Vancouver Homes With Jay Banks Tue, 19 Jun 2018 18:30:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Vancouver Real Estate: Detached Home Market Hit by Fewer Buyers in May 2018 Sun, 17 Jun 2018 22:30:56 +0000 Brenda Kinnear

"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."
Omar Khayyam

Hindsight is always 20/20 and second guessing the real estate market is a fool’s game but that doesn’t stop the big sigh of regret when the rules and outcomes change.

In May according to the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index Canadian consumers have been affected by the global financial turmoil in general and concerns about the Canadian economy including the pipeline standoff between BC and Alberta and Ottawa, the stalling NAFTA negotiations and political turmoil in and outside of Canada. The uncertainty about the housing market and rising interest rates have played into these economic concerns.

The Vancouver Sun has discussed several points of view on what is impacting the housing market in BC, particularly in the Metro Vancouver area. In May both the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board saw a 35% reduction in the number of sales compared with May 2017. Cameron Muir chief economist for the BC Real Estate Association attributes it to new mortgage qualification rules, higher interest rates and high housing prices that have reduced the purchasing power of first time buyers. The Foreign Buyer Tax and Provincial Speculation Tax on second homes and City of Vancouver’s Empty Home Tax don’t affect enough properties to change the affordability factor now but they do contribute to an ephemeral change in attitude and confidence in the future.

Royal LePage is predicting a substantial drop in recreational property prices in BC in the most popular areas that are targeted by the Speculation Tax. Although it was supposed to affect out of country, out of province home owners it is a big enough net to catch mainly BC residents. At this time the taxes are popular with unaffected BC residents hoping they will make the market more affordable.

Affordability is one issue, the dearth of any kind of rental housing in the Lower Mainland, particularly in Vancouver is a huge social problem. Former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt contributed his opinion to the discussion adding that he wasn’t running for any office so he could state the obvious solution that would offend many single family home owners. He says that it’s not a crisis, it’s a permanent condition that has to be addressed by increasing the supply of rental and social housing and speeding up approvals for development of such. He would get rid of the single family zoning and fast track approval of row housing and two and three bedroom townhouses with increased density around schools, bus lines and rapid transit stations. He was speaking in Victoria at a forum on urban issues sponsored by the United Nations Association. Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun reported on the forum.

Vancouver Skyline by domo.k

Harcourt was critical of the Speculation Tax and the School Tax on $3 million + homes. His point was that the taxes should become a surcharge on income taxes so that low income seniors weren’t so hard hit. He warned the NDP about left wing doctrinal beliefs in soaking the rich and setting up class warfare confrontations which he said his government had done with a previous surcharge on the school tax and had to backtrack when they realized how unfair and divisive it was. However, the current NDP government thinks taxing the "rich folk" is politically advantageous to them at this time. Most would agree but they are not identifying the real "Rich", the foreign buyers who own homes, establish their families here and pay no provincial income tax.

Interestingly there is a sense that the Vision Vancouver majority on City Council is moving toward a huge change in the city plan and an enormous investment in affordable rental and social housing by contributing city owned lands to developers to build affordable projects. The ideas have been out there since 2017 but it is now the last gasp of the Mayor’s and Council’s terms and they want this legacy project approved.

According to Frances Bula of the Globe and Mail:
Vancouver is set to adopt a dramatically revised housing plan that will change the make-up of single-family neighbourhoods, promote dense new clusters of residences in designated areas and create a $2-billion affordable-housing fund.
The new initiative will allow duplexes automatically as a choice in most of the city’s single-family neighbourhoods, as well as aiming to ensure that two-thirds of a hoped-for 72,000 homes built in the next 10 years are rentals.
All of that will require dedicating about $2.5-billion of city land to housing and grappling with residents unhappy about such significant change, city housing officials admit.

The detached home market has been heavily hit by fewer qualified buyers. The new provincial taxes are impacting the upper price ranges particularly in the high end market in Vancouver Westside, Richmond and West Vancouver. The builders are concerned that they won’t be able to sell a new home at $3 million+ so they aren’t willing to pay as much for a lot to build it on.

Townhomes are in demand but the prices have risen so high that that they are unaffordable to most buyers. Sales numbers are down 39,8% from May 2017, The benchmark price across the region is $859,500, a 16% price increase compared to May 2017.

