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February 26, 2016

CONDOMINIUM www.westcoastcondominium.ca

LIVE IN STYLE IN LYNN VALLEY Natural beauty meets luxury in Bosa’s Residences at Lynn Valley P8-9




Hot topic is a long-term practice by a new name P7

How to… Pick the right neighbourhood for you

Ensure you allow for new minimum requirement

2 bedrooms | 2 bathrooms 3,005 sqft. + 2539 sqft. deck



Make your small space exible with room dividers P31


January 15, 2016 1

SELLERS, WE DELIVER! With 178 successful transactions negotiated in 2015, we have the marketing skills, the presentation skills and the negotiation experience to assist you in realizing your real estate dreams. Get us working for you!



February 26, 2016

Condo market snapshots 6 10 12 18

North Shore Tri-Cities Vancouver Burnaby

22 28 30

Richmond/South Delta Surrey New West


Out of the shadows “Shadow flipping” is contract assignment by another name – and perfectly legal



Redefining luxury New Listing • 1,970 s.f. • 2 Bdrm & Den • 3 Bathroom

The Residences at Lynn Valley combine high style with natural North Shore beauty

New Listing

Breathtaking 360 Views

Perfect ½ Duplex in Kits!

• Penthse Suite • Pet/Rent w/ Rest • Soaring Ceilings • 2 parking • Wrap Terrace • Main Fee: $978

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• Side xSide Duplex • 3 Bathrooms • Front & Back yard • 1,350 s.f. Home • Bright Kitchen • Patio in Back • 3 Bdrms & Den • Cozy Family Rm • Single Car


3236 West 7th Avenue


Guide for landlords For the complete schedule of our open houses & our listings complete with enhanced detail go to...





Luxurious Parkside Homes - 2017 • 1,035 s.f. • 2 Bedroom • 2 Bathroom

• Stainless Kitch • Huge Balcony • Hardwood Flrs • Concrete • A/C • Assignment

605 - 4412-4488 Cambie Street

Part one: How to create an effective rental advertisement or web listing



• 1,538 s.f. • Lge Principal Rms • Sunny Yard • 2 Bdrms + Den • 2 level home • Private Patio • 3 Bathrooms • Light & Bright • Single Car



Down payments up Do you understand the new minimum down payment rules? Atrina Kouroshnia breaks it down

Divide and conquer New Listing

New Listing

Great Suite at The Tapestry • Flr to Clng Wndws • Great Location • Gourmet Kitch • 1 Pkg/1 Stg • High Ceilings • Main Fee: $124

102 – 2851 Heather Street

Spacious & Quiet 1 Bedroom • 571 s.f. Home • 1 Bedroom • 1 Bathroom


• Fabulous Kitch • Renovated Suite • NE Corner • 1 Pkg/1 Stg • Lge Principal Rms • Main Fee: $286

404 – 2920 Ash Street


Buying or Selling, you’ve got to have Faith *see FaithWilsonGroup.com for details

4 February 26, 2016


When a strata works with a property manager, who gets final say? CHOA’s Tony Gioventu explains

14 20

The GVHBA’s Bob de Wit runs down the key priorities when choosing where to settle

Gorgeous 1/2 Duplex in Heart of Kits

2964 West 8th Avenue

Decisions, decisions

How to… Pick the right neighbourhood



• 434 s.f. Home • Studio Suite • 1 Bathroom


A smaller home can be made into a flexible, functional space with clever use of room dividers





Easier to sell an old condo building rather than fix it

that we assist in realizing their real estate dreams


New legislation will soon make it easier for stratas to sell their building(s) to a developer


ith changes coming to the provincial Strata Property Act, it will be easier, and likely more alluring, for owners to vote to sell an older condominium building rather that fix it up. Under the change, a vote of 80 per cent of members will be required to abolish the strata corporation and sell the building to a developer. (Currently 100 per cent of members need to agree.) The trend has already started even though the legislated change has not yet been approved. Many expect it to catch on among condominium owners in older stratas that are in need of major repairs and could be developed into higherdensity, higher-priced homes. In fact, we suspect it is already having an effect on sales in some neighbourhoods. An example is Marpole in southwest Vancouver, where the benchmark price of the area’s mostly older condominiums has soared 44 per cent since November. That’s the highest increase of any Vancouver neighbourhood. Now, consider the owner of an older

condominium who wants the strata to fix problems with an aging structure, rather than sell it. Since December 2013, a change to the Strata Property Act requires that strata corporations file depreciation reports that are meant to give strata councils information on the costs involved in maintaining and repairing the building over a 30-year horizon. However, an estimated 40 to 50 per cent of strata corporations have voted to either defer depreciation reports or ignore them completely. Under the rules, stratas with five or less units are exempt from filing depreciation reports, and stratas can opt out of filing with a 75 per cent vote of owners. Many condo owners are voting against the reports because they don’t want to see a big increase in strata fees and they also balk at spending money for a report that could scare away potential buyers. The result, however, is an aging condominium inventory with many owners waiting for, and counting on, the wrecking ball as their exit strategy.

Frank O’Brien Contributing Editor Frank O’ Brien is editor of Western Investor, the largest commercial real estate investment newspaper in Western Canada.


CONDOMINIUM PUBLISHER: Janai York EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Joannah Connolly EDITOR: Jill Lunde CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Frank O’Brien DIRECTOR, SALES: Lynn Fry SALES REPRESENTATIVES: Tracey Aussem, Rebecca Bookham, Audrey White, Audrie Gilson, Jackie Mollenhauer PRODUCTION MANAGER: Holly Burge PRODUCTION: Darko Isic, Peter Gallagher DESIGNERS: Carol Rui, Arslan Sultan, Joanne Yen

Your essential guide to condo life in the Lower Mainland









VANCOUVER HEAD OFFICE: 303 West 5th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V5Y-1J6 COPYRIGHT: WEST COAST CONDOMINIUM is published bi-weekly by Real Estate Weekly Partnership. Copyright 2015. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of articles and advertising that appear in each edition of West Coast Condominium, the publisher may not be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may from time to time occur. No part of this publication may be quoted or reprinted in any medium without the express written permission of Real Estate Weekly Partnership.

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If you find that within 18 months of the completion date the home you purchased with Faith Wilson Realty Group does not meet your evolving needs, we guarantee to sell and not charge you the listing portion of the commission.

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February 26, 2016 5



North Shore Active families are right at home in the North Shore’s condo market By Jill Lunde


ith amazing access to the great outdoors, the North Shore has been attracting families for ages. However, with median detached home prices reaching stratospheric proportions ($1.6 million for North Vancouver and over $3 million for West Van), many families are embracing the condominium lifestyle in order to call the area home. With condos now in neighbourhoods large and small, it’s not hard to nd one close to schools, community centres and other amenities families appreciate. Homes with three or more bedrooms are only seven per cent of the North Shore’s active listings, so the competition for them can be stiff. And, even though we’re talking condos, bear in mind that condos here are still well over the price of homes in some of the outer burbs. Of the 208 active listings, 15 are three-bedrooms and one is a four-bedroom. Prices for these homes start at $818,000 and go as high as more than $7 million.

