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July 2016

CONDOMINIUM www.westcoastcondominium.ca


A GREAT PLACE TO CALL HOME Boutique development of classically inspired townhomes part of Marpole’s transformation P8-9

OUT OF TOWN Are vacation condos changing the recreational market?


THE RIGHT FIT How to choose a condo that suits your lifestyle


AVOID THE HEAT Part 2 of our insurance risks series: smoke alarms, heaters P22

DECK OUT YOUR DECK Décor ideas for outdoor entertaining – however small


Team Behroyan

1453 Bellevue Ave. West Vancouver, BC V7T 1C3

*Artist A st rend nderin e ng only. only. y The deve develope l lop r reservves the the right right to make k changes nges g and d mod mo ific fii ati fic attio atio ti n ns tto o thhe inform infor form rmati ationn combin atio combined ed d herei ereinn withou withoutt prior prior noti notice. ce. This is not an offer offering ing for sale l . E& &OE. E


July 2016

22 21

Townhouse teardowns Get used to that term, because it could happen more and more, says Frank O’Brien

Oak + Park: A great place to call home These classically inspired townhomes are part of Marpole’s transformation

What you’re allowed – and not allowed – to renovate without permission from the strata

Part two of our must-read insurance risks management series by FS Insurance Brokers

From cabins to condos Is the vacation condo changing the recreational property market? Part one of our out-of-town series

How to… Find a condo that is the right fit

22 11 16

The GVHBA’s Bob de Wit advises that you look beyond simply list price and floor space

17 4 July, 2016


Summer entertaining décor Expert design advice to make even small outdoor spaces perfect for a party

8 21

Cans and can’ts in condo renos

Taking the heat out of risk



8 Condo market snapshots 6 6 14 14 20 24 24

Vancouver North Shore Burnaby New West Tri-Cities Surrey Richmond/South Delta


Developers do more for affordability than politicians Condo industry has created more rentals, more quality homes, and more affordable homes than all the government programs combined


mid all the political handwringing about housing affordability in our region there is only one group that has done much about it. Condominium developers. Political response quickly boils down to some form of tax tinkering or further restriction on buyers. For instance, the federal government has increased the down payment on homes valued above $500,000 and made it harder for many buyers to qualify for a mortgage. The provincial government lowered the property purchase tax on new homes, which amounted to modest savings on a new condo purchased for less than $750,000. Then they raised taxes on new houses priced above $2 million, which is nearly all of them. Municipal governments zoned areas for higher density to create more condos, but also increased development cost charges, community amenity contributions and other civic expenses. All three levels of government have pledged to create more affordable homes for those most at risk, but it costs nearly twice as much to deliver a subsidized apartment than to build a

new condominium. What has resulted from all this political help over the past three years? The price of an average home has increased 50 per cent to make Vancouver the least affordable city in the country. The problem is demand. The solution is supply. And condo developers are the only ones stepping up. It was private developers who took the risk to build the first small condos that people could afford, who pushed for higher density, and who continually battle with NIMBY forces to deliver the homes that the public really wants. Today, you can buy a condo in Metro Vancouver for less than the Canadian home price average. A quick SkyTrain trip accesses condo prices similar to Halifax, Hamilton or Saskatoon. Such projects have generated more rental units (56,700) to the Metro Vancouver market than all of the social housing projects combined. The route to housing affordability is not government interference: it is by encouraging developers to supply enough condominiums to satisfy demand.

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



Your essential guide to condo life in the Lower Mainland









EDITOR: Jill Lunde

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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July, 2016 5


Vancouver June rains fail to dampen hot market By Jill Lunde


t’s a great time to be a condo seller in Vancouver with markets on both the West and East Sides continuing to experience growth. June sales were up over the previous month by 1.2 per cent on the West Side and a similar 1.1 per cent in the East. The latter market is


Active condo listings*

Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 32% 2 BR: 46% 3+ BR: 20%

seeing some outstanding performance with the median selling price there a remarkable seven per cent higher in June than in May.

Grandview Commercial Drive and Broadway bisect this popular neighbourhood. If you’re keen to live here, check out the six condo listings, five of which were



Median price per square foot*

New listings in June



Median days on market*

Condos sold in June

listed in June. For $319,888 you can call a one-bedroom in La Contessa home. Or, if you have more to spend, how about a two-bedroom in Landmark Place that is going for $647,900? None of June’s eight sales reported during our data collection period went for under asking and only one sold right on the mark (a one-bedroom in Landmark Court for $318,000). A two-


June West Side median selling price*

down $12,000 from last issue


June East Side median selling price*

up $33,500 from last issue *Active listings up to June30, 2016

bedroom in Cedar Cottage Estates took 11 days to close at a stunning 24 per cent over its $499,000 price.

West End There’s an energy and a buzz in this community that’s unlike anywhere else in Vancouver. You can become part of the vibe by picking up one of the area’s 60 active listings which range in price from $350,000 for a one-bedroom in Westsea Tower to $8,680,000 for a four-bedroom in Beach Avenue’s Cinque Terre. Our reports show 37 West End condos sold last month. The new owner of a studio in Beach Town House Apartments should be proud of their negotiating skills. They closed at eight per cent under the $498,000 list price. At the other end of the scale, the former owners of a onebedroom in Broughton Towers should be doing a happy dance. Their unit went for 24 per cent more than its $445,000 list price.

North Shore The ups and downs of real estate reflected in the North Shore market


ummer traditionally shows a slowdown in real estate sales and that was certainly apparent in West Vancouver. This municipality showed a 34 per cent decrease in sales last month over May. North Vancouver defied that trend, with sales up 0.7 per cent for the same time period. Sellers have no reason to worry. Our reports show condos in both markets still moving quickly and most selling at or over asking price (80 per cent in West Vancouver and 76 per cent in North Vancouver).

