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March 25, 2016

CONDOMINIUM www.westcoastcondominium.ca


THE NEW YALETOWN Concord Pacific to repeat Yaletown revitalization with North Burnaby masterplan P8-9





Don’t get beached by this housing tidal wave P7

How to assess and plan for strata fees

Can you make a rental pro t and keep it legal? P27

Tips on downsizing from large house to condo P31

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January 15, 2016 1

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March 25, 2016

Condo market snapshots Burnaby Vancouver Surrey North Shore

6 10 14 24

Are you a condo flipper? CENTRAL LONSDALE

26 28 30

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Don’t get caught out in this mother of all housing booms


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The GVHBA’s Bob de Wit explains what condo fees are for and how to budget

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How to… Assess and plan for strata fees

Not all strata corporations will welcome tenants, says Tony Gioventu of the CHOA


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Take housing affordability rankings with a big grain of salt

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What’s behind the numbers that rank us as so utterly unaffordable?


f you believe most Canadian media, Vancouver housing is more valuable than homes in global mega-cities such as London, New York or Beijing – cities with up to 20 times our population and 1,000 times the economic clout. We say poppycock. This month, the media widely reported a “Wealth Report” from Knight Frank, often headlining it as “Vancouver home price growth tops 100 cities.” In reality, the report focused entirely on the appreciation in luxury houses from 2014 to 2015, which provides a narrow and skewed data set. And, in most of the global cities surveyed, luxury house prices put Vancouver deep in the shade. In New York City, which incidentally has a GDP of US$1.4 trillion compared to Vancouver’s GDP of $110 billion, luxury homes are de ned in the US$60$80 million-dollar stratosphere. Last month, RBC led its Housing Trends and Affordability report, which was widely reported as “Vancouver has never been more unaffordable.” RBC claims it takes 109 per cent of income to buy a typical Vancouver

house. Dig deeper, though, and RBC concedes that condominiums make up the biggest share of sales in the city and these require 44 per cent, still high enough, but much more reasonable. In January, Demographia released its 2016 Affordability Survey that ranked Vancouver as the third-least affordable city in the world, behind only Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia. While most media reported Demographia’s report as a “global housing” survey, the report does not include the European mainland, mainland China, South or Central America or the Middle East, all of which have many cities that are much less affordable than Vancouver. This month, less reported data from the International Monetary Fund placed Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Tianjin, China, in the top ve of the world’s least affordable housing list. Vancouver did not even make the top 15. Metro Vancouver housing is expensive, but it is foolish to believe its prices rank with the largest and most vibrant cities in the world.

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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March 25, 2016 5



Burnaby Sales are picking up and so are listings… happy hunting! By Jill Lunde


here were lots of deals being inked in Burnaby last month with 235 condos changing hands. February sales were 31 per cent higher than January and, if you’re looking for trends, sales from December to February were up close to 69 per cent over the same timeframe a year ago. February’s median selling price was also up eight per cent over January’s. Taking a closer look at 49 recent sales paints a picture of asking prices that are definitely flexible with their bottom lines. Twelve of the properties sold for under asking, 14 went for their list price, and the balance all went for over asking – in one instance 13 per cent more.

Metrotown No introduction is needed to this neighbourhood; if you like to shop till you drop, this is where you want to be. There are 110 active listings here starting at $188,000 for a onebedroom in 39-year-old Somerset House and going as high as $1.59 million for a two-bedroom in twoyear-old Metroplace.

Sales are brisk at Modello, a new tower under construction just to the south of the mall. And Boffo, the developer, knows its pricing well. Of eight recent transactions (ranging in price from $739,900 to $1,599,900), all changed hands for their list price. If you’re looking to negotiate, concentrate your search in buildings that aren’t brand new. A two-bedroom in Metroplace recently sold for two per cent under its $628,800 asking price after a little over a month.


South Slope Keep heading south from Metrotown and you will arrive in this neighbourhood where the condos tend to be a bit older. There are 19 units for sale here beginning with a one-bedroom in Wyndham Court going for $224,900. The highest price being asked is $749,900, for which you can get a two-bedroom in Villa Jardin. Perhaps the area’s happiest recent purchaser is the buyer who picked up a two-bedroom unit in Belgravia for five per cent under its $558,000 list price. We can only hope the new owners of a two-bedroom in Green are just as pleased with their purchase. They paid four per cent over the $403,800 asking price.