Condominiums which were the darling of first time buyers last year have been impacted by the new mortgage rules and the 20.2% price increase from May 2017.

"With fewer homes selling today compared to recent years, the number of homes available for sale is rising," as stated by Phil Moore President Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. "The selection of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver has risen to the highest levels we’ve seen in the last two years, yet supply is still below our long-term historical average."

Each year affordability declined for local buyers. First time buyers are particularly hard hit by mortgage stress tests, high prices and lack of inventory.

In May 2018 the benchmark price for an apartment property across the region was $701,700. This was a 20.2% increase from May 2017.

In May 2018 the benchmark price for a condo apartment in North Vancouver was $603,600 up 18.6% in one year, up 69.3% in 5 years and up 68.8% in 10 years.

In Richmond the condo benchmark price was $670,700 up 21.4% in one year, up 89.6% in 5 years and 91.1% in 10 years.

In Vancouver East the condo benchmark price was $575,800 up 15.9% in one year, up 86.6% in 5 years and up 93.2% in 10 years.

In Vancouver West the condo benchmark price was $845,400 up 13.3% in one year, up 80.3% in 5 years and up 82.4% in 10 years.

In West Vancouver the condo benchmark price was $1,280,600 up 15.2% in one year, up 76.6% in 5 years and up 78.9% in 10 years.

More anon.


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Burrard Bridge Mon, 11 Jun 2018 22:17:57 +0000 There are way too many places to get that perfect Vancouver shot: one of the city's most scenic views was captured by Ferdinand Stöhr


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Drops Wed, 30 May 2018 21:11:27 +0000 Sometimes it's about the small details. The soft, blurred background and the dreamy colours make this shot by juni so special - and let the viewer focus on the main element: the water drops. 


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Made in Vancouver: 3 Local Designers for Your Home Sun, 27 May 2018 21:58:34 +0000 The architectural design community in Vancouver is changing the landscape of innovative real estate. The inspiration of internationalism has design firms focused on developing creations that are unique to a client’s personality. An appreciation of combining indoor and outdoor concepts has local homeowners changing the conventional ideal of comfort.

We are pleased to share reputable design firms in Vancouver that piqued our interest.

Sherwood Outdoor Kitchens

Sherwood Outdoor Kitchens is founded in 2014 and is a proud winner of the Designer of the Year from the National Kitchen and Bath Design Excellence awards. The firm's Bachelor Penthouse project is recognised for the Small Kitchen of the Year. The team finds inspiration in "designing contemporary outdoor spaces with attention to detail with an interior design theme."

Photo by Spencer Watson

A hot trend in Vancouver of outdoor designs is the concept of using an interior approach to create a presence of comfort.

We are currently working with a top graphic artist, Scott Sueme, to incorporate his artwork into outdoor designs,

says Matt Herbert, the firm's General Manager. Matt shared that the most common client requests for an indoor and outdoor appearance includes an outdoor design of functionality and colour is in high demand. Indoor designs include stainless steel high-end appliances, doors with vibrant colour and countertops.

The firm's goal is to expand its consumer-based territory in the future to the California market. Furthermore, the concept of signature modular designs shipped across North America is a way to share the Sherwood Outdoor Kitchens experience continent-wide.

Photo by Spencer Watson

Photo by Spencer Watson


Propellor is a studio-based company that started in 2000. It holds social and environmental aspects highly, crafting unique designed lighting with the use of furniture to spatial design and sculpture. In an interview with Propellor’s Partner and Designer Toby Barrett, he stated "everything we make is customised for the client. It allows us to lavish craft as an artisanal interior design model."

Lulu Lemon, The Museum of Vancouver and Architect Michael Green are just some of the reputable entities Propellor had the pleasure to work with. The team has also built beautiful single family residential homes and complexes working closely with Javier Campos at Campos Studio. Propellor’s creative interior design has been recognised with an award for the Applied Arts sponsored by the Government.

An innovative project of the company is hanging sculptures in residential homes. It has 15 years of light development experience, an exhibit of sculpture installations and a collection of 9 different lighting pieces with various models. Toby spoke about the importance of creating lasting pieces:

We continue to focus on sustainable designs with alternative options that tread lightly on the earth. Our goal is to create work that is meant to be passed down to the younger generation of the future.

