Blog › June 2015

British Columbians Embracing the Cottage Getaway: RE/MAX Report

West Coast residents prioritizing cabin life over city breaks, according to annual RE/MAX Recreational Property Report

Cabin cottage deck chair

Nearly 69 per cent of British Columbians would choose a long weekend at the cottage over a big-city getaway, according to the annual RE/MAX Recreational Property Report released June 24.

That is slightly above the national average of respondents (67.8 per cent) who said the same thing.

Across Canada and in BC, around 21 per cent of respondents said they would consider downsizing their main home to buy a cottage.

And nationwide, 40.5 per cent of those surveyed said they would pool resources with family and friends in order to buy a vacation home.

The report also said that, in markets where there are large enough sample sizes for year-over-year comparisons, almost all regions witnessed year-over-year price appreciation and an increase in sales. The report highlighted is Whistler, where chalets increased 5.2 per cent from a median price of $1,250,000 in 2014 to $1,315,000.

The RE/MAX report also found that the low Canadian dollar was having a positive effect on domestic vacation home sales in several ways:

  • Canadians who bought US property in the 2008-12 downturn are now able to sell for a nice profit and take advantage of the low dollar to buy their dream properties in Canada;
  • Canadians buying vacation homes are choosing Canada over the US because of the relatively high US dollar; and
  • Overseas buyers are getting a discount on Canadian properties.

RE/MAX also said that there has been a significant increase in vacation-home buyers who are planning to rent out their recreational properties part or full time. In BC, regions that reported an increase include Ucluelet, Tofino and Penticton.

For more insights and expert commentary on the BC recreational property market, click here.

To read the RE/MAX report as an online PDF form, click here.

Recently Sold Listing 2228 W 18th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1127754 - 2228 W 18th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 2228 W 18th Ave, Vancouver.

How to Protect Your Home from Water Damage

We all protect our home from fire and smoke, but what about water damage? The Home Insurance experts at BCAA offer eight excellent tips to avoid a costly mess

Water damage

Water damage is one of the most common and costly challenges facing BC homeowners. The frequency and severity of water damage claims continue to grow due to extreme weather, more complex appliances and the growing popularity of condensed multi-unit living.

Most insurance policies do not cover water damage caused by continuous or repeated seepage, rising ground waters or surface waters – but sudden, while accidental, escape of water from a watermain, plumbing, heating system or internal drain are usually covered. Water damage resulting from a private external drain or entry of water through an opening in your roof are usually not covered and depend on your policy; additional coverage can be purchased for either event to provide you with protection needed.

A few simple precautions can help to safeguard your home and possessions from water damage:

  • Install water alarms. They work like smoke detectors but warn of leaks from toilets, water heaters, overflowing baths and sinks. Simply place near any water source and a high-pitched alarm alerts you to water leaks. Water alarms start from as little as $15 a unit.
  • Install stainless steel-braided hoses where possible. These hoses cost around $20 and are less likely to deteriorate than plastic hoses. Dishwasher and washing machine hoses should be inspected and replaced every three to five years. 
  • Use a rain barrel. Rain barrels keep rainwater out of overloaded storm sewer infrastructures and provide you with water for your garden. Check if your municipality has a program that offers subsidies for a rain barrel purchase.
  • Connect an eavestrough downspout extension. Extend the eavestrough at least six feet from foundation walls to prevent water from draining into your basement, and direct it towards the street. Downspout extensions cost around $15.
  • Check the foundation. As ice melts or after heavy rain, clear any pooling water away from the home.
  • Inspect the roof. Get the roof inspected every few years to check the condition of the shingles and replace when necessary in order to prevent leaks.
  • Test the sump pump. If the basement has one, examine it and conduct a test run especially if it doesn’t get used frequently.
  • Protect your valuables. Consider moving valuables away from high-risk areas, such as the basement, or place items on high shelves or risers, especially in homes prone to water damage.

