krista@kristafreeborn.com
www.kristafreeborn.com


Crest Realty Westside
Independently Owned and Operated
PROTECT YOURSELF: STRATA WATER DEDUCTIBLE REVIEW REMINDER
WEBSITE OPTIONSThe majority of strata Annual General Meetings are coming up over the next few months presenting an ideal opportunity for strata lot owners to verify that their home owner insurance policy water deductible coverage matches that of the strata corporation's master building policy and if not advise their insurance broker immediately. 

The BC Strata Property Act requires that any AGM Notice includes a copy of the strata corporation's insurance policy summary. This summary page will include a notation on what the building’s current water deductible amount is. Depending on any resultant water damage claims filed in the past policy year and the extent of damage, this deductible amount can increase to a staggering amount from the previous year. It is not uncommon for strata's today to have a deductible in the $50,000 to $100,000 range from the days of when they were $5,000 to $25,000.  

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A STRATA OWNER?
Deductible assessment coverage is an additional coverage that has become increasingly important in light of the increasing cost and frequency of resultant water damage claims. For example, if the building is damaged due to a water leak, the strata corporation would generally file a water damage claim with its own insurance company.
Section 158 of the Strata Property Act states that the insurance deductible in respect of a claim is a common expense, but the strata corporation may sue an owner in order to recover the deductible portion of an insurance claim if the owner is responsible for the loss or damage that gave rise to the claim. Two landmark BC court decisions in 2007 determined that the strata corporation need not prove negligence in order to determine owners' responsibility. A strata corporation may sue a strata lot owner to recover the insurance deductible even though the owner was not negligent and merely caused or brought about the events that resulted in the damage.

To remove ambiguity and potentially save on future legal expenses, some strata corporations have passed bylaws that clarify that owners are strictly liable for damage to common property that originates in their units.

CONCLUSION
It is therefore important that all strata owners review the building policy and advise their insurance broker of the building deductible amounts to ensure their unit policy includes sufficient coverage for all building deductibles including water damage. This information is included in the insurance summary report within the NOTICE of Annual General Meeting that strata corporations are required to provide strata lot owners prior to the Annual General Meeting. Some strata buildings due to frequent or a single extensive resultant water damage claim are now facing water damage deductibles of $50,000 to $100,000.

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
Additional coverage riders available to strata unit owners that are well worth considering are:
  • Increased unit improvements and betterments coverage insures upgrades to the unit a
  • Loss assessment coverage typically pays the owner's share to cover major property and liability losses on common property that may exceed the strata corporation's policy limits.
  • Request your insurance broker to advise you of any other additional riders that you should consider.
SOURCE: Insurance Brokers Association of BC
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I don't know about you, but I can't keep track of what all the symbols are for doing laundry.  So, this will certainly help me...I hope it helps you also.  

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Metro Vancouver housing market off to a quieter start than last year

Home sales and listings trends are below long-term averages in the Metro Vancouver* housing market. This is due largely to reduced activity in the detached home market.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,523 in January 2017, a 39.5 per cent decrease from the 2,519 sales recorded in January 2016 and an 11.1 per cent decrease compared to December 2016 when 1,714 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 10.3 per cent below our 10-year January sales average.

“From a real estate perspective, it’s a lukewarm start to the year compared to 2016,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “While we saw near record-breaking sales at this time last year, home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,140 in January 2017. This represents a 6.8 per cent decrease compared to the 4,442 homes listed in January 2016 and a 215.5 per cent increase compared to December 2016 when 1,312 properties were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver is 7,238, a 9.1 per cent increase compared to January 2016 (6,635) and a 14.1 per cent increase compared to December 2016 (6,345).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2017 is 21 per cent. This is the lowest the ratio has been in the region since January 2015. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“Conditions within the market vary depending on property type. The townhome and condominium markets are more active than the detached market at the moment,” Morrison said. “As a result, detached home prices declined about 7 per cent since peaking in July while townhome and condominium prices held steady over this period.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $896,000. This represents a 3.7 per cent decline over the past six months and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to December 2016. 

