Market News

 

Click the link below to access the latest report from our Real Estate Board including all active and sold listings, Sales to active listing ratios, benchmarks prices of all condos and townhomes in each of Vancouver's West side and downtown's neighborhoods:

 

 

 

Sold Condo Statistics:

 

What is a mean Average?

The Average price is obtained by dividing the total dollar volume of sales by the number of sales.

 

What is a Median Average?

To obtain a Median price, all of the sales prices are arrayed in numeric order. In the case of an even number of sales, the median is the highest price in the lower half of the group. If there is an odd number of sales, the midpoint sale is taken as the median.

 

What is the Sales-to-active listings ratio (SALR)?

The ratio of home sales to active listings is a good indication of any upward or downward pressure on home prices. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between the sales-to-active listings ratio (SALR) and changes in home prices in Vancouver. As home sales rise relative to the number of homes listed for sale, home prices are pushed higher.

 

In 2008, a contraction in demand and an increase in the number of home listings pulled the SALR down sharply, below 0.10 or 10%, leading to a strong buyers market and declining home prices. A dramatic increase in demand this year had the reverse effect, drawing down the supply of homes for sale and pushing the SALR above 0.25 or 25%, leading to upward pressure on home prices.

 

This is a good rule of thumb: home prices are typically pulled downward when the SALR is below 0.10 or 10% and pushed upward when above 0.25 or 25%. Home prices tend to exhibit little upward or downward pressure when the SALR is between 0.15 and 0.20. In other words, home sales are 15-20 per cent of the total active listings in a given month. At this level, a relative balance exists between supply and demand.

 

 

 

October 5 2016 - Federal government changes mortgage insurance rules

 

The federal government announced regulation changes for new government-backed insured mortgages today. Effective October 17, 2016, insured homebuyers will have to qualify at the posted five-year qualifying rate. Previously, only variable rate mortgages and mortgages with terms less than five years were subject to a higher qualifying rate.

The qualifying rate is updated weekly and available on the Bank of Canada website. The current rate is 4.64 per cent, about 200 basis points higher than the best bank offered rates. 

To qualify for mortgage insurance, a homebuyer's debt servicing ratio must be no higher than: 

• Gross Debt Service – 39 per cent of household income, including mortgage payment, taxes, and heating costs.

• Total Debt Service – 44 per cent of household income, including mortgage payment, taxes, heating costs, and all other debt payments 

These changes will apply to new mortgage insurance applications received on October 17, 2016 or later. Mortgage insurance applications received after October 2, 2016 and before October 17, 2016 are also not affected by the rule change, provided that the mortgage is funded by March 1, 2017. Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages aren’t affected by this measure.

These changes also won’t apply to mortgage loans where: 

• the lender made a legally binding commitment to make the loan; 

• the borrower entered into a legally binding agreement for the property against which the loan is secured. 

The federal government is also instituting new eligibility rules for low-ratio (higher than 20 per cent down payment) mortgages backed by government insurance. As of November 30, 2016, to be eligible for government insurance, new mortgages must meet the following requirements: 

1. A loan whose purpose includes the purchase of a property or subsequent renewal of such a loan; 

2. A maximum amortization length of 25 years;

3. A maximum purchase price below $1,000,000 when the loan is approved;

4. For variable-rate loans that allow fluctuations in the amortization period, loan payments that are recalculated at least once every five years to conform to the original amortization schedule; 

5. A minimum credit score of 600 at the time the loan is approved;

6. A maximum Gross Debt Service ratio of 39 per cent and a maximum Total Debt Service ratio of 44 per cent at the time the loan is approved, calculated by applying the greater of the mortgage contract rate or the Bank of Canada conventional five-year fixed posted rate; and,

7. A property that will be owner-occupied.

These new criteria, in particular requiring a maximum purchase price below $1 million, will essentially make the majority of single family homes in Metro Vancouver ineligible for government issued insurance for low-ratio mortgages. 

The government also announced measures to ensure that the exemption from capital gains tax on the sale of a principal residence is available only in appropriate cases.

 

 

 

City of Vancouver Latest Urban projects:

 

  •  Vancouver city Projects including the eco-density program, the chinatown revitalization, the south-east False Creek revitalization, the Downtown eastside revitalization, as well as the upcoming new transportation projects and cultural projects.

 

  • Vancouver 3D Zoning Map including all zoning bylaws per areas along with land use and development policies and guidelines. It helps shape Vancouver and make our communities more liveable. 

