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Luxury and value live together at Avra, a new Epta Properties highrise in the popular seaside community of White Rock. ›› p.4

October 7, 2010

More stability in local real estate market

TD Financial Group’s Ross Gurney says choosing a mortgage depends on the homeowner, and what the market is like when the mortgage is being taken. Martin Knowles photo

Mortgages: best way to pay Fixed or variable? Open or closed? Experts say it depends on what each homeowner wants MAGGIE CALLOWAY Looking for a perfect starter home? Mortgage deadline looming? No matter what the situation, homeowners are always faced with a dilemma when think-

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ing about what kind of mortgage to get. Are interest rates going to go up, go down, or stay the same? Lock into a fixed mortgage, get a lower rate with a variable, half-and-half, creditline mortgage, open or closed, and what about the term? There can be many questions and confusion about what kind of mortgage is the best for each homeowner. But it can be hard to make a decision without all the facts. Nobody knows which way interest rates

will go. Those involved in the industry can make educated guesses, but if a homeowner is going to be paying a mortgage for the next 25 to 30 years, there will likely be plenty of peaks and valleys in the economy during that timeframe, which will usually impact interest rates. An open mortgage, which usually carries a slightly higher interest rate, allows homeowners to pay off all or part of their CONTINUED ON P.2

September home sales in the Metro Vancouver area rose by 0.8 per cent compared to August 2010, reports the Real Estate Board of Vancouver. While those numbers – 2,220 residential sales – represent a 37.6 per cent decline compared to September 2009, they are a 40.1 per cent increase over the 1,585 residential sales in September 2008, yet still less than sales in September of 2007 and September 2006. “We’ve seen fewer properties come onto the market over the past three months,” says REBGV Jake Moldowan president Jake Moldowan. “This trend, combined with the continued attraction of low interest rates, is likely having the effect of less downward pressure on home prices.” Since spring, housing prices in the region have trended slightly downward, with a decrease of 2.7 per cent compared to the alltime high reached in April, when the MLS (the industry’s listing service) residential benchmark price was $593,419, the REBGV reports. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, which represents real estate professionals in Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission, also saw a month-overmonth increase in sales in September. A total of 1,044 sales were processed on the FVREB’s MLS in September, an increase of five per cent compared to 997 sales in August, but a decrease compared to the 1,590 home sales in September 2009. “Our sales, while lower than a typical September, are up compared to the summer and the average days to sale for single-detached homes decreased slightly compared to August,” says FVREB president Deanna Horn. Although inventory is down compared to May, “it remains a buyer’s market with a healthy selection, near-record low interest rates and stable prices.”

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2 New Local Home October 7, 2010

Meridian West Coast Mortgages mortgage broker Jamie Moi says the choice of mortgage often depends on whether the homeowner wants security or potential savings. Below, Walk to Main offers brand-new homes in Vancouver to potential buyers.

Young B.C. designers can win a chance to design a Morgan Crossing home.

Attention: aspiring designers Up-and-coming interior designers take note: Morgan Crossing wants you. B.C.’s Best Young Designer competition was launched last week, a contest where participants compete for the title and a trip to the design mecca of New York City by applying their creative design skills to decorating and furnishing newly built suites at South Surrey’s Morgan Crossing. Aspiring designers – both professionals and amateurs alike – are invited to upload a personal video to www. bestyoungdesigner.com that explains why they deserve to win the B.C.’s Best Young Designer title. The public is encouraged to visit the website and vote for their favourite entry before Nov. 30; a panel of judges will then choose six finalists from the top 15 favoured entries. The final six designers will be given a $10,000 budget and five week’s time to decorate and furnish a new one-bedroom-plus-den Morgan Crossing home. Morgan Crossing, a walkable residential and retail community with a village feel, will then open the competition units for public viewing and voting in early January. The public gets to pick one “fan favourite” designer, who will win a $2,000 cash prize. The judges will also choose one overall winner, who will receive a grand prize package that includes the title of B.C.’s Best Young Designer and an all-expenses-paid trip to one of the world’s premiere design events: the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York, NY. “We’re seeing a trend today with people from all walks of life becoming interested in and passionate about design,” says Morgan Crossing design competition director Michelle Hughes. “Morgan Crossing is providing a blank canvas for those young designers who would like to experience decorating a residence with their own inspiration as their guide and a generous budget at their disposal.” Winning the competition title will give an aspiring interior designer credibility, Hughes notes. “To know that your peers and the public voted your design as the best will certainly provide an up-and-coming interior designer with an edge over others.” The competition is open to all B.C. residents 30 years old or younger as of Feb. 19, 2011. Students, young designers, interior decorators, homeowners – anyone who wants to demonstrate their creativity and fits the age criteria can upload an entry video (entry videos must be creative, original and not violate copyright law). Visit www.bestyoungdesigner.com or www.morgancrossing.ca for more information.