Hamilton Conveniently located within walking distance of transit and many soughtafter amenities, there are currently 10 active condo listings in the Hamilton neighbourhood. These start at $309,900 for a one-bedroom in Panorama Court and go no higher than $1,388,000 for a three-bedroom 6 July, 2016

in Remix that was brand new to the market on June 30. A two-bedroom in Remix takes the area award for highest over-asking sale in June. The sellers only had to wait 11 days before accepting an offer of $553,500 – 12 per cent more than their $489,000 list price. The owners of a two-bedroom in Gateway had to lower their expectations. They sold for three per cent under their $565,000 preferred price after 17 days.

hoping for $2,998,000. Just a handful of condos changed hands in June and none went for less than asking. The greatest difference


Active condo listings*

was the 21 per cent over asking that the buyers of a two-bedroom in Parkview Tower paid. Listed at $799,000, it sold for a touch over a million.



Median price per square foot*

New listings in June

Ambleside With its beachside location, it’s no wonder this is one of the North Shore’s favourite neighbourhoods. There are 15 condos on the market beginning with a one-bedroom in Oceanbrook that joined the market in late June for $348,500. There are plenty of homes with million dollar views and prices to match. The most expensive current condo listing is a three-bedroom in Ambleside Citizen whose sellers are


Type of inventory* Studio: 1% 1 BR: 27% 2 BR: 48% 3+ BR: 24%



Median days on market*


June West Vancouver median selling price*

up $294,000 from last issue

Condos sold in June


June North Vancouver median selling price*

up $6,000 from last issue *Active listings up to June30, 2016

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University - $828,000 In the Heart of UBC 2 bed/2 bath Karen Chang 604-700-8092

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Kitsilano - $1,399,000 Kits Beach Penthouse 1 bed/2 bath Catherine Cunningham 604-263-1144

Mount Pleasant - $1,458,000 Eric Stine Designed 4 bed/4 bath David L Young 604-329-3288

Mount Pleasant - $1,458,000 Brand New Mt Pleasant 4 bed/3 bath David L Young 604-329-3288

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University - $1,780,000 Water & Mountain Views 3 bed/3 bath Jackie Chan 604-318-7788

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Kitsilano - $2,725,000 Kalifornia meets Kits 4 bed/4 bath Paige Kraft 604-603-3475

Shaughnessy - $4,980,000 Park-like Setting 3 bed/3 bath Tyler Peerless 604-833-3039

North Vancouver - $1,139,900 Bright West Facing 3 bed/3 bath Giselle Miller 604-263-1144

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Delta - $414,800 Ladner’s Best 2 bed/2 bath Kelsey Lynch 604-831-7536

Richmond - $368,000 First Time Buyer or Investor 1 bed/1 bath John Zhou 604-537-5253

Coquitlam - $338,000 Quality Finishings 1 bed/1 bath Naseem Shivji 604-808-9347

New Westminster - $218,000 Downtown New West 2 bed/1 bath David L Young 604-329-3288

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Enjoy the security and confidence that comes from dealing with professionals who care! Call us or visit www.dexterrealty.com to view all of our listings. CONDOMINIUM

July, 2016 7


Oak + Park: A Great Place to Call Home Boutique development of classically inspired townhomes part of Marpole’s transformation


here’s a real transformation going on in Marpole. Th is enclave is set to become yet another desirable neighbourhood in the red-hot Vancouver Westside market. Th is is where Alabaster Homes is developing its newest townhome project – Oak + Park. “Marpole is Vancouver’s next prestigious neighbourhood,” says Yosh Kasahara, director of sales and marketing at Alabaster Homes. “Its Westside location, top-ranked schools, and proximity to Richmond and YVR (Vancouver International Airport) make it the perfect place to invest and live.” The collection of 40 open-concept homes, ranging from 1,300 to 1,600 square feet, feature air-conditioning, quartz countertops, premium stainless-steel appliances, wide-plank hardwood floors, as well as heated ensuite flooring. The stylish exteriors feature extensive use of traditional white brickwork and distinctive black metal detailing, making these homes stand out. Designed by the multiple-award8 July, 2016

winning firm of Ciccozzi Architecture, Oak + Park is a fusion of classic design and contemporary West Coast elements. “Th is is a flagship project for Alabaster Homes. Our vision for Oak + Park is to deliver a project that raises the bar for new townhomes in the city,” he adds. The three-bedroom-plus-den-andflex residences are located within the catchment of some of the city’s most prestigious schools, including David Lloyd George Elementary and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary – an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. “The IB school was a big draw for buyers at our last two projects,” adds Kasahara. “These parents want to give their children the best opportunities, and the program at Churchill Secondary is among the best in the country.” Bounded by Oakridge to the north and Richmond to the south, Oak + Park is well situated, close to Marpole Town Centre, which is known for its eclectic blend of shops and amenities. It is minutes to the Canada Line and


transit, and the new facilities at Cambie and Marine Drive, which includes a T&T Grocery Store, Cineplex movie theatres, and more. For sports enthusiasts, Oak + Park is a short distance from the OakridgeMarpole Community Centre located at West 59th Ave and Oak Street. The centre is adjacent to Oak Park, which offers many walking trails throughout the park, picnic areas, and a kids spray park. In addition, there is a playground, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor roller hockey, soccer and softball. Alabaster Homes brings to the table more than 25 years of experience building quality homes throughout Metro Vancouver. In Marpole, the developer recently completed the sold-

out Osler Residences and launched Shaughnessy Residences – both boutique-style townhome projects. “We believe in bringing thoughtful design, quality construction, and outstanding customer service to our buyers,” says Kasahara. “An Alabaster Home is one that you can count on providing comfort and enjoyment for generations.” The sales centre, located at suite 301–1788 W Broadway, is open by appointment only. Prices start from $1.1 million. Completion is slated for 2018. To register or for more information about Oak + Park Townhomes, call 604-558-5851 or visit www. alabasterhomes.ca/oak-and-park

