Archive for July, 2011

Canada’s most expensive home is right here in West Vancouver!

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Canada’s most expensive residential real estate listing is on the market in West Vancouver and it can be yours – if you’ve got $39.9 million to spare.

The hillside property at 2190 Camelot Ave. offers stunning views of downtown Vancouver and the Burrard Inlet, not to mention privacy and seclusion.

There are three buildings on the 5.44 acre site, including a 450 square metre house, a doll house, horse barn and tennis courts.

The $40 million price assumes a total redevelopment of the property, including a 1,900 square metre ranch-style main house, 630 square metre guest house and a 232 square metre combination maids’ quarters and office.

The new main house will feature six bedrooms, a negative edge pool, a hot tub, indoor and outdoor ponds, three waterfalls, a billiards room, a movie theatre, a wine cellar, a gym, a massage room and a 15-car garage.

If the buyer prefers to keep the existing buildings, the price drops to $25 million – but it would still be the second most-expensive listing in Vancouver.

According to the listing agent, there have already been several serious offers for the redeveloped property, mostly from buyers based in China.

A massive home under construction since 2007 in Vancouver’s Point Grey neighbourhood will likely eclipse the West Vancouver listing in price and opulence when it’s completed. The property will be 816 square metres on the main floor, 5333 square metres on the second floor and 946 square metres on the basement level with a level of finish never seen in Vancouver, according to local realtors.

The individual behind the Point Grey property is unknown, but the lot was purchased in 2005 by Pisonii Ltd., a company with a Geneva post office box and a British Virgin Islands address. The property was owned previously by Vancouver businessman Nelson Skalbania.

Source: Peter Meiszner, Postmedia News

Recent real estate sales in Richmond, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Windermere and Castlegar

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Vancouver Sun July 9th, 2011

4280 Craigflower Drive, Richmond

Type: 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 2,574 sq. ft.
BC Assessment, 2011: $912,000
Listed for: $1.189 million
Sold for: $1.189 million
Sold on: May 11
Days on market: 2
Listing agent: Helen Pettipiece at Sutton Group – Seafair Realty
Buyers’ agent: Julie Wei at Macdonald Realty Westmar

The big sell: According to listing agent Helen Pettipiece, this family home had been lovingly cared for by the initial owner and was in its original 1979 condition except for the addition of a new roof 10 years ago. It has an outdoor swimming pool that three generations have enjoyed over the years, large reception rooms, a covered patio, a two-car garage, and a southwesterly aspect. One of the clinchers for the buyers was the opportunity-producing 70-by-121-foot lot. The other appealing factor was the location: Richmond’s popular Boyd Park neighbourhood is close to West Richmond Community Centre, Seafair shopping centre, schools, transportation and the pitch and putt golf course. As is the current trend with homes in desirable locations on large lots, this property will be demolished to make way for a new home.

1208 Gordon Ave, West Vancouver

Type: 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom detached
Size: 4,072 sq. ft.
BC Assessment, 2011: $1.966 million
Listed for: $2.495 million
Sold for: $2.7 million
Sold on: May 18
Days on market: 2 Listing agent: Tom Hassan at Prudential Sussex Realty
Buyers’ agent: Jenny He at Royal Pacific Realty Corp.

The big sell: This three-level custombuilt Ambleside home was designed with the family in mind. It has a spacious open floor plan on the main floor, complete with a gourmet kitchen with pantry, a den, living and dining rooms, an entrance hall, and a walkout deck. The upper level has a master bedroom with ensuite and features cathedral ceilings and a private balcony with panoramic views of Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver’s skyline, the inner harbour and islands to the west. The lower floor contains a recreation room, a games room, and the fifth bedroom. There are topof-the-line finishings throughout, a two-car attached garage, and the yard is level and private. The property is situated just blocks from Ridgeview Elementary and West Van Secondary schools, and the waterfront at Ambleside.

