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W E S T C O A S T

November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM www.westcoastcondominium.ca

THE RHYTHM

OF LIFE IN SOUTH VANCOUVER Chic condos at Rhythm by Polygon offer outdoor lifestyle in new River District P10-11

INVESTMENT

LAND VALUES DICTATE FUTURE PRICES As per-buildable-square-foot land costs soar, condo prices will keep rising

P12

CONDO FEATURE

WHY DEVELOPERS ARE BUILDING BIGGER Condos are becoming increasingly family-sized – but at what cost?

P20

CONDO STYLE

BIG IDEAS FOR YOUR SMALLEST ROOM An interior designer’s tricks and illusions to expand your bathroom

P31

CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 1


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2 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM

MOVE IN READY. 1-3 Bedroom + Den Homes $299,900-$692,900. 778.398.1344 or aragon.ca/portage 260 Salter St, New West #ARAGONFORWARD Properties Ltd.

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November 27, 2015 3


SELLERS, WE DELIVER! With over 161 successful transactions negotiated in 2015, we have the marketing skills, the presentation skills and the negotiation experience to assist you in realizing your real estate dreams. To get the Faith Wilson Group TEAM working for you today, just call Faith at 604.224.5277 or visit FaithWilsonGroup.com.

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DOWNTOWN

$599,000

Vancouver Surrey Burnaby Tri-Cities

The Rhythm of life in South Vancouver

Land values dictate future prices New Listing

Breathtaking 360 Views

• 1,500 s.f. Home • Gourmet Kitchen • Custom Lighting • 1,970 s.f. Home • Penthouse Suite • Pet/Rent w/ Rest • 2 Bdrms + Den • Luxury Abounds • 2 Car Garage • 2 Bdrm & Den • Soaring Ceilings • 2 Parking • 3 Bathrooms • 3 Bathroom • Main: $734 • Main Fee: $978 • Views • Large Terrace

1600 –120 West 16th Street

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

DOWNTOWN

12 31

Today’s condo prices might seem like a bargain in three years’ time, says Frank O’Brien

MOUNT PLEASANT EAST

Legal changes work for strata councils

18

Recent legislative amendments make it easier to repair and maintain strata buildings New Listing

New Listing

Live the Downtown Lifestyle • 580s.f. home • 1 Bdrm & Den • 1 Bathroom

• Terrific Kitchen • 1 Pkg/No Stg • Open Concept • Pet Rent OK • Great Amenities • Main Fee: $219

712 – 1372 Seymour Street

$479,900

Fabulous Suite in Popular South Main • 905 s.f. home • Fantastic Suite • Insuite Laundry • 2 Bdrms & Den • Delightful Kitch • 1 Pkg & 1 Stg • 2 Bathroom • Covered Balcony • Main Fee: $422

256 – 250 East 6th Avenue

$649,000

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

4 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM

How to… Use light for optimal living Smaller spaces can be transformed with the right lighting, says GVHBA’s Bob de Wit

Big ideas for your smallest room An interior designer’s top 12 tricks and illusions to make your bathroom bigger

$1,880,000

www.FaithWilsonGroup.com

10

Polygon’s Rhythm in the new River District offers outdoor lifestyle with urban amenities

$759,000

O D L O S T S  O JU

$2,598,000

8

Tony Gioventu on what happens when owners or councils violate the Strata Property Act

CENTRAL LONSDALE

Amazing Water & Marina Views

Richmond/South Delta North Shore New West

24 28 30

Trouble in strata paradise?

10

• Granite Counters • 2 Parking • Spacious Living • 2 Storage • Terrific Amenities • Main fee: $364

702 – 1425 West 6th Avenue

YALETOWN

1005 – 1328 Marinaside Cres.

6 14 16 22

Outstanding 400 s.f. Terrace!

• 902 s.f. Suite • Open Layout • Great location • 2 Bedrooms • Air Conditioning • 1 parking • Views • Main Fee: $244 • 2 Bathrooms

1903 – 1372 Seymour Street

Condo market snapshots

FALSE CREEK

Downtown Living • 641 s.f. Suite • 1 Bdrm + Den • 1 Bathroom

November 27, 2015

26


EDITORIAL

BUYERS

What if foreign buyers

that we assist in realizing their real estate dreams

just quit buying?

ENJOY

Finance ministry outlines grim scenario if offshore investors pulled out of Vancouver

A

s the debate rages about the true size and potential impact of foreign buyers on the Vancouver housing market, two camps have emerged. On one side are Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), the provincial government, and the BC Real Estate Association, all of who contend that foreign buyers represent a tiny fraction of homebuyers and investors. They often cite a lack of hard data, with CMHC claiming, for example, that foreigners make up only two per cent of condominium investors in Metro Vancouver. On the other side is nearly everybody else who believes foreign buyers dominate the top end of the market and account for a large portion of all Vancouver housing sales. There are calls for the province to restrict foreign investment in the housing market. But what would happen to our housing market if offshore buyers just quit buying? The BC Ministry of Finance, which estimates that foreigners account for less than five per cent of Metro Vancouver homebuyers, looked at the potential implications if such buying was reduced by 80 per cent. It is a quite a grim forecast,

even more so if foreign buyers are as active as many believe. According to the ministry, measures to reduce foreign investment from five per cent to one per cent would have the following implications: • Roughly $1 billion in residential real estate sales, representing about 1,400 units, would be lost. • Around 3,800 total jobs would be lost, mainly in the construction and real estate sectors. • Housing starts would fall by about 760 units, more than the annual number of starts in Abbotsford-Mission in recent years. Further, if home prices fell by 10 per cent due to policy measures, roughly $60 billion dollars in home equity would be lost, averaging about $85,000 per homeowner in the Metro Vancouver area. The ministry goes on to warn that restrictions on foreign investment in the housing sector could send a negative message to other international investors. We believe the real message the finance minister is sending is this: offshore investors are vital to the BC economy and the province will do nothing to threaten it.

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

W E S T C O A S T

CONDOMINIUM PUBLISHER: Janai York

Your essential guide to condo life in the Lower Mainland

ADVERTISING SALES

FAX

604-379-4576

604-439-2630

DISTRIBUTION

EMAIL

EDITOR: Jill Lunde

604-435-7977

salessupport@rew.ca

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Frank O’Brien

VANCOUVER HEAD OFFICE: 303 West 5th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V5Y-1J6

SALES MANAGER: Lynn Fry

COPYRIGHT: WEST COAST CONDOMINIUM is published bi-weekly by Real Estate Weekly Partnership.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Joannah Connolly

SALES REPRESENTATIVES: Tracey Aussem, Rebecca Bookham, Audrey White, Audrie Gilson, Jackie Mollenhauer PRODUCTION MANAGER: Holly Burge

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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So, if your decision doesn’t meet your needs or wants, with the Faith Wilson Group your satisfaction is still guaranteed. FWG THE *

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

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C ONDO

To qualify for this guarantee, you must purchase another property of equal or greater value using our services.

