Blog › September 2012

New Listing 14439 Sunset Lane, White Rock, BC

F1322970 - 14439 Sunset Lane, White Rock, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale at 14439 Sunset Lane, White Rock and currently listed at 3250000.

Situated amongst an enclave of million dollar homes, this brand new custom built, 3 level home blends both design and function to create the 'pinnacle' hillside home in the desirable lifestyle community of White Rock. Nothing has been over looked in both quality of construction and premium finishing materials. The top floor features an incredible gourmet kitchen, with all of the expected amenities, plus the 70' wide lot affords amazing south facing panoramic views of the gulf islands. The main level boasts four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. The fully finished basement's flexible floor plan can accommodate a multitude of family needs. An elevator services all three floors...(doorman not included). 2/5/10 Warranty.

New Listing 14439 Sunset Lane, White Rock, British Columbia

F1404624 - 14439 Sunset Lane, White Rock, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 14439 Sunset Lane, White Rock and currently listed at $3,288,000.SOLD

Situated amongst an enclave of million dollar homes, this brand new custom built, 3 level home blends both design and function to create the 'pinnacle' hillside home in the desirable lifestyle community of White Rock. Nothing has been over looked in both quality of construction and premium finishing materials. The top floor features an incredible gourmet kitchen, with all of the expected amenities, plus the 70' wide lot affords amazing south facing panoramic views of the gulf islands. The main level boasts four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. The fully finished basement's flexible floor plan can accommodate a multitude of family needs. An elevator services all three floors...(doorman not included). 2/5/10 Warranty.

New Listing 14439 Sunset Lane, White Rock, BC

 - 2156 MEADOWOOD PK, Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 2156 MEADOWOOD PK, Burnaby and currently listed at $1,199,999.SOLD

On a cul-d-sac, this home has it all from top to bottom! 3 x-large bedrooms. Master complete w/ Sex in the City style walk in closet & gorgeous ensuite w/ stand alone soaker tub & large double head shower. Main floor features stained maple hardwood throughout, 2 gas fireplaces, x-large family room has skylights w/ custom built shutters. Kitchen tastefully reno'd w/ SS appliances, granite counters, built in wet bar & breakfast bar. Fully enclosed & private backyard backs to forest & has built in sprinkler system. Downstairs your own spa w/ swim in place pool, hot tub, sauna, fireplace, rec room & possibility of 4th bedrm or wine cellar!

BCREA Housing Market Update Video (September 2012)


New Listing 22367 50TH AV, Langley, BC

F1223960 - 22367 50TH AV, Langley, BC, CANADAView my new House for sale at 22367 50TH AV, Langley and currently listed at $679,000.

The perfect family home in the perfect family neighborhood! This beautiful four bedroom home features vaulted ceilings on the main floor, a sunken family room plus a large den (bedroom) depending on your personal needs. A wonderful entertai ning kitchen adjoins the eating area and opens up to a fabulous deck. Upstairs are three generous sized bedrooms including a large master with ensuite and walk-in closet. Downstairs is an unfinished walkout basement ready for your ideas. Located in a fantastic area, it will not last!

Canadian Real Estate Association cuts home sales forecast for this year and next

OTTAWA The Hamilton and Burlington real estate market was among only six out 27 in Canada to record growth in home sales in August over the month before, according to data published Monday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The decline was spurred by large drops in sales activity in the country’s largest markets and led CREA to cut its 2012 and 2013 outlook for home sales. The association also lowered its national average price forecast as it reported the biggest month-to-month drop in activity in two years.

The association said that tighter regulations on mortgage lending that came into effect in July helped push August homes sales to their largest month-over-month decline since June 2010.

Sales of previously owned Canadian houses and condos have now gone down in five of the past six months.

“While we always caution that housing market trends at the national level can and do run counter to trends in many local markets, the decline in activity in August was definitely the result of much of the country moving in the same direction,” CREA president Wayne Moen said in a statement.

Nationally, sales in August slipped 5.8 per cent compared with July and were down 8.9 per cent compared with August 2011.

Hamilton saw a 0.4 per cent growth in sales from July to August. But year over year, sales in the Hamilton-Burlington area dropped 11.3 per cent comparing August this year to the same month a year ago.

Sales dropped in 24 of 27 markets year over year, including 31 per cent in Vancouver and 14.9 per cent in Toronto.

Listings are also down 3.9 per cent in Hamilton-Burlington between July and August and 16.2 per cent year over year.