“Information is now

readily available” Off the front: “A lot

depends on the housing market at the time.” – Ross Gurney CONTINUED FROM P.1

mortgage at any time. This is a good option for people who expect to receive extra money from bonuses, an inheritance, or any windfall extra money. Closed mortgages are a bit of a misnomer – at one time mortgages were totally closed to any early payments unless the homeowner sold the home. These days, most lending institutions allow homeowners to make an annual balloon payment of anywhere from 10 to 20 per cent of the original mortgage amount. A penalty usually applies if owners want to pay off the total mortgage early. Open variable-rate mortgages are tied to the Bank of Canada interest rate, and the mortgage interest rate depends on the current prime rate. This means the rate the homeowner pays will move up or down in tune with the set rate. If the interest rates start a severe upward trend, homeowners can convert this mortgage into a fixed rate to provide some personal financial stability, if required. A credit line, or home equity loan, is based on a line of credit. As the homeowners pay down the original loan amount, this credit is available to the homeowners to use as they wish. The lending institution has a lien on the home as collateral. The interest on this type of loan is usually tied to the prime rate. This loan can be converted into a traditional mortgage at any time. Ross Gurney, a senior corporate manager with TD Financial Group, says choosing between a fixed or a variable rate is an important choice.

“You can save money or you can waste money, but a lot depends on the housing market at the time,” Gurney says. He notes 2009 was a volatile market and the Bank of Canada kept lowering its rate, so mortgage rates went down. “If you had a fixed rate mortgage at fiveand-a-half per cent and saw rates go down to four per cent and below, you would feel you were losing out ... but remember, the inverse could happen with a buoyant housing market and mortgage interest rates go to seven per cent,” he says. A fixed mortgage mitigates certain risks such as inflation, Gurney says. “If you pick a fixed rate, you know you can afford it, (and it) provides you with a comfort level. If you can afford a five per cent mortgage for five years, you have certainty of payment.” A fixed rate is perfect for people who don’t like to gamble and it provides a good safety net against tough economic times, says Gurney. “If you’re a young couple with children you probably want a fixed payment, rather than gambling, so you know where you stand.” On the flip side, variable rates have the advantage of saving money when interest rates are low, but can cost more when interest rates are high, Gurney says. He notes it is important for homeowners

Choosing A Mortgage

to know if they have a variable rate mortgage, so if interest rates start edging up, they can convert their mortgage to a fixed rate. Meridian West Coast Mortgages mortgage broker Jamie Moi says a lot goes into making a mortgage decision, such as interest rates, the stage of life the homeowner is experiencing, and risk tolerance. Like Gurney, Moi says traditionally, young couples buying their first home will often decide on a fixed rate due to a more limited economic situation and less risk tolerance. “Interestingly, a lot of the young people we have been working with lately are very savvy and very well-educated and have spent time doing research,” Moi notes. “They understand the market better than folks did a few years ago because of the Internet. Information is now readily available about the state of the general economy and what the Bank of Canada is doing.” Regarding the fixed versus variable questions, Moi says the same applies – whether a homeowner is buying a first home, a retirement home or an investment property, it depends on if the homeowners wants to know exactly what the monthly payment will be or whether they want to save money and get the most out of the interest rates. Moi says another possibility is a flex mortgage, where the homeowner has a percentage in fixed and a percentage in variable. It offers you the advantage of having security in one part of the homeowner’s finances and basically, rides the market and takes advantage of low rates on the other, Moi says. “We now see clients, as they develop more and more equity in their home, taking out a mortgage on what they actually owe on their home and then putting a line of credit on their home to finance renovations,” Moi says. This can also help them pay for other things, such as a child’s college education, as they have access to those funds at a reasonable interest rate, she adds.