The listing portion of the commission on your first home will be credited to you upon the final reconciliation of your new purchase.

With over 450 successful contracts negotiated in the last 3.5 years, the Faith Wilson Group TEAM is ready to assist and guide you through every step of the process.

To get us working for you, just call Faith today at

604-224-5277 or visit

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PRODUCTION: Darko Isic, Peter Gallagher DESIGNERS: Carol Rui, Arslan Sultan, Joanne Yen

Rea l Estate W eekly

CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 5


C ONDO

MARKET

Vancouver Vancouver still reigns supreme when it comes to the sheer volume of condos on the market compared with other cities in the region Main

By Jill Lunde

T

here’s no two ways about it. The Vancouver condo market is hot. Benchmark selling prices climbed on both the east and west sides in October, and fewer properties came on the market that month. There were 20 per cent less choices for buyers searching in East Vancouver in October than September; the city’s West Side noted a similar 17.6 per cent drop. The West Side also enjoyed a 5.5 per cent increase in the number of sales over that time period while the East Side noted a drop of close to two per cent. The 10-year change in benchmark selling prices will have everyone wishing they had purchased a Vancouver condo for investment a decade ago. The East Side October 2015 benchmark is 68 per cent higher than it was in 2005. West Side owners have seen a 62 per cent increase in condo benchmark sale prices in their area. Of the 76 sales reported between October 31 and November 13, most went for their asking price. The owners to take the biggest hit let their two-bedroom Mount Pleasant home go for nine per cent under its $599,500 list price after 102 days on the market. The owners of a studio in Downtown Vancouver were singing a different tune. After a week on the market, their condo sold for 13 per cent over its $335,000 list price.

This neighbourhood south of Mount Pleasant is within easy walking distance of the funky shops and restaurants along Main Street. There are 10 active listings here including several in the James Walk development, which is currently in preconstruction. Scheduled for completion in 2017, that complex is 90 per cent sold. List prices here range from $874,900 to $909,900.

CONDOMINIUM

1,928

Active condo listings*

Coal Harbour With a location to die for, Coal Harbour is one of Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods: the median price of the 135 active listings is a whopping $1,438,000. You might then think that the area’s cheapest listing ($185,000) is a steal of a deal. But, there’s a catch: you can only live here 30 days of the year. It’s a furnished suite in the Marriot Pinnacle Hotel and, quite possibly, a great investment property if not your forever home. Down the street a ways, you will find the area’s most expensive listing: $19.8 million. On the market since mid-August, this waterfront penthouse has unobstructed views of the ocean, mountains and cityscape. The most recently reported sale in the area was for a one-bedroom unit in the Harbourside Park complex. After less than a week on the market, it was snatched up for five per cent more than its $549,900 asking price.

The 10-year change in benchmark selling prices will have everyone wishing they had purchased a Vancouver condo for investment a decade ago 6 November 27, 2015

MARKET SNAPSHOT

835

New listings in October

683

Condos reported sold in October

$569,900

Vancouver West median selling price

$410,00

Vancouver East median selling price

$818

Median price per square foot*

45

Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 28% 2 BR:57% 3 BR: 12%

*Active listings up to November 13, 2015


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.

1

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.

2

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 you are UHFHLYLQJWKHEHQHÂżWRIWKHLUH[SHULHQFH resources and their proven plan to deliver a successful sale.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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?

6

What is your pricing strategy for my home?

Strategic realistic, market-based pricing will attract the full scope of buyers and not just those looking to “steal the deal�. Setting and managing pricing requires skill, experience, plus local market trends knowledge.

7

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.

8

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 KHVKH 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?

9

Do you provide references from past clients?

10

What homes have you sold in my area?

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

11

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.

12

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

In closing, the sale of your home is likely one of the largest ďŹ nancial decisions you will make. The right agent with the skills, the plans, the commitment and the team 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. My team and I are prepared to answer these and all other questions regarding the sale of your home, at your convenience. To set up a meeting call me at 604.224.5277

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

13

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?

14

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 to SURYLGHUHIHUHQFHVIURPVDWLVÂżHGFOLHQWV for you to review.

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

November 27, 2015 7


S TRATA ADVICE

What happens when owners or councils

violate the Strata Property Act? Enforcing the act, regulations, bylaws and rules can be tricky. The head of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association offers some advice By Tony Gioventu

S

trata corporations, councils and owners in BC are regulated by the Strata Property Act and Regulations and their amended bylaws and rules. On the surface this appears to be sufcient regulation to ensure the property and assets of strata corporations are well managed and protected. The challenge for many strata owners and councils is the lack of consequences. The dispute options for strata councils and owners do not provide economic, timely or procedural access to deal with the day-to-day matters in a strata that seem trivial to most of us, but may have a very deep impact on the day-to-day lives of the people who live there. A typical bylaw problem that relates to pets, age, rentals, parking, or access to strata lots for maintenance and repairs has two basic enforcement mechanisms.

The strata council’s options The rst option for a strata council is to apply the enforcement procedures of the Act and eventually impose nes as a rst step to encourage enforcement. The real trouble starts when the imposition of nes is not sufcient to remedy or change the behaviour of the owners, or their tenants or occupants. The second option is the intervention of the courts or an arbitration proceeding where the parties can be ordered to do (or stop doing) something. Commonly known as injunctive relief, the only options for enforcement are for the strata corporation or an owner to obtain an order or injunction from the courts that orders compliance with the bylaws or the Act. If a strata council is unwilling to comply with the Act or owners, tenants and occupants refuse to comply with bylaws or the Act, the only remaining option is a Supreme Court application or to commence arbitration.

8 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM

While both options ultimately obtain a solution, the costs are often prohibitive or far exceed the cost of the violations, and the time required is too long to ensure effective enforcement.

Getting access to units Access to strata lots for routine maintenance and inspection is a constant conict with strata lot owners and tenants. The 10-minute inspection of a heat or smoke detector if it is common property will cost less than $25 per unit; however, if the owner does not provide access, the only remedy is for the strata corporation to enforce the bylaws and apply nes. This does not guarantee that the owner/ tenant will provide access and the strata corporation is then required to obtain a court order if access is essential. What was a $25 cost and 10 minutes now takes the approval of a three-quarters vote at an annual or special general meeting, court and legal costs that could easily start

at $10,000, and at least two to six months to hopefully obtain the order. The same limitations and costs would apply to an owner when their strata council is not complying with the Act or enforcing the strata bylaws. Unless the strata is willing to change the council, the only option for an owner is a court application to order the strata to enforce the bylaws or comply with the Act. If my neighbour is causing a nuisance such as noise, and my council is unwilling to enforce the bylaw, my only option is the courts or arbitration for an order to enforce the bylaws. For the 31,000 strata corporations and one million owners, tenants and occupants in BC, this is an overwhelming and costly process.