4356 Quinton Place, North Vancouver

Type: 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom detached
Size: 1,350 sq. ft.
BC Assessment, 2011: $1.0048 million
Listed for: $889,800
Sold for: $1.105,000
Sold on: May 9
Days on market: 5 Listing agent: Alan Vlemmiks at Sutton Group – West Coast Realty
Buyers’ agent: Dave Watt at Royal LePage Northshore

The big sell: There were 13 bids on the first weekend of showing for this 1960s rancher in the Canyon Heights subdivision, with four that were more than $100,000 over asking. The winning bid came in at $200,000 over the listed price. What generated such a response? Listing agent Alan Vlemmiks explains that the property was listed under the assessed value to generate fast interest with offers instructed to be made immediately after the open house. Several builders were interested in the 72-by-110-foot lot in an area where new homes are replacing old, but so were families attracted by the home’s charm with original wide plank hardwood flooring, a private courtyard, a 400-square-foot detached garage, and proximity to schools and the Capilano Road feeder.

4827 Holland Creek Ridge Rd., Windermere

Type: 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 2,926 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $783,000
Listed for: $750,000
Sold for: $700,000
Sold on: May 21 Days on market: 37
Listing agent: Glenn Pomeroy at Maxwell Realty Invermere
Buyer’s agent: Glenn Pomeroy at Maxwell Realty Invermere

The big sell: According to agent Glenn Pomeroy, the location of Windermere in the East Kootenays makes it particularly attractive to Albertans looking for second homes. This property in the Lakeview Meadows complex is set up for a turnkey operation. It comes fully furnished with a low-maintenance yard, and has air conditioning, a hot tub, a comprehensive security system, and an oversized garage that has room for all the toys, as well as the car. There are large, bright rooms spread over three levels and a choice of decks from which to savour the mountain views. Having an easy-care home means that more time can be spent on the private beach, on the lake, or in the nearby recreation centre, which houses an indoor swimming pool.

3729 Powell Rd., Castlegar

Type: 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom detached
Size: 3,173 sq. ft.
B.C. Assessment, 2011: $157,000
Listed for: $494,900
Sold for: $498,894
Sold on: May 27
Days on market: 49
Listing agent: Simon Laurie at Castlegar Realty Ltd.
Buyer’s agent: Carmen Harris at Castlegar Realty Ltd.

The big sell: This is a custom-designed spec home in a new residential development, which has been recently completed with bespoke finishing and quality construction throughout. It is located on a 0.45-acre lot with outstanding Columbia River views that can be admired from the wall of picture windows, the expansive vaulted deck, and from the private window next to the soaker tub in the master ensuite. The floor plan is spacious and practical, with the main living area conducted on one floor, but with a fully finished walkout basement that could contain guests or a growing family. As stated on the B.C. Assessment website, the assessed value represents the property when it contained a general purpose shed.

For the full story, please click on Real estate sales in Richmond, West Vancouver and North Vancouver and Real estate sales in Windermere and Castlegar

Canada’s building permits rebound in May

Friday, July 8th, 2011

The value of building permits in Canada soared in May after plunging the previous month, with non-residential activity again leading the swing.

Statistics Canada said Wednesday that permits jumped 20.9-per-cent during the month to US$6.4-billion, following a revised 21.5-per-cent drop in April.

The federal agency noted that higher construction intentions, particularly for commercial buildings in Quebec and Alberta and multi-family dwellings in Ontario, were behind the advance.

Economists had expected permits to rise by three per cent in May.

“While the increase, the largest in over two years, came in well above expectations, it simply reverses the preceding month’s surprisingly sharp decline,” said Peter Buchanan, at CIBC World Markets.

“The residential numbers are consistent with our call for a deceleration in that sector, while the strong rise in non-residential applications points to continued strength in business investment, one of the economy’s main drivers in Q1.”

Non-residential permits rose by 50.9-per-cent to $2.7-billion, following two straight monthly declines, with most of the activity focused on commercial developments in Quebec, Alberta and Ontario.

