Government housing market measures hurting, not helping first-time buyers, says Macdonald Realty | Vancouver Sun

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A one-bedroom condo at 1565 W 6th Avenue in Vancouver listed for $698,000. The overheated entry-level home buying market is being caused by conflicting initiatives from various levels of government, says Dan Scarrow. SUPPLIED

The federal government’s tougher mortgage lending rules and the British Columbia government’s affordable housing measures are working against each other. Ultimately, these moves will hurt first-time buyers the most, says a senior real estate executive with a leading Vancouver-based firm.

Canada’s banking regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, says it wants to reduce the risk of mortgage defaults due to high levels of household debt. But applying stricter lending guidelines is making it more difficult for home buyers to access mortgage funds, says Dan Scarrow, vice-president at Macdonald Realty.

Last year, the former Liberal provincial government offered first-time home buyers help in covering the cost of a mortgage down payment with an interest-free loan of up to $37,500 that is payment-free for the first five years, Scarrow said, adding the new NDP government says it wants to continue the program for the time being.

These initiatives, on top of government intervention with the 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax introduced last year and two interest rate hikes this year, are causing major market distortions, such as overheated entry-level home buying and a cooling of the higher priced homes in Vancouver, he said.

Over the past year, MLS statistics show that the benchmark price for a single-family home in greater Vancouver rose only 2.9% to $1,617,300 while condo prices soared 21.7% to a benchmark price of $635,800.

In the end, all these initiatives are hurting the very people that various levels of government are trying to help, says Bill Dick, managing broker for Macdonald Realty.

“Since many of the government reforms have been implemented, the top end of the market has softened while the entry level has performed extremely well,” he said.

While Macdonald Realty realizes there is a place for some government intervention in the housing market, it is against the mortgage regulation changes that it sees as unnecessary, especially considering that Canadian banks have long been recognized globally for managing their business well.

“The regulators have arbitrarily insisted that buyers undergo stress testing that artificially limits the amount that they can borrow, making it harder for first-time buyers to compete with already wealthy landowners,” Scarrow says. “The banks have their own risk assessment and they have made the determination that these are acceptable risks and returns that they are willing to take.”

Macdonald Real Estate Group employs more than 1,000 people in over a dozen real estate offices across British Columbia. Last year, sales volume exceeded $8.9 billion while assets under management grew to over $5 billion.


This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Macdonald Realty. The article was originally posted on vancouversun.com November 6, 2017. Written by Michael Bernard.

Foreign buyers not swayed by 15-per-cent housing tax, data show | The Globe and Mail

Condos in the Gilmore area of Burnaby are seen in the distance behind houses in east Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday September 20, 2015.

The proportion of foreign buyers in the Vancouver region is at its highest level since the province’s 15-per-cent tax on these purchasers came into effect a year ago, with experts and industry insiders saying international interest is strong in the surging condo market and the suburbs of Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey.

Provincial government data released on Tuesday show foreign buyers accounted for 5 per cent of homes bought in Metro Vancouver in September, with Richmond and Burnaby showing the highest levels, at 10.8 per cent and 9.6 per cent respectively. In Surrey, the city in the region where the most properties changed hands, the rate of foreign buyers more than tripled from August to September – jumping from 1.7 per cent to 5.9 per cent.

Although it is too early to say whether the September data represent a new baseline for the level of foreign buyers in the region, industry insiders and academics say these numbers are likely related to the region’s surging condo prices, which are driving Greater Vancouver’s real estate market in the wake of slowing sales in the once-mighty segment of detached houses.

[Read more…]

Victoria real estate: Fewer listings, fewer sales in October | Times Colonist

Fewer listings translated into a slow month of home sales in October, according to figures released Wednesday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

There were 664 properties sold last month, a drop of nearly 10 per cent compared with the same time last year.

At the same time, there were 1,905 active listings for sale at the end of October, a 3.6 per cent drop compared to September and 1.7 per cent fewer than the 1,938 active listings for sale at the end of October 2016.

“As expected, we saw fewer sales than this time last year. Looking at the longer-term picture, however, sales last month were 17.1 per cent above the 10-year average of 567 properties for the month of October,” said board president Ara Balabanian. “So the market is still very active here in Victoria, and this is in spite of the ongoing low inventory levels.”

The benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria core last month was $821,900, a 9.3 per cent increase over the $752,000 benchmark value in October 2016.

“The fact that we’ve seen such a controlled levelling off in the market directly following a year which felt so uncontrollable in terms of demand and pressure on prices illustrates the depth and stability of the Victoria market,” said Balabanian. “An unstable market may have experienced a heavy correction or shift, whereas in our market sales are moderating at a reasonable rate.”

Historically speaking, the region’s pricing is unprecedented.

According to a survey conducted by Century 21, the price per square foot of a typical single-family home has increased 238 per cent over the past 10 years to more than $424.

The study gathered the price-per-square-foot for a typical home across the major towns and cities in Canada in 1997, 2006 and 2017.

According to Century 21, Victoria’s 10-year increases — 182 per cent for condos to $435 per square foot and 173 per cent to $354 per square foot for townhomes — was considered healthy.

“It has really changed. It gives you a snapshot of where you are living and Victoria, Vancouver and Toronto have seen some big increases,” said Chris Markham managing broker at Century 21 Queenswood.

The biggest increase was seen on the west side of Vancouver where the typical price per square foot — building and land — increased 400 per cent to $1,210.

Markham said the price point in Greater Victoria is a growing problem that is pushing young people out of the equation. He said the large number of condos that are under construction might help in terms of added supply and improving the 0.5 per cent rental vacancy rate, but might not do much in terms of price.

Markham cited increased building costs and scarcity of skilled trades as factors driving up cost.

He also noted foreign investment in homes and businesses has been great for spurring on growth, but it’s made getting into the housing market that much more difficult.

“[Foreign investment] goes to Vancouver, Vancouver comes to Victoria and we spin it up Island,” he said.

Foreign investment in the capital region remains fairly low, with just 4.3 per cent of all property transfers in the last six months involving foreign nationals.

Markham said the current market conditions are unprecedented, and it’s anyone’s guess when it will slow down. “I do think we are seeing more balance,” he said, noting the market is not building up its inventory but rather matching new listings with sales each month.

But he doesn’t think the market has seen the end of high prices and demand. “If you and I had talked a year ago, I’d have said be in cash and out of the market by the end of this year. But now what I’m seeing is there’s so much momentum that even if they jacked up interest rates and even if a bomb dropped there’s so much momentum I don’t see it dying. There’s too much already committed,” Marjham said, adding the unemployment rate remains low, interest rates are relatively low and in-migration continues.

The VREB said a balanced market will continue over the next few months as low inventory levels will match the traditional slowdown in buyer and seller behaviour.


The article was originally posted on Times Colonist, November 1, 2017. Written by Andrew A. Duffy.

 

Already-tight student rental picture expected to worsen this fall | Vancouver Sun

Metro Vancouver is heading for a rental housing crisis this fall as a “perfect storm” of factors pushes an already record low vacancy rate even lower, says a leading Vancouver-based real estate firm.

“There has traditionally been a shortage of rental housing for students when they start school in the fall, but this year it looks like that shortage is going to be a lot worse,” said Nick Marini, vice-president at Macdonald Property Management.

Based on government statistics, Macdonald is forecasting a seven-per-cent increase this year in international students attending B.C. educational institutions. Meanwhile, the market-dampening 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax and tighter mortgage qualification requirements mean that parents of students are less likely to buy homes for their children, said Marini. As a result, a larger number of students will be hunting for rental housing this fall, increasing demand for accommodation.

Marini said the government steps to cool the red-hot housing market — such as the 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax and mortgage restrictions requiring that first-time buyers have higher incomes — have only pushed the housing affordability crisis to the rental market.

[Read more…]

Active Victoria Real Estate Listings Slide Below 2,000 Mark | Times Colonist

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    The median sale price of a single-family home in the capital region was $759,000 last month, a 14.3 per cent increase from the $664,000 recorded in July last year. Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist
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    Strong sellers' market continues in Victoria Photograph By Times Colonist

With less than 2,000 active listings, Victoria’s real estate market remains firmly weighted in favour of the seller, according to data released Tuesday by the Victoria Real Estate Board.

There were 1,921 active listings at the end of last month, a drop from the 2,161 on the market in July 2016, which led to sellers getting excellent prices for their homes.

The median sale price of a single-family home in the region was $759,000 last month, a 14.3 per cent increase from the $664,000 recorded in July last year.

[Read more…]

Winding up a Strata Corporation

One year ago new amendments to B.C.’s Strata Property Act came into effect.   The new rules made it easier to cancel or “wind up” a strata corporation by reducing the voting threshold from unanimous approval of all owners to 80% approval.  The original requirement for unanimous approval made most wind ups all but impossible since, for example, a single owner in a 100 unit strata building could hold up the whole process even though 99% of the owners were in favour of a wind up.

West End

As a result, the owners of more and more older strata buildings are voting for a wind up.  There are a number of reasons to do this:

  1. Many older strata buildings are in bad condition and require extensive and very expensive repairs which owners do not want to pay for;
  2. Many older strata buildings were built at a time when densities were lower (fewer units permitted on the building lots). A developer purchasing such lots can build more units now;
  3. Consequently, many older strata buildings are in prime locations coveted by developers who are prepared to pay owners top dollar to sell their property.

However, winding up a strata corporation is a very complicated, time-consuming legal process requiring input from experienced commercial real estate brokers and lawyers.  At Macdonald Commercial we have a team of specialist brokers who work with strata corporations on wind-ups.

Some key points to consider if you are an owner of a strata corporation and considering a wind up:

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Capital region homeowners consider locking in after interest-rate hike | Times Colonist

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Josh Ray is accompanied by his dog, Harley, outside his home in Saanich’s Glanford area on Wednesday. Photograph By DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

First-time homebuyers and owners about to renew their mortgages are nervous about the first benchmark interest-rate hike, a Victoria mortgage broker said Wednesday.

The increase, the first in nearly seven years, might prompt some people to lock in their mortgage rates, Colleen Flynn of Select Mortgage Group said. “It’s a concern for people. They are saying: ‘What’s this going to mean for me?’ ” she said. “I think more people are locking in to be cautious.”

Flynn said she’s also getting calls from homeowners who want to renew their mortgages early.

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest-rate target to 0.75 per cent from 0.5 per cent on Wednesday, prompting the five big banks to raise their prime rates a quarter of a percentage point. At the Royal Bank of Canada, that puts the prime rate at 2.95 per cent, up from 2.7 per cent.

Economists expect a gradual cycle of rate hikes amid rising confidence in the economy and projected growth.

[Read more…]

Victoria ranked second in world for luxury real estate | CHEK News

A new report from Christie’s International lists Victoria as the second hottest luxury real estate market in the world.

When you think of a luxury home you probably picture a house on the ocean, or a large estate, but with the Victoria real estate market booming, the face of luxury is changing.

One townhouse in Oak Bay Village is about to go on the market for just over a million dollars.

“If this was a single family home we’d be talking about a much different number especially in today’s market,” said Jordy Harris, a realtor with Newport Realty.

Home prices, especially in desirable neighbourhoods like this one, have gone up.

“In the last three years has gone up by about 40 to 50 per cent,” said Ara Balabanian, President of the Victoria Real Estate Board.

And that may be why a new report from Christie’s International lists Victoria as the second hottest luxury market in the world, behind Toronto, and just ahead of San Francisco.

“Luxury can be something that is just over a million, and I say that with some respect, but our prices have risen to that point,” said Jack Petrie, Managing Partner of Newport Realty, a Christie’s International real estate firm.

While 2016 saw a big increase in homes that sold for a million or over, only a handful went above three million.

“We had approximately 16 homes in 2015, we had 20 homes sell in 2016,” said Balabanian.

The report lists offshore buyers, put off by Vancouver’s new foreign buyers tax, as one of the driving factors for the luxury sales boom, but local realtors aren’t seeing it.

“It’s not as if there was a sudden floodgate where all those buyers, foreign buyers, looking to buy in Vancouver, came over here, it just didn’t happen like that,” said Harris.

“It’s still a small component of the marketplace, it’s somewhere around 5 per cent,” said Balabanian.

They say the largest segment of home buyers remains locals, followed by those from elsewhere in Canada.

But if prices continue to soar, “luxury” may need to be re-defined.


 

The article was originally posted on CHEK News, May 10, 2017. Written by April Lawrence.

Election result provides no easy answers to housing issues | Vancouver Sun

At least one major Vancouver real estate firm believes that the election results mean that housing policy in the province will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future.

“The one thing you want the government to provide is certainty in policy,” said Dan Scarrow, vice-president of Macdonald Realty, which has almost 1,000 staff and agents throughout B.C.  “This election result means that housing policy in the province will be up for negotiation between the three major parties.”

Scarrow said many believe that government holds the solution to issues like affordable housing.  He said the reality, however, is that governments’ power, particularly the power of provincial governments that do not control either immigration or interest rate policies, is limited because there are so many forces that impact the real estate market.

“People have already forgotten that when the 15-per-cent foreign buyer tax came in, it was a shock to the system,” he said. “At the time, even the most vocal critics of foreign investment in Vancouver acknowledged that this was a far bigger move than anyone could have anticipated. And now, less than a year later, it has had no discernible impact on demand.”

Scarrow points to examples all over the world of cities struggling with affordability. “The one commonality seems to be that governments are incapable of stopping demand. Draconian policies to restrict demand have been tried in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and many first-tier cities in China with limited to no effect. Vancouver can now be added to this list,” he said.

In fact, some argue that local governments often make things worse by artificially restricting supply. The 13th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2017, which ranked Vancouver as the world’s third-least affordable market, states: “The affordability of housing is overwhelmingly a function of just one thing: the extent to which governments place artificial restrictions on the supply of residential land.”

Scarrow said that affordable housing is a complex problem for which there is no easy solution. “Everyone’s definition of affordability is different,” he says. “So if no one’s defined the end goal, we just end up building a highway to nowhere.”

Ultimately, regardless of what policies are eventually introduced, the issue of affordability will likely remain. Says Scarrow: “I expect to see this as a major election issue in 2021. And 2025.”

 

 


The article was originally printed in The Province newspaper on May 11th, 2017 and posted on vancouversun.com May 12, 2017. Written by Michael Bernard.

New Rules Regarding the Principal Residence Exemption

Tax season is upon us.  Canadian tax residents must file tax returns for 2016 income with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) before the end of April 2017.  Who is a Canadian tax resident?  In principle, anyone for whom Canada is a home base is regarded as a tax resident.

In reporting income, Canadian tax residents also have to report any capital gains earned during the year, HOWEVER, unlike other income (such as income from employment, interest payments, rent, etc.) only ½ of capital gains are treated as income.  In effect, therefore, the tax rate on capital gains is only ½ the tax rate on regular income.   Moreover, there are a few types of capital gain that are entirely exempt from taxation.  For most taxpayers the most important exemption from capital gains tax is for the capital gain earned on the sale of a family home known as the “principal residence exemption”.

Some of the key issues surrounding the principal residence exemption as follows:

  • Q: Does a taxpayer have to report the capital gain on the sale of a principal residence?
    Yes, the new policy requires the gain to be reported when tax returns are filed with CRA.   This is a new requirement.  The gain is only reportable for the taxation year in which the property is sold.  If the property has, throughout the period it was owned by the taxpayer, been a principal residence then no tax is payable.
  • Q: Who can claim the exemption?
    The exemption is only available to Canadian tax residents who must declare world-wide income and capital gains when filing tax returns.
  • Q: What type of property can be a principal residence?
    Only “capital property” can be a principal residence.  Property bought to “flip” is not “capital property”; it is inventory in a trading business where the profit from the sale of such property is treated as ordinary income, not even a capital gain.  100% of such gains are taxable.  Only properties that were “ordinarily inhabited” by the taxpayer are eligible for the exemption.
  • Q: Can different family members each own a “principal residence”?
    There is only one residence that can be claimed by a family unit as a principal residence.  Of course, adult children living apart from their parents are regarded as having their own family unit and are thereby entitled to claim an exemption for their own principal residence.
  • Q: Are there penalties for failing to report?
    If the sale is not reported in the tax return then CRA can, without any time limitation, audit the taxpayer at any time in the future. Moreover, taxpayers who have failed to designate the home as their principal residence could be subject to a late designation penalty of up to $8,000. It is expected that the new policy will give CRA auditors new audit leads and give rise to many more homeowner audits and re-assessments in the future.

In summary, anyone who sold their principal residences in in 2016 would be well-advised to report the sale and any associated capital gains in their tax returns for the 2016 fiscal year.  Any questions concerning this new policy should be directed to experienced tax advisors.


Written by Peter Scarrow, former immigration lawyer, currently is the Director of Asian Business at Macdonald Real Estate Group.

Macdonald Realty: A Giant Tree from a Tiny Acorn

Vision and hard work – that sums up how Lynn Hsu grew a real estate company from one office to 20 offices and 1,000-plus employees, making it Western Canada’s largest full-service brokerage firm

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    Luxury home listed by Macdonald Realty

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    Macdonald Realty's leaders: Lynn Hsu, owner and CEO, and Dan Scarrow, managing broker

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    The Wade in Victoria, marketed by Macdonald Realty's new-home marketing division Platinum Project Marketing

As seen in… Profiles of Excellence 2017

Originally from Taiwan, Hsu immigrated to Canada in the late 1970s – alone, with no family or friends, no job prospects and speaking little English. Today, she has turned Macdonald Realty into Western Canada’s largest full-service brokerage firm.

From the moment Hsu purchased that single boutique residential firm, she had a vision.

“The real estate industry has two distinct businesses – one creation, the other servicing. On the servicing side, almost all the companies in BC were a single-purpose company, i.e. residential or commercial brokerage, property management or project marketing firms,” says Hsu. “I wanted to create a company that could provide our clients all-encompassing real estate solutions under one roof –from guiding a home buyer through the biggest investment of their lives, helping an investor manage and add value to their properties, to assembling ground intelligence to assist developers to create the right products for the marketplace.”

Today, the company’s interests encompass residential sales, commercial sales and leasing, property management, strata management, development and project management, project marketing and mortgage brokering and lending. It now includes the Macdonald Commercial and Macdonald Realty Platinum Project Marketing divisions.

Dan Scarrow, vice-president, says it’s Hsu’s ability to hire the right people that also helped propel her to the top of the industry. “Lynn has always understood how important it is to empower employees. She is a leader who inspires people through a shared vision and she has created an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled,” says Scarrow. “Her strongest point is that she has never wavered from her commitment to serve and protect our customers.”

Hsu believes that a business model based on a fundamental principle of upholding the highest standard of excellence, coupled with a strong conviction that every problem has a creative solution, would allow Macdonald Realty to grow organically. “When you have the belief and knowledge that you are doing your best to adhere to your core values, problems, rather than deflating you, energize you to action,” adds Hsu.

Hsu went on to explain: “Professionalism and integrity mean a great deal to me and my entire team. They are our company’s core values.”

[Read more…]

New Exemptions to the 15% Property Transfer Tax

EXEMPTION FROM THE 15% TAX

The original announcement that work permit holders would be exempt from the 15% additional property transfer tax was made on January 29, 2017.

On March 17, Premier Christy Clark finally introduced the details of the new exemption to the 15% property transfer tax applied to certain “foreign nationals” who purchase residential properties in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.  As we expected the devil is in the details.  There are a number of categories of work permit holders.  Just as we expected, it turns out that not all holders of work permits will be treated equally.  Most work permit holders will still have to pay the 15% tax.

The exemption from the tax will only apply to Provincial Nominees under the B.C. provincial nominee program (“PNP”).  They have to be “nominated” by B.C. so that other holders of work permits such as international students, executive transferees, or individuals nominated by other provinces will not qualify for the exemption.  Moreover:

  • The exemption only applies to provincial nominees who treat the property as a principal residence;
  • The exemption may be claimed only once. It the provincial nominee buys another GVRD property he must pay the 15% tax;
  • Evidence of provincial nominee status has to be provided at the time the documents are filed at the Land Title Office.