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Vacation condos: Is the summer getaway changing with our hot market? By Susan M Boyce


ummer’s here. Long sunny days, barbeques with friends and family, vacations at the cottage: let the good times roll. But with the skyrocketing price of real estate, owning a primary residence is challenging enough for many, which means owning a detached vacation cabin is sheer fantasy. So will the recreational condo replace

10 July, 2016


the traditional family cabin? Most real estate insiders say that it won’t, but that it may evolve as a new hybrid that’s part vacation getaway, part revenue property, and partly a way to transition into retirement. A condo’s biggest advantage is, hardly surprisingly, affordability. No matter what the location, condominiums cost less than a detached property with similar square-footage and finishings… period. It’s also as close to maintenance free as you’re likely to find – strata fees pay for most things outside

our own suite. As a bonus, you might get some fancy amenities: pool, gym, outdoor lounges, even secure private gardens located on the podium level or rooftop of a larger building. On the “cons” side, you’re going to be close to your neighbours – just like you are at home if you live in an urban centre. With 94 per cent of respondents in Re/Max’s 2016 Recreational Report stating that a quiet, tranquil atmosphere is key to their purchase decision, this proximity translates into a major deterrent. Even at a vacation

As the weather and market get hotter, we take a look at whether people are turning to recreational condos as the new cabin in the first of our Out of Town series

destination as popular as Cultus Lake, at least two attempts to build luxury vacation condos during the past five years failed to gain traction – in sharp contrast to cottage-style offerings that sold, if not with lightening speed, at least at a steady pace. Then there’s the tricky question of condo zoning and bylaws. “The average person who wants to purchase a vacation home is almost certainly going to rent it out at least part of the time, because it’s the only way they can afford one,” says Anthony Bastiaanssen

Some buyers in Kelowna are employing an innovative strategy to make a vacation condo work

from Re/Max Kelowna. Tapping into the burgeoning power of online booking services like AirBnB has made this far easier than it used to be, however most strata bylaws and many municipal zoning regulations prohibit short term rentals — some prohibit rentals of any kind.

The Whistler Exception One notable exception is Whistler. In this year-round, outdoor lover’s paradise, a majority of homes must be rented – although specifics of

those regulations vary dramatically. “If your home has Phase One zoning, you live there full-time or rent it out for whatever time period you want – daily, weekly or longer,” says James Askew, president of rareEarth Project Marketing. “The only thing you can’t do is leave it empty.” Phase Two zoning, also known somewhat infamously as condo hotels, is even more restrictive. “You can only use your property for 28 days in summer and winter, and the rest of the time it must be rented out through the hotel’s management


July, 2016 11

No matter what the location, condos cost less than a detached property with similar squarefootage and finishings…period

program.” For some, though, benefits outweigh the restrictions. Thirty-year real estate veteran John Ryan of Whistler Real Estate Co. says 2016’s first quarter was the strongest he’s seen since 2003. Driven by low interest rates and a strong US dollar, he notes the average condo transaction was $314,300 – a price that’s frequently well below replacement costs and definitely below the original prices when first built. In Sun Peaks, Whistler’s younger sister, prices are well below the levels achieved in 2007, according to Liz Forster, agent with Sotheby’s International Canada. “Buyers are still cautious, though, and probably 75 per cent of condo homes are rented out when the owner isn’t using them.”

Okanagan Options Farther south in the Okanagan, Bastiaanssen notes there are also still affordable condo properties to be found in most areas outside Kelowna, 12 July, 2016

but there’s definitely increasing upward pressure on the bottom line – meaning buyers need to grab a deal when they see it. He also sees a growing trend among mature but still-working buyers. “These people are looking ahead to when they move to the Okanagan full time. They want to park their money – and perhaps earn some rental revenue when they aren’t using it themselves – for when they retire. That way, even if they don’t end up retiring to the vacation property they buy today, they’ll still be buying and selling in a relative market.” Jamie Maw, a real estate agent who splits his time between Kelowna and Vancouver, sees some purchasers employing an innovative strategy to make a vacation condo work. “Kelowna is a big university town now, so if you rent to students from September to May, you can still use your condo during the prime summer months. And if you decide to rent in the summer as well, you’ll get an even higher rate because


it’s high season.”

Island Life In the quest for a vacation condo, Vancouver Island has become something of an oddity. True, Victoria’s condo market is booming as Metro Vancouverites cash out the equity in their home and escape to a more affordable (at least for now) setting. But like the rest of the Island, the point is these people are moving… packing up lock, stock and barrel and making a new life in a new fulltime home, not using it as a weekend getaway. Nanaimo, according to Janice Stromar, president elect of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, has some attractive condo pricing –

for $200,000 to $250,000 it’s relatively easy to get an older, two-bedroom facing the water – but virtually zero tolerance for short-term rentals. She also acknowledges many snowbirds will simply lock up their summer home and leave it empty when they head south for the winter. Whether this will be a precursor to the same evening dead-zone experienced in Coal Harbour remains to be seen. Looking ahead, despite the challenges, those who flex their vacation-home-buying muscles in the condo market will most likely do no worse than make an investment that appreciates over time, brings pleasure now, and could become a new lifestyle in retirement. Not such a bad thing, all round.


Townhouse teardowns: Get used to the term For the first time, townhouse owners can more easily access the true value of their property

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


his spring, an 88-yearold teardown house in Vancouver’s Point Grey sold for $9 million, more than one million dollars over the asking price. Across most of Metro Vancouver, many older detached houses on even small lots can sell for $1.5 million, yet are soon demolished. It is all about the land value, of course, not about the building. So, if a single house on a 33-foot lot is worth that much, how much is a home sharing an acre worth? We are about to find out as, for the first time, owners of old townhouses get a better chance to cash in on the value of the land beneath their floor. Get used to the term “townhouse teardown.”

