Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – October 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in October 2018.

Squamish

In October 2018, there were 15 sales of detached homes and 131 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $968,500 with an average days on market of 61.

The condo market had 6 sales and 58 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $487,500 with an average days on market of 88.

Townhome sales were 11 sales, active listings were 57. The benchmark sale price was $724,900 and the average days on market were 55.

It’s a buyer’s market for homes and condos.

MarketHotSheet_October_2018_Squamish

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – October 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in October 2018.

Vancouver-West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 66 sales of detached homes and 849 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,267,800, with average days on market of 61. The hottest markets for sales was Dunbar with 13 sales.

In comparison, the condo market had 269 sales, 1,405 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $809,600 with an average of 27 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 56 sales.

Townhome sales were 39, active listings were 214. The benchmark sale price was $1,232,500 with an average days on market of 24. Fairview VW with 13 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a buyer’s market for homes.

MarketHotSheet_October_2018_VancouverWest

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – October 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in October 2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 173 sales, 1,114 active listings, and a $667,490 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 58.

The condo market featured 110 sales and 499 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $348,401 with 62 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 55, active listings were 378, average sale price was $502,549, and the average days on market were 54.

It’s a buyer’s market for homes & townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_October_2018_CentralOkanagan

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North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – October 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in October 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $921,400 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 196 active listings and 30 sales.

The condo market had 6 sales and 33 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $418,400.

Townhomes featured 5 sales, 22 active listings and a $569,600 benchmark sale price.

It’s a buyer’s market for homes.

MarketHotSheet_October_2018_NorthDelta

 

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – October 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in October 2018.

Greater Victoria

In October 2018, there were 244 sales of single family homes and 885 active listings in Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $765,300 with an average days on market of 40. The hottest market for sales was Saanich East with 47 sales. There were also 14 sales and 147 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 180 sales and 405 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $495,600 with an average days on market of 33. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 63 sales.

Townhome sales were 70, active listings were 211 and the benchmark sale price was $588,900. The average days on market were 52, and the hottest market was Langford with 13 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Greater Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_October_2018_Victoria

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Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – September 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in September 2018.

Squamish

In September 2018, there were 11 sales of detached homes and 151 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $985,100 with an average days on market of 68.

The condo market had 8 sales and 46 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $482,700 with an average days on market of 61.

Townhome sales were 3 sales, active listings were 54. The benchmark sale price was $726,700 and the average days on market were 71.

It’s a buyer’s market for homes and townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_September_2018_Squamish

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – September 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in September 2018.

Vancouver-West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 39 sales of detached homes and 858 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,254,200, with average days on market of 59. The hottest markets for sales was Kerrisdale with 7 sales.

In comparison, the condo market had 209 sales, 1,347 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $804,100 with an average of 30 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 52 sales.

Townhome sales were 28, active listings were 227. The benchmark sale price was $1,229,300 with an average days on market of 33. Fairview VW with 6 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a buyer’s market in Vancouver West.

MarketHotSheet_September_2018_VancouverWest

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – September 2018

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 180 sales, 1,241 active listings, and a $720,824 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 58.

The condo market featured 94 sales and 536 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $346,102 with 64 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 46, active listings were 385, average sale price was $510,426, and the average days on market were 71.

It’s a buyer’s market for homes and townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_September_2018_CentralOkanagan

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North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – September 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in September 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $931,000 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 196 active listings and 25 sales.

The condo market had 3 sales and 34 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $429,700.

Townhomes featured 4 sales, 22 active listings and a $571,900 benchmark sale price.

It’s a buyer’s market for homes and condos.

MarketHotSheet_September_2018_NorthDelta

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – September 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in September 2018.

Greater Victoria

In September 2018, there were 222 sales of single family homes and 951 active listings in Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $768,000 with an average days on market of 46. The hottest markets for sales was Saanich East with 46 sales. There were also 20 sales and 160 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 149 sales and 413 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $495,000 with an average days on market of 33. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 59 sales.