REFUNDS OF THE 15% TAX FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS

The new rules also provide that the following buyers who have already paid the tax will be entitled to refunds:

  • Foreign nationals who held B.C. PNP certificates or were confirmed as provincial nominees and purchased GVRD residential property between August 2, 2016, and March 17, 2017;
  • Individuals who became permanent residents or Canadian citizens within one year of the date the property transfer was registered in the Land Title Office

Refunds for permanent residents and citizens can only be claimed:

  • in respect of only one property;
  • where the property has been used as a principal residence;
  • where the owner moved into the residence within 92 days of property registration; and
  • continued to live in the property for one full year after the date the property transfer was registered.

Clearly most work permit holders are still subject to the 15% tax.  It seems that the exemptions are designed primarily to accommodate the PNP holders working in B.C.’s growing high technology industry, the fear being that the high cost of housing may be an impediment to economic growth in this critically important sector.

Meanwhile, work permit “status” issues can be somewhat complex.  Foreign national buyers holding work permits and their realtor advisors who are uncertain about whether an exemption would apply should consider consulting their immigration and conveyancing lawyers before entering into a binding agreement to purchase GVRD residential property.


Written by Peter Scarrow, former immigration lawyer, currently is the Director of Asian Business at Macdonald Real Estate Group.

Macdonald Realty Wins Marketing Award at Global Real Estate Conference

VANCOUVER, B.C. – (March 15, 2017) – Macdonald Realty was presented with a marketing award from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate firms. The award was presented during the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™ Conference Week, a series of events that drew an impressive audience of 2,000 real estate professionals from 25 countries.

First Place in Referral Promotions Marketing

Macdonald Realty received the award for Referral Promotions, for superior marketing relating to referral contests and programs, helping raise awareness of the company’s global real estate capabilities through its affiliation with LeadingRE.  The company place in the largest category for companies with 500+ sales associates and was chosen for excellence in creativity, quality and overall presentation and effectiveness.

“Our marketing team works hard to give our agents the best tools to grow their businesses, as well as to showcase our own brand,” said Rosey Hudson, Marketing Director of Macdonald Realty.  “This award for our Referral Toolbox – a series of social media and traditional marketing pieces that help our agents engage their clients with “We’re Local, We’re Global” – is a major kudos to the whole team.”

“We are pleased to recognize the winners of our Marketing Contest for creating distinctive materials and campaigns that convey the unique character of their companies, with a focus on compelling content, original graphics and effective delivery,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “Our visual display of these award-winning materials is always a highlight of our conference, providing inspiration to all of our members.”
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[Read more…]

Darin Germyn of Macdonald Realty becomes the Vice President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

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(left to right) Darin Germyn, Vice-President; Gopal Sahota, President; John Barbisan, President-Elect

SURREY, B.C., Canada (February 22, 2017) – At the annual Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) Annual General Meeting, Darin Germyn from Macdonald Realty South Surrey/White Rock office was elected to be the Vice President of the Board.

The FVREB is a professional association of more than 3,280 Realtors in the Fraser Valley providing its members with a variety of membership services including the Multiple Listing Service®, professional development and technological innovation. Fraser Valley’s new Board of Directors takes office on March 1, 2017.

For more details about FVREB Annual General Meeting in 2017, please click HERE.

Stewart Henderson of Macdonald Realty receives the 2017 John Armeneau Professional of the Year Award

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SURREY, B.C., Canada (February 22, 2017) – At the annual Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) Annual General Meeting, Stewart Henderson from Macdonald Realty Langley office received the John Armeneau Professional of the Year Award. This is the highest honour the board can bestow on an FVREB member, and is awarded to someone who demonstrates outstanding leadership and dedication to the real estate industry over their career. Stewart joins a list of 31 other prominent members who have won this award, we are very happy and proud of him.

In 1992, John Armeneau was the seventh board member to receive the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Professional of the Year Award, which was created in 1985. The award was subsequently renamed the John Armeneau Professional Award after John passed away. He epitomized what it meant to be a professional REALTOR®. He was a member of the Board from 1972 to 1996.

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For more details about FVREB Annual General Meeting in 2017, please click HERE.

About Macdonald Real Estate Group
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $8.9 billion and over $3 billion in assets under management. With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China. Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.macrealty.com.

Macdonald Realty participates in REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive

Macdonald Realty is excited to participate in the 22nd REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive campaign. Agents and staffs from our North Vancouver and West Vancouver offices collected new and used coats, blankets and warm clothing at Capilano Mall and Park Royal Mall. The offices then sorted and delivered the donations to charities and organizations in the area.

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Since 1995, REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive has helped more than 290,000 people keeping warm and dry. The campaign for this year is over, but you can still donate the following items to the recipient charities:

  • gently used or new blankets or sleeping bags
  • warm clothing, coats
  • hats, gloves, scarves
  • new socks and underwear

Click here for a list of suggested charities.

Click here for more information about REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive.

As Vancouver’s housing market cools, commercial property sales soar | The Globe and Mail

Claire Wyrostok, owner of popular Vancouver vegetarian restaurant Black Lodge, wonders how long it will be until Vancouver’s hot real estate market pushes her out of business. In the four years that Ms. Wyrostok has been at her current location, on Kingsway just off Fraser Street, many of the buildings in her strip have been sold and property values have more than doubled. Since Ms. Wyrostok’s three-year lease came up for renewal in March, she says the landlord is allowing her to rent only month to month.

“Every day I don’t know if I am going to get a notice with 30 days to get out,” Ms. Wyrostok says. “Our business is done,” she adds. “You develop a business to make it bigger, but we can’t expand, and we can’t sell our business. Our business has no value on paper, because the asset is the lease.”

While the residential real estate market in Vancouver is cooling, sales of commercial properties in the region have skyrocketed. The Re/Max Commercial Investor Report says there was a 94-per-cent increase in the total dollar value of Lower Mainland sales in the first half of 2016 compared with the first half of 2015, to $7.1 billion from $3.7 billion. The number of commercial property sales in the first half of 2016 was 1,464, compared with 1,138 in the same period last year.

And some, including Tony Letvinchuk, managing director for Macdonald Commercial Real Estate Services, believe that the foreign-buyer tax on residential purchases will play a role in driving the market, which is generally perceived as a balanced mix of local and foreign buyers.

“There’s no question that the additional 15-per-cent property purchase tax will motivate foreign entities – being those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – to consider purchasing commercial properties located in Greater Vancouver, where such transaction tax does not apply,” he says.

[Read more…]

A local brand inspires your indoor spaces with new colours and styles

Vancouver’s demand for fresh and fashionable home decor has never been stronger. Local brand Article is making an impact and winning fans across North America through a completely new furniture shopping experience. Operated from their Railtown head office, the online retailer offers quality furniture at a fraction of the cost of its brick and mortar counterparts, all delivered straight to customer’s doors (or living rooms). Right on trend, Article’s collection of mid-century modern and contemporary furniture will inspire you to rejuvenate your indoor spaces with new colours and styles.

MID-CENTURY MODERN

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Sven leather sofa, $1,999

This style era’s combination of form and function continues to show up in modern living spaces. The Sven sofa captures the clean lines of the mid-century, but crafted with today’s modern comforts. Its 88” benchseat provides ample space for cozy family gatherings or enough room for one to stretch out for a nap. Like a favourite leather jacket, the sofa’s full-aniline leather comes with a vintage patina that just gets better with age and use. Style this piece for cooler months with a thickly knitted throw or a sheepskin rug. Sven leather sofa, $1999.

[Read more…]

The Principal Residence Exemption

Recently the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) changed its administrative rules so that, unlike the past, if you sell your principal residence in 2016 or later years, you must report:

  1. The sale including the date and price of acquisition, the sale price and date and a description of the property; and
  2. The fact that the property was a principal residence

on your income tax return filed in 2017 if you want to claim the full principal residence exemption.  The exemption means that no tax is paid on a property that is the principal residence of the seller.  In the past CRA did not require taxpayers to report the capital gains on the sale of principal residences.

If you don’t claim the exemption then CRA will treat any gain in the value of the property as a taxable capital gain.  One half of capital gains are deemed to be income in the year in which the capital gain is realized.   The top marginal rate for income taxes in British Columbia is nearly 48% for income in excess of $200,000.

[Read more…]

Tougher mortgage rules could dampen condo, townhome sales in Vancouver, Toronto | The Globe and Mail

Sales of condos and townhomes could soften in Canada’s two largest housing markets as first-time buyers face tougher lending rules that take effect on Monday.

The mortgage changes will likely be felt especially hard in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“First-time home buyers, particularly in housing markets with a lack of affordable inventory of single-family homes, may be priced out of the market by the new regulations that take effect on Oct. 17,” CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said in a statement on Friday.

He made the comment as CREA released data showing the average price for various housing types sold nationally in about 100 markets in September reached $474,590, up 9.5 per cent from the same month in 2015. Sales volume increased 4.2 per cent.

Last week, the federal government announced measures to tighten mortgage rules. Ottawa is also closing tax loopholes used by some foreign buyers.

In most cases, homeowners who are looking to upgrade to larger houses must first sell their existing properties before they are able to acquire their next place.

[Read more…]

BNN Interview about Ottawa’s New Housing Policies

The federal government announced new measures for housing market to slow the injection of foreign cash and to tighten eligibility rules on prospective borrowers. Jonathan Cooper, vice president of operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group, joins BNN with perspective on Ottawa’s new housing policies.

Realtor: Ottawa’s new housing policies ‘logical step’

(To view the video on mobile devices, please click here for direct play on BNN.)

About Macdonald Real Estate Group
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $7 billion and over $2 billion in assets under management. With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China. Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.macrealty.com.

Macdonald Realty Victoria Alzheimer Donation

Alzheimer-2016-cheque-edit

Macdonald Realty Victoria is excited to make a donation to We Rage, WE Weep Alzheimer’s Foundation, a fantastic local charity providing support for families and caregivers of Alzheimer patients.  They provide tracking devices that help with wandering patients, most of which are then located within 15 minutes. 100% locally run by volunteers, ever dollar raised goes back into the community.  Our Victoria office raised $794.00 raised during their 1st annual Shredder Drive & BBQ back in June.

MoneySense names top Vancouver neighbourhoods to buy real estate

While not cheap, these are great options in a crazy market…

Renfew detached home

Renfew detached home

In their April 2016 edition MoneySense magazine selected their top Vancouver neighbourhoods to buy real estate to see the best return on investment.

 After analyzing more than 200 neighbourhoods, we found several communities that offer a chance for future appreciation, all of which have average prices above $1 million. In ­­Ambleside in West Vancouver—our top neighbourhood—a single detached home sold for an average of $2.25 million last year. Even at these prices, homes are still about 14% cheaper, on average, compared to surrounding communities. Moreover, these top neighbourhoods boast a 68% average five-year return—compared to the city’s 51% return for the same time period. While not cheap, our top picks are great options in a crazy market. See the full rankings below.  Read the rest of the article here. 

The top 10 Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods to look for well-priced homes, according to MoneySense are:

Brentwood Park condo

Brentwood Park condo

  1. Ambleside, West Vancouver

  2. Brentwood Park, Burnaby

  3. Hastings, East Vancouver

  4. New Horizons, Coquitlam

  5. Renfrew, East Vancouver

  6. Vancouver Heights, Burnaby

  7. Victoria, East Vancouver

  8. Mount Pleasant, East Vancouver

  9. Ladner Elementary, Ladner

  10. Sapperton, New Westminster

To view all active listings in one of these areas simply click the neighbourhood links above.

 

New 15% Property Transfer Tax

The new 15% property purchase tax (the “PTT”) explained.

WHAT IS THE NEW TAX?

It is a property transfer tax of 15% payable by “foreign” buyers IN ADDITION TO the regular property transfer tax at the time a property transfer for residential property is registered in the land title office for properties located in “The Greater Vancouver Regional District” (the “GVRD”).  This includes places like Surrey, Richmond, Delta, West Vancouver, Coquitlam, etc. but not Squamish, Whistler, Abbotsford, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, etc.

So if a foreign buyer buys a $7 million residential property in West Vancouver the total property purchase tax would be:

Platform Dashboard

WHO HAS TO PAY?

The tax has to be paid by “foreign entities”.  That means foreign citizens, foreign companies and taxable trustees.  Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents do not have to pay.  Foreign corporations include companies set up outside Canada and Canadian companies that are controlled by foreign persons or by foreign companies.

WHAT SORT OF TRANSACTIONS ARE SUBJECT TO THIS TAX?

The tax is payable in respect of residential properties in the GVRD purchased by foreign buyers on or after August 2, 2016 at the time the transfer is registered in the land title office.  It is payable even when the contract was finalized before August 2, 2016 and the parties unaware there would be a new tax.

ARE THERE ANY LOOPHOLES?

Not many.  Non-residential property is not subject to the extra tax nor are properties outside the GVRD.   Real estate investment trusts and mutual fund trusts are not subject to the extra tax.  Penalties of $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for corporations apply to anyone who participates in illegal tax avoidance.  Presumably this includes lawyers, accountants and realtors who assist in illegal tax avoidance.


Written by Peter Scarrow, former immigration lawyer, currently is the Director of Asian Business at Macdonald Real Estate Group.

Housing tax not as painful in Maple Ridge | Maple Ridge News

Currently, the real estate industry is in the middle of its usual summer slowdown. - Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS

Currently, the real estate industry is in the middle of its usual summer slowdown. — Image Credit: Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS

Slapping another 15-per-cent sales tax on homes to foreign buyers could cool the red-hot real estate market in higher priced areas of Richmond or Vancouver, but it might take longer to learn of any effect in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The announcement by the B.C. government last week saw a rush to complete deals by the Aug. 2 deadline, but Tom Garvey, managing broker with Macdonald Realty, says it will be at least a month before the full effect of the tax is known in Maple Ridge.

“There’s not a huge amount of foreign buyers who are coming out to Maple Ridge,” said Garvey, who said he hasn’t noticed any effect so far in the local market.

But it’s early yet and time will tell.

“Let’s see what happens over the next two to four weeks.”

[Read more…]

B.C. Real Estate In ‘Absolute Mayhem’ Amid Talk Of Sales Collapse|The Huffington Post Canada

Greater Vancouver’s real estate market is in the throes of chaos as buyers, sellers and industry insiders try to adapt to a new tax on foreign buyers that went into effect on Tuesday.

Though a recent poll showed nine out of 10 British Columbians back a tax on foreign buyers of residential real estate, many industry insiders and entrepreneurs are lining up against it, saying it risks destabilizing the housing market and Vancouver’s economy.

The tax has even taken on shades of a political controversy, as a prominent Vancouver real estate marketer and provincial Liberal fundraising chief denies he knew in advance the tax was coming.

B.C. Real Estate In Absolute Mayhem Amid Talk Of Sales Collapse

Vancouver realtor Steve Saretsky told Global News his analysis of MLS data found that detached home sales collapsed by 75 per cent in the few weeks after the provincial government announced it was introducing a 15-per-cent sales tax on foreign buyers of residential real estate in Greater Vancouver.

Saretsky described the market as being in “absolute mayhem.” But other realtors told media it is too soon to tell what the precise impact will be on the housing market.

[Read more…]

Foreign Buyers Tax: Realtors begin to report sales deals collapse | Vancouver Sun

Realtors and lawyers desperate to get in under the deadline filed a record-setting 15,000 property transfer applications on Thursday and Friday, the last business days before B.C.’s punishing new 15-per-cent tax on foreign property buyers went into effect.

More than 9,200 transactions were filed on Friday, breaking the June 30 record of more than 8,400 in a single day, according to the B.C. Land Title and Survey Authority. It also reported over 5,800 transactions on Thursday, representing nearly as many deals registered at month’s end in April.

The demand was so heavy that it crashed the land titles office’s electronic filing service on both days, the authority said.

Now, as a new dawn breaks in Metro Vancouver’s real estate market, realty companies and real estate boards are reporting the first anecdotes of deals falling through as foreign buyers forfeited deposits on binding deals rather than pay the new tax. And they report evidence of local buyers withdrawing offers in expectation that the market will soften.

Elton Ash, executive vice-president of Re/Max Western Region, said it is too early to accurately quantify how many deals fell apart, but he’s heard from realtors in some of the company’s 30 Metro Vancouver offices of cases where foreign buyers who couldn’t rearrange previously negotiated closing dates have already walked away.

“Our expectation is that there will be a percentage of transactions collapse due to the buyer basically defaulting on the contract,” Ash said.

He and other realty experts say it may take up to two or three months to gauge the full effect of the new tax.

Jonathan Cooper, vice-president of operations at MacDonald Realty, expects many cases to go to court because deposits are held in trust by realtors and usually can’t be released without a court order.

“I think the next chapters in this story are going to be written by lawyers,” Cooper said. “There are going to be cases for sellers trying to get the deposit out of trust and maybe suing the buyer for specific performance trying to get them to complete, and/or for damages if they are not able to find a buyer at a similar price point.”

[Read more…]

‘Fundamental Issue in Vancouver Market Is Supply’ | Bloomberg TV Canada

Jonathan Cooper, Vice President, Operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group joins Bloomberg TV Canada’s Rudyard Griffiths to discuss the impact of the 15 percent property tax for non-Canadian citizens and non-permanent residents in Metro Vancouver.

 

About Macdonald Real Estate Group
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $7 billion and over $2 billion in assets under management. With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China. Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.macrealty.com.

B.C. turns from foreign buyers to investor immigrants as Vancouver’s affordability crisis continues | Georgia Straight

A whopping 90 percent of Metro Vancouver residents support the region’s new 15-percent tax on foreign buyers of residential real estate. At the same time, only three percent of respondents to the same poll, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, say the tax goes far enough, and 71 percent describe it as simply a step in the right direction.

While the region waits to see what kind of impact the new tax will have on the market, pundits are debating what additional measures the government should take. That’s turned a lot of attention to the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), a path exclusively for wealthy immigrants that, despite its name, lets newcomers settle in B.C. Those home buyers are counted as locals and therefore are not subject to the region’s new tax on foreign nationals. Some observers argue the QIIP deserves much of the blame for driving up the price of a home in Vancouver.

On July 28, Premier Christy Clark revealed she’s approached her Québécois counterpart and opened discussions on the issue.

 “We’re going to work together on it,” she told Global News. “We’re going to try and support him [Premier Philippe Couillard] in finding ways to make sure their program, their investor program, is for Quebec and for Quebec alone. And that when people come into Quebec, that’s where they stay.”

But eliminating this source of wealthy immigrants might not have as sizable an effect on Vancouver real estate as some have suggested.

[Read more…]

The ripple effect – a 15% foreign investment tax in Metro Vancouver

What time in our history has ever been like the last 2 months to be a homeowner, a Buyer, a Seller or a Real Estate professional?

If you live under a rock (no slight to “unaffordable housing” in Metro Vancouver) there has been some significant changes in the BC and particularly Metro Vancouver Real Estate market. The biggest impact on all of us is no doubt the 15% foreign investment tax applicable to anyone who is not a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada.

Introduced July 25 by the current BC Liberal Government, this tax was introduced as massive public pressure for a reaction from the government, over 2 years in the making.

I am going to do my best to remove all opinions of how this explosion of real estate values in our communities was handled, or better yet, not handled for so long by our government. We elected them, we need to live with them, for now.

The tax makes sense in many ways yet in its simplest form, is the relation of the power of National currencies at play. Imagine investors coming to our country, a stable, safe, warm and loveable cousin of the US. Vancouver, where our weather is great year round, we enjoy an excellent quality of life and have one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

[Read more…]

Reality of B.C.’s foreign buyers tax begins to bite as realtors report deals collapsing | Financial Post

Realtors and lawyers desperate to get in under the deadline filed a record-setting 15,000 property transfer applications on Thursday and Friday, the last business days before B.C.’s punishing new 15-per-cent tax on foreign property buyers went into effect.

More than 9,200 transactions were filed on Friday, breaking the 2007-2008 record of more than 8,400 in a single day, according to the B.C. Land Title and Survey Authority. It also reported over 5,800 transactions on Thursday, representing nearly as many deals registered at month’s end in April.

