Macdonald Realty REALTOR® Supports North Shore Schizophrenia Society

Carolyn Hill

North Shore Schizophrenia Society is the latest recipient of a Real Estate Association of Whistler (REAW) Community Grant. This organization meets regularly on Thursday nights in Whistler, and provides outreach, support and education to families supporting a relative with mental illness. Carolyn Hill, member of the REAW Board of Directors and REALTOR® of Macdonald Realty Whistler office, is pleased to present the donation cheque.

To learn more about North Shore Schizophrenia Society and find out what you can help, please visit:
http://www.northshoreschizophrenia.org/

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…]

Real Estate Investment Story | Backyard Vineyards

Meet Michelle Yang, co-owner at Backyard Vineyards in Langley B.C.  Michelle shares her story as a new partner in the winery, learning the wine business, and how her REALTOR® was able to guide her through the process.

To meet a professional realtor in your area visit macrealty.com

 

About Backyard Vineyard:

With a name as true as its location, Backyard Vineyards evokes neighbourhood comforts and a welcoming environment. Top this off with their exceptional wines and well-crafted tasting room for a must-see the next time you take a jaunt through Langley. Backyard Vineyard’s effort of using 100% BC grapes allows them to take their name to heart of loving the landscape of the region and province. Focusing on quality helps their winemaker James Cambridge and the owners express the intricacies of the varietals they carry, as well as the ability to experiment to find their award-winning portfolio.

Visiting this vineyard is a treat, from their large inviting tasting room to their outdoor picnic area there is plenty of space to enjoy a taste and tour. With some grapes grown at this vineyard and others sourced from the Fraser Valley and Okanagan, there is something to please all palates.

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Backyard Vineyards – 3033 – 232nd Street, Langley, BC

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.

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.

BC Market Report 2016-17: Our Annual Review and Forecast

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It would be an understatement to say 2016 was a memorable year for BC real estate. The recent spate of policy changes, along with a looming provincial election, have given buyers and sellers much information to absorb as we enter the 2017 spring market. The Feature Story of our 2016-17 Market Report, “The BC real estate market in 2016: a year with many chapters“, offers an industry insiders look at these important changes.

The BC Market Report contains a 2016 review and 2017 forecast for each of our geographic markets across B.C., contributed by our local managers, as well as summaries from our residential, commercial, property management, project marketing and global relocation divisions.

Click to view:

PDF BC Market Report (English)  |  (中文)

Digital brochure BC Market Report (English) 

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Media: For further comment please contact Dan Scarrow, VP Macdonald Real Estate Group, dscarrow@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.

Macdonald Realty opens boutique offices in Sidney and Sechelt

Macdonald Realty has opened two new locations, the first in Sidney on Vancouver Island and the second in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.  These boutique offices join the province-wide network of 20 offices operated by Macdonald Realty, a B.C. owned and operated brokerage with a 70 year history of service and excellence.

“We’re focused on serving British Columbians in communities of all sizes” says Jonathan Cooper, Vice President, Operations. “Smaller offices like Sidney and Saanich, led by strong local REALTORS®, have become an important part of Macdonald Realty’s growth strategy over recent years.”

In Sidney, the new office opened with six agents and was spearheaded by Chace Whitson, a multiple MLS® Gold Award winner who has been with Macdonald Realty since 2013.  “Having our large office in Downtown Victoria, and now one in Sidney, allows us to serve our clients better across the whole region,” says Whitson. “Our affiliation with Luxury Portfolio International® gives our high-end clients a unique opportunity to market their home to the luxury elite across the globe, something that no other Victoria brokerage can offer.”

The Sechelt office is the result of a meeting between Managing Broker Patricia Place and Medallion Club REALTORS® Barbie Whitworth and Shay Moudahi who decided to switch their office to Macdonald Realty after being attracted by the company’s strong leadership, systems and brand positioning. “The new office is opening at just the right time with the Sunshine Coast market really heating up,” says Place, a part-time Sunshine Coast resident herself who also manages the company’s Squamish, West Vancouver and North Vancouver locations.  

Macdonald Realty Ltd. – Sidney | 2411 Bevan Avenue, Sidney, BC  V8L 4M9  |  Office: 778-426-2262

Macdonald Realty Ltd. – Sechelt | #3 – 5764 Wharf Road, Sechelt, BC  V0N 3A0  |  Office: 604-747-2222

[Read more…]

Inspired Dining Week starts Saturday!