Deer Ridge If sheer oor space is your goal

and money is no object, make Deer Ridge at the foot of Cypress Bowl your destination. There are two threebedroom condo homes available here. The largest, at just over 4,700 square feet (plus a 1,200-square-foot private terrace), can be yours for $4.28 million. In the same building but considerably smaller at 1,837 square feet is the neighbourhood’s other three-bedroom offering. It’s a fraction of the size of its neighbour but also a fraction of the cost: $1,498,000.



Lower Lonsdale Your dollar is going to go a lot further when you move east into North Vancouver and this popular neighbourhood. Four of the area’s 42 active listings have three bedrooms and several of the two-bedroom homes are more than 1,000 square feet. The North Shore’s cheapest three-bedroom condo ($818,000) can be found here. It’s in The Pier - West Esplanade and close to recreation and shopping as well as the SeaBus. For more than double your money, you can call a threebedroom unit in Pinnacle Residences at The Pier home. This 1,477-squarefoot condo is on the market for $1,988,000.

Active condo listings* 153

New listings in January


Condos reported sold in January


N. Vancouver January median selling price


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 39% 2 BR:52% 3+ BR: 7%

If sheer floor space is your goal and money is no object, make Deer Ridge at the foot of Cypress Bowl your destination 6 February 26, 2016


*Active listings up to February 12, 2016



Shadow flipping: Assignments with another name Understanding the term – and understanding when it’s to your advantage By Frank O’Brien


here has been a lot in the media recently about “shadow ipping,” as if the selling of assignments was something new to the Vancouver real estate industry. In fact, such sales were common in Vancouver’s condominium market two decades ago and still surface today, although savvy developers have made them less pro table and popular.

Assignments of yore Assignments rst appeared in the new condominium market and worked like this.... A buyer would purchase a new condominium under a pre-sale agreement one or even two years before the building was to be completed. Then, as the development progressed, the buyer would sell his or her assignment of the sales contract, often for much more than the original price. The assignment ipping craze came to a screeching halt with the downturn of Metro Vancouver’s housing market in 2008. For the rst time, condo investors caught with assignments were exposed to signi cant liability. Unless the assignment agreement expressly states the assignor (the original investor) is free from future liability – and the vendor agrees to it – the assignor remains exposed. If the assignee does not complete the purchase, the assignor can be sued for the damages suffered by the

The lessons learned a decade ago still remain: assignments only work for buyers in a rapidly ascending market

vendor. In a declining market, these damages can be signi cant, including the loss of any deposits. To protect themselves, condominium developers began to add terms to their pre-sales contracts. Common conditions include: • Prohibiting assignments until the developer meets certain sales thresholds. • Requiring the developer’s approval to assign (and this approval may be refused for any reason at all). • Charging a fee to assign. Metro Vancouver developers also became very good at analyzing and projecting the market, and setting prices that did not leave much room

for an assignment ipper to make a big pro t.

Assignments today Assignments work differently in today’s market, as they mostly involve the buying and ipping of sales contracts on existing homes. But the lessons learned a decade ago still remain: assignments only work for buyers in a rapidly ascending market.

As an investor, assignments can be pro table but they also expose you to great risk if the market falters, even temporarily. As a vendor, it is easy to end the practice by simply requesting a no assignment clause in your sales contract. Such a clause could reduce the number of buyers but, in today’s white-hot housing market, that may not be much of a problem.

Frank O’Brien is editor of Western Investor, the largest commercial real estate investment newspaper in Western Canada.


February 26, 2016 7



Redefining luxury with The Residences at Lynn Valley Bosa Development’s newest signature community is setting the bar for master planned projects in the invigorated Lynn Valley enclave


sk any real estate agent to list the most important things a home should have and you are likely to hear: location, location, location. At The Residences at Lynn Valley, not only is it nestled in arguably one of the North’s Shores most exciting re-energized neighbourhoods, surrounded by parks and more than 400 individual hiking and cycling trails, but it comes to you from a developer with a stellar track record spanning more than four decades. “This is more than just building a community, this is an investment in the future of Lynn Valley,” says Nat

8 February 26, 2016

Bosa, head of Bosa Development. “We have a rare opportunity with the community of Lynn Valley to create a central destination that is a model for other communities that desire to move forward without losing their identity.” Besides its reputation as Mother’s Nature’s playground, many young families from across the Lower Mainland are drawn to North Vancouver because it has a reputation for being home to really good public schools – the schools are compared to that of private schools. Designed by the award-winning Chris Dikeakos Architects, once


completed the community will feature six concrete Whistler-inspired buildings, ranging from four to 12 storeys encompassing 350 homes, with prices starting from $399,900. It will also be home to a new 43,000-square-foot Save-On-Foods, five new retail spaces and several public gathering areas featuring public art by local artists Thompson Brennan and David Robinson. This is Bosa’s way of promoting a sense of community that permeates the neighbourhood culture that Lynn Valley is known for. The exterior is an ode to the province’s rugged west coast. The buildings will be showcased by rustic timbers and steeply pitched rooflines, while rooftop gardens and bike lanes embrace the Lynn Valley’s active outdoor lifestyle. Inside, the surrounding elements of nature blur the line between interior and outdoor. Each home features wide plank engineered hardwood floors in palette of earth tones, generous ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and air conditioning to enhance comfort. The homes in Phase One of The

Residences, range from one-bedroom homes from 550 square feet, twobedroom homes from 791 square feet, up to three-bedroom homes with 1,294 square feet of living space, speak to the West Coast elegance that is Bosa’s signature. Phase One amenities include a social lounge, gym, bike repair room and even a dog wash. Each individual home comes with at least one parking

stall and individual storage locker. With the public Grand Opening on Saturday, February 27, 2016, now is your opportunity to own a magnificent home in a sought-after neighbourhood in a premium location. At The Residences at Lynn Valley, every detail has been carefully planned to offer the quality, superiority and refined living spaces you would expect from a Bosa Development home. The

presentation centre and show home, located at #100-1199 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver (at Lynn Valley Centre Mall), is open daily. For more information, Email info@lynnvalleyresidences.com, call 604-924-0166 or visit www.Lynnvalleyresidences.com. Tentative occupancy for Phase 1 is set for 2017.


February 26, 2016 9



Tri-Cities Looking for an affordable family home? Condominium living could be for you By Jill Lunde


ith detached home prices out of reach for many, more and more people are turning to condos as a family lifestyle choice. No, you don’t have the fenced backyard and the privacy. Then again, you don’t have to cut the grass or x the roof or any number of other maintenance issues that arise when you’re a homeowner. And, it’s way more affordable. While three-bedroom condos make up only four per cent of the Tri-Cities’ active condo listings, they offer great bang for your buck. The median selling price of a detached home in Coquitlam last month was just shy of $1.2 million. Compare that to the median listing price of the city’s seven three-bedroom condos currently on the market: $554,900. It’s the same story in PoCo. There the median selling price of a house in January was $780,000 while the most expensive three-bedroom condo listing is $165,000.