New tribunal process The introduction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal in BC will make a signicant change to strata operations. The tribunal will provide strata councils, owners,

tenants and occupants with a quick and cost-effective solution for disputes that relate to the Act, bylaws and operations. Once in effect, strata councils for a minimal cost will be able to use the tribunal to obtain a decision to order a person to do or stop doing something, such as complying with the bylaws, and the strata council will no longer require a three-quarters vote of the owners to proceed with a bylaw enforcement application. Owners and tenants will have quick and affordable access to obtain orders for strata councils to comply with the Act and the bylaws, and orders for them to enforce bylaws if they are failing to act. The tribunal will also be able to make decisions on nancial matters such as claims of damages, insurance deductibles, nes, strata fees, special levies and user fees. In addition, the tribunal will be able to order a strata corporation to do repairs or remedy damages that are the responsibility of the strata. From the start


of an adjudicated dispute to a decision will be around a 60-day window and the costs will be comparable to small claims court.

Online resolution service The real benefit of the tribunal will be the online user service. From the comfort of your home or council meeting, the parties will be able to use resources to analyze their complaint, identify the options for problem solving, and even file their complaint to start an adjudication process. Disputes will generally be managed entirely online, so each party will be entitled to file their information and claim, and the adjudicators will issue decisions. An order for access to a strata lot will go from a costly, time-consuming process to a quick application on the decision of

council with minimal cost. With more strata units than any other type of housing being built in BC each year, this is an ideal option for problem solving in strata corporations and greater harmony in communities. For more information about the Civil Resolution Tribunal, go to: www. civilresolutionbc.ca.

The introduction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal in BC will make a significant change to strata operations

604-263-1144 Kerrisdale

604-689-8226 Yaletown

604-263-1144 Main Street

Beyond

Expectations

If you are looking to buy or sell a condo or townhouse, your DEXTER REALTOR ® (backed by the entire Dexter Team) has the knowledge and the experience to

Tony Gioventu

support and guide you through the entire process.

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.

Your one-stop source of lower mainland home listings and real estate news. RESALE HOME LISTINGS | NEW HOMES FOR SALE AGENT PROFILES | REAL ESTATE MARKET NEWS HOME BUYING & SELLING ADVICE

Wherever you are, we can help. Contact us with confidence. Enjoy the security and confidence which comes from dealing with professionals who care. Call or visit us at www.dexterrealty.com

CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 9


P ROJECT

PROFILE

Get into life’s Rhythm at River District in South Vancouver Discover the beauty of resort-style living with river and mountain views at Rhythm by Polygon

R

iver views, endless cycling and walking trails, quality finishes and still in Vancouver … those were just some of the reasons first time home buyer Amanda Tan bought at Rhythm by Polygon. After spending three years looking at a number of new condominium projects, the 27-year-old fashion designer fell in love with Rhythm. “I realized how up and coming the River District is,” says Tan, adding she grew up in South Vancouver and loves the area. “I bike a lot so it’s perfect. I also work in Richmond and spend lots of time in Burnaby so it’s ideally located.” Finally, she was sold on Polygon’s 35 plus years of experience in building homes here in British Columbia – specializing in residential communities. She is especially excited about the quality of the finishes in her new two-bedroom condo, in particular the cabinetry and the overheight ceilings. “I like that the building has no retail and yet it’s walking distance from the shopping area,” she adds. On the banks of the mighty Fraser River in the emerging River District master planned community, Polygon’s Rhythm will be made up of a five-storey wood frame and a 12-storey concrete building showcased by a collection of 145 boutique-style homes, ranging from 635 to 1,020 square feet. “This is Polygon’s tallest building in the residential area, which means great private unobstructed views from select homes,” says Margot Bates, sales manager at Rhythm. “For that reason, and because it is situated next to a park and just steps

10 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM


It won’t be long before people realize they’ve bought into some of the best real estate in South Vancouver from the river, these homes are selling fast.” These thoughtfully designed West Coast-inspired one- and two-bedroom residences are distinguished by rich woodstyle laminate floors, kitchens that boast marble tile backsplash, engineered stone countertops, Bosch appliances and large patios and decks to soak in those water and mountain vistas. In addition, residents will enjoy their own private amenities at The Rhythm Club. It will feature a fully equipped fitness studio, a residents’ lounge with a bar, and a centrally located courtyard with children’s play area, seating and water features. River District is a real hidden gem with its own boardwalk, so it’s no surprise that it’s a vibrant scene already teeming with activity. For the outdoor enthusiasts, it’s a Mecca. There are several nearby trails perfect for biking, walks and runs from its 25 acres of park land. For those who want those urban amenities such as great dining and shopping experiences, the River District

will have it. There’s the iconic Romer’s Burger Bar, which was featured on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, and the highly anticipated Town Square – a public plaza with numerous retail shops, including a grocery store, bank, coffee shop and restaurant. This area really has a strong sense of community and connectivity, where people who live here really feel a sense of belonging, where neighbours know each other. “It won’t be long before people realize they’ve bought into some of the best and most coveted real estate in South Vancouver,” adds Bates. Riverfront homes starting from $364,900 for one bedroom and $489,900 for two bedrooms – it’s no wonder Rhythm is selling quickly. The Rhythm sales centre, located at 3202 Riverwalk Avenue, is open from noon to 5pm daily (except Friday). For more information, call 604-437-5315, email rhythm@ polyhomes.com or visit polyhomes. com.

CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 11


C ONDO

INVESTING

Land values dictate future condo prices Today’s prices may look like bargains three years from now By Frank O’Brien

A

study released this month to the Urban Development Institute, Pacific Region, showed that 87 per cent of the 21,600 new condominiums being marketed for delivery in Metro Vancouver by 2018 have already been sold. The key reason: buyers understand that today’s prices could look like a bargain three years from now, largely because of the accelerating value of Metro Vancouver land. Last month, as one example, an old four-plex building on West 13th Avenue in Vancouver sold for the equivalent of $840,000 per suite as a condominium developer claimed the 50-foot building lot as part of a potential land assembly. It is not uncommon for land values along the Cambie corridor to sell for $10 million to $15 million per acre. In the first six months of 2015, 200 sales of land for multi-family developments (mostly for strata condos and townhouses) were sold in Metro Vancouver, worth a total of $845 million, according to the LandShare Report from Colliers International. The sales are not raw land: they can be existing commercial or residential land assemblies in areas zoned, or expected to be zoned, for higher-density residential. For example, this spring a developer paid $21.7 million for a Robson Street site of 16,635 square feet. The site has Vancouver city zoning for a FSR (floor-space-ratio) of five, which means that a potential 82,000 square feet of condominiums could be built on the land. The land sale pencils out, therefore, to $286 per buildable square foot. So, the eventual 500-square-footcondominium built on the site would have about $150,000 embedded in the price just for the land component. Of course, financing, construction, finishing, marketing and the developer’s profit would also be factored into the final selling price. That explains why the starting price for a new downtown condominium is now

12 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM

more than $1,100 per square foot. But most new condominiums selling today are based on land values of two or even five years ago when the project was first planned. This means that, with multi-family land values soaring, future condominium prices could be much higher. As of mid-year, the average perbuildable-square-foot price for a downtown Vancouver high-rise condo tower was from $200 to $250. In East Vancouver, the land component for a high-rise condo was estimated at from $135 to $200 per buildable square foot. But those prices are so yesterday. The intense competition for multi-family development sites, much of it from offshore, has pushed land prices much higher in the second half of this year. The UDI conference was told that land

in some Vancouver neighbourhoods is being bid to $350 or more per buildable square foot. The message is clear: if you are planning

to invest in a condominium, you should buy as soon as possible. The soaring price of land will eventually drive all strata prices higher.

