Blog › June 2014

Top grants and rebates for property buyers and owners

leaving money on the tableHome Buyers' Plan  -  Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency Enter 'HomeBuyers·Plan' in the search box 1.800.959.8287

GST Rebate on New HomesNew home buyers can apply for a rebate for the 5% GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. At $450,000 and above the rebate is nil. Canada Revenue Agency Enter 'RC4028' in the search box 1.800.959.8287

BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers' Program - Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1 % on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil. 250.387.0604

First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC) - This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2012) x $5,000. For the 2013 tax year, the maximum credit is $750. Canada Revenue Agency  1.800.959.8281

BC Home Owner Grant - Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,100,000. The basic grant gives home owners:

  • a maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts;
  • an additional grant of $200 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province; and an additional grant of$275 to seniors aged
  • 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue or contact your municipal tax office.

BC Property Tax Deferment Programs -

  • Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.
  • Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying lowincome home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.
  • Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying lowincome home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue

Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) - A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer. BC Housing 604.646.7055 or toll-free 1.800.407.7757 extension 7055

CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund - Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations. 008.cfm 604.731.5733

Energy Saving Mortgages - Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. 1.800.769.2511

Low Interest Renovation Loans - Financial institutions offer 'green' loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity's Bright Ideas personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime +1 % for up to 10 years for 'green' renovations. RBC's Energy Saver loan offers 1 % off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution. and

BC Hydro Appliance Rebates - Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators or freezers. 1.800.224.9376

BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program - This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to tum in spare fridges in working condition. 604.881.4357

BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program for Businesses - The Power Smart Partner program partners BC Hydro with BC's largest commercial, government and institutional customers (who spend $200,000 or more/year on Hydro). Customers gain access to a wide range of energy management programs, tools and incentives. 1.866.522.4713

BC Hydro Power Smart Express (PSX) for Businesses - Launching June 2, 2014, the PSX program partners BC Hydro with BC's largest commercial, government and institutional customers (who spend $200,000 or more/year on Hydro). The program provides incentives for various technologies, including lighting, cooking and refridgeration appliances. 1.866.522.4713

FortisBC Rebate Program for Homes - A range of rebates for home owners including a $300 rebate for purchasing an EnerChoice® fireplace, or up to $1,000 off
an ENERGY STAR® water heater, or a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR® heating system. 1.800.663.8400

FortisBC Rebate Program for Businesses - For commercial buildings, provides a rebate of up to $45,000 for the purchase of an energy efficient boiler, up to $15,000 for the purchase of a high-efficiency water heater and receive funding towards a new construction energy study. 1.800.663.8400

City of Vancouver Rain Barrel Subsidy Program - The City of Vancouver provides a subsidy of 50% ofthe cost of a rain barrel for Vancouver residents. With the subsidy, the rain ban'el costs $75. Buy your rain barrel at the Transfer Station at 377 W. North Kent Ave., Vancouver, BC. Limit of two per resident. Bring proof of residency. There is also a limited time offer for short rain barrels for small yards. Cost $50. 604.736.2250 Other municipalities have similar offers.

Local Government Water Conservation Incentives - Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water. For example, the City of Coquitlam offers residents a $100 rebate and the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Visit your municipality's website and enter 'toilet rebate' to see if there is a program. and and

Local Government Water Meter Programs - Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Delta, Richmond and Surrey have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality's website and enter 'water meter' to find out if there is a program.

New Listing 2083 W 43rd Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1072244 - 2083 W 43rd Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 2083 W 43rd Ave, Vancouver and currently listed at $2,698,000.SOLD

Great Westside Value!! Shows like New. Quality built/well priced Kerrisdale family home with 4 bedrooms up, including a lovely master suite with ensuite, closet plus walk-in closet. A great layout including a spacious main level with living /dining area, large well-appointed kitchen with informal eating area and attached family room. Hardwood floor on main and basement, granite countertops, air conditioning, wok kitchen, steam shower, 10 ft high ceiling on main floor. Lower level features a great recreation room with wet bar, 2 guest bedrooms/offices, bathroom and laundry room with suite potential. Walking distance to parks, shopping, school catchment -Magee Secondary School and Maple Grove. Open House Saturday Oct 11th 1:30-3:30pm

No Let-up in Metro Development as Major Land Deals Surge

Land Deals

Metro Vancouver has seen a surge in the completion of large-scale land purchases by developers over the past six months, according to Colliers International’s Metro Vancouver LandShare Spring Report released June 19.