New Listing 1428 DEVONSHIRE CR, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1129728 - 1428 Devonshire Crescent, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 1428 Devonshire Crescent, Vancouver and currently listed at $13,688,000.SOLD

Elegant Shaughnessy home on south facing corner lot w/ exceptional workmanship & finishing. Architect Loy Leyland and custom built by Feature Projects, this distinguished residence provides over 8,000 sq ft of luxurious living set on a tranquil 14,000 sq ft, professionally landscaped lot w/zen water features. 6 bedrms, 10 bathrms & large office. Main floor features laminated Low-E windows, stained oak H/W floor, inlaid w/walnut trim. Gourmet wok kitchen, butler's pantry & luxury mud room off the driveway w/porte cochere. Lower level-rec/billiards room, custom home theatre, gym, wine cellar & nanny quarters/guest suite. 3 car garage. Studio/hobby room beside the garage is 274 sq ft. Res height upper flr incl 158 sqft

Astounded Westside Homeowner Sells Home in 14 days $150,000 Above Asking Price After Being Listed with Another Agent For 322 Days!

Vancouver B.C .- The owners of 6051 Selkirk  are pretty happy people these days. Almost a year ago they listed their property and had 70 people through over the next 322 days.  They were extremely disillusioned with the offers they received.  Days turned into weeks which turned into months and the owners became more and more frustrated with the whole process. 

In this active market the Sellers couldn’t believe their home wasn’t selling and houses  all around were.  They were disappointed which is a huge understatement. 

A friend told the Sellers about Jamie Stewart Remax Crest and her super-efficient marketing strategy.  The Sellers almost stayed with the previous listing agent as they thought it would be extra work to switch the listing to Remax Crest and a new realtor. Like other Sellers they thought that all realtors are the same.   Jamie reminded the Seller’s that she is very resourceful and could have the listing up and running within a few days with a marketing plan that would work.  

Jamie Stewart arrived and conducted an in-depth market analysis on the home, discussed the positives and negatives of the property.  Jamie didn’t lower the list price however offered many marketing ideas to encourage the sale of the home for top dollar.  

The action was swift and positive.  Jamie brought in her stagers and photographer/ videographer and within a couple of days the property was back on the market with a whole new look.

There was a flurry of activity, many buyers came through for the first time and  a few buyers came through the house for a second and third time; they connected with the property differently. They liked it!

As planned enough interest was generated and 2 offers came in at the same time.  That night Jamie and the Sellers worked until 1:30am to negotiate the transaction.  In the end, the winning offer bought the house $150,000 over the list price in 14days.  The Sellers were thrilled!!

View details of sale here: 

The Rise and Rise of Townhomes

As single-family homes become increasingly scarce, townhouses are seeing a massive surge in popularity

Buyers looking for the benefits a detached home offers without the hassle of maintenance – or the exorbitant prices – are turning in increasing numbers to new townhouse developments.

Sales of townhomes currently account for 60 to 70 per cent of new real estate development transactions in the Fraser Valley. Townhouse sales in that region jumped nearly 21 per cent in May 2015 compared with the previous May. Those numbers would likely be mirrored in Metro Vancouver except for the limited supply of new townhomes in many of that region’s municipalities. Even so, there were 733 townhouse sales across Metro Vancouver in May 2015 – an increase of 34 per cent compared with sales in May 2014.

What’s Driving Sales?

“Townhomes appeal to a broad segment of the market... people who want to own a home but not an apartment,” said Scott Brown, president of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing, a residential real estate sales and project marketing organization. “They want to build equity and have children, but they don’t want such a big financial burden that they can’t afford a vacation. A townhouse meets their needs and allows them to do more than just own a home.”

Michael Ferreira, managing principal at Urban Analytics, a real estate and urban planning consultant firm, says affordability is the primary driver of townhouse sales.

“Townhomes are fairly affordable, especially in the Fraser Valley,” he said. “It’s the next best thing to a single-family home: you have your own front door, outdoor space, a garage, multi-levels. When you look at the price point between a townhouse and a single family house, it’s a no brainer.”

Real estate consultant and urban planner Michael Geller notes townhouses are popular with buyers across various demographics.

“Many empty nesters aren’t ready for an apartment. For those people, a townhouse is an excellent transition. And for those moving up from an apartment, single-family houses are simply not affordable. They see townhouses as an attractive alternative.”

Product Innovation

Townhouses have traditionally been skinny, three-storey buildings with tandem garages. But designs are changing and bringing more people to the market.

