Vancouver as a whole is undergoing massive development, cultural and community changes. One of the big changes that was just approved is the rezoning of the Maprole neighbourhood in the southern Vancouver area along the Fraser river. This quiet and quaint community is known for it's single family residences, generous space and quiet streets.
A lot of residences are worried that the city unnecessarily shoving density at them, but the city is only planning for the inevitable future of the area. City Council plans to keep the community intact and not allow unnecessary densification but it intends to allow medium density developments especially in areas along major roads and commercial areas.
The neighbourhood is currently home to around 24,000 people and once Marine Gateway and Oakridge redevelopment are done, there will be an additional 4,000 people living in the area. The area will still be dominated by single family dwellings as the new zoning change only affected 15% of the neighbourhood.
The cities overall future plan for the area are to:
Enable growth while respecting the neighbourhood character
Rental units, social housing, libraries, parks, sidewalks
April 2014 of this year saw increased growth in the buyer and seller demand for real estate. With 3,050 homes being sold in April alone, the total listings continue to increase from December of last year with the most amount of total listings available in April at 15,515. The current Sales-to-Active Listing Ratio is hovering around 19.7% and is just about to begin a "sellers" market trend.
Overall home prices continue to increase in value and since April of 2013 homes have seen a 3.6% increase in value. The bench mark price for detached homes has remained high due to the low quanitty.
If you have any additional real estate questions please don't hesitate to contact us.
Purchasing a home is a very strong drive for Canadians and a deep routed cultural trend in this country. Nearly 1/3 of all homes sold each year are new construction and the new construction market is booming!
There are quite a few things to keep in mind when it comes to deciding on whether to buy a new construction or to buy a previously owned home in an established neighbourhood. Here are a few things to consider when buying new:
1. Do Your Research
You must be extremely diligent when it comes to pre-sale homes because of the overwhelming amount of bad developers.
Review all the contracts, statements, terms and conditions, etc regarding the sale of the property. Some developers wipe their hands clean once a unit or property is sold.
Explore the area and neighbourhood. Some construction projects are built on unsuitable land and others in undesirable areas.
2. Understand the Risks
Tax. All new construction in BC has GST (5%) applied and if you are not a first time home buyer you will also have to consider Property Transfer Tax (PTT).
Consider the market. Sometimes you can put a down payment on a property that takes 1 or 2 years to complete and in that time the market has dropped substantially. You cannot withdraw without financial and legal consequences.
Construction. You are never guaranteed a completion date and you may be moving into a construction zone depending on how many phases or other buildings are being constructed around you.
3. Advantages to Buying New
You can customize your home within the developers specifications and scope of the work. You also get warranties with your purchase, usually a 2-5-10 warranty.
You getting the latest trends and electronics on the market and have access to new materials that are usually in high demand.
Railtown, or formerly known as east of Gastown or the DTES (Downtown Eastside) is developing at an unpresidented rate. Because of the former industrial aspect of the area, a lot of development houses, creative agencies and creative business individuals are flocking to the area. Old warehouses and munitions factories are being transformed into creative office spaces for furntiure manufacturers, high tech software companies, creative design and development agencies and varying studios.
The reason for the massive move east is the price. Gastown prices are almost 50-100% more than Railtown prices and you get more bang for your buck. Gastown is also very condenced and hard to manage a business that may require parking, shipping and larger vehicle access.
Along with this amazing new trend, come new businesses and jobs. With those come the development of residential and commercial spaces. There are quite a few new projects being developed in Chinatown and along Hastings int eh DTES which is driving up demand and prices are sure to follow.
If you were considering buying a commercial or residential property in a new and developing area, Railtown might be your ticket to success. The same trend is happened with Main street. This unique street used to separate the higher income from the lower income, but with young families and individuals having increasingly difficult times buying property, everyone is moving east. This is bring new ideals, disposable income and strong values into lower income neighbourhoods, increasing neighbourhood prices.
Robson Square has been selected as the new location for a unique style of modern outdoor design. The approved "Urban Reef" plaza design will be constructed right at Robson Square above the UBC Ice Rink and steps away from the Vancouver Art Gallery. The whole idea is to create an area that invites people to sit, relax and play.