The residential sector increased 5.3-per-cent to $3.7-billion, after a 12.1-per-cent drop in April. Multi-family unit intentions in Quebec and Ontario accounted for much of the gain.

Karen Cordes Woods, at Scotia Capital, said [residential] housing permits have been declining as the Canadian housing markets start to moderate after reaching record levels or cycle tops in several housing metrics, including homeowner affordability, house prices and renovation spending.

Source: Financial Post

See which countries are top for relocation destinations

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Relocation services firm Cartus Corporation compiled a list of the 25 most popular destinations for relocated employees, based on the international moves it has helped to organise over the past five years.

The United Kingdom was the second most popular location for international transfers, while Singapore, China and Switzerland claimed the third, fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Although the US and the UK occupied the same positions in the list as when the report was last compiled in 2006, a number of countries had moved significantly up the rankings.

So-called emerging markets showed particularly impressive growth in the number of international employees they were receiving, with India for example climbing from ninth place to sixth, and Hong Kong moving from 11th place to eighth.

Some of the most impressive jumps were made by Singapore, which moved from seventh to third place, Brazil, which climbed 10 places to 14th position, and the UAE, which moved from 19th to 13th place.

evin Kelleher, president and CEO of Cartus, said: “It’s clear that as market opportunities present themselves in many of these non-traditional relocation markets, companies are beginning to transfer employees there in greater numbers.”

Regionally, Europe was the location companies were most likely to relocate employees to, followed by Asia-Pacific, North America, Central America and, jointly, the Middle East and South America.

New countries on the list included Panama (18) and South Korea (23), while three locations – Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Austria – fell off altogether.

Top 25 relocation destinations (2006 ranking in brackets)

United States (1)
United Kingdom (2)
Singapore (7)
China (3)
Switzerland (4)
India (9)
Germany (5)
Hong Kong (11)
Japan (6)
Canada (8)
France (10)
Australia (13)
United Arab Emirates (19)
Brazil (24)
Belgium (16)
Italy (15)
Netherlands (12)
Malaysia (18)
Ireland (14)
Mexico (20)
Spain (17)
South Korea
Sweden (21)

Lower Mainland home sales up from last year but down from last month

Friday, July 8th, 2011

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has just released their latest findings for June that reported sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 3,262 – a 9.8-per-cent increase compared to the 2,972 sales in June 2010 – but a 3.4-per-cent decline compared to the 3,377 sales in the previous month of May 2011.

New listings totalled 5,793 in June, a 4.5-per-cent increase compared to June 2010 and 9.8 per cent higher than the 10-year average for June, while residential sales were 7.3 per cent below the ten-year average for sales in June.

The benchmark price for all residential properties (the price of a typical home) in Metro Vancouver increased 8.7 per cent to $630,921 in June 2011 from $580,237 in June 2010, with the largest price increases on the west side of Vancouver and West Vancouver.

“Since the end of May, the benchmark price of a detached home rose more than $147,000 on the west side of Vancouver and over $80,000 in West Vancouver,” Setticasi said. “Detached home prices in Richmond, however, levelled off slightly, declining $25,000 in June.”

Sales of detached homes in June 2011 reached 1,471, an increase of 29.1 per cent from the 1,139 detached sales recorded in June 2010, while the benchmark price for detached properties increased 13.4 per cent from June 2010 to $901,680.

The benchmark price for a detached home on the west side of Vancouver was $2,068,000 in June and in West Vancouver, $1,793,000.

The Fraser Valley board said it received 2,762 new listings in June, a decrease of 12 per cent compared to the 3,153 new listings in June 2010. Total sales declined about one per cent since May, and 12.5 per cent since June 2010.

In June, the benchmark price for Fraser Valley detached homes was $528,060, an increase of 1.9 per cent compared to $518,355 in June 2010 and a slight drop from May.