Mark your calendars for the inaugural #InspiredDiningWeek launching this Saturday, October 15th (until the 23rd).

24 amazing Vancouver restaurants are donating 25% of the sales from special inspired menu items to our charitable partners at InspireHealth.  Last month Macdonald Realty announced their 3 year charitable partnership with InspireHealth, a BC charity providing programs and support to British Columbians living with cancer and their families.  See www.inspireddiningweek.com for more information and help us spread the word!

Inspired Dining Week Vancouver

When: Saturday, October 15 to Sunday, October 23
Where: Participating restaurants across the city

[Read more…]

Macdonald Realty Victoria Alzheimer Donation

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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.

Macdonald Realty sponsors InspiredHealth cookbook

We are delighted to announce the beginCMYKorangeIHvectorning of a new charitable partnership between Macdonald Real Estate Group and InspireHealth, a local not-for-profit supportive cancer care organization with centres in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna.  They provide important programs and services to enhance quality of life, health and well-being of people living with cancer and their families.

Macdonald Real Estate Group has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of InspireHealth’s new cookbook ‘Inspired Cooking‘ featuring 50 exclusive recipes from 20 of Canada’s top chefs including BC’s Vikram Vij (Vij’s Restaurant Group), Ned Bell (Yew at Four Seasons Hotel), Warren Barr (The Pointe Restaurant at Wickaninnish Inn), James Walt (Araxi) and many more.

Last year, InspireHealth welcomed more than 2,400 new members, provided 2,000+ classes and more than 25,000 patient visits – all completely free of charge.  This InspiredHealth cookbook is an important fundraising venture and we are so proud to be a leading sponsor of this project. Watch for the cookbook is stores this holiday season and if you wish to make a donation to the project you can ​visit their Kickstarter page here. 

 

Vancouver Olympian Richard Weinberger visits Macdonald Realty

This week Macdonald Realty’s Vancouver office welcomed a special visitor when Canadian Olympic swimmer Richard Weinberger stopped by for a visit.

Richard is a 10K Open Water swimmer and does most of his training at the Kits pool in Vancouver where he got to know one of our Realtors, Peter DeWitt. A two time Olympian (London 2012 & Rio 2016), Richard has been on the Canadian National Team since 2009 and won the bronze medal at the London Games in 2012. This summer he has his eyes set on gold at the Olympic Games in Rio where he is the only Canadian in his race.

Marketing Manager Rosey Hudson with Richard Weinberger

Marketing Manager Rosey Hudson with Richard Weinberger

Macdonald Realty is thrilled to be supporting Richard in his quest for gold and jumped at the opportunity to provide some sponsorship to the athlete. “We all know cost of living is high in Vancouver, and our amateur athletes need all the help they can get to reach their goals,” says Rosey Hudson, Marketing Manager for Macdonald Realty.  “It is a pleasure to support our community and our country in this way.  We’ll all be cheering him on come race day!”

Richard’s 10K Open Water Race is at 8am in Rio (4am Vancouver time) on Tuesday, August 16th. It will take place at the famous Copacabana beach under the Olympic category of Marathon Swimming. The race will take nearly 2 hours to complete in the rough open water of the bay.

Follow Richard’s Olympic journey on Twitter at @RAWeinberger  and watch this recent CBC interview with him.

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General Manager Mark Winter with Richard Weinberger

General Manager Mark Winter with Richard Weinberger

Shredder Drive and BBQ in Victoria

Our Victoria Office is hosting a shredder drive and BBQ fundraiser for our friends, clients and business partners in Victoria on Friday, June 24th from 11am to 3pm.  Drop by the Macdonald Realty office at 755 Humboldt Street in Downtown Victoria for this public event.

Shredding by donation. BBQ – Cash Only. All proceeds go to charity.

See you then!

RSVP to our Facebook Event Page to add to your calendar.

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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…]

Macdonald Realty nominated for HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt 2016

It is time for HGTV.com’s Ultimate House Hunt once again!