Coquitlam West Five of this neighbourhood’s 54 listings are three-bedroom condos,

with four of them in preconstruction developments. That would seem to indicate that Coquitlam developers are recognizing the need for more family-sized condos. The oldest property is in Brookmere Garden; it’s over 1,200 square feet and was listed about a month ago. For $450,000 you can call this newly remodelled unit close to three SkyTrain stations home. A three-bed condo in the nearby Foster building recently sold for $435,000 – one per cent below list. Its new owners are undoubtedly looking forward to the completion of the Evergreen Line as their new home is just one block away.

Central Port Coquitlam Port Coquitlam offers the most affordability in the Tri-Cities region and this particular neighbourhood currently has two three-bedroom condos on the market. Both are in the Orchard Valley complex and are priced at $149,000 and $165,000. The complex, which has an indoor pool, a rec centre, clubhouse, and a greenhouse, is close to numerous schools as well as libraries and a number of restaurants and cafés. With its easy access to local highways, this is also a good location for commuters.



Active condo listings* 249

New listings in January


Condos reported sold in January


Coquitlam January median selling price


Port Coquitlam January median selling price


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* 1 BR: 37% 2 BR: 59% 3+ BR: 4%

While three-bedroom condos make up only four per cent of the Tri-Cities’ active condo listings, they offer great bang for your buck 10 February 26, 2016


*Active listings up to February 12, 2016



Guide to being a landlord #1:

Creating a rental advertisement In the first of an occasional series on advice for first-time landlords, Michael Drouillard kicks off with advertising your unit By Michael Drouillard, courtesy of Self-Counsel Press


hether you’re a condo investor or just a home owner looking to rent out your unit, creating a good rental advertisement is a very important undertaking. Poorly constructed advertisements may get little response, making the job of renting a unit all the more dif cult. Your advertisement needs to answer as many questions as possible, without being too long and boring, to let you zero in on people who are looking for what you are offering. If it’s a website listing, make sure you include good-quality photos. You want a prospective tenant to circle – or click on – your advertisement when they see it (or better yet, call you right away), not pass you by to see what the next landlord has to offer. The more prospective tenants who see your advertisement, the better your chances of renting your unit to your ideal tenant.

What to include You will have to convey a lot of information with as few words as possible. So keep in mind the following details when you are creating your advertisement: Price: Some landlords do not list the price of the unit in the advertisement at all, though you are strongly advised to do so. If you do not include the price, prospective tenants

Your advertisement needs to answer as many questions as possible to let you zero in on people who are looking for what you are offering will likely go on to read the rest of the “for rent” advertisements, ignoring yours. Type of unit for rent: Most prospective tenants know what size of accommodation they are looking for. If you tell them in your advertisement what size of rental unit you have available, you’ll avoid calls from people looking for a three-bedroom house when you are trying to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Location: Stating in your advertisement where the unit you wish to rent is located will also help you avoid unnecessary telephone calls. You may list the exact address, basic area (e.g., downtown area), or something in between. Available facilities: Examples of facilities you could list include: furnishings (or none – see part two of this series), fridge and stove, fourpiece bath, coin-op laundry, parking, view of the lake, fenced yard, on-site

superintendent, and so on. If a unit shares a bathroom, kitchen or other room, you should say so in your advertisement. Included/not included in the rent: If you pay for the heat and hot water, but the tenant is responsible for paying the electricity, say so in your advertisement. If the tenant pays for heating, list the type of heating system (e.g., electric, forced air, gas, etc.). List in your advertisement either what is included or what is not included in the rent, or both. Preferences: You may prefer to rent to non-smoking tenants or have

a no-pets policy. You may prefer to rent to couples only, families only, or one tenant only. If you have speci c preferences, say so in your advertisement. And of course, ensure your chosen rules on smoking, pets and other restrictions adhere to your strata bylaws. Telephone number: The telephone number is by far the most important part of your advertisement. If prospective tenants cannot get in touch with you, you may have increased dif culty renting your unit. List all telephone numbers at which you can be reached while your advertisement is running. If you wish to receive calls only at speci c times (e.g., evenings or weekends), say so. Many prospective tenants will not leave voicemail messages or those on answering machines, so try to tell them how and when to get in touch with you. Do whatever it takes to be there to answer all calls. Fitting all this information into your advertisement is an art. Check local publications and websites for examples of rental listings in your area. If publishing in print, don’t be afraid to be creative with your advertisement: the more eyes that are attracted to your advertisement, the better your chance of successfully renting your unit. Try borders, headlines, or anything else that may attract more attention to your advertisement. Avoid listing the negative aspects of the unit, but never be deceitful. Always be honest when advertising and when answering questions about the unit or building. Next time: To rent your unit furnished or unfurnished?

Self-Counsel Press This article is an edited extract from Landlording in Canada Kit by Michael Drouillard, published by and reprinted here courtesy of Self-Counsel Press. To download the full e-book or for more information, go to www.self-counsel.com. Self-Counsel Press is Canada’s leading publisher of do-it-yourself reference titles, authored by experts but written in clear, easily understood language. Self-Counsel Press books and e-books help others help themselves by providing timely, reliable information and guidance at an affordable price.


February 26, 2016 11



Vancouver For the largest selection of family-sized condos, look no farther than Vancouver By Jill Lunde


f you want to buy a home in Vancouver, you’re going to pay top dollar. But that dollar goes farther when you eliminate single detached homes from your search and concentrate on the condo market. And, Vancouver condos have lots to offer families. Ten per cent of current condo listings are for properties with three or more bedrooms – that’s over 100 homes to choose from including seven four-bedroom units and two ve-bedrooms. The median selling price for a detached home on the West Side last month was $3.5 million. Compare that to the median listing price for the area’s three-bedroom condos (many of which are in brand-new or yet-to-be-constructed buildings): $2.1 million. On the East Side the numbers look even better. There, the median cost of a detached home in January was just under $1.5 million whereas the median listing price of threebedroom condos (many of which, again, are brand new) is $564,450.

Champlain Heights Three of the 19 active listings in this

East Side neighbourhood have three bedrooms and they are all in buildings now under construction in the up and coming River District. As the name says, this community runs along the river below Marine Drive and all three listings will have great views as well as access to building amenities. Prices aren’t cheap. They range from $1,129,900 in Polygon’s Rhythm tower to $1,299,900 in WesGroup’s Town Centre complex. A three-bedroom in that same Town Centre complex sold in early February. It spent 10 days on the market and went for its asking price of $959,900.



Active condo listings* 722

New listings in January


Condos reported sold in January

Marpole This neighbourhood in south Vancouver has 31 active condo listings, only one of which has three bedrooms. It’s a home in MC2 which was completed last month and is on the market for $615,000. The building is just steps from a Canada Line SkyTrain station and retail shops, and has an exercise room and a children’s play area. A three-bedroom penthouse at the nearby Park & Metro complex recently sold for its list price of $1,888,800. The owner will move in sometime in 2017 when the building is complete.