Meanwhile, detached single family home sales on Vancouver Island north of Victoria are holding steady, with a one-per-cent decline in June compared to June 2010 and a 1.45 per cent decrease from May.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board said in a survey that the average price of a detached home was $343,422 in June, down one per cent from $345,269 in June 2010 and down 3.6 per cent from $356,403 in May.

In Victoria, a total of 618 homes were sold in June, up from 572 sales in May and close to the 625 sales in June of last year.

The average price for single-family homes sold in Greater Victoria in June was $629,292, with 23 single family home sales of over $1 million. The average price in June 2010 was $649,280.

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

Asian buying of Vancouver real estate is underestimated, says CIBC

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

While new data suggests that Asian foreign investment is not behind inflated home prices in Vancouver, a new report from CIBC World Markets Inc. Thursday argues that flaws in the numbers means foreign activity may actually be grossly underestimated.

Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC, obtained sales data from Landcor Data Corp. that showed only 10% of foreign transactions in Vancouver over the past five years were actually worth more than $1-million, and the average price was just under $600,000.

Mr. Tal said there are reasons why the data, which also shows only 2.6% of overall sales in Vancouver over the past five years involved foreign cash, does not actually match up with the Asian foreign investment theory.

“There are many reasons to believe that a significant portion of what is perceived to be buying by offshore investors is, in fact, driven by Chinese immigrants that are integrated into the community but still maintain strong links to Mainland China, with many residing and working in China while their family establishes roots in B.C.,” he said.

The key flaw in Landcor’s data is that it is based on where property tax assessments are mailed, which would exclude offshore buying on behalf of children or local proxies. This means what little data there is on foreign activity may be seriously underreported.

So there is some truth to the working theory that foreign investors, particularly those from Mainland China, are looking for places to park their cash and have settled on Vancouver, which boasts a sizeable Asian community and a stable economic climate.

“Many, including Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, point the finger at foreign — mainly Asian wealth — as the main driver here,” Mr. Tal said.

That said, the true reason for why Vancouver home prices jumped 25.7% year-over-year in May alone is likely more complex than any single theory.

The key then, is when the housing market will correct, and what that correction will look like.

“In Canada, a sharp and brisk tightening cycle is unlikely,” he said. This is because two triggers for a price crash, quick increases in interest rates and a high-risk mortgage market sensitive to changes, are not in play.

In particular, the weakest segment of the mortgage industry, households with both low equity positions and high debt-service ratios, accounts for only 4.6% of the total.

“Shock the system with a 300-basis point rate hike and that number would rise to a still-tempered 6.5%,” Mr. Tal said. “Historically, even in that group the default rate has been well below 1%. Short of a huge macro shock, there does not appear to be the risk of large scale forced selling that would typically be the trigger for a precipitous plunge in the national average house price.”

Source: Eric Lam, National Post

Vancouver housing market shows signs of balance

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

If there’s one word that describes Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley’s current housing market, it’s balanced.

“Right now we’re at 22 per cent [sales-to-listings ratio], which means 22 per cent of the homes for sale are selling,” Real Estate Board of Vancouver president Rosario Setticasi said in an interview Tuesday. “So, it’s balanced at the upper end and favours sellers, just barely.”

Setticasi noted that sales are below the 10-year average and home listings above what’s typical for June, and that means a closer alignment between supply and demand in the marketplace.

He said the sales-to-listings ratio is falling — and with it, upward pressure on prices.

“We were at 26 to 29 per cent when the market was really moving [and] last month it was at 24 per cent, so it’s dropped a bit. If it drops further it will be more to the buyers’ advantage because there’s more listings, and vendors are competing for buyers.”

Tsur Somerville, director, centre for urban economics and real estate, Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C., said in an interview that he senses a slight “step back” in sales following sharp increases earlier in the year.

As well, he said, sellers are responding to the higher prices through increased listings.

“If listings are growing faster than sales, it’s a lower sales-to-listings ratio, which is more favourable to buyers,” he added.

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

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