This year Macdonald Realty is nominated in the Best International Home category for a spectacular Three-Level Penthouse in Vancouver, Canada.  This is the category we won last year for The Sanctuary, a luxury home we listed and sold in Squamish B.C.

spectacular Three-Level Penthouse in Vancouver

SENSATIONAL TROPHY VANCOUVER PENTHOUSE – Atop a 32 storey skyscraper this three level sky mansion sprawls over 6,000 square feet of living space and 1,700 square feet of terraces. Outstanding first impressions from the direct elevator access leading to a grand living room featuring soaring 16 foot ceilings, panoramic English Bay views and a grand curved staircase. Master boasts gas fireplace, large steam shower and a two person jetted tub situated mid room. Main level offers second master suite with fireplace and numerous built-in cabinets. Bespoke chef’s kitchen with 48 inch Décor six burner range, numerous built-in ovens and appliances anchored by huge granite island and access to 700 square foot terrace with fireplace and built-in Viking BBQ. Family room with grand wet bar, air conditioning, concierge and six-car private garage. LP $7,838,000

Macdonald Realty nominated for HGTV luxury home contest

Tour amazing homes across the globe, vote for your favourites, and enter for your chance to win a $10,000 cash prize! And remember you can vote for your favourites once a day. Follow the instructions below to vote for Macdonald Realty’s Nominee for HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt 2016:

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.

Click here to vote.

Vote for HGTV's Ultimate House Hunt 2016

Macdonald Realty sponsoring Maple Ridge Home Show

Our Maple Ridge office is sponsoring the Ridge Meadows Home Show this weekend,  and providing  shuttle service from the Albion Sports Complex parking to Albion Fairgrounds event space.  Say hi to our team driving the golf carts!

Shuttle service at Maple Ridge Home Show

 

HOME SHOW: ‘Wheely’ good fun on tap in Maple Ridge this weekend

Source:  Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows Times

Feeling sporty this weekend?

Then head down to Albion Fairgrounds where you can take in high-flying BMXers and bubble ball soccer demos during the Ridge Meadows Home Show.

There’ll be high flying action in the corral, as some of the top-ranked riders in the world take bring big air jumps and half pipe demos to the home show.

This is a get-active “try it zone” with bicycles and safety gear provided and patrons encouraged to give the sport of BMX a try.

There will also be a scooter course for scooter enthusiasts.

Returning to the fairgrounds this weekend is the Action Sports Extreme Stunt Show.

Sponsored by Macdonald Realty (which also provides a shuttle service from the Albion Sports Complex to Albion Fairgrounds during the weekend), and presented by Maple Ridge Cycle, Ridge Meadows BMX, Big Steel Box, Timberline Ranch, and The Creative Ride, the stunt show is always popular.

The Stunt Show:

• Friday at 7 p.m.,

• Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and

• Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

From its formative years in the early 1970s to today, BMX is still flourishing.

“If it wasn’t for these people doing [jumps and racing] I wouldn’t have gotten into this business,” said Troy Scott, the owner-manager of Maple Ridge Cycle, which is helping present the stunt show.

“Dirt jumping has always been exciting – that’s why my shop’s been around so long. A lot of the stuff we sell are involved with these types of [BMX] bicycles.”

Scott said BMX’s staying power remains strong, in a world where most kids are drawn to computers and iGadgets.

“It [BMX’ing] competes with iPads and iPods,” Scott said. “When parents get Christmas lists and bikes are in front of iPads – you don’t see that very often anymore.”

The passion for BMX locally is part of the reason why this showcase returns each year to the home show.

“We need something for the kids and grandkids to do while parents are looking at renos,” Scott said.

Since it’s an outdoor display, “Mother Nature plays a big part in it,” Scott said.

Former professional BMXer Nate Berkheimer plays a big role in the BMX show.

Berkheimer, who has more than two decades of BMX experience, made several dirt jumping finals at the Dew Tour.

The Maple Ridge resident competed professionally in both racing and freestyle (stunt riding).

“Nate has a lot of his guest riders come out and they put on a good show,” said Travis Franklin, who along with fellow realtor John Johnson helps organize the shuttles and stunt show on behalf of Macdonald Realty.

“They do stunts, back flips… everything on the ramps. It’s quite exciting to watch.”

Meanwhile, for little ones anxious to try bike riding, check out Tykes for Tots.

Bubble soccer

For soccer fans, West Coast Auto Group Football Club (WCAGFC) is bringing a unique twist on the “beautiful game” to the home show.

Bubble soccer demos will be happening throughout the weekend.

According to Bubble Soccer Vancouver, players are outfitted in “zorb-like inflatable bubble suits” which keep them safe “as they roll around, flip right over and collide with each other – all while trying to score goals.”