Townhome sales were 59, active listings were 220 and the benchmark sale price was $586,000. The average days on market were 43, and the hottest market was Langford with 16 sales.

It’s a seller’s market for Condos & Townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_September_2018_Victoria

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – August 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in August 2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 190 sales, 1,265 active listings, and a $687,413 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 60.

The condo market featured 116 sales and 554 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $354,728 with 60 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 75, active listings were 359, average sale price was $504,574, and the average days on market were 67.

MarketHotSheet_August_2018_CentralOkanagan

North Okanagan: Vernon and surrounding area

In North Okanagan, including Vernon and the surrounding area, the average sale price was $483,666 with an average days on market of 62 days for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 93 sales and 500 active listings.

There were 14 sales and 78 active listings for condos. The average sale price was $256,089, and the average days on market were 47.

In comparison, townhome featured 32 sales, 138 active listings and a $355,447 average sale price with 68 average days on market.

MarketHotSheet_August_2018_NorthOkanagan

Looking for more information about the real estate market in specific neighbourhoods in Okanagan? 

Macdonald Realty has offices in Kelowna and across BC. Please email macrealty@macrealty.com or call 1-877-278-3888 to be matched with a REALTOR® working in your area.

This blog post is based on market data provided by Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) www.omreb.com.

Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – August 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in August 2018.

Squamish

In August 2018, there were 22 sales of detached homes and 151 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $1,000,500 with an average days on market of 80.

The condo market had 16 sales and 46 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $513,400 with an average days on market of 40.

Townhome sales were 8 sales, active listings were 42. The benchmark sale price was $709,100 and the average days on market were 25.

It’s a seller’s market for condos.

MarketHotSheet_August_2018_Squamish

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – August 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in August 2018.

Vancouver-West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 59 sales of detached homes and 821 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,278,500, with average days on market of 66. The hottest markets for sales was Kitsilano with 11 sales.

In comparison, the condo market had 276 sales, 1,139 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $825,000 with an average of 30 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 66. sales.

Townhome sales were 33, active listings were 203. The benchmark sale price was $1,267,800 with an average days on market of 43. Fairview VW with 8 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a buyer’s market for townhouses and houses.

 

MarketHotSheet_August_2018_VancouverWest

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North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – August 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in August 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $949,900 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 182 active listings and 30 sales.

The condo market had 4 sales and 34 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $432,400.

Townhomes featured 6 sales, 18 active listings and a $598,700 benchmark sale price.

It’s a seller’s market for townhomes in North Delta.

MarketHotSheet_August_2018_NorthDelta

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – August 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in August 2018.

Greater Victoria

In August 2018, there were 246 sales of single family homes and 890 active listings in Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $766,000 with an average days on market of 39. The hottest markets for sales were Saanich East and Langford with 47 and 54 sales respectively. There were also 14 sales and 173 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 195 sales and 378 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $494,200 with an average days on market of 35. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 79 sales.

Townhome sales were 59, active listings were 215 and the benchmark sale price was $587,200. The average days on market were 37, and the hottest market was Langford with 20 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_August_2018_Victoria

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – July 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in July 2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 201 sales, 1,230 active listings, and a $782,398 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 44.

The condo market featured 129 sales and 571 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $343,315 with 49 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 61, active listings were 361, average sale price was $518,211, and the average days on market were 60.MarketHotSheet_July2018_CentralOkanagan

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Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – July 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in July 2018.

Squamish

In July 2018, there were 21 sales of detached homes and 157 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $1,038,600 with an average days on market of 51.

The Condo market had 14 sales and 45 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $536,300 with an average days on market of 28.

Townhome sales were 12 sales, active listings were 40. The benchmark sale price was $874,200 and the average days on market were 31.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_July2018_Squamish

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – July 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in July 2018.

Vancouver-West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 57 sales of detached homes and 858 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,356,500, with average days on market of 54. The hottest markets for sales were Dunbar, Kitsilano and Southlands with 7 sales each.

In comparison, the condo market had 295 sales, 1,203 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $835,200 with an average of 26 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 55. sales.