There were 78 entries into the Robson Redux design competition and the Urban Reef design, created by Kaz Bremner, Jeremiah Deutscher, Michael Siy and Kennth Navarra, was chosen as the winner. These local architects, designers and carpenters will provide a very unique design perspective in one of the busiest outdoor areas in the city.
For the past 3 years, the city has been transforming the 800 block of Robson street, more commonly called Robson Square, into unique and appealing outdoor spaces for tourists and locals alike. The idea is to encourage individuals to slow down, pause and connect with others in a unique and inviting urban space.
The installation will start in June to be ready for July 1st Canada Day and will last until Labour Day, where it will be deconstructed afterwards.
With the announcement of the new Microsoft office in newly renovated Pacific Centre with 400+ jobs, this unique outdoor space will now offer a perfect relaxation place outside in the sun!
The City of North Vancouver Council has approved a new $400 million waterfront neighbourhood on Harbourside Drive right on the Burrard Inlet. This mixed-use development now has the greenlight to go ahead and start development and construction. The entire area will constitute a new lifestyle and a dramatic change to North Vancouver's south side waterfront.
The entire development will consist of 18 buildings, 1.16 million square feet of development space built by Concert Properties on 12 acres of ocean front property. It will include the following:
800 residential units (including both condominums and rental units)
216,000 sqft of office space
55,000 sqft of retail space
and even a 100,000+ sqft hotel
Included in the approval was a new one acre City-Owned park, 2.5 acres of public spaces and improved access to seaside boardwalks and piers. Each building is also not to be above 27.6 metres in height with a high LEED Gold Certification Standard.
This huge undertaking will be able the same equivalent development cost and timeframe as Vancouver's Olympic Village. North Vancouver is seeing a lot more attention due to it's relatively low density housing market and desirable living conditions. Since this development is not located near any large bus routes, Translink and North Vancouver may have to sit down to discuss future transit plans regarding the expected growth to the area.
Concert Properties is expecting to institute a private shuttle bus service from the Seabus to the area but that is still in development. We look forward to seeing how this new development will progress and what they will likely name it! If you are interested in learning about this or any other development in the region, please don't hesititate to contact us.
As we charge into the second quarter of 2014, the Vancouver housing market remains steady and at the top of the best Canadian Investment Cities. With Toronto second and Calgary third, this trifecta of Canadian investment power is steadily moving forward.
Resilience - the ability of a city to avoid or bounce back from an adverse event - comes from the interplay of vulnerability and adaptive capacity. — Grosvenor
The Grosvenor report ranks the top 50 cities around the world according to their vulnerability. This world report has been renowned in it's ability to judge good investment strategies in business and real estate.
Canadian cities rank well in this list due to our ability to bounce back well after;
weather and natural disasters
immigration and migration
All three cities have three fundamental features in common that place them ahead of the curve for future investment; which are:
They are well governed cities
Have access to large amounts of resources
Are successfully planned and designed for the future.
With the fast and quick recovery Vancouver made from the market crash, it's no wonder that Vancouver is considered by many around the world to be a fantastic investment for living, real estate and business. Vancouver's innovative changes and green thinking make this a city to watch out for in the coming future.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver saw a very strong buyers and sellers market continue in March and into April. With total sales in March reaching as high as 2,641, this is up 12.5% from last year and 17.2% below the 10 year average. Regardless, with such a stagnent market for the last half of 2013 most buyers and sellers are excited to have a busy and strengthening real estate market. With a steady supply of 14,472 homes listed on the MLS as of March 2014 home sales are continued to charge ahead. Homes listed on the regions MLS have been steadily increasing since November of last year.
Moving into the second quarter of 2014, many buyers and sellers are starting to get a good grasp of what to expect on this modified activity. With many new developments popping up all over the GVRD, there is not rest in sight for new housing opportunities and renovation approvals offered by the city.
In March and April the real estate market saw the cheapest home for sale in Vancouver get listed for $599,000 and sell for $643,000, 7% over asking. This just goes to show that sellers are becoming more realistic in their pricing strategies and that buyers are buying well priced homes.
With a strengthening economy, recovering real estate market and low interest rates, it is exciting to imagine what will happen in the near future to the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market.
