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Showcasing the best of living in the Lower Mainland

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NEW

HEIGHTS THE AWARD-WINNING OVERHAUL OF A LOW, DARK BUNGALOW | 32

SIZING IT RIGHT This hot buyer trend isn’t called downsizing anymore

QUEST FOR THE BEST Your guide to accolades for developers, renovators and agents 10

BUZZING BURNABY Why Vancouver’s nearest neighbour is the place to be 16

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SA VE nt V RY ac E t o A LIM ur N I s a O TE T le H D s te E OF am R FE to $2 R le 5, ar 0 n 0 m 0 Co

ROOM TO SPREAD YOUR WINGS NOW SELLING - A NEW COLLECTION OF MODERN OCEANSIDE HOMES TWO BEDROOM HOMES STARTING FROM $449,900 GST INCLUDED

This final phase in the Tsawwassen Shores master-planned community, Peregrine offers you room to spread your wings. With two spacious bedrooms, two bathrooms, a real dining area, and an extension of your living room with the Nest Clubhouse, this is the best value in the entire Lower Mainland. Save even more with GST, parking, and bike storage all included in one great price.

Tsawwassen Mills Mall

PEREGRINE

7 y1 Hw

Salish Sea Dr

Dr

Artist renderings. The developer reserves the right to make change and make modifications to the information contained herein without prior notice. This is not an offering for sale. Such an offering can only be made by a disclosure statement. Promotions are based on current tax laws which are subject to change without notice. E&OE.

Blue Heron Way

Tsawwassen

TSAWWASSENSHORES.COM info@tsawwassenshores.com | 604 943 6677

PRESENTATION CENTRE 4742 Blue Heron Way, Tsawwassen BC (Off of Salish Sea Drive, next to Tsawwassen Mills mall) 12-5pm every day (except Fridays)


Home sweet deal. Now you can afford a home without compromising quality, space or neighbourhood. It’s easy to call this place home. Get more home for less in Vancouver. There’s never been a better time to buy at riverdistrict.ca/mode

A master-planned community by WESGROUP The developer reserves the right to make modifications to floorplans, project design, materials and specifications to maintain the standards of this development. Rendering is an artist’s interpretation. Prices are subject to change without notice. This is not an offering for sale. E&OE.


M ES S AG E

F R O M

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Navigating today’s tricky real estate waters

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elcome to the first edition of our newly rebranded West Coast Condos & Homes. We tweaked our name and widened our focus from condos alone, because — let’s face it — all real estate is interconnected. Renters move into condos, condo dwellers move up into townhomes, townhome owners try to upgrade to a detached house, and single-family owners often downsize into condos. It’s all a great, big, beautiful, complicated, challenging, messy cycle. Especially in today’s market. Earlier this year, I was asked

Showcasing the best of living in the Lower Mainland

to guest live on CityTV’s BT Vancouver morning news show to recap a range of industry predictions for real estate in 2019. During the interview, I was asked what strategy buyers should adopt if they’re hoping to get into the market, or perhaps trying to move up, but are waiting to see what will happen. This question, of trying to time the market, is one that comes up time and time again — no matter whether we’re in a rising market, in a down market, or in a steady market. People have a terror of buying a home at the “peak” of the market — but I don’t think this

is something to fear. Here’s the thing about real estate. There is no price “peak” — only a fluctuating, but generally upward, line. If you’re looking at holding onto a home for a reasonable length of time, if you can afford the mortgage and if you have a decent down payment, do it — trying to time the market is a fool’s errand. Those price predictions I was interviewed about differ considerably, so nobody really knows what will happen this year, or next. Sure, the general consensus is that here in Metro Vancouver and maybe in Greater Victoria, average home prices might dip by a few per cent more this year. But even if that happens, it doesn’t mean the specific home you want to buy in a particular area will be any cheaper. The only buyers I’d recommend to wait are speculators looking for a quick flip (a rising market is essential for that strategy). For everyone else, if you hold on to your

Joannah Connolly Editor-in-Chief, West Coast Condo & Homes Joannah Connolly is editor-in-chief of West Coast Condo & Homes, as part of her wider role as editorial director of Glacier Media Real Estate, which includes writing and editing real estate content for Glacier Media’s local newspaper websites and specialty publications. She regularly appears on radio, TV and panels discussing the Metro Vancouver real estate market.

PUBLISHER: Lynn Fry

ADVERTISING SALES: 604.379.4576

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: Joannah Connolly

DISTRIBUTION: 604.435.7977

SALES REPRESENTATIVES: Tracey Aussem, Jackie Mollenhauer, Igor Pogorelo

EMAIL: rewads@rew.ca

PRODUCTION: Darko Isic, Peter Gallagher DESIGNER: Arslan Sultan

home for long enough, it will always end up being worth more than you bought it for. And you really don’t want to be on the wrong side of the price rises that could be ahead of us over the next decade. So if you’re lucky enough to be able to buy a home — whichever location you can afford, and in whatever size home — just go for it.

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

COPYRIGHT: West Coast Condo & Homes is published quarterly by Real Estate Weekly Partnership. Copyright 2019. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of articles and advertising that appear in each edition of West Coast Condo & Homes, 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 writtenpermission of Real Estate Weekly Partnership.

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WE LOVE… HOME PRODUCTS AND FURNITURE THAT TRANSFORM YOUR MULTIFUNCTIONAL SPACES

10 RIGHTSIZING

WHAT WAS CALLED DOWNSIZING IS DRIVING THE CONDO AND TOWNHOME MARKET

16 QUEST FOR THE BEST 8

YOUR GUIDE TO THE INDUSTRY AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS TO RECOGNIZE

24 MORTGAGE MOMENT THIS NEW FINANCING ADVICE COLUMN HELPS YOU BRACE FOR POSSIBLE RATE RISES

27 CITY SPOTLIGHT BURNABY IS UNDERGOING HUGE CHANGE IN RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT

32 LET THERE BE LIGHT YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT THIS GORGEOUSLY RENOVATED HOME USED TO LOOK LIKE…

37 RENO IT RIGHT WHAT TO FIX UP BEFORE TRYING TO SELL YOUR HOME IN TODAY’S TRICKY MARKET

39 INVESTMENT INSIGHTS OUR RESIDENT REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT EXPERT HAS THREE B.C. HOTSPOTS FOR YOU

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ONLY 10% DOWN PAYMENT STARTING FROM JUST $999,900

A BOUTIQUE COLLECTION OF MODERN 3 & 4 BEDROOM TOWNHOMES 1,851 - 2,043 SQ.FT. OF LIVING SPACE WITH YOUR OWN PRIVATE FENCED BACKYARD

READY TO MOVE IN 2019 - REGISTER NOW



SEYMOURVILLAGE.COM Visit us at 13-3596 Salal Drive, North Vancouver Open 12-5pm daily (except Friday) Artist renderings. The developer reserves the right to make change and make modiямБcations to the information contained herein without prior notice. E&OE.


D ES IG N

I N S P I R AT I O N

WE LOVE...

Dot acacia side table-stool In living rooms that are tight on space, side tables that double as seating are amazingly useful when guests come over. We love this one from CB2, which is chic and practical, with an acacia-wood top and zinc frame.

PERFECT PIECES FOR MULTIFUNCTIONAL LIVING SPACES

WITH OUR living spaces getting ever smaller, oftentimes you need to double up (or more!) on a room’s functionality. These great finds

$299 cb2.com

will help you do just that…

Middlebrook kitchen island set

Shoji bamboo-print room divider When your living room doubles as your guest bedroom, or your craft room doubles as a play room, you need to create some privacy and separation. Here’s a great room divider that folds flat when not in use, and measures 68.5 inches by 70 inches when expanded. Plus, it has a gorgeous bamboo print to make you feel Zen no matter what the chaos around you!.

$216.99 walmart.ca

If you have a smaller kitchen and no dining area, a drop-leaf mini kitchen island that you can eat at is what you need. This cottage-industrial-style set is counter-height to give you extra prep space while cooking, and then opens up to offer a generous eating spot with plenty of leg room, plus two bar stools.

$192.99 (22% off as of March 2019) wayfair.ca

Neo folding-top vanity and mirror set If your home-office desk is also your bedroom vanity, this is the perfect product for you. It has plenty of space on which to work and six drawers to house your office supplies. When it’s time to get ready, push your laptop to the side and the central section pops up as an LED-lit mirror with storage space underneath. What’s more, it has two integrated power outlets and two USB hubs.

$1034.99 bedbathandbeyond.ca

LGM Murphy bed with shelving and desk So many people’s guest bedrooms are also their home offices. How about this as a great solution? Resource Furniture’s LGM model is a shelving feature wall with drop-down desk by day, and a guest double bed by night. The best thing about it? It revolves vertically, so your shelves and all their loose items stay horizontal, and hidden behind the headboard as the Murphy bed drops down.