WCAGFC offers its own bubble soccer programs for U8 players right up to adults (visit westcoastfc.ca/Bubble_Soccer).

“People have a chance to give it a go,” WCAGFC executive director Misty Thomas said. “It’s exhausting, actually, to play it. It’s quite active and mostly people spend a lot of energy laughing. As we keep saying, it’s one of the few sports where spectators can actually have as much fun as the actual participants.

Watching bubble soccer is hilarious.”

2015 charitable donation to local refugee centre | Macdonald Real Estate Group

Dear Friends, Clients, and Colleagues,

In lieu of cards or gifts this Christmas, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has made a charitable donation to the new Welcome Centre in East Vancouver, which is due for completion in the spring of 2016 to support the refugees arriving in British Columbia.

Refugees escaping war, famine and persecution will soon have help from a regional services hub in Vancouver—a one-stop housing and support centre. Immigrant Services Society of BC is building the new, first of its kind in the world, 58,000 square foot facility that will address the immediate needs of Government Assisted Refugees and immigrants in Vancouver. The New Welcome House will be a regional service hub bringing together a unique combination of transitional housing and targeted services under one roof to streamline access to care. For more information and to follow along with the construction please visit newwelcomehouseblog.org

Season’s Greetings,

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

 

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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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Macdonald Realty’s North Vancouver office sponsors Burstin’ with Broadway


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This year our North Vancouver office is sponsoring the “Burstin’ with Broadway” performance taking place May 31st, 2014!

Fill the stage with 120 energetic singers, a live band and a Musical Director with a passion for Musical Theatre, and what do you get? A “choir” show like no other! The North Shore’s own Burstin’ with Broadway’s lively concert will send you home with a beat in your feet and a song in your heart. A great collection of show tunes from all the decades of Musical Theatre, including songs from South Pacific, Bye Bye Birdie, The Music Man, HAIR, Chicago and Once on this Island.

Burstin’ with Broadway was founded in January of 2005 by Dominique Hogan. The idea came out of a simple premise that perhaps others enjoy musical theatre music as much as she does. The second premise was that she had met many talented singers who didn’t read music or who had little to no classical musical training. And so Burstin’ with Broadway was born, a non-auditioned community choir dedicated to singing Musical Theatre repertoire on the North Shore.

Saturday, May 31st
2pm and 7:30pm
$28 Adults, $25 Students and Seniors


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Macdonald Realty West Vancouver sponsor “That’s Just Crazy Talk”

Macdonald Realty’s West Vancouver office is sponsoring the May 22nd play “That’s Just Crazy Talk” by Victoria Maxwell, a fundraiser for the North Shore CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association). We are happy to support such an important and worthwhile organization in our community.


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“”That’s Just Crazy Talk”” looks at both the light and dark side of living with bipolar disorder, anxiety and psychosis. This funny and achingly truthful play both entertains and educates, exploding stigmas and portraying the love and resilience it takes to stay together as a family and the beauty that can result when we face our demons.

Victoria Maxwell is one of North America’s most sought-after educators and speakers on the ’lived’ experience of mental illness and recovery.

The performance will be preceded by a wine and cheese reception and silent auction. A panel discussion will follow “”That’s Just Crazy Talk””.

May 22nd, 6pm
Kay Meek Centre, West  Vancouver
Tickets at www.kaymeekcentre.com  $30 Adults, $20 Students/Children

Find the North Shore CMHA on social media:
Twitter: @northshoreCMHA
Facebook: @NorthShoreCMHA

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

Macdonald Realty Langley sponsors LFMSS ‘Wizard of Oz’ Musical

This year, Macdonald Realty’s Langley office is actively supporting youth and arts programs in their community. This year, they are the lead sponsor of the Langley Fundamental Middle and Secondary School’s musical production of the ‘Wizard of Oz’!

This performance is being shown from April 23rd, 2014 to May 3rd, 2014. ‘The Wizard of Oz Musical’ follows the story of Dorothy as she has an “”out of this world”” experience and enters the Land of Oz where she goes on an adventure to return back to here home of Kansas. Along the way she meets up with a scarecrow without a brain, a tin man without a heart, a lion without courage and even a witch who will stop at nothing to take something that Dorthy has!

To see more information regarding the show, please visit wizardmusical.ca.