Taking a closer look at 49 recent sales paints a picture of asking prices that are definitely flexible with their bottom lines 6 March 25, 2016



Active condo listings*


Burnaby median listing price*


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 29% 2 BR: 63% 3+ BR: 6%

*Active listings up to March 11, 2016



Flippers: keep your eyes open in this mother of all housing booms It sounds like easy money, but taxes, commissions and carrying costs quickly whittle away the profits By Frank O’Brien


can understand why many of you are considering taking on the role of “flipper” in the heated Vancouver condominium market. On the West Side of Vancouver, for example, the benchmark price of a condominium apartment increased by more than $43,000 in the past three months, to $624,800. In the past six months, its value has increased by 15.7 per cent, or approximately $93,000. And, across Greater Vancouver, the typical condominium price is now 25.5 per cent higher than it was a year ago. This equates to more than $100,000 in paper profit if a flipper sold at the current benchmark price of $454,600. The value of a townhome increased by about $94,000 in the same period. In other words, a typical strata home made a lot more money in the past year than the median pre-tax household income of $76,000.

A word of caution I would be the last to dissuade those of you with deep enough pockets and big enough, well, nerve, to get in on the action. For everyone else, though, I inject a note of caution. If you are buying condos to flip, you will need raw courage, cash and a mortgage broker on speed dial. In many cases you will be subject to competing bids on the same property.

You will be expected to come in with no subjects on the property, such as subject to an inspection or subject to financing. This is an unprecedented housing market. OK, a crazy market where the normal rules are turned upside down. You have to have a savvy mortgage broker behind you when you hit this market because multiple bids can blow your price point away within hours. The mortgage broker must be familiar with flipping properties and, like you, have unshakeable confidence that prices will keep increasing. Financing is much harder today than during the last boom in 20062007. Also, pre-approved mortgages are nearly worthless today when it comes time to really close on a property, especially in multiple-bid competitions: you must have already convinced the lender that you have the credit score and income ratios in line to cover the debt. But just because the market is crazy, you shouldn’t be.

If you are buying condos to flip, you will need raw courage, cash and a mortgage broker on speed dial Many condo flippers who bought in the spring of 2007 were trying to unload their overpriced property into a sellers’ market a year later. It can happen again, as any Calgary condo investor can attest.

It’s not all gravy – think about the real costs Also, factor in your costs: if you buy a condo for $500,000 and flip it for $600,000 in 12 months, you would have to first put down a minimum of $100,000 in cash and pay $8,000 in B.C.’s property purchase tax (the

recent tax exemption does not apply to investors buying resale homes). When you sell, you will pay about $24,000 in real estate commissions and you could face a $15,000 income tax bill on the lift in value, depending on your tax bracket. You would also be handling financing costs of around $2,000 a month while you are holding the property. Add it up and your $100,000 “profit” is whittled down to approximately $30,000. You can make money in this housing boom, but you must also be prepared to lose.

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


March 25, 2016 7



Masterplanned community to bring

Yaletown chic to Burnaby

Aerial rendering of the masterplanned Concord Brentwood community

Concord Pacific’s expertise building large-scale communities to help complete revitalization of Brentwood neighbourhood


aletown is coming to Burnaby. That’s the main idea behind Concord Brentwood, a master-planned community that will encompass – and transform – 26 acres in Burnaby’s coveted Brentwood neighbourhood, according to Matt Meehan, senior vice-president of planning with Concord Pacific Developments Inc. The renowned development company is known for building 8 March 25, 2016


large-scale communities such as Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver’s Yaletown – one of Canada’s largest urban masterplanned communities, located on the former Expo lands on False Creek – as well as a host of other prestigious developments in Metro Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and London, England. Now it has its sights set on Brentwood. “[Concord Brentwood] will transform an underutilized industrial

area into a beautiful and diverse mixed-use park-side community that completes the exciting revitalization of the Brentwood Town Centre neighbourhood,” Meehan says. The masterplanned community, Concord’s largest in Burnaby, will sit in the heart of Brentwood, south of Lougheed Highway between Beta and Delta avenues and extending south past Dawson Street, and will be anchored by a 13-acre park and

green space. Brentwood Town Centre – currently undergoing massive redevelopment into a world-class shopping, dining and entertainment destination – and its SkyTrain station are a short walk away. “This was planned closely with the City of Burnaby to be an extremely livable family community. It is intended to round out the current mix of development in Brentwood and provide future residents a valuable

