Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® affiliates had 27% of the total sales among the top 500 firms in the U.S., outselling all other networks in home sales by 48%, according to REAL Trends 500, a ranking of the largest U.S. companies by transaction sides and sales volume. Members also represented 14 of the top 25 firms in the U.S. in sales volume among this prestigious group.
Last month Luxury Brokers from across North America visited Macdonald Realty in Vancouver for the Luxury Portfolio fall workshops. During their stay they visited the River Green Presentation Centre in Richmond, a new luxury master planned community encompassing 27 acres of river shoreline. Canada’s most significant waterfront community and Richmond’s most impressive luxury development. Designed and built with the finest materials and craftsmanship, each residence offers the ultimate in luxurious living along the Fraser River. The prestigious waterfront location embraces stunning panoramic vistas of the Gulf Islands, North Shore Mountains and the Vancouver skyline. Visit the Two River Green website for more details.
In the August 4, 2015 edition of Business in Vancouver, Macdonald Realty was ranked #1 on their annual list of the biggest BC businesses owned by women. With 930 employees in B.C., Macdonald Realty’s Owner, President and CEO Lynn Hsu tops a list that includes SimpeQ Care, TPD, Purdys Chocolatier and CEFA Early Learning Schools in the Top 5.
Macdonald Realty also ranks 11th on BIV’s list of Biggest B.C. organizations managed by women.
Business in Vancouver newspaper is the flagship publication of Business in Vancouver Media Group. Since its creation in 1989, the weekly newspaper has been an essential source of news, features, analysis and data for Vancouver business leaders and influencers. It remains a must-read source of unique, unduplicated business insight.
See the full list at Business in Vancouver.
VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada (August 11, 2015) – Macdonald Realty is pleased to announce that as of August 11th, 2015, over 300 of its real estate agents have received the Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®) designation – this represents over 50% of the agents from Macdonald Realty’s residential sales offices.
“In decades past, agents were the conduits of listing information.” Explains Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) CEO Lynn Hsu. “Now, there is an enormous amount of listing data readily available to the public online, and the value proposition for the real estate agent has changed. Agents must provide cogent analysis of the data available, and expert negotiation skills to resolve conflict, build bridges, and bring deals together for the benefit of all parties involved.”
Jonathan Cooper, MREG Vice President, adds: “The bottom line is negotiation skills are fundamental to the real estate business. Successfully managing the ebb and flow of interpersonal communications—often under considerable time constraints—is vital to real estate transactions, and it’s not something that can be replaced by a computer.”
Offered by the Real Estate Negotiation Institute (RENI), the CNE® course applies up-to-date research in negotiation dynamics to the real estate sales process. It provides agents with tangible tools and insights to achieve better outcomes for their clients. Since 2006, tens of thousands of real estate agents across North American have earned the CNE® designation.
Suze Cumming, the Canadian Director of the RENI, has collaborated with MREG over the last twelve months – “I would like to congratulate Macdonald Realty on being the only brokerage in Canada to have successfully certified over 300 of their real estate professionals in this critical area of expertise. Their commitment to a higher level of service excellence proves that they are leaders in the real estate industry.”
For more information, please contact:
Jonathan Cooper, Vice President, Operations
Macdonald Real Estate Group, Inc.
Phone – 604 264 6789
Email – email@example.com
About Macdonald Real Estate Group:
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $6.3 billion and over $1.75 billion in assets under management. With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China. Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit www.macrealty.com.
In June, Macdonald Realty agents, staff, frends and sponsors gathered for an afternoon in the sun at the Annual Charity Golf Tournament, held at Burnaby Mountain Golf Course.
Photos from this fun event can be found on our Facebook page.
Thank You to everyone who sponsored the event, as well as all the attendees!
The HGTV House Hunt has finished and the votes are in. Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you to all who helped Macdonald Realty’s International Home nomination become the 2015 winner. Find out more about this amazing listing below on the HGTV House Hunt website:
This backyard view of the home shows off the pairing of stone and neutral siding that were used for the exterior. The landscape and hardscape includes a small pond and evergreen trees.