East Side January median selling price


West Side January median selling price


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 4% 1 BR: 34% 2 BR:52% 3 BR: 10%

This community runs along the river below Marine Drive and all three listings will have great views as well as access to building amenities 12 February 26, 2016


*Active listings up to February 12, 2016

14 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS SELLERS need answered before hiring a real estate agent to market & sell your home! Literally tens of thousands of dollars are riding on the agent you hire to market, present and negotiate the sale of your Vancouver home. And let’s face it - in real estate, as in life - not all things are created equal. Honest answers to these questions from the agents you are interviewing will help you to decide whom to entrust to market and sell your home for top dollar with the least amount of hassle.


What makes you different? Why should I list with you? What unique strategies do you use? Today, it is a much tougher and more dynamic real estate market than it was even 5 years ago. A successful agent stays up-to-speed on the complex, multi-dimensional marketing needed to reach all buyers, including mobile and internet-savvy consumers and international prospects.


How many properties have you marketed and sold in the last 12 months?

Did you know that only 10% of Vancouver agents sold more than 10 homes in the last 12 months? Working with top producers ensures \RX DUH UHFHLYLQJ WKH EHQH¿ W RI WKHLU experience, resources and their proven plan to deliver a successful sale.


How many contracts have you negotiated in the last 10 years?

The more contracts negotiated and the more exposure to cross cultural scenarios translate into better advice which delivers better results for you.


Do you work solo or with a team?

There are simply too many steps in the full process for a solo agent to do a great job of everything. A team approach is the only way to ensure you receive the attention to detail and the full service and consistent coverage that you deserve.


How do you manage all showings across all of your listings?

&RQVLGHU WKDW WDNLQJ R̆ WKH EDVLF WZR weeks of holidays, stats and 1 day per

week means your solo agent misses 74 days (20%) of the year to meet face to face with prospective buyers and highlight the best of your home. Does the agent have licensed property showing specialists as part of their team or do they miss opportunities to show and sell?


What is your pricing strategy for my home?

A realistic, market-based price point will attract the full scope of buyers and not just those looking to “steal the deal”. Setting the right price requires skill, experience, plus local market trends knowledge.


How long, on average, does it take your listings to sell?

Ask if the agent tends to sell a home faster or slower than average and compare that answer to your goals; this is an indicator of their expertise.


Beyond posting my home on MLS and its related pickup sites, where will my home be marketed online? Today, 92% of home buyers use the internet during their home buying process and nearly half of buyers look RQOLQH DV WKHLU ¿ UVW VWHS 'RHV KH VKH have a website dedicated exclusively to showcasing their clients’ homes? Does the agent’s internet marketing plan assure accessibility in Chinese and optimization for mobile devices?


Do you provide references from past clients?


What homes have you sold in my area?

An informed agent will provide you with their performance in your neighbourhood and area.


Do you provide a written schedule of the services you deliver?

A set of performance promises will clearly detail what you can expect from the agent, including recourse if they don’t deliver.

In closing, the sale of your home is likely one of the largest financial decisions you will make. The right agent with the skills, the plans and the commitment will deliver distinctly better results. We present these questions for your consideration in order that you make the right decision for you and your family. Please use these questions as a foundation for making the right choice for your needs.


Do you provide regular, updated market evaluations on my home?

Once your home is listed, how often do you update me on relevant market activity and overview?


What is your marketing budget for my home so as to stand out versus comparable listings? What percent of the agent’s commission will be dedicated to the marketing budget and how does this compare?


What marketing media mix will you use to display my home to the widest array of potential buyers?

Successful agents use a mix of search advertising, social media plus web sites for Vancouver, China, the U.S. and other international markets, and print media.

A trustworthy agent will be delighted WR SURYLGH UHIHUHQFHV IURP VDWLV¿ HG clients for you to review.

Buying or Selling, you’ve got to have Faith CONDOMINIUM

February 26, 2016 13


Strata management services:

Who makes the decisions? Looking for a (new) property manager? Do your homework to understand who is responsible for what

The success of your relationship with your strata manager relies on the diligence of the strata council, as its members are the supervisors of the terms and conditions of the contract

By Tony Gioventu


or most strata owners in BC, the thought of managing your own strata corporation is overwhelming. It is common for a 100-unit high rise with an asset value of $50-75 million to contain complex mechanical systems, retail and commercial offices, an underground parking garage, complex monitoring and security systems, and swimming pools and recreational facilities. On top of this, add service agreements for operations, resident staff and cleaning services, major construction projects, collecting strata fees and special assessments, paying bills, setting agendas for meetings, minutes,

14 February 26, 2016

record keeping, correspondence, and bylaw enforcement and it all adds up to the operation of a mediumsize corporation. Now consider your strata council members, many of whom work full time and act solely as volunteers for everyone else. The only option for most medium to large strata corporations is contracted strata management services. In British Columbia, strata management is a licensed and regulated activity under the Real Estate Council. Strata managers and brokerages must meet minimal education standards and qualification requirements, and are bound by the Real Estate Services Act, the RESA regulations and the rules of the Real Estate Council. Financial activities, such as the management of trust


funds, and the disclosure of financial relationships and benefits, are a key component of the legislation for the public interest. The success of your relationship with your strata manager relies on the diligence of the strata council, as its members are the supervisors of the terms and conditions of the contract, and of the terms and conditions that are set out in that contract.

Your management company acts as your agent So what can your strata contract for strata management services? The relationship that exists between a strata corporation and a strata management company is called an agency agreement. When a strata enters into an agency agreement,

they are appointing the company and their manager as their agent. Simply put, this means when the company or the agent act on your behalf they are acting with your authority. They are you. This is one of the reasons a strata corporation will want to have their strata manager named on their insurance policy. It is because you assume the liability for many of their actions as your agent. While a strata agency agreement implies they are your representative, they do not replace council, and the functions of general meetings, council meetings and the enforcement of bylaws are still performed by the strata council.

What to do before you sign Before your strata signs a strata management agreement, get your

lawyer to review the contract. Verify it complies with the legislation, it clearly defines what services are being delivered and when they are being delivered, the type of authority you are delegating to the manager, what happens in the event something goes wrong or your strata wants to terminate the contract, how duties are reported to the strata corporation, and how information such as third-party commissions, fees and services are disclosed. You also need to clearly understand what type of instructions your strata council will have to provide to enable your manager to do their job. Closely review the scope of fees associated with the services and how those fees are included in your

service agreement. In addition to the monthly or annual fee there may be hourly fees for additional council meetings or special general meetings, additional administrative costs like copying and record storage, and the strata management company generally provides forms and records for buyers and sellers. The company may retain the fees in exchange for providing these services. Successful relationships with strata management companies are a result of good communication with the council and owners, a fair and balanced service agreement, full disclosure of third-party fees and commissions, and a respectful level of supervision of the strata manager by the strata council.

604-263-1144 Kerrisdale

604-689-8226 Yaletown

604-263-1144 Main Street



If you are looking to buy or sell a condo or townhouse, your DEXTER REALTOR (backed by the entire ®

Dexter Team) has the knowledge and the experience to support and guide you through the entire process.

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February 26, 2016 15



Vancouver’s new home prices continue to quicken growth: StatCan New housing price index rises as building permit values increase in Metro Vancouver Across BC, new housing prices rose 2.3 per cent year over year – once more the country’s second-biggest rise whereas MLS® resale home prices are much more up to date.