George Wainborn Park in Yaletown is a superb example of Concord Pacific’s success in revitalizing a neighbourhood

park-side alternative,” Meehan says. The green space will be developed as “a combination of passive and sports/ events programming with recreational infrastructure interlaced,” he adds, and a proposed new public school is also planned as part of the community. The development will feature “endless amenities [like] Concord Pacific’s Signature Super Club and a Village Central, which will be introduced in Phase 2, consisting of a proposed new grocery store, cafés, and other service-oriented commercial retailers,” Meehan says. Designed by award-winning architect James K.M. Cheng of Vancouver, Concord Brentwood will consist of 10 glass and concrete towers, most between 40 and 45 storeys tall. Tower 1 of Phase 1 will consist of 426 units on 45 floors. Signature proposed exterior architectural elements include asymmetrical supporting pillars that extend approximately 38 feet from ground level, creating “a dynamic visual presence as well as architectural support for the tower,” says Peter Udzenija, director of corporate relations with Concord Pacific. Tower 1’s one- to three-bedroom homes will range in size from approximately 534 square feet to 1,239 square feet. Luxurious finishings and interior features will include fully integrated Bosch appliances, engineered-quartz countertops, marble tile backsplashes in shower

surrounds and bathroom flooring, and wood grain laminate finish for closet organizers, door trim and interior suite doors. “Most corner two- and threebedrooms will have wraparound balconies with a unique sliding door system that seamlessly connects the indoor and outdoor space,” Udzenija says. Common-area features will include Wi-Fi in ground-floor lobbies, amenity areas, elevators and all parkade levels, a building-wise water filtration system, an automatic car wash and manual car-wash bays with hot and cold water. A central lobby concierge podium, shared between towers 1 and 2 of Phase 1, will house two levels of amenities, including a fitness centre with yoga studio, grand lounge, games room, pet grooming room, business centre, study rooms and a music room. Brentwood’s enviable central location, 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, offers easy access to TransCanada and Lougheed highways. The Brentwood SkyTrain station on the Millennium line connects to the Expo line as well as the future Evergreen line to Port Moody and Coquitlam. The recently opened Whole Foods supermarket at the intersection of Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue, Save-On-Foods at Madison Centre and a growing array of shops, restaurants and amenities are

SkyTrain links and a fantastic shopping mall at Brentwood Town Centre are a stone’s throw away from Concord Brentwood

within a short walk, and the vibrant, multicultural Burnaby Heights neighbourhood, just up Willingdon Avenue on Hastings Street, offers

charming cafés, European patisseries, local butcher shops, fresh food markets and an acclaimed French fine dining restaurant, the Pear Tree.

Concord Brentwood Phase 1 sales are set to open this spring. The Burnaby presentation centre, located in Metrotown, is now in its final construction stages and will soon open to the public. For information and to register for updates about the project, visit www.concordbrentwood.com. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF CONCORD PACIFIC DEVELOPMENTS

Just like with this Urban Fare in Yaletown, Concord Brentwood will draw major North American retailers to complete its masterplan


March 25, 2016 9



Vancouver The heart of the region’s condo action remains right here in our urban centre By Jill Lunde


ancouver tops its neighbouring municipalities just in sheer number of condos and activity here is brisk. The West Side dominates and February saw 550 sales – an increase of 82 per cent over January. The East Side is the poor cousin in more ways than one. Here sales hit 139 units in February, up 58 per cent over the previous month. Looking at 156 recent West Side sales, condos went from 18 per cent under asking for a one-bedroom in the West End’s Surfcrest building to a staggering 23 per cent over in Yaletown Park 3. The pendulum didn’t swing quite so far on the East Side. Of 50 sales reported during the same time period, the best deal was a one-bedroom on Commercial Drive that went three per cent under to a two-bedroom in Mount Pleasant that sold for 18 per cent over.

West End If you love beaches, lots of urban character, neighbourhood for you. over 80 listings in the

parks and this is the There are West End,

ranging from $248,800 for a studio in Ralston Court that came on the market in February to $11,880,000 for a three-bedroom unit in Living Shangri-La, which has been looking for a new owner since last June. It was the best of times and the worst of times for sellers in this Vancouver neighbourhood. As mentioned earlier, the owners of the Surfcrest property listed last September at $255,000 but walked away with $210,000. At the other extreme, a one-bedroom unit in Andaluca spent 12 days on the market before being snapped up for $517,000 – 16 per cent over the $445,000 list price.



Active condo listings* 890

New listings in February


Condos reported sold in February

Mount Pleasant Main Street is still the king of East Side neighbourhoods and the Mount Pleasant community has 33 active condo listings. You can get your foot in the door for $199,000 for a onebedroom in Rosemont Manor or go as high as $1,475,900 for a two-bedroom unit in Central. Twenty recent area sales attest to the neighbourhood’s popularity. More than half went for over asking including a two-bedroom in V6A that took 10 days to sell for 18 per cent over its $998,000 list price.


