arts Centre, Surrey, bellperformingartscentre.com • thecomicstrippers.com

Romance Week
Vancouver TheatreSports League puts the ha-ha in Ha-ha-happy Valentine’s. Let VTSL’s improvisers tickle your funny bone with three special shows: Love Matches – classic TheatreSports matches given a romantic twist; Love Unscripted – celebrates all the inane clichés and funny, awkward moments you’d expect to see in any romantic comedy as suggested by the audience; Red Hot Improv – takes its cue from today’s hook-up culture. Romance Week climaxes with My Funny Valentine, a special Valentine’s Day event on Feb. 14, hosted by none other than Cupid himself along with the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite (aka Venus). • Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau St., Granville Island • Until Feb. 14 • From $11.75, vtsl.com

Get in the mood this Valentine’s with a variety of improv shows at Vancouver TheatreSports League’s Romance Week. SUBMITTED PHOTO/MORGAN SOMMERVILLE, SERENA PR


STAGE – DANCE PRODUCTIONS:

Anastasia
A Russian Grand Duchess, born to privilege, is cast out into a post-revolutionary world…What will become of her? Canada’s Ballet Jörgen brings back the magical tale of the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia for the 100th anniversary of the story. • Feb. 9-10: Kay Meek Centre, West Van, $29-$45, kaymeek.com

Go back in time to the beginning of a modern myth with Anastasia. SUBMITTED PHOTO/CREDIT JIM ORGILL


STAGE – PLAYS & THEATRE PRODUCTIONS:

Fun Home
This Tony Award-nominated coming-of-age musical is based on the graphic novel memoir by Alison Bechde. The show features a protagonist, Alison, at three different stages in life—as a child, a college student and an adult—revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family along the way. Alison’s father, Bruce, was many things: a historical preservationist, a funeral home director, a distant parent, and a closeted gay man. In the struggle to understand her father while also dealing with her own coming out, Alison documents the story of her life in coloured panels. An Arts Club Theatre Company production. • Granville Island Stage • Feb. 8-March 10, from $29, 604-687-1644, artsclub.com

The Arts Club Theatre Company presents the Tony Award-nominated coming-of-age musical Fun Home.PHOTO CREDIT DAVID COOPER

Merrily We Roll Along
This traditional showbiz musical is turned on its head in this thrilling and compelling Broadway fable about friendship, compromise, and the high price of success. Merrily We Roll Along begins in the present and moves backwards, tracing the lives of wealthy, jaded composer Franklin Shepard and his two friends through each milestone of their personal and professional lives. Presented by the United Players. • Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery St. • Until Feb. 11, $33-$38, 604-224-8007, unitedplayers.com

Jitters
The Arts Club Theatre Company presents David French’s raucous comedy that celebrates the ups and downs of life in the theatre. Four actors, a director, a playwright, and one grand dream of Broadway-bound success. Anything from a forgotten line to a faulty wig may just make or break their new Canadian play. Can this motley crew set aside their egos and anxieties in order to make it to the big time? • Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville St. • Until Feb. 25, from $29, 604-687-1644, artsclub.com

Sleeping Beauty Dreams
Mexico’s famed Marionetas de la Esquina present Amaranta Leyva’s whimsical and enchanting puppet show. A princess with overprotective parents and a lonely boy whose single mother works all the time are at the heart of this international collaboration. As they embark on a journey of self-discovery, both the princess and boy learn about the power of positive risk-taking. • Feb. 9: Evergreen Cultural Centre, 1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, pay-what-you-can, evergreenculturalcentre.ca or 604-927-6555 | Feb. 10, 2 p.m.: Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88th Ave., $15 at 604-501-5566, surrey.ca

