Archive for June, 2011

Recent property sales in Vancouver, Langley, Williams Lake and Kelowna

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Vancouver Sun June 25, 2011

4763 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver

Type: 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom detached
Size: 5,043 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $6.078 million
Listed for: $7.68 million
Sold for: $7.16 million
Sold on: May 17
Days on market: 267
Listing agent: Bryan Yan at Regent Park Realty Inc.
Buyers agent: Bryan Yan at Regent Park Realty Inc.

The big sell: This Point Grey house was totally remodelled in 1992 with an understated elegance. It is on an estate measuring more than 32,000 square feet in an enclave north of Fourth Avenue and close to UBC’s Endowment Lands. Its new design boasts three levels that take advantage of the city and water views. The Italian-style garden has an outdoor, stone swimming pool, hot tub, tennis court and patios. The interior showcases a modern chef’s kitchen with granite countertops, Sub-Zero and Kohler appliances, dark oak wood flooring, vaulted ceilings, skylights, and a sundeck of almost 500 square feet. Tall, mature trees surround the property and provide complete privacy.

4230 196th Street, Langley

Type: 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 2,519 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $505,000
Listed for: $549,900
Sold for: $548,000
Sold on: May 6
Days on market: 6
Listing agent: Jeremy Sutton at RE/MAX Treeland Realty
Buyers agent: Will Rempel at RE/MAX Treeland Realty

The big sell: This Brookswood home is on a 81-by-135-foot lot on a no-through street with designated parkland opposite.The property was built in 1975 and expanded with family conveniences in mind, resulting in a larger kitchen and family room on the main floor, both with sundeck access to the front and rear of the house. Oak is a central theme throughout, and has been incorporated into the staircase design, the crown mouldings, the living area floors and the kitchen cabinets. Noteworthy details include the stained-glass window in the dining area, gas fireplaces on both levels, a double garage with workshop extension and side access for RV parking, and new appliances, windows, furnace and hot water tank, as well as a large, fenced rear garden.

614 East 11th Avenue, Vancouver

Type: 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 2,283 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $769,000
Listed for: $899,000
Sold for: $1 million
Sold on: May 3
Days on market: 6
Listing agent: Patrick Weeks at RE/MAX Select Properties
Buyers agent: Teresa Comeau at RE/MAX Select Realty

The big sell: This 1911 heritage house in the South Main neighbourhood sold for $1 million in just six days. The property provides an attractive combination of old and new. Original claw foot bath tubs, hardwood floors, and wood-trim windows showcase the history of the home, but there’s a nod to 21st-century design, with an open-concept plan on the main level that allows design opportunities for a growing family.As well, the home has been divided and contains a two-bedroom mortgage-helper on the lower floor. The south-facing position allows plenty of light and there is copious backyard space for children, dogs and barbecues.It is close to the popular shops and restaurants of Soma.

2448 Sutton Road, Williams Lake

Type: 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 3,300 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $523,000
Listed for: $569,900
Sold for: $563,900
Sold on: May 3
Days on market: 2
Listing agent: Tanya Rankin at Tanya Rankin Ltd.
Buyer’s agent: Tanya Rankin at Tanya Rankin Ltd.
The big sell: According to agent Tanya Rankin, lakeshore properties such as this secure some of the highest prices in this area. It is easy to see why, as the home is just feet away from the water, and the lure of water-skiing and beach activities. Set on a gently sloping lot, the rancher has a fully finished basement. The main reception rooms – including the master bedroom – are positioned so that the views pour in, and an oversized deck provides a venue for entertaining and summer gatherings. The sellers lived in the property for the past 30 years and there is evident pride of ownership.

2336 Selkirk Drive, Kelowna

Type: 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 3,335 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $570,000
Listed for: $669,000
Sold for: $650,000
Sold on: May 3
Days on market: 85
Listing agent: Krista Suchar at MacDonald Realty Kelowna
Buyer’s agent: Eric Prehofer at MacDonald Realty Kelowna

The big sell: This was a show home built by Dilworth Homes in 2006 on a private lot backing on to the edge of Dilworth Mountain to the north of downtown Kelowna. The interior has a contemporary design with espressocoloured cabinetry – a theme that reoccurs in many rooms throughout the home. An open-concept kitchen – with pendant and recessed lighting, a breakfast bar and Corian countertops -flows into the dining and family rooms, which have floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the expansive valley views below. There are ceramic tile and hardwood floors, carpeting in the bedrooms, a built-in vacuum, two gas fireplaces and balconies. The property has almost a quarter of an acre and has a double garage and parking for further vehicles.

