Why doesn’t Canada keep data on foreign property ownership?

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Why does Canada not keep public data on investment ownership in real estate, whether by foreigners or homegrown residents? Douglas Todd of the Vancouver Sun wrote this interesting article in today’s paper:

The question is starting to gain more attention than when some of us in B.C. raised it earlier this year.

With Canadian cities, especially Metro Vancouver, becoming infamous for their unaffordability in regards to real estate, another voice has been added to those urging the federal Conservative government to at least collect data on the influence of investors — foreign and otherwise — on the country’s housing market.

The latest call for property ownership transparency comes on top of recent media reports in Canada that the real estate market of London, England, has become badly distorted by ultra-wealthy foreign owners, referred to as “non-domiciled residents.” The influence of such buyers, including many Russian tycoons, is said to be causing London’s housing prices to “lose touch with reality.”

If that’s what the British media are saying about London, what would they say about Vancouver, which Demographia judges the second most unaffordable city in the world, after Hong Kong.

Here is an excerpt from a new column on the need to collect foreign ownership data, by Toronto business writer David Parkinson. It’s headlined: “Canada’s housing numbers don’t measure up”:

“….a bigger concern are the numbers on investment activity in the housing market, particularly among foreigners. They don’t exist. Last week, some of the country’s top economists raised this issue with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has acknowledged that he has no hard data on how much of Canada’s housing boom has been fuelled by investors who are looking to make money as property owners rather than acquire personal residences.

The distinction matters a great deal. A substantial downturn in the housing market – say, one triggered by government policy – would trigger a much bigger exodus of investors than permanent residents, and so the risks to the Canadian economy rise with the proportion of investor money pumping up the market. And yet Mr. Flaherty has been crafting policy aimed at cooling the market without that information. The Office of the Superindentent of Financial Institutions has been talking since mid-2011 about uncovering the amount of foreign investment in Canada’s real estate market – and yet we still have no visibility.

Cleaning up this muddle of inadequate housing data must be made top priority for Canada’s financial and statistical institutions. We can’t keep flying blind.”

Property sales in Vancouver and Burnaby

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Vancouver Sun February 13th, 2012

6629 Laurel St., Vancouver

Type: 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom detached
Size: 2,700 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $2,083,700
Listed for: $2,200,000
Sold for: $2,100,000
Sold on: Jan. 5
Days on market: 0
Listing agent: Daphne McFarland at Hugh & McKinnon Realty
Buyer’s agent: Charan Kamal Pannu at SRS Westside Realty

The big sell: The seller of this two-level rancher bought it in 1953 — the year it was built – and resided in it for the next 59 years. It is not uncommon to have original-owner homes of this age in Vancouver, but in these real-estate obsessed times, it is becoming less so. As the description on the MLS listing sheet states, this is a solid home, but the main value is in the large level lot. That land measures 54 by 144 feet and if redeveloped, could hold a property larger than the current residence. Adding to the attraction was the light-filled west-facing fenced back yard, the Oakridge neighbourhood, and the convenience of a location that’s near Oakridge shopping centre, Langara College, Churchill secondary and Jamieson elementary schools, and the Canada Line. All of this produced an accepted offer the day the property went on the market.

89 -9229 University Cres., Burnaby

Type: 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse
Size: 1,163 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $392,000
Listed for: $449,000
Sold for: $438,000
Sold on: Jan. 12
Days on market: 58
Listing agent: Robert Crowe at RE/MAX Real Estate Services
Buyer’s agent: Robert Crowe and Ali Nimji at RE/MAX Real Estate Services

The big sell: SFU’s UniverCity development is a sustainable community that has evolved into a family-friendly complex high up on the campus grounds on Burnaby Mountain. Serenity was built by Polygon in 2006 and consists of 132 townhomes surrounded by forest walks, hiking and bike trails. One block away is the new University Highlands elementary school, and a new child care centre will be opening soon. This three-bedroom, two-level corner unit home enjoys an abundance of natural light and a large patio and garden area surrounded by thick conifers. The interior features a mix of flooring with wall-to-wall carpet, laminate hardwood and tiling. The kitchen has plenty of cupboard and counter space, birch-coloured cabinetry, a double sink, stainless-steel appliances, and a subway-tiled backsplash. An electric fireplace warms the living room and an oversized shower adds a spa-like quality to the ensuite bathroom. The home has designer colours throughout.