Special thanks to our luxury home marketing network partners at Luxury Portfolio International for coordinating our nomination. What an honour! Our Squamish listing won over fellow nominees from Queenstown New Zealand, Paris France, Marrakesh Morocco, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and other exotic global locations.
From politicians to bankers, charity mavens to retail entrepreneurs, these are the leaders who are having a big impact behind the scenes and at centre stage in British Columbia.
If you’re a reader of the business press—or any story featuring the power brokers in our midst—you’ll be struck by one thing above all else: the paucity of women. While some may argue that “them’s the numbers”—and yes, women are poorly represented in the boardrooms and backrooms of B.C.—the fact is that we in the media bear some responsibility. The evidence of powerful and dynamic women leaders abounds. It’s just not being reported as frequently.
That, in part, is why BCBusiness decided to do this survey of B.C.’s Most Influential Women: to put a distinctly female face on power and influence in B.C….
President and CEO, Macdonald Realty
Influence: Taiwanese immigrant Hsu has helped turn Macdonald into one of the largest full-service real estate firms in B.C–and the gateway for Mainland Chinese investors.
The panel says: “Macdonald is far bigger than even the real estate industry realizes, in terms of the amount of transactions. They’re one of the largest residential brokers in B.C., and on the commercial side, the amount of real estate that they’re transacting–they’re doing deals that are as big as what Colliers or CBRE is doing.”
Read about the other 50 Most Influential Women in BC at BCBusiness
Macdonald Realty’s Shanghai office is meeting the needs of its clients and bearing fruitful results
As seen in BCBusiness July 2015 issue.
As the demands of the BC real estate market change, realtors and their respective real estate agencies must react accordingly to stay in the game. For one agency, this meant thinking outside of the box and stepping out of its time zone.
When Macdonald Realty opened its office in Shanghai, China, last year, it was branded as “The Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre.” But Dan Scarrow, who manages the Shanghai office, says that his Chinese clients had their own words to describe it. Impressed with the office’s scope, they say that it covers “an entire dragon of services.”
Those services include residential resale, commercial sales and leasing, new development project marketing and property management. While American, Australian, New Zealand and European real estate companies had established offices in China, Macdonald Realty was the first company in China with a sole focus on Canadian real estate. The company decided to open the office as a response to their clients’ desire for better access to the Chinese market.
Scarrow is uniquely qualified to run the office. He has been working with Macdonald Realty for nearly 10 years, and has worked as an executive assistant for the CEO, and as a residential and a commercial agent. He is a born-and-bred Vancouverite, but he is half Taiwanese. “The upshot is that Mainland Chinese see me as a white Canadian, but I’m also able to communicate with them in Mandarin,” he says. “I guess you could say that, in China, I am an authoritative foreign curiosity and hence memorable.”
His company, says Scarrow, has several competitive advantages. “Our intimate knowledge of the market is what makes us uniquely valuable to investors here,” he says. “We are small enough to be agile, but big enough to provide a full range of brokerage, management and advisory services.”
Scarrow works with Chinese clients who are in the process of immigrating to Canada, with new Canadians and with pure investors. Those interested only in investment tend to look at new condos and commercial properties. “What resonates with investors in China is the perception of Canada as a safe and secure investment climate, in contrast with China’s robust, but volatile, environment,” says Scarrow.
In order to stand out in today’s highly competitive real estate market, Macdonald Realty has undertaken several innovative marketing strategies. As technology has made property information widely available to the public, Scarrow notes that the role of the real estate agent has shifted: from gatekeeper of information to interpreter and negotiator. To meet the demands of those roles, Macdonald Realty has been working with an outside training organization to offer all agents the exclusive Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) designation. Macdonald Realty has also launched its own magazine called Macdonald Realty Luxury Homes, to help market its luxury home listings in Canada and in China. Produced by the company’s own in-house creative marketing team, the magazine has proven to be a hit.
