Housing in Vancouver Will Get Worse Before it Gets Better

At the Housing Central Conference, Kishone Roy, BCNPHA CEO told reporters that while he was pleased senior levels of government are increasing funds to support affordable housing, it’s going to take years before new projects develop and that the situation could get worse before it gets better—according to a Vancouver Courier article.

During the presentation, author of the article, Michael Geller, urged attendees to explore better use of land and suggested redeveloping well-located single-family lots with small low rise apartments such as those built in the 50s and 60s. These buildings can be cost effective and can provide affordable accommodation.

Another idea was to consider using back lanes for laneway housing. Additionally, considering free land. For example, a 140-foot strip off the Langara Golf Course along Cambie Street could accommodate a substantial non-profit market and housing.

While Vancouver City Council’s 10-year housing plan offers great promises, it will take a while to implement.

Property Taxes To Spike in Downtown Offices

Pricing for strata office space at Bosa Development Corp.’s 320 Granville Street tower draws attention, but Chuck We of Oxford Properties Group told commercial real estate it might not be kind to downtown landlords according to a Business Vancouver article.

It’s not just tax assessments that could be affected; community amenity contributions are also linked to property value.

Moreover, latest numbers from Urban Analytics Inc. indicate square foot pricing increasing toward $3,000 downtown and even $1,500 in Mount Pleasant and  $1,200 in Joyce-Collingwood.

The article states it’s no surprise Vancouver rental markets remain tight. STating HOusing Corp’s latest survey reported 0.9 per cent vacancies


8 reasons why foreign home buyers aren’t the only reason for the housing issue in Vancouver

Homes Sales in The Metro Vancouver Area Totals 2,795

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports residential home sales in the region totaled 2,795 in November which is a 26.2 per cent increased from last November.

4,109 detached, attached and apartment properties were for sale on MLS in Metro Vancouver this past November. This represents a 30.6 per cent increase compared to November 2016.

The total number of homes currently listed in Metro Vancouver is 8,747—a 4.3 increase compared to last November.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpassed 20 per cent over several months.

MLS indicates a benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver at $1,046,900 which is a 14 per cent increase from last November.

Vancouver Home Sales Up 26 Per Cent

Homes sales of all types increased across the board in Metro Vancouver according to a Business Vancouver article.

A total of 2,795 homes changed hands in November, which is a 26.2 per cent increase compared with the same month last year. Home buyer activity is operating above long term averages, particularly in townhome and condo markets.

Detached homes sales reached 841, up 31.8 per cent since November of last year. Moreover, there was a total of 1,508 apartments sold in the month—a 25.7 per cent increased compared with last year.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver,, November’s total sales were 17 per cent higher than the 10-year average for the month.


100,000 People Will Be Unable to Purchase a Home Due to New Mortgage Stress Tests

New rules will crack down the mortgage market and will result in 100,000 people failing a stress test of their finances; making half unable to purchase a home, according to a CBC article.

The federal government has moved seven times since 2008 to tighten rules around real estate and almost every time, the market has shrugged off tighter rules around areas like maximum debt loads and amortization periods.

New rules implemented in October could be different though. Starting January, uninsured borrowers from federally regulated lenders must have their finances “stress tested” to ensure they would be able to pay off their mortgages. An estimated 18 per cent of mortgage borrowers who are stressed test would fail the stress test.

Currently, the average mortgage rate in Canada is 2.96 per cent.

The current stress test rules ignore two things: on average borrowers will have paid off 15 per cent of their principle, five years into their first mortgage, even if they do nothing more than make their monthly payments with no prepayments. The stress test also ignores that people tend to see their incomes increase over time too.

How Fast Can Condo Fees Increase?

Condo fees can change over time and often run through your budget, according to a Globe and Mail video.

Condo fees are the cost per square foot, per month, the video states. What do these fees pay for? The Day-to-day expenses and the reserve funds. The day-to-day expenses will cover regular operations of the condos like legal fees, utilities and running of amenities. The reserve fund is used to pay for the major repairs of the building. A reserve fund study assesses when major elements of the building must be repaired, so the board will decide how much money will be set aside.

Thirdly, there is a special assessment. If the building has an unexpected shortfall, then the condo board by imposing a special assessment unit owners have to pay in proportion to how big their unit is.  This can be paid in a lump sum, a series of lump sums installments or a temporary increase in condo fees.

Generally, you should budget for condo fees to increase at least the rate of inflation, if not a little more. If you’re buying a new condo, the sales estimate of the fees may be lower. When buying a resale, have a professional review the reserve fund and the status certificate.

Marijuana Laws Causing Fear Among Landlords

What Will Your City Do In Lieu of Passing Bill C-45

B.C. government hasn’t decided how it will regulate retail sales of medicinal marijuana after Ottawa’s Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, passed third reading in the House of Commons, according to a Business Vancouver article.

The speculation is that the B.C. government will reveal its favoredt retail method before the February budget.

In Vancouver, Counc. Kerry Jang said it’s simply a common-sense approach to dealing with the explosion of medical marijuana shops in our city. “We’re not regulating the product; we’re regulating the business.”

In Richmond, no dispensaries operate, and Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the community supports council’s opposition to retail outlets in the city. If the province were to require Richmond to allow bricks-and-mortar cannabis retail outlets in the city, Brodie said he would prefer they were pharmacies or government liquor stores.

In Delta, Mayor Lois Jackson said she doesn’t want dispensaries to operate in the community because products might contain mould and pesticides.

Moreover, in Burnaby, Mayor Derek Corrigan said he would like to see cannabis sold in government liquor stores because “we have a great deal of respect for that structure, and we think that it is likely, in that environment, there won’t be a problem with selling to young people.”

West Vancouver is waiting for cues from the provincial government before it begins public consultations and decides how legal dispensaries will be zoned.

The City of North Vancouver however, will not zone or grant business licenses to marijuana dispensaries until recreational cannabis is legalized.

In the District of North Vancouver, the council has argued provincial government should be responsible for all warehousing and distribution of marijuana consistent with B.C.’s alcohol and have a mix of private and government-run outlets. The district also wants cannabis retail policies similar to those of North Shore’s other two municipalities.

New Westminster will have a ‘liberal’ attitude toward recreational marijuana retail sales once the product becomes legal. Moreover, in Coquitlam, council is waiting for the provincial government to release its plan for marijuana production and distribution before it decides how the city will handle the legalization of zoning and recreational marijuana dispensaries.

Port Coquitlam closed two dispensaries earlier this year, and in March passed an additional zoning bylaw that banned the sale of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.

Lastly, in Surrey, a bylaw was amended to ban marijuana dispensaries that weren’t licensed by the provincial or federal government. The city has already begun mapping out locations where marijuana stores could be zoned.