 

Vancouver Coal Harbour Condos

 

  • Downtown Vancouver Planning updates including all the information on the status of a project, start and completion dates, last update, links to related information, as well as contact names and phone numbers.

 

 

  • The urban development institute Pacific region including information and reports on development industry in British Columbia, promoting wise and efficient urban growth, good planning and good development practices, affordable housing and high quality commercial and industrial developments.

 

 

 

 

BC Budget 2016 

 

The BC government introduced its 2016 budget today. The budget included a number of items intended to affect affordability and availability in the Lower Mainland’s housing market. Here’s a summary:

  

Property Transfer Tax (PTT)

 

a New Housing exemption will apply to newly built homes or newly subdivided units priced up to $750,000, saving buyers up to $13,000; and

 

a partial exemption will apply on newly built homes priced $750,000 to $800,000.

 

a new 3% PTT rate will apply to the portion of a home sale that exceeds $2 million. For homes that sell for below $2 million, the PTT will continue to apply at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance. 

  

These changes will take effect on February 17, 2016. 

 

Home Owner Grant

 

The Home Owner Grant threshold will increase to $1.2 million from $1.1 million for the 2016 tax year.

 

Affordable housing

 

The province will invest $355 million to help the BC Housing Management Commission support more than 2,000 affordable housing units for residents with low-to-moderate incomes. 

 

 

 

East Hastings goes boom: Long-neglected strip shifting from industrial to residential

 

 

The city has rezoned the area for residential buildings up to 150 feet high (15 storeys). And developers have been moving in to assemble property

 

BY JOHN MACKIE, VANCOUVER SUN JANUARY 28, 2016

 

 

 

five empty lots in the 1000 block of east hastings sold for 52 million

 

 

VANCOUVER -- The strip of East Hastings Street between Heatley Avenue and Clark Drive has been a commercial no-man’s land for decades.

But it won’t be for long.

The city has rezoned the area for residential buildings up to 150 feet high (15 storeys). And developers have been moving in to assemble property.

Wall Financial was first with Strathcona Village, a three-tower, 350-unit complex at 955 East Hastings. All 280 condos in the development sold out when they went on sale last year, at prices ranging from $199,000 to $439,000.

Onni has assembled 259 feet along the south side of Hastings at Clark. Property records show it paid almost $5.6 million for several lots, and entered into a “fee simple” agreement with Claymore Clothes for 1268-to-1278 East Hastings, which is valued at $1.85 million.

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has been investing heavily in the 800-block of East Hastings.

On the north side of the street, Wilson’s companies spent $10.7 million assembling 275 feet of property between 855 and 895 East Hastings. On the south side, his companies purchased 10 lots between 828 and 868 East Hastings for $7.25 million.

That is $17.95 million of real estate purchases in an area right next door to the troubled Downtown Eastside.

“(Former city planner) Larry Beasley and I in 2002 said the city is moving east,” said realtor Bob Rennie, whose company sold the Strathcona Village development.

“Well, it has nowhere else to go,” he laughs. “It wasn’t genius. And it’s happening. It took a while, but it’s moving along. We don’t have the development land downtown, and (when we do) downtown land is so expensive.”

Yashpal Parmar recently purchased several empty lots in the 1000-block East Hastings beside the BNSF railway tracks for $5.2 million.

“It is an up-and-coming area,” he said. “If you go through Strathcona and walk around there, there’s a sense of pride. It’s just an exciting area. (And) it’s so close to downtown, why not live there?”

Parmar said his plan is to build a “mid-rise” with 13 to 14 storeys and 120 units. The zoning states 20 per cent of the units have to be set aside for social housing.

Bruno Wall of Wall Financial admits he was “a bit concerned” about some of the stipulations the city placed on the Strathcona Village development, where Wall had to set aside 70 units for social housing and also provide some light industrial space on the lower floors. But the development quickly sold out.

“There was no push back at all from the buying public,” said Wall.

Part of the reason the area is being developed so quickly is that the city has rezoned Hastings between Carrall and Heatley a no-condo zone as part of the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan.

But the city’s assistant director of planning Kevin McNaney said there was a need for some market housing in Strathcona. So what had been an industrial zoning on Hastings between Heatley and Clark was changed to residential. Albeit, residential with a strong social housing component.

“In the planning process with the community, these sites were identified as using market housing and inclusionary zoning to get social housing built, particularly for families,” he said. “So we’re looking for more two-bedroom units in the social housing.”

McNaney said there have been inquiries from developers about the area, but no firm proposals have come in yet. The city has also rezoned a partly industrial area in east Strathcona for residential structures that can go up to 50 or 75 feet high.