Housing starts and building permits

By Joannah Connolly


etro Vancouver’s new housing price index increased again in December, further accelerating its pace of annual growth compared with the previous month, according to Statistics Canada data released February 11. The price of a new home in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) increased 2.6 per cent year over year in December 2015 – the third-highest annual rate of growth in the country, after Toronto–Oshawa and Hamilton CMAs, as has been the

16 February 26, 2016

trend for the past few months. Month over month, new home prices in Vancouver rose 0.2 per cent compared with November’s figures – a comparatively modest rise after seeing the country’s steepest monthly increases in Novemver. In December, the biggest contributor to Canada’s overall monthly new home price rise of 0.1 per cent was again Toronto– Oshawa. Across BC, new housing prices rose 2.3 per cent year over year – once more the country’s second-biggest rise, after Ontario – and 0.2 per cent month over month. Victoria CMA’s new home prices continued to slide in December, yet again down 0.5 per cent compared


with the same month last year and flat compared with the previous month. As has been the trend for many months, Victoria was one of just seven CMAs to record an annual new home price decrease in December, out of a total of 21 CMAs surveyed. Increases in new home prices often do not reflect those seen in the resale market, as the price paid for a new home is only measured when the transaction is completed and registered with the Land Registry, rather than when the home is originally purchased off-plan. Because of long lead times on home construction, the new home prices registered today are those homes sold many months or even years ago –

The news came a few days after the CMHC reported that Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) new home construction starts were trending at 20,790 units in January 2016 compared with 21,659 units in December 2015. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts. In the same week, Statistics Canada published its monthly building permit figures, which suggested the drop in local housing starts will not last for long, especially in the multi-family sector. Vancouver home building permits issued in December 2015 were valued at a total of $558 million, a rise of 98 per cent compared with the previous December, according to the statistics agency. This near-doubling of values was led by another leap in condo-apartment building permits, which soared 171 per cent year over year to $376 million. Single-family homes made up just shy of $114 million of December’s permit value in Vancouver, and $63 million was invested in townhomes and row homes.



Burnaby Looking for a condo to raise your family? Burnaby has some great choices By Jill Lunde


ith single family homes becoming increasingly expensive, more people are turning to condos as a place to settle down and raise the kids. While the median selling price of a detached house in Burnaby last month was nearing $1.5 million, condos – even the larger ones – were a much more affordable option. Find an apartment near a park, and you’re set for outdoor activity and you won’t be spending your weekends cutting the grass. Three-bedroom condos make up only six per cent of Burnaby’s active listings, but they can be found in neighbourhoods throughout the city from north to south.

Central Park With all the amenities in Central Park, this is a fantastic family community. While there are no schools in the immediate neighbourhood, several are within walking distance and the SkyTrain provides easy access to points throughout the Lower Mainland. Of the area’s 12 active listings, there are three two-bedrooms with over 1,000 square feet. All are

on the north side of Kingsway: two are in Durham Place (asking prices: $438,000 and $439,000) and the other is in Shef eld Court ($418,800). Nearby, a three-bedroom in the Paramount complex spent ve days on the market before being snapped up for $613,800 – two per cent over its $599,000 asking price.

Highgate Head east from Central Park, past Metrotown and you’ll arrive in the Highgate neighbourhood. Among the area’s 48 active listings, two are threebedroom homes and 14 offer more than 1,000 square feet of living space. One of the three-bedroom condos is a garden suite in Espirit 2 which boasts a large fenced patio. It was listed in early February for $598,800 – that’s almost a third of the cost of most detached houses in this city. It’s also close to shopping, a community centre and SkyTrain. A three-bedroom penthouse in the neighbourhood’s Arcadia complex sold recently. Listed for $739,900, this 1,398-square-foot home spent 27 days on the market before changing hands for one per cent under asking. That’s about half the price you’ll pay these days for a detached home in Burnaby.

It was listed in early February for $598,800 – that’s almost a third of the cost of most detached houses in this city 18 February 26, 2016




Active condo listings* 242

New listings in January


Condos reported sold in January


Burnaby January median selling price


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 1% 1 BR: 28% 2 BR: 65% 3+ BR: 6%

*Active listings up to February 12, 2016

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February 26, 2016 19



Choose the right neighbourhood for you While budget is paramount, you also need to take your lifestyle into consideration By Bob de Wit


re-approved and ready to purchase? Now how to decide where to buy in Metro Vancouver? Budget will be a large factor in choosing your neighbourhood. As of January 2016, the average cost for an apartment in Vancouver is $805 per square foot, whereas in New Westminster an average apartment is $374 per square foot, and Surrey is much lower at $215 per square foot. Although all three cities have access to rapid transit, each provides a unique set of amenities and lifestyle. And within each city, neighbourhoods vary greatly in price and lifestyle. Marpole and the up-and-coming River District in south Vancouver, for example, have not yet reached price levels compared to the rest of Vancouver. These neighbourhoods offer more per square foot compared to condos closer to the downtown core. Where you rent and work may not be where you can afford to buy so, in addition to cost, it is very important to consider the bene ts of each neighbourhood in relation to your lifestyle, especially when considering a condo as a long-term housing option.

What to consider when making your purchasing decision To help narrow down the choices, look beyond today, and anticipate your lifestyle needs for the next ve to 10 years. Considerations might include: • Urban versus suburban? How and where do you like to spend your free time? Is noise a factor? City centres or proximity to transit corridors will be noisier. • Transportation. If you commute, transportation will affect your time and your cost of living. Does the municipality you are looking at have

20 February 26, 2016

Anticipating your lifestyle and needs and understanding the real estate market will help narrow down your choice of neighbourhoods


access to rapid transit? Are there plans in place to add to transit? It’s a good idea to check with a city’s planning department. Condo amenities. When living in smaller spaces, amenities become more important. New developments often include a variety of communal spaces such as a yoga room, a communal barbecue on a roof-top deck, concierge services, and more. Be sure to compare amenities with strata fees for built-in costs. Municipal amenities. Schools, parks, recreation centres, and restaurants – think about your lifestyle, and what a community has to offer. Do you prefer to shop without a car? Is parking a concern? Will you need schools nearby or is restaurant choice important?

• Liveability. Consider walkability, cycling paths, and how close you are to your friends and family. • Culture. Do you like an artsy neighbourhood, or one with a little more grit? Neighbourhoods and condominium developments themselves all offer unique environments and should be explored before purchasing. Anticipating your lifestyle and needs and understanding the real estate market will help narrow down

your choice of neighbourhoods. On Wednesday, March 2, the GVHBA’s 22nd annual Home Buyer Seminar will feature industry experts sharing personal advice on all topics of the home-buying process, including a market overview, mortgage choices, and strata obligations, to name a few. This free event is an excellent opportunity to gather market statistics to help with your purchasing needs. Register at www. gvhba.org/events.

Bob de Wit is the CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association (GVHBA), a not-for-profit society representing the residential construction industry in the Greater Vancouver Area. Celebrating 40 years in 2014, GVHBA has more than 870 members and is proudly affiliated with the provincial and national Canadian Home Builders’ Associations. Follow Bob @rdewit or email bob@gvhba.org for renovation tips and industry trends.