In terms of dollar value, $399 million in residential real estate was sold in Hamilton-Burlington in August, up 4.9 per cent from July and up 0.7 per cent year over year. Only six of 27 markets have seen dollar value growth year over year.

The average local sale price has grown 13.5 per cent, from $321,036 in August 2011 to $364,464 last month. The national year over year average price increase is just 0.3 per cent.

Cameron Nolan, president of the Hamilton-Burlington Real Estate Board, says Hamilton continues to be “undervalued compared to the rest of Canada and especially the GTA. That’s because we have pretty solid immigration numbers, pretty solid employment and a strong economic outlook.”

A drop in listings but continuing strong sales has tipped Hamilton-Burlington into a sellers’ market, says CREA chief economist Gregory Klump, which then impacts average price.

“If the sales to listing ratio is between 40 and 60 per cent, that’s a balanced market. Hamilton is well above that.”

Hamilton’s ratio in August was 72.6 per cent, up from 63.7 per cent in August 2011. The national figure for August was 51 per cent.

He attributes the drop in national sales to new mortgage rules which shorten amortization periods on government-insured mortgages from a maximum of 30 to 25. The new rules took effect midway through July. That has shrunk the pool of qualified first-time homebuyers, says Klump, although the full effect won’t be clear until several months of data are in.

The new mortgage rules will likely have a greater impact in high-priced markets and may drive some first-timers to more affordable markets like Hamilton, says Klump.

In its outlook for the year, CREA said Monday that home sales are now forecast to rise by 1.9 per cent to 466,900 units in 2012. That compared with a forecast in June that suggested 475,800 homes would be sold in 2012, up 3.8 per cent from 2011. CREA expects volume will slip by 1.9 per cent to 457,800 units in 2013.

CREA also forecast the national average home price would rise by just 0.6 per cent to $365,000 in 2012 and edge lower by one tenth of one per cent to $364,500 in 2013. The outlook was down from a June forecast that prices would rise by 2.2 per cent to $370,700 in 2012.

Economist David Madani of Capital Economics said the recent slump in home sales suggests that a housing correction is under way. He suggested the price decline could be as much as 25 per cent over the next year or two.

However, TD Bank senior economist Sonya Gulati suggested that absent a catalyst like an interest rate increase or external economic shock, there is no reason to think the housing market will rapidly unravel from the current levels.

“The weakness in both the price and sales series in August was largely expected and the regulatory-induced slowdown should persist over the next six to eight months,” Gulati said.

TD has suggested that the tighter mortgage rules will shave five percentage points off sales activity and cut prices by 3 per cent on average during the second half of this year and early 2013.

CREA said sales were lower in about two-thirds of all local markets across Canada representing 80 per cent of national activity, with lower monthly sales in almost all large urban centres, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

With files from The Canadian Press


Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Home Sales Down -23% in August 2012

Last year at this time, the Fraser Valley real estate market posted positive home sale gains in a market that was considered somewhat normal. This year, August sales across the Fraser Valley have shifted to the downside following a similar trend seen this month across Greater Vancouver with slowing demand, but fairly stable pricing.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) reported that residential property sales through the MLS system in the Fraser Valley declined by -23% to 1,073 sales in August 2012 from the previous month of 1,393 sales in July 2012.

The August 2012 figure of 1,073 residential MLS home sales in the Fraser Valley real estate market represented the following:

  • Down -23.0% compared to 1,341 sales in August 2011.
  • Down -16.1% compared to 1,279 sales in August 2010.
  • Up +7.6% compared to 997 sales in August 2009.
  • Third lowest August sales in the region over the past decade.
  • Second lowest monthly figure since 799 sales in January 2012.

Fraser Valley Real Estate Board President Scott Olson said, “It was a slower August, but nowhere near historical lows for our Board so it’s too soon to tell if it’s a sign of a longer-term trend or if buyers and sellers in the Fraser Valley finally enjoyed a bit of summer. We do know that our economy currently remains fundamentally strong with stable mortgage and employment rates; and, our region in particular has some of the fastest growing communities in the Lower Mainland.”

Olson added, “We’re seeing evidence of that growth in the sales of more affordable, attached properties in the Fraser Valley. For example in August, apartment sales went up significantly in Central Surrey and Abbotsford and remained on par in North Surrey and Cloverdale compared to last year, suggesting that first-time buyers are continuing to find opportunities.”