Feel free to watch the REBGV March 2014 Market Update below:
Northeast False Creek (NEFC) is a budding hub of sports, culture, community, commercial and residential real estate. This large quanitity of land has been widely debated on what to do. The area in question stretches from Main and Prior west along Pacific avenue, down to the water and over past BC Place Stadium. NEFC is one of the largest undeveloped urban areas in the city with nothing but parking lots and unused open spaces.
The cities major goals for redeveloping this essential part of the city are:
Improving the communities and networks between Vancouver's historic neighbourhoods, such as; Chinatown, Strathcona and False Creek.
Increasing the overall park space in the False Creek area
Developing the empty land for residential and commercial purposes
Creating new and affordable housing opportunities
This 9 acre section of the city has a long standing promise to be turned into parkland and a possible urban beach for the local community and city to utilize. Concord Pacific, the owner of the land, currently rents out the land for event parking and to productions such as Cirque du Soleil.
The city lowered the value of the land from the original price of $400,000 to just only $1 to lower the property tax that Concord Pacific was paying on it. This agreement was met on the idea that Concord Pacific would turn a portion of the land into usable park and beach space.
A lot of residents in the area are crying out for the park space due to the massive densification of the city and the lack of usable green space. There is currently a green-light campaign happening amongst residents that would like to see the empty urban space be turned into something beneficial for the whole community.
Vancouver City Council has recently approved the massive redevelopment project of the Oakridge Mall. This $1.5 Billion redevelopment is one of the largest the city has ever seen. If you think that the Cambie and 41st intersection is crowded already too busy then just wait and see. With other developments appearing along 41st and Cambie the area is expected to change dramatically in the next 5-10 years.
Since the new Canada Line was created for the 2010 Olympics, Oakridge Mall has been increasing in it's popularity and more and more in high end stores just as Crate and Barrel are starting to appear. One of the largest and most promising additions to Oakridge mall was the Apple store a few years ago.
The vote itself from city council was about a 6-3 in favour of the redevelopment. There are quite a few people opposed to the development because they say it is changing drastically from the Cambie feel. This quiet neighbourhood will be forever be changed with towers and shopping that reflect the density and height of the downtown area. With Marine Gateway already steaming ahead, many believe this is too much.
This project doesn't just have a commercial aspect to it, the idea is that many others will benefit from the redevelopment. In additional to new stores and residential there will be: more health facilities, Vancouver School Board, Community Centre, Public Library, Seniors Centre, Daycare, Fitness and many other community benefits. All in all about 70,000+ sqft of community space.
The mall istelf will now include 10 new towers with maximum a height of 44 storeys, over 3,000 residential units and over 1 million sqft of commercial, office and community space.
TransLink is already participating in negotiations to increase their, already overcrowded CanadaLine, to accomodate the increased capacity in the near future.
Marine gateway which is currently under construction at the intersection of Cambie Street and Marine Drive in Vancouver is about to be a new booming commercial district for the city. The South Cambie area has been lacking a commercial area for some time now and with the Canada Line's Marine Drive station this new development will be very attractive for commuters.
With less than a 20 minute commute downtown, this less expensive alternative to living in-town or downtown is becoming quite popular with business professionals, couples and young families.
Marine Gateway has just announced that it's two largest commercial tenants Cinplex and T&T Supermarkets will be opening their doors in the near future. T&T Supermarkets is the second confirmed tenant behind Cineplex when they announced to open an 11 screen 1,950 seat theatre.
When everything is completed in 2015 this will be one of the largest commercial districts in the South Vancouver area. With only 2 stops away from Oakridge, 1 stop from Langara and short trips to Richmond, Vancouver and the airport this central locations is very desirable.
Marine Gateway is still pending on filling the rest of the commercial spaces, but you can expect to see the Vancouver staples, such as Stabucks, Sushi, Cafes and more!
If you thought that the Vancouver rental market was crazy then check this out. An ad featuring a $600 den, with no closet, no window, no carpet is for rent downtown Vancouver for a crazy amount of money. Here is the official ad that was posted in the Vancouver area:
I am renting my unfurnished den. starting now or April 1st everything included (hydro, internet, heat…) Female only Great location 1 block away from Granville and Robson streets.