Change fueled by change to Strata Property Act The reason is a transformative change in B.C.’s Strata Property Act that now makes it easier for strata owners to vote

to disband their strata corporation, and sell the entire complex to a developer. When the change was first made, it was suspected that owners in older condominium apartment buildings, especially those facing higher and increasing maintenance costs, would be the main beneficiaries. But I believe the biggest potential is for townhouse owners. When the first townhouses were built in Vancouver four decades ago, they were competing with detached houses. This means larger lots with lower density and often in prime locations, such as close to hospitals, transit improvements or parks. As well, townhouses are almost invariably constructed in wood, which makes a two-storey project much easier to tear down than a concrete condo tower. The lower density also means there can be less than two dozen owners in older townhouse projects, some of which can sprawl over half a city block. But a dilapidated bungalow on the

There are reports of developers offering such owners two to three times the unit’s appraised value

same street is often worth more than twice the price of a larger, nicer and newer townhouse, because strata owners could only access the value of their unit, not the land value. The new rules change that. In a 20unit townhouse project, just 16 people can vote to sell the entire property. There are reports of developers offering such owners two to three times the unit’s appraised value.

Cashing in on allowances for increased density If you own a townhouse unit in an older complex, investigate the

land values in your neighbourhood and apply it against the size of your development. Find out about recent density zoning in the area. If it is higher than the existing floor/space ratio of your project, the potential land value could be much higher than you suspect. Then, meet with your fellow owners and talk strategy. Townhouse teardowns should be a welcome development. They will allow construction of better and more homes, expand the tax base and community amenities and, most importantly, allow many owners to finally realize the full value of the property.


July, 2016 13


Burnaby Forget a summer lull… condos in Burnaby continue to sell quickly By Jill Lunde


hile sales of detached homes and townhouses in Burnaby dropped in June, condo buyers continued to be out in full force last month, driving sales up 12 per cent over May. Buyers still have a choice of 395


Active condo listings*

Highgate This Burnaby South neighbourhood currently has 35 condo listings starting at $229,599 for a one-bedroom in Hambry


Median price per square foot*


Type of inventory* 1 BR: 23% 2 BR: 48% 3+ BR: 29%

active listings, ranging in price from a one-bedroom in Valhalla Court near Burnaby Hospital for $175,000 to a three-bedroom in Centrepointe in Forest Glen for $1,790,000.

Median days on market*


New listings in June

Court that entered the market in late June. At the other end of the spectrum is a three-bedroom penthouse in West that can be yours for $1,428,000. Area sales have been brisk with 22 showing up in our June reports. Owners were accepting offers anywhere from nine per cent under asking (a onebedroom in Linden House that took just under a month to sell for $198,000)


June Richmond median listing price


up $22,000 from last issue

Condos sold in June

*Active listings up to June30, 2016

to two condos that went for 12 per cent over list (a one-bedroom in City Club that took close to two months to sell for $285,008 and a two-bedroom in Gemini II that went for $650,000 after nine days).

Simon Fraser University Considered a prime location for investment properties and university workers, there are more than 40 condos in the SFU community crying out for new owners. You can call the area home for as little as $199,000 (a onebedroom in Highland House) or as much as $1,360,000 (a three-bedroom in Altitude). More than 15 condos in the area changed hands last month. The happiest buyers snapped up a one-bedroom in CentreBlock for two per cent under its $346,800 asking price the same day it went on the market. The happiest sellers waited 10 days to receive an offer nine per cent over their list price of $348,000 for their two-bedroom Harmony home.

New Westminster Frantic sellers’ market shows signs of slowdown


ondo sales in New West slowed somewhat in June and were down eight per cent over May. The other good news for buyers is that new listings also slightly outstripped sales, indicating there were plenty of new options to check out. However, don’t let those numbers fool you into thinking the tide is turning. Stats from April to June 2016 still indicate a healthy sellers’ market with sales up more than 27 per cent over the same three-month period a year ago. Our data reported on 73 of the Royal City’s June sales with condo buyers spending anywhere from 13 per cent under list price (an Uptown threebedroom sold for $1,318,000 after 15 days) to 20 per cent over (a two-bedroom in Quayside Terrace that was asking $484,900 and broke the low $600,000s).

Sapperton There’s significant growth as this 14 July, 2016

neighbourhood undergoes revitalization. You can get your foot in the door for $182,000 (a one-bedroom in Crestwood Cedars) or, if you’re feeling flush, $1.1 million will buy you a penthouse in the under-construction Sapperton at Brewery District. Our numbers show one area sale in June. The owners of a two-bedroom in Copperstone showed great fortitude, holding out 131 days before accepting an offer four per cent over their $269,000 list price.

Downtown Cafes, restaurants, diners, specialty and novelty shops – you name it, this neighbourhood has it. If those amenities appeal, check out some of the area’s 55 current condo listings. Prices start at $189,900 for a one-bedroom in Peppertree and creep up to $1,598,000 for a three-bedroom in The Point. We noted 18 Downtown New West


sales in June. Accepted offers ranged from four per cent under list (a twobedroom in Kinnaird Place sold for


Active condo listings*

$168,000) to 15 per cent over (a twobedroom in Agnes Terrace that changed hands for $390,000).