Custom-made, quotes available; Vancouver showroom resourcefurniture.com

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THE BEST VALUE FOR WATERFRONT HOMES IN GREATER VANCOUVER mov e -in -r e a dy pr ice s sta rt i ng f rom $ 8 6 5 ,9 0 0 s a l e s ce n t e r ope n by a pp oi n t m e n t on ly.

210 Salter Street, New Westminster

t h e pe n i nsu l a at p ort roya l n e w w e st

a r ag on . c a /t h e pe n i nsu l a t h e pe n i nsu l a @a r ag on . c a 604. 544. 2258

nort h va nc ou v e r Prices from $1,239,900 Avg. size 915 sf

Prices from $865,900 Avg. size 1,228 sf

r ich mon d Prices from $1,350,000 Avg. size 1,360 sf

d ow n t ow n n e w w e st Prices from $1,019,900 Avg. size 1,199 sf

#ARAGONFORWARD The developer reserves the right to make changes and modiďŹ cations to the information combined herein without prior notice. This is not an offering for sale. E&OE.


B U Y ER

F O C U S

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o day ’ s d own si z in g b a by- b o o m er s wa nt s pac e, a m eni t ies a n d luxu ry f in is h es i n a t u r n k e y h o m e

Bellevue in West Vancouver, by Cressey Development Group, is designed with generous floorplans and marketed to rightsizers

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W

hen retirees Roger and Jennifer Meloche sold their large hillside detached home on the Port Moody/Coquitlam border two years ago, they purged many of their belongings and bought a four-bedroom townhouse that was a more appropriate size. But it was a move that didn’t go far enough, and they have just purchased a shiny new presale, three-bedroom penthouse in central Port Moody, which will be ready in two years. “With the new place, we’re going to get everything on our checklist,” says Jennifer. “The rooftop patio, the nearby amenities, the great location close to the park, and the great view. And it’s closer to our daughters. We also wanted to go somewhere where there’s no upkeep.” The new development the Meloches are moving to, 50 Electronic Avenue by the Panatch Group, is a large development with a 9,000-square-foot community amenities building that includes fitness rooms, a coworking space, a workshop and pet-washing station – something that appeals to the Meloches, who have a dog. Roger adds, “We also wanted to have single-level living, and make this a more permanent home that will suit us as we get older. And we had to have three bedrooms, as we need space for our daughters to stay, and an office to work.” The new development will also have a guest suite for additional visitors to use. The Meloches are far from being alone in making this kind of move. With baby-boomers taking up such a huge chunk of our population, they are a major driver of today’s real estate market. Over the past 10 years, as the upper ages of cohort has hit retirement and the youngest starting to experience empty-nest syndrome, this has translated into one huge real estate trend – downsizing.

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The Smithe by Boffo is attracting wealthy downsizers to downtown Vancouver, with all its spacious units offering two bedrooms or more

Or “rightsizing,” as it is often – and more accurately – dubbed. Boomers who have paid off their detached homes and found themselves with lots of equity and too much space are selling up in droves and moving to high-end condos that are better suited to their needs in this next phase of their lives. These condos tend to be smaller than the buyers’ previous homes, but not small, and what is given up in space is easily gained back in luxury and amenities. What’s more, these homes are generally less expensive that the detached home the buyer has come from, leaving the buyers with equity left over to add to the retirement fund. Andrew Carros, partner at luxury real estate brokerage Engel & Völkers, has seen this trend emerge over the past decade or so. “The trend started to happen in downtown Vancouver with new developments for these kinds of buyers being built in Coal Harbour and Yaletown, on the waterfront in particular, where people were

High-end kitchens with luxury appliances – such as this one at The Smithe – mean downsizers aren’t compromising when giving up their detached home

drawn to larger apartments with views. But even more important, these were buildings with a little more esteem, where there might be a concierge, nice amenities and a secure location. These buyers want to travel, they need somewhere secure, they have less need for a car or outside space, and they don’t want the

maintenance of a detached home.” Amenities and luxury are crucial to these buyers, he added. “They want something to be proud of, and they want to be in a newer building. They want this to be their last move so they don’t want to have to worry about the building.”

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The open-concept living spaces such as this one at Cressey’s Bellevue are appealing to those who are looking to entertain family in their later years

When buyers are moving from 5,000plus square feet down to 2,000 square feet, the quality has to be even better

– Jason Turcotte, VP of development, Cressey Development Group

Rightsizing is all about having a low-maintenance, turnkey home – so a roof terrace like this one at 50 Electronic Avenue in Port Moody is perfect

Targeting rightsizers It’s such a large group of home buyers that some developers focus almost entirely on building units targeted to rightsizers. “That’s always been Boffo’s target market,” says Karen West, director of marketing and sales at Boffo Developments. “We have always built larger homes than the typical market… These medium-sized homes are highly sought-after as they’re still not really prevalent in the marketplace, although we’ve seen some more of this housing type being built recently.” West points to the developer’s

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latest luxury project in downtown Vancouver, The Smithe, as a prime example of what is attracting the wealthy rightsizer. “We don’t have any one-bed units at The Smithe, they’re all two bedrooms and up, with some sub-penthouses of up to four bedrooms. And they’re all extremely high-spec. But more than the spec, it’s the luxury of having the space to have a family gathering or cocktail party, and to put your house-sized furniture in the rooms. The kitchens are huge and fabulous, with giant refrigerators and massive cooktops, so the buyer isn’t compromising on what they had in their family house.”

Local developer Cressey Development Group also focuses many of its projects to the rightsizing market. Jason Turcotte, vice-president of development, told WCCH, “We’ve seen baby-boomers be very responsive to the right offering. They’re looking for space, although not as much as in their single-family home, and yet they still want elements of a singlefamily home. Things like an entry foyer – it might not be huge, but it’s still an entry foyer – and a laundry room, and a master suite with space for a kingsize bed. The first project where we really committed to this kind

of offering, Beverley in White Rock, the response was ‘finally, this is what we’ve been missing, we wanted a condo but weren’t willing to live in 850 square feet.’” Cressey is now marketing Bellevue in West Vancouver, Chelsea in Vancouver and Caban in Kelowna – all of which offer luxurious turnkey units with expansive floorplans and panoramic views to attract the wealthy boomer.

Finishes and functionality For Cressey’s rightsizing buyers, premium finishes are a must.

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Rightsizers aren’t always looking for huge spaces, as many are turning to mid-size projects like Panatch Group’s 50 Electronic Avenue for a comfortable option

Turcotte says, “At Bellevue in West Vancouver, our buyers tend to be those selling a large West Side or West Vancouver home, which were often renovated, so they’re accustomed to having very nice homes. So when they’re moving from 5,000-plus square feet down to 2,000 square feet, the quality has to be even better. That’s inside the suite, in the common areas, in the amenities. It’s about not having to compromise, and having somewhere they can be proud of.” Other condo projects focus less on space and ultra-prime finishes, and more on lifestyle and smart living. 50 Electronic Avenue, to which the Meloches are moving, offers less square footage than the typical downsizer condo but focuses on functionality and efficiency, with a lot of smart storage and built-in cabinetry. “All you really need is a bed, a dining table and a couch,”

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says Roger. “You don’t need chests of drawers or bureaus – which means for the average downsizer, you have got to get rid of a lot of stuff, including your furniture. But that’s good – it’s important to start purging when you get older.” Even though the largest units at 50 Electronic Avenue are less than 1,300 square feet, developer

Kush Panatch says that the first phase of 138 units, which is 60 per cent sold, has attracted many downsizers like the Meloches. “Typically a project sells from the bottom up, with the smaller, less expensive units going first. But 50 Electronic has sold from the top down, with the larger units selling quickly – especially those with rooftop patios, which go up to

900 square feet. We had multiple offers on some of those units.” Panatch says that this trend is now firmly entrenched. “People have really embraced condo living, that low-maintenance lifestyle that’s less focused on having a lot of material things. They want what they have left to be a higher calibre, and a higher quality, with a higher level of service.”

RIGHTSIZING IN A DOWN MARKET When detached home owners want to downsize to a condo, how significantly have their plans been affected by today’s market, in which single-family prices are falling and detached homes are taking longer to sell? Not hugely, says Andrew Carros of Engel and Völkers. “The shift that we’ve seen is that as single-family homes have decreased a little bit, and the number of sales decline, everything has slowed down across the board – it all starts at the top. So if you’re not able to sell your home as quickly, you might wait longer. But I don’t think intent has changed. A lot of these boomers have bought a long time ago and have a lot of equity in their home, so they can still make the move – they just have to look at the market in front of them and act accordingly. I don’t think it stops anybody, it’s just an adjustment of approach. Single-family homes are still selling if they are priced appropriately, and the vendor is patient.” Cressey’s Jason Turcotte agrees. “When anyone has uncertainty about the value of their [single-family] home, it gives them pause. But put that into context of these homes’ value adjusting from incredibly high figures, so they have amassed incredible amounts of equity in their homes, even if that price has adjusted. So these buyers are not prevented from making that lifestyle change.”