The intense competition for multi-family development sites, much of it from offshore, has pushed land prices much higher in the second half of this year

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


CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 13


C ONDO

MARKET

Surrey This growing city offers quick access to almost every community in Greater Vancouver as well as US border crossings East Newton

By Jill Lunde

T

en years ago, Surrey was largely a bedroom community consisting primarily of single-family homes and townhouses. If you had the foresight then to invest in condos, you would probably take a special pleasure in reviewing the statistics the Fraser Valley Real Estate board reports out every month. The benchmark selling price of a condo in North Surrey and Surrey is now 40 per cent higher than it was a decade ago. The gains are less in South Surrey/White Rock at only 28 per cent. The area to report the greatest gain is Cloverdale where the $208,400 October 2015 benchmark price is 52.4 per cent more than it was in 2005. Who’s to say that trend will continue, but condo real estate certainly appears to offer a great return on your dollar. Further October sales statistics demonstrate other reasons for Surrey condo sellers to rejoice. Monthly sales were up over the previous month (16.7 per cent) and significantly over October 2014 (41.5 per cent). Comparing sales prices shows a slight increase in the benchmark price between September and October (3.7 per cent) and a healthy 5.6 per cent between this October and that month in 2014. The silver lining for those looking to purchase is that recent sales also indicate many sellers will accept offers at or below their list price. Of the seven reported sales between October 31 and November 13, none went for over asking.

Located in the heart of the city, East Newton offers residents a rich blend of parks and a host of other amenities. The neighbourhood’s 25 current listings range in price from $123,000 for a twobedroom ground floor unit in the 39-yearold Glencoe Estates to $284,900 for a spacious two-bedroom home in the top floor of Chelsea Gardens. Both of these properties boast conveniences above and beyond your standard home. The apartment in the first building, which came on the market in August, has an indoor pool, exercise room, tennis courts, sauna and playground. The second, which was listed earlier this month, is part of a 23-acre site with a clubhouse, guest suites, pool, hot tub, library, exercise room and an Englishstyle pub with a billiards room.

Morgan Creek This neighbourhood is considered one of South Surrey’s most desirable areas with its top quality facilities. Residents claim there’s a wonderful pace of life here – something you notice right away when you move here. The area’s 17 current listings start at $309,900 for a brand-new onebedroom unit in the Edgewater complex to $618,000 for a two-bedroom in the same development. One of Surrey’s most recently reported sales was also in Edgewater. The owner there accepted an offer four per cent under the asking price of $459,900.

The benchmark selling price of a condo in North Surrey and Surrey is now 40 per cent higher than it was a decade ago 14 November 27, 2015

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MARKET SNAPSHOT

836

Active condo listings* 133

Condos reported sold in October

$365,000

Median selling price (Oct 31-Nov 13)

12.5%

Price change from previous month

$291

Median price per square foot*

68

Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 33% 2 BR:61% 3 BR: 4%

*Active listings up to November 13, 2015


$379,900 778.878.4687


C ONDO

MARKET

Burnaby With a quarter of their city’s land preserved for parks, Burnaby condo owners have plenty of access to outdoor recreation MARKET SNAPSHOT By Jill Lunde

W

ith more people determining that condo living is the life for them regardless of their family size, Burnaby’s 5,500 acres of green space is a great enticement for those who still hanker to get outside. The city, which is well-served by transit, is becoming increasingly denser as new, very tall towers pop up close to its many SkyTrain stations. Over the past 10 years, each of the city’s regions has watched as the benchmark sales prices of condos have risen. In Burnaby North that increase has been 47 per cent, in Burnaby East 55.6 per cent, and in Burnaby South 60.1 per cent. Condo listings increased a touch over 25 per cent in October as compared to September and sales during that same time period were down by just less than one per cent. Of the 22 recently reported sales at the time of writing, accepted offers ranged from six per cent under asking to 10 per cent over.

Edmonds This neighbourhood is a great example of how rapid transit can transform an area into a densely populated community with many towers as well as low-rises. There are 22 active listings here with a median list price of $471,400 – above the city’s overall median of $449,900. The least you can pay to call this

neighbourhood home is $255,000. Listed earlier this month, this two-bedroom is in the 40-year-old Chateau Lyon. The area’s most expensive listing has been on the market for close to two months. At $758,800, this penthouse suite in a fouryear-old building has three bedrooms spread across its 1,076 square feet.

Metrotown West of Edmonds is the ever-popular Metrotown neighbourhood which is undergoing a condo tower renaissance. Of the area’s 283 active listings, half are for brand-new units that completed recently or will not be ready for occupancy until as far out as 2018. While the cheapest condo to be had in this ’hood is $230,000, it will cost you at least $289,900 to buy yourself a brandnew home here. That’s for a one-bedroom, ground-floor unit in the boutique Subora Living development which should be ready for its welcome mat in February. There are plenty of new luxury properties available in Metrotown as well. The most expensive current listing is for a penthouse suite in The Met, which is in its preconstruction phase. This 295unit, 40-storey tower is scheduled for completion in 2017. The cost to be the king of the castle: $1,698,000. There were 12 sales recently reported in Metrotown; seven were for new homes. Developers generally don’t accept offers under asking, but three of these new suites went for two per cent less than their sticker price.

The ever-popular Metrotown neighbourhood is undergoing a condo tower renaissance 16 November 27, 2015

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724

Active condo listings* 298

New listings in October

223

Condos reported sold in October

$400,000

October median selling price

$522

Median price per square foot*

48

Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 26% 2 BR:65% 3 BR: 7%

*Active listings up to November 13, 2015


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November 27, 2015 17


S TRATA

LIVING

How legal changes affect condo depreciation reports and repairs Recent legislative changes will make life much easier for strata corporations By Cora Wilson on behalf of FirstService Residential

R

ecent amendments to the Strata Property Act will make it easier for strata corporations to repair and maintain their buildings. The first key legislative amendment changes the voting threshold at a general meeting of owners when funding a depreciation report or approving repairs recommended by a depreciation report from the contingency reserve fund (CRF). Previously there had to be a threequarters vote in favour for the resolution to proceed (so even if there was a majority vote, if more than 25 per cent of owners disagreed, the motion could not pass). This has now been changed to a majority vote being sufficient to go ahead. The second legislative amendment tackles proposed repairs to be funded by special levy, rather than the CRF. A special levy still requires a three-quarters vote to pass. However, new legislation allows a strata corporation to proceed with a court application to obtain an order for repairs in the situation where the three-quarters vote resolution has failed, but more than half of the votes cast were in favour of the resolution. It is important to remember the strata corporation must approve the funding to proceed with court action. Recent reviews of resolutions approved by strata corporations reveal major flaws that could result in resolutions being struck down if challenged. The consequences could be catastrophic since the resolution forms the foundation for funding repairs, paying contractors and collecting arrears. If the resolution falls, then the owners’ legal obligation to pay also falls. The process could become a house of cards.