106-1040 West 8th Ave., Vancouver

Type: 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment
Size: 692 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $340,000
Listed for: $369,900
Sold for: $362,500
Sold on: Jan. 12
Days on market: 85
Listing agent: Paul Bale at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty
Buyer’s agent: George Winkler at Amex Broadway West Realty

The big sell: This home is just north of Broadway on the Fairview slopes, with Granville Island, the seawall, parks, shopping, and transportation minutes away. The ground-floor unit has a well-designed floor plan and a front door that opens to a 16-by-16-foot living room. That room has bright, arched windows that provide plenty of views of a partly covered garden patio. The home has a gas fireplace, in-suite laundry and storage areas, a 16-by-9-foot bedroom, and a secure underground parking stall. This is one of 28 units in the four-storey development, which was built in 1986 with the homes positioned around a central courtyard. The apartments have been rainscreened and are pet- and rental-friendly.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Real estate sales in downtown Vancouver, Kitsilano and North Vancouver

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Vancouver Sun January 14th, 2012

1704 – 550 Taylor Street, Vancouver

Type: 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment
Size: 785 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $498,000
Listed for: $499,000
Sold for: $490,000
Sold on: Nov. 30
Days on market: 42
Listing agent: Natalia Antosh at HomeLife Benchmark Realty
Buyers agent: Seth Baker at Royal LePage Westside

The big sell: Chinatown, with its unique Vancouver heritage, has a growing interest among buyers who enjoy the eclectic neighbourhood and access to downtown. Buyer’s agent Seth Baker reports that his clients grew up in the area, and having witnessed its ongoing evolution, were looking to return. This corner unit in the Taylor building impressed them with its 17th-floor panoramic vistas over Chinatown, the docks and the North Shore. In fact, every window has a view. Since its construction in 2005, the home had been totally redone with an upscale kitchen, track lighting and concrete floors. The dining room was built to entertain, with 7-by-17-foot dimensions that will accommodate “house-sized” furniture. There is a den, separate storage both inside and outside the apartment, and parking. The SkyTrain, Costco, Andy Livingstone Park, and Tinseltown are all within walking distance.

305 — 1425 Cypress Street, Vancouver

Type: 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment
Size: 700 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2012: $392,500
Listed for: $409,000
Sold for: $410,000
Sold on: Dec. 5
Days on market: 6
Listing agent: Pamela Smith at Macdonald Realty
Buyers agent: Amanda Crosby at RE/MAX Select Properties

The big sell: Properties that come on the market in the Kits point neighbourhood usually attract attention because of their proximity to the beach, downtown and the amenities on Fourth Avenue. Listing agent Pamela Smith reports that the first — and only — open house that she held for this loft-style condo was packed with potential purchasers. A multiple-offer situation resulted in an accepted, subject-free bid slightly over the asking price. In addition to the location of the home, the main attraction was in the renovated interior. It has wall-to-wall California closets in the 14-by-17-foot mezzanine bedroom, two skylights, a remodelled bathroom with an extra-large soaker tub, undermount sinks, granite countertops, an open-plan kitchen with a centre island that also houses an electric fireplace built into the end-facing living room, a walk-in pantry, and new hardwood flooring and carpet throughout. The building is pet- and rental-friendly.