The demand was so heavy that it crashed the land titles office’s electronic filing service on both days, the authority said.

Now, as a new dawn breaks in Metro Vancouver’s real estate market, realty companies and real estate boards are reporting the first anecdotes of deals falling through as foreign buyers forfeited deposits on binding deals rather than pay the new tax. And they report evidence of local buyers withdrawing offers in expectation that the market will soften.

Elton Ash, executive vice-president of Re/Max Western Region, said it is too early to accurately quantify how many deals fell apart, but he’s heard from realtors in some of the company’s 30 Metro Vancouver offices of cases where foreign buyers who couldn’t rearrange previously negotiated closing dates have already walked away.

“Our expectation is that there will be a percentage of transactions collapse due to the buyer basically defaulting on the contract,” Ash said.

He and other realty experts say it may take up to two or three months to gauge the full effect of the new tax.

“I think the next chapters in this story are going to be written by lawyers”

Jonathan Cooper, vice-president of operations at Macdonald Realty, expects many cases to go to court because deposits are held in trust by realtors and usually can’t be released without a court order.

“I think the next chapters in this story are going to be written by lawyers,” Cooper said. “There are going to be cases for sellers trying to get the deposit out of trust and maybe suing the buyer for specific performance trying to get them to complete, and/or for damages if they are not able to find a buyer at a similar price point.”

[Read more…]

Thousands of Metro Vancouver real estate deals caught by tax deadline

‘Last week was pretty hectic,’ realtor said of rush to avoid new tax by midnight cutoff

house-key-turning-in-lock-real-estate-tax-image

For some the last few weeks was a rush to wrap up real estate deals before Aug. 2 tax was imposed on Metro Vancouver property deals. (DeWitt Clinto/Flickr)

Thousands of home buyers and sellers in Metro Vancouver reacted with ‘shock and disbelief,’ madly rushing to beat the Aug. 2 deadline of the new 15 per cent foreign buyer real estate tax.

Realtors estimate 3,000-to-4,000 deals were affected.

“It’s so fast. Just everyone is shocked,” said Jin Liu, a realtor with Remax.

After the legal documents flutter to the floor industry watchers warn there will be challenges to the new tax, seen by many as unfair.

Some say it violates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which prohibits governments from imposing policies that punish foreigners. Top lawyers say the tax is ripe for a constitutional challenge.

The foreign buyer tax, aimed at cooling Vancouver’s torrid housing market, was announced July 25. The aim was to chill speculative investing and preserve affordable homes for people living and working in Canada.

Up to 4,000 deals affected by new tax

Buyers and sellers were caught in the sting of the Aug. 2 tax that has been applied even to deals struck long before it existed.

“We weren’t given notice …. so most likely the deals will collapse. It’s not fair for everyone,” added Liu.

[Read more…]

Vancouver just hit foreign homebuyers with a massive tax | CNNMoney

If you’re not a Canadian, buying property in Vancouver will cost you.

Starting Tuesday, foreign buyers purchasing property in the Canadian City will be hit with a 15% property transfer tax.

The swift implementation of the tax was in response to exploding home prices in the city, and goes into effect eight days after it was announced.

It will also apply to buyers already in contract.

Real estate in Vancouver has been hot lately, with home prices up 23% from a year ago, according to the the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index.

iStock_000010833733Medium

Low inventory and strong demand has created a highly-competitive market where it’s common for sellers to get 10 offers or more.

Adding to the demand is a flood of foreign buyers investing in the city. In a five-week period earlier this summer, more than $676 million ($885 million Canadian dollars) in foreign cash poured into Metro Vancouver, according to recent government data. During that time, 10% of all purchases were made by foreign buyers.

In Richmond, a suburb within Metro Vancouver, foreigners accounted for almost 20% of total investments.

Many of the buyers are investors looking for a safe haven to park their cash, while others are emigrating to Canada, according to experts.

While there’s little disagreement that affordability has become more elusive — especially for middle-class buyers — the swift implementation and broadness of the tax has some real estate agents worried.

The tax will apply to foreign buyers who are already in contract, but not yet closed. That means their purchase is about to get 15% more expensive, even though they’ve already made the deal.

The benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $700,924 in June (917,800 Canadian dollars). The new tax would add $105,139 to the purchase price.

The tax can also have consequences for home sellers. If a foreign buyer decides to back out of the now more expensive deal, the seller could be left in the lurch if they were shopping for another home or had plans for the money from the sale.

The move has already given some foreign buyers pause.

Op-Ed by Jonathan Cooper

Jonathan Cooper, vice president, operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group

Jonathan Cooper, vice president, operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group in Vancouver, said there’s been a rush among foreign clients to close before the tax goes into effect, and that one client decided not to move forward with a purchase.

The housing crunch has been hitting middle-class house hunters particularly hard.

“It is difficult for even dual-income families to create enough to have a down payment to enter the marketplace,” said Jason Soprovich, a luxury real estate agent in Vancouver.

Soaring prices are pushing buyers outside the city to find some relief.

“North Vancouver has traditionally been a middle-class area, but the demographic is changing and young families can’t afford to live close to downtown,” said Dan Morrison, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “People are moving farther and farther out for affordability.”

While some government officials have said the tax aims to bring more accessibility and affordability for middle-class residents, real estate agents noted that it will be hard to prove its impact.

The market was starting to show signs of some cooling in recent weeks as more inventory has trickled online. Late summer also tends to bring a slowdown in activity.

“It was almost a knee-jerk reaction from the government,” said Soprovich. “A lot of people believe this cold be political posturing with an election coming in the fall.”


The article was originally posted on CNNMoney, August 2, 2016. Written by Kathryn Vasel.

One in 10 home sales in Vancouver region went to foreign buyers | The Globe and Mail

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says new data that show foreigners bought one in every 10 homes sold in Metro Vancouver’s superheated market over five weeks forced her government to introduce a new and substantial tax on international buyers, but she says the surprise levy is intended to stop the spike in prices, not devalue the equity built up by existing homeowners.

Foreign buyers in B.C.
thumbnail.png 920×510

Statistics the province released on Tuesday show buyers who were not Canadian citizens or permanent residents made up 10 per cent of all home sales in Metro Vancouver between June 10 and July 14. Those transactions totalled $885-million. An earlier release of data covering June 10 to 29 and not including end-of-month sales found only 5 per cent of the sales in the region involved foreigners.

The proportion of international buyers was higher in the suburbs of Burnaby and Richmond, with nearly one in five of all homes sold in those cities going to people from countries other than Canada. The rate for Vancouver proper was 11 per cent, and 7 per cent across all of British Columbia.

“There need to be more houses on the market that are available to local people,” Ms. Clark told The Globe and Mail.

Next Tuesday, 22 communities will start levying 15 per cent in additional property transfer taxes on any foreign home buyer without permanent residency in Canada, as well as foreign corporations or Canadian-registered corporations owned or controlled by foreigners.

[Read more…]

BNN Interview about the New 15% Foreign Buyers Tax

The B.C. government announced a new plan to introduce a 15% property transfer tax for non-Canadian citizens and non-permanent residents in Metro Vancouver. The move comes as the government attempts to combat the growing affordability crisis in the Vancouver area. Business News Network (BNN) speaks with Jonathan Cooper, Vice President of Operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group about the impact.

 Vancouver realtors unhappy with new foreign buyers tax

(To view the video on mobile devices, please click here for direct play on BNN.)

 

About Macdonald Real Estate Group
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $7 billion and over $2 billion in assets under management. With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China. Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.macrealty.com.

Soaring property values push businesses out of Vancouver’s west side | The Globe and Mail

Vancouver’s sky-high real estate prices are changing the shape of its retail districts – with pricey neighbourhoods feeling some pain, and formerly neglected pockets of the city getting a boost.

Several long-time businesses on the city’s expensive west side are either closing down or moving as retail strips transform under the pressures of rent and tax increases, redevelopment and a shifting demographic. The shopping strip along West Broadway, in the once-trendy heart of Upper Kitsilano, suddenly has vacant storefronts. Long-time shops are moving or shutting down.

“There is something wrong with West Broadway – an unprecedented number of businesses are closing their doors,” said Marion Jamieson, director of the Upper Kitsilano Residents Association. “I think the kinds of issues we’re facing in the residential areas of gentrification are also having an impact on commercial areas.”

[Read more…]

BNN interview about the Vancouver housing supply problem

Business News Network (BNN) speaks with Jonathan Cooper, Vice President of Operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group about David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff + Associates comments on policymakers and housing supply constraints and how they would relate to the Vancouver real estate market.  What change are needed to address the Vancouver housing supply problem?

 

Best policy levers to address Vancouver’s housing supply constraints


(To view the video on mobile devices, please click here for direct play on BNN.)

[Read more…]

LeadingRE exceeds $351 billion USD in sales

Macdonald Realty is pleased to share that Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, our global real estate network of market-leading independent brokerages, has announced its most recent sales statistics for 2015, reflecting ongoing dominance in the residential real estate market. Network affiliates produced over one million transactions valued at $351 billion USD in home sales last year, outperforming its closest network competitor by $86 billion, which further widened the margin over the previous year.
LeadingRE Annual Sales 2015 Graph

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® affiliates had 27% of the total sales among the top 500 firms in the U.S., outselling all other networks in home sales by 48%, according to REAL Trends 500, a ranking of the largest U.S. companies by transaction sides and sales volume. Members also represented 14 of the top 25 firms in the U.S. in sales volume among this prestigious group.

[Read more…]

2016 Chamber Award Nominees: Macdonald Realty Victoria and Branch Manager Nathalie Ghoos

This year our Macdonald Realty Victoria office was a finalist for Employer of the Year in the 2016 Greater Victoria Business Awards held by the Chamber of Commerce! In addition, Victoria office’s Branch Manager Nathalie Ghoos was a finalist for Employee of the Year.

129_Ara_Balabanian                     natalievictoria
Ara Balabanian                                                   Nathalie Ghoos
Managing Broker, Victoria                                Branch Manager, Victoria

Congratulations to all the nominees, finalists, and winners who were a part of this great event. Find out more info about the Victoria office in the video below.

[Read more…]

Luxury Portfolio International: A New Kind of Luxury Leader

Ever wonder about the origin story behind Luxury Portfolio International®?

Luxury Portfolio International’s President, Paul Boomsma and Executive Vice President, Stephanie Pfeffer Anton are on the cover of RIS Media’s Real Estate Magazine April 2016 Edition.

Click the magazine cover and find out how market-leading independent firms joined forces to create luxury real estate’s most powerful network.

rismediacover.pdf

 

Loonie Driving American Home Buyers Interest in BC

Jonathan Cooper, Vice President, Operations of Macdonald Real Estate Group, was on Business News Network (BNN) speaking about the pick-up in American home buyers in BC and how the loonie has been driving that interest.

Click the video to watch.

Macdonald Realty Recognized for Excellence in Service and Marketing at Global Real Estate Conference

VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada – (March 2, 2016) – Macdonald Realty received the prestigious Global Alliance Award from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a global network of more than 500 high quality independent real estate firms. The award was presented at the network’s Annual Awards Gala February 25 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The event was part of LeadingRE’s Conference Week, which has attracted a distinguished audience of nearly 2,500 real estate professionals from 25 countries.

Winner Global Alliance Award

For the fourth consecutive year, Macdonald Realty was presented the Global Alliance Award. This award is presented to the international firm that closes the most cross-border referrals, utilizing the strength of the LeadingRE network to assist their local clients with global real estate investment and relocation services.

“The companies recognized with one of these prestigious awards have shown a real commitment to maximizing specific services available to them through their affiliation as a way to extend the scope of their offerings,” LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor said. “We are pleased to pay tribute to these outstanding companies for their focus on excellence and their exemplary participation in our global community.”

Macdonald Realty accepts 2016 Global Alliance Award in Miami

Jonathan Cooper, Alyssa Mori and Rosey Hudson of Macdonald Realty accept the 2016 Global Alliance Award.

 

Top 3 International Luxury Brokerages

Macdonald Realty was named one of the Top 3 International Luxury Brokerage by Luxury Portfolio International®. The award is presented to the firm based outside of the U.S. that epitomizes the quality, strength and luxury market expertise synonymous with the Luxury Portfolio brand.   Macdonald Realty was the only Canadian nominee, along with firms from South Africa and Italy.

Top 3 Consumer Materials and Video Marketing

Macdonald Realty was also recognized with top three finishes in two categories of the LeadingRE annual Marketing Competition.  The award-winning entries in the Consumer Materials and Video categories were chosen based on creativity, quality and overall presentation and effectiveness.

“It’s an honour for our marketing team to be recognized by LeadingRE, and in the company of outstanding firms from New York, Chicago and South Africa,” says Macdonald Realty’s Marketing Manager Rosey Hudson.  “It shows that the materials our in-house team produces are truly world class. Our new listing presentation is informative and beautiful, and is a tool that our agents should be very proud to share with prospective clients.”

2016 LeadingRE Awards for Macdonald Realty

 

Macdonald Realty, the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group, is the largest British Columbia representative of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com), an extensive network of premier locally-branded firms in more than 50 countries producing over one million annual home sale transactions. As a member of LeadingRE, Macdonald Realty provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in any market.

For more information on Macdonald Realty, visit www.macrealty.com  or call 1-877-278-3888.

——————–

For comment please contact
Jonathan Cooper, Vice President, Operations
Macdonald Real Estate Group Inc.
Direct: 604-264-6789
Email:  jcooper@macrealty.com

About Macdonald Real Estate Group
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $7 billion and over $2 billion in assets under management.  With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China.  Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.macrealty.com.

 

In search of a great real estate brokerage | Real Estate Magazine (REM)

When you are serious about a career in real estate and want to find a brokerage that aligns with your career aspirations, selecting the “right” brokerage is critical to your success.

A fallacy exists that higher commissions should be your ultimate goal, but agent productivity statistics repeatedly reveal that this is not case. If you receive 100 per cent of the commission, you have to ask yourself what kind of support and services you can expect from the brokerage. The answer should be obvious: you get what you pay for, but this is fine for some.

John Lusink, vice-president at Chestnut Park Real Estate in Toronto, says, “A brokerage’s financial stability question only seems to surface when the economy starts to weaken, but realistically you should always be thinking about this. I also see a shift occurring in the industry back to the ‘truly’ full service, responsive brokerage models, especially as the public and our provincial regulatory bodies focus more on professionalism and competency.”

[Read more…]

Macdonald Realty CEO Lynn Hsu recognized in the 2016 Swanepoel Power 200 List

Macdonald Realty’s President and CEO Lynn Hsu has been included in the Swanepoel™ annual list of The Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate for 2016.

Ms. Hsu’s acquisition of Macdonald Realty in 1990 coincided with Vancouver’s emergence as an Asian hub on the international stage. She has subsequently grown the firm to 20 offices throughout British Columbia (Canada) with nearly 1,000 agents responsible for an estimated $5 billion in annual sales.

Lynn Hsu, recognized for growing Macdonald Realty from one office in 1990 to 20 offices and nearly 1000 agents 25 years later, is listed as #105 for the Power 200. This is the overall SP200 list which identifies the 200 leaders that have the most power and influence to impact the residential real estate brokerage industry.

In addition Lynn Hsu ranks in the Top 20 on their Women Leaders list, along with Pam O’Connor of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, our global network of market-leading independent brokerages. We’re also happy to see Stephanie Pfeffer Anton of Luxury Portfolio International® and LeadingRE named #1 in the Top 20 Social Influencers of Residential Real Estate.  Our friend and colleague Paul Boomsma, President of Luxury Portfolio International® also made the Power 200 list.

View the complete 2016 Swanepoel Power 200 lists.

 

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Luxury Brokers Visit Two River Green

Last month Luxury Brokers from across North America visited Macdonald Realty in Vancouver for the Luxury Portfolio fall workshops. During their stay they visited the River Green Presentation Centre in Richmond, a new luxury master planned community encompassing 27 acres of river shoreline. Canada’s most significant waterfront community and Richmond’s most impressive luxury development. Designed and built with the finest materials and craftsmanship, each residence offers the ultimate in luxurious living along the Fraser River. The prestigious waterfront location embraces stunning panoramic vistas of the Gulf Islands, North Shore Mountains and the Vancouver skyline. Visit the Two River Green website for more details.

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Victoria Realtors help TP the Town

October 11th to 17th marked this year’s Homelessness Action Week in Greater Victoria. Imagine yourself experiencing poverty, down to your last few dollars of the month and you need to make a choice between food for your family, or toilet paper. Guess what? Food always wins. This means many individuals and families in Victoria actually greatly appreciate the luxury of toilet paper. Something we flush down the toilet every single day can literally change lives. TP the Town aims to raise 50,000 rolls of toilet paper for people in need.

This year two agents from the Macdonald Realty Victoria office, Tracy Keenan-Whyte and Dane Kingsbury, participated in this wonderful community event!

Here Tracey shares their experience:
“My colleague Dane & I got out there early this morning to collect rolls of toilet paper – yes you read correctly – to support Homelessness Action Week in Victoria. Last year over 48,000 rolls were raised, and together we are hoping to reach 50,000 this year. A HUGE THANK YOU!! to all the households that donated – we applaud you. Something as simple as TP that we take for granted everyday is a luxury for many folks. And when it comes to making budget decisions as the month nears its end – food always comes first. Big thanks again to all of our donors…Dane & I picked up over 400 rolls of TP this morning!”

Stay tuned for more spotlights on our REALTORS® active in British Columbia communities!

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Head Mother Nature’s warning and prepare your emergency kit

Half a million residents were without power after the latest wind storm hit the lower mainland in late August.  300,000 hectares of BC forest have burned this summer.   And, of course, we have the ever present threat of “the big one” earthquake.

Now is the time to review and prepare your emergency kit.  Recheck batteries, food and water supply expiry dates and fill in any pieces you are missing. Experts agree you need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours following a disaster.

10 Essentials for your Emergency Kit

  1. Water — At least two litres of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order
  2. Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water once a year)
  3. Manual can opener
  4. Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries)
  5. Crank or battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
  6. First aid kit
  7. Extra keys to your car and house
  8. Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones (if you can find one)
  9. A copy of your emergency plan and contact information
  10. If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize according to your needs)

 

Click here to order Emergency Preparedness Kits for the Home or Car from the BC Government (1-6 person kits available)

This article was originally posted on CBC News, October 17th, 2013.

Macdonald Realty #1 in 2015 list of “Biggest BC businesses owned by women” | BIV

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In the August 4, 2015 edition of Business in Vancouver, Macdonald Realty was ranked #1 on their annual list of the biggest BC businesses owned by women.  With 930 employees in B.C., Macdonald Realty’s Owner, President and CEO Lynn Hsu tops a list that includes SimpeQ Care, TPD, Purdys Chocolatier and CEFA Early Learning Schools in the Top 5.

Macdonald Realty also ranks 11th on BIV’s list of Biggest B.C. organizations managed by women.

Business in Vancouver newspaper is the flagship publication of Business in Vancouver Media Group. Since its creation in 1989, the weekly newspaper has been an essential source of news, features, analysis and data for Vancouver business leaders and influencers. It remains a must-read source of unique, unduplicated business insight.

See the full list at Business in Vancouver.

 

Over 300 Macdonald Realty Agents Achieve the Certified Negotiation Expert Designation

VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada (August 11, 2015) – Macdonald Realty is pleased to announce that as of August 11th, 2015, over 300 of its real estate agents have received the Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®) designation – this represents over 50% of the agents from Macdonald Realty’s residential sales offices.

“In decades past, agents were the conduits of listing information.” Explains Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) CEO Lynn Hsu. “Now, there is an enormous amount of listing data readily available to the public online, and the value proposition for the real estate agent has changed.  Agents must provide cogent analysis of the data available, and expert negotiation skills to resolve conflict, build bridges, and bring deals together for the benefit of all parties involved.”

Jonathan Cooper, MREG Vice President, adds: “The bottom line is negotiation skills are fundamental to the real estate business.  Successfully managing the ebb and flow of interpersonal communications—often under considerable time constraints—is vital to real estate transactions, and it’s not something that can be replaced by a computer.”