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: 3% 1 BR: 38% 2 BR: 50% 3 BR: 9%

It was the best of times and the worst of times for sellers in this Vancouver neighbourhood 10 March 25, 2016


*Active listings up to March 11, 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

March 25, 2016 11



Assess and plan for condo fees They are the added costs of condominium living. GVHBA’s Bob De Wit offers advice on what to expect for your monthly maintenance costs By Bob de Wit

A wise buyer will look at the strata minutes for history on the building, and at the depreciation report to get a look into what will be required over the next 30 years


enerally speaking, condos offer a carefree housing option, with added amenities and maintenance included. New developments are one of the fastest growing housing choices in Metro Vancouver; they regularly offer resort-style living and hotel-like amenities. It is not uncommon for developments to include rooftop lounges, highend health clubs, concierges, yoga rooms and more. Let’s take a look at just how valuable these amenities are, and how the money spent will vary greatly from building to building. Understanding the strata fees will help to explain where the money goes. A unit’s strata maintenance fee is determined by dividing the strata corporation’s total expenses by the unit entitlement (the square footage of each strata lot). Strata fees will vary greatly between areas and buildings. The age of the building, management style, and amenities – to name a few – will determine the rate. As an example, Vancouver condo strata fees average around 35 cents per square foot.

Where do the strata fees go? There are two funds that every strata corporation in BC must maintain that are funded by your maintenance fees: the operating fund; and the contingency reserve fund (CRF). The operating fund is what is used to pay for common expenses that occur more than once over the course of a year. As an example, heating, cable and Internet are sometimes included in the strata fee. These would 12 March 25, 2016

fall under the operating fund, and although they may increase the strata fee, they will likely be offered at a cheaper cost compared to purchasing them independently. These expenses are a good reason for higher strata fees. However, high strata fees to cover amenities you might never use may be cause for consideration. It’s like buying a gym pass in January – will you really use that exercise room regularly and get your money’s worth? The CRF is typically used to pay for expenses that occur less than once a year, such as roof repairs or replacement. The depreciation report will help strata corporations plan for annual and long-term repairs. It will also disclose the financial obligations required now and in the future. Strata corporations control their longterm planning by addressing CRF contributions as part of the annual budget. A majority vote of the owners at the annual general meeting will


determine the contribution amount for the fiscal year.

Do your homework A wise buyer will look at the strata minutes for history on the building, and at the depreciation report to get a look into what will be required over the next 30 years. Reading the minutes will give you a good picture of the building’s management style. Are problems being corrected immediately, or fixed with short-term solutions to keep the maintenance fees low? Is regular maintenance provided, such as window cleaning, power washing, etc.? Higher strata fees in a building may be a result of regular

maintenance, which in my books will go a long way towards upkeep and fewer problems down the road. It’s a good idea to have your professional property inspector review the minutes to determine if what is seen on inspection is reflected in the minutes. Your professional inspector will be able to help you understand any special assessments, and the depreciation report. All buildings require maintenance. It would be unrealistic to think otherwise. Understanding how and when your money will be spent is prudent to understanding your condo strata fees. Contact www.gvhba.org to find a professional building inspector and other home-buying resources.

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 880+ members and is proudly affiliated with the provincial and national Canadian Home Builders’ Associations. You can reach Bob at bob@gvhba.org.



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March 25, 2016 13



Surrey Sales are thriving, with many owners are accepting offers below list By Jill Lunde


ebruary was a kind month to Surrey condo sellers and there’s every reason to believe that March will be similar. Sales were up a whopping 111 per cent over January and were a massive 128 per cent higher than February 2015. Benchmark sales prices were also looking very healthy: they rose six per cent over January and 12 per cent over the same month last year. While you will want to take the advice Frank O’Brien offers elsewhere in this issue, Surrey’s condo market looks ripe for investment. There is good news for buyers too. An analysis of 25 recent sales indicates that the vast majority (17/25) went for less than list price (and in one case 15 per cent less). Six buyers paid exactly what the sellers asked for. That leaves only two sellers who got more than the asking price, and even then, it was only two and three per cent more.

Clayton There’s not much resemblance between this north Cloverdale neighbourhood and Clayton, Ohio – but that’s what the area was named

for back in 1889. Venture into that direction today and you will find 29 active condo listings ranging in price from $169,900 for an underconstruction studio in Yale Bloc to $334,800 for a three-bedroom in Manhattan Sky that came on the market on the last day of February. Of two recent neighbourhood sales, both went fast and for less than list. A two-bedroom in the Compass complex sold for one per cent off its $234,800 price after one day, while a two-bedroom in Waterstone went for two per cent under its$319,900 price after two days.