Any new developments will take time. Wall Financial purchased the old Alex Gair millworking site at 955 East Hastings for $5 million in 2011. It was launched in the summer of 2014, sold out within six months, and is currently being constructed, with a move-in date of summer 2017.

Many of Chip Wilson’s properties are being renovated instead of torn down. A one-storey building at 895 East Hastings has been rented to a craft brewery, and a small building at 868 East Hastings has been given a spiffy new glass front that makes it look like something you would see on Robson, not Hastings.

“We don’t build condos,” said David Ferguson of Wilson’s company Low Tide Properties. “What we do is buy and own income-producing properties for the long term.”

Ferguson thinks the East Hastings strip is “a cool area” that acts as “the confluence of the Railtown commercial area and the Strathcona residential neighbourhood.”

He sees East Hastings as a natural for creative, independent businesses.

“It’s got character, and maybe a little bit of grit,” he said.

“I think a lot of people like that, personally I do. It makes it more interesting than say Kerrisdale. From an office perspective it tends to (attract) more creative types. From our retail perspective, it’s probably independent-type retailers.”

A good example is Joe Chaput of Les Amis du Fromage cheese shop, which has thrived at 843 East Hastings for several years.

“When we first bought down here, people who didn’t know the area thought we were kind of crazy,” said Chaput. “They thought ‘Why would you buy down there? There’s nothing down there.’ But the store has exceeded expectations.”

Wall thinks part of the success of his development was that it was “priced really competitively.” But he also thinks East Van is developing a cachet among buyers.

“It really has turned into kind of a funky place to live,” said Wall. “Not everybody wants to live in Yaletown. There’s been a fundamental shift in people’s perception of where Vancouver is going, and where they want to live. The whole Strathcona area has completely revitalized over the last 10, 20 years.”

896 east hastings sold for 512 million

with research by Carolyn Soltau and Sandra Boutilier

Some of the properties that have been sold on East Hastings between Heatley and Clark:

- The Heatley Block at 696 East Hastings has reportedly just sold for $5.12 million. The 1931 building is in the “no condo” zone the city outlined in its Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan, so it probably won’t be torn down.

- The old Gulf and Fraser Credit Union building at 803 East Hastings was sold for $4.5 million to Copula House Capital in 2015. It is now occupied by AIDs Vancouver, but in a drawing in the city’s Downtown Eastside plan it has been replaced by a glass condo building.

- Companies listing Chip Wilson as a director purchased 10 lots between 828 and 868 East Hastings for $7.25 million in 2012. Wilson’s companies spent another $10.7 million on properties between 855 and 895 East Hastings in 2013. Several buildings are being fixed up and are being leased out, including a craft brewery at 895 East Hastings.

- Wall Financial has sold out a three-tower development, Strathcona Village, that includes 350 units (280 condos, 70 social housing units) at 955 East Hastings. It is being built and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.

- Five empty lots beside the railway tracks in the 1000-block of East Hastings recently sold for $5.2 million to Yashpal Parmar, who plans to build a 13- or 14-storey building there with 120 units. He expects it will take three years.

- An old funeral home at 1235 to 1245 East Hastings recently sold for $5.7 million, almost $750,000 above its listing price. It was sold to 1056714 B C LTD, which lists Samuel Yanlin Lu as the sole director.

- Onni purchased 1220 to 1298 East Hastings in 2012 for almost $5.6 million for several lots. Part of the parcel includes a “fee simple” agreement with Claymore Clothes for 1268 to 1278 East Hastings, which is valued at $1.85 million.

- Across Clark Drive, Solterra paid $16.3 million in 2013 for a block that includes the historic Waldorf Hotel. And Millennium sold out its block-long Boheme project at 1588 East Hastings, which included 82 condos that sold for $219,000 to $519,000.

 

 

 

 

 

Council votes to remove Georgia, Dunsmuir viaducts Downtown Vancouver

 

By Matt Robinson, Vancouver Sun October 28, 2015 7:36 AM

 

The Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts must come down, Vancouver city councillors voted during a feisty council meeting Tuesday.

The plan was plugged by staff as a way to free up land for new residents and parks and to raise millions of dollars in development fees.

Mayor Gregor Robertson called it “a very great opportunity for city building."

"Given the housing crisis that we face it seems crazy we would keep an elevated freeway in place,” Robertson said before the vote.

“We have an opportunity to reject the status quo.”