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P R O J E CT

PROF I LE

DUET: A HARMONY OF GREAT LOCATION AND QUALITY HOMEBUILDING ADERA’S 50 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE COMES TO THE FOREFRONT IN THIS INNOVATIVELY BUILT, 72-CONDO DEVELOPMENT IN WEST COQUITLAM

A

sk anybody in the know about Adera Development Corporation’s (or just Adera’s) reputation as a homebuilder, and they’ll tell you that the company is synonymous with quality craftsmanship and decades of experience. Now in its 50th celebration year, it would be easy to imagine that Adera is a company that’s all about history and tradition. But, while this is important, Adera is also at the cutting edge of homebuilding technology and innovation. And the homebuyers at Duet, Adera’s new sixstorey development in West Coquitlam, will get to reap the many benefits of this smart construction. Duet, a boutique collection of 72 one-, two- and threebedroom urban flats, is located in the blossoming area of West Coquitlam. Duet is just a short walk from the Burquitlam SkyTrain station which means downtown Vancouver, Port Moody, and everything in between are just minutes from home. Eric Andreasen, vice-president of sales and marketing at Adera, says, “This is an area that is at

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the start of the next big real estate boom – it’s becoming urbanized. This part of the Coquitlam-Burnaby corridor is seeing massive transformation. And you can get downtown on the SkyTrain without any hassle, so you really don’t need a car.” Also putting Duet at the forefront of development trends is the fact that it will be built using Adera’s trademarked SmartWoodTM technology. This is a combination of building homes to above industry standards in sustainability, and the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel construction, combined with Adera’s QuietHomeTM technology. CLT is proven to offer excellent fire resistance and outperform concrete in seismic conditions, as well as being a renewable material. Mass timber also transmits less sound between attached homes than concrete or steel construction. The SmartWoodTM system has already been used at Virtuoso, Adera’s most recent residential development at UBC – a project that has recently won the 2019 Georgie Award for Best MultiFamily Mid-Rise Development. Hardy Wenztel, CEO of Adera’s CLT supplier Structurlam, says, “Although mass timber is a nascent material here in B.C., we’re at a point where we’re seeing a groundswell of product acceptance. It means building faster, building sustainably, building economically and building higher quality, compared with steel and concrete buildings.” The provincial government is also on board, having recently increased the B.C. building code height limit for mass-timber buildings from six storeys to 12 storeys.

Quality and functionality Andreasen is justly proud of how far his company has come in terms of innovation – and, perhaps even more importantly, of the reputation Adera has built, and relationships forged along the way. He adds, “Being 50 years in the business, we’ve created relationships with all the region’s top trades and craftspeople. So if you really want quality, this is where you’ll find it.” Aside from SmartWoodTM construction and QuietHomeTM technology, many of the residents at Duet will enjoy large outdoor spaces. Units that do not have a private roof deck will have access to the building’s crowning glory – a stunning, common rooftop terrace, perfect for entertaining or relaxing. The building will also benefit from a residents’ gym, common lounge, secure bike storage lockers and

electric vehicle-charging stalls. The open-concept homes range from 479 square feet to just over 1,000 square feet, and the gorgeous interiors are designed by Vancouver designer Cynthia Florano. Kitchens will feature quartz countertops, porcelain tile backsplashes and faucets in matte black finishes. The home interiors are offered in two colour palettes, and Adera’s i.D. By Me program allows buyers to customize homes with upgrades such as custom millwork, high-end kitchen appliances and a hot tub (in some cases). Homes at Duet start at $395,900, and early-bird registrants can also benefit from additional offers. The presentation centre is currently open by appointment only, where potential buyers can experience Adera’s QuietHomeTM technology in action. Completion is expected in Spring 2021.

For more information, call 604.937.9688, email duet@adera.com or visit adera.com/duet

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I N D U S T RY

AWA R D S

QUEST FOR

THE BEST It’s worth researching the industry accolades and affiliations of the renovation, development and real estate companies you’re considering working with

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arious industry associations, a whole host of achievement awards, elite club memberships – it all probably sounds like a lot of internal industry back-slapping that has no relevance to you as an outsider. Right? But the truth is, nobody who is

planning on ever buying or selling a home in B.C. is an outsider. In fact, you will need to work with agents and development companies to find the best home for you. Which means you will want to work with the best. That’s where industry associations and the awards they give out are essential. Think of

them like an endorsement, or a bunch of great online reviews. You might not know these companies, or these agents, from personal experience – but you can be pretty confident that if they have won enough accolades, you’re most likely in safe hands. And don’t forget, oftentimes

the award entry processes take into account client testimonials – so the eventual prize is often a reflection of what regular people think of these companies and their homes or services. Here are the Lower Mainland of B.C.’s key industry associations, their awards, and what they mean.

Paramax Homes won the Georgie Award for Custom Home Valued Over $3,000,000 for the spectacular new detached house ”King Georges” in West Vancouver

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The gorgeous kitchens at Solterra Development’s Bordeaux project in Burnaby saw the company win the Georgie for Best Multi-Family Kitchen – New

CHBA BC, the provincial branch of the CHBA.

GEORGIE AWARDS

CHBA

institutions, insurance providers, and service professionals.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is the national body for home builders and residential development companies. Since 1943, the CHBA has been the voice of the residential construction industry and its membership is made up of more than 8,500 companies – including home builders, renovators, developers, trade contractors, product and material manufacturers, building product suppliers, lending

Those companies who are members of the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association (see above) are automatically affiliated with the CHBA, so you don’t need to look for separate membership when assessing a local builder or developer. If the company you’re looking at is outside of the Greater Vancouver area, check to see whether it belongs to a local CHBA-affiliated association, or is a member of

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Every year, the BC branch of the CHBA issues the Georgie Awards, which celebrates the achievements of its members across the province. Although many of those members are based in the Lower Mainland, unlike the GVHBA’s Ovation Awards (see above), these awards are handed out to projects across the whole of BC. The CHBA handed out its 2019 Georgie Awards at a glamorous event on March 9 in downtown Vancouver, and the Grand Georgie Awards® winners are listed overleaf. “The high-calibre and inspiring projects submitted each year

by CHBA BC members is a large part of why the Georgie Awards® program has thrived,” says Neil Moody, CEO of the CHBA BC. “We receive hundreds of entries from across British Columbia and it is an accomplishment in itself to stand out as a finalist.” If you’re looking for a new home or a home builder, especially outside of Greater Vancouver, knowing that they have received a Georgie Award is a great barometer of quality and reliability.

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AND THE WINNERS ARE… Here’s who came out on top at the 2019 Georgie Awards

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arch 9 saw the glamorous 2019 Georgie Awards take place in Vancouver, organized by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA). The big winner of the night was My House Design/Build/Team, which walked away with wins in eight categories, including two of the Grand Georgie Awards® listed below. Triumphing with hattricks were Forge Properties and Paramax Homes, each winning three trophies. Blackfish Homes was the proud winner of two awards, one of which – Best Residential Renovation $800,000 and Over – is gorgeously featured in our Home Tour on pages 32-35. The evening ended with the announcement of the seven biggest prize winners of the night – the Grand Georgie Awards, listed below.

Best kitchen renovation over $125K was taken by My House Design/Build/Team for its Caribbean Dream kitchen in Surrey

GRAND GEORGIE AWARD® WINNERS Customer Satisfaction – Renovator My House Design/Build/Team Ltd., Surrey

Marketing Campaign of the Year Forge Properties Inc. (associate company: Anvil Studio Inc.) for “FANTOM” in White Rock

Paramax won three Georgie Awards, including Best Custom Home Valued Over $3 Million for King Georges in Surrey

Foxridge Homes won the big prize for Single-Family Home Production Homebuilder of Year

Residential Community of the Year

Residential Renovator of the Year

Multi-Family Home Builder of the Year

Paradise Estates Ltd. for “Paradise Estates” in Kelowna

My House Design/Build/Team Ltd., Surrey

Zenterra Developments, Surrey

Custom Home Builder of the Year

Single Family Production Home Builder of the Year

Bercum Builders, Vernon

Foxridge Homes, Surrey

For the full list of winners, go to www.chbabc.org/news/ georgie-awards

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Forge Properties walked away with the Grand Georgie Award for Marketing Campaign of the Year for “FANTOM”

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“SOUTHCREST” in Surrey is sure to bag Miracon Development at least two HAVAN Ovation Awards, as it is the only finalist in some categories

HAVAN

HAVAN represents its members to local government and housing groups, and is affiliated with the nationwide Canadian Home Builders’ Association (see below) at both the provincial and national levels. Established in 1974, it is the largest of the 10 local home-builder associations in British Columbia, with more than 850 members, and is governed by a board of directors, elected annually by the general membership.