Townhome sales were 39, active listings were 198. The benchmark sale price was $1,288,600 with an average days on market of 29. Kitsilano with 8 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a buyer’s market for houses in Vancouver-West.

MarketHotSheet_July2018_VancouverWest

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North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – July 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in July 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $949,200 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 208 active listings and 34 sales.

The condo market had 2 sales and 29 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $434,700.

Townhomes featured 6 sales, 18 active listings and a $642,300 benchmark sale price.

It’s a seller’s market for townhomes in North Delta.

MarketHotSheet_July_NorthDelta

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – July 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in July 2018.

Greater Victoria

In July 2018, there were 285 sales of single family homes and 926 active listings in the Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $741,000 with an average days on market of 36. The hottest markets for sales were Saanich East and Langford with 60 and 48 sales respectively. There were also 15 sales and 180 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 188 sales, 420 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $485,200 with an average days on market of 32. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 70 sales.

Townhome sales were 67, active listings were 192 and the benchmark sale price was $586,100. The average days on market were 42, and the hottest market was Langford with 19 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_July_Victoria

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Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – June 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in June 2018.

Squamish

In June 2018, there were 11 sales of detached homes and 156 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $1,039,000 with an average days on market of 49.

The Condo market had 14 sales and 52 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $530,300 with an average days on market of 57.

Townhome sales were 13 sales, active listings were 39. The benchmark sale price was $899,800 and the average days on market were 23.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_June2018_Squamish

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – June 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in June 2018.

Vancouver-West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 81 sales of detached homes and 877 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,392,500, with average days on market of 43. The hottest markets for sales were Kitsilano and Cambie with 12 sales each.

In comparison, the condo market had 328 sales, 1,214 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $842,600 with an average of 20 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 63. sales.

Townhome sales were 47, active listings were 228. The benchmark sale price was $1,303,600 with an average days on market of 21. Fairview VW with 14 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a seller’s market for condos in Vancouver-West.

MarketHotSheet_June2018_VancouverWest

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – June 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in June  2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 228 sales, 1,195 active listings, and a $717,720 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 42.

The condo market featured 122 sales and 551 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $359,860 with 40 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 72, active listings were 341, average sale price was $501,989, and the average days on market were 51.

MarketHotSheet_June2018_CentralOkanagan

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North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – June 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in June 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $957,800 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 220 active listings and 32 sales.

The condo market had 6 sales and 21 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $433,200.

Townhomes featured 7 sales, 21 active listings and a $627,700 benchmark sale price.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and townhomes in North Delta.

MarketHotSheet_June2018_NorthDelta

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – June 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in June 2018.

Greater Victoria

In June 2018, there were 292 sales of single family homes and 920 active listings in the Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $745,100 with an average days on market of 29. The hottest markets for sales were Saanich East and Langford with 51 and 60 sales respectively. There were also 12 sales and 169 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 230 sales, 445 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $486,100 with an average days on market of 28. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 89 sales.

Townhome sales were 81, active listings were 195 and the benchmark sale price was $594,300. The average days on market were 26, and the hottest market was Langford with 14 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_June2018_Victoria

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Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – May 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in May 2018.

Squamish

In May 2018, there were 15 sales of detached homes and 150 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $1,042,900 with an average days on market of 35.

The Condo market had 25 sales and 54 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $516,800 with an average days on market of 21.

Townhome sales were 15 sales, active listings were 30. The benchmark sale price was $935,000 and the average days on market were 15.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_April2018_Squamish

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – May 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in May 2018.

Vancouver-West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 91 sales of detached homes and 898 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,430,500, with average days on market of 39. The hottest markets for sales were Point Grey and Cambie with 10 sales each and and Dunbar with 12 sales.

In comparison, the condo market had 359 sales, 1,149 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $845,400 with an average of 16 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 71 sales.

Townhome sales were 42, active listings were 215. The benchmark sale price was $1,304,500 with an average days on market of 26. Fairview VW with 10 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a seller’s market for condos in Vancouver-West.

MarketHotSheet_May2018_VancouverWest

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – May 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in May 2018.