For the full story, please click on Real estate sales in Vancouver and Langley and Real estate sales in Williams Lake and Kelowna

What is next for Vancouver’s housing market?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The London-based research firm Capital Economics Ltd. has added a new spark to Canada’s housing debate with its assessment that the country’s real estate market is a bubble that is about to pop.

The boom in Canadian real estate has “resulted in the largest rises in house prices ever seen in Canada,” the firm says. “And the trigger of an increase in the Bank of Canada’s trendsetting interest rates could result in a 25-per-cent drop in property values.”

The organization released the research earlier this year in a report for its subscribers, and it received new currency with Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s statement earlier this week warning Canadians that they should expect real estate prices to moderate.

However, while Carney did not use the word bubble, Capital markets wasn’t shy about doing so.

“We think [a bubble] exists and we expect a major correction in Canada’s housing market of up to 25 per cent over the next three years,” Capital Economics wrote June 15 in its response to Carney’s remarks. “The decline in prices is likely to be most severe in Vancouver.”

Capital Economics’ report hasn’t generated a consensus, but it does add fuel to the discussion about what is likely to happen next, particularly in markets such as high-priced Metro Vancouver, which has well-known problems with real estate being unaffordable for many.

Affordability is the crux of Capital Economics’ argument.

It found that housing values rose seven per cent per year on average between 1999 and 2010, triple the rate of income growth over the same period.

By 2010, the average price for a two-storey home on a national basis hit $314,000, which was roughly five times the $58,347 average disposable income per person. That is well above the long-term historical average of prices equalling 3.5 times average disposable income.

The monthly cost of home ownership compared with rent payments for similar properties has also reached the highest level since the peak of Canada’s last housing boom.

With both measures so high, Capital Economics argues prices are “probably unsustainable,” and should lead to a period where housing inflation slows or turns negative.

“In theory, the house-price-to-income ratio could adjust through a long period of stagnant house prices coupled with continued income growth,” Paul Ashworth, a Capital Economics’ economist wrote in a note to The Sun.

“But when the ratio gets this out of whack, that’s not how it happens in practice.”

However, some other analysts do not concur that the imbalance of prices to income will necessarily lead to a sudden correction, particularly for a city like Metro Vancouver.

Housing markets can diverge from a balance between prices and incomes and remain out of balance for a long time, argues housing economist Tsur Somerville, director of the centre for urban economics and real estate in the Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C.

“The fact they’re out of balance, in an economic sense, doesn’t mean they’re going to get back into balance on anybody’s particular timeline,” Somerville said.

Somerville argues that for Metro Vancouver in particular, using the price for a two-storey house — which would be more than double the national average — isn’t indicative of the kinds of housing people are living in and the decisions they make about where they live.

And while Canada and Metro Vancouver continue to deal with problems of housing unaffordability, Helmut Pastrick, chief economist for Central 1 Credit Union, argues long-term demographic trends indicate those problems will continue to persist long into the future, and not just in Canada.

“The world population is seven billion, climbing to 10 billion, and the planet isn’t growing,” Pastrick said.

“Something has to give,” he added, which is the price of land.

Over the long run, Pastrick said he expects people will have to spend larger portions of their income for shelter in an increasingly crowded world.

Source: Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun

BC home prices to rise 13% this year, says BCREA

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The British Columbia Real Estate Association forecasts that the average residential price in the province will increase 13 per cent to $571,000 this year, before edging back 2.5 per cent to $557,000 in 2012.

In a news release issued today, the BCREA also predicted a moderate increase in housing this year and next.

“After declining 12 per cent in 2010, residential unit sales through the Multiple Listing Service in B.C. are forecast to rise by five per cent to 78,200 units in 2011 and a further three per cent to 80,700 units in 201,” the release said.

However, the BCREA also said that home sales will remain below their 10-year average of 87,600 units both this year and next.

“Home sales will post some modest gains over the next two years,” Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist, said in the release. “However, positive housing fundamentals like job growth, rising wages and an expanding population base will be somewhat offset by higher borrowing costs over the next eighteen months.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

Bank of Canada considering keeping interest rates low

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Canada’s central bank may need to keep interest rates low as the economy faces “substantial headwinds,” Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said in an interview published on Friday.