Offered by the Real Estate Negotiation Institute (RENI), the CNE® course applies up-to-date research in negotiation dynamics to the real estate sales process.  It provides agents with tangible tools and insights to achieve better outcomes for their clients.  Since 2006, tens of thousands of real estate agents across North American have earned the CNE® designation.

Suze Cumming, the Canadian Director of the RENI, has collaborated with MREG over the last twelve months – “I  would like to congratulate Macdonald Realty on being the only brokerage in Canada to have successfully certified over 300 of their real estate professionals in this critical area of expertise.  Their commitment to a higher level of service excellence proves that they are leaders in the real estate industry.”

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For more information, please contact:
Jonathan Cooper, Vice President, Operations
Macdonald Real Estate Group, Inc.
Phone – 604 264 6789
Email – jcooper@macrealty.com
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About Macdonald Real Estate Group:
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $6.3 billion and over $1.75 billion in assets under management.  With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China.  Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.macrealty.com.

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HGTV’s House Hunt Winner in Best International Home 2015: Timber Frame Home in Squamish

The HGTV House Hunt has finished and the votes are in. Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you to all who helped Macdonald Realty’s International Home nomination become the 2015 winner. Find out more about this amazing listing below on the HGTV House Hunt website:

Timber-Frame Home in Squamish

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This backyard view of the home shows off the pairing of stone and neutral siding that were used for the exterior. The landscape and hardscape includes a small pond and evergreen trees.

Special thanks to our luxury home marketing network partners at Luxury Portfolio International for coordinating our nomination.  What an honour!  Our Squamish listing won over fellow nominees from Queenstown New Zealand, Paris France, Marrakesh Morocco, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and other exotic global locations.

Lynn Hsu, CEO of Macdonald Realty, named one of The 50 Most Influential Women in BC | BCBusiness

From politicians to bankers, charity mavens to retail entrepreneurs, these are the leaders who are having a big impact behind the scenes and at centre stage in British Columbia.

If you’re a reader of the business press—or any story featuring the power brokers in our midst—you’ll be struck by one thing above all else: the paucity of women. While some may argue that “them’s the numbers”—and yes, women are poorly represented in the boardrooms and backrooms of B.C.—the fact is that we in the media bear some responsibility. The evidence of powerful and dynamic women leaders abounds. It’s just not being reported as frequently.

That, in part, is why BCBusiness decided to do this survey of B.C.’s Most Influential Women: to put a distinctly female face on power and influence in B.C….

Lynn Hsu
President and CEO, Macdonald Realty

Influence: Taiwanese immigrant Hsu has helped turn Macdonald into one of the largest full-service real estate firms in B.C–and the gateway for Mainland Chinese investors.

The panel says: “Macdonald is far bigger than even the real estate industry realizes, in terms of the amount of transactions. They’re one of the largest residential brokers in B.C., and on the commercial side, the amount of real estate that they’re transacting–they’re doing deals that are as big as what Colliers or CBRE is doing.”

Read about the other 50 Most Influential Women in BC at BCBusiness

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BC Real Estate is Front and Centre in Shanghai | BCBusiness with Dan Scarrow

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Macdonald Realty’s Shanghai office is meeting the needs of its clients and bearing fruitful results

As seen in BCBusiness July 2015 issue.

As the demands of the BC real estate market change, realtors and their respective real estate agencies must react accordingly to stay in the game. For one agency, this meant thinking outside of the box and stepping out of its time zone.

When Macdonald Realty opened its office in Shanghai, China, last year, it was branded as “The Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre.” But Dan Scarrow, who manages the Shanghai office, says that his Chinese clients had their own words to describe it. Impressed with the office’s scope, they say that it covers “an entire dragon of services.”

Those services include residential resale, commercial sales and leasing, new development project marketing and property management. While American, Australian, New Zealand and European real estate companies had established offices in China, Macdonald Realty was the first company in China with a sole focus on Canadian real estate. The company decided to open the office as a response to their clients’ desire for better access to the Chinese market.

Scarrow is uniquely qualified to run the office. He has been working with Macdonald Realty for nearly 10 years, and has worked as an executive assistant for the CEO, and as a residential and a commercial agent. He is a born-and-bred Vancouverite, but he is half Taiwanese. “The upshot is that Mainland Chinese see me as a white Canadian, but I’m also able to communicate with them in Mandarin,” he says. “I guess you could say that, in China, I am an authoritative foreign curiosity and hence memorable.”

His company, says Scarrow, has several competitive advantages. “Our intimate knowledge of the market is what makes us uniquely valuable to investors here,” he says. “We are small enough to be agile, but big enough to provide a full range of brokerage, management and advisory services.”

Scarrow works with Chinese clients who are in the process of immigrating to Canada, with new Canadians and with pure investors. Those interested only in investment tend to look at new condos and commercial properties. “What resonates with investors in China is the perception of Canada as a safe and secure investment climate, in contrast with China’s robust, but volatile, environment,” says Scarrow.

In order to stand out in today’s highly competitive real estate market, Macdonald Realty has undertaken several innovative marketing strategies. As technology has made property information widely available to the public, Scarrow notes that the role of the real estate agent has shifted: from gatekeeper of information to interpreter and negotiator. To meet the demands of those roles, Macdonald Realty has been working with an outside training organization to offer all agents the exclusive Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) designation. Macdonald Realty has also launched its own magazine called Macdonald Realty Luxury Homes, to help market its luxury home listings in Canada and in China. Produced by the company’s own in-house creative marketing team, the magazine has proven to be a hit.

But from his own experience, Scarrow says that the most important way for an agent to get ahead is to be a competent professional first. “Doing a fantastic job with one client will generate more long-term business than even the most successful email campaign,” he says. “Start with the people who know and trust you, do an unbelievable job for them and continue learning about how to be a professional from the good agents and managers around you.” Dan Scarrow manages Macdonald Realty’s Shanghai office sults just come a lot easier.”

This article was originally posted on BCBusiness, June 12th, 2015. 

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Macdonald Realty Nominees for HGTV’s House Hunt 2015

The HGTV House Hunt is on once again! This year we are nominated under 3 categories, with 4 of our listings in beautiful BC. Tour amazing homes across the globe, vote for your favorites, and enter for your chance to win a $10,000 cash prize! And remember you can vote for your favorites once a day. Follow the instructions below to vote for Macdonald Realty Nominees for HGTV’s House Hunt 2015:

Step 1: Tour the homes in the category.
Step 2: When you’ve found your favorite, click “I’m Ready to Vote.”
Step 3: Choose your favorite by clicking “Vote.”
Step 4: Click “Continue to Next Category” to tour more homes.

Amazing Kitchens: Country Estate in Vancouver
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A mix of contemporary style and country charm brings this spacious, eat-in kitchen to life. Charcoal gray cabinets and gray stone countertops blend seamlessly together, while a gray and white chevron tile backsplash breaks up the monochromatic space. The large island pairs with country-style barstools to provide additional seating for dining. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite Amazing Kitchen!

 

Privacy, Please: Luxe Chateau in Victoria
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Sprawling mountain views and a luxurious infinity-edge pool and spa, what’s not to love? Relax, unwind and take in the incredible views of the natural Fiord of Finlayson Arm and the Saanich Inlet. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite Privacy, Please candidate!

 

Rustic Lodge in Chilko
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Located on 25 acres of deeded land with a private 10-acre lake, the Huston Family Estate offers an unparalleled atmosphere with breathtaking views of the majestic Chilko Valley. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite Privacy, Please candidate!

 

Timber-Frame Home in Squamish

 

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This backyard view of the home shows off the pairing of stone and neutral siding that were used for the exterior. The landscape and hardscape includes a small pond and evergreen trees. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite International Homes candidate!

 

Thank you to our global partners Luxury Portfolio International for bringing attention to our amazing collection of luxury homes listed across British Columbia by our Macdonald Realty agents.

5 Ways to Stay Safe At Home

No matter how beautiful or spacious your house, the most important thing is that you feel safe and secure in your own home. It is scary to think that break-ins happen, but don’t worry, there are things you can do to prevent them. Check out these 5 tips to stay safe at home!

  1. Set up an alarm system. Alarms are one of the most effective ways to ensure safety in your own house. By setting up an alarm system, the police would be alerted in case of a break in. Moreover, it would automatically make your home a less favorable target since the burglars would not want to risk setting off the alarm.
  2. Don’t hide your keys in obvious places. Hiding your keys under the doormat or a rock may be okay a few decades ago, but now you may want to change up your hiding spot. The best place to put a spare key is with a trustworthy neighbor or family member.
  3. Install yard lights and security cameras. The brighter the area outside your house is the less likely it is for burglars or intruders to find hiding spots. A security camera could also help with identifying the intruders or alerting homeowners of an intrusion.
  4. Lock your windows and doors. The easiest way to prevent a break-in is at the point of entry. Locks are crucial, so don’t be afraid of spending a little bit more on them to ensure the safety of your house. Burglar-proof windows are not necessary but could be a possible upgrade in particularly at risk areas or dark alleyways.
  5. Keeps your plans private. You may be super excited for your next vacation, but wait until you’re back from the trip to share your plans publicly. It’s okay to tell your close friends and families but there is no need to tell the supermarket clerk or the hairdresser because burglars rely on these tips on people who will be out of town.

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5 Tips for Staying on Budget During Renovations

Are you getting ready to sell your house? Perhaps that includes some renovations. Check out our top 5 Tips for Staying on Budget during Renovations!

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  1. Stick with standard sizes and models. Custom kitchen cabinets, for example, are very expensive. Save money by choosing stock ones, then attaching molding, corbels, or wood carvings for flair.
  2. Don’t work without a design. Some projects require an architect, some an interior designer, and sometimes a talented builder will get your aesthetic and help you come up with a good plan. Don’t start a remodel without a detailed floor plan. A lot of elements interact in a space — put them all on paper and you’ll catch problems before they are built.
  3. Rent or borrow what you don’t have. Check with neighbors and friends for miter saws and power drills. Home centers rent heavy-duty tools, such as tile cutters and power washers, for a weekend fee
  4. Keep the same footprint. Consider what projects you can complete without moving walls or other systems behind the walls. Building an addition, moving walls, or relocating sinks and stoves involves major construction as well as new electrical, plumbing and flooring work.
  5. Budget for the Unknown. While it’s great to keep a positive attitude and think that everything will go as planned, life usually doesn’t work out that way. When coming up with your kitchen reno budget, add on at least 15% for contingencies.

Big Fat Deal: This is what $15 million will buy you in Vancouver | BCBusiness

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Each week, BCBusiness takes you inside one of the most outrageously upmarket real estate offerings in the province in their Big Fat Deal real estate blog.

Price: $14,988,000
Address: 1268 Tecumseh Avenue, Vancouver
MLS: V1100762
Listing agents: Erin Mulhern and Manyee Lui at Macdonald Realty Ltd. in Vancouver

Custom built in 1984 with a Georgian design, this 7,000-sq.-ft. residence’s stately grandeur matches its location just off Vancouver’s exclusive Crescent enclave in the city’s First Shaughnessy district. For history buffs, the Crescent has always been synonymous with wealth and power, being the preferred address of lieutenant governors and the city’s elite over the past century.

Fast forward to present day and the area still holds cache with numerous august homes and estate-sized lots. This gated residence is described by listing agents Erin Mulhern and Manyee Lui as “simply exquisite” with a beautifully appointed interior that starts with a dramatic foyer accented by 18-foot ceilings and a sweeping double staircase leading to a galleried landing that sets the tone for the rest of the home.

The kitchen counts professional-line appliances while an expansive great room with vaulted and coffered ceilings provides an outlook that spans the entire south-facing garden. A butler’s pantry serves as a connection between the kitchen and the dining room, where mirrored ceiling panels and a chandelier add a touch of glamour.

The formal 23-foot living room can easily accommodate a baby grand piano, while hardwood floors flow through to the adjoining study where wainscoted walls imbued with a deep red gloss add a further notch on the imperial chart.

The upper level is home to four bedrooms including a private master wing endowed with the required walk-in closet and a spa-like ensuite bathroom complete with a rain head shower and bench seating, plus a stainless-steel freestanding bathtub. A one-bedroom suite above the three-car garage provides additional accommodation.

Pull up a chair in the recreation room downstairs where a well-stocked bar and separate wine cellar will keep the libation flowing, or decamp into the media room for movie watching.

Multiple french doors lead out into a garden oasis with large terraces that are perfect for summer entertaining, and a swimming pool and a tennis court for friendly—or more serious—competition.

This article was originally posted on BCBusiness, April 24th, 2015.  Written by Nicola Way.

Nicola Way runs the property listing sites BestHomesBC.com and AssignmentsCanada.ca.

Macdonald Realty Recognized for Outstanding Referral Services

Macdonald Realty was Recognized for Outstanding Referral Services

Macdonald Realty received the prestigious Global Alliance Award for the Most Outgoing Cross Border referrals from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a global network of more than 500 top independent real estate firms. The award was presented at the network’s Annual Awards Gala this spring during LeadingRE Conference Week in Las Vegas.  This was Macdonald Realty’s third consecutive year winning this award, showcasing our position as a local BC company with strong international connections.

Also, in the Marketing category Macdonald Realty received honorable mentions for their 2014 Corporate Brochure of Integrated Real Estate Services and their 2014 Recruitment Video in the Interactive Media / Video category.

“An innovative and creative approach to marketing is critical for success in today’s real estate market. Our award-winning firms have distinguished themselves by conveying their firms’ unique character, while providing essential information to home buyers and sellers.”

Macdonald Realty is the sole Vancouver representative of LeadingRE (www.LeadingRE.com), the largest network of premier locally-branded firms in more than 50 countries. LeadingRE provides its affiliates with an extensive range of brokerage services, which include lead generation, cross-market referrals, branding support, luxury marketing, online exposure, technology systems, and industry-leading professional development.

For more information on placing a referral with our award winning referral team, please email relocation@macrealty.com or call 1-877-278-3888.

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$94K micro condo in Surrey attracts hordes of home buyers | Platinum Project Marketing

Macdonald Realty Estate Group’s project marketing team, Platinum Project Marketing had a busy Saturday, launching sales on Evolve, a new condo development in Surrey, which Developer WestStone Properties said sold 300 condos worth about $70 million in a frenzied 90 minute rush.

Read on for the full story as reported by The Huffington Post.

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Photo from The Huffington Post

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Surrey Condo Sales: Hundreds Line Up For Chance To Buy $94,000 Micro-Units

The opportunity to buy a brand-new condo for under $100,000 in Metro Vancouver’s sizzling real estate market brought hundreds of people to a Surrey sales centre on Saturday.

Prospective buyers stood in line for hours to buy into the 35-storey Evolve concrete tower. A big draw were the micro suites, starting at 316 sq. ft. and $93,900.

Twin brothers and WHL players, Connor and Curtis Honey, drove up from Edmonton to be the first people in line at 4 a.m. for the opening day of sales. They snapped up one of the 80 micro condos.

“It is pretty small, but I think there’s ways to work around it and maximize the space,” Curtis Honey told CTV News.

Developer WestStone Properties said 300 condos worth about $70 million were sold in a frenzied 90 minutes Saturday.

The majority of Evolve’s 406 units are priced at less than $250,000.

The condo project’s marketers, Platinum Project Marketing, also credited the high-tech sales presentation, including holograms and augmented reality, for drumming up interest. (Watch video above.)

Evolve is scheduled to be finished in 2018. It’s one of several new towers in Surrey’s developing West Village.

With about 1,000 people moving to Surrey every month, the city is forecast to become B.C.’s biggest by 2041.

5 Spring Cleaning Hacks

Spring is here and that means it’s time to start your spring cleaning. But it doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence this year! Here are a few hacks that will help you get through that cleaning faster with these spring cleaning hacks.

1. Use lemons to remove hard water stains

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Find instructions on Broccoli Cupcake

2. Coarse salt can help you clean cast iron.

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Find instructions on Martha Stewart

3. Get rid of water rings on tables by using a hair dryer

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Find instructions on Homemade Mamas

4. Remove soap buildup from glass shower doors by using a fabric-softener sheet

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Find instructions on Real Simple

5. Slide an old pillow case over a ceiling fan blade to catch dust and dirt

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Find instructions on Real Simple

Vancouver firm offers a one-stop real estate shop for Chinese investors in B.C. | The Vancouver Sun


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When Vancouver-based Macdonald Realty dispatched Dan Scarrow, the agency’s vice-president of corporate strategy, to China last March to investigate the feasibility of launching a branch office in Shanghai, the assignment was initially only going to be for four months.

A year later, Scarrow, a second-generation Chinese Canadian who is fluent in Mandarin, is still there. The Vancouver Sun reached Scarrow in Shanghai by phone last week to discuss his progress, objectives and challenges in building a bridge for residential and commercial real estate investment between China and British Columbia as the new managing director of Macdonald Realty’s Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai.

Q When you first were dispatched to Shanghai at this time last year, it was for a four-month assignment to investigate opening up a Macdonald Realty branch in China. Why are you still there?

A We actually have ended up opening up an office here. We have a representative office over here in Shanghai now doing project marketing and commercial and residential prospecting for our Vancouver and British Columbia offices. We’ve branded it as the Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre, so it’s offering a one-stop shop for Chinese investors looking toward anything to do with Canadian real estate, specifically B.C.

Q Why did Macdonald Realty want a presence in China?

A It was sort of two-fold. The first one is that Chinese investors are becoming a bigger and bigger part of our market — both on the residential side and the commercial side. And after our investigation over here we found that there are no other Canadian [real estate] companies over here in China that actively do this, so we would be the first one.

Q What’s been the biggest adjustment living in China for you personally?

A Shanghai is a pretty easy city for an expat to get used to. I think that the rest of China would be a much more difficult adjustment, but Shanghai itself is a pretty cosmopolitan city with a pretty global outlook and a pretty robust expat community. So it’s not as difficult. The challenge, I guess, that everyone talks about is the pollution aspect. They talk about it here the same way Vancouverites talk about the rain.

Q What’s your mandate in terms of building links between commercial real estate in B.C. and the Chinese market?

A Our main mandate is to promote B.C. commercial properties over here in China. I think we all acknowledge that China has been growing. It has created the fastest-growing wealthy and middle class in human history, so tapping into that market I think is going to be increasingly important for Canada and Canadian companies over the next decades.

Q What’s the most common question you hear from Chinese clients interested in investing in British Columbia’s commercial real estate?

A The most common question actually isn’t about real estate. It’s with what is happening in immigration. The biggest question is what is Canada’s current immigration policy and what will it be moving forward, just because there have been so many changes to Canada’s immigration policy in the last few years, and I think everyone is a little bit confused as to what it will be moving forward.

Q Any unwelcome surprises or challenges doing real estate business in China?

A Not really. It’s been interesting in the last year because there were the big changes to the immigration program — the investor immigrant program in the middle of last year and continuing until today. And also with the collapse of oil prices and the subsequent drop in the Canadian dollar. That’s been another thing we’ve had to deal with, but more in a positive sense from our investors’ point of view because now Canada’s real estate market is seen as even cheaper than it was prior to that change.

Q In a blog post last year you wrote that wealthy clients in China are more interested in placing their children and a portion of their wealth outside of China than they are in immigrating themselves. Why do you think that’s the case, if it still is the case?

A It still is the case. If you’re a wealthy Chinese individual it’s likely because you have a large business still in China. China does not recognize dual citizenship and it’s just more difficult for you to actively operate your business without Chinese citizenship. So a lot of people, they’re not willing to give up their business so they’re not willing to give up their Chinese passport either.

Q Which areas of Vancouver’s commercial real estate market are your Chinese clients eager to get involved in?

A For a lot of our clients it’s hotels. But it’s an education process as well, letting them know which asset classes are involved or available in B.C. Hotel investment is more of an active business, so while we have a lot of hotel operator clients who are interested in buying hotels, if they don’t have that kind of experience we like to talk to them about some of the other opportunities that might be available. Some of the hotter ones would be street-front retail with redevelopment potential. That goes very quickly for us. We probably have 15 very serious-type buyers that would snap up products like that immediately, but we can’t find enough product for them. It’s a lot of investment-type product that has income right now but has development potential in five to 10 years.

