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May your home be filled with health, happiness, peace and prosperity in 2017. 

Vancouver Real Estate - January 2017
Anne's Real Estate Update
In This Issue:


Happy New Year!
Vancouver inventory at all time low

Sotheby's International Real Estate Canada
2016 Year End Top-tier Real Estate Report

The Globe & Mail
Home values skyrocket in Vancouver area

B.C. Ministry of Finance
Increased home owner grant helps families with property taxes

My Commitment To You
How I will facilitate your property sales & acquisitions. It can be a great experience!

Home Renovation
When is an Architect Beneficial?

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - January 3rd, 2017
A heated year for Metro Vancouver real estate draws to a close


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Happy New Year!


As 2017 has come to a start, the Vancouver real estate market inventory is at an all time low. This explains why the prices are not decreasing significantly.  "The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $897,600. This represents a 17.8 per cent increase compared to December 2015".

Now that December is over (considered generally the slowest month of the year in terms of overall market activity), the Chinese New Year is approaching and with Spring showing its nose, I am expecting many more properties to arrive on the MLS and therefore giving way more selection to all the buyers waiting for the right home.

We are now seeing homes on the West Side listed below the $2.5M benchmark, which is something we had not seen in the last 7 to 8 months! Expensive homes are still selling with multiple offers when the home brings value and has great attributes. The demand for condos and townhouses are remaining very strong as this is usually the entry point for most home buyers.

Now is the time to take advantage of the market! Please call me if you wish to sell your home or if you are interested in making a real estate acquisition. 

     Anne

Sotheby's International Real Estate Canada


Sales over $4 million set records in Toronto as momentum normalizes in Vancouver;
$1 million-plus activity renews in Calgary & Montreal reports healthy gains.


Toronto, ON. (January 11, 2017) – A report released today by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada revealed significant shifts in the performance of key Canadian top-tier real estate markets in 2016. The country’s four major metropolitan centres reflected resilience in spite of major domestic and global changes, as local market fundamentals emerged as the dominant forces in reshaping market performance across the country.

The Greater Toronto Area (Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York) dramatically accelerated its rapid pace of growth to lead Canada’s four major metropolitan centres with $1 million-plus sales surging 77% year-over-year, and luxury sales over $4 million rising 95% over 2015 figures. Following years of record-setting gains, Vancouver’s top-tier real estate sales slowed in the latter half of 2016 as a series of municipal, provincial and federal policy changes, including the introduction of a 15% foreign buyers’ tax, amplified a trend towards market moderation that had emerged over the summer. While sales volume over $1 million declined 34% year-over-year in the last half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, annual sales over $1 million remained consistent with 2015 levels, with a nominal 1% year-over-year decline. Vancouver’s luxury real estate sales over $4 million increased 36% overall in 2016 compared to 2015.

Top-tier real estate activity in Calgary increased in 2016 despite the city’s continued economic challenges, as motivated sellers entered the market with adjusted pricing. $1 million-plus residential real estate sales activity increased 19% year-over-year. A stable provincial economy and political landscape resulted in a healthy 23% gain in Montréal’s $1 million-plus sales volume over 2015.

“Toronto’s luxury real estate market shattered previous performance records for the second straight year and defied industry expectations,” says Brad Henderson, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “At the same time, in light of the unexpected and unrelenting changes that rippled across the housing industry in 2016, the top-tier real estate markets in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal demonstrated tremendous resilience, and in many cases sheer defiance, to post healthy performance across the board.”

According to Henderson, local market factors such as inventory constraints or oversupply, regional economic performance, levels of local consumer confidence and domestic demand, prevailed in shaping the top-tier real estate market even as major changes in municipal, provincial and federal policy directly impacted the sector and the housing finance system in 2016. Similarly, global political and economic headwinds were tempered by regional trends and hyper-local real estate conditions.