How the law has changed As of April 9, 2014, the Act was amended to clarify that the cost of a depreciation report can be an operating expense. This

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It is anticipated that these changes will result in more strata corporations proceeding with depreciation reports and addressing major repair programs in a planned, reasonable and timely fashion means the cost to obtain a depreciation report may be included in the annual budget. A second amendment was also made that allows the cost to obtain a depreciation report to be paid out of the CRF by a majority vote only. This creates an exception to the general rule that a three-quarters vote resolution is required to approve expenditures from the CRF. Owners are now permitted to approve funding for repairs, maintenance or replacement recommended in the most recent depreciation report by a majority vote. To summarize, a strata corporation can now use a majority vote to fund both a depreciation report and the work recommended in the depreciation report from the CRF.

How this will affect strata practices It is anticipated that these changes will result in more strata corporations proceeding with depreciation reports and addressing major repair programs in a planned, reasonable and timely fashion. For special levy resolutions to address maintenance or repairs that have been defeated by the owners at a general

meeting, it will now be easier for strata corporations to go to court to get an order for the repairs. However, although it is now easier to proceed to the Supreme Court, many obstacles still remain. This process tends to be political, cumbersome, expensive and uncertain. The legislation really encourages the use of the CRF as a long-term planning tool, and effectively discourages the use of special levies, which still require a threequarters vote to pass. Special levies will therefore likely be used less often given the higher voting threshold required for approval. Clearly it is easier to obtain a majority vote approving monies already available in the CRF than it is to approve a special levy. It is envisioned that more strata corporations will investigate financing options available to them to minimize the burden of a huge repair levy. If the CRF is exhausted or insufficient, owners may view financing as a palatable option in appropriate cases. For example, a repair levy of $50,000 per strata lot, amortized over 15 years, costs about $394 per month (assuming a five per cent interest rate). It is easier for some owners to pay $394 per month as opposed to coming up with $50,000 all at once. One of the objectives should be to ensure that owners do not lose their home if they cannot afford to pay the special levy. When the strata corporation acts as the borrower, it gives everyone a fighting chance by minimizing the owner subsidy if some owners default, ensuring that funding is available to pay the contractor when due and providing those owners who are least able to pay with an opportunity to hold onto their investment.

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.


CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 19


C ONDO

FEATURE

Condos for families: Why developers are building bigger Whether legally mandated or driven by demand, local condo developers are increasingly making room for families – but say they shouldn’t be forced to do so By Susan M Boyce

W

hen the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2015, it will mark not only the beginning of a new year but a new view on family-sized living options. New Westminster will become BC’s first municipality to legislate that new condo developments must provide a minimum of 30 per cent two- or three-bedroom homes, and at least 10 per cent of them three bedrooms. Reaction is mixed. Some laud the move as a way to put homeownership within reach of young, growing families. Other aren’t so sure. And while many developers already offer larger units, there’s a consensus that legislating unit mix is unduly draconian.

Why legislate? John Stark, New Westminster’s senior social planner, says, “We surveyed 320 parents and found a two-bedroom apartment works fine if you only have one child. But when a second or third child comes along, many parents had to relocate to afford – or find – a larger home.” Stark acknowledges that three-bedroom homes typically take longer to sell – clearly a concern to builders – but suggests larger units are actually less costly to build when considering the overall price per square foot. “You’re still only building one kitchen. And while you might add another bathroom, the additional bedroom costs virtually nothing. Plus these larger homes also appeal to a broader demographic – empty-nesters, extended families, people looking for roommates, even seniors who require live-in care.”

Stacking up the numbers However, Evan Allegretto, Wesgroup’s senior development manager, disagrees. “Hypothetically, if we had been forced to build three-bedroom homes in the

20 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM


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Brewery District, we would have to sell them for close to $600 per square foot –very similar to the price of a single-family house in Sapperton.” Although New Westminster will allow interior bedrooms provided there are two sources of natural light from doorways, transoms or skylights, Allegretto is also concerned about design logistics in municipalities eyeing similar legislation while insisting on windows. “If you have a sunlight policy, it’s quite probable a 1,000-square-foot apartment would have to increase to 1,300 square feet to accommodate extra windows.” And finally, he notes that if threebedroom homes languish on the market, developers may well be forced to lower prices on them, which would require upping the price of smaller units to compensate.

builder shouldn’t be an issue if you keep homes efficient and flexible,” says Nic Jensen, Onni’s vicepresident of sales. “For example, we offer a two-bedroom-and-den plan that addresses the needs of downsizers, but could be easily converted to a three-bedroom for a young family.” Karen West, sales and marketing director with Boffo Developments, says, “It’s easy to forget that 15 or 20 years ago, large suites were the norm. We made a conscious choice to continue building larger units designed with the end user in mind. Because our model includes very high-end finishing specs, these homes command the higher price point needed to make it financially viable.” For Boffo, it’s a model that works. In Metrotown, both Jewel I and Jewel II sold rapidly and Modello is following suit – all buildings that offer large units.

Neighbourhood variations In Vancouver, MOSAIC Homes is another developer addressing the need for larger condominium homes – including in the rapidly changing Cambie Corridor. “At Cambria, we offered just a few to test the market,” says Geoff Duyker. “Demand was so great that when we launched Cambria 2, the average size was 200 square feet larger.” Like Allegretto, Duyker believes a blanket approach fails to take into account the vagaries of specific markets. “If you’re forced to build three-bedroom apartments in a neighbourhood where people are looking for less expensive homes, you’re going to have a lot of disappointed buyers and unsold product. “If a government told Ford they had to sell X number of four-door sedans, people would ask why – it just doesn’t make sense.”

THE BEST REAL ESTATE EXPOSURE IN BC. Put yourself front and centre and connect with thousands of active home buyers in the Lower Mainland. With 40,000 copies distributed across Greater Vancouver to apartment buildings and retail locations, West Coast Condominium oɈers the largest and most comprehensive distribution method targeting condo purchasers in the marketplace.

Expand your audience further by including the Real Estate Weekly in print and Rew.ca online. With more than 312,000 home deliveries and over 1 million online visits a month, REW.ca has the largest circulation of any real estate publication and is BC’s fastest growing real estate website.

