Sutton Showplace Realty (2015) Chilliwack

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B.C. government cuts automatic 2% increase in annual rent allowance for 2019

26 September 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

The B.C. government is capping rent increases in the province at the rate of inflation, a move that will drastically cut the maximum annual rent hikes that had been allowed under the old formula.

The province dropped the automatic two per cent increase in annual rental costs for renters around the province, starting next year.

The increase will now be limited to the annual rate of inflation, which now stands at 2.5 per cent.

This comes on the heels of recommendations from the Rental Housing Task Force to limit rental increases to the inflation rate alone.

The maximum rent increase that was allowed for next year, under the current formula, was 4.5 per cent.

Landlords will still be able to apply for higher amounts if they prove they are maintaining or upgrading units.

"It’s simply not sustainable for renters, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to see their rent increase by more than inflation each and every year,” said Premier John Horgan in a media release.

“We have to eliminate the risk of such huge increases for renters. Our new approach strikes a balance between giving relief to renters while encouraging people to maintain their rental properties.”

As a result of eliminating the additional 2 per cent increase, the government says people living in a $1,200 per month apartment, which is the average rent in B.C., could save up to $288 in 2019 over what they could have paid under the old formula.

People in an average two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver could have faced paying up to $432 more over the course of the year.

“We recognize supply is key to bringing down rental costs in the long term, but renters have told us they are hurting and need help today,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a release.

“That’s why we are taking careful steps to address the housing crisis and ease the pressure on renters, while also making sure that landlords have the tools they need to continue to invest in their rental properties.”

The opposition BC Liberals have attacked the move, which they say will penalize landlords and make it difficult to maintain aging, affordable rental units.

“Landlords are now being told that when they need to do maintenance and renovations they will have to apply to the government to be able to afford it,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone in a statement.

“The arduous bureaucratic process to approve them will result in landlords having little incentive to renovate ageing housing stock in cities like Vancouver and Victoria.”

However, BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver applauded the government’s move.

“The lack of affordable rentals has wide-ranging impact in every corner of society, from seniors on fixed income, to young people and students, to small businesses struggling to find employees,” said Weaver in a release.

“I believe this policy strikes the right balance of encouraging affordable rents while giving landlords the ability to apply for justified higher increases. I look forward to releasing the rest of our recommendations soon so that we can continue to deliver on our shared promise to address the affordability crisis.”

Article from Amy Judd from Global News: https://globalnews.ca/news/4489854/b-c-government-cuts-increase-annual-rent-allowance-2019/?utm_source=GlobalBC&utm_medium=Facebook

  News

OUR VIEW: Are foreign buyers really leaving B.C.'s real estate market?

23 August 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

It looks like foreign buyers have all but disappeared from the Metro Vancouver real estate market – if you believe the latest data.

The latest property transfer data from the B.C. Ministry of Finance, compiled at the end of July, suggest that foreign buyers have pulled back dramatically from buying in Metro Vancouver.

According to the numbers released, just one per cent of all real estate transactions in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District during the first six months of this year involved foreign nationals, down from three per cent in the same period a year ago.

Burnaby, however, still leads the pack.
According to an article in Business in Vancouver,“Burnaby, Coquitlam and Richmond were the top destinations for foreigners buying property in the first half of 2018, with three per cent of transactions in Burnaby and two per cent in each of the other two municipalities involving foreign nationals.”

The number of foreign buyers is an important issue for people in this province. “A recent Insights West poll found foreign homebuyers are the most commonly identified contributor to the region’s housing crisis, with 84 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents naming them – more than the proportion that identified population growth or that other bête noire, shadow flipping,” said the BIV article.

It’s why the BC Liberals imposed a tax on foreign buyers – although it left a loophole by not including pre-sale condos – and why the BC NDP increased the foreign buyer tax, added a speculation tax, and is tightening up the reporting rules when it comes to identifying who is buying.

It’s that last point that makes us skeptical about whether foreign buyers are really leaving the local housing market. There are questions about whether the data being collected truly shows who is buying a property – or whether foreign buyers are using loopholes. Are foreign buyers just using proxies to front for their purchases? We remain unconvinced that the official data is truly reflective of who is buying.

What’s obvious is home sales have slowed.

“Total residential sales in Metro Vancouver fell by 25 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with sales during the same period a year earlier,” said BIV.

In Burnaby, detached home sales have definitely slowed, with a total of 56 sold in June, down from 103 in June 2017. Over the same period, the median price of a home fell from $1.65 million to $1.45 million.