1159 West Keith Road, North Vancouver

Type: 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom detached
Size: 4,587 sq. ft.
BC Assessment, 2012: $1.123 million
Listed for: $1.188 million
Sold for: $1.125 million
Sold on: Dec. 14
Days on market: 78
Listing agent: Karim Virani at Virani Real Estate Advisors
Buyers agent: Carole Yang at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty

The big sell: This impressive Pemberton Heights view property was built in 1983 and renovated in 2007, presenting the owners with accommodation that can suit any living situation. The four levels hold a plethora of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as two kitchens, a family room, office, storage room and separate living and dining areas, all finished to exacting standards. The uppermost floor has a modern open-concept kitchen with stainless steel appliances and custom cabinetry. The southern exposure and multiple decks ensure that all occupants can enjoy the views and the garden on the 50-by-126-foot lot. With a potential rental income of $5,000-plus per month, this could be a good investment opportunity. Pemberton Heights is an area of North Vancouver east of Capilano Road and south of the Trans-Canada Highway, with easy access to Lions Gate Bridge and numerous schools, parks and trails.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Recent real estate sales in Burnaby, North Vancouver and Surrey

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Vancouver Sun December 10th, 2011

4096 Napier St., Burnaby

Type: 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom detached
Size: 3,400 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $715,000
Listed for: $999,900
Sold for: $990,000
Sold on: Oct. 26
Days on market: 9
Listing agent: John Conte at Sutton Centre Realty
Buyers agent: Cathy Chin at RE/MAX Central

The big sell: There is a strong European influence to this home in Burnaby’s Willingdon Heights neighbourhood: It was originally a custom construction by a German builder in 1978 before undergoing renovation by an Italian contractor some years later. Each of the three floors has eight-foot ceilings, and there are draught-preventing double-paned vinyl windows throughout the property, as well as distinctive tile flooring. The home’s features include a steam shower off the master bedroom, a sunken family room with a floor-to-ceiling Squamish stone fireplace, stainless steel appliances and undermount sinks. As well, there’s a 24-by-23-foot southern-exposed concrete deck with sweeping city views, a solar-powered remote-controlled gate that opens to a paved parking area and double-car garage, and pressure-treated cedar gambrel siding. The property sits on a 37-by-122-foot lot and according to agent John Conte, the 3,400-square-foot house is larger than what would be permitted with current bylaws.

1115 Cloverley St., North Vancouver

Type: 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom detached
Size: 2,421 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $647,000
Listed for: $699,000
Sold for: $732,000
Sold on: Nov. 14
Days on market: 7
Listing agent: Helen Grant at RE/MAX Crest Realty
Buyers agent: Sarina Lui at Angell Hasman & Assoc. Realty

The big sell: Listing agent Helen Grant reports that she had 70 people through her first – and only — open house, with offers presented the following evening. The result? An unconditional offer of $33,000 over the asking price. Two of the major attractions of this rancher must be the views that encompass Vancouver’s harbour and Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, and the location in the family-friendly Calverhall area, which enjoys trails and proximity to Brooksbank elementary, Sutherland secondary, and the Park and Tilford Shopping Centre. The 1955 home has hardwood floors, two wood-burning fireplaces, and a new fenced front yard and paved driveway. The convenience factor includes a sundeck off the kitchen, three good-sized bedrooms on the main floor and a one-bedroom guest suite or mortgage-helper on the lower level. As well, there’s a 26-by-12-foot family/recreation room, a den, a 19-by-5-foot laundry room, ample storage, and a 7,000-square-foot lot.

3240 143A St., Surrey

Type: 6-bedroom, 5-bathroom detached
Size: 5,100 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $1.244 million
Listed for: $1.499 million
Sold for: $1.46 million
Sold on: Oct. 30
Days on market: 89
Listing agent: Mike Grahame at Home life Benchmark Realty
Buyers agent: John Grauer at Macdonald Realty Westmar