Q What’s the next step for your operations in China?

A Right now we’re working with a couple of developers to promote their projects over here [in China] and so we’re doing project marketing and then also working with our residential agents to make sure the listings that we have are exposed to the widest possible audience. And finally — obviously — exposure of the commercial real estate realm. I think that’s really the big push right now. A lot of investors have already bought a home for themselves in Vancouver and they’re looking for ways to diversify their investment portfolio in Canada, and really the promotion of the commercial real estate, and the education of those buyers, is our next step.

 

This article was originally posted on The Vancouver Sun, February 24th, 2015.  Written by Evan Duggan.

5 ways to say ”I Love You” in Whistler this winter

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It’s that time of year again when it’s on all of our minds. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite ways to experience life and love in Whistler…. Happy Valentines Day from Macdonald Realty!  Enjoy Romantic Whistler.

Catch a Sleigh Ride
Glide through the snow drawn by gentle, giant Percheron horses. Sip hot chocolate or add a gourmet fondue dinner for a winter night to remember.
Click Here to book your perfect romantic evening out.

Unique Alpine Dining at the Fairmont Whistler
A crackling log fire, warm hospitality and hearty alpine cuisine set the stage for a unique dining experience in Whistler at The Chalet at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler hotel. Click Here for reservations.

Ice Skating Under the Stars
It doesn’t get much more romantic than gliding under the stars in the Whistler Olympic Plaza. The open-air ice skating rink is free to use, and ice skate rentals are available for only five dollars!

Stargaze From the Top of the Mountain
If you’re looking for an adventure – albeit, a romantic adventure – you’ll want to check out the night time snowmobile and snowcat rides up to the Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain. Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll be treated to a candle-lit dinner. Click here for more details.

Scandinave Spa
If you’re ready for some relaxation, you’ll need to check out this gem of a Spa. The Scandinave is best described as an oasis tucked away in the middle of the woods. A perfect gift or moment to share. Indulge in the traditional spa offerings, like a couples’ deep tissue or Swedish massage. You’ll leave feeling like a million bucks. Click here to create a spa package for the one you love.

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Blog post provided by Shauna O’Callaghan, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in Whistler.  Visit her website shaunaocallaghan.com  for more information.  Oct 8, 2015.

5 Top Tech For Your Home

Is your New Years resolution to revamp some of your gadgets? Let 2015 be the year you upgrade the technology for your home! Here are some of our favorite new products to help streamline your daily routine.

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(Two Twenty One)
USB Wall Outlets
Replace bulky chargers and plug your USB cable straight into the outlet! They are especially useful by the bed, where many of us stash all kinds of USB-equipped devices, such as phones, tablets, and e-readers. That stuff competes for space on a standard duplex outlet that may already be serving a bedside lamp or a clock. Most hardware stores now carry these outlets. Learn how to install one here.



(Masudas)
Ring Smart House Controller
Simply called “Ring,” this $269 US wearable device from Japanese company, Logbar, allows people to control a host of household appliances, including lamps and televisions. By pressing a stud on the side of Ring with your thumb, you can draw gestures in the air that turn items off or on.
Source: Logbar


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(Moneual)
Robot Vacuum and Mop
The Moneual Rydis H67 isn’t just a regular robot vacuum cleaner, it’s also a robot mop too. The $399 product, from California-based Moneual, can be programmed to suck up dust then mop your floor, with full cleaning cycles lasting up to five hours.
Source: Moneual



(USA Today)
Child-Proof Outlets
Thousands of children end up in hospital every year after sticking their fingers (and other items) into electrical sockets. San Diego-based Brio believes it has an answer with the Safe, a $49 US wall socket that uses sensors to differentiate between plugs and other objects. The socket only lets power flow if an electrical plug is detected. Anything else stuck into the hole won’t receive a charge, preventing someone from being shocked.
Source: Brio


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(PetNet)
Smart Feeder for Pets
This new feeder from PetNet features remote feeding so you can control your pet’s feeding from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Adjust feeding schedule in real-time, from anywhere or set up automated schedules to manage feeding times, portion sizes, and food dispensing speed. As well receive alerts and notifications on your smartphone about feeding times, meal confirmations and food inventory.
Source: PetNet

BC assessments show strong appreciation in Vancouver single-family home values | The Vancouver Sun with Dan Scarrow

Metro Vancouver homeowners have grown accustomed to healthy increases on their annual BC Assessment notices, which are now landing in mailboxes.

What’s new this year is that condo values are also rising in the region, after a few flat years that saw condo construction outpace homebuyer demand.

“Condominiums, that’s apartments and townhouses, up until 2014 had been relatively flat over three years,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist of the B.C. Real Estate Association.

Over 2014, however, Muir said condo sale prices have risen in step with inflation. Condo prices in Vancouver and its nearer suburbs were up about two per cent as of July, when B.C. Assessment sets its values for the next year’s assessment roll.

Single-family home values were up a more substantial 6.5 per cent, Muir said, but some of the condo valuations were a departure from the previous year.

“We’re probably looking, in Vancouver, at sales (increases) of 16 to 17 per cent in 2014,” Muir said, “so, there’s much stronger demand, and we’re also seeing inventory levels steadily decline.”

B.C. Assessment doesn’t produce average assessment values for property types in Lower Mainland markets but does highlight representative examples.

In Vancouver, a typical east-side two-bedroom apartment increased 4.7 per cent to $381,000, from $364,000 a year earlier.

On Vancouver’s west side, values for a typical two-bedroom apartment rose 7.5 per cent (to $616,000), in line with the growth in value of a detached home on a 33-foot lot (up 7.5 per cent to $1.575 million).

In its real estate assessments a year ago, B.C. Assessment had highlighted decreasing condominium values in the range of four to five per cent — the second consecutive year that condo prices declined or offered minimal increases.

“Changes within a plus or minus five per cent range, that’s what we categorize as stable,” said Dharmesh Sisodraker, B.C. Assessment’s deputy assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky region, which takes in Vancouver and the North Shore all the way to Whistler.

Assessments, which are used by municipalities to set property taxes, tend to lag the overall market by the time they are released.

In east Vancouver, a typical detached house on a 33-foot lot saw an increase of 11.3 per cent, to $993,000.

In Vancouver Heights, typical detached home prices rose five per cent to $955,000.

“(Condominium) prices are still under pressure versus detached homes, mostly because there is so much (condominium) product on the market,” explained Ray Harris, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, and the increases in condo prices are “sporadic.”

In Metro Vancouver, demand for new condos has been in high-growth areas linked to rapid transit, such as the Marine Gateway development at Cambie and Marine in Vancouver or the Metrotown and Brentwood town centres in Burnaby.

“If a complex is in demand and there are not a lot of units in the market, you can get more of a lift,” Harris said.

Suburbs such as Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody — communities either on SkyTrain, or where SkyTrain is being built — are among those that have seen modest increases in the range of two to three per cent.

However, the gains weren’t shared equally and some spots still showed decreasing assessment values. B.C. Assessment cited an example at Simon Fraser University’s UniverCity development, where the assessed value of a two-bedroom highrise unit declined 2.5 per cent from 2014.

“There are a few pockets where values decreased slightly,” said Zina Weston, a deputy assessor for B.C. Assessment in its North Fraser region, which takes in the eastern suburbs closest to Vancouver.

“If there is a lot of building that comes on in a short period of time in a finite area, there might be some (downward) pressure on pricing,” Weston said.

Harris added that condo owners trying to re-sell are having a tougher time because developers are selling new units at lower prices than they would be if the market were stronger.

Condo values also declined in Fraser Valley suburbs from Langley to Chilliwack, where single-family home prices are in the reach of more buyers.

Dan Scarrow, a vice-president at Macdonald Realty in Vancouver, added that some municipalities are more encouraging to condo developers and “as a result of that, maybe some areas tend to get overbuilt.”

“Then, in some municipalities, say Vancouver, it is more difficult to get a project off the ground, but demand is actually quite high,” Scarrow added.

Markets that rely on recreational property sales — such as Whistler, the Okanagan and Kootenays, where sales collapsed and values declined following the 2008 recession — also took part in some of the rebound in 2015 assessments.

B.C. Assessment cited examples in Kelowna where assessments were up from four to seven per cent. In Whistler, a typical home in the White Gold area increased in value 7.4 per cent, to $1.06 million.

 

Homeowners can look up their assessments on the B.C. Assessment website.

This article was originally posted on The Vancouver Sun, January 3, 2015.  Written by Derrik Penner.

2014 charitable donation to BC Heart and Stroke Foundation | Macdonald Real Estate Group

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Dear Friends, Clients, and Colleagues,

In lieu of cards or gifts this Christmas, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) will be making a financial contribution to the British Columbia Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Many families across Canada are impacted by heart disease, and in the last few years MREG has been affected in several distinct ways. Firstly, two of our long-time managers had major heart surgery; thankfully, both are now recovered and living active lives.

Secondly, on two separate occasions, agents in the Macdonald Realty Victoria office were able to administer life-saving CPR to clients who suffered massive heart attacks. We are thrilled that as a company we were, in the words of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, able to help ‘create more survivors’.

Our contribution will specifically go to support research and education in British Columbia.

If you would like more information about the work of the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation, you can visit their website heartandstroke.com.

Merry Christmas/Season’s Greetings,

Jonathan Cooper
Vice President, Operations
Macdonald Real Estate Group Inc.

British Columbia Earthquake Preparedness

earthquake-plates

Vancouver and British Columbia are at a high-risk of having an earthquake. Be prepared, and learn what you can do to keep you, your family, and your home safe.

For your family:

  • Identify objects in your home that could be dangerous during an emergency
  • Plan evacuation routes from every room in your home
  • Pick two meeting places where you and your family can get back together if you get separated – one close to your home, and one a little further away
  • Ask an out-of-province relative or friend to be your family contact person
  • Prepare your emergency kits
  • Teach family members how to turn off utilities, use a fire extinguisher, and call 9-1-1
  • Make arrangements for seniors and family members with special needs
  • Save digital copies of important documents — such as birth certificates and financial records — on a memory stick, or make photocopies of them
  • Think about what you might be able to contribute to your community; sharing a meal, tools, or a phone charger are especially meaningful in the days after an emergency

For your home:

  • Install latches on cupboards
  • Refer to emergency preparedness manuals that are available in bookstores and libraries.
  • Place large and heavy objects on lower shelves
  • Fasten tall furniture to the walls
  • Store breakable items, such as glass jars and china, in low closed cabinets with latches
  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches, or anywhere people sit
  • Anchor overhead lighting fixtures securely to the ceiling
  • Know the locations of electric fuse or circuit breaker box, water service shut-off, and natural gas main shut-off as you may need to turn them off after the earthquake
  • Purchase earthquake insurance

 

Find more tips at the City of Vancouver website

The Impact of Asian Investors in Vancouver | Globe and Mail & BNN

Macdonald Realty is mentioned several times in a Globe and Mail article published this morning on the impact of Asian investors on the Vancouver housing market.  See a repost of the full report below including comments from Dan Scarrow, VP of Corporate Strategy for Macdonald Real Estate Group.

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This Globe and Mail article lead to a mid-day live TV interview on the Business News Network, featuring Tony Letvinchuk, the managing director of Macdonald Commercial Real Estate ServicesClick here to watch the interview.

 

Vancouver housing data reveal Chinese connection

One of the largest real estate companies in British Columbia says that more than one-third of all the single-family detached homes it sold last year went to people with ties to mainland China.

Macdonald Realty Ltd., which has over 1,000 agents and staff in B.C., said 33.5 per cent of the 531 single family homes sold by its Vancouver offices in 2013 went to people who the company said were a mix of recent immigrants and Canadian citizens.

Those buyers, the company added, tended to spend more money, too, with the average cost of a house sold to these clients topping $2-million, compared to $1.4-million on average overall.

The figures did not include Macdonald’s sales in suburban areas such as Richmond, Burnaby or North Vancouver.

“This is our snapshot of Vancouver,” says Dan Scarrow, vice-president of corporate strategy at Macdonald Realty.

The information is based on reports from the firm’s sales, anecdotes from its agents and Mr. Scarrow’s own experience working with mainland Chinese clients, and it’s a glimpse into the influence of mainland Chinese money on Vancouver’s real estate market, which is considered among the most expensive in North America.

Vancouver has been flooded in recent years by tens of thousands of investor-class immigrants from mainland China, who have seen the west coast city as a stable – and picturesque – place to park their capital in luxury property.

That has helped drive up the average price of a single-family home in Vancouver to around $1.2-million.

Mr. Scarrow, who noted the firm does not query buyers about immigration status, believes that investment flowing from mainland China into Vancouver real estate is a quantifiable phenomenon, but has not personally seen much of the more controversial type of buyer: Those from abroad who buy for investment purposes but never live in the city. “We still see very few pure investors from China who have no connection to Vancouver,” he says.

Getting a handle on foreign buyers is difficult and Macdonald’s survey is far from exact – though one major property developer in Richmond said “that sounds about right.” The federal government does not collect meaningful data on the number of foreign buyers purchasing Canadian real estate, leaving industry participants to debate the impact of foreign capital on the local market. And that debate has gotten heated recently, with some developers accusing others of racism and criticizing those who want to slap curbs on foreign investment. The issue is complicated by the fact that some of Vancouver’s ethnically Chinese-Canadian citizens with ties to Hong Kong view newer immigrants from mainland China with a degree of suspicion, assuming their wealth might have been accumulated in part by proximity to China’s Communist Party, rather than in a free market with the rule of law like Hong Kong.

The lack of hard data has also complicated discussions about the city’s affordability crisis and fuelled a local cottage industry where analysts attempt to decipher the scope of foreign money by looking at things like electricity usage in downtown neighbourhoods where some suspect foreign buyers have bought condos in which they never live.

“People always say there are no stats. Well, here are the stats,” says Mr. Scarrow. “This is actual evidence.”

There have been some reports and statistics about the scale of foreign money in Vancouver real estate before, but few have been conclusive – and none have settled the debate. One Sotheby’s report based on a survey of its agents found that 40 per cent of the luxury properties it sold in Vancouver were to foreign buyers – but not all of them were from China. Many developers trying to downplay fears about Chinese investment cite a statistic showing that only 1 to 3 per cent of Vancouver real estate purchases are “foreign” buyers – but, as is the case with Macdonald’s sales, many more expensive homes are still sold to people based here but who have come, at some point, from mainland China. A 2011 study by Landcor Data showed that 74 per cent of luxury purchases in Richmond and Vancouver’s expensive west side were by buyers with mainland Chinese names.

Mr. Scarrow says his company is “indicative of the overall market,” since his firm has some real estate agents who target overseas Chinese buyers, but is also firmly oriented toward domestic sales, unlike other real estate firms that deliberately target Chinese buyers.

At the same time, Mr. Scarrow and Macdonald are so bullish on the potential for Chinese investment that he is spearheading the company’s efforts to open an office in China. “While there is very little data about foreign investors in Vancouver real estate, our own internal data is enough for us to commit to investing in a representative office in Shanghai,” said Mr. Scarrow, whose mother Lynn Hsu, who came from Taiwan in 1979, is the majority owner and president of Macdonald.

Others remain unconvinced – not about whether there is an influx of Chinese money, but whether the flow of foreign capital will continue unabated.

Richard Kurland, a Vancouver immigration lawyer who works with wealthy Chinese immigrants, believes Vancouver may see a slowdown in foreign investment. He said some wealthy Chinese buyers might get anxious and sell off second properties because of the current crackdown on corruption in China.

In meetings with top real estate agents earlier this year, Mr. Kurland predicted that luxury residential real estate could drop in value by as much as 25 per cent as foreign investment dips. As evidence, he points to July real estate figures that showed 106 homes for sale on the west side in the $3-million to $3.5-million price bracket, and just nine sales, compared to 73 active listings and seven sales during July of 2013.

Originally published by The Globe and Mail on Friday, August 22, 2014.  Written by IAIN MARLOW.

Macdonald Realty tops 2014 list of “Biggest BC businesses owned by women” | BIV

Once again, for 2014, Macdonald Realty is number one on Business in Vancouver’s list of Biggest BC businesses owned by women.  Lynn Hsu tops this list which in which businesses are ranked by total number of staff.  Thank you to all of our Realtors and staff who make up this impressive number!

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See all the rankings at Business In Vancouver.

Keep the toaster, we’re crowdfunding our down payment

Websites help newlyweds raise money to put toward real estate goals

Newlyweds tend to receive many gifts that end up in the trash or never see the light of day.

Nowadays, many couples have been living together for years before they actually tie the knot, so they’ve probably got the silverware and salt-and-pepper shakers covered.

But what if newlyweds could channel the generosity of all their family and friends towards a big-ticket item of their choosing, like a down payment for a home?

That’s a strategy that people who are set to receive a wave of gifts for a special occasion may take more and more as crowdfunding continues to gain traction.

People have long been using Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other mainstream crowdfunding sites to raise cash for all manner of pursuits.

But more recently, niche crowdfunding sites have been popping up. A number of them focus on helping people raise cash for real estate-related pursuits, including cobbling together enough cash for a down payment.

Feather the Nest, for example, lets users create pages where they can use text, photos and video to describe what real estate aspirations they want contributors to help them fund. Users then share their campaigns through email and their social media accounts.

People can turn to Feather the Nest whenever they want to try to drum up cash for real estate goals, but the site was designed to help people capitalize on the outpouring of generosity that typically comes with special occasions.

The best example would be a wedding, said Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Lindsay Oparowski, CEO of Feather the Nest. The spread of honeymoon registries like Honeyfund.com and Traveler’s Joy show that many couples are keen on funneling the goodwill of friends and family towards a single purpose, rather than sitting back to accept a hodgepodge of smaller gifts.

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Screen shot showing sample DownPaymentDreams.com campaign.

Oparowski envisions soon-to-be-married couples sharing their campaigns for real estate projects with friends and loved ones  and posting them to their wedding websites. The campaigns could either complement the wedding gift menus that couples commonly offer up to family and friends, or they could replace them altogether.

That way, you end up with a house, not “mismatched placemats,” Oparowski said.

Feather the Nest isn’t the only company trying to help people crowdfund down payments. Gift registries Hatch My House and DownPaymentDreams.com both target couples who would prefer down payment assistance over cutlery and candlesticks.

Launched by Wilmington-North Carolina-based real estate agent Teresa Krebs, DownPaymentDreams.com acts as an agent referral service, offering couples a refund of the site’s registration fee and a gift card to a home improvement store in exchange for working with an agent handpicked by the site. Krebs said 20 couples a month sign up on average, with close to 800 having registered since the site launched in 2009.

“In this generation, so many people are wanting to buy a house and they already have furnishings and towels and pots and pans and things like that,” Krebs said. “Among my group of friends that’s what people really wanted for a wedding gift — cash for a down payment.”

HomeFunded.com launched last year, but the website is still listed as being in beta testing.

Hatch My House has helped people raise about $1.7 million for down payments, $200,000 for remodeling and renovations and $100,000 for furnishings and decorations, according to Rieve MacEwen, who founded Hatch My House in 2009 with his wife Erin-Marie. More than 2,000 registeries have received funds on the site, he added.

According to Hatch My House, the average price of a wedding gift is $125, while the average number of gifts for a wedding is 70. That means, theoretically, the typical couple using the site would raise $9,000 to put towards a down payment if every wedding gift went towards their campaign.

PRIMARQ is taking a less romantic approach to the enterprise: The crowdfunder is attempting to enable buyers to obtain down payment assistance from investors in exchange for slices of their home equity.

Screen shot showing Feather the Nest’s campaign directory page.

Oparowski, who was previously a marketing director for two brokerages, said that agents could recommend Feather the Nest to people who are on the fence about buying, or use it as a “touchpoint” to maintain contact with past clients.