“Developers are constantly making notes on unfulfilled needs expressed by prospective buyers at their presentation centres,” said Brown. “Masters on the main floor have come about because of aging consumers telling developers they want that and that they don’t like three storeys with all the stairs.”

Rooftop amenities that accommodate outdoor living are also popular. One Langley site, Exchange, has enjoyed such strong sales the developer has accelerated construction to keep up with demand.

“Exchange’s rooftop decks replace the traditional patch of grass a townhouse offers,” said Ferreira. “The design means you’re locked in with three neighbours but you still have outdoor space.”

More than 50 per cent of Exchange’s buyers are single and come from communities across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The two-bedroom units appeal to singles and couples without large families. Prices, starting in the low $300,000s, are less than the average Metro Vancouver apartment.

“These homes are targeted to those who would otherwise buy a two-bedroom apartment,” said Brown. “The Fraser Valley is more affordable and townhouse prices have been relatively flat.”

But it's not just the Fraser Valley that's seeing this trend. Marcon, a Vancouver developer, currently has two townhome projects in the design stages – one along Granville Street with 18 homes and one just off Cambie with 24 homes. To date, they've built hundreds of townhomes across the Lower Mainland, including the Century Signature and Westchester developments, both in Vancouver.

"In the past two years there has been a major shortage of townhomes in Vancouver, which has resulted in fast absorption rates and higher prices," said Nic Paolella, Marcon's development manager.

“Development activity for of this product type is not as well known as condominium developments. It's quietly happening, not like the big towers. And I think it's because the community doesn't perceive a negative impact of townhomes on a community, unlike larger developments, because they are smaller scale. But townhomes offer a lot of value in terms of diversity of housing, affordability over single-family homes as well as not-insignifcant community amenity contributions."

Strata Vs. Non-Strata

Most townhouses are strata-titled, with purchasers becoming members of a condominium association. But not all buyers want the associated strata maintenance fees and restrictions. While they are still the exception rather than the rule, there is an emerging demand for non-strata townhouse developments.

Parkside and Bedford Landing in Langley are fee-simple projects. And Aragon Homes built a non-strata row house development in New Westminster’s Port Royal community. These projects proved to be highly marketable and more are sure to follow.

Geller has written extensively on this topic. “Developers have been building condominium townhouses for so long and they tend not to embrace something new until demand is there,” he said.

The Townhouse Mindset

The demand for townhouses is not going to decrease any time soon. Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing cites a recent survey of more than 40 industry leaders. More than 96 per cent of them believe the townhouse sector will continue to advance to meet growing consumer demand.

“It’s going to be the standard mindset for the next 10 to 15 years,” said Brown. “We need to be greener and we need to squeeze more homes onto available land without compromising lifestyle. Townhouses are the alternative that best meets the needs of multiple partners.”

- See more at:

Recently Sold Listing 1933 W 33RD ST, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1115341 - 1933 W 33RD ST, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 1933 W 33RD ST, Vancouver.

New Listing 2228 W 18th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1127754 - 2228 W 18th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 2228 W 18th Ave, Vancouver and currently listed at $2,998,000.SOLD

QUALITY built home on a 50 x 122 lot in prestigious ARBUTUS. 2 yr old roof. Bright, spacious and views from the top floor! This lovely home shows well and features high ceilings, a grand foyer, south facing backyard, 3 car garage on a great street. Total of 6 spacious bedrooms, 5 baths, large open kitchen, spacious fenced backyard with private deck. Schools - TRAFALGAR & PRINCE OF WALES also CLOSE TO YORK HOUSE, ST. GEORGE'S & CROFTON HOUSE, UBC, SHOPPING, & TRANSIT.

Greater Vancouver Real Estate, May 2015

Vancouver home sales are up year over year and prices reached record highs again. Our useful infographic will help you make sense of the stats

Greater Vancouver MLS home prices reached another record high, as home sales in May rose 23 per cent year over year and 16.7 per cent above the 10-year average, according to Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) figures released June 2.

Below is our useful infographic that highlights the key stats and breaks down the figures, area by area. To read the full story and analysis, click here.


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Recently Sold Listing 2107 W 36TH AV, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1124555 - 2107 W 36TH AV, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 2107 W 36TH AV, Vancouver.