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Responding to demand Developers appear unanimous that legislating unit mix is not the right approach. However, many are addressing the growing demand for single-family-home alternatives – on their own terms. “The financial impact to the

Susan M Boyce is a Vancouver-based freelance writer specializing in real estate and residential development. She has co-authored four books on writing and business and is a regular contributor to REW. ca and Real Estate Weekly newspaper.

CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 21


C ONDO

MARKET

Tri-Cities One of the fastest-growing regions in Metro Vancouver offers plenty of choice when it comes to condo living Central Port Coquitlam

By Jill Lunde

R

eal estate activity was all over the map in the Tri-Cities this October. Coquitlam reported an almost eight per cent increase in listings over September and close to a nine per cent decrease in sales for the same time period. It was a different story in Port Coquitlam where listings increased by a massive 53.7 per cent and sales were up 13.5 per cent. Meanwhile, in Port Moody, listings were down a touch over 34 per cent and sales were also off by 2.7 per cent. Condos in all three of the Tri-Cities have been a good place to park your money for the past decade. Benchmark sale prices are up in Coquitlam (47.5 per cent), PoCo (32.2 per cent) and Port Moody (40.9 per cent) since 2005. A quick analysis of 16 recently reported sales in the area indicates owners accepted offers anywhere from four per cent under asking to six per cent above list price. What makes that last sale unusual is that the property in question is still under construction and developers typically accept offers right at asking. Instead, this condo in the yet-to-be-complete Orchid Riverside Homes complex was listed at $292,900 and sold for $309,350. The development has been described as Port Coquitlam’s fastest selling complex; a new show suite opens November 28.

Central Port Coquitlam is abuzz with condo activity with 90 active listings including homes in the Orchid Riverside complex mentioned earlier. The neighbourhood has several new developments including ParkGate Apartments where a one-bedroom home will set you back $239,900, Altura ($269,900 for a one-bedroom), and the under-construction Amanti on Welcher building where one-bedrooms range from $201,900 to $317,900. When assessing recent sales in this neighbourhood, we have already talked about the surprising final price of one Orchid Riverside home. The other recently reported sale was for a 21-yearold, one-bedroom unit just down the street in Avebury Point. After 125 days on the market, the owners there accepted an offer three per cent under their $199,900 list price.

Central Coquitlam Coquitlam’s city centre is one of eight designated town centres in Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy. The community, which serves as the downtown for the northeast sector of the region, is undergoing considerable change in advance of the opening of the Evergreen SkyTrain line. The neighbourhood has 24 active listings beginning at $124,900 for a recently listed one-bedroom in Creekside Manor to $575,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in the year-old Austin tower.

Condos in all three of the Tri-Cities have been a good place to park your money for the past decade 22 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM

MARKET SNAPSHOT

433

Active condo listings* 226

New listings in October

182

Condos reported sold in October

$343,500

Coquitlam October median selling price

$261,500

Port Coquitlam October median selling price

$415,000

Port Moody October median selling price

$371

Median price per square foot*

38

Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 1% 1 BR: 30% 2 BR:63% 3 BR: 6%

*Active listings up to November 13, 2015


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C ONDO

MARKET

Richmond South Delta If you’re looking to escape the rain, moving further from the mountains may be just the ticket

MARKET SNAPSHOT

per cent less than the owner originally hoped for.

By Jill Lunde

Tsawwassen Central

I

t really is sunnier the further you live from the North Shore. Richmond and South Delta’s flat topography mean those clouds roll right over and accumulate up against the mountains. Real estate has been pretty sunny here too. Over the past decade, the benchmark selling prices in these neighbourhoods have risen dramatically: 46.6 per cent in Richmond; 48.7 per cent in Ladner; and 34.9 per cent in Tsawwassen. October saw a dip in listings over the previous month (down 6.4 per cent in Richmond and 29.4 per cent in Delta); sales were up in Delta by 33 per cent, but down in Richmond by 17 per cent. A review of newly reported sales indicates most sellers are willing to entertain offers. Of 11 recent Richmond transactions, eight went for less than list price (anywhere from one to 10 per cent less) and three went for their sticker cost. The latter were all preconstruction condos that won’t be ready for occupation until 2016 and 2017. In South Delta, two recent sales were reported. The owner of a 19-year-old, two-bedroom home in Ladner’s Delta Manor neighbourhood squeezed an extra $1,000 from their home’s purchaser, settling for $400,000 after six days on the market. After 10 days on the market, a two-bedroom condo in Tsawwassen’s Cliff Drive community sold for $875,000 – two

Tsawwassen is an affluent region often admired for its small-town charm. Home prices here are bound to skyrocket once the George Massey Tunnel is replaced and the downtown commute gets easier. The fall 2016 opening of Tsawwassen Mills – the huge new shopping centre currently under development – will also likely have an effect on the area’s desirability. There are five active listings in Tsawwassen Central, which is the neighbourhood closest to the town’s bigbox-less shopping core. All of the listings are for one-bedroom units and they range in price from $198,000 to $439,900. One offering, at 439,000, is for a brand-new unit in Brio.

Boyd Park Named for Richmond’s first mayor, Hugh Boyd, this west Richmond neighbourhood is part of the city’s Seafair subdivision. The park itself has a community centre, an outdoor fitness circuit, playing fields, playground, and a pitch and putt golf course. Known as one of Richmond’s more affordable neighbourhoods, the median price of the area’s 16 active listings is $224,350. That compares favourably with the city’s overall median list price of $455,000. You’re not going to find any new developments here; the age range of the listings runs from 36 to 42 years old.

Home prices here are bound to skyrocket once the George Massey Tunnel is replaced and the downtown commute gets easier 24 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM

993

Active condo listings* 272

New listings in October

194

Condos reported sold in October

$365,500

Richmond October median selling price

$400,000

South Delta October median selling price

$522

Median price per square foot*

70

Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: <1% 1 BR: 26% 2 BR:60% 3 BR: 14%

*Active listings up to November 13, 2015


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C ONDO

LIVING

Use light for optimal living Enlighten your inner condo with these tips on how to make the most of natural and artificial lighting By Bob de Wit

L

ighting sets the atmosphere for everyday living in your condo. Natural light has many positive effects on your well-being, happiness, and productivity. While natural light is often unpredictable and location dependant, creating the perfect atmospheric environment is achievable through thoughtful lighting considerations. Many condos are built without a lot of pre-existing embedded wall or ceiling fixture options. Try out these solutions to illuminate the dimmest condo and curate the perfect amount of ambiance for any space: • Strive for a variety of light sources throughout a room. This creates dimension and minimizes that dreadful overly lit stark brightness. Place both floor and table lamps around the room, lighting up nooks and seating areas where you’d likely curl up with a book. Place candles on scattered surfaces around the room. Try out flame-less LED candles to create soft lighting (and safer to leave for hours unattended!). • Keep the walls and furniture light in colour. This maximizes surfaces for light to reflect, creates an airy vibe, and is on trend. Pair with light lampshades to let the most amount of light shine through. • Install dimmer switches to fixtures. This will conserve energy and give you the most control over lighting options.