Sleeping Beauty Dreams by Mexico’s Marionetas de la Esquina. PNG

The Foreigner
The Langley Players’ winter play is a comedy that will whisk audiences away to the warmth of a fishing lodge in rural Georgia where they will find an array of entertaining characters. When one of the characters pretends to be a ‘foreigner’ who doesn’t speak any English, the possibilities for comedy are endless. • Langley Playhouse, 4307 200th St. • Until Feb. 24, $15, 604-534-7469, langleyplayers.com

The Garage Sale
Surrey Little Theatre presents this comedy by award-winning B.C. playwright, David King. Phil, a middle-aged father, is frustrated with the direction his life has taken. But…he has a plan – sell everything and move his wife and two teenagers to the desert. Unfortunately he has neglected to mention this to his family. Through their discovery of the true reason for the garage sale and the wonderfully strange collection of characters that attend, we get a delightful day-in-the-life comedy and some surprising resolutions. • Surrey Little Theatre, 7027 184th St • Until Feb. 24, $15/$17, 604-576-8451, surreylittletheatre.com

Ruined
Mama Nadi’s bar both protects and profits off the bodies of the women who have become casualties of a long and brutal civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She ensures survival by catering to both sides of the conflict, but how long can she keep the war outside her walls? • Pacific Theatre, 1440 W. 12th Ave. • Until Feb. 17, $20-$36.50, 604-731-5518, pacifictheatre.org

Drinking Habits
Wine and secrets are spilled in this laugh-out-loud production. Two nuns at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing Convent have been secretly making wine to keep their convent open. Everything starts to go wrong when two snooping reporters, Paul and Sally, show up and go undercover in the convent as a nun and priest. Presented by the Vagabond Players. • The Bernie Legge Theatre, Queen’s Park, New West • Until Feb. 25, $12-$17, vagabondplayers.ca

The Skin of our Teeth
Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy is as pertinent today as when it was written during the Second World War, celebrating humanity’s resilience in the face of climate change, floods, fire, plague and war. The cast of colourful characters includes the Antrobus family, their maid Sabina, a pet dinosaur and a woolly mammoth. Combining tragedy with comedy, wit, intelligence and imagination, the play has been described as ‘a marriage of Plato and Groucho Marx.’ Presented by Studio 58. • Studio 58, Langara College, 100 W. 49th Ave. • Until Feb. 18, $20, $21, $25, ticketstonight.ca, 604-684-2787, studio58.ca

Studio 58 presents Thornton Wilderâs Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, The Skin of Our Teeth.SUBMITTED PHOTO/ARTWORK BY EMILY COOPER.

Legally Blonde
Align Entertainment presents this hilarious, romantic hit musical based on the 2001 hit film. The show follows the bombastic adventures of blonde beauty Elle Woods. This Bel Air princess with a passion for everything pretty and pink enjoys a would-be perfect life until boyfriend Warner breaks up with her in favor of more serious pursuits at law school. Proving she too can have serious ambitions, the lovelorn Woods ditches her Delta-Nu dames and calls on her good looks and wits to follow her sweetheart to Harvard University. Casting away stereotypes, her cunningness in the courtroom earns her a new love and hot career as she outsmarts a criminal and makes off with the trial. • Michael J. Fox Theatre, 7373 Macpherson Ave., Burnaby • Until Feb. 17, $27-$39. 778-888-8444, alignentertainment.ca

Align Entertainment presents the romantic and hilarious Broadway hit, Legally Blonde. SUBMITTED PHOTO/MURRAY PATTERSON MARKETING GROUP

Sylvia
When Greg stumbles on a homeless mutt in the park, it’s love at first sight, but when he brings her home, it shakes up his life, his job and his marriage. Sylvia is A.R. Gurney’s endearing comedy about empty nests, mid-life crises, and attachments, both human and canine. Presented by the North Vancouver Community Players. • Theatre at Hendry Hall, 815 E. 11th St., North Van • Until Feb. 17, $18/$16, 604-983-2633, northvanplayers.ca