Canadian top-tier real estate market highlights included:

Vancouver

Following a record-breaking first half of 2016 that sent real estate sales rising another 26% to 3,111 properties sold, the city of Vancouver’s top-tier market normalized in the second half of the year. From July 1 to December 31, 2016, 1,404 properties sold over $1 million, down 34% from the first six months of 2015.  With intensifying demand from homebuyers seeking alternatives to single family homes, $1 million-plus attached home sales increased 38% year-over-year to 612 properties sold. Sales of condominiums over $1 million increased 48% year-over-year with 1,008 sales in 2016 compared to 679 units in 2015.



Overall, the city’s annual $1 million-plus residential real estate sales (condominiums, attached and single family homes) remained in line with 2015 performance, declining 1% year-over-year, with 4,515 units sold compared to 4,578 units in 2015.
Luxury real estate sales over $4 million experienced an overall 36% year-over-year increase to 573 sales in 2016.
Single family home sales over $1 million fell 47% from 2015 levels in the second half of 2016, in total, 2,895 homes sold over this price point in 2016, a modest decline of 16% from 2015.

In spite of a 35% year-over-year decrease in $4 million-plus sales in the last half of the year compared to the same period in 2015, the annual sales volume of homes sold in this luxury price range increased 34% overall.

Calgary

Calgary’s top-tier real estate sales activity stabilized in 2016, as prices adjusted to better align with buyers’ market conditions. Following 2015, a year in which $1 million-plus residential real estate sales volume (condominium, attached and single family) decreased over 40% compared to 2014, sales over $1 million increased 19% year-over-year to 612 units sold in 2016.  

CONTINUED...

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Home values skyrocket in Vancouver area
The Globe & Mail - January 3, 2017


Home values in the Vancouver region skyrocketed in the latest BC Assessment data, with the snapshot from mid-2016 capturing the housing market before it cooled off.

Assessments for single-family detached houses jumped 30 per cent to 50 per cent in value from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016. For example, a typical detached home on a lot with a width of 33 feet (10 metres) on Vancouver’s west side soared 41 per cent in value, BC Assessment said Tuesday.

The provincial Crown corporation estimates values on behalf of B.C. municipalities, which use the data to determine how much homeowners will pay in property taxes.

Condo and townhouse values in the Vancouver region rose 15 per cent to 30 per cent during the latest assessment year, said Jason Grant, the corporation’s acting vice-president of assessment.

He emphasizes that the valuation date is important because the housing market in the Vancouver area has slowed down since mid-2016. The amount that homeowners pay in property taxes will hinge on how their increase in value compares with the average in their taxing jurisdiction.

“Dramatic increases in property assessments do not translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes. It’s going to depend on how your property performed relative to the average change in your community,” Mr. Grant said in an interview.

The valuations reflect the state of the real estate sector weeks before the B.C. government implemented a 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers in Metro Vancouver on Aug. 2.

“We’re historically used to the assessment being lower than what the home’s market value is, and now you have this reversal,” said Vancouver real estate agent Steve Saretsky, who specializes in condos. He estimates typical condo prices downtown have slipped 5 per cent since June.

Sales volume peaked last March, while the average price for detached homes sold in the area called Greater Vancouver hit record highs that surpassed $1.8-million during the first quarter of 2016, according to real estate board data. The price for Greater Vancouver detached homes averaged $1.61-million in November, down 8.6 per cent from $1.76-million in July.

One group of owners facing higher property tax bills are those having homes with assessed values above $1.2-million. For assessments above $1.314-million, a provincial grant worth up to $570 will be eliminated.

CONTINUED...

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BC Ministry of Finance
Increased home owner grant helps families with property taxes


The Province is increasing the home owner grant threshold to $1.6 million, helping keep property taxes affordable for families and ensuring most home owners will continue to receive the full grant this year, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.

“This is a 33% increase over last year,” said de Jong. “We are doing our part to help keep housing costs affordable for families. Local governments can also work to keep property taxes at a manageable level for residents by controlling their spending and reigning in the amount of revenue they need to operate.”