Overall, prices across the region have generally flattened but remain still sky-high. We’re hopeful that new reporting rules beginning in September will at least provide more accurate information on who is really buying.

Article sourced from: https://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/editorial/our-view-are-foreign-buyers-really-leaving-b-c-s-real-estate-market-1.23410763

  News  Selling

Housing, housing, housing. Does anything else matter this election?

03 August 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

The last full week of council decisions across the Lower Mainland before the August break brought with it political debates on a wide variety of … nah, it was mostly just housing.

In the District of North Vancouver, there's now a referendum question asking whether it should spend up to $150 million to create up to 1,000 units of non-market housing in the next decade.

In Burnaby, the city is suddenly pushing staff to develop bylaws for rental-only zoning, less than 10 days after one of its councillors said "it's going to take some time" to get moving.

In Vancouver, city council declared (through a last minute amendment to a motion), that a tower next to BC Place would have to be 100 per cent market rental if the developer applied for it to be higher than 300 feet.

What's the common denominator? Well, part of it is local councillors and mayors showing voters they're responsive to the housing crisis and deserve to be entrusted with another term in office.

Four years ago, the benchmark price of a Lower Mainland property was $561,400, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Now it's $1,006,600.

Secondly, it's a continuation of the never-ending feedback loop we seem to be in: new stats come in about the price of homes, voters get angry and demand answers, politicians come up with solutions, media covers them … and then a whole new whack of stats come in, and we start the cycle again.

There are municipalities where this isn't always the case (transportation and crime are shaping up as greater wedge issues in Surrey for instance), but there are seven candidates running to be mayor of Vancouver, and until we emailed all of them this week, only one of them had made any public comments on bike lanes.

Read the full article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/metro-matters-second-newsletter-1.4762136

  Buyers  News  Selling

B.C. property buyers must give more details in measure aimed at tax evasion

27 July 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

The B.C. government is closing a loophole in an effort to avoid tax evasion in real estate.

It says buyers, including real estate speculators, will have to disclose more complete information when they purchase a property through a corporation or trust.

Starting Sept. 17, the new property transfer tax will require people to report additional information, including their name, citizenship and social insurance number, if they purchase through a corporation or trust.

Finance Minister Carole James says the government wants to prevent people from skirting tax laws and hiding property ownership behind numbered companies and trusts.

The new reporting requirements will apply to all types of property, with exemptions for charitable trusts and certain corporations, such as hospitals and schools.

The changes are part of a series of steps the government is taking to address tax fraud in the real estate market that includes tracking pre-sale condos, sharing homeowner grant information with the federal government and boosting the ability of auditors to act on tax evasion.

“These changes give authorities another tool to make sure people are paying the taxes they owe,” James says in a news release.

Article found here.

  News

Delaware Home Sells for $1.75 Million in Bitcoin

25 July 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

93 Wedgewood Road, Newark, Sells

Back in January, the property of three bedrooms, five bathrooms, and two half-baths was reported on. Nothing too spectacular about that, but what did set it apart was the accepted payment options available.

Built in 2013, the home was a dream for the couple who initially lived there. However, after living in the 8,375 square foot home on 4.2 acres of land, they eventually moved out of the area. Putting the house up for sale, the asking price was listed at $1.75 million. Notably, though, Bitcoin was also an accepted payment option, making it the first home in the state of Delaware to accept cryptocurrency.

Now, seven months later, that house has been sold for the asking price, reports the Delaware Business Times. The home also boasts a five-car garage and backyard pool.

Read the rest of the article here: https://www.livebitcoinnews.com/first-home-to-accept-bitcoin-in-delaware-sells-for-1-75-million/

  News  Selling

Spring market kicks-off with slim supply in March

25 April 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

Figures released by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board showed that prices in markets covered by the FVREB rose in March compared to the previous month. The board covers Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, Mission, and North Delta.

While sales reached slightly above the ten-year average for the  month, a lack of sufficient inventory in the Fraser Valley continued to put pressure on home buyers in March.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,664 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March, a decrease of 24.8 per cent compared to the 2,213 sales in March of last year, and a 20.1 per cent increase compared to the 1,385 sales in February 2018. The ten-year average for sales in the Fraser Valley in March is 1,658 transactions.


Of the 1,664 sales processed last month 410 were townhouses and 460 were apartments, together representing 52 per cent of all transactions in March.