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Star-crossed lovers, graceful fairies courtly royals and country bumpkins come together for a night of fantasy and romantic comedy in one of the Bard’s most beloved works. A Midsummer Night’s Dream captivates with its lively juxtaposition of lofty and lowly, earthly and fantastical. The play opens with the mythic couple Theseus and Hippolyta, planning their wedding festival. As the festivities start, the entanglements of a quartet of sparring lovers and medley crew of amateur actors unfold against the backdrop of an enchanted forest, full of mischievous fairies. An Exit 22 Company Production. • BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts, Capilano University • Until Feb. 10 • $10-$22, capilanou.ca/blueshorefinancialcentre

Jabberwocky
The Old Trout Puppet Workshop’s brand new puppet extravaganza. Using Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky as the impetus to examine the things that keep us all awake at night, the Trouts dive deep into the abyss of our own frailty. • York Theatre, 639 Commercial Dr. • Until Feb. 17, from $22, 604-251-1363, thecultch.com

Motown the Musical
Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as My Girl and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Broadway Across Canada’s production tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. • Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St. • Until Feb. 11, from $30.50, ticketmaster.ca

Broadway Across Canada brings Motown the Musical to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s stage. PHOTO CREDIT JOAN MARCUS / PNG

Don’t Dress For Dinner
A sex farce sequel to Boeing Boeing. Bernard and Robert are back! Now married, Bernard has not given up his swinging lifestyle. Hoping to spend a romantic weekend with his mistress, he tries to send his wife, Jacqueline, to her sick mother’s, under the pretense that he’s going to have a boy’s weekend with his pal, Robert. But when Jacqueline finds out Robert, who happens to be her lover, is coming, she finds a way to stay, throwing off her husband’s perfect plans. • Coast Capital Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd., White Rock • Until Feb. 24, $10-$22, 604-536-7535, whiterockplayers.ca

My Funny Valentine
Zee Zee Theatre commemorates their 10th anniversary with a remount of this critically-acclaimed, award-winning play. The show was created in response to the tragic 2008 murder of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old shot by his male classmate after asking him to be his valentine. Vancouver actor Conor Wylie’s powerful one-man tour-de-force explores a community in mourning through a series of profoundly moving monologues. • Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St. • Until Feb. 18, $27-$32, theatrewire.com, zeezeetheatre.ca

 

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Economic theory tells us that when the supply of a product becomes scarce, the price of that product increases. This principle is holding true in Metro Vancouver’s housing market.

As this graph indicates, the supply of detached homes for sale began to decline significantly in early 2014, largely the result of elevated demand, and bottomed out in the middle of 2016. Within that period, detached home prices increased nearly 70 per cent. When the supply of homes began to accumulate in 2017, in tandem with weakening demand, prices levelled off. 

Detached

This trend is repeating itself in the condominium market today. This graph shows how condominium prices have increased nearly 50 per cent in Metro Vancouver since increased demand caused the inventory of condominiums for sale to fall in May 2015. 

 
Condo

"There’s a clear relationship between home seller supply and home price changes in our region today,” Jill Oudil, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president said.

The question that emerges from these trends is, what's driving this demand? Oudil says that the answer likely rests in a variety of factors.

“Our provincial population and economy are growing. Interest rates remain low, the baby boomer generation is downsizing, millennials are entering their household forming years and foreign buyers continue to see Metro Vancouver as a desirable investment. These factors are all supporting housing demand and diminishing housing supply across our region today.” 

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After reaching record levels in 2015 and 2016, Metro Vancouver* home sales returned to more historically normal levels in 2017. Home listings, on the other hand, came in several thousand units below typical activity.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 35,993 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2017, a 9.9 per cent decrease from the 39,943 sales recorded in 2016, and a 15 per cent decrease over the 42,326 residential sales in 2015.

Last year’s sales total was, however, 9.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average.

“It was a steady year for home sales across the region, led by condominium and townhome activity, and a quieter year for home listings,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “Metro Vancouver home sales were the third highest we’ve seen in the past ten years while the home listings total was the second lowest on record for the same period.”