Publisher: Fiona Harris • 604-575-5822 • publisher@newlocalhome.com Editor: Tricia Leslie • 604-575-5346 • editor@newlocalhome.com Writer: Maggie Calloway • maggiec@blackpress.ca Advertising Sales: Black Press National Sales • Adrian Saunders • 604-575-5812 • adrians@blackpress.ca Online Advertising: 604-575-5822 Designer: Brad Smith • bsmith@blackpress.ca New Local Home is published once a week by Black Press Group Ltd. (Suite 309 - 5460 152 Street, Surrey, B.C. V3S 5J9) 350,000 copies are distributed free across Metro Vancouver. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.


New Local Home Ocotber 7, 2010 3

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4 New Local Home October 7, 2010

Avra: attainable luxury

Choose your view at Avra Epta Properties brings new homes to life in White Rock at affordable prices Briny breezes. Fish and chips. Sandcastles. The call of seagulls and the crashing of waves on the shore. Fishing, sailing, kayaking and swimming. The ocean can bring to mind any of several favourite pastimes and memories, but purchasing a brandnew home close to the waters of the Pacific Ocean in a convenient location that boasts spectacular views may seem like a fairytale in Metro Vancouver. At Avra, a new Epta Properties highrise project in White Rock, the fairytale comes true: homes start from $289,900 and there are 60 residences starting from under $399,000. “Avra is where luxury and value exist together,” says Cam Good, president of The Key, a local real estate marketing company. “Where else in the region can you find a peaceful home with the ocean right next door, with so much to do and see, and a warm, vibrant community just an elevator ride away?” A 17-storey tower, Avra will feature 108 homes when complete; onebedroom homes ranging from 652 to 658 square feet, one-bedroom-plusdens ranging from 690 to 727 sq. ft., two-bedrooms from 880 to 915 sq. ft. and two-plus-optional-den at 987 sq. ft. Looking out onto neverending views, Avra is a contemporary highrise of distinctive design located at Johnston Road and Thrift Avenue. The building – concrete and glass – is “architecturally striking,” says Good, with a ‘butterfly’ roof that brings to mind a sail in the breeze. While the views and the price point are amazing, Good notes the location offers convenience to homeowners as well. “The dynamic village community offers all the daily conveniences – food, drink and shopping amenities – within walking distance from Avra,” Good says, and adds the new homes are set in the heart of a new extension to White Rock’s highly walkable core. From the local businesses to the community amenities to the beaches, golf courses, parks and other naturally beautiful scenery in the area, White Rock also offers a location that is central in Metro Vancouver and close to the U.S. border. Of course, Avra’s balconies are designed to maximize the view, Good says, and six out of the seven homes on a typical floorplan have water views, and the one that doesn’t has views of the equally magnificent

ROOMS with a VIEW

CONTINUED ON P.5

Avra offers brand-new homes at reasonable prices in White Rock.


New Local Home Ocotber 7, 2010 5

Neverending views at home

‘Where luxury and value live together’ CONTINUED FROM P.4

North Shore mountains. Inside, Avra homes have oversized windows that, with the balconies, allow homeowners to take full advantage of the views, natural light and outdoor living. Sleek and contemporary, the high-end kitchens sizzle with straight-edge, soft-close wood veneer cabinetry in Beech or Oak, granite countertops, ceramic tile backsplashes and a six-piece stainless steel appliance package. Bathrooms soothe with porcelain and ceramic tile, marble slab countertops, spa-like bathtubs and white porcelain undermount sinks. CONTINUED ON P.6

Every Avra home has oversized windows and balconies that allow homeowners to enjoy the views, natural light and outdoor living.

Close to Vancouver. Close to Whistler. Closer to nature. Now selling new homes in Squamish . . . just 45 minutes to Whistler or Vancouver on the new Sea to Sky Highway

$20,000 in purchase credits available for the first 10 buyers The Maples is launching a new series of homes, located next to Brennan Park off Finch Drive. Close to all amenities.

For more information call 1.888.262.2808 or go online to www.fintreypark.com

Ranchers and two-story single family homes ranging from $499,000 to $579,000. Financing packages are available.

or visit our Presentation Center on the corner of Finch and Bryson in Squamish. ( See hours and location under “Find Us” on the website).