Sustainability has fallen off the radar in the past 3 to 5 years.

Birdman the Welder

Shaun is the man behind Birdman the Welder with 15+ years using his imagination to build custom furniture, hot rods and choppers setting the business apart from competition:

I’ve always loved lowriders, hot rods, and choppers, so I got my welding tickets with big aspirations of having a hot rod shop.

The company offers customers an aesthetic experience with a Western Canadian style.

Photo by Jordan Aruthur

Birdman the Welder rose to popularity after renting a small space with his wife - and the rest is history. The team of welders and fabricators develop hand-crafted custom projects while working closely with clients. For 15 years the team has worked with local makers, and finishers using its family owned best practices. A secret to Birdman’s success is,

constantly learning new processes and surrounding myself with individuals who are better than me, which keeps me on my toes and reassures me there is much more to learn.

As a skilled trade creative, his most challenging project was a 17.5 feet staircase stringer for a new home build. The experience in building, finishing, and installation consisted of a new project scope. The team on site was supportive in working cohesively to complete a successful job for the client.

The industry embraces unique designs to your personality and overall home felt comfort. Be creative and let your imagination be the guide to what you desire.

Photo by Janis Nicolay and Tracey Ayton

Photo by Bright Photography


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Sarah Guo and Mark Mathews Sun, 27 May 2018 20:06:02 +0000 Hinting at an Early Summer Fri, 25 May 2018 19:02:51 +0000 Good photography is all about light and composition - and this bird shot by Vancouver photographer roaming-the-planet is an excellent example. Thank you for submitting!


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Vancouver Market in April 2018: More Listings but Fewer Sales Tue, 22 May 2018 21:55:32 +0000 Brenda Kinnear

When I was a newbie realtor caught in the middle of a major market correction I worked with a client who insisted on listing their property much higher than the current market would bear. An old time realtor in my office said "I always tell them if they want to study ancient history they should go to university".

Across the country the Spring market has not taken hold. The Canadian Real Estate Association blames most of the slowdown on the mortgage stress test that was instituted by the federal government in January 2018.

Even those with 20% down and those renewing their existing mortgage are having to qualify for a rate 2 points higher than the mortgage rate being offered to them. The collateral damage has been heaviest in smaller markets where people don’t have deep pockets.

The new provincial regulations have raised taxes on second homes and investment real estate left empty in the middle of a housing crisis. Most of them are owned by BC residents although the original intention was to tax non-BC taxpayers. The rate is higher for out of province property owners.

It’s easy to be wise after the fact and right now there are more listings coming on the market but fewer sales than in the recent past. Many sellers put off making a decision thinking that the market would continue to soar upwards until they were ready to list their home. The detached home market has been affected by the absence of offshore buyers and investors. The Foreign Buyer Tax add-on to the provincial Property Transfer Tax plus the new government speculation tax has helped to cool that market.

According to Douglas Todd of the Vancouver Sun the top bankers are now saying that foreign wealth is contributing to unaffordability and that we don’t need foreign capital using Canadian real estate as a piggy bank. The National Bank of Canada has stated that "almost $13 billion was spent by Chinese investors in Vancouver" in one recent year alone. This has distorted the affordability factor for all local buyers in Vancouver.

The condominium market has been impacted by local baby boomers looking to sell their homes and gardens and move to easier condo living. They hope to have money to enjoy their retirement and help their kids. Not so easy to do if your main asset is difficult to sell for the higher price you were expecting.

The government is now realising that it gave investors a free pass on buying into pre-sale condominium projects and selling the contract before completion when the Property Transfer Tax was payable. The new rules require the developer to provide details of purchase contracts and assignments. This fear of legal liability has had most developers refusing to authorize assignments going forward. There were huge windfall profits for the first buyers in who had no intention of closing on the unit but were selling it and not declaring the tax liability. It’s clear that there were preferred realtors with clients who made multiple purchases which made life easier for the developer who got his money sooner plus a rake-off on the resale of the contract.