Fraser Valley Real Estate – FVREB August 2012 home sales down -23% (-320 units) to 1,073 total from 1,393 sales in July 2012.

Fraser Valley - August 2012 Home Sales

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) serves the following British Columbia communities:

  • North Delta
  • Surrey
  • White Rock
  • Langley
  • Abbotsford
  • Mission

The following table shows the actual Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) total MLS residential sales figures for each month from 2009 to 2012.

2009 FVREB – Total MLS Residential Sales for Fraser Valley:

2009 MLS Residential Sales Monthly % Increase/Decrease
January 389 -23.4%
February 682 +75.3%
March 1006 +47.5%
April 1293 +28.5%
May 1501 +16.1%
June 1982 +32.1%
July 2089 +5.4%
August 1786 -14.5%
September 1590 -11.0%
October 1704 +7.2%
November 1522 -10.7%
December 1260 -17.2%

2010 FVREB – Total MLS Residential Sales for Fraser Valley:

2010 MLS Residential Sales Monthly % Increase/Decrease
January 981 -22.1%
February 1204 +22.7%
March 1565 +30.0%
April 1793 +14.6%
May 1477 -17.6%
June 1815 +22.9%
July 1101 -39.3%
August 997 -9.4%
September 1044 +4.7%
October 1014 -2.9%
November 1084 +6.9%
December 895 -17.4%

2011 FVREB – Total MLS Residential Sales for Fraser Valley:

2011 MLS Residential Sales Monthly % Increase/Decrease
January 834 -6.8%
February 1279 +53.4%
March 1818 +42.1%
April 1516 -16.6%
May 1608 +6.1%
June 1588 -1.2%
July 1322 -16.8%
August 1341 +1.4%
September 1165 -13.1%
October 1139 -2.2%
November 1120 -1.7%
December 890 -20.5%

2012 FVREB – Total MLS Residential Sales for Fraser Valley:

2012 MLS Residential Sales Monthly % Increase/Decrease
January 799 -10.2%
February 1269 +58.8%
March 1412 +11.3%
April 1435 +1.6%
May 1616 +12.6%
June 1463 -9.5%
July 1393 -4.8%
August 1073 -23.0%

August 2012 home sales in the Fraser Valley reversed the upward trend seen last year at this time by posting a fairly substantial decline on a month-over-month basis.

Monthly home sales dropped by -23.0% in August 2012 from July 2012 compared to an increase of +1.44% in August 2011 from July 2011.

Fraser Valley Home Sales for August 2011 and 2012

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board launched its new MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) at the start of 2012.

Over the past year, the average price for a home (all property types) in the Fraser Valley decreased by -4.6% to $483,024 in August 2012 from $506,075 in August 2011.

August 2012 Sales-to-Active Listings Ratio - All Types - Fraser Valley

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board launched its new MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) at the start of 2012.

Over the past year, the average price for a home (all property types) in the Fraser Valley increased by +3.3% to $495,345 in February 2012 from $479,290 in February 2011.

August 2012 - Average Price - Residential Detached - Fraser Valley

In their September 5, 2012 news release, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board stated that:

Across the Fraser Valley, the benchmark price of a single family detached house in August was $551,400, an increase of +3.5% compared to $532,700 in August 2011.

For townhouses, the benchmark price in August was $303,000, a decrease of -0.7% compared to $305,200 during the same month last year.

The benchmark price of apartments in Fraser Valley in August was $206,600, an increase of +3.4% compared to $199,800 in August 2011.

August 2012 - MLS Home Price Index Benchmark Prices by Type - Fraser Valley

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board indicated that home prices remained resilient in August despite the lower sales in the region.

Fraser Valley Real Estate Board President Scott Olson added, “Overall, we’re seeing prices stay resilient, however in almost half of our communities, the three-month trend is showing a decrease in prices while the other half is showing increases.”

So far this year, total home sales are down -7.4% compared to last year’s figures with a total of 10,425 residential MLS home sales in the Fraser Valley up to August 2012 compared to 11,254 sales over the same period in 2011.


Feng shui a mystic force in Vancouver real estate

For a realtor trying to survive the currently sluggish market, there might be no sight as disheartening as that of the unyielding feng shui master who shows up with the buyer to assess the property.

The master, is, after all, probably going to get the last word.

The ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, which is, roughly, about creating a harmonious environment, can have a major impact on a sale in the Lower Mainland. Feng shui master Johnson Li knows all about that, having shot down many a potential purchase.

MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY

Mr. Li has been a feng shui master since arriving in Vancouver 20 years ago. He divides his time between the Lower Mainland, Hong Kong, China, and places like Victoria and Seattle, where he’s called upon to assess homes for occupants or would-be buyers.

Feng shui got plenty of media attention in the late 1980s, when a wave of Taiwanese buyers was purchasing and renovating properties based on the system. Today, it’s still alive and well and has spread beyond the Chinese demographic, with devotees from other cultures opting to let feng shui guide their choices.

Mr. Li acknowledges that he is one of the most expensive feng shui masters in Vancouver, but his rate is even higher when he works in China. Here, he charges $8,800 to assess commercial properties; $3,800 to assess houses, and $2,800 to assess apartments. His fee is not to assess only one property for a client, but rather, as many properties as necessary until he finds one with good feng shui. He says that he once rejected more than 100 listings until he settled upon an appropriate house, which must have been an interesting situation for the buyer’s realtor.

The practice is not limited to Chinese buyers, says Mr. Li. He has clients who are Caucasian and East Indian. In Surrey, a Polish family requested his help when they couldn’t sell their house after six months without action. After his recommended changes to the house, he says they sold two months later.

Patricia Coleman is a feng shui practitioner who caters mostly to a non-Chinese demographic in Vancouver. She has guided homebuyers and has “feng shui’d” houses to make them easier to sell.

“I have a lot of western clients,” she says. “It’s not just about trying to sell a house, but making the right decision. It’s a huge purchase. You need to ask, ‘Is it the right one?’

“Every culture has an understanding of placement and energy.”

Faustina Kwok, who lives in Richmond with her naturopath husband Martin, says their new house was built according to feng shui principles that she believes will increase its value. They also “feng shui’d” her husband’s clinic. However, when it came to the house, she wasn’t willing to forgo a good floor plan and flow for feng shui, Ms. Kwok says. She’d been inside “feng shui’d” houses that felt odd because the flow was off. But she was willing to move the driveway, and add a partial wall so that the master bedroom wasn’t in direct view of the front door.

“We just did the big modifications, like where the toilet shouldn’t be,” she says. “You don’t want to flush your fortune away. At least I take comfort knowing my toilet is not in the wrong place,” she says, laughing.

Although growing in popularity, it’s still a largely misunderstood practice, says Mr. Li. Some people think that the popularity of an address that includes the number eight is feng shui, but that’s more about superstition. Feng shui grew out of something far more practical, he explains.

“It is the art of looking at places that are safe or not, gauging whether they are a habitable place,” he says, seated in his Kingsway office, surrounded by his extensive library, a translator at his side. “Feng shui means the study of surroundings.”

Mr. Li has stopped the sale of many houses, and he’s witnessed attempts at feng shui by builders who were shrewdly, or naively, anxious to appease the Chinese market. Mr. Li explained how he once kiboshed the sale of a newly built home in West Vancouver. The builder had hired another feng shui expert to help design the house, which included a giant vertical aquarium as well as an indoor Koi fishpond. Mr. Li took one look at the aquarium and pond and gave a thumbs-down on the pricey property. His clients took his advice and walked. The builder was so furious, he says, that they asked him to put his reasons in writing.

As he poured another round of green tea, he explained that it’s a basic feng shui principle that you don’t want water above your head. As well, a Koi pond inside a house is not a good thing, he added.

When asked to explain, Mr. Li chuckled and said, “Because it will smell like fish.”

As for the feng shui practitioner who’d allowed such missteps, he explained that unfortunately, because so many consumers want instant and easy answers, there are a lot of unscrupulous practitioners who don’t know what they are doing. He doesn’t like doing assessments for developers and realtors because “they use him to make money.”

He recalls a realtor slipping him a red envelope as he was doing his assessment. The envelope was stuffed with a substantial amount of money, which he later turned over to his clients.

Emily Lo says she trusts Mr. Li for all her real estate purchases, even if it irritates the realtors, who often try to persuade her to use Mr. Li’s report as one of the subjects to sale. However, she’d prefer to get his opinion upfront, after the initial walk-through.

“He has the power of veto, and if you are paying that amount of money, you are going to trust what he says.”

Gastown realtor Ian Watt says the issue of feng shui comes up about once a month.