Tips from a professional I spoke with Norm Brown, expert lighting designer at Norburn Lighting &

26 November 27, 2015

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Bath Centre, and he left us with these tips: • Lighting a room with many windows at night is challenging – make sure all windows are fitted with drapes or blinds. On the 20th floor, you may have little need for privacy, but drapes reflect light back into the room, whereas light escapes through uncovered windows. • Avoid track lighting – especially in the kitchen. Track lighting is a common fixture found in condos, but it creates heavy shadows. Replace with a large flush-mount ceiling fixture that will create a softer surrounding light. • Building on the last point, install under cabinet lighting to brighten countertops as a quick and affordable solution to brighten a kitchen. LED strips designed to stick under cabinets are readily

available, and come in a variety of affordable price points. Regardless of window size and the natural light that reaches your suite, you can craft the desired atmosphere to suit your lifestyle through the right lighting design. Chat with interior designers or lighting experts to maximize your condo’s potential. Find a lighting expert in your area at www.gvhba.org.

Place both floor and table lamps around the room, lighting up nooks and seating areas where you’d likely curl up with a book

Bob de Wit is the CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association (GVHBA), a not-for-profit society representing the residential construction industry in the Greater Vancouver area. Celebrating 40 years in 2014, GVHBA has more than 860 members and is proudly affiliated with the provincial and national Canadian Home Builders’ Associations. Follow Bob @rdewit or email bob@gvhba.org for renovation tips and industry trends.


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C ONDO

MARKET

North Shore Residents here are Metro Vancouver’s happiest… cross over for the great lifestyle Park Royal

By Jill Lunde

A

2014 survey found that people who live on the North Shore are our region’s most enthusiastic endorsers. The area scored high on safety and as a good place to raise children; easy access to the outdoors as well as cultural amenities also helped. Housing affordability was the North Shore’s Achilles heel, according to the poll, and that’s no surprise as the median selling price of condos here is higher than many other parts of Metro Vancouver. When it comes to recent real estate activity, the North and West Vancouver markets were not playing the same song. North Vancouver saw a 20 per cent decrease in the number of new listings in October compared with September and sales for that time period were up by close to 11 per cent. In West Vancouver, listings were up (11.5 per cent) but sales were down by 20 per cent. Only one of 22 properties recently reported sold went for over asking. A twobedroom in Central Lonsdale’s Avondale complex sold for $575,000 – one per cent more than its $568,800 list price. Several properties went for their sticker price, most notably in brand-new and preconstruction developments including West Quay, Seylynn Village, and Cates Landing.

This West Vancouver neighbourhood is undergoing considerable change with the redevelopment of the area’s major shopping district. None of the 28 active listings here come cheap: prices range from $848,000 for a two-bedroom in the 22-year-old WestRoyal building to $3.95 million for a penthouse in the same building. The new kid on the Park Royal block is Evelyn and there are several active listings here. The development is a mix of condos, townhouses and single-family homes with some move-in ready and others not expected to be finished until 2017. Condo prices in Evelyn range from $975,900 to $3.38 million.

Indian River Residents often choose this northeastern neighbourhood for its close proximity to North Van’s two golf courses and Deep Cove is right next door with its quaint village and restaurants. Indian River’s nine active listings start with a one-bedroom home in the 22-year-old Mountain Terrace building for $439,000. The most expensive listing in the community is in the same complex. This three-bedroom unit is on the market for $899,000. Condo hunters can also check out the two-bedroom listing in the five-year-old Nature’s Cove development. This topfloor unit was listed in September with an asking price of $548,800.

When it comes to recent real estate activity, the North and West Vancouver markets were not playing the same song 28 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM

MARKET SNAPSHOT

437

Active condo listings* 157

New listings in October

143

Condos reported sold in October

$399,900

N. Vancouver October median selling price

$688,000

W. Vancouver October median selling price

$655

Median price per square foot*

48

Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 1% 1 BR: 29% 2 BR:59% 3 BR: 11%

*Active listings up to November 13, 2015


THE LARGEST REAL ESTATE EXPOSURE IN BC. Put yourself front and centre and connect with thousands of active home buyers in the Lower Mainland. With 40,000 copies distributed across Greater Vancouver to apartment buildings and retail locations, West Coast Condominium oÉ&#x2C6;ers the largest and most comprehensive distribution method targeting condo purchasers in the marketplace. Expand your audience further by including the Real Estate Weekly in print and Rew.ca online. With more than 312,000 home deliveries and over 1 million online visits a month, REW.ca has the largest circulation of any real estate publication and is BCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fastest growing real estate website. Contact Lynn Fry at: 604.379.4576 or email: lfry@glaciermedia.ca for more information.


C ONDO

MARKET

New Westminster Named for Queen Victoria’s favourite London neighbourhood, New Westminster is a great choice for condo seekers By Jill Lunde

N

ew Westminster has long been seen as a great alternative for homebuyers whose budgets won’t stretch to meet Vancouver prices. With quick access to Highway 1 as well as SkyTrain, the Royal City offers easy commutes and plenty of its own amenities. Condo prices here have done well for investors too. Over the past 10 years, the benchmark sales price of a New West apartment has grown by 56.5 per cent. Looking at recent activity, sales this October were up a not-unremarkable 46 per cent over September, while new listings fell off slightly by less than one per cent. The seven recently reported sales in New West demonstrate a range of offers being accepted. These run from two per cent below list for a one-bedroom in Uptown to eight per cent over asking for a threebedroom in the Quay neighbourhood.

Uptown The Uptown community has all your must-have amenities including banks and fitness centres as well as a park with an outdoor pool and a small mall. The area is also a quick stroll away from picturesque Queen’s Park – a great place to walk and admire the wealth of heritage houses. This is also a neighbourhood with a

wealth of condos; 82 of the city’s 266 active listings are here. They range from a one-bedroom in the half-century-old Norfolk House for $89,000 to $520,800 for a two-bedroom home in the practically brand-new, one-year-old Viceroy tower. While the former is a great opportunity for a first-time buyer to get a foot in the door, the latter is a great place to enjoy expansive views of the mountains and Fraser River. The most recently reported sale in this neighbourhood at the time of writing was the previously mentioned one bedroom that went for two per cent less than it was listed for. Located in the 31-year-old The Windsor building, the owner was hoping for $169,900 and accepted an offer of $167,000 after 57 days on the market.

CONDOMINIUM

266

Active condo listings* 126

New listings in October

117

Condos reported sold in October

GlenBrooke North Nearby Uptown is the neighbourhood of GlenBrooke North. This quiet residential community also enjoys easy access to Queen’s Park as well as transit, stores and schools. Agents will tell you it’s a great place for first-time buyers and several of the area’s developments look like they could just as easily be in Whistler. There are currently six active listings in the neighbourhood starting at $239,900 and going to $448,000. Two of the properties are in the 15-year-old The Crofton; another two are in the two-yearold 8 West complex.

