Bob Bracken's Newsletter Archive

 

As noted in my last Fall Newsletter, 2016 was a “Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde” Real Estate Market in Vancouver. After a very robust 1st half, the market was blindsided by the 15% Non-Residents Tax, and struggled and limped a bit through the latter half of the year. This period was characterized by what I referred to as a “reset” - a euphemism for a softer market with much greater supply, sharply decreased sales, and discernibly lower prices. I predicted that the beginning of 2017 would...

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Finally, for a change, some positive news and policy initiative by Government to support property owners and buyers, and strengthen the Real Estate market locally and throughout BC.

Through the B.C. HOME Partnership Program, the Province of BC is helping first-time home buyers get into the home ownership market by contributing to the amount they have already saved for a down payment with a loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first 5 years. The program will match the buyer’s ...

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On November 28th, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released its Fall Rental Housing Market Report for the Census Market Areas of Vancouver. CMHC releases these reports semi-annually, and the lengthy document contains a great deal of statistical information that should be of interest to landlords and tenants alike.

The report details a rental market which tightened further this year as strong employment growth, populations growth and rising home prices contributed to even stronger demand for...

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On July 28, the BC Liberal Government passed Bill 28 - the new Property Transfer tax - adding 15% to the price of all residential home and multifamily property purchases closing after August 2. The tax applies only to purchases by non residents of Canada (Asia, Europe, US etc), and does not apply to Commercial, Industrial, Farm etc properties. It only applies to properties in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, and does not include properties outside of that District, including Squamish, Whistler,...

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The Vancouver home sales market was extremely active - hot - for the 1st half 2016 and it was constantly in the News and top of mind for Buyers and Sellers throughout the City, and beyond. After the July 25 announcement on the 15% Non-Resident Buyer Tax by the BC Government, the market has also been top of mind and constantly in the news - for the opposite reason. 2016 is shaping up to be the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde of Vancouver Real Estate markets, and looks unlike anything we have seen for a long time,...

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On December 16th, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released its Fall Rental Housing Market Report for the Census Market Areas of Vancouver and Abbotsford-Mission. CMHC releases these reports semi-annually, and while the lengthy document contains a great deal of statistical information that is likely not of interest to everyone, the report contains important information regarding the state and trends of the local rental market that should be of interest to landlords and tenants alike.

The report...

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The Vancouver home sales market has been extremely active - even hot - for most of 2015, and it has been in the News & top of mind for Buyers and Sellers throughout the City, and beyond. We are well into the 4th Quarter of the year, so here is a summary of the Fall listings and sales activity to date, with a comparison/perspective from 2014, along with a forecast for the start of 2016. If you find the stats & numbers a bit dry, you may be interested in what they reveal and foretell. The statistics...

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2014 has been a very strong year for Real Estate activity and sales for both the Commercial and Residential sectors in the Greater Vancouver market, and throughout B.C. generally. Furthermore, this strength is predicted to extend through 2015 and beyond.

Commercial Real Estate strength is measured by the BC Real Estate Association’s “Commercial Leading Indicator” (CLI) which was designed to forecast changes in broad Commercial Real Estate activity.

The CLI does this by recording...

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Real Estate values are driven by supply & demand. The most potent drivers of real estate demand are population growth & economic growth. Vancouver & the Lower Mainland, with its limited, even fixed, supply of land, responds to these forces directly & quickly.

In 21st century Canada, population growth & economic growth are inextricably linked to immigration trends & legislation, particularly in B.C. & the Lower Mainland. At a recent REBGV seminar, Richard & Heather Bell...

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Can prices go any higher!? Every year people ask this question about real estate in the Vancouver area. For local investors, this is a critical question as investment returns here rely heavily on capital appreciation of the property. Before predicting the future investment potential of Vancouver real estate, however, it is useful to consider what has happened here over the past 5 decades.  I first did this analysis in 1995 - almost 20 years ago - and when I revisited it in 2010, I was struck...

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The Vancouver area Real Estate market has taken a significant hit lately, and the bloom is certainly off the rose. This is partly a result of the challenges now facing all world finance markets, and also due to a “natural” turning of the local demand and valuation cycle. A bit of perspective should be applied at this time however, and the changing market should be view in the light of potential opportunity rather than inevitable disaster.  A decision to invest in real estate (with...

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Vancouver Housing Affordability is like the weather - everybody complains about it, but nobody does anything about it! The City of Vancouver now appears to be serious about promoting and facilitating housing affordability, especially by encouraging construction of hundreds, even thousands of units of new, for "profit," market rental housing units. The Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability Final Report (Nov 19/12) and the City’s Rental 100 Secured Market Rental Policy (May 15/12)...

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Environmental concerns affect every area of our lives.

This is ever more evident in Real Estate, especially with Underground (Furnace Oil) Storage Tanks - also known as USTs.

There are thousands of old buried oil tanks in the Lower Mainland, and the B.C. Fire Code requires the removal of any buried tanks that have been inactive for more than 2 years. Each municipality has its own requirements, and checking with the local fire department will confirm how the regulations are applied. More importantly...

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On July 28, 2011, City Council approved laneway housing development - for RS-1 and RS-5 Zoned, single family areas only – with the following basic requirements.

  • On lots with minimum 33’ frontage, with open rear lanes, on double fronted streets, or on corner lots with a lane or lane dedication.
  • Laneway houses to be located on the rear 26’ of the property & at least 16’ from the main house
  • Must have at least 1 on-site parking space in the rear yard.
  • Units of 1 – 1 ...
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Laneway Housing – aka “coach houses, granny flats” – have been considered for years as a sensible way to create more housing options in the single family areas of the City.  A great advantage of laneway housing is that the infrastructure - i.e. back lanes, and houses with large rear yards - already exists, so that these new dwellings can be added without altering the character of neighbourhoods. Another great advantage is that these dwellings would allow seniors to remain...

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