Vision Vancouver councillors voted in favour of all parts of the plan while Non-Partisan Association and Green councillors opposed most sections.

georgia street new urban park rendering georgia street new urban waterfront park aerial rendering

georgia street new urban park rendering western views

The vote directed staff to start planning immediately for a mixed-use neighbourhood where the viaducts now stand and work with park board and residents on designs for the park space. Among next steps are a rezoning application to boost density and building height in the area, and negotiations with developers, the B.C. Pavilion Corporation and the province.

Councillor Adriane Carr argued in favour of an amendment to the plan that would give a clear date for the completion of Creekside Park to re-assure area residents that it was still coming.

“They feel like they’re never going to get that park,” Carr argued.

But the delivery of the park is not something the city can guarantee, Councillor Elizabeth Ball said.

"It’s not in our power to actually make that promise,” she said.

Other councillors and staff agreed and the amendment was turned down.

Carr said the removal of the viaducts was “an incredible gift” to developers in the area who stand to profit from the decision. She proposed that developers should help pay for their removal without receiving increased density in exchange.

Councillor Raymond Louie said if the viaducts stayed up, developers would not be able to provide community benefits and he and all other councillors voted down the amendment.

Councillor George Affleck said the plan – priced at $180–200 million – is not a good use of tax dollars.

Ball said councillors had heard strong opinions from residents on both sides of the issue and added that she would have liked there to have been a clearer picture at this stage as to how the plan would play out.

 

 

 

Upcoming New Downtown Art Gallery:

 

The Vancouver Art Gallery now stands at the threshold of one of the most exciting moments in our history. After more than a decade of research and planning for a new Gallery, we are moving forward with our vision to create an innovative and inspiring visual art museum that enriches lives and plays a pivotal role in enhancing Vancouver and British Columbia’s reputation as a vibrant, creative, and desirable place to live, work and visit. In April 2013, Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to designate two-thirds of a site at West Georgia and Cambie Streets for a new Vancouver Art Gallery. Our journey has now begun. Architects, Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, Internationally renowned for their innovative and elegant buildings and their significant contribution to the design of contemporary museums.

 

new vancouver art gallerys site at beatty and georgia streets

 

vancouver art gallery herzog de meuron a1 984x500

 

vancouver art gallery herzog de meuron a4

 

vancouver art gallery herzog de meuron a5

 

THE NEW BUILDING

Through extensive studies, the Gallery has determined the need for a building of approximately 310,000 square feet with a minimum of 25,000 square feet of exterior space to meet the current and future needs of the community it serves. This includes:

  1. More than double our current exhibition space
  2. Dedicated galleries to showcase much more of the Gallery’s art collection
  3. Greatly expanded school, family and children’s programming
  4. An auditorium (approximately 300 seats) for lectures, films, classes, art performances and more
  5. Sufficient outdoor space for the presentation of art and public programs
  6. Welcoming lobby and public gathering spaces that serve as a “Town Square” for the 21st century
  7. A larger Gallery Store and a variety of food services designed for the comfort and enjoyment of visitors
  8. Dynamic indoor and outdoor event spaces for public and private programs
  9. State-of-the-art HVAC systems, collection storage, and conservation labs to house and protect the growing collection for future generation

 

Situated at the intersection of West Georgia and Cambie Streets, this city-owned site is at a vital cultural crossroads. It is located in a dynamic part of the downtown core, adjacent to other cultural amenities, retail, commercial and residential areas, and public transit. The new Vancouver Art Gallery will serve as a connector of many important and diverse communities, including Downtown Vancouver, Gastown, Yaletown, Chinatown and East Vancouver. Like the Gallery, these areas are steeped in a rich sense of history even as they continue to grow and evolve.
 
 
 
 

 

Vancouver issues record number of building permits worth $1.12 billion in first  half of 2014

By Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun July 18, 2014

vancouver buildings coal habour

The value of buildings for which Vancouver issued building permits hit a  record in the first half of 2014, for a total value of $1.12 billion, the  highest amount since the 2008 recession. And it appear on target to exceed the  record year of 2012, when permits worth $2.6 billion in building values were  issued.

In a statement Friday the city said that this is the third year in a row that  construction values have exceeded a billion dollars in the first half of the  year. The values in the first half of 2014 are up 6.7 per cent over the same  period last year.

The statement is the civic bureaucracy's acknowledgment of something that  most drivers and residents already know, that developers are hustling all over  the city with major developments that will bring thousands of more residents to  Vancouver.