Active condo listings* Fleetwood Tynehead This is one of Surrey’s most desired neighbourhoods and an online tour of the 20 available condos offers plenty of incentive to head out the door for closer inspections. Prices here start at just $98,000 for a one-bedroom in Glenwood Village. The priciest option is a two-bedroom in the brand-new Manarola complex: $317,900. There were two sales recently in Manarola. One two-bedroom went for five per cent less than its $299,900 sticker price, while the other sold for four per cent under its $298,000 price.

An analysis of 25 recent sales indicates that the vast majority went for less than list price (and in one case 15 per cent less) 14 March 25, 2016




Surrey median listing price*


Median price per square foot*


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

*Active listings up to March 11, 2016

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North Shore Spring into action: sales and listings in North Vancouver are up By Jill Lunde


he North and West Vancouver markets have always been distinct and there’s definitely a big price point difference. West Van makes North Van appear affordable and the latter is unquestionably where most of the real estate action happens. Listings there were up 39 per cent in February over January. And sales? They were also up – by 108 per cent! Meanwhile, the picture wasn’t quite so rosy in West Vancouver where listings were down by 14 per cent and sales were exactly the same: 17 in both January and February. Forty-eight recent sales across the region show condos selling anywhere from 10 per cent under asking for a West Vancouver home in Panorama Village to a staggering 24 per cent over list for a two-bedroom in the Roche Point neighbourhood.

Pemberton Pemberton is a prime North Vancouver neighbourhood just off the Lions Gate Bridge with a mix of older and somewhat newer apartment buildings. Five of the seven active listings are in Woodcroft

Estates and all have been listed since mid-February. There are a variety of homes available in this older complex including a studio, two onebedrooms, and two two-bedroom units. Prices start at $245,000 and go to $350,000. There have also been three sales in Woodcroft Estates recently: one studio (sold for seven per cent under its $238,800 price); one onebedroom (went for one per cent under its $265,000 price); and one twobedroom (sold for its asking price of $299,000).


Active condo listings*

Horseshoe Bay There’s way more to this community than a ferry terminal. The village has an extraordinary setting with unique shops, many restaurants, and immediate water access for those who love boating. Condos are rare here but there is currently a listing in Galleries On The Bay for a one-bedroom at $489,500 that came on the market March 8. It is listed well below its $556,000 assessed value. This same building saw one of its penthouses change hands in late February. It was on the market for only two days before its owners accepted an offer four per cent under their $1,250,000 million asking price.

The village has an extraordinary setting with unique shops, many restaurants, and immediate water access for those who love boating 24 March 25, 2016




N. Vancouver median listing price in February*


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 36% 2 BR: 51% 3 BR: 11%

*Active listings up to March 11, 2016








Tri-Cities Sales are brisk and way up over previous months By Jill Lunde


ondo sales are strong all across Metro Vancouver so it’s no surprise that the Tri-Cities are part of that bandwagon. In Coquitlam, sales were 46 per cent higher in February that January. That increase pales in comparison to Port Moody where it was 79 per cent higher and Port Coquitlam, where sales were up 77 per cent. We took a look at 59 recent sales in the region and found prices all over the map. Thirty-two per cent of buyers paid less than list (the best deal was six per cent under asking). Twenty-four per cent of owners got exactly what they asked for. The largest percentage – 44 – went for over asking. In one case, a three-bedroom in Central Port Coquitlam’s The Maples at Creekside sold for 17 per cent more than its $380,000 price.

Westwood Plateau Almost half of this community has been retained as green space so there are lots of outdoor activities at your doorstep. Twenty condos are part of the region’s active listings and

there’s a big difference between the bargain basement and the top dog. The cheapest option is a two-bedroom in The Tuscany that joined the market last November and is holding out for $268,800. The priciest choice is a two-bedroom in Cascade that was listed in late February for $1,130,000. Condos priced right are moving quickly in the neighbourhood. Of five recent sales, four took less than 10 days to change hands while the fifth lasted only 23 days on the market. The best deal was for a two-bedroom in Ledgeview that went for two per cent under its $378,000 price. The new owners of a two-bedroom in Summerlin really wanted their new home. They paid 11 per cent more than the $348,000 asking price.

Riverwood The preconstruction Fremont Emerald is the only option in this new master-planned riverfront district. There are seven active listings here starting at $219,900 for a studio and ending at $459,900 for a twobedroom unit. Three other homes here sold almost as soon as they were listed for their exact asking prices – indicating that the developer is standing firm on values.