Active inventory for the Fraser Valley finished at 4,796 listings last month, increasing 10.5 per cent month-over-month, and decreasing 0.2 per cent when compared to March 2017.


"We continue to see demand capped-off due to an inadequate amount of supply," said John Barbisan, Board President.
“March is typically when we see our market kick into gear, but we need to see higher levels of new listings coming in and greater overall inventory if we want more homebuyers to find success in the Valley.”


The Board received 2,865 new listings in March, a 24.9 per cent increase from February 2018’s 2,293 new listings, and a 6.7 per cent decrease compared to March 2017.


"On the plus side, despite a tighter market pricing has remained relatively stable for our region. Talk to your REALTOR® who can help show you the best options at the price level you’re looking for.”


For the Fraser Valley region the average number of days to sell an apartment in March was 13, and 16 for townhomes. Single family detached homes remained on the market for an average of 30 days before selling.


HPI® Benchmark Price Activity
• Single Family Detached: At $1,001,400, the Benchmark price for a single family detached home in the Valley increased 0.9 per cent compared to February 2018, and increased 15.2 per cent compared to March 2017.
• Townhomes: At $541,800, the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 2 per cent compared to February 2018, and increased 24.9 per cent compared to March 2017.
• Apartments: At $440,400, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley increased 4.3 per cent compared to February 2018, and increased 48 per cent compared to March 2017.

-- News Release by The Fraser Valley Real estate Board


Allergy Proof Your Home

16 April 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

Follow these guidelines to minimize your exposure to allergens outdoors and to avoid bringing them home.

Beat the Sniffles


Illustration by Zohar Lazar

While many of us eagerly await spring, for the 60 million Americans suffering from allergies, April—with its mold-friendly moisture and pollen-bearing blossoms—is one of the toughest times of the year. Experiencing sneezing, a runny nose, or itchy, watery eyes? Follow these guidelines to minimize your exposure to allergens outdoors and to avoid bringing them home.

Garden Smartly


Photo by Realimage/Alamy

Pollen levels peak between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so save yard work for later in the day. Keep grass cut short, and consider wearing an air-filtering mask, goggles, and gloves while mowing the lawn. Avoid planting high-pollen-producing flowers such as amaranthus, juniper, and peonies, especially near windows or doors.

Clean Your Gear


Photo by Matthew Benson

Don't hang fresh laundry out to dry, and shake out clothes after they've been worn outside. Shower as soon as possible after spending time outdoors. Pets can bring pollen in too, so keep a brush and wet wipes handy to clean off their fur and paws. Place mats on both sides of the front door; they'll function as a catchall for allergens and a landing pad for footwear, which should be taken off as you come indoors, when possible.

Choose the Right Ventilation


Photo by Courtesy of iStockphoto.com/IDK303

Invest in crawl-space vent fans to keep humidity levels below 50 percent, which will thwart the spread of mold and mildew. When it's warm, opt for air-conditioning, instead of open windows, to cool the house.

Manage Mold


Photo by Getty Images

Drain or dump any areas of stagnant water in your yard, and keep soil on your property moist, but not damp, to reduce airborne mold. And never linger outdoors—or open the windows—after a heavy rain.


Mortgage Stress Test

14 April 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

--Article sourced from Global News

The latest set of federal mortgage rules has been blowing a cool wind over almost every Canadian real estate market. With the exception of Ottawa, Montreal and a few others, home prices have slowed down or dipped, sometimes upsetting the calculations of homeowners counting on windfall sales. The average price of a home in Canada stands at $491,000, down 10 per cent from March of last year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

But that isn’t making much of a difference for many home buyers. On the one hand, if you take out Toronto and Vancouver, the national average home price slipped just 2 per cent in the last 12 months — not enough to make up for the fact that, under the new stress test, prospective buyers now have to show they’d be able to keep up with their bills even if their mortgage rate rose by two percentage points.

On the other hand, in Canada’s two most expensive markets, the stricter mortgage rules are pushing many buyers toward less pricey condo and town homes, which is in turn driving up the price of those properties. Condo prices are up 26 per cent and 14 per cent since last March in Vancouver and Toronto respectively.

So how much does one need to make these days to qualify for a loan to buy an average-priced home in some of Canada’s largest cities?

We looked at the numbers using the mortgage affordability calculator of rate-comparison site RateHub.ca. Here’s what we got:

In Toronto and Vancouver, you need well north of a six-figure salary to buy a middle-of-the-road property, which in both cities is likely to mean a condo or a townhouse — if you’re lucky.