The big sell: Property experts always say location is key, and the builders of this 2004 home in South Surrey’s Elgin Estates must have had that in mind as they took advantage of a cul-de-sac location, a sunny south exposure, and a private fenced back yard adjacent to a greenbelt. This custom-built three-level home has a soaring entryway, and an open design that allows for plenty of natural light. There is wide-plank flooring throughout the main and upper floors, extensive use of crown moulding and window casings, and a spacious kitchen with granite countertops and bespoke cabinetry. The master bedroom is 20 by 14 feet with a spa-like ensuite, and views of the landscaped garden. The second bedroom also has an ensuite and all four upstairs bedrooms have walk-in closets. The property has a full basement that contains two further bedrooms, a rec room and a wet bar.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Recent real estate sales in Kitsilano, Coquitlam and Richmond

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Vancouver Sun November 12th, 2011

403 – 2475 York Ave., Vancouver

Type: 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment
Size: 1,087 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $768,000
Listed for: $799,900
Sold for: $950,000
Sold on: Sept. 20
Days on market: 13
Listing agent: Spice Lucks at RE/MAX Real Estate Services
Buyers agent: Jane Donnelly at Macdonald Realty Kerrisdale

The big sell: The latest report from the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board depicts a more balanced housing market compared to October 2010: the number of properties listed has increased, but sales have declined. However, the benchmark price for the past 12 months has risen by 7.5 per cent on the back of sales such as this Kitsilano condo, which fetched $150,000 over the asking price. The reasons behind this particular price hike? A picture-perfect Kitsilano vantage point with an exposure that showcases ocean, city and mountain views from a top-floor, corner unit that has two private patios, including one that is 700 square feet. The interior has generously proportioned rooms — making it ideal for “up-sizers” or “downsizers” — as well as hardwood floors, a natural gas fireplace and in-suite laundry. The home comes with two parking spots, a storage locker and a prime location close to West Fourth Avenue and the beach.

732 Sydney Ave., Coquitlam

Type: 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, detached
Size: 3,796 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $726,000
Listed for: $1.438 million
Sold for: $1.435 million
Sold on: Sept. 15
Days on market: 32
Listing agent: Marla Murati at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty
Buyers agent: Hedy Ting at RE/MAX City Realty

The big sell: This house in the Coquitlam neighbourhood of the Vancouver Golf Course was built in 1960 on a 10,000-square-foot lot. However, a complete redesign of the property was undertaken this year: the home was taken back to the studs and foundation, rebuilt and extended. This capitalized on the solid bones of the structure, but enabled modern high-end finishing to be carried out to current building codes. In this case, that saw a new roof, insulation, drywall, plumbing, heating, electrical and air conditioning installed. The interior has clean lines and contemporary touches with hardwood flooring throughout, sliding glass doors that open to a covered patio, and a kitchen with a grand island, solid wood cabinets, CaesarStone countertops and commercial grade stainless steel Thermador appliances. The bathrooms has floor-to-ceiling Italian marble and glass tiles. The garden is well-manicured, and there is an attached double garage.

9233 Ferndale Rd., Richmond

Type: 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment

Size: 1,046 sq. ft.

B.C. Assessment, 2011: $445,000

Listed for: $450,000

Sold for: $450,000

Sold on: Sept. 15

Days on market: 1

Listing agent: Harris First at Macdonald Realty Westmar

Buyers agent: Eric Kong at Royal Pacific Realty Corp.

The big sell: According to listing agent Harris First, this three-bedroom condo in Richmond’s Red 2 development sold within hours, with the buyer making an offer sight unseen. To ensure the best price for their home, the sellers had been diligent in preparing the property: The carpets had been shampooed, the bathroom vents and some of the kitchen appliances had been replaced. The interior had also been repainted and the sellers had vacated the property, thereby presenting a home in move-in condition with immediate possession. This penthouse unit has North Shore Mountain views, a south-facing master bedroom, cathedral ceilings in the living room and two parking stalls. Adding to the appeal is the fact that Red 2 allows rentals. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, shopping malls, restaurants and transit are within walking distance.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Recent real estate sales in West Vancouver, Surrey and White Rock

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Vancouver Sun November 5th, 2011