We gonna be sharing the living room, kitchen and bathroom
IN-SUITE WASHER/DRYER Big Screen TV Full Kitchen WASHER AND DRYER
Fully equipped gym (free weights, weight system, stationary bikes, row machine, treadmill, etc.) Full time concierge Entertainment room Outdoor Jacuzzi
Email for pictures or if you have any questions
The City of Vancouver has spent a lot of time and money steering developers into creating more rental suites to ease the demand. Right now the vacancy rate for rental properties in Vancouver hovers between 0.1-1.5%. This vacancy rate is how people can ask so much for so little.
If you are considering moving downtown or anywhere else in the GVRD then maybe it's time to start thinking about ownership. A lot of new developers are creating incentives to get you in the door that well make up for the high mortgages and can get you on your way to equity, freedom and in the market!
If the time is right, stop wasting your money on rent and start paying off your own mortgage. And as always, don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.
In the first two months of 2014, the Greater Vancouver housing market has maintained the steady pace set throughout 2013.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,530 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February 2014. This represents a 40.8 per cent increase compared to the 1,797 sales recorded in February 2013, and a 43.8 per cent increase compared to the 1,760 sales in January 2014.
Last month’s sales total mirrors the 10-year sales average for February of 2,547, with just 17 sales separating the two figures.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 18.9 per cent in Greater Vancouver, a 4.9 per cent increase from last month.
“Home buyer demand picked up in February, which is consistent with typical seasonal patterns in our housing market,” said Sandra Wyant, REBGV president. “We typically see home buyers become more active in and around the spring months.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,700 in February. This represents a 2.8 per cent decline compared to the 4,833 new listings reported in February 2013 and a 12.1 per cent decline from the 5,345 new listings in January. Last month’s new listing count was 0.5 per cent below the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the Greater Vancouver MLS® is 13,412, a 9.3 per cent decline compared to February 2013 and a 6.4 per cent increase compared to January 2014.
“With the market continuing to perform at a steady, balanced pace, it’s important for home sellers to ensure their homes are priced correctly for today’s conditions,” Wyant said.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $609,100. This represents a 3.2 per cent increase compared to February 2013.
Sales of detached properties in February 2014 reached 1,032, an increase of 46.6 per cent from the 704 detached sales recorded in February 2013, and a 6.3 per cent decrease from the 1,101 units sold in February 2012. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 3.5 per cent from February 2013 to $932,900.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,032 in February 2014, an increase of 35.8 per cent compared to the 760 sales in February 2013, and a 1.2 per cent increase compared to the 1,020 sales in February 2012. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.6 per cent from February 2013 to $373,300.
Attached property sales in February 2014 totalled 466, an increase of 39.9 per cent compared to the 333 sales in February 2013, and a 9.9 per cent increase from the 424 attached properties sold in February 2012. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 0.6 per cent between February 2013 and 2014 to $458,300.
The Vancouver downtown eastside is a very rapidly changing neighbourhood and the city plan that has just been revealled will help it along. Inside this plan are the following key elements that will help the neighbourhood keep its heritage as well as development for the future.
Some of the key objectives are:
Create housing choice through achievable and aggressive housing targets and policies (both inside and outside the DTES), while protecting heritage character and scale
Consider additional height, in specific locations, to support public benefits that help improve well -being for all residents
Strengthen Hastings Street as a mixed-use corridor and and local serving retail street
Foster local economic development and social innovation that benefits all residents
Secure community assets and manage the social impacts of change and development, particularly on low income and vulnerable people
The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods, and the historic heart of the city.
The DTES has many assets, especially for its low-income residents, who appreciate feeling accepted and at home, and benefit from living near health and social services. Many volunteers contribute countless hours to help improve the community and work for social justice.
In recent years, the Downtown Eastside has struggled with many complex challenges including drug use, crime, homelessness, housing issues, unemployment, and loss of businesses in the community.
The goal of the Downtown Eastside local area plan is to create a vision and plan for the Downtown Eastside that will focus on ways to improve the lives of low-income DTES residents and community members.
Posted on February 24, 2014 by Van City Properties
Old homes owned by Canada Pacfic Railway have been listed for $1. These homes are pre 20th century and were originally constructed for workers of CP Rail back in the day. These two heritages homes come with an interesting addendum, they must be renovated to maintain their original historic architecture.
Homes have been vacant since the 1980's and require a massive amount of work.