Sales of detached properties in January 2017 reached 444, a decrease of 57.6 per cent from the 1,047 detached sales recorded in January 2016. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,474,800. This represents a 6.6 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to December 2016.

Sales of apartment properties reached 825 in January 2017, a decrease of 24.7 per cent compared to the 1,096 sales in January 2016.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $512,300. This represents a 0.3 per cent increase over the last six months and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

Attached property sales in January 2017 totalled 254, a decrease of 32.4 per cent compared to the 376 sales in January 2016. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $666,500. This represents a 0.4 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to December 2016.
 
Download the full stats package by clicking here.

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See below for standard premium changes.

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The government just announced...
 
The government will lend the buyer funds equal to the down payment up to $37,500, or 5% of the purchase price. The loan will be secured by a second mortgage with no payments over the first 5 years. The amortization period for the second mortgage will be 25 years, and payments will start in year 6. Buyers must be preapproved for an insured high ratio first mortgage and use the property as their principal residence. 
 
Applications do not start until Jan 16, 2017 and loans advanced from Feb 15, 2017 to March 31, 2020. The Buyer must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least 5 years, resided in BC for at least 12 months, make less than $150,000 (as a family) and must be pre-approved for the first mortgage before applying.
 
Stay tuned for more details as they arise.
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Canada’s Housing Market Outlook for 2017

00393_remax_2017housingmarketoutlookreport_remax-ca-blog-post-1024x512

HIGH DEMAND AND LOW SUPPLY CONTINUED TO CHARACTERIZE VANCOUVER’S AND TORONTO’S HOUSING MARKETS THROUGHOUT 2016 AS COMPETITION FROM BUYERS FOR LIMITED INVENTORY OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES PUSHED PRICES HIGHER.

The average residential sale price increased 13 per cent in Greater Vancouver to approximately $1,020,300 and rose 17 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to an estimated $725,857. Although demand remains high in both urban centres, limited inventory in the freehold market, the new 15 per cent foreign-buyer tax in Vancouver and the recent tightening of mortgage rules by the federal government are expected to soften market activity in the short term. In 2017, RE/MAX estimates average residential sale price will increase by two and eight per cent in Greater Vancouver and the GTA respectively.

Regional markets in close proximity to Canada’s highest-price cities continued to experience steady interest from local move-up buyers and buyers from these cities (“move-over” buyers) who are looking to find a balance between affordability and square footage. This year there were considerable year-over-year average price increases in Barrie (16 per cent), Hamilton-Burlington (20 per cent), the Fraser Valley (20 per cent) and Kelowna (14 per cent).

Regulation changes at both the provincial and federal level towards the end of 2016 are already starting to impact activity in certain markets. The 15 per cent foreign-buyer tax is expected to slow this trend somewhat, as price appreciation declines in Vancouver have resulted in some potential sellers staying in the Lower Mainland. The ripple effect of the foreign-buyer tax can also be felt in the upper end of the GTA and Montreal markets as some foreign investors are expected to look for properties in these regions rather than Vancouver. Measures taken by the federal government to tighten mortgage insurance criteria for new home buyers is expected to temper local rst-time buyer activity across the country in the short term, but is not expected to have a long-term impact in most regions.

Home ownership remains a priority for Canadians, with 53 per cent of respondents in a recent RE/MAX survey conducted by Leger expressing intent to purchase a home and 47 per cent expressing intent to do so in the next five to 10 years. Nearly one in three (30 per cent) Canadians plan to use the purchase of a home as an investment strategy to help fund their retirement, and 42 per cent of millennial respondents view it as a retirement funding strategy. A proportion of Canadians would also consider unconventional home financing options to realize their dream of ownership such as: purchasing a home with a family member (33 per cent); renting a room on a vacation rental site like Airbnb (15 per cent); renting out a room in their home (22 per cent); or even purchasing a home with a roommate (9 per cent).