Median price per square foot*

Type of inventory* Studio: 1% 1 BR: 31% 2 BR: 54% 3+ BR: 14%



Median days on market*


New listings in June


Condos sold in June

June median selling price*

down $20,250 from last issue *Active listings up to June30, 2016



Choose a condo that’s the right fit for you Amenities play an important role in supporting healthy, happy families

Whatever your condo-buying budget, you need to think more about lifestyle and location than size


here is a lot of discussion today about condo living and the trend toward smaller floor plans, but more important than size is the fit. Whether you can afford a 400-squarefoot or 2,000-square-foot condo, if the fit isn’t right, the outcome can be less than desirable. It is easy to be wowed by new developments with fancy European appliances and high-end building amenities, but as a buyer you need to stay focused on your minimum lifestyle requirements. This is even truer than when buying a single-family home because a condo will come with particular features – and restrictions. Close living quarters place an emphasis on noise levels, location and light, all of which will most certainly have an impact on your lifestyle.

Noise levels

Bob de Wit is the CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association (GVHBA), representing the residential construction industry in the Greater Vancouver Area. Celebrating 40 years in 2014, GVHBA has more than 880 members and is proudly affiliated with the provincial and national Canadian Home Builders’ Associations. You can reach Bob at bob@gvhba.org.

16 July, 2016

The amount of background noise will vary by neighbourhood. In the city centre alone, sound can differ within just a few blocks. Float planes and rushhour traffic are typical noises heard in Coal Harbour, whereas just around the corner in Gastown, the congestion and noise of people talking will be constant throughout the day with tourists, and partygoers returning from the


restaurants and bars late into the night. Think about your day, sleep patterns and what will work for your lifestyle. Spend a day in the neighbourhood. Drive through early morning and late at night, on both a weekday and weekend night. Take a hard look at the amenities in the surrounding neighbourhood as they will provide keys to the level and type of noise one can expect. The benefits of proximity to the grocery store will most certainly come with early morning delivery trucks, and hospitals will come with helicopters and sirens. Also consider the amenities and bylaws of the development. Young families attracted by condos with playgrounds and pools might have more tolerance for early morning noise, whereas a 55+ building might be more stringent with their noise bylaws.

Location One of the most important aspects of where you buy is the location, as this will have the biggest impact on your lifestyle. You might prefer to live centrally, walk everywhere, be close to work, near amenities and so on, and be prepared to sacrifice space for these benefits. Or you might prefer or need more space, a quieter neighbourhood, and be OK with being further from the action. It’s a careful balancing act. It’s not just about location of the building. The location of your unit within the development is also important. Think about what you carry with you every day; groceries, kids, pets, work bags, a bike – your “everyday

gear”. Proximity to parking, storage, the street and elevator will impact ease of accessibility – every time, every day. Views can be great, but are not always practical. If you have a dog that needs to go out several times a day, waiting for an elevator on the 15th floor might not be as practical as a lower-level or a ground-floor unit with courtyard and street access. Be sure to look at the neighbouring buildings and future plans for the area’s development. Views and daylight can be greatly impacted as additional sites are developed. It’s always a good idea to ask the developer and check with the municipality’s planning department.

Light and orientation The level of light and access to cross breezes a unit receives throughout the day will impact the air temperature. South-facing units with floor-to-ceiling windows are bright and sunny, making them generally more desirable, but can get very hot in the summer months. If you prefer less heat, a cooler option may be a mountain-facing view on the north side. You might even save a few dollars on the purchase price as southfacing units typically cost more. If you are buying a unit with a balcony or deck, think about whether you want to sit in blazing sun or would actually prefer a shadier outdoor space. It’s all about individual needs, preferences and lifestyles. For additional information on buying a condo, and to source developers throughout Metro Vancouver, go to www.gvhba.org


Décor ideas for summer entertaining Move the party outdoors with these designer tips

By Michelle Hopkins


othing says party time better than a beautifully decorated home. Summertime is the season when we tend to entertain a little more because we can take the festivities outside as well. If you live in a condominium, having an outdoor deck or patio is especially important during larger gatherings.

West Coast Condominium went to award-winning interior designer Jamie Banfield, principal of Jamie Banfield Design, for some decorating tips that will make your condo a showstopper for your next social. “The first piece of advice I give clients is think ahead and then shop first in your own home,” says Banfield. “In the industry, we call that redesign wear… find new uses for what you already own.” Start by recycling your holiday decorations. The seasoned designer

will often raid his clients’ Christmas boxes to uncover items such as lantern holders, candles, or strings of lights that, with a little DIY elbow grease, can become distinctive summertime décor items. “You can take those Christmas lights, preferably not the traditional ones but the clear or white bulbs, and wrap them around your deck railing. In your home, use them on shelving or your indoor tree for some ambience,” he adds. “I also love decorative tape (also called frog tape). It is available


July, 2016 17

The seasoned designer will often raid his clients’ Christmas boxes to uncover items that, with a little DIY elbow grease, can become distinctive summertime décor items

in so many colours and styles and you can do just about anything with it, from decorating vases to creating fun patterns on tables and chairs.” Nothing jazzes up your space more than layers. Banfield, a condo dweller himself, once took a plain outdoor carpet and spray painted bold geometric patterns it – creating a super one-of-a-kind rug. “I know it sounds cliché but to save money and still create that wow factor you have to think outside the box,” he says.

Rethink what you already have If you have dated accent pillows or cushions, dust them off and recover 18 July, 2016

them with indoor/ outdoor fabric. “There are great water and stain repellant fabrics that look amazing,” Banfield says. “Today, they come in fabulous geometric shapes, bold colours and trendy prints with added details such as bicycles, fish, or the everpopular beachy tones and motifs. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colour… black and white cushions complement bold, colourful ones really well.” If you have a small patio or deck with no real room for a table year-round, take your tufted ottoman outdoors; it can double as a table for your next party. “Place your vase of favourite flowers and a few candles on it and it will look great,” advises our expert.