The authors reported, “Notable developers have been quick to pull the trigger on opportunities in markets where recently introduced community plans have facilitated density increases. In the West End, the acquisition of the 1400 Block of Alberni by Wall Financial was spurred by the added value that was created through the approval of the West End Official Community Plan. In addition, there have been more opportunities to purchase substantial projects in suburban areas fuelled by government and institutional owners capitalizing on strong market conditions.”

The report said that Standard Life sold 12.5 acres surrounding Gilmore Station, while the BC government sold 88 acres at Burke Mountain in Coquitlam, 40 acres at the corner of Willingdon Avenue and Canada Way in Burnaby and 15 acres in the Panorama neighbourhood of Surrey.

The authors added: “Areas that were expected to crest such as Metrotown and the Westside of Vancouver have continued their upward pricing trend. A mixture of private equity and foreign investments have led the purchasing, with institutional developers taking a backseat and waiting for prime assets of scale.”

The report says that major transactions have dominated the marketplace, with lower transaction volumes than previous years being offset by higher average deal values.

It stated, “Fewer land transactions took place in 2013 than the past several years. The year closed with 330 transactions compared to 553 in 2012. Total sales volume also decreased from $1.70 million to $1.47 million. However, sites traded at a higher average value than previous years. Despite low overall volumes, high-density site transactions far exceeded 2012 sales as land owners began to cash out.”

Download the full report from here (free registration required).

New Listing 468 E 43rd Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1070727 - 468 E 43rd Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 468 E 43rd Ave, Vancouver and currently listed at $1,069,000.SOLD

RM-2 zoned Legal up & down Duplex that rents for $2100 up & $1950 down, with tenants paying own utilities. Strategically located in the popular Main Street corridor. Top floor suite features 3 bdrms, 2 bthrms, with an updated kitchen. Downstairs also an updated 3 bdrm 2 bthrm suite. Both suites have in suite laundry, newer dishwashers, lighting fixtures, double glazed windows and painted interior. New hot water tanks for each suite, and each suite has its own furnace on its own meter. Large 4 ft crawl space - lots of storage space. Outstanding location! Buy now to live in/rent out &/or hold for future development potential. School catchment: John Oliver high school, Mackenzie elementary. Open Sat Oct 4, 2:30-4pm.

Strongest May for Home Sales Since 2007

 The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,729 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May, up 13.9 per cent from May 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $4.9 billion, an increase of 20.6 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $565,233, up 5.8 per cent from the same month last year.

BC Real Estate Association May 2014 home sales and listings report

“Consumer demand was noticeably stronger last month, with unit sales posting their highest level for the month of May since 2007,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Rock bottom mortgage rates are inducing many would-be home buyers to enter the market this spring.”

“With most BC markets now in balanced conditions, home prices are up in nine of 11 board areas,” added Muir.

During the first five months of the year, BC residential sales dollar volume was up nearly 26 per cent to $18.8 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up almost 17 per cent to 32,894 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 7.7 per cent at $571,648.

Click here for complete report and details by board area.

Recently Sold Listing 3108 W 35th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1048917 - 3108 W 35th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 3108 W 35th Ave, Vancouver.

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market: May 2014

“This is the most active marketplace we’ve seen since the spring of 2011,” said Ray Harris, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, in response to the May numbers. “Our MLS® statistics tell us that there’s more home buyer demand today than at any point over the last three years.”



Sales and Listings

Home sales continued to rise in May, up 7.7 per cent after a strong April. May is typically the top month for sales — the peak of the spring season.

A total of 3,286 sold on the MLS. Of these, 1,453 were detached houses, 547 were townhouses or duplexes and 1,286 were apartments.

New listings are floating at 2 per cent below the 10-year average. In May, 5,936, new properties came on the market, down slightly from April; but despite the drop, there are more homes currently for sale than there were in April. Listing numbers have been gradually catching up to almost-normal after lagging for over a year.