But from his own experience, Scarrow says that the most important way for an agent to get ahead is to be a competent professional first. “Doing a fantastic job with one client will generate more long-term business than even the most successful email campaign,” he says. “Start with the people who know and trust you, do an unbelievable job for them and continue learning about how to be a professional from the good agents and managers around you.” Dan Scarrow manages Macdonald Realty’s Shanghai office sults just come a lot easier.”
This article was originally posted on BCBusiness, June 12th, 2015.
The HGTV House Hunt is on once again! This year we are nominated under 3 categories, with 4 of our listings in beautiful BC. Tour amazing homes across the globe, vote for your favorites, and enter for your chance to win a $10,000 cash prize! And remember you can vote for your favorites once a day. Follow the instructions below to vote for Macdonald Realty Nominees for HGTV’s House Hunt 2015:
Step 1: Tour the homes in the category.
Step 2: When you’ve found your favorite, click “I’m Ready to Vote.”
Step 3: Choose your favorite by clicking “Vote.”
Step 4: Click “Continue to Next Category” to tour more homes.
A mix of contemporary style and country charm brings this spacious, eat-in kitchen to life. Charcoal gray cabinets and gray stone countertops blend seamlessly together, while a gray and white chevron tile backsplash breaks up the monochromatic space. The large island pairs with country-style barstools to provide additional seating for dining. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite Amazing Kitchen!
Sprawling mountain views and a luxurious infinity-edge pool and spa, what’s not to love? Relax, unwind and take in the incredible views of the natural Fiord of Finlayson Arm and the Saanich Inlet. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite Privacy, Please candidate!
Located on 25 acres of deeded land with a private 10-acre lake, the Huston Family Estate offers an unparalleled atmosphere with breathtaking views of the majestic Chilko Valley. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite Privacy, Please candidate!
This backyard view of the home shows off the pairing of stone and neutral siding that were used for the exterior. The landscape and hardscape includes a small pond and evergreen trees. Click here to vote for this listing as your favorite International Homes candidate!
Thank you to our global partners Luxury Portfolio International for bringing attention to our amazing collection of luxury homes listed across British Columbia by our Macdonald Realty agents.
No matter how beautiful or spacious your house, the most important thing is that you feel safe and secure in your own home. It is scary to think that break-ins happen, but don’t worry, there are things you can do to prevent them. Check out these 5 tips to stay safe at home!
- Set up an alarm system. Alarms are one of the most effective ways to ensure safety in your own house. By setting up an alarm system, the police would be alerted in case of a break in. Moreover, it would automatically make your home a less favorable target since the burglars would not want to risk setting off the alarm.
- Don’t hide your keys in obvious places. Hiding your keys under the doormat or a rock may be okay a few decades ago, but now you may want to change up your hiding spot. The best place to put a spare key is with a trustworthy neighbor or family member.
- Install yard lights and security cameras. The brighter the area outside your house is the less likely it is for burglars or intruders to find hiding spots. A security camera could also help with identifying the intruders or alerting homeowners of an intrusion.
- Lock your windows and doors. The easiest way to prevent a break-in is at the point of entry. Locks are crucial, so don’t be afraid of spending a little bit more on them to ensure the safety of your house. Burglar-proof windows are not necessary but could be a possible upgrade in particularly at risk areas or dark alleyways.
- Keeps your plans private. You may be super excited for your next vacation, but wait until you’re back from the trip to share your plans publicly. It’s okay to tell your close friends and families but there is no need to tell the supermarket clerk or the hairdresser because burglars rely on these tips on people who will be out of town.
Are you getting ready to sell your house? Perhaps that includes some renovations. Check out our top 5 Tips for Staying on Budget during Renovations!
- Stick with standard sizes and models. Custom kitchen cabinets, for example, are very expensive. Save money by choosing stock ones, then attaching molding, corbels, or wood carvings for flair.
- Don’t work without a design. Some projects require an architect, some an interior designer, and sometimes a talented builder will get your aesthetic and help you come up with a good plan. Don’t start a remodel without a detailed floor plan. A lot of elements interact in a space — put them all on paper and you’ll catch problems before they are built.