Greater Victoria

In May 2018, there were 333 sales of single family homes and 803 active listings in the Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $738,500 with an average days on market of 26. The hottest markets for sales were Saanich East and Langford with 67 and 52 sales respectively. There were also 21 sales and 60 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 237 sales, 445 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $485,600 with an average days on market of 24. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 93 sales.

Townhome sales were 72, active listings were 165 and the benchmark sale price was $592,300. The average days on market were 22, and the hottest market was Langford with 20 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_April2018_Victoria

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – April 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in April 2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 225 sales, 919 active listings, and a $726,926 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 50.

The condo market featured 129 sales and 464 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $362,600 with 41 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 76, active listings were 268, average sale price was $492,929, and the average days on market were 58.

MarketHotSheet_April2018_CentralOkanagan

[Read more…]

Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – April 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in April 2018.

Squamish

In April 2018, there were 24 sales of detached homes and 125 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $1,024,900 with an average days on market of 36.

The Condo market had 12 sales and 51 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $544,400 with an average days on market of 31.

Townhome sales were 16 sales, active listings were 21. The benchmark sale price was $937,800 and the average days on market were 18.

It’s a seller’s market for townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_April2018_Squamish

[Read more…]

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – April 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in April 2018.

Vancouver-West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 71 sales of detached homes and 874 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,404,200, with average days on market of 50. The hottest markets for sales were Point Grey and Dunbar with 10 and 11 sales respectively.

In comparison, the condo market had 351 sales, 928 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $841,700 with an average of 19 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 72 sales.

Townhome sales were 42, active listings were 169. The benchmark sale price was $1,302,200 with an average days on market of 21. Kitsilano with 12 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and townhomes in Vancouver-West.

MarketHotSheet_April2018_VancouverWest

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North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – April 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in April 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $944,800 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 160 active listings and 36 sales.

The condo market had 8 sales and 15 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $424,500.

Townhomes featured 10 sales, 12 active listings and a $604,800 benchmark sale price.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and townhomes in North Delta.

MarketHotSheet_April2018_NorthDelta

[Read more…]

Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – April 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in April 2018.

Greater Victoria

In April 2018, there were 348 sales of single family homes and 654 active listings in the Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $732,600 with an average days on market of 24. The hottest markets for sales were Saanich East and Sooke with 69 and 50 sales respectively. There were also 28 sales and 47 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 225 sales, 377 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $485,000 with an average days on market of 21. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 89 sales.

Townhome sales were 74, active listings were 119 and the benchmark sale price was $575,600. The average days on market were 32, and the hottest market was Langford with 22 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_April2018_Victoria

[Read more…]

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – March 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in March 2018.

Vancouver – West

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 54 sales of detached homes and 800 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,449,000, with average days on market of 37. The hottest markets for sales were Kitsliano and Dunbar with 11 and 8 sales respectively.

In comparison, the condo market had 352 sales, 719 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $844,700 with an average of 18 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 72 sales.

Townhome sales were 31, active listings were 142. The benchmark sale price was $3,449,000 with an average days on market of 16. Fairview VW with 6 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a seller’s market for condos in Vancouver-West.

MarketHotSheet_March2018_VancouverWest

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – March 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in March 2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 183 sales, 801 active listings, and a $734,197 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 53.

The condo market featured 129 sales and 416 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $364,062 with 42 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 63, active listings were 244, average sale price was $499,413, and the average

MarketHotSheet_March2018_CentralOkanagan

[Read more…]

Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – March 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in March 2018.

Squamish

In March 2018, there were 25 sales of detached homes and 113 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $1,006,100 with an average days on market of 47.

The Condo market had 8 sales and 32 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $491,000 with an average days on market of 19.

Townhome sales were 14, active listings were 18. The benchmark sale price was $851,300, and the average days on market were 16.

It’s a buyer’s market for single family homes and condos.

MarketHotSheet_March2018_Squamish

[Read more…]

North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – March 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in March 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $950,200 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 119 active listings and 42 sales.