1263 Fulton Avenue, West Vancouver

Type: 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom detached
Size: 3,827 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $1.755 million
Listed for: $2.95 million
Sold for: $2.65 million
Sold on: Sept. 15
Days on market: 59
Listing agent: Paul Rickman at RE/MAX Masters Realty
Buyers agent: Eric Christiansen at Angell Hasman & Associates Realty

The big sell: According to listing agent Paul Rickman, the appeal of this Ambleside home was multi-faceted. First was the fact that the home is made of concrete; that’s relatively unique, and despite the additional cost, it offers a longevity and strength not always found with a wood-framed house. Other attractions highlight the extensive use of West Coast materials, including cedar in the vaulted ceilings and soffits, the custom millwork, and the floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive skylights that allow natural light into the home. And the view? Vistas of the water, Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver are showcased from the upper floor, where the kitchen, reception rooms and two offices are located. Double-entry doors open to the ground level, where a spacious foyer leads to the bedrooms, each with its own patio and access to the garden and hot tub.

115 — 13468 King George Blvd., Surrey

Type: 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment
Size: 591 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $N/A
Listed for: $174,900
Sold for: $174,900
Sold on: Aug. 22
Days on market: 15
Listing agent: Michael Sikich at The Agency Real Estate Marketing, TRG Downtown Realty
Buyers agent: Stanley Ng at Sutton Centre Realty

The big sell: The Brookland is a new condo development in Surrey that is set to complete toward the end of November. The four-level project will feature 91 one- and two-bedroom homes ranging from 441 to 914 square feet. This ground-floor unit has fully optimized the space available and includes a master bedroom with a walk-in closet and an ensuite bathroom that can be accessed from the main living space. As well, the home has a kitchen with double sinks, stainless-steel appliances, polished granite countertops, natural maple shaker-style cabinetry, a breakfast bar, in-suite washer and dryer facilities, and a balcony off the living room. The complex, which has a fully equipped fitness centre and lounge area housed in a separate building, is within proximity to Central City Mall, SFU’s campus, the Gateway SkyTrain station, numerous parks and the Surrey Arts Centre.

15552 Columbia Avenue, White Rock

Type: 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, detached
Size: 4,610 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $1.023 million
Listed for: $1.299 million
Sold for: $1.27 million
Sold on: Aug. 25
Days on market: 86
Listing agent: Kelly Wood at Hugh & McKinnon Realty
Buyers agent: Jeanette Leith at HomeLife Benchmark Realty

The big sell: This four-level residence sounds like it would be more at home in a California setting, thanks to 180-degree ocean views and an East Beach address in the South Surrey/White Rock neighbourhood. The contemporary-style home was built into the hillside in 1991 and features large decks on every floor to capitalize on the views. The upper two levels combine to create a spacious 2,610 square feet that accommodate the bedrooms and open-concept reception rooms. Below, there is a 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom suite with 10-foot-high ceilings, a five-car garage, a workshop and a cold storage room. The property has a high-efficiency natural gas hot water boiler with in-floor heating on all levels, two gas fireplaces, and an HRV air-circulation system. The lively shops and restaurants of White Rock’s Marine Drive are just down the road.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Recent real estate sales in Surrey, Richmond and Vancouver

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Vancouver Sun October 29th, 2011

3337 164A St., Surrey

Type: 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom detached
Size: 5,052 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $1.289 million
Listed for: $1.549 million
Sold for: $1.455 million
Sold on: Aug. 21
Days on market: 32
Listing agent: Monica Lee and Tracey Muter at Royal LePage — Coronation Park
Buyer’s agent: Summer Lin at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty

The big sell: One of the finest features of this custom-designed Morgan Creek house is the craftsmanship that gives the home a natural elegance. Wainscotting and heavy mouldings in each of the principal rooms combine with rich, dark-stained walnut hardwood and natural slate stone flooring, creating a seamless flow throughout the home. There are floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinets surrounding the fireplace in the family room, an arched doorway that leads to the living room, and a bespoke kitchen that showcases antique finished cabinetry, an entertainment-sized island and a separate butler’s pantry with plenty of storage. The basement has two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a 21-by-26-foot recreation room that has space for a billiards table and a wet bar. There are plenty of entertaining options outside of the dwelling as well, with a large covered patio containing a seating area and gas fireplace, and an in-ground swimming pool and hot tub.