Show Times
Thu, April 24 – 7 PM (Cast E)
Fri, April 25 –  7 PM (Cast R)
Sat. April 26 – 1 PM (Cast R)
Sat. April 26 – 7 PM (Cast E)
Thu. May 1 – 7 PM (Cast R)
Fri. May 2 – 7 PM (Cast E)
Sat. May 3 – 1 PM (Cast E)
Sat. May 3 – 7 PM (Cast R)

Buy tickets here:  http://www.wizardmusical.ca/tickets
Make sure to like their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/lfmss.woz

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

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Macdonald Realty Victoria sponsors Uncork your Palate 2014

Macdonald Realty’s Victoria office is pleased to continue their tradition of supporting the arts in our community!  This spring we are sponsoring the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s upcoming event Uncork your Palate. Net proceeds go to support VCM music education, music performance and community music outreach. Attendees of this event will be among the first to experience the exclusive Spring Release wine portfolio of the Naramata Bench Wineries, and will also have a chance to meet the winemakers, enjoy live musical performances, celebrate VCM’s 50th anniversary and more.

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Date: Wednesday 30th April 2014
Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Location: Crystal Garden, 713 Douglas Street, Victoria
Tickets: $95
[must be purchased in advance – 19yrs + event]
(A tax receipt will be issued for a portion of the ticket price following the event)

Buy in person at The Strath Liquor Store, 919 Douglas Street
or at the VCM front desk 900 Johnson St.

For more information see Victoria Conservatory of Music

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

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

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  

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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New Condo Towers Proposed for Rogers Arena Crosstown Neighbourhood

Rogers Arena is in for an addition…. The proposal is on the table and just waiting to be approved. My opinion is positive on this as I believe any neighbourhood growth is a good thing. The more condos that are built, the more people that will join the community. The more people that join the community, the more businesses and amenities that will follow.

The Aquilini Group are the team behind this new proposed addition to the Crosstown Vancouver neighbourhood. There are 3 new towers proposed directly around & attached to Rogers Arena. The proposal on each of these towers ranges from 26 floors to 32 floors in height. Two of the three proposed Crosstown towers will offer a mixed use of both Office Space & Residential units. The third tower is offering strictly Residential Condos.

The Team at Aquilini Developments are also trying to achieve LEED Gold status on each of their 3 new proposed towers. To try and achieve this LEED Gold status The developments will offer Green Roofs, Green Walls and will use these aspects to harvest rainwater for toilet flushing etc.

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Blog post provided by Jay McInnes Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in Downtown Vancouver.  Visit his website jaymcinnes.com  for more information. 

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  

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.

 

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.

 

Do Numbers Ever Lie? | by Stewart Henderson, Managing Broker, Macdonald Realty Langley

Many years ago, during the Dark Ages, one of my earliest sales managers made a very interesting comment to me. He said, “Stew, you’ve got to remember that Liars can figure, but figures can also lie.” In other words, don’t necessarily believe everything you see or hear.

I was reminded of this when one of our Realtors showed me a recent report from Urban Futures entitled, “Averages & Anecdotes: Deciphering Trends in Real Estate Prices, Part 1″ a very thought-provoking report without the slap on the side of the head impact that my old sales manager used to have. Urban Futures looked at some comments in a press release from Gregory Klump, chief economist of the Canadian Real Estate Association in a press release that CREA had issued, which stated that the national average of real estate prices had risen 8.9% on a year over year basis at the end of March 2011. Mr. Klump stated that, “there had been a record number of multi-million dollar property sales in Richmond and Vancouver West which had pushed up average prices for Vancouver, British Columbia and nationally”. He further stated that, “if Vancouver is excluded from the equation, the national average price increase is cut by more than half to 4.3 per cent”.

WOW!! Look at that statement again.

What a tremendous effect that Vancouver house prices have on the rest of the country. One could be excused for thinking that the 8.9% average increase is a lie. But it’s not a lie, it’s the truth. It’s just so distorted by Vancouver that it’s not relevant to someone who doesn’t live in Vancouver.

With the assistance of Landcor Data Corporation, Landcor and Urban Futures was able to segment the sales price data for Vancouver into quintiles. There’s a word we all use everyday. Quintiling involves ranking all sales from lowest to highest and then creating five price groups, that each contain an equal number of sales. Thus, each price group would contain 20% of the total sales.