The city said some of the major developments in 2014 that have added to the  city skyline include Concord Pacific's two-tower, 435-unit One Pacific, valued  at $87 million, and Bosa Blue Sky Properties' 195-unit rental building on Main  Street at East Georgia, valued at $27 million.

According to the city, the following building permit values are for the first  6 months of each year; numbers in brackets are annual figures:

- 2014: $1.12 billion

- 2013: $1.05 billion ($2.2 billion)

- 2012: $1.03 billion ($2.6 billion)

- 2011: $768.7 million ($1.7 billion)

- 2010: $653.0 million ($1.5 billion)

- 2009: $373.9 million ($1.3 billion)

- 2008: $924.9 million ($1.6 billion)

There is no indication how much money the city took in for building permit  fees. The numbers cited represent the buildings' value for construction  purposes.

 

 

 

Vancouver's $1-billion Downtown Eastside plan approved by council

Ambitious plan seeks to satisfy both developers and residents

By Matthew Robinson, Vancouver Sun March 16, 2014

 

downtown eastside 2

 

 

It has been called an international eyesore, an enclave of addiction and a symbol of failed mental health policy, but for thousands of Vancouverites, the Downtown Eastside is called home.

The neighbourhood is set to go through major changes over the next three decades after city council held two days of public hearings last week, then approved on Saturday a controversial plan to guide development in the complex community.

For Mayor Gregor Robertson, the decision to green-light the plan represents a successful conclusion to three years of work by residents and planners.

“The Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan represents a thoughtful, balanced, and resident-driven vision for Vancouver’s oldest and most diverse neighbourhood,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a news release issued after the decision was made. “This plan reflects residents’ aspirations for a community with safer and more stable housing, protections for low-income residents, stronger support for mental health and addictions, and a more vibrant local economy.”

The $1-billion plan is ambitious. It seeks to satisfy the interests of developers who, over the past ten years, have driven up land values 300 per cent by purchasing and redeveloping or speculating on property in the area, which encompasses Gastown to the west, Chinatown, Oppenheimer and Strathcona to the east. But it also looks to protect the area’s predominately low-income residents who find themselves increasingly struggling to afford rent and food.

Some of these residents see the city’s plan as a failure.

downtown eastside 1

For them, plans to add 4,400 new or replacement social housing units, 2,200 upgrades to single-room occupancy units and 1,650 rent-subsidized units in the area will help some area residents, but leave others living in squalor or sleeping on the streets.

Vocal residents marched through the area last weekend, then painted slogans of their discontent with the plan on a boarded-up building on Hastings Street. Many of them voiced concern that encouraging more development in the Downtown Eastside would ultimately push them out of their community. Within a day the building was re-painted, covering up their pleas for help from the mayor and the province.

Whether the plan goes far enough to ensure the area’s 6,300 residents who survive on social assistance and the 6,000 others who live on low-incomes will see conditions in the area improve is yet to be seen.

But it is clear their interests were a factor in developing the plan, which provides for a condo-free zone stretching along Hastings from Carrall Street in Gastown to Heatley Avenue in Strathcona. Any new structures in that rental-only area have to be at least 60 per cent social housing and one third of new social housing units in the area must be rented at shelter rates.

“This plan will create a healthier, more inclusive neighbourhood — but not at the expense of low-income residents,” said Robertson.

Outside of the rental-only area in Hastings East, developers have the support of a plan that welcomes condo projects with market pricing, retail storefronts, commercial activity, and increased density. Near Clark and Hastings, buildings could be 12 to 15 storeys high, dramatically altering the landscape of the Downtown Eastside.

The plan protects heritage buildings in Chinatown, Gastown and Strathcona, and points to Railtown in the area’s north as a potential location for office use in years to come.

“After three years of community input, the approval of this plan marks a historic opportunity to protect the best of the Downtown Eastside and to shape a more hopeful future for the neighbourhood and its residents,” Robertson said.

City staff estimate the plan will lead to 3,500 new jobs in the area.

Other changes to the plan made after last week’s public hearings include support for a local economy plan for the Downtown Eastside, and a commitment from staff to look at an Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre — something area residents called for during last Sunday’s march.

 

 

 

"So really the most important role for architects is to create a sense of place for people to live" James Cheng, Architect.

 

 

 

 

 

Vancouver the world's greenest city by 2020 - 10 years plan:

Vancouver 2020 - A Bright Green Future - PDF

 

 

 

 

Downtown Vancouver Vs Manhattan

 

Vancouverism is fast replacing "Manhattanism" as the maximum power setting for shaping the humane mixed-use city, important ideas for a new era of scarce energy and diminished natural resources.