3813 McKay Place, Richmond

Type: 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom detached
Size: 2,916 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $778,000
Listed for: $928,000
Sold for: $912,000
Sold on: Sept. 12
Days on market: 28
Listing agent: Beth Tioseco at Coldwell Banker Premier Realty
Buyer’s agent: Amal Chebaya at Macdonald Realty

The big sell: According to listing agent Beth Tioseco, the buyers were looking in the Oaks subdivision of Richmond because of its larger homes and proximity to Vancouver. This home in a private, quiet cul-de-sac met their criteria. With almost 3,000 square feet of living space, it is ideal for a large or growing family with a bedroom and three-piece bathroom on the main floor, which could accommodate older occupants. The house was built in 1990 and is brightly accented with skylights and a contemporary décor. The kitchen has ample counter space and is connected to an eating area and a recently-renovated family room. The rest of the bedrooms are upstairs, including a 19-by-15-foot master bedroom with a walk-in closet and an ensuite bathroom with a Jacuzzi. The front and back yards have manicured lawns and flower beds.

3323 Windsor St., Vancouver

Type: 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom townhouse
Size: 1,151 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $N/A
Listed for: $683,900
Sold for: $700,000
Sold on: Aug. 27
Days on market: 67
Listing agent: Mario Felicella at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty
Buyer’s agent: Liana Yap at Sutton Group — West Coast Realty

The big sell: The Nine is a new townhouse development that has been built opposite Charles Dickens elementary school and Sunnyside Park in Vancouver’s Cedar Cottage neighbourhood. The three-level homes have private entryways with marble flooring and vaulted ceilings, gourmet kitchens with stainless-steel appliances (including gas cooktops), European white cabinets and quartz stone countertops. The living and dining rooms have an open-concept design that is enhanced by dark oak hardwood floors, limestone-framed fireplaces, recessed lighting, and built-in wiring for surround sound. The second level features two bedrooms with closet areas, while the master bedroom suite occupies the top floor. The latter has a walk-in closet with organizers, an ensuite bathroom, skylights, and a deck. All three bathrooms have underfloor heating, and all homes have attached garages.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Recent real estate sales in Vancouver, Surrey and North Vancouver

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Vancouver Sun October 22nd, 2011

843 Union Street, Vancouver

Type: 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 2,535 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $815,000
Listed for: $1.075 million
Sold for: $1.05 million
Sold on: Aug. 22
Days on market: 7
Listing agent: Stephen Burke at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty
Buyer’s agent: Geoff Jarman at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty

The big sell: This heritage home in the heart of Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood was purchased in 1999 for $335,000 and recently fetched more than $1 million.According to listing agent Stephen Burke, the house – it dates to 1908 — is in need of some work, but the character of the property and the location on the tree-lined Adanac bike path and opposite the Union Market were a winning combination. The three-level home sits on a high 25-by-122-foot lot and features wood floors, a large front parlour with a gas fireplace, an office/library, a country-style kitchen with eating area and gas stove, skylights and nine-foot, six-inch ceilings on the main floor. As well, it has a renovated bathroom with a two-person bathtub, a two-bedroom in-law or guest suite in the basement and a private mature garden that is overlooked by a rear deck.There are many single-family homes in the area, which is a five-minute drive to downtown.