Active condo listings*


Coquitlam median listing price*


Port Coquitlam median listing price*


Port Moody median listing price*


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 1% 1 BR: 36% 2 BR: 59% 3+ BR: 4%

In one case, a three-bedroom in Central Port Coquitlam’s The Maples at Creekside sold for 17 per cent more than its $380,000 price 26 March 25, 2016


*Active listings up to March 11, 2016


Investment property:

Can I make a profit and keep it legal? It’s a brave new world when it comes to leasing opportunities… but not all strata corporations welcome short-term or even long-term renters By Tony Gioventu

who do not occupy a strata lot in the building where they are renting multiple units. The strata corporation is left with managing security, noise, parking and access problems, and significantly increased pressure on recreational facilities such as pools, hot tubs, and gyms. If a landlord is not directly managing their tenants, the strata council members – who are volunteers – are left with the crisis.


any strata owners have discovered strata corporations can be a good bet for investments as rental properties, but are they? An investment property could be a resort location in a timeshare, a short-term rental company, a hotel strata, a longterm rental with tenancy agreements, or the recent popular movement of Air BnB that is sweeping the country. Every form of rental or investment use has its benefits and its risks. As an owner, you must remember one underlying principle of strata property investment: you will be responsible for the actions of your tenants. Property damages, insurance deductibles, bylaw violations, and penalties can all mount up to make your investment dreams a day-to-day nightmare.

Looking for an investment?

Many strata corporations across the province successfully permit rentals with few problems and to the benefit of their investors

When are rentals a good idea? Perhaps the best way to look at this is through the lens of the strata corporation. Everyone always wants to know whether it is a good or bad decision to permit rentals in a building. Are renters a problem? How does a strata corporation deal with someone who is not an owner and is only there for the short term? The simple answer both for strata corporations and investors is that well-run buildings don’t vary between rentals and non-rentals. Renters are subject to the bylaws of the strata corporation and how each community wants to control the use of their property. Strata corporations that are consistent and fair about bylaw enforcement deal with problems as they arise and don’t let a nuisance

issue consume their community. Many strata corporations across the province successfully permit rentals with few problems and to the benefit of their investors. Whether an owner is a resident or investor, they are eligible to sit on council and can play a vital role in the health of the community. Chronic bylaw and maintenance problems that are left unmanaged overwhelm our volunteers and quickly draw our communities into conflicts. Whether a tenant is short-term or long-term, investors need to consider the consequences of who they put into their unit. We are surprised at the number of owners and landlords who do not have homeowner/landlord insurance for their condos. As an

investor, all of your gains can quickly evaporate if your tenant causes damage or an incident that results in an insurance claim by the strata corporation.

What to do about Air BnB rentals? Air BnBs are also a rising problem. If the owner of the rented unit is a resident in the building, the strata and the tenants have direct access to assistance if a problem arises, but we have a growing problem with investors

Follow these five tips: 1. Confirm that your strata property wpermits the type of use you are planning. 2. Read the bylaws closely. Rental bylaws may limit or prohibit rentals and business bylaws may prohibit short-term use such as VRBO and Air BnB. 3. Screen your tenants closely, or hire a reputable agent to manage your tenants and the screening. A tenant verification service is money well spent for long-term tenants. 4. Confirm that your tenants are aware of the bylaws and rules of the strata. If they don’t comply, you will pay. Keep a posted copy of the strata bylaws, rules, and emergency contacts in the strata lot. 5. Purchase landlord/strata insurance to cover your risks including the possible cost of an insurance deductible or damages below that amount if your tenants cause a claim.

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.


March 25, 2016 27



Richmond South Delta There’s sunny weather and hot prices in our region’s southern communities MARKET SNAPSHOT By Jill Lunde


roperties south of the Fraser changed hands a lot more quickly in February than they did in January. While Richmond saw a 45 per cent increase, the heightened activity was especially noticeable in Ladner and Tsawwassen where sales increased by over 122 per cent. There were deals to be had and deals to be made in both buying and selling. A look at 47 recent sales shows well over half (59 per cent) went for less than the owners listed for and only nine properties went for over asking. But some of those sales were through the roof, including a two-bedroom in Steveston’s Copper Sky West complex that sold for 22 per cent more than its $1,298,000 asking price after only a week.

Brighouse South As it sounds, this neighbourhood is slightly south of Richmond’s city centre with the Canada Line still easily accessible. There are 80 active listings here, starting at $185,000 for a one-bedroom home in Redonda. You can spend as much as $620,000 for a condo here. That’s the price of

a three-bedroom home in Bentley Wynd. As many as six condos have changed hands recently in this busy neighbourhood. One was in Bentley Wynd, where the parties agreed to the list price of $758,000 for a twobedroom home the same day it was listed. Other buyers have struck better deals. The new owners of a one-bedroom in Canterbury Court offered five per cent less than the $228,800 sticker price and got a positive response.