The site will generate revenue by taking a cut of the funds users raise through campaigns, but also plans to sell sponsorships to agents, where nest owners would receive some cash for permitting an agent’s advertising to appear next to their campaigns.

This article was originally posted on Inman News, June 30, 2014.  Written by Teke Wiggin.
View the original post at Inman News.

For more information contact Macdonald Realty at 1-877-278-3888

Macdonald Realty-LeadingRE #1 Network in North America | REAL Trends 2014

Macdonald Realty is a proud member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World ® (LeadingRE), a global affiliate network of independent real estate firms. We are pleased to announce that two years in a row, Macdonald Realty-LeadingRE is the number one selling network (by unit sales) in North America – more than Remax, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and other well known real estate brokerages.

In addition, Macdonald Realty has continued to be consistently strong in the rankings for the REAL Trends 250 Survey, placing in the Top 10 of the Largest Brokers in Canada and Top 5 of Independent Brokers in Canada.

REAL Trends is a company based in Denver Colorado that has been ranking the Top 500 American residential brokerages since 1988 and has been ranking Canadian brokerages since 2009.


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Subterranean Garage in the 2014 Doory Awards with HGTV


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This year it is our pleasure to have a Macdonald Realty listing nominateed in the 2014 Doory Awards by HGTV’s FrontDoor.com! VOTE for our nomination in the category “Your House Has What?!” Click the Love it button to vote for this Victoria home with a James Bond style Subterranean Garage.

Subterranean Garage in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

 

 

 

Make sure to check out the other great nominees!


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Jonathan Cooper on Working with International Buyers | Inman News

Don’t take it for granted that you need to know a foreign language to understand where your international buyers are coming from, says Jonathan Cooper, Vice-President of Operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based brokerage does a lot of business with Chinese buyers and investors, and Cooper says Chinese clients often bring a translator along with them, or work through an attorney.

For many reasons, Cooper says, Chinese “have a cultural predisposition toward real estate investment.” Often, a home purchase is just the first of several real estate transactions.

Macdonald Real Estate Group makes a point of introducing Chinese homebuyers to the company’s commercial real estate brokers — often over a meal — a practice that’s led to some significant deals.

This article was originally posted on Inman News, Mar 21, 2014.  The video has since been removed.

Macdonald Realty Wins “Most Outgoing International Referral Closings” Award

We are pleased to announce that for the second year in a row Global Alliance Award for “Most Outgoing International Referral Closings” by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. Being up against 500+ Leading Real Estate members with over 120,000 sales associate in 40+ countries around the world this is a significant achievement for our Referral Department.

Congratulations to Macdonald Real Estate Group Referral Department for a job well done!

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Thank you to Jonathan Cooper for accepting the award!

For more information on the Referral program or to place an outgoing referral please contact our award winning team at 1-877-278-3888.

What Changes to Immigrant Investor Program Means for Vancouver Real Estate | by Dan Scarrow, Macdonald Realty

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Last month, Canada announced the cancellation of the Immigrant Investor Program along with its 65,000 applicant backlog. Some analysts have predicted that this will have a negative effect on our housing market and the media has picked up on this sensationalist narrative. We here at Macdonald Realty have been following the situation closely as there is certainly some merit to the theories that these analysts have.

To start, the immigration investor program was introduced in mid 1980s by the federal government to promote the immigration of business people and their families. Quebec subsequently negotiated with the federal government to have its own, parallel program. The investor program enables qualified investors to obtain permanent resident status in Canada and are then eligible to obtain Canadian citizenship after residing in Canada for a number of years. To be qualified for this program (prior to the cancellation), applicants needed to have at least two (2) years of business management experience, have minimum net worth of CDN$1,600,000 and make an investment of CDN$800,000 (interest free loan to the government for 5 years), and meet certain health and security requirements. The federal government admitted about 2500 families per year (with Quebec admitting a similar number) under this program. For the past 8 years the main source of investor applicants are multi-millionaires business people from China and most of these immigrants purchased properties in some of Macdonald Realty’s market areas.

But let’s put some things in perspective first:

  1. In the most recent set of data available (2012), Canada admitted 257,887 immigrants
  2. Of these 257,887 people, 2,616 families, representing 9,350 people, entered via the Immigrant Investor category (3.6%)
  3. Quebec continues to run a parallel Investor Immigrant category that (as of now) continues to process applicants at roughly the same number as the now-discontinued Federal Program (roughly 2,500 families/year)
  4. Canada now has a 10-year, multiple entry VISA that many immigrants in the queue may find even more attractive than citizenship
  5. Canada has announced that they will be replacing the discontinued program with a new one (but apparently not the Quebec one), although details have yet to be announced

So if that’s it, why all of the fuss?

  1. The vast majority of applicants in this category were from mainland China and have large fortunes
  2. The majority of these applicants were likely planning on residing in the Lower Mainland, specifically Richmond, West Vancouver, and the Westside of Vancouver
  3. Most of these applicants would have (or already have) bought a substantial house/condo in these areas
  4. If, for example, 2,000 families each buy a $1 million house, that’s $2 billion in foregone investment in a relatively small market area. Every year.

So on the face of it, it seems as though there is certainly the potential for a correction, but remember, this is foregone FUTURE investment. The money that has already entered the housing market will likely stay here. If there were rampant speculation happening in the lead up to this announcement, we would be worried, but our data shows that speculation has been at a relative low point for several years now after a flurry from 2008 – 2010.

The key question that everyone is trying to answer is how will this impact the housing market moving forward.

The reaction of our immigration consultant contacts in China has been surprisingly muted. Most have already diversified away from Canada and are now focused on the US immigration programs, although they say that, all things being equal, Canada (meaning Greater Vancouver) is still a preferred destination. Some of their clients who were in the Federal Program queue had, because of the long processing times, already given up on Canada and applied to other countries anyway. Others, whose hearts are set on Canada, may find different, admittedly constrained, methods to immigrate (the British Columbia “Provincial Nominee Program, as “international students” for children, 10-year multiple-entry visas, or the revamped federal investor program).  Surprisingly, few China-based immigration consultants express much concern about Vancouver’s housing market.

Our view therefore is that, while there will certainly be some affect from these changes, they will be only another variable in a host of factors that affect BC’s housing market.

This view is shared by others, including respected immigration lawyer, Dave Thomas:

“Will this affect the Vancouver real estate market?

I don’t believe it will.  Firstly, the Investor program has effectively been closed for almost 3 years now.  Quebec also has an Investor program but it had drastically limited its intake of new files.  So even though the immigration route has slowed, we have not seen the slowdown in the movement of capital out of China.  There are more “Chinese push reasons” than “Vancouver pull reason” for that capital to make its way here, regardless of current immigration programs.

Historically, the business immigration programs for “wealthy immigrants” only made up about 2-3% of the total number of immigrants coming to Canada each year. Admittedly, their presence in places like Vancouver was more apparent, especially when it came to high end real estate.

There are other ways to come into Canada. Younger people are coming as students, and then availing themselves of post-graduation work permits that lead to permanent residence.  Younger people with good English language skills and a job offer will have a good chance.

One negative trend, certainly, is that older immigrants with limited English skills will have more difficulty in immigrating to Canada, no matter how much money they have.”

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Vancouverism: How Vancouver Invented Itself | UrbanLand by Patrick Kiger

“Vancouverism” is now synonymous with tower-podium architecture, green space, and breathtaking views. But the much-admired Canadian city’s real secret of success may be its value-based development process.

It’s a measure of the universal appeal of Vancouver that more than 7,200 miles (11,600 km) away, on the other side of the planet, one of the city’s designer-developers was hired to create a fastidious replica of it. The United Arab Emirates’ Dubai Marina, developed by Vancouverite Stanley Kwok and erected in what once was an empty stretch of the Great Arabian Desert, seems to lack only picturesque mountains, a harbor, and coastal British Columbia’s temperate climate. “It’s almost a perfect clone of downtown Vancouver,” urban designer and architectural historian-critic Trevor Boddy has written. “Right down to the handrails on the seawall, the skinny condo towers on townhouse bases, all around a 100 percent artificial, full-scale version of False Creek filled with seawater from the Persian Gulf.”

The Emirates’ commissioning of an ersatz Vancouver may be the biggest homage paid to the city, but others have sung its praises as well. “Modernist, sustainable, and performative—is this the model for the future city?” the Guardian, a British newspaper, once asked. The Seattle Times once called it “a glittery, mini-Manhattan, but cleaner and far more livable.”

In terms of both aesthetics and livability, Vancouver is one of the world’s most widely admired cities—a place where the skyline has been painstakingly designed to preserve striking views of the mountains and harbor, where high-density residential neighborhoods are mixed with green space to create a walking-scale environment in which cars are an afterthought.

But while planners and developers elsewhere seek to copy the salient features of what has come to be known as “Vancouverism,” those involved in the shaping of modern Vancouver caution that there is more to it than just view corridors, slim towers juxtaposed with mid-rise development and bike paths, or the breathtaking natural environment. Instead, they say, the real secret of Vancouver’s success has been its deliberative, values-driven evolutionary process, in which local government planners, developers, and the citizenry have labored over the past few decades to form a consensus vision of what their city should be like—and then come up with creative solutions for achieving it.

“The urban form we’ve developed here is resilient,” says Gordon Price, director of the city program at Simon Fraser University, and a city councillor from 1986 to 2002. “It keeps reinventing itself. What stays the same are the values.”

Defying the Car Culture

If there’s one thing that Vancouver is known for, it’s the view of the mountains and the water. Or rather, the multitude of views, which are protected by regulations compelling architects and builders to work around 27 different view corridors that pass through the city. The necessity of protecting those spaces has resulted in a multitude of carefully spaced towers that tend to have smaller floor plates than those in most North American cities. “Vancouver handles its tall buildings better than most cities,” Australian travel writer Kari Gislason wrote in 2012, adding that “the effect on the eye is that the city always seems to be making its way to the water.”

In addition to the public view corridors, Vancouver goes to lengths to protect private views. Proposed apartment towers, for example, must undergo a complex computer analysis to ensure that they don’t affect the vantage point of residents in nearby buildings. Otherwise, “you could have spent $600,000 on an apartment, only to have someone build a building across from it and block your view and cause you to lose half of your value,” explains Larry Beasley, who was codirector of planning for Vancouver during the 1990s and early 2000s. “The city isn’t going to let that happen.”

Vancouver is so committed to protecting its visual beauty that in 2010, city council not only voted to preserve existing corridors, but also added two more.
“We’ve created a visually interesting city,” Beasley adds. “You’ve got the views of the mountains and the water, but you also can see into the city as well. There are some fascinating views in that direction.”

Vancouver’s view corridors are just one of the strictures in what is arguably the most heavily regulated development space in North America. But while there have been periodic complaints that the process has slowed Vancouver’s growth, it doesn’t necessarily stifle creativity. Case in point: architect Arno Matis’s Vertical Forest building, recently approved for construction at the intersection of Main Street and Kings­way in the city’s Mount Pleasant area. The building’s design incorporates six different geometric forms, which not only conform to view corridor regulations but also provide angles that will allow for production of passive solar heating and cooling. The architect and developer, Amir Virani, had to go through an 18-month process that included not only scrutiny by city planners but also meetings with neighborhood residents—who reportedly urged Matis to create an edgier, more innovative design. “One of their key concerns was that we avoid another ‘cookie-cutter tower,’ ” Matis recently told the Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper.

The view corridors “are really only one small detail that illustrates the value system we have,” explains Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s chief planner from 2006 to 2012. “We think constantly about our access to nature, how we connect to the mountains and the water. Vancouver used to be described as a setting in search of a city, but over several generations, we’ve been striving to develop a city that’s worthy of the setting.”

As a relatively isolated city that developed later than most other major urban areas on the continent, Vancouver had a chance to learn from everyone else’s mistakes, Lance Berelowitz writes in his 2009 book, Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination. “It was largely bypassed by the worst of North American urban renewal—freeways, elevated and underground pedestrian systems, huge shopping malls, big-box retail, oversized curvilinear dead-end streets in place of the traditional street grid,” he says.

One salient feature of Vancouver, for example, is that—unlike many other major cities—it is not surrounded and bisected by freeways. The city escaped that fate in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when municipal officials of the time—who, like their counterparts elsewhere, feared urban stagnation and decay—proposed a massive urban renewal project that would have obliterated historic neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Gastown to build elevated throughways.

“The citizens rose up and said, ‘No way,’ ” recalls Beasley, who was a college student at the time. “The politicians who were behind it were turned out of office.”

That rebellion—driven by a youthful, idealistic Vancouver counterculture that would later spawn the environmental organization Greenpeace—created a new mandate. Vancouver, founded in the late 1880s as a port and railroad center for the region’s timber and mineral wealth, was still a Victorian-style urban village, and residents wanted it to re­­main that way, instead of morphing hastily into a typically car-centric modern metropolis.

The rebels got their way: Four decades later, Vancouver is “still this old streetcar city,” explains former city councillor Price. “It still works in the pattern that was laid out in that era. People get around by walking and cycling and taking public transit—enough so that the car doesn’t dominate the way it does in Calgary or Phoenix.”

By the same token, though, Price says it’s a mistake to assume that Vancouver has waged “a war on the car,” as some critics have charged. “There’s a place for cars, but they have to be part of the mix. But people have gotten used to not having them.” He cites the example of one condo complex, where the developer provided two parking spaces per unit—only to discover, after the building was occupied, that a quarter of the spaces went unused.

While municipal officials had to honor residents’ desire to maintain the urban-village lifestyle, the consensus also enabled them to design a city that worked to achieve those goals. In the 1970s, then–planning chief Ray Spaxman favored the sort of urban development he had seen in his native England, and developers packed the city’s West End with apartment buildings. Vancouverites were willing to accept mixed-use neighborhoods with population densities that might have been resisted elsewhere—in part, because the city also offered amenities such as 1,000-acre (405 ha) Stanley Park, which University of British Columbia urban designer and historian Boddy describes as “the largest downtown garden and natural reserve on the continent.”

Much of Vancouver’s downtown development is in a tower-podium style, with a few floors that fill up most of the block, followed by a much narrower tower—an effect that Atlantic Cities writer Nate Berg likened to “a tall candle on a big, flat cake.” It’s often assumed that the style was borrowed from Hong Kong or other similarly high-density Asian cities, but Beasley says that it’s a homegrown style that Vancouver architects began experimenting with as far back as the mid-1950s. It’s an approach, he says, that actually reflects the influence of European urban landscapes, because it creates more street-level activity and gives pedestrians a more interesting milieu. “In Vancouver, we didn’t want pigs in space—towers in a vacant plaza,” Beasley notes. “You had to have hous­­ing and shops.”

Seizing Opportunities

Another key point in Vancouver’s development came during the late 1980s, after the city hosted Expo ’86, a world’s fair that commemorated the city’s centennial.

As Dutch urban historian John Punter, author of The Vancouver Achievement, has written, the fair gave the city a chance to pump up the local economy with public works projects during a recession, and left the city with some important assets, including SkyTrain, the rapid transit line. Afterward, the Expo site itself—former railroad land on the north shore of False Creek—provided an opportunity to develop a new urban neighborhood, for anyone bold enough to deal with the provincial government’s requirement that they take over the entire parcel. While other prospects balked, designer-developer Kwok, backed by an investor with deep pockets, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, took the deal and then developed a plan that made it through the arduous regulatory gantlet. One of Kwok’s masterstrokes was to cluster dense development around green parks, rather than along the waterfront. The park created a shared amenity, while connecting the buildings to one another.

The new development eventually became home to 30,000 city residents. As Boddy has written, the buildings came onto the market at about the same time that a surge of well-educated, affluent Hong Kong residents was emigrating ahead of incipient mainland rule, and the development became a huge success.

“False Creek North provided a testing ground for a model of densification with amenity concessions to provide the recreation spaces as well as housing,” design critic Brendan Hurley noted in a 2012 article for Spacing Vancouver, a website devoted to the city’s land use. “The development is now the standard by which we look at the impacts of high-density living and developer contributions.”

“Stanley Kwok promoted the idea that you would work with government,” Beasley says. “We came to call it the cooperative planning model.”

The opposition to freeways and devel­opment of the Expo site created two game-changing opportunities in Vancouver’s evo­­lution. The city hoped for a third when it won a bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. The games’ Olympic Village, built to house athletes and Olympic officials on Southeast Falls Creek, provided an opportunity to erect a complex that used energy efficiency and sustainability systems such as solar heating and green roofs, with the aim of converting the complex to residential and commercial uses afterward. While the development weathered some financial difficulties, a November 2013 report to the city by accounting firm Ernst & Young reported that 91 percent of its for-sale units had been purchased, and 100 percent of its rental properties had been leased.

Is the Vision Sustainable?

As Vancouver heads further into the 21st century, some question whether the city will be able to sustain the vision that has set it apart from so many others. In a digital technology–driven culture in which people increasingly focus on their devices rather than on their neighbors, it is unclear whether Vancouver residents will continue to accept regulations and limits intended to benefit the common good. Government efforts to build inner-city bike paths and bring some outlying lower-density neighborhoods in line with the city’s high-density model have met with uncharacteristic resistance and protests, according to former planner Beasley. “Over time, I think the dedication of the public to engagement has waned a bit,” he says.

One issue that may provide a test of public commitment to Vancouver’s vision is its plan for future redevelopment of the West End. The recent blueprint published on the city’s website would increase residential density, with the aim of creating more affordable housing in an area that accommodates mostly young renters with families. It also would further encourage residents to walk rather than drive, by widening sidewalks and in some cases narrowing roadways.

Other dilemmas challenge Vancouver’s future as well. While municipal policy has long emphasized accommodating low-income residents, until recently there has not been a similar push to help the middle class, and affordable housing has emerged as a major problem. Toderian worries that as pressure for a quick fix increases, the city may compromise some of the long-held values that have shaped Vancouver’s identity. “If you build too much affordable housing and the buildings get too big, and you don’t use the tools you have to build new public spaces and maintain our heritage, you lose our balanced approach,” he says. “Then Vancouver starts to become something different.”

But Vancouver also has much in its favor. “With climate change on the horizon, Vancouver will benefit,” explains Price. “Rich investors will be looking for safe places to put their money, and this location is a good bet. People keep thinking that there’s a real estate bubble in Vancouver, but somehow, the bubble doesn’t burst.”

That’s why Price, Toderian, and others remain believers in the city. “Regardless of the bumps in the road, Vancouver will continue to be an urban innovator,” Toderian predicts. “It’s in our DNA.”
This article was originally posted on UrbanLand, Feb 14, 2014.  Written by Patrick Kiger, a Washington, D.C.–area journalist, blogger, and author.

 

For more information contact Macdonald Realty at 1-877-278-3888

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The Erikson, a twisting tower of luxury residences along False Creek, was designed by Vancouver native Arthur Erikson and was built by Concord Pacific in 2010. It is an example of the tower-podium style of design.

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The Marinaside, a waterfront complex of mixed-use towers. (Concord Pacific)

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A rendering of Vancouver’s sports and entertainment district, showing the planned False Creek Central development, announced in late 2013. Plans call for eight buildings with more than 1,300 condominiums, and 90,000 square feet (8,400 sq. m) of comme

Macdonald Realty looks for luxury buyers in China | The Globe and Mail

Sales of high-end properties are on the upswing in the Vancouver region, spurring one of British Columbia’s leading real estate firms to search for wealthy buyers by setting up shop in China.

Dan Scarrow, vice-president of corporate strategy at Macdonald Realty Ltd., said he has heard enough anecdotal evidence of well-heeled home buyers with roots in China to make it worthwhile to invest in a Shanghai office.

In February, Mr. Scarrow will start the first of two three-month assignments in 2014 in Shanghai. After his fact-finding mission, he plans to hire Mandarin-speaking staff in China to keep the overseas branch office going.

While real estate experts have estimated the proportion of foreign buyers in the Vancouver region’s housing market at only 1 to 3 per cent, Mr. Scarrow said if the statistics were to include recent immigrants with origins in China, the influence of rich Chinese buyers would be greater, especially on single-family detached homes in pockets of Vancouver’s West Side.