The Province is projected to spend $821 million on home owner grants in 2017-18, compared to an estimated $809 million in 2016-17. The Province reimburses municipalities for the full cost of the home owner grant to ensure municipal revenues are not affected.

“The threshold increase to $1.6 million helps ensure virtually everyone who received the grant last year will also receive it in 2017. The strength of the Province’s economy and sound fiscal management have put us in a position to raise the threshold by such a large amount this year to help home owners.”

The increase to the 2017 home owner grant threshold means that provincewide, 91% of homes will remain below the threshold and if eligible, their owners will receive the full grant amount. In many communities throughout the province, most or all homes are covered by the threshold. In Metro Vancouver, 83% of homes will be below the threshold. For properties assessed above this threshold, the grant is reduced by $5 for every $1,000 of assessed value in excess of the threshold.



There are two types of home owner grants
The basic grant can reduce residential property taxes on an owner’s principal residence by up to $570, or if the home is located in a northern and rural area, up to $770.

An additional grant is available to home owners 65 years of age or older, or who qualify under the persons with disabilities category, or who are the surviving spouse of a veteran who received certain war-veteran allowances. This additional grant can reduce residential property taxes on an owner’s principal residence by up to $845, or if the home is located in a northern and rural area, up to $1,045.

Low-income home owners who would have received the additional home owner grant can apply for a low-income supplement, which replaces any reduction in the grant caused by having a property valued over the threshold. The low-income supplement is available to qualifying seniors, certain veterans or their surviving spouse and persons with disabilities.

Property tax deferment is another option that can help make home ownership more affordable. Property tax deferment is a low-interest loan program that allows qualifying B.C. home owners to use the equity in their homes to defer payment of their annual property taxes. Qualifying home owners can defer all, or a portion of, the annual property taxes on their principal residence.


Quick Facts
Decisions about the threshold are based on BC Assessment data, and are made in the context of setting priorities within a balanced budget.

Home owners who qualify for the home owner grant are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who live in British Columbia. Grants are only available for an owner’s principal residence.

Home owner grant thresholds in recent years:

2016: $1.2 million
2015: $1.1 million
2014: $1.1 million (threshold lowered as a cost-savings measure)
2013: $1.295 million
2012: $1.285 million
2011: $1.15 million
2010: $1.05 million


Learn More
For more information about home owner grants, visit:
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/annual-property-tax/reduce/home-owner-grant/under-65
or contact your municipality or the Province if your property is in a rural area.

For more information about property tax deferment, visit:
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/annual-property-tax/pay/defer-taxes
or call 250 356-8121 (Victoria) or 1 888 355-2700 (toll-free in B.C.)
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My Commitment To You


In addition to the standard service offered by Realtors®, I will write  a LIFESTYLE STORY, BRAND your house and SHOWCASE it. This includes:
  1. FREE  staging services: I will create an ideal environment for future buyers to imagine themselves in this new space and make it very inviting and welcoming.
  2. HIGH-DEFINITION PICTURES: The use of a professional photographer and 20 High-definition pictures to showcase your home.
  3. The creation of a HIGH-END VIDEO of your property, including drone imaging.  Having  Sight , Sound and Motion will allow to transport the consumers into your home.  This will highlight  the lifestyle associated to living in your neighbourhood area and features its benefits. A video tells best the story of your home. 
  4. Thick glossy brochures with high-definition pictures, floor plan and description of your property

For a successful sale, I will leverage my Experience and Expertise in a very competitive market by:
  1. Helping you reach the Local, Asian, American and European markets with language proficiency in English, Mandarin and French.     .
  2. Advertising  in the major local newspapers and send out newsletters and flyers to  promote your property. Putting a sign on your lawn is just the beginning: I spend lots of my costs to “PUSH” your property to get it sold in the fastest time frame. 
  3. Offering “boutique” service, and am committed to personally (no realtor's assistant) showing your house at the Open Houses and each appointment request. 
  4. Negotiating on your behalf to ensure that you receive the highest possible sale price for your home. 
  5. Warranting you to receive full transparency and open communication through the entire process.
  6. Providing a Personal & Courteous service. 