Active condo listings*

Beach Grove The name alone of this Tsawwassen neighbourhood makes you want to move there. There are currently three listings in two buildings; all have two bedrooms. There’s a unit in La Mirage that was listed March 7 for $499,900. If you have passed by The Classic and had your interest piqued, check out two homes listed in late February. One is asking $549,900 and the other $869,000. A two-bedroom in the community’s Heron Cove complex changed hands March 1 after only eight days on the market. The owners are pocketing an extra 12 per cent over their $525,000 asking price.

Some of those sales were through the roof, including a two-bedroom that sold for 22 per cent more than its asking price after only a week 28 March 25, 2016




Richmond median listing price*


South Delta median listing price*


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 0.5% 1 BR: 33% 2 BR: 58% 3+ BR: 8.5%

*Active listings up to March 11, 2016


















New Westminster Sales are surging but median selling prices are down By Jill Lunde


his could be the time to get your foot in the door in the New West condo market. Sales were brisk in February, up 80 per cent over the month before. But median selling prices were down from $343,250 to $299,000. Listings in February were also healthier with 36 per cent more homes to choose from. A quick look at 17 recent sales shows 24 per cent went below asking, 29 per cent sold at list price, and 47 per cent of sellers accepted offers over their asking point. The biggest variations were a two-bedroom in Uptown’s Coventry Court that sold for four per cent less than its $200,000 asking price after 86 days looking for a new owner and a two-bedroom in the Quay neighbourhood’s Laguna Landing that went for eight per cent over list.

Quay There are 17 active condo listings in this riverfront community. At the low end is a one-bedroom in The Riviera that joined the market on February 29 for $335,000. The Lido complex has the most expensive current listing:

$798,000 for a two-bedroom that also became available in late February. There have been some very quick turnarounds on properties in the Quay. Four recent listings sold within 10 days of hitting the market and all went for over asking. One, a onebedroom in Laguna Landing, sold after only one day for one per cent more than the $269,900 list price. One of the sellers’ neighbours held out for six days and accepted at offer eight per cent over the $425,000 asking price for their two-bedroom unit.


Active condo listings*

Fraserview This historic neighbourhood has 25 active listings. These start at $164,965 for a one-bedroom in Fraser Mews that’s been sitting on the market since June 2015. The most expensive area listing is a two-bedroom in Palace Quay whose owners are hoping to fetch $1,150,000. That one was listed in January. Two area owners are celebrating their recent sales. One of these twobedroom units in Governors Court took nine days to sell for two per cent over its asking price ($320,000) while the other, in Queen’s Park Place, sold after five days for four per cent over its asking price of $230,000.

There have been some very quick turnarounds on properties in the Quay. Four recent listings sold within 10 days of hitting the market and all went for over asking 30 March 25, 2016




New Westminster median listing price*


Median price per square foot*


Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 0.5% 1 BR: 39% 2 BR: 52% 3+ BR: 8.5%

*Active listings up to March 11, 2016


Tips for downsizing from a large home to a condo Overwhelmed by just the thought of clearing out many years’ worth of accumulated stuff? Read on! By Michelle Hopkins


hen Lori and Michael Yelizarov became empty nesters, they decided to sell their Richmond family home in order to move to a riverfront condominium. “We raised our kids there but we wanted to travel more. The thought of a turnkey lifestyle really appealed to us,” says Lori Yelizarov of selling the home they had lived in for more than two decades. Moving from a 2,800-squarefoot, four-bedroom home into a 1,300-square-foot condo seemed daunting at first. What to keep and what to get rid of seemed especially difficult for the couple. “We had accumulated a ton of stuff but in the end we decided to donate all of our furniture, or give it away to our friends and family. What was left over went into a garage sale so we could start fresh,” Yelizarov adds. “The only things we brought with us were our personal mementoes, clothes, and our bed.” Although it took weeks of planning, sorting, and a couple of garage sales before moving, today the couple couldn’t be happier with their decision. When the weather is nice, they enjoy their morning coffee while taking in sweeping views of the North Shore mountains and the Fraser


March 25, 2016 31

River on their 1,200-square-foot deck.

