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

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. 

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

 

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.