The housing markets in Calgary and Edmonton remained relatively stable, with moderate declines in the number of sales and average residential sale price as a result of the prolonged recovery of the oil sector over the past two years. The average residential sale price in Edmonton decreased slightly, by two per cent year-over-year in 2016, while Calgary’s average residential sale price decreased by four per cent. Buyer activity is expected to pick up slightly in the second half of 2017 if employment opportunities in the oil sector continue to gradually come back to the province.

High inventory continues to be a factor in many regions including Regina, Montreal, Saint John and St. John’s, offering a good selection of product to first-time and move-up buyers in these cities. Local infrastructure projects and initiatives, such as preparations for Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations in 2017, are anticipated to provide a boost to these economies and their real estate markets next year.

The RE/MAX 2017 average residential sale price expectation for Canada is an increase of two per cent as Canadians continue to see home ownership as an important milestone as well as a good investment.

 
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PROTECT YOURSELF: STRATA WATER DEDUCTIBLE REVIEW REMINDER
Strata FloodThe majority of strata Annual General Meetings are coming up over the next few months presenting an ideal opportunity for strata lot owners to verify that their home owner insurance policy water deductible coverage matches that of the strata corporation's master building policy and if not advise their insurance broker immediately. 

The BC Strata Property Act requires that any AGM Notice includes a copy of the strata corporation's insurance policy summary. This summary page will include a notation on what the building’s current water deductible amount is.Depending on any resultant water damage claims filed in the past policy year and the extent of damage, this deductible amount can increase to a staggering amount from the previous year. It is not uncommon for strata's today to have a deductible in the $50,000 to $100,000 range from the days of when they were $5,000 to $25,000.  

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A STRATA OWNER?
Deductible assessment coverage is an additional coverage that has become increasingly important in light of the increasing cost and frequency of resultant water damage claims. For example, if the building is damaged due to a water leak, the strata corporation would generally file a water damage claim with its own insurance company.
Section 158 of the Strata Property Act states that the insurance deductible in respect of a claim is a common expense, but the strata corporation may sue an owner in order to recover the deductible portion of an insurance claim if the owner is responsible for the loss or damage that gave rise to the claim. Two landmark BC court decisions in 2007 determined that the strata corporation need not prove negligence in order to determine owners' responsibility. A strata corporation may sue a strata lot owner to recover the insurance deductible even though the owner was not negligent and merely caused or brought about the events that resulted in the damage.

To remove ambiguity and potentially save on future legal expenses, some strata corporations have passed bylaws that clarify that owners are strictly liable for damage to common property that originates in their units.

CONCLUSION
It is therefore important that all strata owners review the building policy and advise their insurance broker of the building deductible amounts to ensure their unit policy includes sufficient coverage for all building deductibles including water damage. This information is included in the insurance summary report within the NOTICE of Annual General Meeting that strata corporations are required to provide strata lot owners prior to the Annual General Meeting. Some strata buildings due to frequent or a single extensive resultant water damage claim are now facing water damage deductibles of $50,000 to $100,000.

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
Additional coverage riders available to strata unit owners that are well worth considering are:
  • Increased unit improvements and betterments coverage insures upgrades to the unit a
  • Loss assessment coverage typically pays the owner's share to cover major property and liability losses on common property that may exceed the strata corporation's policy limits.
  • Request your insurance broker to advise you of any other additional riders that you should consider.
SOURCE: Insurance Brokers Association of BC
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Do you have a large family?  Do you need lots of bedrooms?  Do you need an office with a gorgeous ocean and mountain view?  Do you love to entertain?  Well, this amazing home in the sky offers you all of this! North, south, and west facing walls of windows brings in the outdoors.  Check out this video...you'll love it!  Call me today for your private viewing!

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The below letter from President J. Darcy McLeod was sent to our media contacts this afternoon.

Will more taxes solve housing affordability challenges? History says no and so do we.

The rising cost of homes in our region is well-documented. Metro Vancouver home prices have increased nearly 80 per cent since 2005. Detached home prices have increased over 100 per cent.

We worry about how our children can afford a home and how the most vulnerable among us can find basic shelter. These concerns have led to public debate about possible solutions.