Let’s hear from a professional Professional organizer Linda Chu knows how difficult it is for most of us to downsize to a smaller home such as a condo. “No matter what category you fall in, whether it’s death, divorce, disability or downsizing, it’s always difficult to part with your items because of the emotional aspect we attach to our things,” says Chu, principal of Out of Chaos. “Another issue is the lack of time most homeowners have when it comes to dealing with downsizing, aka managing a lifetime of stuff… that is very overwhelming.” Sometimes you don’t have a choice as to how long you have to move. “When time is of the essence, you have to ask yourself what you need to live with in your new living 32 March 25, 2016

environment which is likely to be much smaller,” adds Chu. “So maybe you have to give away that 12-piece dining set.” Chu went on to say, “Most people feel overwhelmed about all the decisions they need to make with a houseful of items… the thought of all the blood, sweat and tears that went into acquiring those ‘precious’ things makes one really want to hang onto them.”

Although it took weeks of planning, sorting, and a couple of garage sales before moving, today the couple couldn’t be happier with their decision

How to disperse your items – and get some money back When Chu works with clients, her first plan of attack is to break down the dispersing of items into a number of categories. • A better option than a single garage sale is having multiple ones over time – if you have time. “If you are on a time crunch, I can guarantee you will not sell all of your items


You then end up calling a removal company (a charity, for example) to get rid of the rest.” Another option is to sell online through Kijiji or Craigslist. Chu cautions that you should never be alone when a prospective buyer comes to your home, especially if you are a senior. Consignment/auction: Love’s or Maynards auction houses or clothing/furniture consignments stores across the Lower Mainland. “Unless your furniture is high quality or antique, you will not be able to sell your items.”

• Check

out Film Go Sales (filmgo. ca) and the online auction company MaxSold.com to learn more about all the possible sale items you may have thought were donations or recycling. “Film Go may take some of the more unusual stuff because they are in the film industry… things like sewing machines or old china dishes.” MaxSold.com requires a minimum of three weeks and at least $2,000 worth of items before they will accept your contents. It is an innovative “hybrid auction” method that couples online auctions with MaxSold’s

hands-on help and product expertise. They take the burden of managing your sale contents off your shoulders and sell practically everything from within your house. • Finally, if you can’t sell them or give them away to family members, consider donating your items to charity. Non-profits such as the Canadian Diabetes, Big Brothers, and Developmental Disabilities Association will love your “gently used discards.”

• • •

Chaos’s top recommendations for moving must-haves

• It’s always difficult to part with your items because of the emotional aspect we attach to our things

New boxes: The advantage of buying new boxes is for insurance purposes. When a box or the contents get damaged during transportation, the first thing the

moving company looks at is the integrity of the box. Sharpie: It’s permanent and smudge-proof and easier to read than a regular pen. Packing tape: This is the glue that holds everything together. It’s a must have. Period. Labels: Colour-coded are ideal so you can label your contents based on which room they are intended to be moved to. Packing paper: This is better than using newspaper as you will not need to wash everything once you unpack due to ink bleeding onto your items. Speciality boxes: Include ones for breakables, wardrobes, mirror and art packs, or for your wine collection.


March 25, 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 13


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


Pixel Kingsway, Burnaby Coming Soon pixelburnaby.com ............Pg 21










Modena Burnaby Heights Coming Soon 604.294.9919...................Pg 20



Loughed Heights 581 Clarke Road, Coquitlam Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.939.2677


The Lloyd 3096 Windsor Gate Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.942.8416




Harbour Walk 12235 No 1 Road Open Mon to Fri 9 -4 pm, Sat & Sun 12 - 4 pm 604.274.7326 ...................Pg 29 Concord Gardens 8511 Capstan Way Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.233.7748 ...................Pg 35 Calla 140 - 10880 No.5 Rd Coming Soon 604.271.3331 ...................Pg 22


NORTH VANCOUVER Village 11 Seylynn 600 Mountain Hwy Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.980.5000 ...................Pg 25



The Residences at Lynn Valley #100-1199 Lynn Valley Road Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.924.0166 ...................Pg 3 Connaught Edgemont Village Coming Soon 604.699.0036 ...................Pg 19



Peninsula 10 The 210 Salter Street

14 Sterling 3130 Arbutus St

Coming Soon 604.544.2258

Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.428.8858

...................Pg 2

34 March 25, 2016


7th 15 West 2239 West 7th Avenue Open Mon - Fri: 9 – 5 pm 604.428.0588 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 Friday) 604.880.8312 ...................Pg 17 Grayson 18 The Cambie Street & 26th Ave. Coming Soon 604.558.1907

...................Pg 16

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

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

TSAWWASSEN 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

VICTORIA Black & White On Upper Fort Coming Soon 778.265.3464 ...................Pg 18

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