Flower pots, mason jars, and small buckets make great accessories If you are looking for ways to add a punch of colour to your summer décor, grab some of your pots or planters (or buy inexpensive plain ones). Then, take some barbecue sprays (available in lots of different colours at home hardware stores) or chalkboard spray paint and create your own unique pots. Banfield loves storage stools, benches and tables that fold up and can be brought out for your next gathering. Buy some metal pots or little buckets and hang them on your railing. You can use hooks that you hang pots and pans from in your kitchen. Then, fi ll them with your napkins or salt and

Take your mason jars and fill them with sand and candles for an easy, ornamental touch

pepper shakers. Yet another can house utensils and one can be fi lled with fresh mint so your guests can pick their own mint for their cocktail. Take your mason jars and fi ll them with sand and candles for an easy, ornamental touch. Living on the west coast, it is easy to find drift wood on a beach or downed branches on your next walk. “Take those pieces of wood, nail them together and you can have a cool rustic serving tray,” Banfield says. At his own wedding, Banfield says there were many children. He found a three-sided, six-foot-tall cardboard lemonade stand at Ikea for about $20 and, funked it up. “It looked like an old school stand and we added pockets and fi lled them with straws, cups and fab napkins so the kids could have their own cool bar during the cocktail hour.”

Glam up your space with mood lighting To set the mood at a soirée, Banfield loves lanterns in all different shapes and sizes. “You can cluster them around or if you have an overhang or a post on your deck, hang them up,” he says. “Or you can string them across your table. Use LED lights or candles.” Faux shrubs are really hot today. “They look real and are great left out on your patio all year round,” he says, adding that festooning them with a set of Edison light bulbs makes them even showier. Not only do the lit shrubs provide height but, when it’s dark and your guests are sitting around, it can really set the tone. Lastly, Banfield says have some outdoor blankets (preferably made with natural fibers) to keep your guests warm on a cool evening.


July, 2016 19


Tri-Cities Sales dip but median selling prices way up By Jill Lunde


ondo sales took a downturn in Coquitlam (-5.1 per cent) and Port Coquitlam (-20.4 per cent) last month but managed to stay above the water in Port Moody (+7.9 per cent). The remarkable story is how much more buyers were spending. The median selling prices in


Active condo listings*

June were up across the board compared with May: seven per cent in Coquitlam; 14 per cent in PoCo; and three per cent in Port Moody.

North Coquitlam This quiet neighbourhood close to Coquitlam Mountain offers small-town living with metropolitan amenities. There are plenty of condos to choose from with 80 active listings in the area.



June Coquitlam median selling price*

up $30,500 from last issue



New listings in June

Begin your hunt at the low end of market where $214,900 will buy you a twobedroom unit in The Classics. Aim for the top and you’ll be paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of $798,880 for a two-bedroom in MThree by Cressy which is scheduled for completion later this year. We noted close to 50 condos changing hands in North Coquitlam last month. Sellers accepted offers anywhere from nine

Median days on market*

Condos sold in June


June Port Coquitlam median selling price*

up $45,000from last issue


Median price per square foot*


June Port Moody median selling price*

up $15,000 from last issue

Type of inventory* 1 BR: 21% 2 BR: 48% 3+ BR: 31% *Active listings up to June30, 2016

Obsessed with real estate?


20 July, 2016


per cent under asking (a one-bedroom in The Claremont that sold for $320,000) to 21 per cent over (a two-bedroom in Marlborough House that was asking $329,900 and closed for much more).

Glenwood One of PoCo’s fastest growing communities, Glenwood is also one of the city’s pricier options. There are 19 condos for sale in the area, beginning with a one-bedroom in Suffolk Manor that’s available for $162,800 and going as high as $449,900 for a two-bedroom in Key West. We counted 10 Glenwood condo sales in June. The happiest buyers? The new owners of a one-bedroom in Coquitlam Place who put in a lowball offer 18 per cent below the $145,000 asking price only to have it accepted. The happiest sellers? The former owners of a twobedroom in Shaughnessy Square who we can only suppose were thrilled to walk away with 16 per cent more than their $299,900 list price.


When do I need permission to renovate my condo? You might think the answer is simple but approval is needed more often than not

Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association, which promotes the interests of strata property owners by providing advice, resources and support for its members. Tony has more than 20 years of experience within the local real estate and development industry.


ne of the most common complaints of condo living is when owners renovate their homes without understanding the basic bylaws of the strata and when they need permission to renovate. Before you renovate your condo, even simple cosmetic renovations, always read the bylaws for your strata. The Schedule of Standard Bylaws of the Strata Property Act require an owner to obtain permission in writing before they alter a strata lot that will involve any of the following: the structure of the building; exterior; chimneys; stairs; balconies; doors, windows and skylights on the exterior or that face common property; fences; railings; patios, balconies or yards; common property located within a strata lot; or those parts of the strata lot that must be insured by the strata corporation.

If it’s on the outside, you need approval The first part is easy: generally

If you are changing the soundproofing, ventilation, plumbing or electrical systems, it is likely you will require the written permission of the strata corporation

anything to do with the structure or the exterior needs approving. But the last part is where most owners fail to obtain permission, and where the alterations may have significant implications to the strata lot, neighbours or the building. Under the act, the strata must insure all original fi xtures. With the exception of a bare land strata corporation, these include components and fi nishes within a strata lot as well. Most commonly these are the original carpets and flooring, kitchen cabinets, sinks, lighting assemblies, bathroom designs, and the fi nishes installed by the developer. It seems a bit crazy to think I need

approval to upgrade my carpets, change my built-in shower, install hardwood floors, move an electrical outlet, or change the configuration of my kitchen. After all, it is my strata lot, right?