The Homebuilders’ Associaiton of Vancouver – or HAVAN (formerly the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association or GVHBA) is a local organization with a membership of home builders and renovation companies, ranging from major regional developers to small independent businesses.

HAVAN offers its members education and training, essential industry knowledge and the opportunity to work together and find best practices. So whether you’re looking to buy a new home in a development, looking for a builder to create your dream house or looking for a renovator

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for your home improvements, make sure that the company you go with is a HAVAN member.

Ovation Awards The annual accolades issued by HAVAN are the prestigious Ovation Awards – this year to be given out at a gala dinner to be held on May 4, 2019. Now in their seventh year, the Ovations celebrate everything from modest kitchen renovations to stunning whole-home transformations, and from newly built family townhouse complexes to luxurious custom mansions to large condo developments and more. In this extremely competitive local residential construction industry, builders, developers, renovators and designers need to distinguish

their brand, people, products and services. The Ovation Awards have been carefully designed to provide members of all sizes with an equal opportunity to compete and showcase their services and homes. There are plenty of awards to go around, so if the company you are looking at buying a home from doesn’t have an Ovation Award on their front desk, ask them: why not?

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GETTING THE OVATION NOD Who is in the running for a coveted Ovation Award this year?

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he next big awards event on the calendar is the Ovation Awards, organized by the Homebuilders’ Association of Vancovuer (HAVAN, formerly Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association. Celebrating the tenth awards season, almost 400 entries were submitted this year – a record for the Ovation Awards – across 48 categories. In total, 162 finalists were announced, representing the best projects in renovations, new-home construction, design and building science across Metro Vancouver. The shortlisted companies were announced at the Finalists ‘Oiree event on Thursday, February 28 in Vancouver. Multi-family builders Miracon Developments Inc. and Adera Development Corporation were honoured with the most nods, each having nine finalist nominations, followed by Zenterra Developments Ltd. scooping up finalist spots in seven categories. Adera and Zenterra will also be battling head to head in arguably the biggest award of the night – Multi-Family Home Builder of the Year – with Adera hoping to gain the victory after Zenterra walked off with the equivalent trophy in March’s Georgie Awards.

Adera Development Corp is nominated for nine Ovation Awards for its achievements with residential projects such as the South Ridge Club

Custom home builders Tavan Developments Ltd. and Troico were shortlisted in for seven and six categories respectively, with Rain City Renovations and Rodrozen Designs Inc. each nominated for five awards. The spectacular “Mathers” home renovation featured on our cover and also on pages 32-35 is also showcased at the Ovations, with contractor Blackfish Homes nominated for this project in the “Best

VanMar Constructors Inc. is guaranteed to win Best Multi-Family Highrise Development for Storeys in Abbotsford, as it’s the only nominee

West Coast Dream Homes is up for several Ovations, with its Erickson house in two categories, including Best Renovation: $200,000-$399,999

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Renovation: $700,000-$1 million” category. Entries are judged by a peer-reviewed panel of awardwinning builders, renovators and designers from outside the Metro Vancouver area. Winners of the 2019 HAVAN

Ovation Awards will be announced on Saturday, May 4, at the glitzy awards gala, taking place at the JW Marriott Parq in downtown Vancouver. A full list of finalists and their project photos are available at www.ovationawards.ca.

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I N D U S T RY

AWA R D S

URBAN DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE

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he Urban Development Institute is the national association (with international affiliations) of the development industry. Its local chapter, UDI Pacific Region, has more than 650 member companies, and represents thousands of individuals – not just developers, but also property managers, lenders, lawyers, engineers, planners, architects, appraisers, real estate professionals, local governments and government

agencies. Launched in 1972, the UDI Pacific Region works to foster communication between the industry, government and the public and to improve both housing and job opportunities for all British Columbians. UDI Pacific also serves as the voice of the real estate development industry, communicating with local governments, the media and community groups on a number of issues. If you’re looking for a new home in a development such as a condo community, ensuring that the developer behind the building is a UDI member offers you the assurance of accountability.

And with all the negative press that the real estate industry has suffered over the past year, many would-be home buyers and sellers feel nervous when picking an agent. Naturally, you’ll choose a licensed REALTOR® who is a member of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) – or your local real estate board, if you’re not in Greater Vancouver – but there are so many of them. So beyond that, there are three initiatives identifying top agents to help you out here, too.

REAL ESTATE BOARD OF GREATER VANCOUVER

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f you’re buying or selling a home resale, your interest will likely lie less in developers and more in REALTORS® and their brokerages.

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MEDALLION CLUB AND PRESIDENT’S CLUB AWARDS Each year the REBGV celebrates the achievements of its top members on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) with the Medallion and President’s Club Awards.

South Ridge Club by Adera Development Corp. was a winner at the most recent Urban Development Institute Awards in 2018

UDI AWARDS The UDI Awards are held every two years and focus on the development industry and its members’ achievements, with less attention on the construction and renovation of individual homes that the GVHBA and CHBA awards schemes offer. These awards therefore celebrate mostly larger buildings in a wide range of categories such as high-, mid- and low-rise developments,

For more than 50 years, the board has handed out the Medallion Club Award to its topproducing real estate agents – which is to say, the top 10 per cent, in terms of sales volume, out of the more than 13,400 REALTORS® participating on the MLS® in the region. The President’s Club qualifiers are selected from the top one per cent each year.

PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARD Through this award, the REBGV recognizes REALTORS® who’ve demonstrated ethics, integrity, knowledge and service throughout their time in the real estate profession. Just one winner is chosen each year, making the past recipients of this award arguably the ultimate choice for your home purchase or sale.

project innovation, non-market and rental projects, both in the Lower Mainland and across BC. So if a condo or townhome in a new community is what you’re after, take a look at the developer and see if they have previously won any of these prestigious UDI Awards. And if they have collected one as well as a Georgie Award and an Ovation Award, then you’re definitely onto a winner!

Again, if you’re not in Greater Vancouver, check out your local real estate board’s website to learn more about local awardwinning agents. However, when it comes to choosing an agent, it’s not all about accolades or sales volumes – there are many thousands of fantastic agents who are not in the Medallion Club or a past winner of the Professional Excellence Award. The most important thing is to interview agents, find out who specializes in your neighbourhood, and get recommendations from people you trust.

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M O R TGAG E

M O M E N T

TIPS TO PREPARE YOU FOR FUTURE INTEREST RATE HIKES The Bank of Canada may be holding steady for now, but interest rates could still rise in the next year BY ALISA ARAGON

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n the past year, the Bank of Canada has increased their overnight rate, which affects variable interest rates. However, in their last announcement the Bank of Canada acknowledged that the slowdown in the Canadian economy has been deeper and more broadly based that it had expected earlier this year. In addition, we are left to assume that the Bank is unlikely to hike interest rates again this year. Fixed mortgage interest rates went up slightly and have now moved back down a little with quite a few lenders, due to changes on the bond market. Fixed interest rates are still relatively low compared with what they were back in 2005 (5.35 per cent for five years). Despite this, interest rates will continue to trend upwards. Therefore, it is important to be proactive and prepare yourself for higher interest rates. The following tips that can help.

1. Pay down your mortgage faster To ensure that you don’t over-leverage yourself when interest rates increase, start by making larger or more frequent payments. This will help you by lowering your principal so you will pay interest on a smaller amount in the future. Also, consider making a lumpsum payment. Most lenders allow you to pay up to 10-20 per cent of your mortgage without a penalty annually. The prepayment amount is applied to the principal balance,

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which will help you save money. Changing your payment frequency is another great way to pay off your mortgage faster. You can save money by paying the same amount per month and simply splitting your mortgage payments throughout the month to semi-monthly, bi-weekly or weekly payments.

2. Pay down your debt If you are only making minimum payments on your credit card, it would be a good idea to start paying more. If you are unable to come up with the money, start a budget or see where you can tighten your existing one, cut spending and start paying down your credit card debt with the money you save. If you are living beyond your means, it won’t get any easier later on. It is better to become proactive, instead of getting in a tighter situation later, especially when interest rates start rising. If you are looking at buying a home, calculate what the payments will be with a higher interest rate and see if you would be comfortable making those payments in the long run. If not, purchase a property of lesser value.