The condo market had 6 sales and 15 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $425,900.

Townhomes featured 3 sales, 16 active listings and a $591,300 benchmark sale price.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and single family homes in North Delta.

MarketHotSheet_March2018_NorthDelta

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – March 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in March 2018.

Greater Victoria

In March 2018, there were 287 sales of single family homes and 549 active listings in the Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $724,000 with an average days on market of 31. The hottest market for sales was Saanich East and Langford with 64 and 53 sales respectively. There were also 10 sales and 36 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 211 sales, 311 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $479,000 with an average days on market of 21. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 81 sales.

Townhome sales were 92, active listings were 84 and the benchmark sale price was $567,700. The average days on market were 28, and the hottest market was Langford with 22 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_March2018_Victoria

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – February 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in February 2018.

Vancouver – Westside

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 53 sales of detached homes and 772 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,500,600, with an average days on market of 52. The hottest market for sales was Dunbar with 8 sales.

In comparison, the condo market had 331 sales, 665 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $835,800 with an average of 21 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 84 sales.

Townhome sales were 34, active listings were 129. The benchmark sale price was $1,250,100 with an average days on market of 21. Fairview and Kitsilano with 7 sales each were the hottest markets of the month.

It’s a seller’s market for condos and townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_February2018_Vancouver-West

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – February 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in February 2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 138 sales, 680 active listings, and a $678,156 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 59.

The condo market featured 111 sales and 305 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $355,047 with 54 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 59, active listings were 178, average sale price was $460,814, and the average days on market were 49.

MarketHotSheet_February2018_Central-Okanagan

[Read more…]

Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – February 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in February 2018.

Squamish

In February 2018, there were 18 sales of detached homes and 110 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $993,600 with an average days on market of 48.

The Condo market had 18 sales and 26 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $488,100 with an average days on market of 20.

Townhome sales were 18, active listings were 21. The benchmark sale price was $848,600, and the average days on market were 32.

It’s a buyer’s market for single family homes.

MarketHotSheet_February2018_Squamish

[Read more…]

North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – February 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in February 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $944,800 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 95 active listings and 39 sales.

The condo market had 6 sales and 11 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $394,100.

Townhomes featured 7 sales, 9 active listings and a $581,000 benchmark sale price.

It’s a seller’s market in North Delta.

MarketHotSheet_February2018_NorthDelta

[Read more…]

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Statistics – January 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on the Greater Vancouver listings and sales in January 2018.

Vancouver

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 46 sales of detached homes and 672 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $3,548,400, with an average days on market of 68. The hottest markets for sales were Dunbar and Point Grey with 8 sales each.

In comparison, the condo market had 245 sales, 579 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $812,400 with an average of 28 days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 54 sales.

Townhome sales were 18, active listings were 105. The benchmark sale price was $1,247,900 with an average days on market of 26. Yaletown with 6 sales was the hottest market of the month.

It’s a seller’s market for condos.

MarketHotSheet_January2018_Vancouver-West

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Squamish, Whistler and Sunshine Coast Real Estate Market Statistics – January 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Squamish, Whistler, and Sunshine Coast listings and sales in January 2018.

Squamish

In January 2018, there were 6 sales of detached homes and 99 active listings in Squamish. The benchmark sale price was $1,003,000 with an average days on market of 104.

The Condo market had 6 sales and 27 active listings at the end of the month. The benchmark sale price was $490,400 with an average days on market of 28.

Townhome sales were 9, active listings were 18. The benchmark sale price was $786,900, and the average days on market were 34.

It’s a buyer’s market for houses.

MarketHotSheet_January2018_Squamish

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Okanagan Real Estate Market Statistics – January 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Okanagan listings and sales in January 2018.

Central Okanagan: Kelowna and Lake Country

There were 143 sales, 609 active listings, and a $699,352 average sale price for detached homes in the Central Okanagan market, including Kelowna and Lake Country. The average days on market were 75.

The condo market featured 110 sales and 284 active listings at the end of the month. The average sale price was $322,183 with 65 average days on market.