The big issue is affordability and availability of housing, for either rental or purchase. This is a problem throughout Metro Vancouver. All the new rules are slowing down the market and reducing Provincial income but still not making it possible for people to continue to live here. The City of Vancouver has designated City owned property for redevelopment for affordable rental housing stock. The problem is that there are so many more families that need accommodation than what can possibly be built for them. Most Vancouverites favour the Empty Homes Tax although it appears most people are paying it rather than renting out their property. It’s a windfall for city revenues.

In a classic Catch-22 situation the City of Vancouver is working to attract big tech companies with their myriad of employees for the tax base. Well-paid tech workers displace lower income existing tenants as the rents rise in the few available housing units. San Francisco is a case in point. The Silicon Valley workers that go by company bus into the city daily are paying $3500 per month for a one bedroom apartment according to people we know.

A big splash was made by Amazon taking on the Old Post Office by adding towers and 3000 employees in addition to the 2000 employees already here. The Prime Minister came out to make the announcement but did not address housing or immigration issues.

The stats are a bit misleading because the sales of detached properties in April are much lower than in March. In the high end detached market in Vancouver Westside, Richmond and West Vancouver it is the lack of Chinese buyers that is making a difference, combined with high prices and new government taxes.

"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." as stated by Phil Moore President Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. "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."

Each year affordability declined for local buyers. First time buyers are particularly hard hit by mortgage stress tests, high prices and lack of inventory.

In April 2018 the benchmark price for an apartment property across the region was $701,000. This was a 23.7% increase from April 2017.

In April 2018 the benchmark price for a condo apartment in North Vancouver was $611,900 up 23.1% in one year, up 73.2% in 5 years and up 72.5% in 10 years.

In Richmond the benchmark price was $684,100 up 28% in one year, up 92% in 5 years and 96% in 10 years.

In Vancouver East the benchmark price was $574,700 up 19.7% in one year, up 88.4% in 5 years and up 94.1% in 10 years.

In Vancouver West the benchmark price was $841,700 up 16% in one year, up 77.6% in 5 years and up 80.1% in 10 years.

In West Vancouver the benchmark price was $1,295,900 up 20.3% in one year, up 76.1% in 5 years and up 89% in 10 years.

More anon.


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Ka-Boooom Sun, 06 May 2018 22:46:00 +0000 Timing is everything when trying to get this blast of flame from the 9 O'Clock Gun, a cannon that is shot every night at 21:00 in Stanley Park. Vancouver photographer Jerry Meaden managed to capture this scene after about 3 attempts. Thank you for submitting!


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My Favourite Blossoms Tue, 01 May 2018 22:16:03 +0000 The best part of springtime in Vancouver is that the entire city is taken over by the shades of pink and white. See Janis Brass's favourite blossoms as our new Photo of the Week and relive the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival with our photo essay!


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Photo Essay: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Mon, 23 Apr 2018 22:46:37 +0000 It's that time of the year: Vancouver wakes up from the winter hibernation with about 40,000 blooming cherry trees! Each spring, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the beauty of the pink and white petals with a month full of public art, culture and community events. The festival was founded in 2005 by Linda Poole, to commemorate the cherry trees given by Japan to the City of Vancouver. 

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival's aim is not only to bring together Vancouverites but also to educate through cherry-themed seasonal programs. According to the organisers, the series of the events wants "to actively engage diverse communities through accessible arts and culture, and too sustain and renew Vancouver’s cherry tree heritage". This is a great opportunity to reunite with your friends after the long, grey Vancouver winter! 

The 2018 annual festival is running until 29 April. Programme includes 'Tree Talks & Walks', a walking tour of the best locations where cultural features of interest meet the blossoms or 'Bike The Blossoms', a cycling tour underneath the blossoming Sakuras. For the full programme, visit the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website.

Meet The Photographer: Ricardo Vacas

Ricardo VacasRicardo Vacas

Ricardo Vacas, owner of the firm Kerp Photography, always showed intense interest in many forms of creative arts. His professional photography career started in his home country, Spain, where he was the official photographer of several music bands, models and clothing brands. He decided to move to Wellington, New Zealand in 2012, knowing his real interest was fashion photography more than any other field. Currently living in Vancouver, Canada, he now combines his fashion, editorial and commercial photography projects with regular trips to Europe and USA.


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