Building systems are interconnected What we forget is that many of these buildings’ systems have interconnected features that, when altered, can have a significant impact on other strata lots. The simple rule is to consider how the renovation may impact another owner. If you are changing the soundproofi ng, ventilation, plumbing

or electrical systems, it is likely you will require the written permission of the strata corporation. Compound the alterations with aging buildings and it is even more likely there may be asbestos in the fi nishing products and it will be necessary to conduct environmental testing and comply with WorkSafeBC abatement procedures. Don’t be the owner who decides to rip up your carpets and install flooring from a box, or replace your kitchen cabinets and sinks without a qualified and insured contractor, or renovate the bathroom and flood the neighbours below. Develop a renovation plan that clearly describes the scope of work you intend to do. Contact your strata council and inform them of the work and get permission to go ahead. When someone is renovating their strata lot, the strata corporation cannot unreasonably withhold permission, but if there are problems they will be seeking damages, fines and penalties against you if you have not complied with the bylaws.


July, 2016 21


Insurance risk management #2: Alarms; sewers; heaters There are insurance risks to condo living – here are just a few of them, say the experts at FS Insurance Brokers in the second of a two-part series FirstService Residential FirstService Residential in British Columbia is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, a global leader in the rapidly growing real estate services sector, one of the largest markets in the world. As the leading property management company in North America, FirstService Residential oversees more than 6,500 residential and commercial associations including 1.5 million residential units.

22 July, 2016


iving in a strata corporation allows for many benefits, and also presents special considerations. Insurance-related property damage and liability exposures can have serious consequences if a strata lot owner is unprepared. In our June issue, we looked at water-related damage. This month we focus on management tips for smoke alarms, sewers and space heaters.


Smoke alarms Sixty per cent of fire-related fatalities occur in homes without smoke alarms or in homes with smoke alarms that don’t function properly. Smoke alarms can help save lives. When a fire occurs, smoke spreads quickly, silently, and without warning. Deaths typically caused by the inhalation of smoke and toxic fumes can be prevented by properly installing and regularly testing approved smoke alarms.

Here are a few tips: Q Alarms that combine photoelectric and ionization technology are recommended, and carbon monoxide detectors are also recommended if your home has a natural gas stove or other gas source. Q Clean and vacuum your smoke alarm regularly to prevent false alarms and assure proper functionality; change batteries as needed. Q Strobe lights and pillow shaking accessories are available for individuals with hearing impairments. Q Alarms should be placed on all levels of your home, both inside and outside of sleeping areas. Q Interconnected alarms that all sound in unison when one alarm is triggered provide the best protection. Q Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and replaced every 10 years. Your strata corporation will also complete an annual testing of all smoke alarms.

Sewer line clogs Flushing foreign objects down toilets can cause major backups and losses by preventing the passage of material through the piping system.

The following are common items that are flushed down toilets that shouldn’t be: Q Q Q Q Q Q Q

disposable cleaning cloths wash cloths diapers kitty litter food hair trash

If a foreign object was flushed down your toilet, you can try snaking it from the drain, but be careful not to push the object farther along. If snaking doesn’t work, it is advised that you contact a plumber. It is better to spend money to unclog the toilet instead of paying for the repairs of an entire plumbing system that has backed up! Remember, the larger your building, the more extensive the plumbing system and the more extensive potential damages can be.

Condo owners have unique insurance exposures due to the nature of strata living

Electric space heaters Electric space heaters are involved in thousands of residential fires each year. Nearly 32 per cent of all home heating fires, and 79 per cent of all fatal home heating fires, are caused by portable electric space heaters (source: National Fire Protection Agency).

Follow these tips: Q Purchase a heater that automatically shuts off if tipped over. Q Read all manufacturers’ instructions for use and care. Q Place the heater on a solid and level surface. Q Regularly inspect for cracked or damaged plugs or connections. Q Never use an extension cord or power strip; plug directly into an outlet. Q Keep heaters at least three feet away from anything that is flammable.

Q Clean the heater to prevent dust build-up. Finally, unit owners should maintain unit owners’ coverage. Insurance will protect you, your contents, improvements and betterments to your unit, and damages to neighbouring units. It is estimated that only 50 per cent of owners across Metro Vancouver carry unit owners’ insurance. Condo owners have unique insurance exposures due to the nature of strata living. Any experience of loss can be stressful to those parties involved. To lessen the financial impact and protect owners as much as possible, adequate loss prevention and insurance should be a part of every unit owner’s strategy.


July, 2016 23


Surrey Condos continue to fly off the shelves as spring gives way to summer By Jill Lunde


ho says real estate sales slow in the summer? That may be the norm, but these days are anything but traditional. Surrey saw an increase of condo sales in June with 289 properties changing hands – up close to


Active condo listings*

Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 26% 2 BR: 39% 3+ BR: 33%

10 per cent over May. That number pales in comparison to the over 100 per cent increase in sales when comparing June 2015 with June 2016.

King George Corridor Located in the heart of South Surrey, this area is home to several vibrant communities. Of its 20 active condo listings, the most affordable is a one-


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market*

bedroom in The Pacifica that’s been on the market since mid-May for $219,900. The area’s priciest apartment option is a two-bedroom in Flagstone Walk that is listed at $399,000. Our data shows three area condos changing hands in June for 14 per cent over their asking prices. All were twobedroom units: one in The Berkshire sold for $350,000; another in Brandy

Increase from June 2016



up $64,000 from last issue


Surrey median listing price*

Condos sold in June

*Active listings up to June30, 2016

Terrace went for $405,000; and – last but not least – a home in Ocean Wynde closed at$440,000.

Morgan Creek This planned community sprung up around a golf course in the 1990s and has since expanded to include many condo complexes. There are a couple of dozen options currently ranging from $289,900 for a one-bedroom in Kingston House to $665,000 for a two-bedroom in Edgewater. The Edgewater was on a bit of a roll last month with four sales showing up in our reports. Two one-bedroom units there changed hands – one for two per cent more than its $388,880 asking price and another for 15 per cent more than its $424,900 sticker price. The complex’s other two sales were for two-bedroom units. One of these went for five per cent more than its $349,000 price while the other sellers accepted an offer for $621,000 – 11 per cent over asking.