3. Refinance If your mortgage is coming up for renewal in the next two to three years, it is worth checking out if you are eligible to refinance now and take advantage of the lower interest rates. Also, if you have equity in your home this is a great opportunity to pay off some debts and increase your monthly cash flow. Even when you have to pay a penalty for refinancing prior to the end of the term, and even if

you end up with a higher interest rate compared to what you have, it could help you save money in the long run. Talk to your mortgage expert to explore the options and see if it makes sense.

4. Have a contingency fund If you are concerned about higher interest rates when your mortgage comes up for renewal, start working on it now. It’s a good idea to start a contingency fund that can be used to cover the increase in mortgage payments or use that fund to make a lump sum payment on your mortgage. If you are on a

adjustable mortgage, figure out what would be your mortgage payments if you had a fixed rate and put that extra money aside. By making small changes in your daily spending you can save more money in the long run.

5. Seek professional advice Having a close relationship and working with your mortgage expert frequently can help offset some of the stress and confusion. They can help educate you in areas you might not be familiar with and can help you be prepared for when interest rates do start increasing.

Alisa Aragon provides her mortgage expertise through Bridgestone Financing Pros powered by DLC Mountain View Ltd. She is an active member and is a Director of the Board of the Homebuilders Association Vancouver (formerly GVHBA). Alisa is an expert in developing short- and longterm strategies that are customized for each individual client. Her strategies include the best mortgage with the most favourable terms and rates to suit clients’ needs.

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CI T Y

S P O T L I G H T

BOOMING

BURNABY Buyers, developers and realtors all say “It’s the place to be”

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transformation is happening in Burnaby. This once largely suburban municipality has emerged as a development hotspot, with transformation happening in two major hubs. As Vancouver’s nearest and most urban suburban neighbour, Burnaby has seen huge real estate price rises in recent years, although prices have softened somewhat in the recent market downturn. Those two major hubs – Metrotown in South Burnaby and Brentwood in North Burnaby – have seen massive recent development and continue to do so. Both areas are served by different

branches of the SkyTrain into downtown Vancouver and both are major real estate draws. This buzz is inspiring young home buyers like Paris Pereira to enter the market. “It’s the best of both worlds – you’re close to downtown Vancouver, but still far enough away to enjoy the simplicity of a more suburban life,” she tells West Coast Condos & Homes. “Brentwood is the new downtown of Burnaby, with all the new towers, the new shopping centre and all the facilities. It’s the place to be.” Pereira first purchased at Escala in Brentwood, a luxury tower by Ledingham McAlister,

and recently purchased a second Brentwood condo, at Onni’s glamorous Gilmore Place (see sidebar). She plans to live in the Escala unit in the short term, as it’s completing sooner, and then move into Gilmore Place. “At Gilmore, there are unobstructed views towards downtown – plus the amenities really sold me.” Developers have jumped on this appetite for new homes, with dozens of towers springing up across Burnaby, especially in the huge masterplanned community of Brentwood. Thind Properties is all-in on development in the area. It is currently teasing presales

of Eclipse (see sidebar), the fourth of four tower phases in its Lumina at Brentwood development. Thind’s vicepresident of marketing, Bonnie Leung, says, “Burnaby is where we choose to develop in. We like working in Burnaby because it’s the new upand-coming city to be in. We’re close to everything, we have fast SkyTrain links, it’s convenient for the highway, yet we also have a huge amount of green space per resident. You have the new Brentwood Town Centre mall, and all the amenities. It’s a one-stop shop, in terms of choosing a city to live in.”

Shape Properties has masterplanned a new mini-city dubbed The Amazing Brentwood, which will have 11 new towers, 10,000-plus new residents and expansive parkland


The three towers of Gilmore Place by Onni, to the west of Brentwood, enjoy use of this residents’ SkyLounge and unobstructed westerly views

This is attracting a mix of buyers, she says. “We’re seeing a range, from single people to young couples wanting to start a family, and also a lot of downsizers looking for a turnkey home with a great lifestyle. Not all the new homes are small condos – for example, Eclipse also offers townhouses of up to 1,300 square feet.”

Investment potential Despite the hive of development activity, buying a home in Burnaby remains cheaper than Vancouver and with the ongoing change that’s happening, some of these areas could make a great investment in real estate, to buy or rent out. Local realtor Oscar Barrera is a huge advocate of both Brentwood and Metrotown, and has put his money where his mouth is. In addition to selling units in both areas’ new developments – including Paris Pereira’s purchase at Gilmore Place – Barrera has personally

invested close to Metrotown. He bought a unit in Pixel, a now-sold-out, mid-rise condo development also by Thind Properties, located between Metrotown and Edmonds. “The up-and-coming potential for this area, right on Kingsway, is phenomenal,” says Barrera. “There are a lot of schools very nearby and smaller shopping areas, and you can get to Metrotown in five minutes. It’s a beautiful place to live.” In recent years, Metrotown has been determined to become the region’s second urban core, eliminating the need to travel into Vancouver each day, despite the easy commute. It is also home to one of the region’s biggest and best shopping malls, Metropolis at Metrotown, as well as a host of established restaurants and the SilverCity movie theatre. However, it’s Brentwood that is surging forward and transforming more rapidly, with a vast new city

Maywood by Intracorp is one of the shiny new towers going up in Metrotown, and is happily situated next to a large park

ECLIPSE, BRENTWOOD The fourth in the four-phase Lumina at Brentwood development by Thind Properties, Eclipse is a 34-storey concrete tower with three-storey townhouses at grade, totalling 294 new homes, right in the heart of the new Brentwood masterplan. The condo residences range from 500- to 600-square-foot one-bedroom units, through 750-square-foot two-beds, to 900-950-square-foot threebedroom homes. Eclipse’s townhomes range from 1,100 to 1,300 square feet. The homes have Bosch appliance packages and air-conditioning, the building will boast a range of indoor and outdoor amenities, and the development neighbours a new 13-acre park. Eclipse is due to launch presales this year, and completion is due in fall 2022. Phases one to three of Lumina at Brentwood – Waterfall, Starling and Alfa – are all sold out, with the first completions due in 2020. Register for updates at luminabrentwood.com

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The revitalized Brentwood Town Centre mall, part of The Amazing Brentwood, is set to be partof a walk-everywhere-for-everything community

masterplanned by Shape Properties, dubbed The Amazing Brentwood. This 28acre site will eventually have 11 new highrises with more than 6,000 homes, alongside expansive parkland and the massive new Brentwood Town Centre, which will include a huge mall, public plazas, cafes and restaurants, office and commercial space, and a new multiplex movie theatre. Indeed, in both Metrotown and Brentwood, there are plenty of dining and entertainment choices and, as those areas change, more and more options are coming

that will prevent residents from needing to go downtown. Leung adds, “When you’re in the heart of it, you can get your groceries, go to work, go out to lunch or dinner, buy clothes, see a movie – everything is there, you never need to get in your car.”

Other Burnaby hotspots In between those two key urban areas are large swathes of very suburban single-family neighbourhoods. But there are also some new semi-urban hotspots developing. North-west of Brentwood

Close to Metrotown but away from the hustle and bustle, Thind Properties’ mid-rise condo project Pixel has been snapped up by residents and investors

MAYWOOD, METROTOWN Located mere steps from Metropolis at Metrotown, Maywood is a glamorous 32-storey glass highrise designed by NSDA Architects and Richard Henry Architect, and developed by Intracorp. The 298 condo residences range from 445-square-foot studios right through to 1,280-plus-square-foot, three-bedroom penthouses on the 31st and 32nd storeys, with the 31st-floor homes enjoying wraparound terraces. The interiors by CHIL Interior Design include a choice of two contemporary colour schemes, Bosch kitchen appliance packages, Grohe hardware, engineered stone countertops and porcelain backsplashes. Amenities include a concierge service, fully equipped gym, double-height communal lounge with full kitchen and games area, and outdoor lounge that includes a BBQ, patio seating and a lawn, plus there’s a dog wash, a car wash and a bike repair room. Prices start from $468,900.

Check these homes out at: maywoodliving.com WCCONDOSANDHOMES.CA

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Even bigger than The Amazing Brentwood but further east, The City of Lougheed is set to have 22 new towers and 20,000 new residents, plus 12.86 million square feet of commercial and office space

is the Willingdon Heights neighbourhood, where a slew of mid-rise new condo developments are springing up along Hastings, as the area has been rezoned. One of these is Modena, a four-storey boutique development of 28 generously sized units, ranging from 999 to 1350 square feet. Cosmo Spagnuolo is a local realtor who, like Oscar Barrera, was so impressed by the offering that he has purchased a unit in the building himself, as well as selling others to his clients.

Spagnuolo says, “This area is unique, as it’s more of a neighbourhood. In this area, people don’t want to move too far, so they’re moving into nearby condos. They want bigger suites, they have higher expectations and they have the money. And at the bottom of the buildings are stores and coffee bars, so people can just go right downstairs. And it’s still an easy one-kilometre walk if you want the hustle and bustle of Brentwood.”