6 New Local Home October 7, 2010

Live in a warm, vibrant community

Avra grand opening set for this Saturday CONTINUED FROM P.6

Homeowners will also have access to two levels of deluxe amenities that round out a truly modern lifestyle, Good says. Avra amenities include a wellequipped fitness centre, a furnished guest suite, an entertainment room with full kitchen and a generous covered outdoor area. “Every detail has been carefully considered by the Avra team to ensure each floorplan translates to a spacious, highly livable home,” Good says, and notes that, along with Epta, CDA Architects and Quorum Group make the Avra team behind the development complete. Avra is expected to be completed in 2013 but sales are starting with the development’s grand opening, which happens this Saturday, Oct. 9, at 12 noon (1456 Johnston Rd., White Rock). Everyone is invited to come and check it out – and perhaps, register for a brand-new Avra home. Visit www.avraliving.com for more information.

With high-quality finishings, superb construction and excruciating attention to detail, every single Avra home has been carefully considered “to ensure each floorplan translates to a spacious, highly livable home,” says Cam Good, president of The Key. Good notes the White Rock highrise homes are also affordable for many homebuyers, with homes starting from $289,900 and with 60 residences listed at under $399,000. The grand opening for Avra home sales is this Saturday, Oct. 9 in White Rock.


New Local Home Ocotber 7, 2010 7

Port Coquitlam

Richmond < River Green 5111 Hollybridge Way. 604-233-2633 = Mezzo 7373 Turnill St. 604-725-1250 > Emerald 7180 No. 3 Rd. 604-244-8333 ? Hamilton Station 22788 Westminster Hwy. 604-279-8866 @ Wishing Tree Alexander Gardens. 604-871-4296 A Cambridge Park 9191 Odlin Rd. 778-297-7511 B Saffron 180-8360 Granville Ave. 604-270-2482 < Highland Park 160th & 24 Ave. 604-542-8995 = Glenmore at Morgan Heights 161A St. & 24 Ave. 604-542-8863

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< Augusta Walk / Woods at Provinceton 18199 70th Ave, 778-571-1088 = Hazelwood Estates 7881 164A Street. 604-657-5220 > Knoll 7348 192A Street, Surrey. 604-574-0001 ? Quattro 114-10768 Whalley Blvd. 604-581-8000 @ Ultra 105-13339 102 Ave. 604-588-6999 A Taylor 1-8767162 St. 604-584-1114

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< The Mark 1035 Seymour St. 604-687-4353 = Pacific Spirit UBC Westbrook Village. 604-221-8878 604-264-6477 > James 289 W. 2nd Ave. 604-275-1000 ? Spice on Robson Nicola and Robson streets. 604-683-5555 @ Local 1661 East 2nd Ave at Commercial. 604-688-5527

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< Brighton at Silver Ridge 13851 232 St. 604-270-1889 = Duet 22977 116 Ave. 604-453-4962 > Main Stone Creek 10116-241 St. 604-463-5000

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= Seasons & Prelude at Milner Heights 208th St & 72nd Ave. 604-539-9484 > Time at Walnut Grove 9525-204 Street. 604-694-1819 ? Cornerstone 5655 210A Street. 604-534-6000 @ High Point Equestrian Estates 20048 2nd Ave. 604-531-1111

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< Pearl 2343 Atkins Ave. 604-308-0227 = The Shaughnessy (on Lions Park) 2950 Glen Dr. 604-461-2750

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< Skye-Soleil-Aqua Presentation Centre, Unit 3, 1233 Main St., Squamish. 604-616-1215 = Furry Creek-Ocean Crest 415- Furry Creek Dr. 604-787-1456 > Maples at Fintry Park Bryson Way and Finch Ave. 604-894-3344

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> Wills Creek 160th & 32 Ave. 604-542-6200 ? Kaleden 2729-158 Street. 604-541-4246 @ Morgan Heights 26th Ave & 164th St. 604-531-1111, 604-420-4200 A Cathedral Grove 2738-158th Street. 604-541-7383 B SouthPort 3677-143 St. 604-292-0871 C High Street 402-2950 King George Hwy. 604-536-9333 D Summerfield 109-172A St. 604-536-1155 E Avra 1456 Johnston Road. 604-531-9030

< Levo Pinetree Way & Northern Ave. 604-464-5856 = The Foothills Burke Mountain, 3381 David Ave. 604-944-3188 > Tatton 1240 Holtby, Coquitlam. 604-552-2220 ? Larkin House (East) 1456 Avondale St. 604-461-7113 @ Belmont 1456 Avondale St. 604-461-7113 A Sterling 3412 Wilkie Ave. B Larkin House 1131 Pipeline Road. 604-552-1113

King George Hwy.

On Tour

Coquitlam


8 New Local Home October 7, 2010

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