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Richmond South Delta Family-friendly neighbourhoods beckon south of the Fraser By Jill Lunde



hile larger condos (three or more bedrooms) make up only seven per cent of Richmond and South Delta’s active listings, they are becoming an attractive alternative to people who no longer dream of owning a detached house. And, what Richmond has that few other municipalities do is a substantial number of four-bedroom units on the market. The beauty of these homes is they often come with great amenities and someone else takes care of all the maintenance. Your job is simply to relax and enjoy.

Cliff Drive This Tsawwassen neighbourhood is undergoing something of a renaissance with the Tsawwassen Springs development and the area’s only three-bedroom listing is part of that complex. It came on the market in early February for $879,900. Currently in preconstruction, this ground-level home will be ready for you and your family in 2017. The master-planned community includes a golf course along with a fitness centre as well as a wellness centre.

This community has been a going concern ever since the arrival of the Canada Line spurred the development of thousands of new condos. There are 382 active listings here – that’s over half of the total condos for sale in Richmond. Thirty of these are threebedroom homes and another nine have four bedrooms. One of the area’s newest threebedroom listings came on the market February 11; it’s also one of the cheapest at $329,000. It’s in an older building, Ascott Wynde, and clocks in at 950 square feet. If you would rather have a brand-new home, Riva is offering a three-bedroom for $659,900 that is currently under construction. Its oor space is 1,140 square feet and also has a den plus two large balconies. Three three-bedroom condos have sold recently in Brighouse. One home in Rosario Gardens spent just over 100 days on the market before nding a new owner for three per cent less than its $429,000 asking price. A home in the nearly new Quintet also sold for three per cent under its $756,800 list price. And, the owners of a River Green three-bedroom let their home go for $1,938,000 – 15 per cent less than list – after waiting 181 days for a better offer.

This community has been a going concern ever since the arrival of the Canada Line spurred the development of thousands of new condos 22 February 26, 2016




Active condo listings* 301

New listings in January


Condos reported sold in January


Richmond January median selling price


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 0.5% 1 BR: 32% 2 BR: 59.5% 3+ BR: 8%

*Active listings up to February 12, 2016


















Enhance your home with divine yet affordable

custom Italian cabinetry Partnership with renowned Italian designer enables Delta supplier GRB Italian Interiors to offer fine furniture at a lower price


taly is synonymous with great art, rich culture and amazing cuisine. It is also home to some of the finest furniture artisans in the world. Italian craftsmen are renowned for their workmanship and being ahead of the design curve. Style and innovation, as well as eye-catching design, are some of the landmark qualities of high-end and well-built European furniture. So, when it comes to well beautifully constructed cabinetry, they can appear to be works of art. GRB Italian Interiors Ltd. (GRB), through its exclusive partnership with Italy’s Garbo Arredamenti – a 24 February 26, 2016

renowned manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, closets, walk-in closets and entertainment centres – offers British Columbians a unique way to own personalized wellconstructed and stylish products, not only for residential homes but also for the business sector, including hotels, restaurants, shops and office buildings. Throughout Europe and beyond, Garbo Arredamenti has made its mark by focusing on superior craftsmanship and excellence in customer service. For GRB, the collaboration was the perfect fit, enabling it to specialize in offering unique furniture jewels,


suitable for those who want to live with high quality Italian furniture every day.

Why buy custom-made cabinetry? More than any other element, cabinetry sets the look and feel of a kitchen, bathroom or living or business space. One’s cabinets should reflect the overall decor of the room itself. Whether one’s style is contemporary or traditional, connecting the cabinets is very important to the overall ambience. Custom-crafted kitchen cabinets will have the look and functionality that is the way you envision it. Another great benefit is if your kitchen, bathroom or other room is oddly configured, or you have a curved wall, or some other uniquely interesting aspect to your space, it can be perfectly fitted with custom cabinetry. Some home owners are often reluctant to consider custom cabinetry, especially European cabinetry, because they can be costly. It’s true that cabinets are often the most expensive cost associated with a new build or renovation. In fact, on average it is nearly half of a kitchen remodelling budget. However, because GRB is not a furniture store or showroom and its

products are shipped directly from Garbo Arredamenti to the customer, the price is far less than one would expect to pay.

Lower prices don’t mean compromising on customer service From the initial consultation through to receiving your cabinetry to the installation, GRB is there to offer in-house interior design assistance throughout the process and guarantees your complete satisfaction. Garbo Arredamenti was founded

in 1904 by Angelo Giorgio, a highly skilled craftsman in the manufacture and restoration of furniture. As in all of the best traditions, Angelo’s expertise has been passed down from father to son and now in the hands of his grandson Denis Garbo. His old world craftsmanship is evident in every piece that the furniture company creates. Today, Denis Garbo is keeping true to Angelo’s commitment to the art of creating custom furniture. Some of the world’s most iconic stores, such as Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Cipriani, Testoni and Hard Rock Café, are

showcased by Garbo Arredamenti custom cabinetry. With more than 110 years’ experience in Europe and more than three decades in North America, GRB invites you to discover Garbo Arredamenti’s exceptionally wellmade cabinetry and closets. GRB is located at 109-1628 Foster’s Way, Delta, BC. The company serves both corporate and residential markets. For more information, visit the website at www.grbinteriors.com or call us at 1-877-723-5485.


February 26, 2016 25



Do you understand the

new down payment rules? The increase to the minimum down payment for home purchases over $500,000 is now in place. Atrina Kouroshnia explains the changes By Atrina Kouroshnia


ack in December 2015, the new Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau made changes to the minimum down payment required for borrowers who are purchasing with the minimum down payment, which is currently a minimum of five per cent down on any home below $1 million. The change was made to create stability for the overall real estate market and reduce risk. This new rule came into effect February 15, 2016.

Who the changes will affect This change will not affect the majority of Canadians, or anyone purchasing under the $500,000 mark, as the minimum down payment remains five per cent for those properties. But it will affect a number of home buyers in pricey cities like Vancouver and Toronto, where real estate prices are steep and the overall cost of living is high. The most common hurdle for homebuyers living in a pricey city is saving up for a down payment. Although the new rules will not affect everyone, as many buyers will have support from family in terms of a gifted down payment, or purchase below $500,000, it will certainly mean more savings will be required for those who perhaps waited a bit longer to get into a mid-entry condo or townhouse. First-time home buyers in British Columbia who are looking at taking full advantage of the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) would not be affected by the new down payment changes, as the maximum purchase price for full exemption is $475,000. From $475,000-$500,000 a partial exemption applies.

26 February 26, 2016

This change will affect a number of home buyers in pricey cities like Vancouver and Toronto, where real estate prices are steep This new minimum down payment also does not discriminate between first-time or repeat buyers, but given that the down payment is less than 20 per cent, the property must be owneroccupied or a second home and cannot be a rental property.

minimum of five per cent on the first $500,000 of the home price and 10 per cent on the remaining purchase price above $500,000. So, for a buyer who is hoping to purchase a two-bedroom condo in Vancouver and is looking at spending $600,000, assuming that they qualify

for the mortgage, their minimum down payment will rise from the current $30,000 (five per cent of $600,000) to $35,000. That is calculated as five per cent of $500,000 = $25,000, plus 10 per cent of the remaining $100,000 = $10,000. This is most likely not a deal-breaker for most, but considering that this buyer will also be paying $10,000 for PTT (calculated as one per cent of the first $200,000 and two per cent of the remaining purchase price), the extra $5,000 would definitely be something to budget for.

