This week we have a question from Steve who lives on the East Side. He asks:
I recently read a tongue in cheek column about the death of facts in modern journalism in the United States. Living next door to a country that's still debating evolution and debunking climate change (not that we're any better in that regard), I'm not surprised. But Mark Hasiuk's columns about foreign real estate investment in Vancouver are a stark reminder that, as with most things, we're in lock-step with our American cousins.
The Greater Vancouver housing market has slowed down considerably from the frenetic pace we saw last February and March, but it's still ticking right along.
The federal government recently announced the Code of Conduct for Federal Regulated Financial Institutions. It's a series of consumer protection measures for borrowers. One of the changes announced is a new mortgage code that will require that federal financial institutions provide more information about how prepayment charges are calculated. Essentially, these charges are penalties imposed on borrowers when they want to pay out their mortgage early.
According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), MLS home sales last month were up more than 60 per cent from January. Not surprisingly, they were down nearly 18 per cent from last February, when the market was smoking hot. Overall, the market is balanced as we move into what is traditionally the busiest part of the year.
Every sector of the economy needs certainty to function efficiently and real estate is no exception. The recent HST debacle has affected real estate more than any other sector. Our homes are, quite simply, the single biggest purchase that many of us will ever make.
I've received many responses to a recent column I wrote about the changes to the Strata Properties Act, in particular, the mandatory requirement that strata corporations produce a depreciation report every three years.
Global economy be damned. Things in B.C. are just fine, thank you very much. Just don't think about the declining quality of our health care and education or the 137,000 children living in poverty. It will just depress you and you need to keep your wits about you when Ottawa is lecturing you about the high levels of household debt that we're loading on. They've got a point.
The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board described November sales and listing activity as typical. If you've lived in Vancouver for a while, that might have you scratching your head, especially when it's followed by news that November sales were 5.8 per cent below the 10-year average. Now that's the Vancouver real estate market I know.
If you followed my last column, you know to get rid of all the junk cluttering your home before you sell it. But that's just the beginning. Head back to the kitchen and bathrooms. Scour all the cupboards inside and out. No cracker crumbs or stains from soya sauce bottles. No old shampoo bottles and empty toothpaste tubes.
The old saw is that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." If you're selling your house, townhouse or apartment, this should be top of mind.
Leaky condos aren't the only challenge buyers face.
My husband and I downsized a few years ago. We'd just sold our business and were planning to take a couple of years off as a sort of retirement installment. We sold our house in Kitsilano and full of naïve enthusiasm, came very close to buying a 400 square foot studio apartment with a Murphy bed. It had a dining table that cleverly dropped down when you raised the bed. We ended up buying a one bedroom and den in Yaletown. Crisis, narrowly averted.
In a recent column I featured Dr. Stuart Kreisman and his wife. They're a young couple who discovered that it's impossible to find a smoke-free condo in Vancouver--at any price. There simply aren't any for sale. Fortunately, there are other options.
According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver [REBGV], May sales of residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased seven per cent over the same period last year and 4.7 per cent over last month. The market is steady, but has slowed down considerably from the frenetic pace we saw in February and March. Hockey anyone?
Increasing the value of your home with green upgrades is going to get a lot easier for Vancouver homeowners.