Home listings in Metro Vancouver reached 54,655 in 2017. This is a 5.1 per cent decrease compared to the 57,596 homes listed in 2016 and a 4.5 per cent decrease compared to the 57,249 homes listed in 2015.

Last year’s listings total was 4.4 per cent below the 10-year listings average.

“Market activity differed considerably this year based on property type,” Oudil said. “Competition was intense in the condominium and townhome markets, with multiple offer situations becoming commonplace. The detached home market operated in a more balanced state, giving home buyers more selection to choose from and more time to make decisions.”

The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $1,050,300. This is up 15.9 per cent compared to December 2016.

The benchmark price of condominiums increased 25.9 per cent in the region last year. Townhomes increased 18.5 per cent and detached homes increased 7.9 per cent.

“Strong economic growth, low interest rates, declining unemployment, increasing wages and a growing population all helped boost home buyer demand in our region last year,” Oudil said.

December summary

Sales of detached, attached, and apartment properties totalled 2,016 in the region in December 2017, a 17.6 per cent increase from the 1,714 sales recorded in December 2016 and a 27.9 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 when 2,795 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 7.5 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“As we move into 2018, REALTORS® are working with their clients to help them understand how changing interest rates and the federal government’s new mortgage qualifications could affect their purchasing power,” Oudil said. “Only time will tell what impact these rules will have on the market.

“Home buyers today should get pre-approved before making an offer to ensure that your home buying goals align with your financial situation,” Oudil said.

There were 1,891 residential homes newly listed for sale in December 2017. This represents a 44.1 per cent increase compared to the 1,312 homes listed in December 2016 and a 54 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 when 4,109 properties were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver is 6,958, a 9.7 per cent increase compared to December 2016 (6,345) and a 20.5 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 (8,747).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2017 is 29 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.4 per cent for detached homes, 38.8 per cent for townhomes, and 59.6 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.

Sales of detached properties in December 2017 reached 617, a 14 per cent increase from the 541 detached sales recorded in December 2016. The benchmark price for a detached home in the region is $1,605,800. This represents a 7.9 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,028 in December 2017, a 12.3 per cent increase compared to the 915 sales in December 2016.The benchmark price of an apartment in the region is $655,400. This represents a 25.9 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

Attached (or townhome) property sales in December 2017 totalled 371, a 43.8 per cent increase compared to the 258 sales in December 2016. The benchmark price of an attached home in the region is $803,700. This represents an 18.5 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

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2017 Vancouver market outlook image

The year’s most-read news stories take in the BC election, the mortgage stress test and some diverging market predictions

In a year of market uncertainty, various government interventions and a provincial election, REW’s News + Trends category saw more clicks than ever before. But what were the hottest of all those hot topics? Here’s our countdown of our five most-clicked News + Trends stories of the year…

5. “Stress Test” for All Mortgages to Launch in New Year

The fifth most-read news story of 2017 was the announcement of the dreaded “stress test” qualification rules being extended to all new mortgage applicants. The test had already been applied to applicants for insured mortgages (less than 20% down payment) in the fall of 2016, but fears that even those buyers with 20% down payment or more were overstretching themselves – and putting banks at risk – led to the much-anticipated announcement in October 2017. There was a lot of pushback, with some decrying the decision as likely to make things worse.

4. NDP Plans 2% Yearly Tax for Non-Resident Home Owners

The only provincial election story to hit our top five most-clicked is this pre-election piece about a key NDP housing promise. The eventually victorious party pledged that if it were to gain power, it would impose a 2% tax on owners of Vancouver homes who do not pay Canadian income taxes (with many exemptions for non-taxpaying locals). As of December 2017, there’s no sign of any such tax so far, but it’s still early days.