Most high-end transactions occur on Vancouver’s West Side and the Municipality of West Vancouver. In the luxury market, there were 644 properties that sold for $3-million or higher in the Vancouver area last year, up 47 per cent from 439 homes that traded hands in 2012, according to data compiled by Macdonald Realty. Of homes that sold last year, there were 148 that fetched at least $5-million, compared with 107 sales in that category in 2012.

Mr. Scarrow said it is hard to determine how many of those elite sales went to recent immigrants from China, noting that the ripple effect due to an influx of new money can easily be exaggerated. Still, he believes the proportion was significantly higher than 3 per cent last year.

“There isn’t this wave of offshore investors with no ties to Canada who are coming in to buy, but the genesis of their wealth is from mainland China,” said Mr. Scarrow, a Canadian who speaks Mandarin fluently. “Most of these people land in Canada first as investor-class immigrants.”

He dismisses tales circulating of wealthy offshore buyers snapping up Vancouver properties sight unseen as false, emphasizing that he will instead seek to nurture a market in which China-Canada family ties are crucial.

The 30-year-old Mr. Scarrow said that as a product of a mixed-race marriage, he is acutely aware that the issue of foreign shoppers is a sensitive one in British Columbia. “The perception among some sellers is that mainland Chinese money is driving the luxury real estate market here,” he said.

But Mr. Scarrow cautions homeowners against hiring real estate agents based only on ethnicity, stressing that the best representatives know Vancouver’s neighbourhoods well, no matter what their race.

Mr. Scarrow’s mother, Lynn Hsu, moved in 1979 from Taiwan to Vancouver. Ms. Hsu is the president and majority owner of Macdonald Realty, which has more than 1,000 real estate agents and staff across British Columbia. Her ex-husband, Peter Scarrow, is a lawyer who has worked in Asia for the past dozen years, including advising wealthy Chinese on Canadian immigration and tax rules.

Dan Scarrow said there will be opportunities to tap into the Chinese market during his stay in Shanghai. Besides seeking contacts who are interested in single-family residential properties, he will be on the lookout for investors in Vancouver’s commercial real estate market and also new condo projects.

Benchmark index prices, which strip out the most expensive properties, have jumped 17.3 per cent to $2.1-million for single-family detached houses over the past three years on the city’s West Side, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. By contrast, West Side prices have risen only 4 per cent for townhouses and 3.5 per cent for condos over the same period.

This article was originally posted on The Globe and Mail, Jan 19, 2014.  Written by Brent Jang.

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Big Fat Deal: $10 million for a castle-like home near Victoria | BCBusiness

Each week, BCBusiness takes you inside one of the most outrageously upmarket real estate offerings in the province in their Big Fat Deal real estate blog.

Price: $9,990,000
Address: 9750 West Saanich Road, North Saanich
MLS: 336209
Listing agent: Peter Nash at Macdonald Realty Ltd. in Victoria

For those seeking a little ooo-la-la in their home life, try this French-inspired chateau sitting on a six-acre estate for size. Even its name ‘Chateau de Lis’ conjures up romance and elegance.

Better still, you don’t have to travel to Europe to find it. Located 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, North Saanich plays host to this 9,800-sq.-ft. residence, which was constructed in 2007.

La noblesse would surely feel at home here. As listing agent Peter Nash explains, the house has been “designed, crafted, engineered and built to a very high standard with great attention to quality and detail.” An exhaustive list of bespoke finishings dominate the house with plastered Italian tile ceilings, turrets, concrete surround with decorative sculptures, travertine fossil floors, custom-made gargoyles, imported antique chimney caps, Juliet balconies, a slate and copper roof, limestone and porcelain floors, and stained-glass windows.

And the gardens wouldn’t look out of place at the Palace of Versailles, either. Along with exquisite landscaping, manicured lawns, fountains, bridges, an orchard, and vegetable gardens comes one of the property’s other showcases: almost 300 feet of easy-access oceanfront and a prime westerly exposure with far-reaching views across the Saanich Inlet.

Beyond the old-world elegance are also two levels of luxurious living, incorporating modern desires such as a theatre room comprising a state-of-the-art projector and two-tier seating with plush leather seats. Of course no stately home would be complete without a wine cellar and this 1,000-bottle temperature-controlled one will not disappoint.

The great room and dining hall would impress even Louis XIV with lofty vaulted ceilings, carved fireplaces, murals and panoramic water views. The commercial-grade kitchen ups the ante with high-end appliances, including a concealed Sub-Zero fridge and freezer and a copper-hooded, vented pizza oven.

There is separate accommodation for guests—designed with the same flair as the main residence—and above the garages for six cars are, of course, those caretaker quarters. After all, what’s a chateau without staff?

This article was originally posted on BCBusiness, January 8, 2015.  Written by Nicole Way.

Nicola Way runs the property listing sites BestHomesBC.com and AssignmentsCanada.ca.

2014 charitable donation to InspireHealth and the BC Cancer Foundation | Macdonald Real Estate Group

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In lieu of cards or gifts, Macdonald Real Estate Group will be financially supporting cancer research and patient care through the BC Cancer Foundation and InspireHealth.

InspireHealth is a BC not-for-profit which provides integrative care for individuals with cancer.  Their team of doctors, nutritionists, counselors, and exercise therapists focus on the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of patients as they go through traditional cancer treatments like Chemotherapy.

InspireHealth’s cancer care model serves to complement standard cancer treatments.  It helps prepare the individual for the anxiety and emotional complexity that can be major factors when facing a life-threatening illness.  While the cancer itself is treated, InspireHealth ensures that other aspects of the patient’s health – like diet and exercise – are supported.

If you would like more information about InspireHealth you can visit their website or Shelley Ross at sross@inspirehealth.ca.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Cooper
Vice President, Operations
Macdonald Real Estate Group

2013 BC’s Largest Privately Owned Company Managed By a Woman | BIV

Business in Vancouver released it’s annual list of Biggest BC organizations managed by women in 2013. Overall, Macdonald Realty placed 11th however, we continue to be BC’s Largest Privately Owned Company Managed By a Woman. We are proud to see our organization on the list. If you wish to see the rest of the list, please visit biv.com

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Take a Walk on the Boardwalk (or Sidewalk)

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If you’ve played the game Monopoly then you’ve probably picked up the Chance card that reads, “”Take a walk on the Boardwalk. If you pass Go…””
That’s good advice when shopping for a new home. When you see a property you like and you’re thinking of making an offer, spend some time walking around the neighbourhood. This will give you a better sense of what it’s going to be like to live there.

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After all, the last thing you want is to buy a dream home only to find out later that there are issues with the neighbourhood that make living there miserable.

If you have kids, see how far of a walk it is to local parks, playgrounds, schools and community centres.
If you commute, you might also check out the route from the neighbourhood to your place of work. Is there a left turn that is likely to get backed up in the mornings?

Also check out how well the neighbours take care of their properties. Homeowners tend to keep their homes looking good if they enjoy the neighbourhood.

As you walk, listen. Are there noises from nearby high schools, industrial areas, or highways that are going to be unpleasant for you? Find out if the neighbourhood is near an airport flight path, or if there is a railway in the area. (Your REALTOR® can find that out for you.)
If you get a chance, talk to some of the neighbours. Ask what they like most about living in the area. You’re likely to get some candid – and useful – answers.

Finally, spend some time visualizing living in the area. Can you see yourself enjoying what the neighbourhood has to offer?
If so, then buying a home in that area will likely be a good choice for you. A good REALTOR® can help. Call me today.

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

How $500 Can Save You $30,000: Why You Should Get a Home Inspection

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Many purchasers of homes decide to forgo the optional home inspection in some cases. They have a tough time trying to decipher why they would shell out anywhere between $450-$800 for a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ to come into their potential new home and tell them things they think they already know. If you fit into this category, STOP and give your head a serious shake.

Like a general practitioner doctor, a home inspector may not know a ton about one particular subject of a house, yet they do know a little bit (or more) about a lot. A good home inspector will use all the latest and greatest tools to inspect your home and should give you a full written report for you to take home at the end. They don’t need to know exactly where that leak is coming from, but they sure can point you in a better direction to figure it out than anyone else.

So why put out the expense? A familiar case sample from numbers of happy clients I have helped in the past, including a story of my own. When I set out to buy my first home, I was excited. It is such a cool experience to go house shopping and even better to imagine all of the amazing ideas, memories and plans you could experience in that new home. After a few weeks of shopping, I had decided on a 2 storey basement entry in North Delta.

The home needed some work, I could see that, and being a relatively handy guy with a good eye for what needed to be done, I wrote my offer accordingly. Now, I realize the importance of a good home inspector so as part of my conditions, I made sure to give myself some time to get my inspector into the house.

When working with clients, I have no emotion invested into what they buy and this allows me to be very unbiased. I can see many things that they typically cannot, due to the large amounts of homes I see every week and also from what I have learned from my home inspector in the past. The challenge is when emotion and excitement get involved, that trained eye can get cloudy. This was also the case for my own almost first home. I was excited and thinking more like a buyer than a Realtor.

My home inspection lasted over 3 hours and my inspector took his time to ensure he got everything I needed to know. At the end of the inspection, together we went through the list of things that needed to be done and the even bigger list of things that the average eye would not see.

There was over $30,000 worth of immediate work that was important to the life of the home that needed to be dealt with asap. This included unsafe electrical, huge drainage issues, sloppy previous home owner renovations, and more. Having a great relationship with my inspector, he jokingly remarked to me, “You need to run away from this house!”

That day was great to cement the lesson into my head that a home inspection is critical. I, nor most other Realtors, do not have a construction/electrical/plumbing/general home construction backgrounds so we cannot catch everything either. By investing around $500 in a 3.5 hour inspection, I saved myself from making a $30,000 mistake.

The moral of the story, get the home inspected everytime before you buy. You never know what yo may discover later if not. As for me, I am in a different home, with much less work to take care of. I get to save my money for bigger and better things!

Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

Macdonald Realty Golf Tournament 2013 – A Huge Success

On Thursday July 11th 2013, Macdonald Realty hosted its annual golf tournament. Macdonald Realty staff, agents, friends and sponsors came together for this networking event in Richmond at Green Acres Golf Course. All the proceeds will be donated to Canadian Cancer Society, specifically research into lung cancer.

Thank You! To everyone who sponsored the event, as well as all the attendees.

Photos from the event can be found on our facebook page www.facebook.com/MacdonaldRealty

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7 Tips for Real Estate Investing

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Thinking of investing in Real Estate? Meet Don Campbell. The name needs no introduction for Canadian real estate investors. Less well-known, however, are the seven investment rules the Real Estate Investment Network founder shared for a recent feature profile. Got a pen and paper?

1. Manage Your Expectations. The road to sustainable wealth is not a straight one. There will be economic curves to navigate, tenant potholes to avoid and financing road-blocks to get around. Investors need to face the reality of the business they are entering and use a system that helps them navigate through the inevitable twists and turns while at the same time keeps them moving forward.

2. Never sign anything that’s inaccurate. A supposed shortcut that some people justify while trying to navigate the real estate investing highway is to not be honest 100% of the time. Sadly many are coached to sign documents that are truly inaccurate.

3. Numbers tell the real story. Never fall in love with a piece of real estate no matter how nice it looks or feels. It is easy to talk yourself into just about any property. A strategic investor only falls in love with the numbers and cash flow. Those who fall in love with a specific piece of real estate will always over pay for the property.

4. Gain Perspective “Don’t drink your own Kool-aid.” Never blindly believe everything you hear. Sophisticated investors never allow themselves to think they know everything about their market. Find ways to keep expanding your knowledge and expertise by speaking with investors from all different backgrounds.

5. Buy for cash flow first – value increases second. There is no more important risk mitigation factor than positive cash flow. It allows you to ride the inevitable ups and downs of the real estate market and can provide will become the basis for long term sustainable wealth.

6. Treat your real estate like a business. Unlike other investment options, the minute you buy an investment piece of real estate you become a business owner and must start thinking like one. One of the biggest mistakes investors make is considering investment real estate a passive income investment. It is far from passive and you must manage the property as you would an active business.

7. Choose your advice wisely. Only ask for real estate investment advice from somebody who has extensive history and has seen all market conditions. Find a way to get your advice and analysis from someone who doesn’t directly profit from you purchasing a piece of property. And never, ever buy based on a “Hot Tip.”

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca 

How to Be a Savvy Home Viewer

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If you’re planning on finding your next dream home, then you’re probably going to view several homes on the market that meet your criteria.

You will want to make the right purchasing decision for you and your family. So, it’s wise to be savvy when viewing properties for sale. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

  • Bring a notepad. Take notes, not only of the home’s characteristics, but also of how you feel. For example, can you imagine yourself happily cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Do you see yourself entertaining family on the back deck?
  • Bring a measuring tape. Will the furniture you plan to bring fit? Your dining room suite? Your home fitness equipment?
  • Ask about maintenance. Is the property in a good state of repair? Will anything need to be replaced soon, such as the windows?
  • Bring a camera. Take lots of pictures of the home’s exterior features. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll remember how everything looked.
  • Check out the area. Do other homeowners take good care of their properties? This shows pride of ownership. How is the noise level? Is there a playground, or another area feature nearby?
  • Make a list of compromises. For example, are there only two bathrooms instead of three and, if so, can you live with that?
  • Make a list of bonuses. What features does the home have that, are not a necessity, but would be nice to have? For example, an entertainment bar in the basement recreation room.
  • Remember your budget. Is the price within your range? Can you afford to buy this home?

The savvier you are when viewing properties on the market, the more likely you will be to find your next dream home.

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

2013 CFO of the Year Sharon Federal Macdonald Realty | Business in Vancouver

Macdonald Realty is proud to announce that our CFO Sharon Federal will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Business in Vancouver.

We here at Macdonald Realty are so honoured to have Sharon as part of our team as her dedication over these past 30 years has helped Macdonald Realty flourish and grow to become a leader in BC real estate.

Congratulations!

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If anyone wants to attend the CFO of the Year awards dinner it will be held May 15th, 2013 6:15pm – 9pm at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel the ticket price is $135.

For more information on the winners visit the Business in Vancouver

Macdonald Realty Awarded at the 2013 LeadingRE Annual Conference

We are pleased to announce that Macdonald Real Estate Group won the Global Alliance Award for Most Outgoing Referrals presented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE). It is a significant achievement for our Referral Department as this year we were up against 600+ LeadingRE members with over 140,000 sales associate in 30+ countries around the world.

Congratulations to Macdonald Real Estate Group’s Referral Department for a job well done!

For more information on the Referral program or to place an outgoing referral in over 30 countries, please contact us at 1-877-278-3888.

BC luxury home sales above $3-million fell by a third in 2012 | The Vancouver Sun

“Based on a Macdonald Realty Luxury Report, this past year the sales number of luxury homes over $3 million has fallen one third since 2011. However, 2012 is only second to 2011 in sales. In a Vancouver Sun article, Dan Scarrow, Vice President of Macdonald Realty, commented on the impact immigrants buying patterns, investor sentiment and psychology has changed in the past year affecting the lower mainland’s luxury market.

“For the past few years, we’ve seen lots of new investor-class immigrants coming into the market,” Scarrow said. “ … They’re not just buying a house for themselves, but also three or four residential investment properties as well.”

This “exuberance” among immigrant buyers has slowed, Scarrow said, as the economy slowed in China and prices rose rapidly in Vancouver.

Macdonald Realty, REALTOR Will McKitka also commented in the article discussing his specialty of luxury penthouse homes, a segment of the market considered to be attracting buyers.

Read more www.vancouversun.com
Vancouver Sun article BC home sales above $3-million fell by a third in 2012 from March 1, 2013

Thinking of becoming a landlord?

This blog is largely written as a result of the learning and struggles, both past and current, I am going through regarding having a tenant I have personally. I wrote this blog in the hopes that anyone will be better off when entering into a tenancy as a landlord and know exactly how to protect themselves should an issue ever arise.

Now, it is important to preamble this with I believe all people are good deep down inside and know that it is important to treat others as you would want to be treated. When someone needs some help, it is everyone’s responsibility to lend a helping hand. With that being said, when all is done to create a fair and equal resolution for someone, it is just as important to take a stand and not let people take advantage of you. As I sit in the lobby of the Residential Tenancy Board in Burnaby, I am considering all of the ways a tenancy should be approached to prevent issues before and after they arise.

Beginning a tenancy

When beginning a tenancy, you must start by screening your tenants properly. A brilliant way to do this is simple. Get references from their employer and past landlords, and possibly personal references if you are stuck. Asking questions about their work history and past tenancy is a great start to knowing who you are getting involved with. Have they been at their job a long time? Is it secure? Do they pay their rent on time? If the past landlord could do it again, would they rent the unit out to this person again?

You are also going to want to ask for a credit check. This is a very good indication if you can expect your rent in full and on time. A good way to accomplish this is to mention it is a requirement in your ad. When someone applies, BEFORE you get too involved with them, be sure to get a look at their credit check. If they don’t like to pay their bills on time, your rent money has a good chance of becoming one of those late bills.

When accepting someone to rent your home/unit, you must put EVERYTHING in writing. Who is responsible for the utilities, day to day maintenance, repairs, etc. what are the terms for pets, renting to students, or any other provisions? Once you have all of the information, it is time to decide on the length of the stay for the tenant, and the type of term, either a fixed or month to month. When it comes to a damage deposit, ALWAYS take the maximum amount. This means half of your monthly rental amount and if they have a pet, another half of the monthly rent. Many tenants could make an upset about this yet it is important to remember, this damage deposit is your ONLY security that your unit will be left the way it was found. This includes cleaned, no trash or furniture left behind, and no damage to the unit in general. Use the tenancy agreement provided by the RTO on their website and be sure to add any extra pages with other details if need be.  http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/

The day the tenant moves in is crucial as they should be paying you all of your damage deposit and first month’s rent. Be sure to always provide your tenant with a receipt for their rent as it is required. You also must do a condition walk through with the tenant and document it on the form provided on the RTO’s website. Failing to do this will ELIMINATE any chance of getting to keep the damage deposit in the future. Have both parties sign all documents and be sure to give copies to the tenant.

Welcome to being a landlord

During the tenancy, always remember to document everything. Rent paid and when, conversations, emails etc. this will come in useful should there ever be an issue. When dealing with a tenant, it is always best to be clear about expectations before a tenancy, yet it is just as important to give them their freedom and peace of mind. It is important to check the condition of the property regularly but always give the proper 24 hours’ notice and ask for their permission to visit. Fix issues with the home promptly, give your tenant the respect and courtesy that they deserve, and be the landlord that you would want if you we’re a renter.

A tenancy can be for a fixed period of time or a month to month time frame. You should talk with your tenant before hand to decide what works best for everyone. The day will come when your tenant is either ready to move out, you are going to end the tenancy for positive reasons (major renovations, moving in yourself, etc.), or for unfortunate reasons such as unpaid rent or utilities on the home.

Ending a tenancy

You can give a 30 day notice to a tenant to leave the property when you are in a month to month tenancy. It is important to note the tenant by law is deserving of a full calendar months’ worth of notice, meaning if notice was given on March 1, the earliest date the tenant must be out is April 30. This also works the same way if a tenant gives notice to move to you, they must also provide a full calendar 30 days, due before the rental payment of their final month. All notices to end a tenancy must be done in writing. When ending a tenancy, it is important to not include the damage deposit in the last month’s rent as this is your only security that the property will be in similar condition when you get it back as to when you rented it out. On the final day of tenancy as you are receiving the keys, you must do a final condition walk through with your tenant to review if any damages need to be monetarily accounted for. All parties must sign off on this condition report and if everything looks good, you can exchange the keys and release the damage deposit to your tenant, or forward it to their new address within 15 days.