- Rent or borrow what you don’t have. Check with neighbors and friends for miter saws and power drills. Home centers rent heavy-duty tools, such as tile cutters and power washers, for a weekend fee
- Keep the same footprint. Consider what projects you can complete without moving walls or other systems behind the walls. Building an addition, moving walls, or relocating sinks and stoves involves major construction as well as new electrical, plumbing and flooring work.
- Budget for the Unknown. While it’s great to keep a positive attitude and think that everything will go as planned, life usually doesn’t work out that way. When coming up with your kitchen reno budget, add on at least 15% for contingencies.
Each week, BCBusiness takes you inside one of the most outrageously upmarket real estate offerings in the province in their Big Fat Deal real estate blog.
Address: 1268 Tecumseh Avenue, Vancouver
Listing agents: Erin Mulhern and Manyee Lui at Macdonald Realty Ltd. in Vancouver
Custom built in 1984 with a Georgian design, this 7,000-sq.-ft. residence’s stately grandeur matches its location just off Vancouver’s exclusive Crescent enclave in the city’s First Shaughnessy district. For history buffs, the Crescent has always been synonymous with wealth and power, being the preferred address of lieutenant governors and the city’s elite over the past century.
Fast forward to present day and the area still holds cache with numerous august homes and estate-sized lots. This gated residence is described by listing agents Erin Mulhern and Manyee Lui as “simply exquisite” with a beautifully appointed interior that starts with a dramatic foyer accented by 18-foot ceilings and a sweeping double staircase leading to a galleried landing that sets the tone for the rest of the home.
The kitchen counts professional-line appliances while an expansive great room with vaulted and coffered ceilings provides an outlook that spans the entire south-facing garden. A butler’s pantry serves as a connection between the kitchen and the dining room, where mirrored ceiling panels and a chandelier add a touch of glamour.
The formal 23-foot living room can easily accommodate a baby grand piano, while hardwood floors flow through to the adjoining study where wainscoted walls imbued with a deep red gloss add a further notch on the imperial chart.
The upper level is home to four bedrooms including a private master wing endowed with the required walk-in closet and a spa-like ensuite bathroom complete with a rain head shower and bench seating, plus a stainless-steel freestanding bathtub. A one-bedroom suite above the three-car garage provides additional accommodation.
Pull up a chair in the recreation room downstairs where a well-stocked bar and separate wine cellar will keep the libation flowing, or decamp into the media room for movie watching.
Multiple french doors lead out into a garden oasis with large terraces that are perfect for summer entertaining, and a swimming pool and a tennis court for friendly—or more serious—competition.
This article was originally posted on BCBusiness, April 24th, 2015. Written by Nicola Way.
Macdonald Realty was Recognized for Outstanding Referral Services
Macdonald Realty received the prestigious Global Alliance Award for the Most Outgoing Cross Border referrals from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a global network of more than 500 top independent real estate firms. The award was presented at the network’s Annual Awards Gala this spring during LeadingRE Conference Week in Las Vegas. This was Macdonald Realty’s third consecutive year winning this award, showcasing our position as a local BC company with strong international connections.
Also, in the Marketing category Macdonald Realty received honorable mentions for their 2014 Corporate Brochure of Integrated Real Estate Services and their 2014 Recruitment Video in the Interactive Media / Video category.
“An innovative and creative approach to marketing is critical for success in today’s real estate market. Our award-winning firms have distinguished themselves by conveying their firms’ unique character, while providing essential information to home buyers and sellers.”
Macdonald Realty is the sole Vancouver representative of LeadingRE (www.LeadingRE.com), the largest network of premier locally-branded firms in more than 50 countries. LeadingRE provides its affiliates with an extensive range of brokerage services, which include lead generation, cross-market referrals, branding support, luxury marketing, online exposure, technology systems, and industry-leading professional development.
For more information on placing a referral with our award winning referral team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-278-3888.