1206 – 138 East Esplanade, North Vancouver

Type: 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment
Size: 626 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $388,000
Listed for: $429,000
Sold for: $410,000
Sold on: Aug. 16
Days on market: 27
Listing agent: Tyler MacDonald at Century 21 In Town Realty
Buyer’s agent: Jay McInnes at Macdonald Realty

The big sell: Buying a home that is affiliated to a hotel can pay dividends, especially when residents have access to the hotel’s amenities — as is the case with this condo in the Premiere at the Pier building. The hotel in question is the Pinnacle, which features a five-lane indoor swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, and fully equipped exercise room. This unit takes in panoramic southwesterly views of the water, city and the North Shore mountains. It has an open floor plan with white oak hardwood floors, central air conditioning, an electric fireplace, stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops and a balcony. The revitalization of this area four years ago transformed the neighbourhood from a shipyard site into a bustling community, and provided access to this portion of the city’s waterfront for the first time in 100 years. The location is close to the SeaBus, shopping, and eateries in what is now known as Lolo – the Lower Lonsdale area.

19341 0 Ave., Surrey

Type: 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom detached
Size: 3,205 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $1,213,700
Listed for: $1,849,900
Sold for: $1.6 million
Sold on: Aug. 18
Days on market: 98
Listing agent: Bruce Copp at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty
Buyer’s agent: Brent Silzer at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty

The big sell: You cannot get much closer to the U.S. than this property on 0 Avenue in Surrey. Although neighbours to the south would be impressed if they could see this home, it is hidden from view via a winding driveway that is lined with tall cedar trees. It was built in 1971 in a traditional West Coast style that comprises split cedar, glass and vaulted ceilings. The interior is modern with tiled floors, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, a 24-by-12-foot chef’s kitchen, media room, solarium, wine room, library and a 1,200-square-foot deck. With five acres to enjoy, there is plenty of room for a horse barn, pastures, and a guest cottage with a fireplace and view of the mountains. One of the most enticing features of the property is the lush vegetation that surrounds the home. It includes mature flower gardens, a pond and waterfall, and a variety of birds attracted by the flora.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Recent real estate sales in Surrey and Vancouver

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Vancouver Sun September 17th, 2011

8878 165th Street, Surrey

Type: 7-bedroom, 5-bathroom detached
Size: 5,480 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $900,000
Listed for: $1.175 million
Sold for: $1.1 million
Sold on: July 28
Days on market: 21
Listing agent: Mayur Arora at OneFlatFee.ca
Buyers agent: Jill Sinclair at Royal LePage Wolstencroft

The big sell: Many TV programs and magazine articles espouse the merits of decluttering a home in order to present it in the best possible light when it goes to market. According to listing agent Mayur Arora, the owners of this 1996 Fleetwood rancher did just that: presenting neat and spacious rooms that secured a sale in three weeks. Of course, there were a number of other factors that contributed to the sale, namely, a 17,000-square-foot lot, a central Surrey location with proximity to schools, the Guildford Mall and transit arteries. As well, the updated house has a games room, media room and play room, a walkout basement, a double and a triple-car garage, covered parking for an RV or boat, far-reaching views of mountains and farmland, and a backyard with a hot tub, 18-by-36-foot swimming pool and in-ground sprinkler system.

2508 — 788 Hamilton Street, Vancouver

Type: 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment
Size: 1,047 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $707,000
Listed for: $1.048 million
Sold for: $975,000
Sold on: June 29
Days on market: 61
Listing agent: Colette Gerber at RE/MAX Select Properties
Buyers agent: Tyler Barrs at RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside

The big sell: As the only unit in a development that has more than 1,000 square feet of living space — plus an 870-square-foot terrace — this sub-penthouse apartment in Yaletown’s TV Towers building is indeed distinct. With such substantial outdoor space, the 180-degree views span east to west, and according to agent Colette Gerber, that was the clincher for the buyers. There were also $100,000 of custom upgrades, including a $2,300 wine fridge and $10,000 wall-bed system with a pull-down desk, pullout bed and storage cupboards. As well, the home has upgraded appliances, custom cabinets, tile and hardwood floors, custom window coverings, black and white marble slabs lining the bathrooms walls — even a heated toilet seat. The furniture was also included in the package.