The picture isn’t so bad in most of the rest of Canada, where an average income is enough to buy an average home (the country’s median household income stands at $76,000, according to the latest Census data).

Our calculations also include a downpayment of 20 per cent, an amount of cash that may be out of reach for many, especially first-time homebuyers. We also based our math on a 5-year fixed mortgage rate of 2.99 per cent, which is among the lowest in the country but not necessarily available everywhere.

Still, perhaps most importantly, we assumed buyers had no other debts. This is a big “if” as “54 per cent of Canadians have non-mortgage debt, which makes it even harder to qualify,” said Robert McLister, founder of rate-comparisons site RateSpy.com and mortgage planner at intelliMortgage.com

Things like credit card payments and car loans also factor into the stress test, with lenders looking at total debts taking up no more than 42 per cent of your annual pre-tax income.

“Every $450 of monthly [debt] obligations reduces the mortgage you can qualify for by [about] $100,000,” according to Bryan Freeman, senior vice president and mortgage agent at CanWise Financial, a brokerage associated with RateHub.

There are a host of other factors that might push buyers over the edge, Freeman said. For example, if you rely on freelance income that varies from year to year or on commissions, bonuses or overtime, what goes into the calculation is your two-year average pay.

“If you’ve just started [on the job], the bank will only look at your base income,” Freeman said.

Then there are property taxes, which are part of the housing costs that shouldn’t take up more than 30-32 per cent of your gross monthly pay.

The property tax rate can vary significantly from region to region and “is definitely a consideration,” Freeman noted.

Still, there are ways in which today’s house-hunters can stretch their affordability, McLister said.

One of them is turning to credit unions, which are regulated provincially and not subject to the latest federal mortgage rules.

“The income required is roughly 12-13 per cent lower for borrowers who use a credit union that qualifies them at the 5-year fixed contract rate,” McLister said.

Another possibility, if you have a down payment of 20 per cent or more, is lengthening your amortization from 25 to 30 years, which boosts buying power by about 8 per cent, according to McLister.

Logging in more kilometres will also help you get the house you want.

“If you’re open to commuting, you can drive an hour and get at least 30-50 per cent more home for the same income,” he said.

And, then, obviously, there’s buying a smaller house.

The rule of thumb Freeland advises clients to use is to aim for a mortgage no larger than four times their income.

“Even 4.5 times is pushing it,” he said.


~~Article sourced from: 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Speculation Tax

04 April 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

Wondering if the new “Speculation Tax” applies to you? The BC Government has provided this flowchart to help you find out.

To help make housing in overheated markets more affordable and available, the B.C. government is targeting property speculators, while making sure that over 99% of British Columbians will not pay the speculation tax. Link to recent news release: https://goo.gl/U5WvTQ

Click here to download an attachment with more info: BC SPECULATION TAX - March 2018

  News

Four in five British Columbians support new real estate taxes

27 March 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

More than 80 per cent of British Columbians agree that the new speculation tax and the expanded foreign buyer tax are “good” or “very good” moves by the NDP, according to a new poll.

The survey, carried out by Insights West in partnership with CTV Vancouver, found that 82 per cent of respondents backed the expansion and increase of the foreign buyer tax, which is being raised from 15 per cent to 20 per cent and expanded to areas outside Metro Vancouver, including Victoria, Nanaimo, the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan.

The poll also found that 81% of respondents supported the new annual “speculation tax” of 2 per cent of a property’s assessed value, payable by owners of B.C. real estate who do not pay local income taxes and do not rent out their properties.

Support for the annual speculation tax is highest among those who voted NDP in the last provincial election, with 90 per cent describing the policy as good or very good. But support is also high among B.C. Liberal and Green voters, at 75 per cent and 79 per cent respectively.

Support for the speculation tax was also slightly higher among renters, at 85 per cent, but also very strong among home owners.

More than three-quarters of respondents (77 per cent) said they think increasing the property transfer tax from 3 per cent to 5 per cent on homes sold for over $3 million is a “very good” or “good idea”— including 76 per cent of homeowner respondents and 72 per cent of BC Liberal voters in the last provincial election.

In the online survey of what Insights West describes as a “representative provincial sample,” 13 per cent of the 801 respondents said they followed the 2018 provincial budget “very closely” with 40 per cent saying they followed it “somewhat closely.” The remaining 47 per cent of respondents admitted they either followed it “not too closely” (27 per cent) or “not closely at all” (20 per cent).

~ Article from Vancouver Courier

  News