Approximate value of renovations per house: $100,000
So you could own an 1,100 heritage home in Boston Bar for approximately $100,101
These homes aren't expect to close with their new owners until Spring.
Posted on February 17, 2014 by Van City Properties
The first month of 2014 saw home sale and listing totals outpace historical averages in the Greater Vancouver housing market.
Last month's sales were 7.2 per cent above the 10 year sales average for the month.
"The Greater Vancouver housing market has been in a balanced market for nearly a year. This has meant steady home sale and listing activity accompanied by stable home prices." Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said.
"If you're looking to sell your home in a balanced market, it's critical that your list price is reflective of current market conditions." Wyant said.
We have attached the January housing stats with a five trend stats package as well. As always please contact us with any questions.
Posted on February 10, 2014 by Van City Properties
A new 61-unit condo development going up in Gastown called InGastown has launched a new innovative down payment program.
If you have an older car worth the minimum of your down payment the developer is willing to take it in trade. This new incentive is a unique way of looking at moving into the city and especially Gastown. Most individuals that live in the busy neck of downtown cannot own cars because there is no where to keep them. This program also adds to the Vancouerites willingness to go car-free!
Year end statistics from 2013 show that Vancouver Rental Housing is among the lowest in Canada for the past decade.
“Another record year for new rental housing shows that Vancouver is on the right track in our support for renters, and that our rental incentive programs are delivering results,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “City Hall remains focused on enabling new rental housing to help people who can’t afford to buy in Vancouver, particularly seniors, students, and young families.”
Those year end stats showed that Vancouver City Council approved more than 1000 new rental suites in 2013 to be constructed in the following year. This is higher than the 2012 approval of 1021 units and zero units in past years. The city has launched a program later in the last decade to increase rental housing incentives, such as: reduced parking required, expedited permits and more.
It is unfortunate that we live in a city with living costs higher than most and yet rental suites are almost non-existent. If more rental suites are created it will either lower the demand for rental suites, averaging the price OR it will help increase the population of the lower mainland.
According to the CMHC the monthly cost of a rental purpose suites as opposed to condos that are rented is 37% cheaper.
“Making housing more affordable means residents and families can live closer to where they work, which reduces commuter congestion, helps attract world-class talent, and strengthens the economy and livability of our city,” added the Mayor. “There’s a lot more work to do, but we’re committed to building a Vancouver that is affordable for residents of all ages and backgrounds.”
This also goes hand in hand with laneway housing that is ever increasing for City Approvers. Laneway housing must be rental oriented and cannot be sold. To sell a portion of your land you must go through other means of splitting your property and a lot more money and paperwork. This type of housing is a great way of increasing density of the city without losing appeal or ruining the neighbourhood feelings. A lot of people feel that laneway homes are ruining their communities but they are no worse than tearing down a wartime 1200 sqft bungalow and replacing it with a 3 storey 4000 sqft mansion.
Vancouver City Council continues to astonish the world and the city by its mixed use development opportunities, which many find to be the heart of the new city. This new mixed use development now contains a new modern church on the main floor. This is quite a different approach to the grocery stores, retail shops, offices and facilities that usually go hand in hand with a new development.
This is also the city known for North America’s first urban Costco which is located in the basement of the Spectrum condo complex next to Rogers Arena. — VanCityBuzz
This has not yet been approved but an application for this 22-storey mixed use rental development at the corner of Thurlow and Pendrell streets. This project is being spearheaded by the Central Presbyterian Church that already exists at the current location. Along with the new improved church will be a new arts centre for community use.
The new "Approved" Burrard Gateway Tower will forever change the look and feel of travelling over the Burrard bridge. The new Jim Pattison tower will start to move the city in a new direction of building architecture away from the increasing stagnant "Yaletown" feel.
This 54-storey complex at the corner of Burrard and Drake streets will comprise one entire city block and allow for 3 towers of varying sizes. This will include: 54-storey tower, 36-storey tower and a 7-storey podium for a residential market, rental housing and retail uses including a grocery store.
This allowance of a 54-storey tower in the southern downtown region was allowed due to Jim Pattison incredible contribution to the surrounding area. The firm has agreed to donate more than $15 million in community and structural improvements to better the surrounding landscape and improve the lives of those living in it.
Yes, the Toyota dealership will stay but will be getting a revamping and allow for increased space and capacity.