One suggestion is for government to introduce new taxes. Some believe government should tax non-Canadian investors who buy properties. Mayor Robertson believes there should be a "luxury housing" tax on the sale of the most expensive homes in Vancouver.

We believe more taxes won’t help. Taxes bring unintended consequences. There’s little to no evidence that a luxury or foreign buyer tax would make homes more affordable. 

History tells us that taxes like this fail to have the desired impact and succeed in permanently adding to government coffers.

In 1987, the provincial government implemented what was advertised as a “wealth tax”. It was supposed to apply to the sale of the most expensive five per cent of homes sold in BC. It's been 28 years since that tax was introduced and the thresholds have never been adjusted for inflation. 
           
Today, that tax is known as the Property Transfer Tax (PTT). It’s applied to 95 per cent of all residential property sales in the province. This tax makes housing less affordable. 

The home is where many people’s financial net worth resides. It's one of the last major assets that residents can sell and not pay a tax on the revenue. A little mentioned fact is that we already have tax disincentives for foreign owners. If a foreign home owner wants to sell a property in Canada, they are unable to receive a capital gains exemption.

The picture of affordability and home ownership is changing in Metro Vancouver. Our region's affordability challenges are complicated and, unfortunately, there isn't a single action that can solve them. Economists will tell you that offshore investment is a factor in today’s market. To what extent, no one has the data to know. 

What we do know is that local conditions have a much more significant impact. We live in one of the most beautiful, progressive and prosperous areas of the world. There are more people who want to live here than there are homes available. This causes prices to rise. 

The natural solution would be to create more supply, but we're constrained by mountains to the north, an ocean to the west, and a border to the south. 

Despite the headlines, the majority of home sales in Metro Vancouver are not $1-million and beyond. Based on our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics, nearly 70 per cent of all sales in the region last year were below $800,000. 

The price of condominiums today ranges between $200,000 and $600,000 depending on size and location. Townhomes range between $300,000 and $800,000 in the region.

Detached homes in the City of Vancouver are at the high-end of our market. Recent activity has pushed homes on the Vancouver Westside above $2.5 million. 
           
It’s a different story in neighbouring communities. The benchmark price of a detached home in Maple Ridge today is $499,100; in Ladner the benchmark price is $713,200; in Coquitlam the benchmark price is $845,400.

Affordability challenges exist. But there are also more options and aspects to the story than is typically discussed in the media. Certainly more than the mayor is putting forward.

Sincerely, 

J. Darcy McLeod
President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

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It's a strong, strong sellers market everywhere in Metro Vancouver!  See the April stats here.

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If you are a buyer, I hoped you took my advice a couple of weeks ago & locked in your 2.89% 5 year rate.  This second increase in 2 weeks has us sitting at 3.49% now.  But don't dismay...remember when rates were 4.99% and everyone in a variable locked in because they thought they couldn't go any lower?  We are still sitting at all-time lows, so don't pay someone else's mortgage, start paying your own!

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Hot off the press!  Interest rates are increasing.  Some of the lenders have already started to increase their interest rates today.  If you want to buy soon, make sure you have a 90-120 rate hold with your mortgage broker.  Don't have a mortgage broker?  Call me asap and I'll put you in touch with a good one.

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The 10 Priciest Real Estate Markets in the World

New York is the lone U.S. city to land in the top 10 most expensive residential real estate markets in the world, according to a new report from Knight Frank.  But with luxury homes in New York costing anywhere from $2,030 to $2,240 per square foot, it’s only about half  as expensive as the most expensive housing market in the world: Monaco. There, luxury homes can cost $5,350 to $5,920 per square foot. 


The following are the top 10 priciest housing markets in the world and the average cost per square foot in U.S. dollars, according to the report:

  1. Monaco: $5,350 to $5,920
  2. Hong Kong: $4,570 to $5,050
  3. London: $3,890 to $4,300
  4. Geneva: $2,720 to $3,010
  5. Paris: $2,350 to $2,600
  6. Singapore: $2,340 to $2,580
  7. Moscow: $2,040 to $2,260
  8. New York: $2,030 to $2,240
  9. Sydney: $2,020 to $2,230
  10. Shanghai: $1,820 to 2,020

Other U.S. cities rounding out the top 20 list were Miami at number 13 (priced between $1,300 to $1,440 per square foot) and Los Angeles at number 15 (priced between$1,210 to $1,340 per square foot).