Further to the east, along Lougheed Highway and the SkyTrain line from Brentwood, is another huge masterplan for a new urban-suburban core, called City of Lougheed. The new community echoes that of Brentwood, but on an even larger scale at 37 acres, and is also created by Shape Properties. The masterplan calls for more than 10,000 new homes housing 20,000 residents in more than 20 towers, and 12.86 million square feet of

retail, commercial, office and entertainment space. This development is further down the road, both figuratively as well as literally, as construction on the first phase has only just started and the earliest completions are scheduled for 2023. From north to south, and east to west, Burnaby is a city undergoing massive transformation that any homebuyer would be smart to be a part of.

GILMORE PLACE, BRENTWOOD Located at the western point of the wider Brentwood masterplan, the three-tower Gilmore Place development is right at Gilmore SkyTrain station. The towers benefit from spectacular, unobstructed westerly views towards downtown Vancouver and the ocean. The development’s 643-unit Tower 2 is currently being marketed for presale, and will be one of the tallest in Western Canada at 64 storeys. The luxurious homes range from 550 to 1,090 square feet, not including the soon-to-bereleased penthouses. The building will also boast unsurpassed amenities including a fitness centre, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub, steam room, two-lane blowing alley, 35th-floor sky lounge with epic views, garden plots, bocce court and children’s play areas, and a rooftop dog park. There will also be commercial and retail spaces with many services. Units at Gilmore Place start from $539,900.

Check these homes out at: www.onni.com/gilmoreplace/discover

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H O M E

T O U R

LET THERE BE LIGHT A dark, ordinary WEST Vancouver bungalow is transformed into an architectural statement that is modern but oh-so-livable

This 1950s bungalow with a low pitched roof had seen a couple of previous renovations, even as recently as 2000s, and was reasonably liveable and functional. “It just wasn’t suited to the family’s needs,”

says Nigel Parish, owner and principal of Splyce. “The clients have two children and both alternately work from home, so they needed more space. That’s why we went up.” By “going up,” Parish is referring to the addition of a half-storey on top of the existing home, which added a brand new master bedroom suite as well as a dedicated office space. The extra halfstorey was placed to one side of the home, creating a steeply sloping roof and an ultra-

Design is really about space, and how we’re making the most of that space – how it functions, and how it makes you feel – Nigel Parish, Splyce Designs

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hen design company Splyce Designs was given the brief to transform a West Vancouver bungalow-with-basement into a modern, livable family home, there was one overriding factor: light.

The Mathers residence in West Vancouver was radically reimagined by Splyce Designs to create bigger, airier living spaces and a striking exterior


The addition of an extra half-storey to one side of the house created sloping, vaulted ceilings in the main living spaces

contemporary, angular exterior profile. Having dramatically raised the roof to one side to get in an extra half-storey, the other side of the home was able to benefit from a new, sloped, vaulted ceiling. “Choosing to add the upper floor on one side gave us this spectacular vaulted space on the main floor,” says Parish. “It lends itself to that really open and airy feel. When you compare the home with how it was before, it was just standard eight-foot ceilings, and everything felt compressed. Even though the footprint didn’t grow, you can really appreciate the difference. It grew in feeling. And design is all about how spaces make you feel.” In this newly high-ceilinged space, Splyce and local contractors Blackfish Homes knocked down the walls to unify kitchen and living areas into one fabulous great room. The result of lifting the roof and opening up the walls to WCCONDOSANDHOMES.CA

create a dual-aspect great room was a home that was suddenly flooded with light. “One of the big goals was to bring in natural light,” explains Parish. “And one of the big moves was the large kitchen, dining and living space, which now faces front and rear. So there’s incredible opportunities for light, with southern light, northern light and a window on the west side that is built into the cabinets.” The interior walls were all painted in Benjamin Moore’s White Heron to maximize the additional light and further amplify the space. Throughout the home, clean and simple pot lights were the light of choice to disappear into the ceiling.

Back to the studs Despite the focus on the great room, the rest of the home was not abandoned – indeed, not one inch of the old 1950s bungalow missed out on being transformed. With the master and office being moved into

The ground floor was reconfigured to be mostly one functional yet beautiful great room, with some stunning contemporary details

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Before the reno: the Mathers house is now unrecognizable from the formerly dark, low bungalow it used to be

the new upper-floor, a new play room was created for the kids, along with a separate area for guests to stay. Renovations on the finished basement included a new media room and a practical mud room. “This was a full-gut renovation,” explains Parish. “The whole house got stripped back to the studs. And by the nature of that scope of job, once you’re removing the roof and replacing windows, then you’re also replacing the siding, and so on. But the footprint and foundations of the home remained virtually identical to the original, with the exception of a small bump-out in the front.” Splyce was responsible for all aspects of the design on this radical renovation, from interior to exterior, including the external hardscaping. “We see a project holistically, so there’s a real flow between exterior and exterior – a real continuity and consistency in language,” says Parish. “We’re always aware of views, what we’re looking at, the adjacencies, privacy to the neighbour – all these factors really play into how we design and orient the spaces inside. We’re zooming into these micro-details but then we’re zooming back out as far as the neighbourhood, and how the house fits into the streetscape.”

Controlled collaboration The spectacular end result was the result of collaboration

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between Splyce and their clients. “The clients come to us with a wishlist of wants and needs, such as a new master bedroom and office, but they don’t come with details such as ‘we want a pitched roof’ or ‘we want new siding.’ They come to us with a level of trust, looking at our past projects. We rely on our client to be clear on their objectives, which helps us shape the form of the project.” For the interior design, it’s a similar process. “We’ll show our clients some options. We don’t just tell the client ‘we’re using light-stained oak cabinets’ – there are always other options that will work. But it’s not just anything. It’s our job as designers on the interior to find the aesthetic – there needs to be some order and clarity.” When it comes to the details of finishes and choices, it’s all part of the holistic vision, says Parish. “[In the great room], we wanted our materials to enhance and reflect the concept of light, so they carved out the space that

Opening up the living space has created unexpected opportunities for light to flood in, says designer Nigel Parish

STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES The addition of the upper half-floor was a hugely important feature of this full-house renovation project, but it didn’t come without its challenges. Splyce’s Nigel Parish explains, “When you add a new floor above an existing structure, structurally that’s a challenge. All the loads come down onto the floor below, and oftentimes, they don’t come down where you expect them to come down. And it’s not just on the floor below, but all the way to the basement too. So when you add a second floor, you have to be mindful of the existing structure and of the budget – is this going to be feasible, or too aggressive and just not worth it.” He adds, “In any renovation, there usually comes a moment when you’re scratching your head and wondering if you should have just knocked the house down. I always encourage renovations where possible, but some houses don’t lend themselves to renovations, while others do – it’s a bit cleaner.”

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A glass staircase handrail adds to the airy feel

The master bedroom was moved into the new upstairs and has custom cabinetry

we thought was appropriate for those lighting conditions. That said, we counterpoint the living space with the black honed granite fireplace wall as an anchor. It’s nice to bring in juxtaposition of materials, and bring in some weight, especially around the hearth.”

Thoughtful process Parish says Splyce Designs often gets into the granular details of furnishing and art choices, especially in new-build homes. But in this case, the clients already had a fabulous collection of furniture that worked beautifully with the new space. However, the designers did pick out a new Moooi

lighting fixture, the Random Pendant Light, to go above the dining table and provide a central focal point. Parish says, “Design for us is really about space, and how we’re making the most of that space – how it functions, and how it makes you feel. But space can be manipulated in so many ways – such as through the calibration of the windows. We really think about how big an aperture needs to be – does it have to be smaller to shield from a neighbour, or does it have to be taller to get a view of a tree, for instance? It all comes from an inventory of all the home’s surroundings. It’s a very thoughtful process.”

WINNING AWARDS GLORY

The master ensuite bathroom is a sanctuary that the owners didn’t have before the renovation

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The contractor on the project, Blackfish Homes, entered this “Mathers” renovation (named for its North Vancouver street) recently walked away with the 2019 Georgie Award for Best Renovation Over $800,000, along with associate supply companies Dick’s Lumber, SSC Countertops and Caesarstone Canada. The project has also been nominated in the same category for an Ovation Award, organized by Homebuilders’ Association of Vancouver (HAVAN – formerly the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association).