3. New Mortgage Rules Set to Further Cool Markets Up To 10%

The second of two stories on the new stress test, this one anticipates the October confirmation about the new policy, with TD Bank predicting that it could cool the housing market. The reduction in buyers’ purchasing power could be as much as 20%, and with some markets already seeing a slowdown, the new rules could exacerbate any price corrections, said the bank. We’ll see in the first part of 2018 whether TD’s number-crunchers were right…

2. Vancouver Housing Market “Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

One of two prediction stories about Vancouver’s housing market in these rankings, this piece was more of a warning than an optimistic outlook. At an industry event, leading real estate marketer Cameron McNeill from MLA Canada warned that the relatively slow rate of new home construction combined with increased demand and population growth meant that Vancouver was “dancing on the edges of a massive problem” in housing supply. What does this mean for market activity and home prices? “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” McNeill warned. The article that covered his comments obviously rang our users’ alarm bells, as it was the year’s second most-read News + Trends story.

1. 2017 Vancouver and BC Real Estate Market Outlook

Our top story of the year was also our first story of the year. This January 3, 2017 article was a round-up of market predictions from various industry groups and Big Banks – some of them bullish, some less so. Most predicted a drop in home sales compared with the frenzy of early 2016 – correctly, as it turns out. But the overall consensus that Vancouver and BC home prices would lose ground turned out to be inaccurate – only Central 1 was correct, in that home prices in fall of 2017 would be higher than a year previously. This story was popular right off the bat in January, but readers also kept coming back to it throughout the year – perhaps to see whose predictions had been right…

 

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Homes don’t clean themselves. But these easy-peasy rules (wake and make!) will make you feel like they do.

 

Here’s the thing you may have noticed about houses: They don’t clean themselves.

Which is unfortunate, because if houses cleaned themselves you could spend less time cleaning yours, and more time doing something more fun, like watching “The Golden Girls,” because dang, that’s actually a great show.

A few simple daily habits could make it seem like you’ve got a self-cleaning house.

Rules like …

#1 Dedicate 20 Minutes a Day Every Day

You don’t need to set aside 20 hours one day to get things in order. You only need 20 minutes every day.

Focus on tackling clutter in just one room. You might only pare down a single drawer or shelf, but “it will make you feel accomplished at the end of the day, and at the end of a week, you will see how much you can declutter,” says professional organizer Helena Alkhas.

 

#2 Follow a "One-Minute" Rule

Small tasks add up quickly when you’re saving them to do all at once. So if it takes less than a minute to complete, do it immediately.

 

 

Put that cup in the dishwasher rather than the sink.

Break down that Amazon box for recycling right after you unbox your goodie.

(Hot tip: Want a reminder of how much you can get done in a minute? Next time your coffee goes cold, pop it in the microwave for a minute, and just stand there. For the whole minute. It’s kind of a long time.)

#3 Start a Load of Laundry Before Work

If you have a full load in the hamper, toss it in while you’re getting ready for work. By the time you leave, it will be ready for the dryer.

When you get home, you’ll already feel ahead of schedule with just a little fluffing and folding to do. Just make sure you’ve properly maintained your dryer to reduce the risk of a fire.

#4 Always Leave a Room With Something in Hand

 

 

Whatever room you’re in, chances are there’s a toy, cup, blanket or T-shirt that needs to be delivered back to another room.

Oh hey, conveniently, you’re always walking into other rooms. Why not pickup a hitchhiker or two?

Every time you leave a room, take a quick scan for anything that belongs where you’re going, and you’ll start habitually keeping clutter under control.

#5 Deal With Your Mail Every Time You Bring It In

 

 

 

With so much of your important mail going straight to your inbox, sometimes you’ve got days of fliers and junk mail to wade through every time you make it to the USPS mailbox.

To banish paper clutter from your home — and make sure you catch anything actually worth reading — immediately sort through your mail, recycling the nonsense and putting the keepers in an assigned spot.

Related: The Link Between Clutter and Depression

#6 Scan and Trash Weekly

 

 

You don’t really have to choose between forgetting what time the reception starts and stumbling over your cousin’s wedding invite for three months.