For the moment we’re in a balanced market. At 20.4 per cent, the sales-to-active-listings ratio (the rate at which properties are selling) is the highest it’s been since June 2011. If it remains above 20 per cent for a couple more months, we can consider Greater Vancouver to have entered a seller’s market.

What’s Up, What’s Down – At a Glance
 May/ Apr 2014 May 2014 / May 2013
Overall Sales +7.7% +14%
- Detached +8.8% +19.9%
- Townhome +0.9% +2.4%
- Apartment +9.7% +13.2%
New Listings -0.2% +5%
Current Listings +3.6% -6.7%

Benchmark Price (MLS® Home Price Index)

The MLS benchmark prices continue to hold steady, increasing ever-so-slightly every month. The benchmark price is a calculation of the typical home for a particular neighbourhood.

Greater Vancouver MLS® Benchmark Prices % Change
 May 2014Apr 2014May 2013
Detached $966,500 +1.0% +5.4%
Townhome $469,100 +1.0% +3.1%
Apartment $375,500 +0.5% +3.2%

With the benchmark price for a single-family house getting perilously close to $1 million, it makes sense to ask, “When will this stop??”

It might not, says Rudy Nielsen, the man behind Landcor Data Corporation in his Q1 Residential Sales Summary:

Real-estate pundits have long predicted that the Lower Mainland’s overheated markets
are long overdue for a correction, severe or otherwise. That’s still in the cards but in another
opinion, it’s likely not across all product classes.

When walls come down and new spaces open up, especially when these new spaces are
seen as open, clean, not crowded and comparatively cheap, it’s no surprise that others
flow in. Once here and settling in (and barring a financial or physical catastrophe), that’s the
new status quo.

Just an opinion among others, but single family detached (SFD) in Metro Vancouver
is now almost immune to downward pressures, especially in certain favoured areas and as
these localized SFD prices rise, they pull up SFD prices in other areas.

The words “overvalued” and “unaffordable” come up again and again — no surprise.

The TD Economics Quarterly Regional Housing Report estimates that Vancouver housing is 10 – 15 per cent overvalued, regardless of which metrics are used to measure. The one they prefer is the affordability index: the percent of income an average household would have to devote to mortgage payments if they purchased an average priced home and took out a conventional mortgage. And for Metro Vancouver that percentage was 69.9 in 2013 and forecast to be 71.4 this year. Toronto, the second-least affordable city, was pegged at 42.7 per cent in 2013, with 42.5 predicted for 2014.

TD (and just about everybody else) puts the blame on single-family houses.

The latest housing affordability report from RBC Economics helpfully illustrates this by breaking the Metro Vancouver affordability percentages down by housing type. A condo now demands 39.9% of a buyer’s household income, while detached homes require at least 82.4% of monthly household income. The qualifying annual income for each property is $75,100 and $155,100, respectively.

An affordable home typically requires no more than 32% of household income.

Mind you, these stats depend on reported income, and much of Vancouver’s is not. They also don’t take equity into account. According to real estate marketer Bob Rennie, 69 per cent of all home sales are to people who already own, and local people 55 and older are sitting on $213 billion in residential real estate.

So if you’re asking, “Who are these people who can afford these million dollar houses?” there’s a big part of your answer. 

For May statistics broken down by community and housing type, see the detailed REBGV monthly report

Recently Sold Listing 2868 SPRUCE ST, Vancouver, BC

V1040328 - 2868 SPRUCE ST, Vancouver, BC, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 2868 SPRUCE ST, Vancouver.

Recently Sold Listing 6925 ADERA ST, Vancouver, BC

V1044755 - 6925 ADERA ST, Vancouver, BC, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 6925 ADERA ST, Vancouver.

Recently Sold Listing 3419 DUNDAS ST, Vancouver, BC

V1058531 - 3419 DUNDAS ST, Vancouver, BC, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 3419 DUNDAS ST, Vancouver.

New Listing 205 - 2635 Prince Edward Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1067867 - 205 - 2635 Prince Edward Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale at 205 - 2635 Prince Edward Street, Vancouver and currently listed at $389,000.

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