If there is a problem with your tenant

If there is a problem, document everything. You can give a tenant 10 day notice to vacate a property for unpaid rent or utilities, and other reasons listed on the RTO’s website. The notice can only be issued on a day after rent is due. This can be done in person, posted on their door (3 day lull) or via registered mail (5 day lull) and either must be witnessed by a person or with a receipt. Your witness will need to fill out another critical form called the Proof of Service. From this point, the tenant has 5 calendar days to pay you the rent in full or it is deemed that they accept the eviction and must be out in the 10 calendar days. Evicting a tenant with a 10 day notice does not give you authority to keep their damage deposit. At the end of the 5 days the tenant has to pay you their rent, if the tenant has not paid you in full (only accept full payments), it is wise to apply to the RTO for an Order of Possession as it is illegal for you to remove them, their belongings or change the locks with them still in the property. The tenant may not move out the day they are supposed to and getting an Order of Possession expedites the process to get some help from the RTO if it goes that far.

Dispute Resolution

So what happens if the tenant buggers up your property, doesn’t pay you rent or refuses to move? You must go to the RTO and apply for a dispute resolution. A dispute resolution is a sort of a court hearing that can be done over the phone with all parties. This is your chance to speak your case, provide evidence (all the evidence you have been collecting over the tenancy, right!) and get your issue sorted out. The arbitrator who hears the story will make a decision that is binding on both parties deeming whose story is most believable and has the proof to back it up. From this point, the arbitrator can make decisions as to what happens with the damage deposit, whether the tenant must pay you more money, including any missed rent money via wage garnishing or other means, and a date that the tenant MUST vacate the property through a court order. Let’s all hope you never get this far. Once the arbitration is done, the tenant may STILL not move out. Unfortunately for the landlord, from here you need to apply for a Writ of Possession from the Supreme Court and hire a court bailiff to remove the tenant and all of their possessions from your home. The bailiff can also auction off the tenants seized items to help recover any additional money you may be owed.

Summary

When it comes to a tenancy, NEVER take it lightly. While it is important to treat people with courtesy and respect, you must do everything by the book in order to protect yourself in the future. Money is a funny thing and it can change even the most respectful relationship for the worst. If the rent is late, provide the tenant with one warning and let them know that future late payments will result in a notice to end the tenancy. Always take your full damage deposit at the beginning. Never settle for less than excellent care of your property. At the end of the tenancy, you will be glad you followed the rules and prepared yourself for the storm, if one should arise.

For a full set of rules, best practises and documents, check out http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/

When entering a tenancy

Do
•Take the entire damage deposit you can
•Take photos of the property
•Do a condition walk through at the start and end of the tenancy and fill it out on the required documents
•Put everything in writing
•Give your tenants receipts for their rent payments
•Put your tenancy agreement in writing
•Document everything including all conversations and emails
•Set the intention and bar at the beginning of the tenancy
•Remember: everyone must live up to their agreements
•Fix all issues with the home promptly and with as little disturbance to your tenant as possible

Do not
•Give anyone more than one chance at late rent
•Let a pet deposit go without collecting it
•Let a day pass before seeking an order of possession after ending a tenancy
•Let rent be continuously late, the RTO may deem it okay if you let it happen all the time
•Let people take advantage of you

Documents to start a tenancy
•Residential Tenancy Agreement
•Condition Inspection Report

Documents to end a tenancy
•10 day notice for unpaid rent or utilities
•1 month notice to end tenancy for cause
•2 month notice to end tenancy for landlord’s use of property
•Mutual agreement to end a tenancy
•Proof of service

Dispute resolution
•Dispute resolution application
•Order of possession application

All documents and full guides to beginning and ending a tenancy can be found at http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/

I hope you never end up evicting a tenant as it is a long and aggravating process. Protecting yourself properly will help avoid problems before they arise.

Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

Why Macdonald Realty is exploring opening an office in Shanghai, China | Inman

After 70 years in business in British Columbia, and much consideration and analysis, Macdonald Real Estate Group has decided to explore opening an office in China. To that end, my colleague, Dan Scarrow, our vice president of corporate strategy, left for Shanghai early in February.

In order to understand our rationale, it is first important to appreciate how Chinese investors have shaped the real estate market in Vancouver, B.C., where our company is headquartered.

Over the past three decades, Macdonald Real Estate Group has assisted thousands of Asian families and investors in real estate transactions in the Vancouver area and across western Canada. In the 1980s and ’90s, there were overlapping waves of Hong Kong and Taiwanese investment, and more recently we have seen the mainland China wave.

Our experience has given us the chance to develop a sizable network of Asian clients, both commercial and residential.

While the official percentage of foreign buyers in the Vancouver area is around 3 percent, Chinese clients make up a much higher proportion of certain segments of the market. The exact percentage is hard to pin down, but our research would indicate that Chinese families account for at least 50 percent of Vancouver home sales over $3 million, and our commercial division has put together dozens of major transactions with Chinese investors on a range of commercial real estate asset classes.

Asian clients are not arbitrarily choosing Vancouver as a destination for real estate investment. Our Chinese clients generally have close family and business ties to the areas in which they invest.

For example, aside from business considerations, the primary factor in shaping immigration-related real estate decisions for Chinese families will be proximity and availability of educational opportunities for the next generation.

Aside from business considerations, the primary factor in shaping immigration-related real estate decisions for Chinese families is educational opportunities for the next generation.””
That said, these clients often maintain a foothold in their country of origin, where they often have ongoing commercial interests.

If we open an office in Shanghai, we will be better able to serve our clients who are based in China, or who those spend significant time there. They will have somewhere to go to review documents, and get insight on real estate issues.

In addition, having a presence in China will give us another channel for promoting real estate opportunities.

I will be providing periodic updates to Inman as we go through our due diligence in Shanghai. Hopefully you can find something in our experience that is useful to you in your business, or at the very least you can enjoy watching the process unfold.

Jonathan Cooper is vice president of operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG). Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, MREG has 20 offices and 1,000 staff and Realtors, and offers a full range of real estate services across the province, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, and project marketing.

This article was originally posted on Inman News, Feb 21, 2014.
View the original post at Inman News

For more information contact Macdonald Realty at 1-877-278-3888

Investing in New Construction

Investing in new construction can be rewarding and hurtful at the same time. Let’s examine some of the benefits and deterrents of buying that brand new home.

Benefits

Everything is new
If you like shiny things and clean corners, new construction cannot be beat

Prices can be promotional
Getting into a new development with early bird or promotional pricing can help you gain financial ground in the real estate market

Developer incentives
The Developer may offer incentives for buying one of their products, such as memberships to certain clubs or business’, additional appliances or upgrades, etc.

New technology
Your building will be made of the latest and greatest advancements in construction and design

Support staff with development
Onsite development staff will be constantly at the development for the first few weeks. This is the time to let them know of any problems, while they are easy to track down

New home warranty
The new home warranty covers all new homes built in British Columbia. You get 2 years on labour and materials (some limits apply), 5 years on the building envelope and 10 years on structure. It’s the strongest construction defect insurance in Canada.

Deterrents

High rentals
Most new developments these days have a very high rental rate due to changes in our fluctuating real estate market. Renters are associated with taking poor care of the property and having a lower level of respect for the occupants. Most new developments would have no restrictions on the amount of rentals

Unestablished strata
The strata council can change and implement changes altering bylaws manipulating your resale audience

Cost can be speculative
Buying a new property at tomorrows prices have burned many people in the last 10 years, disabling them to sell at a profit or even break even

Prices are non negotiable
Developers tend to avoid price haggling at all costs. The price is usually the price

Contracts written by the developer, for the developer
Any contract you sign from a sales office was written by a very educated and determined legal team to protect all aspects of the developers behind. These contracts are heavily weighted for the developers benefit only.

Floating completion and possession dates
Your move in date can be pushed back typically, not fully ensuring an exact move in date

HST
Got to love those taxes. Similar to buying a new car and driving it off the lot, 12% HST is difficult to recover short term

Immediate resale complications
Many developments do not want to compete to sell remaining properties if you choose to sell your unit in the early stages as well. If you have purchased and decided to move, there may be restrictions on how you are able to market your property, or you may even have to pay the developer a portion of your sales money as a penalty.

When purchasing a new home, it is critical to include the involvement of me, your REALTOR®. By reviewing the contract for unfair terms or conditions, providing you with a real time market value, proper pricing forecasting, and ensuring you do not overpay, you can avoid many of the deterrents listed above. Investing in a new development can be rewarding, if done correctly and well-researched.

Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

Overwhelmed by all the Real Estate chatter in the news?

Prices are falling! Hold Hold Hold! Don’t buy until next month! Rates are the lowest they have been since yesterday! Overseas Buyers increase market by 300%!

It is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the chatter over Real Estate in the news print, on TV and radio. The challenge with what you hear or see is that everyone has an opinion and there is many ways to share them nowadays. Through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and any media outlet looking to get their story in front of you, it can be a lot to process. So how do you make the best decisions for you?

Understanding what really pertains to you and your own individual situation is crucial to staying afloat in the bombardment of information that flows our way daily. Although it is important to stay atop the latest and greatest info, you should understand what applies to you or not. Rates dropping only matters after a certain point if you are already locked into another mortgage. Overseas buyers may be in the market for properties that have nothing to do with yours. Lowering real estate prices don’t matter unless you plan to move in the foreseeable future.

When it comes to the information rushing in your way, the best way to stay ahead of the pack is to be open and honest with your real estate and mortgage professional about your plans. Every situation is unique in its own way and the right advice will guide you down the proper path. When a professional you trust is on the up and up about what you want to accomplish in the short or long term, they can provide you with the plan that DOES make sense for your situation, keeping you ahead of the herd.

No need to get overwhelmed, it’s just can be a lot of chatter.

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

Real Estate Renting vs Owning

Let’s duke it out for one last time – Renting vs Owning 

It is the debate as old as time and is as entangling as trying to do your own taxes: Is it better to be a renter or own your own home? There are so many sides to the story that everyone’s opinion seems to take over rather than the facts. Renting allows you freedom, freedom to relocate on a moments notice, come and go as you please, minimizes responsibility and can be cheaper. Owning a home is a rewarding experience, you fol-low no ones rules, are in charge of your domain, and have an asset that history has shown will grow in value.

Renting vs. owning has always been a hot topic for the followings reason, each displaying their own fair advice on why. Let’s explore.

 

 

 

I may have missed some here yet what a great start. I can see how the debate can be heated and both sides have a valued argument. Whenever I am approached by someone on the rental side of the fight, there is always one failed piece of information that is never considered. If owning a home is more expensive, more responsibility and more commitment, then why in the world do it? You want to own a home because after years and years of mortgage payments, the payments stop. Imagine 25 years of paying a touch more per month for a home you could easily rent for less… Now imagine year 26 when the payments STOP. What would you do with that money? What would you do with that money if you sold? Owning a home is a long term investment and a forced savings plan, renting is not. For the short period, renting is great yet in the end, you are still just making your payments while your landlord smiles and owns a home.

In the fight against renting versus owning, count this as the knock out punch for the victor, Owning wins again.

Do you know anyone that is currently renting? There are options out there for people with average jobs and income to make home ownership possible.

Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

The Death of the Low Ball Offer

More often than not optimistic home buyers setting out for their first place are inclined to do as they have been instructed. From advice of parents, grandparents, or other friends or family they follow a rule that was popular years ago when times were much different.

Lowball those sellers. A lowball offer is a mediocre at best attempt to get the property at a price that often defies market trends, area statistics and is sufficiently lower than what a seller has offered their home for sale at. Well times have changed so why is the low ball dead? Here are a few reasons…

  1. We live in the Fraser Valley, a suburb of Metro Vancouver, one of the most attractive cities worldwide to live in. This means there is demand to live in our community. Prices will vary month over month yet unless we are in dire affairs with our real estate market, there is not much sense in a home selling for far under its fair market value because people will pay for fair value.
  2. Sellers are educated. There is an amazing amount of information you can pick up from a real estate professional and even online regarding neighbourhood trends and market prices relating to particular and individual home details.  Sellers tend to have a very good idea about what their home is actually worth.
  3. Some sellers can only go so far. With the decline of many property values after the crash of 2008 many sellers cannot afford to take a large loss on their property. If their equity is cleared out they lose their ability to move into a new home after they lose a chance at a down payment, selling fees or property transfer taxes.
  4. The homes that are desperate to sell are the ones in foreclosure. A suggestion that any family about to go into foreclosure on their property would align with the thought that a sharp asking price would attract a prompt sale.

When you as a buyer decide to lowball a seller, you do one thing. You seriously offend and upset that seller. By doing so you enter into a world of swimming against the current, provoking much emotion and pride to get wrapped up in the negotiations, which only hurts your chances of making a good deal. Now, this is not to say that a low ball will never work again because that is just not true. There are some cases that scream a low offer is a great move, yet the large majority do not. So what is the best way to get a great deal on a home? Put yourself in the seller’s shoes and ask yourself, “What is a fair market value for this home?” Once you figure that number out, try for slightly under that number. If you can save $2000-$5000 on the price of your home versus what the market tells us is under market value, you are winning. You may never hit a homerun in baseball as long as you try, but a good base hit will still help you win the game.

 

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

Avoid Excessive Humidity in Your Home

Bathroom and kitchen fans are an important part of your home’s ventilation system. They remove odours from your home, which improves indoor air quality. Most importantly, they also remove moisture, which decreases the level of humidity in your home. High humidity can damage building materials, therefore the diligent use of these exhaust fans is essential.

In order to avoid lint build-up in the dryer vents, homeowners can clean the dryer’s lint trap after each individual load. In addition, the dryer should be run for ten more minutes after clothes are removed and traps cleaned in order to dry out any moisture in the ducts.

In the winter months, it is a good practise to open a window and allow moist warm air to escape and cold dry air to take its place.

Ensure that window coverings and interior doors are left open for the greater part of the day and don’t keep interior doors closed for extended periods of time.

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Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

Macdonald Realty Christmas Party Raises $25,000 for Charity

Macdonald Realty Vancouver (including the Main Street, Downtown, and Vancouver West offices) and Macdonald Commercial held their annual Christmas party on Friday December 2nd.   The annual Auction had some unique and unexpected donations this year, not the least of which was a simple loaf of FRENCH BREAD THAT SOLD FOR OVER $3,000! Veteran Westside REALTOR® and company Auctioneer Will McKitka managed to successful obtain a whopping $3,000 from one of his colleagues, which will benefit this year’s charity recipients.  Vancouver publication 24hrs included the Macdonald Realty Christmas party in a story on creative charitable giving.

“We wanted to add something simple to make the point, it was time to give to our community with little or no expectations of gain or reward. One singular item that could catch the imagination of our Realtors and staff ” McKitka said. After getting the green light to quietly slip in the unusual auction item from Company CEO and President Lynn Hsu the fundraisers knew they were on to a good thing. “We knew it would be unusual enough to titillate and catch the attention of our audience…We knew it would be a winner!”

This year’s beneficiaries were the ARTHRITIS RESEARCH CENTRE OF CANADA and the VANCOUVER HOSPICE SOCIETY, who are midway through the drive to raise $4.5 million dollars for a soon-to-be built West Side hospice at 4615 Granville Street.

 

Legal Mistakes to Avoid When Buying or Selling a House

 The process of buying or selling a house seems to involve a million details.  It is important that you educate yourself on as many parts of this process as you can—this knowledge could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in the long-run.  The legal issues involved in the process are often particularly intricate, ranging from matters of common knowledge to subtle details that might escape the untrained eye.  Any of these issues, if not handled properly, could develop into larger problems.  With so many  legal issues to consider, your first step should be to seek out experienced professionals to help educate you and represent your best legal interests.  Begin with an experienced real estate agent, who can help guide you through the initial hoops.  S/he should also be able to point you in the direction of a reputable local real estate lawyer to assist you in all legal matters involved in the purchase or sale of your house.

While there are countless legal details involved in a real estate transaction, some seem to pose larger problems than others.  We’ve outlined two legal clauses that are commonly misunderstood and may cost you money if not worded correctly.  Handle these carefully and you will be on track to a successful sale or purchase!

Home Inspection Clause

Some real estate transactions have been sabotaged due to the wording of the home inspection clause.  This clause originally allowed that the buyer has the right to withdraw their offer if the home inspection yielded any undesirable results.  However, this allowance was known to backfire, as Buyers took advantage of it, using some non-issue stated in the inspection as an excuse for having changed their minds.  Of course, this was unfair to the Sellers, as they’d poured time and money into what they believed was a sure deal.  Not only might they have missed out on other offers in the interim, but their house might also now be unfairly considered a “problem home.”  Additionally, they’d now have to shoulder the costs of continuing to market the property.  All of this adds up.

In order to remedy this potential problem, the clause should indicate that the seller has the option of repairing any problems the home inspection might point to.  With this slight change in the clause, both buyer and seller are protected.

To ensure this clause is fair from one side of the bargain to the other, work closely with a lawyer experienced in these transactions and all the nuances that may affect the outcome for you.

Survey Clause

It is the right of a home buyer to add a survey clause to the real estate contract on the home they’d like to purchase.  If you are on the selling end of the contract, be aware.  If you have added an addition or a pool to your property since the last survey was produced, your survey will no longer be considered up-to-date and the Buyer may request that a new one be drawn up—the cost of which you will incur.  The price of this process will run anywhere from $700 to $1000.

Your real estate agent has the responsibility to provide you with the most recent survey of your home.  It is then the Buyer’s right to decide if it is acceptable.  An experienced agent should offer you reliable counsel if you encounter an issue with this clause, but it is advisable to talk to your lawyer if you’re unsure at all of the potential ramifications involved.  Remember, the wording of this clause could cost or save you thousands of dollars.

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

 

 

 

Lynn Hsu Macdonald Realty: From humble beginnings to extraordinary success | Vancouver Observer

Success: Why and How

In 1985, while raising a young family, Lynn Hsu began her real estate career despite being a new immigrant with limited English and no social network.

From 1987 through 1989, Hsu was the number one salesperson for Western Canada at a large, national real estate firm. In 1990, Hsu bought Macdonald Realty; at the time a single office in Vancouver’s Westside. Fast forward 25 years and Hsu is heading Western Canada’s largest real estate brokerage firm, with over 1,000 realtors working in 20 offices across British Columbia. Macdonald Realty’s reported figure for gross sales in 2010 was $4.7 billion.

Hsu has been honored many times for her achievements, including:

“Self-made” is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Lynn Hsu. Most of my small business consulting clients certainly aspire to achieve a success story like hers. On a more personal level, Hsu’s accomplishments as a female business owner absolutely dazzle me. Seeking insight into her success, I reached out to Hsu in hopes that she would share some of her personal and business tips:

Don’t accept the glass ceiling

One of the rare female top business executives in Canada, Hsu has never believed that a glass ceiling exists for women. “To succeed in business, one must put in time. Women traditionally have had less time to devote to career development, and this pattern holds true today,” said Hsu, who was never willing to accept that she would hit a glass ceiling. “If you begin to believe that it is impossible to move forward, you will stop looking for solutions to the hardships you face.”

Adversity builds character

Hsu named her mother as her inspiration because of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, hardships, and poverty she faced while raising seven children. “Instead of caving in and accepting it as her reality, [my mother] took on three or four jobs at a time and worked until midnight to provide for our family,” Hsu recalled. “She taught me, not so much by words but by example, that any obstacle, no matter how big or difficult, can be overcome if one has the strong desire and works hard enough.”

Successful people are the product of their mistakes

When asked which of her attributes helped her succeed as an entrepreneur, Hsu pointed to her ability to quickly recover from mistakes. “I’m a risk taker and I’m not really afraid of failure, but I do make a conscious effort to learn from my mistakes.” Fear can be a paralyzing agent in business and in life. In order to grow, it’s important to be willing to risk making the occasional mistake and then be ready to use your ingenuity to rectify the situation.

Perseverance and hard work save the day  

Hsu’s colleagues would identify her boundless energy as her most valuable attribute. Her capacity to put in long hours and her tremendous appetite for problem solving have been indispensable both to the stakeholders of Macdonald Realty and to Hsu herself during the development of her entrepreneurial career.

“By a combination of hard work, a supportive family and a bit of luck, I was able to overcome my challenges. I believe one can always find a solution to a problem.”

 

Written by Sandy Huang, Posted: Oct 20th, 2011, Source – The Vancouver Observer

To view this article click here.