808 Millbank, Vancouver

Type: 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse
Size: 1,140 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $501,000
Listed for: $645,000
Sold for: $645,000
Sold on: July 11
Days on market: 0
Listing agent: Peter Dixon at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty
Buyers agent: Adriaan Schipper at RE/MAX Crest Realty (Westside)

The big sell: This ground-level townhouse in south False Creek was snapped up for the asking price on the day it was listed. The property has a waterfront location with easy access to the seawall, Charleson Park and Granville Island. It sits on leased land that is prepaid until 2036 and has water and city skyline views. The interior has benefited from numerous updates since its construction in 1976, including a kitchen with new appliances, countertops, maple cabinetry and flooring. There are built-in closets and a new ensuite bathroom, together with a four-piece guest bathroom. The home has good-sized rooms that include an office and laundry space. There are two patios and underground parking, and the building was completely rain screened in 2008.

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Recent real estate sales in West Vancouver, New Westminster and Vancouver

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Vancouver Sun August 19th, 2011

389 Moyne Drive, West Vancouver

Type: 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom detached
Size: 4,577 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $2.479 million
Listed for: $3.25 million
Sold for: $3.15 million
Sold on: June 6
Days on market: 118
Listing agent: Mark Stephenson at Prudential Sussex Realty
Buyers agent: Jason Soprovich at Prudential Sussex Realty — Jason Soprovich

The big sell: This British Properties home has an indoor/outdoor design that combines a fine balance of architecture with functional living. The house is on a flat, 14,000-square-foot lot with a single-level, open-concept layout that provides both convenience for families and ease of entertaining for guests. Sure to impress is the 18-foot atrium with palm trees, the dining room with a climate-controlled glass wine room, the private master wing with direct access to the pool and spa, the media room and the nanny suite with private entrance. The latest in energy-efficient heating and air systems has been installed, as well as top-of-the-line appliances, custom cabinetry, designer lighting and meticulous finishings.

1105 — 1455 Howe Street, Vancouver

Type: 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment
Size: 1,285 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $854,000
Listed for: $928,000
Sold for: $925,000
Sold on: June 7
Days on market: 53
Listing agent: Adriaan Schipper at RE/MAX Crest Realty (Westside)
Buyers agent: Debra Porteous at RE/MAX Masters Realty

The big sell: The Pomaria represents one of the first “green” residential buildings in downtown Vancouver that achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification through its organic interior environments, sustainability and building efficiency. This southwest corner home fronts a park and offers views from the balcony. Floor-to-ceiling windows, meantime, permit outlooks to English Bay, the North Shore mountains, False Creek, Granville Island and Point Grey. The interior has a gourmet kitchen, nine-foot ceilings and spa-like bathrooms. The floor plan incorporates separate dining and living rooms, a pantry, and a large 16-by-13-foot master bedroom.

117 – 8 Renaissance Square, New Westminster

Type: 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse
Size: 1,214 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $463,000
Listed for: $499,900
Sold for: $488,000
Sold on: June 6
Days on market: 33
Listing agent: Shawn (Rexx) D. Rector at RE/MAX Advantage Realty
Buyers agent: Kathy Plante at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty

The big sell: The Murano building was constructed in 2006 by Aragon in New Westminster’s rejuvenated Quay district, providing easy access along the boardwalk to restaurants and shops. As well, it is positioned to allow residents to enjoy far-reaching Fraser River views. The interior of this three-storey loft-style townhouse is contemporary, and includes a slate backsplash, double-nose granite countertops, Kohler fixtures, reclaimed fir solid-planked flooring, a brick feature wall in the living room and a gas fireplace. As well, there’s plenty of outdoor space — a patio, balcony and rooftop deck with more than 400 square feet — on which to relax or entertain. Rentals and pets are allowed with some restrictions and Douglas College and the SkyTrain are close by.

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