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C H A RT I N G O U R OW N CO U RS E S I N C E 1 9 8 3

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South Granville

Yaletown

560-2608 Granville Street

1399 Homer Street

Vancouver, BC V6H 3V3

Vancouver, BC V6B 5M9

604 263 1144

604 689 8226

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R EN O

I T

R I G H T

TOP 5 RENOS FOR OPTIMAL RESALE RETURNS Here are the most important aspects of your home to improve if you want a better price in today’s tricky market BY HOMEBUILDER’S A S S O C I AT I O N VA N C O U V E R

S

o, you’re thinking about selling your home and your real estate agent suggests a price lower than you anticipated. Now what? Knowing what renovation will help you optimize the true value of your home, how much to spend to maximize your return on investment, what to spend it on, and how much time will it take to complete are all important points. Homebuilder Association Vancouver (HAVAN) member Erik Jensen, owner of Sprucehill Contracting Inc., and 2019 Ovation Awards nominee for

Residential Renovator of the Year (winner to be announced May 4, 2019) lists his top five renovations, from the least expensive to most difficult.

1. Paint: Give everything a fresh coat. Doors, mouldings, walls, and DON’T leave out the inside of your closets. Those curious potential home buyers will be opening your freshly painted closet doors and if they see all sorts of scuffs and marks on the inside of the wall, it will tell them you just did the minimum amount of work, which will beg the question “What are they hiding?” The return on investment for painting is typically well over two to one.

Colour palette: Revere pewter (warm grey) seems to always be a hit for wall colour with cloud white or oxford white for trims, closets, and ceilings. Stay away from colours or ideas that too strong or bold.

such as two panel shaker doors with levers. (Pro tip: use round rosettes as square rosettes always end up looking crooked). The return on investment for mouldings is typically around two to one.

2. Mouldings: Before you paint, consider replacing damaged mouldings. It won’t cost a fortune and can give your home the ‘lift’ it might need, if there have been children and pets in the home – specifically in the heavy traffic areas. It will create the appearance of having worked hard to keep your home in pristine condition. If you opt to replace all mouldings, consider trims and doors that are simple,

3. Bathrooms: If your fixtures are dated or the room is just run down, consider a bathroom renovation. The least expensive renovation is a simple “re and re” where you just replace vanities, sinks, faucets, tubs, and toilets, leaving the bathroom fixtures in their current location. If you do go this route, consider neutral finishes. Anything bold will only serve to limit your potential buyers.

Renovating a kitchen is a big expense, but a good overhaul can significantly raise the value of your home and make it much more saleable. Builder: Sprucehill Contracting Inc. Photo by Brad Hill


4. Flooring: A beautiful floor has the capability of transforming the look and feel of a home. If your hardwood, tile or laminate is dated or in rough shape, new flooring can help make your home feel more expansive, warm and welcoming. Replacing floors is however a far more disruptive renovation, and will almost always involve painting and mouldings, as noted above. 5. Kitchen: By far the most expensive of the top five recommendations, a kitchen renovation can significantly increase the value of your home. It also means you’ll likely need to move out, as living through a kitchen renovation is not an experience recommended by anyone who has tried before! That said, replacing your cabinets, counters, and backsplash is a less expensive and invasive renovation option, and will do a lot to make your home more appealing and saleable. Bonus Pro Tip: Plan in advance! If you plan to move walls to open the kitchen living area for example, consider a ‘surgical demolition’ first, to discover hidden structural issues including plumbing pipes or electrical wires. If the cost to move the plumbing, electrical or HVAC is out of the budget range, it will be easier and less costly to repair a small area of drywall than the alternative option of a massive budget overage, once you have already committed to a full renovation. Regardless of what renovation you decide to undertake, we always recommend working with professionals. Professional renovators and contractors will bring resources to your project including experience with local municipalities and building permits, current knowledge on the latest building materials, access to skilled trades, with potential trade discounts for purchasing materials to complete your project – noting many renovators work with

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You can transform the look and feel of your home with beautiful flooring in a neutral colour that will appeal to buyers. Builder: Sprucehill Contracting Inc. Photo by Brad Hill Imaging

designers who can help guide you on material selections to find the best value for money, without sacrificing the look of the overall renovation. A seasoned professional will be able to present the options and help you to decide what renovation will bring you the most return on your money, within your budget and time frame. Hiring the right people to complete the work is as important as the planning, to result in a positive experience. Visit havan.ca to start your search for a trusted, local industry professional. The Homebuilders Association of Vancouver (HAVAN) represents the residential construction industry in the Metro Vancouver Area. Established in 1974, HAVAN is a not-for-profit society, with 1,100+ members who build 65% of Metro Vancouver’s homes, and is proudly affiliated with the provincial and national Canadian Home Builders’ Associations. More information at info@havan.ca.

A gorgeous bathroom, like this one, can really sell a house – while a tired and outdated one is very off-putting to buyers. Builder: Alair Homes, Delta. Photo by Sonja Poller Photography

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I N V ES T M EN T

I N S I G H T S

THREE B.C. REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT HOTSPOTS Even in a challenging down market, there are areas where money can still be made BY FRANK O’BRIEN

I

t is much tougher today to make money, at least short term, in the B.C. housing market. With benchmark prices falling month-over-month as they have been in Metro Vancouver, quick flips and rapid appreciation are no longer the route to riches. Federal government incentives, much ballyhooed in the recent 2019 Budget, will do next to nothing to turn the housing market around. Only 10 per cent of Canadian home buyers take advantage of the current Registered Retirement Savings Plan withdrawal incentive. The Home Buyer Incentive echoes similar shared-equity programs that have failed in the past. Yet for the careful investor with a long horizon, there are still ways to take advantage of the housing downturn that is now seen across B.C and, indeed, most of Canada. The route is not to look for rapid price increases for profit, but for long-term rental income. Due to government policies to create affordable housing, private rental units are becoming more expensive and scarce than ever. A small- to-mid-level investor in B.C. has to look to where tenants are heading and buy in front of them. Here are three recommendations on where to buy rental housing now to profit this year and over the next five years when price appreciation finally returns.

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1. Kitimat and Terrace Kitimat is not the prettiest coastal town in B.C. but it looks pretty good for small investors. LNG Canada is building the $40 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and pipeline project that it the biggest privatesector infrastructure project in Canada’s history. Kitimat has a shortage of quality rentals, since nothing has been built there in years. The advice is to buy two of the old fourplexes in town. These need work, but have the potential of delivering eight single-occupancy rental units that should fetch $1,200 per month or more after the first wave of construction workers arrive this year. A more upscale alternative is nearby Terrace, about a half-hour from Kitimat. Terrace will be a major supply and service pivot for the LNG play in Kitimat because it has major retail in place, the closest airport and the land needed to accommodate industrial transport and storage.

2. East Fraser Valley Mission and Abbotsford and, to a lesser extent, Chilliwack are capturing a flow of people forced out of the Metro Vancouver due to high housing costs. You can buy one-bedroom condos in Abbotsford or Mission for less than $190,000 and in Chilliwack for less than $170,000. Rents are increasing and vacancy rates are low in all three markets. Also, Abbotsford and Chilliwack have stable, strong public-sector employment which in these times is very important.

3. Surrey B.C.’s. fastest growing municipality continues to offer opportunity for residential investors. As of March there were more than two-dozen new listings for Surrey condos priced at less than $300,000, and 130 detached houses listed at $900,000 or less. This is the largest pool of affordable housing in Metro Vancouver, yet Surrey has a 1 per cent rental vacancy rate, excellent SkyTrain connections to Vancouver and an average of 1,000 people arriving every month. Housing sales have slumped dramatically in Surrey so the selection of property is

huge and many sellers are willing to deal. There is a chance here for not only steady rental income but also price appreciation. Finally, be bold. Investors have to understand that real estate is cyclical, usually running on seven-year cycles. What is different this time is that the economic fundamentals remain fairly strong: it is government policy that has accelerated the housing downturn. B.C. is now into the third year from the recent peak. Those who shop carefully and buy now will see a substantial payoff in five years.

Frank O’Brien is editor of Western Investor, the largest commercial real estate investment newspaper in Western Canada, and sister publication to West Coast Condos & Homes.

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S P O N S O R ED

NOW’S YOUR CHANCE TO INVEST IN BOOMING KITIMAT

W

it h K it imat ’ S $ 40bn L N G p r oject s et to d riv e re n ta l h o us in g d em a nd, t h e tow n ’ s big g est n e w res i d ent i a l p ro j ect is t h e p e rfect way to g et i n o n t h e act io n

Kitimat. Until recently, that name conjured up a littleknown town with a population of approximately 8,000 in northwest British Columbia. But today, Kitimat is known around the world for one thing: Canada’s largest private-sector investment in what is set to be the most state-of-the-art LNG export facility in the world. With the announcement of LNG Canada’s $40 billion project, everyone is looking to get in on the action – and now is the time to get in, ahead of the onslaught of new housing demands that will be required in 2020. Jason Pender, a real estate developer, investor and principal of JV Dev Group, and his development partner, Leonard Kerkhoff of Kerkhoff Construction Ltd., are two local players who are confident their land purchase will pay dividends – not only to their development group, but also to those who buy into their new residential community, Riverbrook Estates.