Townhome sales were 37, active listings were 157, average sale price was $446,054, and the average days on market were 69.

MarketHotSheet_January2018_CentralOkanagan

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North Delta, Surrey, Langley and Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Statistics – January 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Fraser Valley listings and sales in January 2018.

North Delta

In the North Delta market, the benchmark sale price was $941,000 for detached homes. At the end of the month, there were 101 active listings and 20 sales.

The condo market had 10 sales and 14 active listings. The benchmark sale price was $375,000.

Townhomes featured 4 sales, 10 active listings and a $561,400 benchmark sale price.

It’s a seller’s market in North Delta for Condos and Townhomes.

MarketHotSheet_January2018_NorthDelta

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Greater Victoria, Parksville and Nanaimo Real Estate Market Statistics – January 2018

Here are the latest real estate market statistics from Macdonald Realty on Greater Victoria, Parksville/Qualicum, and Nanaimo listings and sales in January 2018.

Greater Victoria

In January 2018, there were 175 sales of single family homes and 429 active listings in the Greater Victoria. The benchmark sale price was $702,200 with an average days on market of 42. The hottest market for sales was Langford with 32 sales. There were also 12 sales and 90 active listings at the end of the month for waterfront homes.

In comparison, the Condo market had 118 sales, 229 active listings at the end of the month.  The benchmark sale price was $450,600 with an average days on market of 23. The hottest market for sales was Victoria, 43 sales.

Townhome sales were 62, active listings were 94 and the benchmark sale price was $567,400. The average days on market were 46, and the hottest market was Langford with 17 sales.

It’s a seller’s market in Victoria.

MarketHotSheet_January2018_GreaterVictoria

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New Rules Regarding the Principal Residence Exemption

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

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

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

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

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


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

New Exemptions to the 15% Property Transfer Tax

EXEMPTION FROM THE 15% TAX

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

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

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

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

REFUNDS OF THE 15% TAX FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS

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

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

Refunds for permanent residents and citizens can only be claimed:

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

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

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


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

Condos in Downtown Vancouver

The residential areas of Downtown Vancouver comprise 3 main areas:

  1. Yaletown – which borders the north side of False Creek and much of it originally was developed by Concord Pacific after the Expo 86 World’s Fair;
  2. Coal Harbour – which is the strip of newly developed condos north of West Georgia Street and West of Burrard Street; and
  3. The West End – which comprises the downtown core and west of Burrard Street.

It seems that the new 15% tax on “foreign” buyers has had very little impact on this market, especially with condos where the asking price is under $2 million.  There are many reasons for this:

  • Only 1-5% of the buyers in this segment traditionally have been “foreign”;
  • More and more “empty nesters” from the West Side of Vancouver sell their homes after their children have moved out and downsize by moving downtown and retire on the capital gains earned by selling their detached homes;
  • The buyers are from all backgrounds: local retired people, young singles and married couples (usually with no children or with small families), Chinese immigrants, Koreans, Iranians, Americans, Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners, etc. In other words there is strong demand from all segments of the market;
  • There seems to be increasing interest in this area from “foreigners” from the USA, typically young hi-tech professionals from San Francisco and San Jose, and older couples from Seattle and Los Angeles, all of them attracted by the diversity, safety, cuisine, scenery and recreational opportunities downtown Vancouver has to offer.
  • Being close to the Central Business District is extremely convenient for the tens of thousands of professionals of all kinds who work downtown.

What’s so special about the Downtown core of Vancouver?  Well, it depends on the specific neighbourhood:

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Are Prices Down, or Not? Average Price vs. Benchmark Price

Why are some articles saying prices are going down, and others saying that for the same product category, they’re not? How is that even possible? Whenever you read real estate reports, it is important to understand how the data used is interpreted by the author. With the high price points of Vancouver’s heated real estate market, conversations about predicting where property values will go next seems to have become a daily conversation wherever we go. In this video, I discuss the difference between the two common ways of measuring price points: Average Price vs. (HPI) Benchmark Price.

 Are prices down, or not? Two ways to measure prices.