Other ancillary services that I can assist you with include:  
  1. Arranging for owners rent back
  2. Having access to architects/designers/ builders/ trade people (painting, flooring, plumbing and electrical). 
  3. Leveraging my expanded referral network and partners:
    - CPA: Tax strategies and investment planning
    - LAWYERS: Advice and guidance for your investments
    - FINANCING: Creative loan solutions for local and international buyers

Why using Sotheby’s International Realty Canada? 

Sotheby’s offers UNPARALLELED MARKETING REACH AND ADVANTAGES.

Sotheby’s International Realty is currently the most trusted name in real estate bringing instant credibility and recognition with Buyers and Sellers. Reaching the most influential group of people in the world. 

Sotheby’s International Realty has an extraordinary name in real estate and in the luxury world. 
Luxury is in Sotheby’s DNA:  has sold most cherished valuable in the world and is truly a unique global luxury brand.

GLOBAL EXPOSURE on many platforms: www.sothebysrealty.com and the cascading websites. 
  • In 2015: Sotheby’s reached 1,2 billion viewers.  In 2016: +15%  
  • Already in 2016, Sotheby’s engaged 1/7th of the world!
  • Juwai.com. All the properties are on Juwai.  (#1 real estate site in China).
  • Sotheby's offers a powerful network of 15,000 agents and 849 offices  worldwide giving access to affluent community of buyers.
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Home Renovation: When is an Architect Beneficial?
by David Rainey and Sallie McBrien

Benefits of Hiring an Architect
It is commonly acknowledged in the design community that many complicated renovation projects must be in want of an architect. But an over commitment to frugality may cause an owner to think that a contractor will suffice so that they can save money.

In some cases, an architect can help you save time and money whether you plan to stay in your home or sell it. The trick is to use them when they are needed.

A Spectacular Mistake
Sometimes homeowners who desire a more comfortable home or want to sell their residence decide that renovation will improve chances of a great sale. Either way, pay heed to the error of a London property consultant who wanted a home with the luxury of plentiful space.

Christian Allsop decided he could save money by not hiring an architect for his conversion of four flats into a single residence. However, 12 years later, Allsop told the newspaper that during the renovation, he lacked the "big picture" an architect would have provided to redesign and connect rooms in a pleasing and functional way.

Over time, Allsop grew frustrated with inconveniences such as a dark basement, a bathroom artlessly placed to open onto a sitting room and space wasted on a second terrace. So in 2006, he finally hired an architect and began a second renovation to get the job done correctly.

Differences Between Architects and Contractors
HouseLogic, published by the National Association of Realtors, says, "The bigger the remodeling job and the more valuable the house, the more you need a professional".

The publication states that although architects and contractors both can save owners money on renovations, they "solve problems differently". Contractors look for design solutions that are "efficient and logical... their approach likely won't be as innovative or aesthetically pleasing". Architects usually design with the flow of the entire house in mind.

How an Architect Helps You
For small projects that don't require a building permit, an architect probably isn't necessary. But they are often used if exterior renovation or major structural changes -- such as altering load-bearing walls or changing room flow -- are necessary.

To protect yourself when selecting an architect, choose one who is licensed, carries errors and omissions liability insurances and is recommended by a friend or neighbor who has been through an architect-designed renovation.

A licensed architect can help avoid costly mistakes leading to do-overs. Architects are navigators of the planning and design process. They start by clarifying the needs and wants of owners. Then they help the owners consider if those are the best possible changes and whether the planned budget and zoning laws allow the scope of work you request.