“A lot of my Chinese clients are really big into that,” he says. “It’s amazing, because it does affect real estate for a certain demographic. Everybody over 50 cares for sure.”

He has a client with a condo on Pacific Boulevard currently on the market, and the client refuses to let him close the window during showings.

“It’s on Pacific Boulevard, which is very noisy. The traffic sounds don’t help,” he says. “They want the window open all the time, and it’s something to do with feng shui.”

Anna Chen, who co-owns the unit with fiancé Dan, can explain. Her uncle is a feng shui master who visits from Taiwan, and he told her to keep the window open in order to sell the unit. Ms. Chen, who is 32, said that she was reluctant to believe in feng shui throughout her 20s, but now that she’s older, she’s starting to see its value.

“I think it helps. I’ve seen it help. So that’s why I asked my uncle to help me to sell the place, and also to help us buy the next place. Now, when we go to a new condo listing, sometimes I ask him to come with me. He told me the direction of the entrance and everything will affect health and fortune, how much you can make, or are you going to lose.”


B.C. Real Estate: ‘You can’t burst a bubble that wasn’t there

Sagging home sales and flat ­prices have prompted speculation that the “housing bubble” might be about to burst — a prospect that immediately catches the attention of British Columbians.

But there is no housing bubble, according to Tsur Somerville, director of the University of B.C.’s Centre for Urban Economics in the Sauder School of Business.

“You can’t burst a bubble that wasn’t there,” said Somerville. “But you can have prices above where they should be and it not be a ­bubble.

“A bubble isn’t just defined by high prices,” he said.

Somerville identified a housing “bubble” as conditions akin to what was happening in 2007.

“It didn’t matter what the condo looked like or what it’s going to look like or who was building it, people were lined up around the block and snapping it up,” he said. “They were saying, ‘I’ll take 12, please.’ That’s more of a bubble environment.”

While it might not be a bursting bubble, what is going on in the Vancouver area right now is not exactly normal, either.

Greater Vancouver home sales in August were the second lowest since 1998 and represented a drop of 30.7 per cent compared to August of last year, and were 21.4 per cent lower than in July of this year.

The 1,649 sales of detached, attached and apartment homes were also 39.2 per cent below the 10-year August average of 2,711.

But prices were relatively flat. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver composite benchmark of $609,500 for residential properties in August was down only 1.1 per cent from July, and just 0.5 per cent down from this time last year — despite 2011 being a busy year for high-end property sales.

If there was a large number of unsold units coming onto the market or a huge change in the economic environment, Somerville said, “that would really cause prices to tank.”

“Most people don’t have to sell their house,” he said. “You bought it for $200,000. The price is now $150,000. Unless you have to, why would you sell it?”

For prices to go down ­significantly, contended Somerville, “You need people who have to sell, either because the economy has collapsed and they don’t have any income or developers have built a whole bunch of units that are unsold and the bank is screaming at them or foreclosing or something like that.”

None of those conditions appears imminent.

Somerville said it would take “some negative shock,” such as an ­economic meltdown or mortgage interest rates jumping from four per cent to nine or 10 per cent, to trigger lower prices.

“The euro melting down would cause one of those [shocks],” he said. “If the Canadian government changes its immigration policy and slammed the door on wealthy Asian immigrants, that would affect ­[prices].

“I don’t have a crystal ball but if I had to guess I would be more likely to guess this kind of lower sales/flat prices is more likely to continue.”

The B.C. Real Estate Association is more optimistic. Chief economist Cameron Muir is predicting increased sales in 2013 because of continuing low interest rates, population growth and more full-time jobs.

Employment growth in the ­Greater Vancouver area in the first ­seven months of the year, according to Muir, has been 3.5 to 4 per cent ­higher than the same period last year.

“I would expect to see sales pick up before the end of the year, at least on a seasonally adjusted basis,” Muir said.

Adding to his optimism is increased consumer demand for housing in the Okanagan and in B.C.’s North, where resource extraction continues but where there has also been more economic diversification.

The BCREA is forecasting Multiple Listing Service sales to go down by four per cent this year compared to last year but to go up by 7.5 per cent in 2013.



Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/business/Real+Estate+burst+bubble+that+wasn+there/7208209/story.html#ixzz265YWAAIE


Recently Sold Listing 5471 8B AV, Tsawwassen, BC

V963977 - 5471 8b Ave, Tsawwassen, British Columbia, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 5471 8b Ave, Tsawwassen.