Considering the top quintile for detached homes, the average price in Vancouver of these top 20% of sales was $1,690,000, twice the average price in Vancouver of $810,398. The average sales price of the other four quintiles was $591,092, which, Urban Futures suggest, might be more representative of what most people would be purchasing. A similar analysis of the condo/apartment market revealed a similar situation.

So, in summary, Urban Futures findings were similar to CREA. CREA found that removing Vancouver data from the national data reduced the average price increase in housing prices by 52% (from 8.9% to 4.3%). By removing the most expensive quintile from the Lower Mainland data, Urban Futures found that the average price in Vancouver might actually be 27% lower ( $591,092 vs. $810,398) in the price range that most of us live in.

So, is someone lying to us? No, I don’t think so. But I think my old sales manager was trying to teach me the same thing that Urban Futures is trying to illustrate. Figures can lie – they can be very misleading- and we have to be careful how we use them.

For more information contact Stewart Henderson, Managing Broker, Macdonald Realty in Langley

Luxury real estate booming in Vancouver | Financial Post with Dan Scarrow and Matthew Lee

If you think Vancouver’s housing prices are overdue for a major price adjustment, tell that to the surging number of luxury home buyers.

According to MLS statistics provided by Macdonald Realty, a record 375 homes — including nearly 50 condos — sold for over $3-million in 2010, breaking the record of 209 set in 2009 and more than double the 167 sold in 2008.

Of those, 73 homes sold for over $5 million.

The sales were primarily, but not exclusively, on Vancouver’s west side, with the priciest home going for $17.5-million at 3489 Osler.

The second and third priciest homes — the second also on Osler and the third on Point Grey Road -both sold for about $11 million.

As well, Macdonald Realty says, if current patterns hold, the number of $3-million-plus homes is expected to reach 550 this year, raising the spectre that in some neighbourhoods a $3-million home may no longer be considered particularly exclusive.

In 2000, just 10 properties in Metro Vancouver sold for over $3-million, none of them condominiums.

The market for luxury homes is now “insanely hot,” with mainland Chinese buyers — who are also affecting the Richmond market in a big way — the primary purchasers, said Dan Scarrow, Macdonald Realty vice-president of corporate strategy.

“Ninety-per-cent (of the luxury home purchases) are on the west side, probably some in West Vancouver,” he said in an interview. “But it’s incredibly striking, when you think what the prices were 10 years ago.”

Scarrow said that while a $3-million house has always been categorized as “luxury,” he no longer knows if that’s the case in key West Side neighbourhoods, including Shaughnessy and Point Grey.

“We’re part of a global luxury market by the ultra-wealthy,” he said. “And from the buyers’ perspective, prices here are cheap for what you get.”

Tsur Somerville, director at the centre for urban economics and real estate, Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C., said in an interview that just because there are more homes selling for over $3-million doesn’t mean they’re not luxury homes.

“It’s pretty subjective,” he said. “But $3-million is an expensive home. And just because it’s on a small lot doesn’t mean it’s not a luxury house.

“And the fact that there’s a whole lot more ($3-million homes) than a decade ago, with the price increases, there’d better be.”

Mr. Somerville also said that China is a huge source of immigrants to B.C. and that mainland Chinese immigrants tend to be investors and entrepreneurs.

“Clearly, there’s a very targeted demand for higher-end properties that many associate with the mainland Chinese market.”

But he said there’s an absence of clear data on the specifics of those buyers, whether it’s primarily immigrants or investor money from China. As an indication of how the luxury condominium market has grown, Mr. Scarrow said that last year a total of 49 condos sold for over $3-million — including seven for over $5-million — with the top three closing in on $6-million each, the priciest at Two Harbour Green, 1139 West Cordova, in Coal Harbour, for $5.8-million and the other two at the Shangri-La in downtown Vancouver.

Scarrow said many more properties are crossing the $3-million threshold, which now buys a new or newer house in the 2,500-to 3,000-square-foot range on a smaller west side lot.

“Now, you see multiple $3-million-plus homes on every block. I’d say $5-million is now where you’re going for that luxury range.”

Alice Zhang, who moved from Hangzhou, China, to Vancouver two years ago, now lives in one of six properties that she and her husband have purchased in Vancouver since moving here.

Zhang, who has two children, is waiting to move into a new home they’re constructing on a Shaughnessy lot that they bought for about $3.1-million. The house is expected to cost another $3 million, which Zhang believes is a good deal.