Macdonald Realty Estate Group’s project marketing team, Platinum Project Marketing had a busy Saturday, launching sales on Evolve, a new condo development in Surrey, which Developer WestStone Properties said sold 300 condos worth about $70 million in a frenzied 90 minute rush.
Read on for the full story as reported by The Huffington Post.
Surrey Condo Sales: Hundreds Line Up For Chance To Buy $94,000 Micro-Units
The opportunity to buy a brand-new condo for under $100,000 in Metro Vancouver’s sizzling real estate market brought hundreds of people to a Surrey sales centre on Saturday.
Prospective buyers stood in line for hours to buy into the 35-storey Evolve concrete tower. A big draw were the micro suites, starting at 316 sq. ft. and $93,900.
Twin brothers and WHL players, Connor and Curtis Honey, drove up from Edmonton to be the first people in line at 4 a.m. for the opening day of sales. They snapped up one of the 80 micro condos.
“It is pretty small, but I think there’s ways to work around it and maximize the space,” Curtis Honey told CTV News.
Developer WestStone Properties said 300 condos worth about $70 million were sold in a frenzied 90 minutes Saturday.
The majority of Evolve’s 406 units are priced at less than $250,000.
The condo project’s marketers, Platinum Project Marketing, also credited the high-tech sales presentation, including holograms and augmented reality, for drumming up interest. (Watch video above.)
Evolve is scheduled to be finished in 2018. It’s one of several new towers in Surrey’s developing West Village.
With about 1,000 people moving to Surrey every month, the city is forecast to become B.C.’s biggest by 2041.
Spring is here and that means it’s time to start your spring cleaning. But it doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence this year! Here are a few hacks that will help you get through that cleaning faster with these spring cleaning hacks.
1. Use lemons to remove hard water stains
Find instructions on Broccoli Cupcake
2. Coarse salt can help you clean cast iron.
Find instructions on Martha Stewart
3. Get rid of water rings on tables by using a hair dryer
Find instructions on Homemade Mamas
4. Remove soap buildup from glass shower doors by using a fabric-softener sheet
Find instructions on Real Simple
5. Slide an old pillow case over a ceiling fan blade to catch dust and dirt
Find instructions on Real Simple
A year later, Scarrow, a second-generation Chinese Canadian who is fluent in Mandarin, is still there. The Vancouver Sun reached Scarrow in Shanghai by phone last week to discuss his progress, objectives and challenges in building a bridge for residential and commercial real estate investment between China and British Columbia as the new managing director of Macdonald Realty’s Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai.
Q When you first were dispatched to Shanghai at this time last year, it was for a four-month assignment to investigate opening up a Macdonald Realty branch in China. Why are you still there?
A We actually have ended up opening up an office here. We have a representative office over here in Shanghai now doing project marketing and commercial and residential prospecting for our Vancouver and British Columbia offices. We’ve branded it as the Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre, so it’s offering a one-stop shop for Chinese investors looking toward anything to do with Canadian real estate, specifically B.C.
Q Why did Macdonald Realty want a presence in China?
A It was sort of two-fold. The first one is that Chinese investors are becoming a bigger and bigger part of our market — both on the residential side and the commercial side. And after our investigation over here we found that there are no other Canadian [real estate] companies over here in China that actively do this, so we would be the first one.
Q What’s been the biggest adjustment living in China for you personally?
A Shanghai is a pretty easy city for an expat to get used to. I think that the rest of China would be a much more difficult adjustment, but Shanghai itself is a pretty cosmopolitan city with a pretty global outlook and a pretty robust expat community. So it’s not as difficult. The challenge, I guess, that everyone talks about is the pollution aspect. They talk about it here the same way Vancouverites talk about the rain.
Q What’s your mandate in terms of building links between commercial real estate in B.C. and the Chinese market?
A Our main mandate is to promote B.C. commercial properties over here in China. I think we all acknowledge that China has been growing. It has created the fastest-growing wealthy and middle class in human history, so tapping into that market I think is going to be increasingly important for Canada and Canadian companies over the next decades.