“The lights went out” In 2014, a development group comprising Kerkhoff Construction, JV Dev Group and three other partners purchased a 27-acre parcel of land in downtown Kitimat, when the LNG deal was first on the table. Pender says, “Things were going great. Then in 2015, the natural resource sector took a huge global downturn. LNG in Kitimat took a pause and, in 2016, LNG Canada announced they would delay a decision indefinitely. All the lights went out.”

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But the group had achieved a lot before that happened as parcels of the land had been rezoned for various forms of housing with the potential of up to 300 units, Riverbrook Estates was set to be the largest residential development in Kitimat in 50 or 60 years. Then, in early October 2018, LNG Canada gave the green light, and, as Pender puts it, “The lights went back on. We had already accomplished a lot of groundwork. Riverbrook Estates is significantly further ahead of any other residential development in Kitimat with 47 townhomes ready to go.”

“The new Fort Mac 2.0” Leonard Kerkhoff, President of Kerkhoff Construction, is extremely confident about Kitimat’s prospects. He says, “This town is about to go through unprecedented economic growth, the likes of which has not been seen since the gold rush of the mid-1800s. Kitimat is the centre of an LNG energy industry well regarded for its lesser impact on the climate, and used the world over, which is just now making headway in Canada”. Other industry players have coined the phrase, “Kitimat is the New Fort Mac 2.0.” The LNG Canada project is set to bring a potential $18-20 billion of construction work to the town of Kitimat alone. The town’s population, last pegged at 8,131 (2016 Census), is expected to more than double in the coming two to three years with specialized trades, management

and executive teams moving in. In addition to LNG Canada’s project, another LNG project is under development in Kitimat. This $25 billion project is called Kitimat LNG, and will be run by global players Chevron Global and Woodside Energy.

“Explosive housing demand” Since October, Kerkhoff has been in discussions with major contracting and engineering firms, such as Fluor, Ledcor, Graham, Stuart Olson, Seaspan and Mammoet, about the pressing need for rental housing in Kitimat for their senior staff. With a new workforce of 7,000plus people, if even only 10-15 per cent require permanent homes, this represents a demand for 700-1,000 new homes, says Pender. And that does not factor in homes needed for support workers such as retail and hospitality staff, medical workers and ancillary service workers. Riverbrook’s prices mean that investors getting in on the ground floor can expect extremely impressive cash flow. Phase 1 presale of 47 townhomes has begun, starting from $399,000 for 1,024 square feet.

Pender estimates that by mid 2020, when activity really ramps up and vacancy rates hit zero, companies housing workers will likely rent the two-bedroom units for $3,000 to $3,500 a month, and larger units for as much as $4,500 a month. “Those companies will be smart to lock in something now, because if they don’t, they’ll be paying much more in two or three years. Investors who are first in will be able to capture multi-year leases.”

“The timing is exceptional” With Riverbrook Estate’s first phase of 47 new townhomes now available for presale, and occupancy expected to tighten right up in the spring of 2020, now is the time for investors to in on the action, says Pender. “We believe the timing is exceptional, as LNG construction will be ramping up and in full swing and housing needs will be at an all-time high. Whether you’re an investor looking for price appreciation and cash flow, or you are looking for a new home to live in for the next decade of economic growth in this region, these are definitively exciting times.”

To register or for more information about this exciting development project, go to riverbrookestatesliving.ca or email Jason Pender at jason.pender@shaw.ca

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“Investor Opportunity in Booming Kitimat” Home to the largest private sector investment in Canadian history, $40 Billion LNG Project Creating 6,000 - 8,000 Jobs! Riverbrook Estates is the biggest new residential development in Kitimat. The first phase of townhomes now available for presale. Guaranteed rental income - $3,000 per month! LIMITED TIME OFFER! To register or for more information about this exciting investment and development project, go to: www.riverbrookestatesliving.ca or contact Jason Pender at: jason.pender@shaw.ca


P R O J E CT

PROF I LE

HOMES THAT RISE ABOVE THE ORDINARY UNIQUE, SOPHISTICATED RESIDENCES OF AVANI CENTRE SOAR ABOVE DOWNTOWN SURREY AND ENJOY HOTEL AMENITIES

P

erched above a hotel is a glass and concrete tower rising above Surrey City Centre that is touted to house a unique and sophisticated lifestyle offering that will be the first of its kind in the downtown core. Designed by acclaimed Montreal architect Maxime-Alexis Frappier of ACDF architecture – whose work includes the iconic Parq Vancouver and has won the coveted Canada Governor General’s Medal in Architecture – the Avani Centre is set to make a bold statement. “Avani Centre stands out for its shimmering curtain wall that wraps around the podium of the seven-storey Hilton branded hotel,” says Joyce Li, sales manager at Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd. “This wall will illuminate at night with naturethemed reflections, such as trees and leaves. The 30-storey tower will truly be impressive.” Given that the contemporary residences start on the eight floor, home owners will have sweeping views of the city, the North Shore mountains, the Fraser Valley and the surrounding areas. Avani Centre residences range from studios, at 349 square feet, up to three-bedroom penthouse units (on the 30th floor only) at 1,232 square feet, all boasting covered

decks, ranging from 60 to more than 200 square feet, for yearround entertaining. “This is the least dense project available in Surrey City Center with just 217 residences,” adds Li. Avani Centre being attached to a hotel has distinct benefits for residents. Homeowners will be able to entertain guests in the proposed wine bar, as well as enjoy use of its fitness centre and swimming pool. Plus residents will have their own private amenities, including a roof deck with enclosed dog run, outdoor kitchen, fire pit and yoga deck, plus an indoor entertainment lounge with full kitchen and billiards. “Residents will also be provided a free six-month trial of the

hotel’s amenities, with an option to purchase the remaining six months at a reduced rate,” adds Li.

Unsurpassed location Avani Centre is in the epicentre of this a dynamic and emerging metropolis in the 12th largest city in the country and the second largest in the province. Ideally situated in Surrey’s developing wellness and technology hub, close to Surrey Memorial Hospital, Avani Centre is within a short distance to Civic Plaza, City Hall, the library and restaurants. It is also close to some of Surrey’s top schools, including Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The tower is within walking distance to Central City Shopping Centre; offering a plethora of boutique shops and cafes, and the award-winning Holland Park, a welcoming gathering place with colourful horticultural displays, tree-lined promenades, water features, public works of art, as well as Holland Gardens, home to an

amphitheater. “It is a great location, kitty corner to King George Skytrain and across from future rapid transit to Langley,” says Joyce Li. “Avani Centre will be the iconic gateway as one enters city centre from the south.” Built by Avani Investment Group, a company with considerable experience in the hospitality and development sectors, Avani Centre was inspired by the vision of home being a place where hospitality happens. Avani Centre is already over 50 per cent sold, but there is still a great selection available on or above the 21st floor and a few homes on floors nine to 20 (best value available between the ninth and the 21st level). Avani Centre’s sales and presentation centre, located at King George Blvd and Fraser/98 Ave, 13586 98 Avenue Surrey, showcases two full designer display homes. It is open daily from noon to 5pm (closed Fridays). Tentative occupancy is slated for winter 2021. .

For more information, call 604-588-3232, email info@avanicentre. com or visit www.avanicentre.com

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AN ICONIC LANDMARK WITH A SOPHISTICATED LIFESTYLE Avani Centre is the striking new landmark situated at the southern entranceway to the new Surrey City Centre. Ascending above a 7-story independently managed Hilton-branded hotel, Avani Centre weaves world-class style and luxury into everyday living, everyone can experience this higher-level of living. Sudios from $348,900 One Bedrooms from $389,900 Two Bedrooms from $591,900 Three Bedroom Penthouses from $1,092,000

604-588-3232 AVANICENTRE.COM

PRESENTATION CENTRE Open Everyday from 12pm – 5pm (Closed Fridays) 13586 98 Ave, Surrey

*Prices exclude taxes and are subject to availability at time of inquiry and/or to change without notice. Renderings and imagery are an artist’s perception and intended as a general reference only. Not to be fully relied upon. Specifications may be substituted with equivalent or better at the developers sole discretion. E&OE. Sales and marketing by Fifth Avenue REM www.fifthave.ca


Artist renderings. The developer reserves the right to make changes and make modifications to the information contained herein without prior notice. This is not an offering for sale. Such an offering can only be made by a disclosure statement. E&OE.

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West Coast Condos & Homes is the only publication in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland to give readers all the latest local market news and...

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West Coast Condos & Homes is the only publication in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland to give readers all the latest local market news and...

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