“We moved from the most beautiful city in China to Vancouver, which we consider more beautiful,” said Zhang, whose family owns hotels and a real estate development company in China.

“I think that compared to other Canadian cities, Vancouver is expensive. But, China is more expensive (than Vancouver).

“And the air is very fresh here and it’s very green. You feel like you’re in a garden.”

Scarrow cited another client who purchased a 2,600-square-foot condo in Coal Harbour for about $1,600 a square foot.

“(She and her family) has homes all around the world. In Knightsbridge, London, a flat was sold to her for $8,000 (Cdn) per square foot. Their flat in London was 3,000 square feet and they paid $24 million for it.”

She also has two homes in Hong Kong, one in Lake Tahoe, one in San Francisco, one in New York and one in Madrid, Spain, Scarrow said. “They all say their Vancouver property is their favourite home. They think it’s the best value.”

Macdonald Realty sales manager Matthew Lee, whose firm sold the three most expensive homes in Vancouver in 2009 and two of the five most expensive homes in 2010, believes that it’s not just mainland Chinese who are fuelling the luxury market, “but buyers from Europe and the U.S. are willing to pay these prices as well. Globally, Vancouver is still seen as a relatively good bargain.”

While the west side of Vancouver had the largest number of luxury homes sold, other areas in B.C. have also seen some very expensive sales, including the Fraser Valley’s top three sales between $5.3-million and $6.1-million, the Okanagan, from $5.4-million to $10.7-million, and Victoria, from $3.9-million to $6.8-million.

And while Vancouver has seen some very expensive homes sold over the past decade, including one for $17.5 million in 2008 and one for $17-million as far back as 2004, it’s the sheer numbers that are striking. In 2000, just 10 homes sold for over $3-million, and 78 in 2005.

 

To view this article in Financial Post click here  By:  Brian Morton, Financial Post – Postmedia News

 

Macdonald Realty Voted Best Real Estate Office in Vancouver

The readers of the Vancouver weekly newspaper The Georgia Straight have voted Macdonald Realty number one in the “Best Neighbourhood Real Estate Office” category.  You can see the rankings here.  Covering Vancouver business and culture, The Georgia Straight is a weekly publication with over 690,000 readers; for the 2010 (15th annual) Best of Vancouver rankings, the magazine received a record 10,000 ballots.

Renovating your Vancouver Condo – Restrictions and Permits

Due to the prices in Downtown Vancouver (& surrounding areas) I find a lot of people looking into buying older / more run down units to renovate. This way they can leverage the renovation to boost their property value.

The best way to go about this is to hire a professional “specialist” Realtor (by this I mean an agent that actually knows the buildings “intimately” in your area of desire) who can get direct you towards buying into a building with “Good Bones”. By good bones I mean a building that has:

  • Good foundation
  • Good plumbing
  • Good roof
  • Good envelope
  • PROACTIVE STRATA (most important)
  1. Buy Real Estate in an up & coming area. When you buy in an area that is being built, as the community and local amenities around you grow as will your property value.
  2. Buy & hold! With this approach you must have patience & the financial means to HOLD ON for the ride. You must look LONG TERM as Real Estate does very much so follow cycles you must strategically pick your entry & exit points.
  3. Buy a property, Renovate & Sell. This must also be strategically assessed. You can not go into this plan thinking you can buy a condo for $300K, renovate for $200K and sell for $500K. Price to re-sale value varies with every room you renovate from bathroom to bedroom & kitchen… Its all individual.. Consult your Contractor & realtor to get that Cost to Value spectrum to give you a clear idea of what level of reno is worth proceeding with.

When renovating a condominium unit or townhouse in a stratified building / complex you need to not only comply with City bylaws but your own Strata bylaws. The most common example of this that I have seen is if you want to install Hardwood floor throughout your condo. You do not have to get permission from the City but you do have to consult & ask for permission from your Strata Council.

Once you have developed your plans for renovations now is the time to see if the right permission you are going to be needed will be granted.