Q What’s the most common question you hear from Chinese clients interested in investing in British Columbia’s commercial real estate?
A The most common question actually isn’t about real estate. It’s with what is happening in immigration. The biggest question is what is Canada’s current immigration policy and what will it be moving forward, just because there have been so many changes to Canada’s immigration policy in the last few years, and I think everyone is a little bit confused as to what it will be moving forward.
Q Any unwelcome surprises or challenges doing real estate business in China?
A Not really. It’s been interesting in the last year because there were the big changes to the immigration program — the investor immigrant program in the middle of last year and continuing until today. And also with the collapse of oil prices and the subsequent drop in the Canadian dollar. That’s been another thing we’ve had to deal with, but more in a positive sense from our investors’ point of view because now Canada’s real estate market is seen as even cheaper than it was prior to that change.
Q In a blog post last year you wrote that wealthy clients in China are more interested in placing their children and a portion of their wealth outside of China than they are in immigrating themselves. Why do you think that’s the case, if it still is the case?
A It still is the case. If you’re a wealthy Chinese individual it’s likely because you have a large business still in China. China does not recognize dual citizenship and it’s just more difficult for you to actively operate your business without Chinese citizenship. So a lot of people, they’re not willing to give up their business so they’re not willing to give up their Chinese passport either.
Q Which areas of Vancouver’s commercial real estate market are your Chinese clients eager to get involved in?
A For a lot of our clients it’s hotels. But it’s an education process as well, letting them know which asset classes are involved or available in B.C. Hotel investment is more of an active business, so while we have a lot of hotel operator clients who are interested in buying hotels, if they don’t have that kind of experience we like to talk to them about some of the other opportunities that might be available. Some of the hotter ones would be street-front retail with redevelopment potential. That goes very quickly for us. We probably have 15 very serious-type buyers that would snap up products like that immediately, but we can’t find enough product for them. It’s a lot of investment-type product that has income right now but has development potential in five to 10 years.
Q What’s the next step for your operations in China?
A Right now we’re working with a couple of developers to promote their projects over here [in China] and so we’re doing project marketing and then also working with our residential agents to make sure the listings that we have are exposed to the widest possible audience. And finally — obviously — exposure of the commercial real estate realm. I think that’s really the big push right now. A lot of investors have already bought a home for themselves in Vancouver and they’re looking for ways to diversify their investment portfolio in Canada, and really the promotion of the commercial real estate, and the education of those buyers, is our next step.
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.
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.
(Two Twenty One)
Replace bulky chargers and plug your USB cable straight into the outlet! They are especially useful by the bed, where many of us stash all kinds of USB-equipped devices, such as phones, tablets, and e-readers. That stuff competes for space on a standard duplex outlet that may already be serving a bedside lamp or a clock. Most hardware stores now carry these outlets. Learn how to install one here.
Simply called “Ring,” this $269 US wearable device from Japanese company, Logbar, allows people to control a host of household appliances, including lamps and televisions. By pressing a stud on the side of Ring with your thumb, you can draw gestures in the air that turn items off or on.
The Moneual Rydis H67 isn’t just a regular robot vacuum cleaner, it’s also a robot mop too. The $399 product, from California-based Moneual, can be programmed to suck up dust then mop your floor, with full cleaning cycles lasting up to five hours.
Thousands of children end up in hospital every year after sticking their fingers (and other items) into electrical sockets. San Diego-based Brio believes it has an answer with the Safe, a $49 US wall socket that uses sensors to differentiate between plugs and other objects. The socket only lets power flow if an electrical plug is detected. Anything else stuck into the hole won’t receive a charge, preventing someone from being shocked.
This new feeder from PetNet features remote feeding so you can control your pet’s feeding from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Adjust feeding schedule in real-time, from anywhere or set up automated schedules to manage feeding times, portion sizes, and food dispensing speed. As well receive alerts and notifications on your smartphone about feeding times, meal confirmations and food inventory.
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.