How the new minimum works The new down payment rule indicates that the minimum down payment required for purchases over $500,000 will have to be adjusted from the current five per cent. Assuming that they can qualify for, and can afford to service, the required mortgage, homebuyers will need a


Atrina Kouroshnia is an independently licensed mortgage broker in Vancouver, BC. She specializes in helping residents invest in their future through the purchase of their first home. She has a degree in Human Relations and Commerce, as well as past work experience in HR and real estate development. Atrina brings a holistic approach to the table when finding her clients the best mortgage available. She believes in complete transparency and ensures that her clients understand every detail of the process and all of their options. Go to mortgagebyatrina.com.



Surrey If Surrey is your choice for a family condo, you’re going to have to look hard By Jill Lunde


t seems ironic that the city many people turn to when they want a family home appears to have the lowest percentage of three-bedroom condos. Out of Surrey’s 686 active listings, only 17 have three bedrooms. Of those, roughly half are new to the market in 2016. Surrey has often been viewed as an affordable option for a detached home (where January’s benchmark selling price was $774,500) but condos are generally an even more affordable option. The median price of those 17 three-bedroom condos: $289,000. Now you’re talking affordability.

Guildford Four of this neighbourhood’s 85 current listings have three bedrooms with prices ranging from $254,000 to $335,000. That most affordable option is also the most recent to come on the market; it was listed in early February. It is a penthouse suite in Chatsworth Gardens – the complex offers two pools, two gyms, tennis courts, a hot tub, sauna, party/ meeting room, and a caretaker.

How’s that for amenities you won’t nd in a detached home? What’s more, the unit is within walking distance to Guilford Mall, all levels of school and transit. A three-bedroom home in nearby Charlton Park sold recently. Listed at $339,000, its owners only had to wait 15 days to receive an offer they couldn’t refuse: $336,000. This complex is also loaded with services; the new owners will soon be taking advantage of a clubhouse with an outdoor pool, spa, tness centre, billiards room, and a lounge area with kitchen facilities.



Active condo listings* 97

West Newton Travel a bit south and a bit west from Guildford and you will land in West Newton where another three threebedroom units are on the market. These range in price from $169,000 to $349,000. The cheapest is also the largest at over 1,400 square feet. It’s also the oldest: a 34-year-old home in Suncreek Estates. Don’t let the price fool you… there are still plenty of amenities in this complex including a tennis court and clubhouse. The unit is right across the street from an elementary school and is within walking distance of a number of community facilities.

Condos reported sold in January


Surrey January median selling price*


Change from January 2015


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 34% 2 BR: 62% 3+ BR: 2%

The median price of those 17 three-bedroom condos: $289,000. Now you’re talking affordability 28 February 26, 2016


*Active listings up to February 12, 2016



“Gaping hole” in multi-family market, consultant tells Vancouver developers Wealthy babyboomers are wellcatered for in luxury developments, but what about middleclass downsizing boomers? By Joannah Connolly


here’s a gaping hole in the multi-family housing market for medium-income baby boomers who are “reluctant” to downsize from their single-family homes, according to development consultant David Allison, author of The Stackable Boomer. In a speech at an Urban Development Institute breakfast seminar February 3 at the Pan Paci c Hotel in downtown Vancouver, Allison told the development industry delegates that, as demand from this massive demographic grows, more mid-level stock will be needed, and it has to cater for the speci c needs of boomers. “There will be a huge demand for multi-family from middle-class boomers: the ones who aren’t all that happy about having to sell the house in the suburbs in the rst place. But we aren’t building very much for them right now. “You see, as an industry we’re already successfully building and selling homes to the wealthy boomers who want a concierge and a wine-cellar and a built-in espresso machine in every room. But what about the boomers who can’t afford all that? They don’t want to live in buildings designed for rst-time homebuyers: they are scared of trying to sleep just down the hall from a part-time DJ who likes to have keg parties on the weekend.

Boomers want to know that hallways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, for example – but they don’t want to be told that

“There is a lack of choice in the market for the boomers who can’t afford the high-end product, and aren’t enthused about the entry-level product either.”

Social acceptance is key Allison explained to the sold-out audience that his research for The Stackable Boomer involved surveying 1,000 North American baby-boomers who have moved from a detached home and have been living in multifamily units for at least ve years. He asserted that social acceptance was a major factor in baby-boomers’ buying decision, and that it was important for them to feel that they are still part of the same social group as their peers who may still live in

large single-family homes, as well as feeling like they are a part of the community in their new home. Allison added that luxuries such as spa-like bathrooms were very low on the priority list of his 1,000 survey respondents, and that living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens were far more important to almost all of the boomers surveyed. He described these three rooms as “the show-off” triangle, as it is where boomers entertain friends and family, and suggested that

development costs be concentrated in this area, creating better value for the buyer. Allison also raised the importance of creating accessible, single-level homes to accommodate boomers’ needs as they age – even though the boomers don’t want to be reminded of this, he said, causing a laugh among the listening audience. “One of the interesting things we found out is that boomers want to know that hallways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, or a walker, or that grab rails can be added to the bathroom, for example – but they don’t want to be told that. They don’t want that to be in the sales material. So we have to nd secret ways to tell buyers this stuff.”

Joannah Connolly is the editor-in-chief of West Coast Condominium and Western Investor newspaper, and is the editor and content manager of Real Estate Weekly and REW.ca. She appears regularly on radio, TV and conference panels discussing the Vancouver real estate market.


February 26, 2016 29



New Westminster The Royal City is on record for wanting to create more family-friendly condos By Jill Lunde


ew Westminster city council made headlines recently for being the rst Metro Vancouver municipality to mandate that 10 per cent of new condos must have at least three bedrooms. That rule went into effect January 1. The mayor, who lives with his wife and three daughters in a condo, is intent on ensuring the city provides family-friendly housing. With the median selling price of a detached home in New West now approaching the million dollar mark, condos are becoming the affordable alternative for families as well as singles and couples. While the city’s current listings are not awash with three-bedroom options, New West does have a higher percentage of larger condos than most Lower Mainland municipalities. Of the 160 active listings, 10 per cent feature enough rooms for mom and dad and a son and daughter. With no maintenance to concern yourself with, you may even nd condo living means more time to spend together as a family.

The Quay New West’s historic waterfront has

some new parks for family fun as well as quick access to SkyTrain. Two of the area’s 16 listings have three bedrooms and several more are over 1,000 square feet. The Riviera has the largest of the neighbourhood’s listed condos and is also the most expensive. This sub-penthouse is 1,559 square feet and can be your family abode for $648,000. Slightly smaller at 1,347 square feet is a threebedroom home in Anchor Pointe that is on the market for $429,900. Both these properties were listed in January.