Thanks to this fancy technology stuff, you can clear out all receipts, invitations, insurance documents, and other important paperwork.

Take a few minutes every weekend to scan and save everything, then toss it all it the recycling. With smartphone apps like Genius Scan, you always have the tools in the palm of your hand.

#7 Tidy Up During Downtime

In the five minutes it takes to nuke your lunch, you can unload and possibly reload the dishwasher, or wipe off the countertops and appliances. You’ll be surprised how much order you can restore to your home during these normally wasted waiting-on-something moments.

#8 Make Your Bed as Soon as You Get Up

 

 

There’s a reason the Marines start the day with this simple task — also known as “wake and make.”

According to retired Admiral William H. McRaven, author of “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World,” “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

#9 Do Chores in the Same Order

Whether you’re cleaning on a Saturday or Wednesday, your mind (and body) will move more quickly from vacuuming to mopping to dusting if you check chores off in the same order — making it easier to keep your home tidy and clean.

Headphones and a throwback playlist are a recommended, but not required, part of the routine.

#10 Spot-Clean Bathrooms Nightly

Just as clutter attracts clutter, bathroom funk quickly multiplies.

Stock every bathroom with Lysol wipes and you can quickly and easily clean the countertop and toilet when you brush your teeth or help the kids get ready for bed, Alkhas says.

While wiping, you’ll naturally put away the floss, hair ties, and other clutter in your path.

#11 Stop Dirt and Clutter at the Door

    

 

Establish a house rule that shoes, bags, jackets, and “pocket items” — your keys, sunglasses, wallet, and phone — are stowed in a drop zone at the door.

Make this easy to enforce by assigning one hook and open shelf for every member of the family — double that for those with lots of extracurriculars, Alkhas says.

Related: 7 Genius Entryway Storage Ideas to Get You Out the Door Faster

#12 Clean Out the Fridge Weekly

 

 

Don’t let moldy leftovers take over shelf space and your mind.

The night before your garbage day, “wipe off the shelves and clean out anything that has no chance of being eaten,” Alkhas says. You’ll get a clearer view of your food options and open up space for ingredients needed in the coming week.

#13 Empty the Dishwasher Every Morning

The conquest of a homemade dinner (OK, a “home-prepared” dinner, most days) feels short-lived when you’re left with a mountain of dishes and no place to put them.

Take a couple minutes every morning to empty the dishwasher and you’ll stay ahead of the game.

#14 Conduct a Nightly Tidy-Up

Every night, take a laundry basket on a tour of your house and pick up anything that’s out of place. “You don’t have to put it away now. If you want, plan to do it on Saturday and it won’t take much time at all,” Alkhas says.

If there are more than two people in your household, separate the day’s clutter into assigned baskets for each family member to put away daily or weekly.

With this routine, Alkas adds, “you’ll wake up to a living room that’s decluttered and a kitchen that is tidy, and you can start your day fresh.”

#15 Follow a Clean-Out Schedule for Your Storage Areas

Just because it’s hidden behind a cupboard door doesn’t mean it’s exempt from clutter status.

Establish a schedule, perhaps every month, to rid a specific storage space of its dead weight — like expired food in the pantry, excess gadgets in a kitchen drawer, or the cupboard holding the gazillion ragged dishtowels you’ve had since your tiny college studio apartment. (It’s time to let those go.)

#16 Keep Everyone Involved

When one person leaves a dish in the sink, it paves a slippery slope for others to follow suit.

So have a “The Brady Bunch”-style family meeting to make sure everyone understands their responsibilities and chores for maintaining order in the home. Serve brownies. They’ll show up.


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The old Safeway on Austin Avenue is down to make way for a new and expanded grocery store. The property owner, Beedie Living, plans to build two new highrises after the store opens in the summer of 2019.