When looking at activity for a given period of time, the Average Price per unit is exactly that – an average of all of the sales for that period within a certain market segment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Opinion: The true cost of the new real estate tax

This week, the B.C. government introduced a new 15-per-cent tax on all non-citizen and non-permanent-resident buyers of residential real estate in Metro Vancouver. Macdonald Realty opened its first office in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood over 70 years ago. Though we now have 20-plus offices and 1,000 staff and agents, the heart of our organization is still in Vancouver.

We understand that the government felt the need to take concrete action to curb speculation and related price inflation. We understand also that the increase in real estate prices over the last few years is a topic of much concern to many Metro Vancouver residents. That said, we do take strong issue with the retroactive nature of this new tax. Specifically, that it applies to all transactions that close after Aug. 2, regardless of when those contracts were entered into. This will have profoundly negative consequences for many Canadian families, who weren’t the intended targets of the tax.

To highlight the consequences, let us give you a few real-life examples.

One of our clients is a new immigrant family in the process of moving to Canada. They have both children registered for school — their daughter will be studying English literature at the University of B.C. in the fall. They have already entered into a firm deal to buy a resale home priced at $765,000 (from a Canadian seller), but since the sale closes after Aug. 2, they are now looking at a sudden $114,750 increase in their cost — on a firm and binding contract. This is neither just nor reasonable.

Op-Ed by Jonathan Cooper

Op-Ed by Jonathan Cooper

Our second example involves a Canadian family who recently listed their home for sale in Surrey. They have a firm deal with an immigrant family for $480,000; however, that deal is now in peril, because the buyer’s cost just went up by $72,000. The sellers, as Canadian citizens, weren’t meant to be the subject of this tax, but now it has placed their financial lives in jeopardy.

The Canadian sellers in both examples point to a broader reality: the knock-on effects of this tax throughout the Vancouver real estate market that could be immensely damaging for many Canadians. Real estate is traditionally a linked economic activity. Once they have a firm deal on their property, many sellers promptly go on to buy their next home. If foreign buyers begin defaulting en masse, we could see a contagion scenario wherein a single default by a foreign buyer will result in many more defaults by Canadian buyers. In addition, the resulting flood of lawsuits from these defaults could overrun the court system. We believe that the government has not anticipated this very likely scenario.

There is a prevailing impression that all foreign buyers are big-moneyed cash buyers. But the reality is that there are many more hardworking, middle-class immigrant families who are stretching themselves in order to get a foothold in the Vancouver market and give their families a better life. It is very reasonable that some of these families will not be able to afford an additional 15-per-cent tax that was neither anticipated nor budgeted for. For many, their only option will be to default on their purchase and lose their deposits.

Furthermore, this tax damages our province’s credibility as a place to do business in the eyes of the world. If our government is willing to drastically and retroactively increase costs in one major sector of the market, a reasonable investor would have to conclude that they might be willing to do so in any sector. Do we want to be known as a place where legally binding contracts can be, without recourse, altered after the fact by the government? And in a country built by immigrants, do we want to be known as a place where we impose severe, retroactive costs on families merely because of their country of origin?

Once again, while we do not necessarily agree that the government’s move to implement a foreign-buyers’ tax is the most effective means of addressing affordability, we do understand the immense public pressure to respond to Vancouver’s escalating house prices. However, the punitive nature of the tax’s implementation will cause immense — and completely unnecessary — damage to Canadian families, with no discernible benefit.

Premier Christy Clark expressed concerns that grandfathering would create a run on the market, but this could easily be avoided by only including contracts that were agreed to before July 25, the date on which the tax was announced. Imposing a 15-per-cent tax while exempting existing contracts will achieve the government’s goals without financially imperiling blameless Canadian sellers. In the strongest possible terms, we urge the government to reconsider their position.

—————–

This op-ed by Jonathan Cooper was published in the Vancouver Sun on Friday, July 29th 2016.  Jonathan Cooper is vice-president of Macdonald Real Estate Group Inc.

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.

 

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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