Here are some of the services architects specializing in residential renovation can provide:

- Save time and money for clients through careful design and choice of materials that
  minimize maintenance and replacement costs
- Order soil tests for areas supporting building additions
- Discourage unnecessary expenditures for projects readying a property for sale
- Define what needs to be built to achieve the project you envision
- Keep costs down by offering creative design solutions
- Note construction opportunities for energy efficiency
- Contract with structural engineers to make sure plans can be built safely
- Act as a go-between for contractor and owner
- Observe construction to make sure the contractor's team is following specifications on project
  drawings correctly

As the American Institute of Architects points out, "a well-conceived project can be built more efficiently and economically."

Chemistry in the Work Relationship
The AIA says that architects make property owners' lives easier by helping you find your way through what is often a messy and disruptive process.

The organization adds that interviews are "crucial" to find the architect whose design and communication styles are a good fit for you. Seek a good listener who responds to what you want instead of telling you what he or she thinks you should want.

Here are some questions to ask:

- Who will handle the job? Is this firm a sole proprietorship or does it employ multiple architects?
- How busy is the firm or individual architect? Is there room in the schedule for timely
  completion (design plus working drawings and approval rounds) of your project?
- What will the design fee cost?
- Are references available for similar jobs?
- When are payments expected?

Listen carefully to the answers to see if any need clarification. Then ask yourself whether you understand and are comfortable with the architect.

Hiring an architect may seem like an extra expense at times, but it never hurts to take a deeper look into the benefits of having this professional on your side for the big projects.


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News Release - Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A heated year for Metro Vancouver real estate draws to a close
VANCOUVER, BC – January 4, 2017

The Metro Vancouver* housing market had its third highest selling year on record in 2016, behind only 2015 and 2005.

Sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in the region reached 39,943 in 2016, a 5.6 per cent decrease from the 42,326 sales recorded in 2015, and a 20.6 per cent increase over the 33,116 residential sales in 2014.

“It was an eventful year for real estate in Metro Vancouver. Escalating prices caused by low supply and strong home buyer demand brought more attention to the market than ever before,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said.

“As prices rose in the first half of the year, public debate waged about what was fuelling demand and what should be done to stop it. This led to multiple government interventions into the market. The long-term effects of these actions won’t be fully understood for some time.”
 
Residential properties listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 57,596 in 2016. This is an increase of 0.6 per cent compared to the 57,249 properties listed in 2015 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to the 56,066 properties listed in 2014.

“The supply of homes for sale couldn't keep up with home buyer demand for much of 2016. This allowed home sellers to raise their asking price. It wasn’t until the last half of the year that prices began to show modest declines.”

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $897,600. This represents a 2.2 per cent decrease over the past six months and a 17.8 per cent increase compared to December 2015.

December summary

Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,714 in December 2016, a decrease of 39.4 per cent from the 2,827 sales recorded in December 2015 and a decrease of 22.6 per cent compared to November 2016 when 2,214 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 8.1 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.
 
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 1,312 in December 2016. This represents a decrease of 35.1 per cent compared to the 2,021 units listed in December 2015 and a 58.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016 when 3,147 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver is 6,345, a 5.3 per cent increase compared to December 2015 (6,024) and a 24.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016 (8,385).

Sales of detached properties in December 2016 reached 541, a decrease of 52.4 per cent from the 1,136 detached sales recorded in December 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,483,500. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 1.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.

Sales of apartment properties reached 915 in December 2016, a decrease of 25.3 per cent compared to the 1,225 sales in December 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $510,300. This represents a 17.3 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.

Attached property sales in December 2016 totalled 258, a decrease of 44.6 per cent compared to the 466 sales in December 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $661,800. This represents a 20.4 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.

CLICK HERE to download the complete stats package.  (PDF \ 550 KB)

*Editor’s Note: Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include:
Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.
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Anne Mainwaring REALTOR · 5660 Yew Street · Vancouver, BC V6M 3Y3 · Canada

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