“Monetary policy may still need to be stimulative in order to close the output gap and in order to get inflation back to target,” Carney is quoted as saying in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The bank has kept its key interest rate on hold at 1 percent since last September, after lifting the it from a rock-bottom 0.25%. Its next rate decision is July 19.

Most market players surveyed by Reuters on May 31 forecast the bank would resume rate increases in September, but some have since pushed their forecasts even further out.

Carney named the U.S. economic slowdown and the strong Canadian dollar as two major factors that could hinder Canada’s economic expansion.

“We see the headwinds both in our export performance and in the inflation data,” he said, referring to the currency.

The Canadian dollar is currently trading around $0.98 to the U.S. dollar, or US$1.02.

Carney said the bank may not need to raise rates to a “neutral” level just as the economy reaches its production capacity, and repeated the idea that the neutral rate, which he declined to specify, might be lower than it was before the global financial crisis.

Carney has raised concerns in recent comments about possible overheating in the Canadian housing market, where prices in some cities, such as Vancouver, have skyrocketed.

Higher short-term interest rates could be a tool to curb high housing prices, he said, but he added that regulatory action should be the first option.

Chinese on global homebuying spree

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Chinese investors are grabbing everything from US$68,000 foreclosed condominiums in Florida to US$2-million beachfront villas in Vietnam, a buying spree fueled by China’s surging wealth that mirrors the country’s expanding influence in markets for gold, oil and food. The search for overseas property accelerated in the past seven months as the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing imposed purchasing and financing limits, steps that are starting to cool off domestic markets.

Buyers from China have come to international property investing much later than their counterparts in Hong Kong, who are wealthier and have a more easily convertible currency.

“The purchase restrictions in China drove them overseas, while they look for investments to counter the inflation,” said Mo Tianquan, founder and chairman of Beijing-based SouFun Holdings Ltd., which runs China’s biggest real estate website and organizes buying excursions abroad. “Some of them will buy homes considering better education opportunities for their kids, while others look for immigration options.”

Full the full article, please see Chinese on global homebuying spree.

One out of two Vancouverites is now foreign-born

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Vancouver was once considered a “European” city. Now it’s more accurate to call it “Eurasian.”

In less than two generations, Vancouver has transformed from a city dominated by people of British, German and Italian origin to one in which people of Asian heritage make up the majority.

The demographic changes in this city of more than half a million people are most readily seen in the hundreds of restaurants serving Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Japanese, Arabic, Afghan, Malaysian and Korean food. But the changes go much deeper.

Since the early 1970s -after Canadian immigration laws made the country more open to Asians and multicultural policies were instituted -the city has developed a whole new personality, one that’s attempting, in fits and starts, to fuse Atlantic and Pacific cultures.

Statistics compiled by Vancouver city hall tell the story of the new Asian wave.

In 1971, three out of four of the city’s 426,000 residents had English as their mother tongue.

Just six per cent of residents had Chinese as their mother tongue, while five per cent spoke German, three per cent grew up speaking Italian and three per cent were raised in French. In addition, people who were most familiar with a Scandinavian, South Asian, Greek or Spanish language accounted for about one per cent each of the population.

By 2006, the city’s European atmosphere had been dramatically adjusted by new Asian immigrants fluent in everything from Mandarin to Korean, Hindi to Farsi.

Only 49 per cent of the growing city’s 578,000 residents had English as a mother tongue, according to the 2006 census, which is the last year for which Statistics Canada census figures are available.

Meanwhile, 21 per cent reported that one of the various forms of Chinese was their first language. Another two per cent of Vancouverites said they had Punjabi as a mother tongue, while almost two per cent spoke Vietnamese at home, almost two per cent spoke Tagalog (Filipino) and roughly one per cent each were most familiar with Korean or Japanese.

Given the tens of thousands of immigrants from Asia who have moved into the city of Vancouver since 2006, the East Asian and South Asian percentages of the population only will have risen since the last census.

How are Vancouver’s eclectic European and Asian-rooted residents getting along in this city, which has grown by more than 100,000 since the 1970s? Harmony is not entirely supreme among Vancouverites of different ethnicities.

To get around the problem of under-employment for foreigntrained medical workers, engineers, botanists and other specialists, the City of Vancouver has initiated the Mentorship Pilot Project. It aims to link newcomers to the city’s formal and informal employment networks.

If one had any doubt, consider that the non-English links on the City of Vancouver’s official website now receive more hits than almost anything else.

Source: Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun

Real Estate Blogs