NO PERMITS ARE NEEDED FOR (Condominium):

  • Replacing fixtures eg. refrigerator, stove etc (except gas fixtures, these always require permits)
  • Replacement of countertops, cabinets and flooring
  • Interior Painting

BUILDING PERMITS & APPLICABLE TRADE PERMITS ARE NEEDED FOR:

  • Removal of interior walls & partitions
  • Construction of new walls or partitions
  • Relocate or installation of new electrical, gas and plumbing lines (including moving a kitchen sink or adding a dishwasher)
  • Removal of a portion of a wall to install a door or create an archway
  • Replacement of a drain, waste and vent piping or the water distribution system
  • The upgrade, replacement or installation of a new fire alarm system or sprinkler system

BOTH DEVELOPMENT, BUILDING PERMITS & APPLICABLE TRADE PERMITS ARE NEEDED FOR:

  • Build an addition to increase floor area (Square Footage)
  • Add, remove or relocate a window, skylight or exterior door (9 times out of 10 you will not be allowed to touch the exterior of the building)
  • Install a gas fireplace that requires the installation of an outtake pipe (chimney)

** there are also slightly different restrictions on detached houses from the City of Vancouver.
If you are unclear or in doubt as to what type of permit is needed if any and why you may need it please contact:

City Hall –http://vancouver.ca/contact.htm

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Blog post provided by Jay McInnes Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in Downtown Vancouver.  Visit his website jaymcinnes.com  for more information. 

 

 

Vancouver Real Estate Supply and Demand in a Global Context

Were we spoiled by the early spring flurry?   Probably.

Does the inventory have to decline at the same rate as the number of units sold to maintain market integrity?  Probably not.

The market appears to be levelling.  Prices are adjusting slightly downward but not in all areas depending on inventory.  Once again proving that one of our principle rules of real estate analysis is “supply and demand” and that rule is absolute.  Inventory is declining and prices may be stabilizing but perhaps not at the same rate.  Buyers and sellers are having trouble reading the market signs.

With the stock markets and the economies of USA, Europe and others regions all are emitting mixed signals, it is hard to pick a cause or effect that has any long term significance.  This brings to mind our second rule of analysis, that of “cause and effect”.  Good things cause good things to happen and bad things cause bad things to happen.  One day consumer confidence is good then the next day builders confidence is down then business leaders are optimistic then Ben Bernanke says he won’t intervene, and then he will.  The stock market goes down and then recovers.  The bank of Canada says interest rates will rise then when they do the banks ignore and keep offering low mortgage rates.  Nobody knows what is to do and nobody can predict how the various markets will react and that I guess is why they call it a market.

 

Today, according to the Conference Board of Canada, consumer confidence in BC is down.  Experts say this is the result of the implementation of HST.  We would guess it is a combination of many factors and externalities.  Although we must admit we have seen a lot of confusion as to the HST and Real Estate.  No doubt our industry could of done a better job of educating the public.  But so could have the government and the fifth estate (who spent a lot of time creating a kafuffle to sell papers rather than explaining the tax).

Throw in our last rule of real estate analysis, that ”history repeats itself” and it gets even more confusing. As we have noted previously, and our friend Bruno recently calculated, that after the last big real estate correction in Vancouver, it took 7 years (from 1996-2003) for prices of West Side detached houses to recover to the previous high .The following 6 years (from 2003 – 2009) saw a compounded average growth of 13% for Westside detached houses. Then in the last three quarters of 2008 and first quarter of 2009 we experienced a 20% plus downward correction but then were fully recovered by the fall of 2009.  Anybody heard of the “dead cat bounce”?

Prices seem to have corrected downward over the past few months by 5%-10% although we may be seeing a levelling.  It should be noted that it is not uncommon for prices to adjust up and down during a cycle, upward or downward cycles.

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Blog post provided by Murphy Costello Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR®  with Macdonald Realty in Vancouver.   

New Condo Development in Vancouver’s Chinatown

Have you been to Chinatown recently?  For some time, Chinatown seemed to be on the verge of fading into the horizon as another forgotten area of Vancouver downtown.  I rarely ventured there for dim sum, nor have I purchased anything in the stores.  The obvious choice for the real Chinese experience was beginning to be Richmond.   With that mentality I was pleasantly surprised at the new restaurant Bao Bei on Keefer. An area in Chinatown is becoming a pretty hip place with interesting art galleries, a new club and new condominiums, like the development on Pender St., pictured.

Talk about possibilities around Chinatown.  There are serious discussions about removing both the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.  The Vancouver Police building on Main will be rebuilt in the next few years according to the latest news.  Suddenly we have plenty of land to recycle and reuse around Chinatown to revitalize the area.

Chinatown may become a desirable place to live in the very near future.

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Blog post provided by Aki Li Foster, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in West Vancouver.   Visit her website at akilifoster.com for more information.