Uptown is a neighbourhood with a wealth of condos; 82 of the city’s 266 active listings are here 30 November 27, 2015

MARKET SNAPSHOT

$332,000

October median selling price

$367

Median price per square foot*

39

Median days on market* Type of inventory* Studio: 2% 1 BR: 38% 2 BR:50% 3 BR: 10%

*Active listings up to November 13, 2015


C ONDO

STYLE

Twelve tips to make your

smallest room feel much bigger

An interior designer offers tricks and illusions to expand your bathroom’s space

By Michelle Hopkins

N

o matter how spacious your condo bathroom is, chances are as time goes by it will seem like there just isn’t enough room for all of your toiletries or your curio collections that have found their way there. This can be

especially problematic for condo owners who have just downsized from a large family home and the bathrooms just aren’t as roomy as the ones left behind. Whatever the situation, the good news is there are many tricks interior designers employ that can create a sense of grandeur. In addition, there are several ways to maximize your precious amount of square footage. So, how do you combine

style and function in a small space? “There are many smart ways to make a small bathroom appear more spacious,” says Alda Pereira, principal of Alda Pereira Designs. “First off, de-cluttering your space is one small, easy way to instantly create a feeling of spaciousness.” Another, the veteran designer says, is, “Use a minimum amount of accessories on the floor and ensure it is kept clear

CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 31


and uncluttered. If you choose to use a rug, use one large one rather than clutter the floor up with several small ones. The more separate pieces you have, the more the floor space is broken up visually. One rug unifies the floor as one large whole and maximizes your bathroom area.” Whether you are ready to do a little remodeling or just want some quick, simple and inexpensive ways to reclaim your bathroom’s footprint, Pereira provides West Coast Condominium readers with some great tips.

Tips to maximize your small bathroom’s footprint

• While

• •

darker paint colours do make a room seem cozy, they often give the illusion of less space. The reason is simple: lighter hues reflect and multiply light, while dark colours absorb it. To make a room feel airy, opt for shades of white, off-white, beige or cream. Not only are they soothing, clean-looking colours, they will make a room appear larger. Another way to create a sense of space is to replace your cabinet doors with mirrored ones. “We did this in a client’s new condo and it looked fabulous,” says Pereira. Accent lighting also gives an illusion of space. If you place lighting under the vanity, it gives the impression that it is floating. Get your vanity off the ground. By floating a vanity, you eliminate the legs, which is an effective way to give a small bathroom a sense of more space. “In addition, it’s very functional for cleaning and a great opportunity to showcase your beautiful flooring,” adds Pereira. If you have an electric toothbrush, you can have the plug inside the vanity so it’s hidden away. “There are many simple ways to find new homes for things that clutter our countertops,” says Pereira. Recess those accessories such as your toiletries, towels holders and display items into niches in the wall. Another consideration is to recess the toilet paper holder. “Niches in the wall will create visual interest and will help avoid objects protruding into valuable floor space,” adds Pereira. Use this same idea in showers and bathtubs to hold soap and bath accessories. Rather than that bulky medicine

32 November 27, 2015

CONDOMINIUM


Get your vanity off the ground. By floating a vanity, you eliminate the legs, which is an effective way to give a small bathroom a sense of more space

• •

cabinet which visually makes your small bathroom feel even smaller, switch out the cabinet for a wall mirror. However, if you really want a medicine cabinet, look for one that is low prole and doesn’t extend far off the wall. If the bathroom has high ceilings, store items right up into that empty usable space. However, Periera says, be mindful of clutter and adding too many items on the shelf. Lighter toned wood cabinetry allows more light to reect off the surfaces and will not stop the eye at the dark cabinetry. If you are going to renovate the bathroom, choose glass shower doors over a shower curtain. The latter becomes a visual barrier instead of letting your eyes take in the space that exists behind the curtain. Think about installing a European space saver – a wet room can be the perfect solution to the traditional builtin, enclosed shower cubicle. Essentially, you have a drain in the centre of your bathroom, which creates an open room with no glass shower. Once you’ve set the scene, de-cluttered, maximized your storage space and changed up the lighting, it’s time to think about aesthetics – especially in your guest bathroom. “You can go militaristically, or you can focus on one particular area,” Pereira says. She recommends using those distinctive pieces that you aren’t sure where to put, such as that gorgeous antique mirror your grandmother gave you or that vase that you don’t know what to do with. She went on to say, “If you want to show off a piece of your home, the powder room is the place to do it because your guests aren’t looking across a huge room.”

CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 33


C ONDO

MARKET WEST VANCOUVER DISTRICT OF NORTH VANCOUVER

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

CITY OF NORTH VANCOUVER

13

BURRARD INLET

PORT MOODY

12

ABBOTSFORD 1

ANMORE BELCARRA

COQUITLAM

PORT COQUITLAM MAPLE RIDGE

BURNABY

Luna Home 30748 Cardial Ave Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.825.3398 ...................Pg15

VANCOUVER

PITT MEADOWS

FRASER RIVER

MISSION

NEW WESTMINSTER

BURNABY 2

Modello #118 - 5021 Kingsway Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.456.0688 ...................Pg17

RICHMOND SURREY

ABBOTSFORD

LANGLEY CITY

3

Milano 4247 Lougheed Hwy, Brentwood Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.294.8989 ...................Pg 19

DELTA

COQUITLAM 4

Hazel #202 - 827 Roderick Ave Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.937.2599 ...................Pg 15

NEW WESTMINSTER 5

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

NORTH VANCOUVER 6

Seylynn Village 600 Mountain Hwy Open Daily 12 – 5 pm 604.980.5000 ...................Pg 35

7

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

RICHMOND 8

PORT MOODY 9

Clarke 909 Clarke Rd Call for more Information! 778.558.6377 ...................Pg 23

SURREY 10

Aura 6971 122 Street Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 778.564.1876 ...................Pg 15

11

BLU at Morgan Creek 15988 32Ave, South Surrey Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.961.5160 ...................Pg 15

VANCOUVER

Harbour Walk 12235 No 1 Road Open Mon to Fri 9 -4 pm, Sat & Sun 12 - 4 pm 604.274.7326 ...................Pg 25

34 November 27, 2015

WHITE ROCK

CONDOMINIUM

12 Sterling 3130 Arbutus St Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.428.8858 ...................Pg 36

Arc 13 The 89 Nelson Street Coming Spring 2016 604.899.8800 ...................Pg 13

TSAWWASSEN 14 Brio 1625 56 Street Call for your Private Viewing. 604.657.9888 ...................Pg 27 Northgate 15 CITYHOMES 1708 55A St at 18 Avenue Open Daily 12 – 5 pm (except Friday) 604.948.2345 ...................Pg 27


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CONDOMINIUM

November 27, 2015 35


CRESSEY (WEST BOULEVARD) , STERLING BACK PAGE 12.00 x 792.00 R0011143958 4C

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CONDOMINIUM

604.428.8858

S t e r l i n g B y C r e s s ey. c o m

WESTCOAST CONDOMINIUM Nov 27, 2015  

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