 

 
 

In the centre of Austin Heights, one of Coquitlam’s oldest neighbourhoods, excavators are at work tearing up the ground on the old Safeway site to make way for a massive redevelopment.

The 91,500-sq. ft. property at 1029-1033 Austin Ave. is owned by Beedie Living, the company that built the first highrise in the district after city council approved the Austin Heights Neighbourhood Plan in 2011, aimed at adding 5,000 more residents over the next 20 years.

 

But over the past seven years, there has been little interest by developers to renew the area.

Now, with real estate prices sky high and last year’s lift of the height moratorium on the strip — allowing developers to build up to 25 storeys — there’s been an uptick in activity.

 

 

And Beedie Living’s plans for the old Safeway site are expected to spur growth even faster.

sign

While Sobeys, the supermarket chain that owns Safeway, is currently rebuilding its grocery store (due to open in the summer of 2019), Beedie is proposing to flank it with two towers, adding retail units at street level and 23 storeys of residential above for a total of 346 new homes.

Next Thursday (Jan. 18), Beedie’s concept will be put to the public at an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion (1025 Ridgeway Ave.) as part of its consultation.

Andrew Merrill, Coquitlam’s community planning manager, said the mega-development comes with a cost: Beedie will have to shell out $9.5 million in development cost charges (DCCs) for new infrastructure, community amenity fees and a density bonus. And it will be responsible for streetscape frontage upgrades along Austin and Ridgeway avenues, and Nelson Street.

The area rejuvenation is music to the ears of Lisa Landry, executive director of the Austin Heights Business Improvement Association, which last month saw its five-year budget and mandate renewed by city council (the 69 area property owners will vote on the plans this month).

As the district is the last big commercial core before the Port Mann bridge, Landry said, entrepreneurs are flocking to Austin Heights and opening new shops: Artisan Gifts and Flowers, and Coffee + Vanilla — among others — moved in last year and, next month, chartered accountant Sharon Perry Inc. is set to relocate her office into the Meegan Business Centre.

coffee

Besides the new tenants, more redevelopment is coming, Merrill said, citing a rezoning bid for a five-storey building (with 75 purpose-built rental units and a new church) at the Como Lake United Church property at King Albert Avenue and Marmont Street (council gave second and third bylaw readings on Nov. 27); and a pre-application for a 13-storey mixed-used building with about 79 residential units plus ground-floor commercial, at 1044-1046 Austin Ave.

Meanwhile, city hall is getting a lot of queries about the old post office on Ridgeway, he said.

Landry said the BIA — which represents 280 businesses in an area bounded by Gatensbury and Blue Mountain, and Ridgeway and Austin, some of which have been in the neighbourhood for more than four decades — plans to showcase the revitalization in a series of marketing efforts.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of Austin Heights and there’s a lot of pride,” she said. “We have seen a large turnover with the real estate boom and we want to tell businesses coming into the area that we have a very loyal customer base, and we are invested and committed.”

 

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A surge of buying activity – and nowhere near enough supply – caused condo prices in Metro Vancouver to soar 20.2 per cent year over year in 2017’s fourth quarter.

The prospect of the new mortgage “stress test” coming into play January 1 caused buyers to speed up their home-buying plans in the final quarter of 2017. The strict new rules now require home buyers to qualify for their mortgages at a markedly higher interest rate than the rate they will pay – which reduces purchasing power by up to 20 per cent.

 
 
 Combined with a severe lack of available inventory, buyers’ desire to get into the market ahead of the new rules pushed the median price of a Greater Vancouver condo up to $651,885 in Q4 2017.
 

During the same period, the aggregate home price in Greater Vancouver increased 8.2 per cent year-over-year to $1,267,769.

 

 

We do not  anticipate a corresponding drop in condo market activity in 2018, with the new qualification rules now in place. The brokerage anticipates that many buyers who might have been able to purchase a house or townhome will now be competing for a limited number of condos, due to their reduced purchasing power.

 

 

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