Source: “Here Are the World’s Most Expensive Real Estate Markets,” The Business Insider (March 7, 2013)  


Wow, Vancouver starts to look pretty affordable, doesn't it?
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Do you prefer to hear the stats instead of reading the stats?  Then watch the latest January 2013 Greater Vancouver Real Estate stats by video.

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If you prefer to get the December 2012 Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board Stats stats by video, here you go...  click here

 

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What's happening in the current market?  Are prices up or down?  Are sales up or down?  Read my monthly e-newsletter to answer all of these questions and more...and to stay on top of changes in the industry.  Enjoy!

 


November 2012

With rates still at an all time low (you can get a 5 year rate for 2.65% right now), this continues to be the perfect atmosphere for buyers.  Although prices are softening in most areas, we saw price increases last month on the westside for both detached houses and condos/townhouses.  November and December are typically the slowest months of the year for real estate, giving buyers another incentive to take the plunge before the typically busy spring market arrives.  With the increase in sales last month, I'd say buyers are starting to realize now is the time to make their move.  Ski season is around the corner, the excitement of Christmas not far behind that, so enjoy these next few weeks, and if I can help you with your real estate needs in any way, don't hesitate to contact me.      

New Listing!

I am selling this great house on the east side.  It has retained all of the character & charm, but has all the modern renovations where you want them.  If you haven't been in the Renfrew area, (south of Hastings and east of Nanaimo) you need to check it out.  Wide streets allow the sun  to shine in on the houses, giving you space between your neighbours, and an open, airy feel on the street and in the yards.  It was the second highest selling East Van neighbourhood in October.  And I can see why!  Walk just a few blocks to all of the great bakery's, delis, & cafes.  This neighbourhood used to be the Italian district, but is now know as the East Village (love the name), and young couples & families are flocking to this next-to-be-discovered neighbourhood.   View the listing details.  And it comes complete with a white picket fence!  Drop in to my open house this weekend and say hello...2467 E Georgia St. 2-4pm. 

Market Statistics

The Greater Vancouver housing market saw a slight increase in the number of home sales, a slight reduction in the number of listings, and a slight decrease in home prices (although the westside increased in price) in October compared to the summer months.  It seems buyer demand has increased slightly in October.  Buyers are still in a great position with crazy low interest rates, more choice, and less time pressure in terms of decision-making.  This translates to a calmer atmosphere for buyers.   Read More...

Circle Craft Christmas Market & Eastside Culture Crawl

Are you thinking about Christmas yet?  I've already seen a Christmas tree in a window display.  It seems early, but if you want to get a jump start on the prezzie buying, or just to get in the Christmas spirit, the Circle Craft Christmas Market  is a great start.  Showcasing BC and Canadian artisans, this market has been wowing visitors since 1973.  Pottery, glass blowing, jewelery, clothing designers, and much, much more.  Located at the Convention Centre, and only $10 to enter, it sounds like a good way to spend a few hours this weekend.  And don't miss the Eastside Culture Crawl this year, Nov 16-18.  You can do some Christmas shopping here too.  Or buy some art for your own home.  Stroll around the Gastown/Strathcona neighbourhoods and visit local artists in their studios.  See this neighbourhood like you've never seen it before.  It's not to be missed!  Eastside Culture Crawl
 


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RE/MAX and I would love to help you win 24 tickets to a WHL game!  Watch this video for info on how to enter...

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The good people (yes I mean lawyers) at Spagnuolo & Company have produced this video to make things a little easier to understand.  Information about the BC First-Time Home Buyers' Bonus.   Watch video...

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If you prefer to get the October 2012 Greater Vancouver Real Estate Boards stats by video, click here...

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I posted the general stats on Friday for Greater Vancouver.  Now, you can see the detailed stats for your neighbourhood.  View here...

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