Active condo listings*

Queensborough Cross the bridge and discover this great family neighbourhood with easy access to parks, playgrounds, a community centre and two elementary schools. Five of the 21 active condo listings have three bedrooms ranging in size from 1,118 square feet to 1,348. Prices for these homes start at $458,000 for a 10-year-old unit in Paddler’s Landing to $652,800 for either of two homes for sale in the three-year-old Glasshouse complex. There are also a couple of threebedroom units available in the new Portage complex where you can be the rst family to call the space home.


New listings in January


Condos reported sold in January


January median selling price


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* 1 BR: 44% 2 BR:46% 3+ BR: 10%

Cross the bridge and discover this great family neighbourhood with easy access to parks, playgrounds, a community centre and two elementary schools 30 February 26, 2016


*Active listings up to February 12, 2016



How to divide (and conquer!)

your open-concept floor plan Creating a sense of separation while maintaining your condo’s flow can be tricky. Here’s what designers do

By Michelle Hopkins


ne of the biggest catch phrases, as well as one of the biggest design trends, of the last dozen or so years is the openconcept oor plan. In the Lower Mainland, condominium owners have embraced open layouts in a big way. Because most condominiums are small, it’s important to keep the space as open as possible to avoid feeling

that sense of claustrophobia you often get living in a con ned space. But the ip side of these open oor plans is that you are most likely cooking, eating, relaxing, entertaining, and, in the case of lofts, sleeping in one large room. While this is in many ways an open-concept condo’s appeal, it can sometimes be annoying if you crave some separation or privacy from your better half or roommate. “When all of your spaces ow together, it can feel sti ing in a different way,” says Alda Pereira, who

runs her own award-winning interior design rm in Vancouver, Alda Pereira Design. “Sometimes, it’s nice to have a little visual separation.”

Great divides Room dividers come in a wide selection of colours, nishes, materials, and design styles, and they are an interior design trend that has the power to enhance and separate your home. Curtain room dividers are the most cost-effective choice. Made of plastic or fabric, curtains are soft,


February 26, 2016 31

Room dividers come in a wide selection of colours, finishes, materials, and design styles, and they are an interior design trend that has the power to enhance and separate your home

flexible and flowing, adding an air of romance. Curtains add pattern, texture and vibrancy to any interior design. “Today’s contemporary room dividers are made with new and exciting materials and display innovative techniques and decoration patterns, allowing condo owners to add bold accents and personality to their own unique décor style,” adds Pereira. Screens come in handy when making use of wasted corners. Whether you want to section off a private area, shield some luggage or just add visual interest to a wall you can’t paint, a modern, decorative

32 February 26, 2016

screen can be a cheap fix. However, a word of caution. “Low wall dividers can seem awkward in a small room unless they’re done just right,” says Pereira. One of her preferred ways to divide up a space is with a custom-designed bookcase, which can be either stacked open-style or with closed shelving. “Not only do they provide muchneeded storage in small spaces, such as condos, but they look great,” she says.

Designer tricks Pereira’s rule of thumb is to match the height of the screen or bookshelf to the tallest person living in the


space, allowing two to three feet of space between the top of the unit and the ceiling. The only exception to her rule is an opaque divider, such as a paper screen or an open-shelving unit, that lets light through the centre. The seasoned designer frequently uses double-sided bookcases to break up a space, and they don’t always have to float in the middle of the room. They can also be placed against larger

pieces of furniture, such as a sofa or bed. “This trick helps create a defined space and gives your larger pieces of furniture something to anchor to,” she adds. “Another of my favourite ways to split a room is with mirrored structures.” Pereira explains that a mirrored partition, with mirrors on both sides, provides the benefit of both division

Whatever you choose, it’s important that the divider match up with your existing furniture

and continuity of space, all the while giving the illusion of a larger room. Yet more of her preferred partitions are the expandable metal mesh room dividers that hang from the wall. Not only do they add a design element, create privacy and enhance the sense of space, they also allow light in. “The expandable metals are limitless in terms of styles, colours and products offered,” adds Pereira. “They are strung and operated like draperies to open or close off your space.”

A touch of the Orient Perhaps the oldest forms of dividers are Oriental screens. The foldingroom screens were found in China in the seventh century where they were reserved for those of wealth or for royalty. Back then, the screens were very heavy, ornate, and stationary. Today they are used to divide rooms, create a more efficient use of the space within the room, and as accent pieces to add personality to your home. “Many Japanese screens fit into a modern space quite easily,” says Pereira, adding they can also be on casters so they can be moved around easily. “You can even make your own. You can purchase hollow doors from a hardware store, hinge them, paint them or customize them with fabric.” Sliding panels and movable decorative screens in antique, retro or contemporary style beautify any interior design. Whatever you choose, it’s important that the divider match up with your existing furniture. If your taste is rustic, a sliding barn door will match your aesthetics perfectly.

“Sliding barn doors can bring elegance and sophistication into your home interiors,” says Pereira. “These larger sliding doors offer a

homeowner the option to fully conceal a room for privacy and open it up to maximize the space.”


February 26, 2016 33




A selection of open show homes and sales centres across the Lower Mainland










Modello #118 - 5021 Kingsway Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.456.0688 ...................Pg 19



Milano 4247 Lougheed Hwy, Brentwood Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.294.8989 RICHMOND SURREY

Hazel #202 - 827 Roderick Ave Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.937.2599


Loughed Heights 581 Clarke Road, Coquitlam Coming this Fall 604.412.0313


Novella 711 Breslay Street Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.563.5777


Evergreen 3007 Glen Drive Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.942.2672



Residences at Lynn Valley 10 The 1175 Lynn Valley Rd Coming this Fall 604.924.0166 ...................Pg 3


Harbour Walk 12235 No 1 Road Open Mon to Fri 9 -4 pm, Sat & Sun 12 - 4 pm 604.274.7326 ...................Pg 23


Aragon 260 Salter Street Coming this Fall 778.398.1344 ...................Pg 2

Quay 11 West 21 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.988.8856

PORT MOODY 12 Clarke 909 Clarke Rd Call for more Information! 778.558.6377







Seylynn Village 600 Mountain Hwy Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.980.5000 ...................Pg 36

34 February 26, 2016


VANCOUVER 13 Sterling 3130 Arbutus St Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.428.8858

7th 14 West 2239 West 7th Avenue Open Mon - Fri: 9 – 5 pm 604.428.0588 Arc 15 The 89 Nelson Street Open Daily 10 – 5 pm 604.899.8800 & Metro 16 Park 688 SW Marine Drive Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.325.8111 Leveson 17 The 8188 Granville St Open Saturday 12 – 5 pm 604.880.8312 Wall Centre Kerrisdale 18 Shannon 1538 W. 54th Avenue Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.267.8882

10th & Maple 19 West 2001 West 10th Avenue Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604-739-2080

TSAWWASSEN Springs 20 Tsawwassen 5099 Springs Boulevard Open Tues – Sun 12 – 5 pm & Open by app. 604.948.4663

21 Brio 1625 56 Street Call for your Private Viewing. 604.657.9888 Northgate 22 CITYHOMES 1708 55A St at 18 Avenue Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.948.2345









604.980.5000 SEYLYNN.CA