Richmond/South Delta The yin and yang of the condo market


ead over the Oak Street Bridge and you will discover a Richmond condo market still going strong, but head further south to Ladner and Tswassassen and there’s a different story to tell. Sales in Richmond were up 2.5 per cent in June over May but down 44 per cent in South Delta. That trend is playing out in year-over-year stats too. Condo sales in Richmond from April to June 2016 are almost 72 per cent over the same three-month period last year. But in South Delta, they are down by 27.5 per cent.

Boyd Park This is a great neighbourhood for sports fanatics with its location close to playing fields, tennis and basketball courts, and a pitch and putt. $179,900 is the least you’re likely to spend to live here according to the current listings which include this one-bedroom in 24 July, 2016

Cherry Tree Lane. The area’s most expensive condo listing is $668,000 for a three-bedroom in Countryside. A one-bedroom in Cherry Tree Lane sold last month for five per cent under its $249,900 asking price. Likely happier were the sellers of a twobedroom home in Apple Green Park who only had to wait two days before closing a deal 11 per cent over their $239,000 list price.

neighbourhood condos changing hands in June. A one-bedroom in Ladner Pointe sold for two per cent over its


Active condo listings*


Median price per square foot*

$324,900 price while a two-bedroom in the same complex went for three per cent under its $489,900 price.


New listings in June

Hawthorne All of Ladner’s village charm is within easy reach of this neighbourhood. Westham Lane has the most affordable Hawthorne listing at the moment: $375,000 for a two-bedroom unit. There are only a handful of choices currently in this community with the most expensive option being a threebedroom home in Oasis which is listed at $479,000. Our information shows two


Type of inventory* Studio: 1% 1 BR: 22% 2 BR: 42% 3+ BR: 35%


Median days on market*



Condos sold in June

June Richmond median listing price

up $3,600 from last issue *Active listings up to June30, 2016

RANCHER IN THE SKY. Spacious Living. Inside & Out 1622 Square Feet Condo Luxurious deck space for year-round outdoor entertaining.

Bright living space.

DECK 14’-10” X 10’-6”

Master bedroom large enough for a king sized bed. A master bedroom with a walk-in closet. Master ensuite with dual vanity and large soaker tub.

Quality construction for a strong durable building, inside & out.

Open-concept living area with expansive windows and gas fireplace.

LIVING 16’-11” X 17-3”

ENSUITE 9’-3” X 9’-8”

MASTER BEDROOM 14’-1” X 14-2” DINING 11’-0” X 14’-1”

Ample kitchen space for cooking, dining. Equipped with stainless steel appliances.

WALK-IN CLOSET 6’-2” X 8’-1”

Enjoy full size, energy saving washer and dryer unit with double door closet.

KITCHEN 8’-6” X 12-6”

DEN 9’-3” X 8’-10”

HRV, Geoexchange heating, air conditioning and hot water.

LAUNDRY 5’-0” X 3’-2”

BEDROOM 2 12’-8” X 11-1”

POWDER 5’-1” X 5’-5”

ENTRY 6’-10” X 7-4”

STORAGE 7’-9” X 8’-5”

* solar panels to offset electricity costs

(65 SQ. FT.)

ENSUITE 7’-6” X 5’-4”


Powder Room


HWY 99



Great Homes: All On Freehold Land. A Resort Community, 30 Minutes Or Less To Everything.



56 ST


52 ST

5099 Springs Boulevard, Tsawwassen T. 604.948.4663 (HOME) info@tsawwassensprings.ca Open Tuesday to Sunday 12 -5pm


HWY 17- A



Y 9 9






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








Concord Brentwood PRESENTATION CENTRE 4750 Kingsway 604-435-1383 ...................Pg 27


Milano 4247 Lougheed Hwy, Brentwood Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Thu. & Fri.) 604.294.8989


Veritas 8999 Cornerstone Mews Open Daily 12 – 6 pm (except Friday) 604.298.9956








Modena Burnaby Heights Coming Soon 604.294.9919


Station Square Metrotown Coming Soon 604.433.8438 ...................Pg 28




The Lloyd 3096 Windsor Gate Open Daily 12 – 6 pm (except Friday) 604.942.8416




Concord Gardens 8511 Capstan Way Open Daily 12 – 6 pm 604.233.7748

Residences at Lynn Valley 12 The #100-1199 Lynn Valley Road Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.924.0166 ...................Pg 3



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

The Gardens - Calla 140 – 10880 No. 5 Road Coming Soon 604-271-3331

Westbourne Residences 1306-5TH AVENUE PRESENTATION CENTRE 503-12th Street 604.553.4855 The Peninsula 210 Salter Street Coming Soon 604.544.2258 ...................Pg 2

26 July, 2016

15 Oak + Park

PRESENTATION CENTRE 301–1788 W Broadway 604-558-5851 ...................Pg 9

Wall Centre Kerrisdale 16 Shannon 1538 W. 54th Avenue Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.267.8882 Leveson 17 The 8188 Granville St Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Thu. & Fri.) 604.880.8312

13 Connaught 3044 Edgemont Boulevard Call for your Private Viewing 604.699.0036

VANCOUVER 14 8xonthepark 1149 Hamilton St Open Mon. - Fri. 12-6 Open Weekends 12-5 604.801.6861


Arc 20 The 89 Nelson Street Open Daily 10 – 5 pm 604.899.8800

SURREY Ridge Club 21 South 15918 Mountain View Drive Coming Soon


22 Westpointe 1551 130 Street, South Surrey Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Thu. & Fri.)

18 The Jervis 1171 Jervis Street By Appointment Only 604.998.8989 19

West 10th & Maple 2001 West 10th Avenue Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604-602-7747


TSAWWASSEN Springs 23 Tsawwassen 5099 Springs Boulevard Open Tues – Sun 12 – 5 pm & Open by app. 604.948.4663 ...................Pg 25

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