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New tax policies put pressure on Canadians to sell their secondary properties within the province

Albertans anticipated to look within their own province and to the United States for secondary properties


TORONTO, March 29, 2018 –  According to a Royal LePage advisor survey, which consolidated the views of 535 real estate professionals in British Columbia and Alberta, the implementation of new housing taxes outlined in British Columbia’s 2018 budget have the potential to significantly impact the province’s residential real estate market. While previous provincial measures have targeted foreign homebuyers, the implications of the new tax policies will be much more widespread, primarily affecting domestic homeowners located in B.C., Alberta and other parts of Canada who have made the tourist-focused region their second home.

 

British Columbia’s tax policies within its 2018 budget include the introduction of a speculation tax on qualifying secondary homes, an increase to the foreign buyer tax as well as an expanded list of affected regions and an increase to the property-related school taxes and land transfer taxes on homes worth over $3 million.

 

When asked, 85.0 per cent of advisors operating in British Columbia said that the new tax policies have hurt consumer confidence in residential real estate across the province. A further 78.0 per cent of respondents believe that home sales will decrease within the first three months of the announcement of the new policies, while the majority (57.3 per cent) stated that prices will also decrease during the same period of time.

 

“The expected impact of the proposed housing taxes announced in British Columbia should not be taken lightly,” said Phil Soper, President and CEO, Royal LePage. “Homeowners across the province will feel the effects as major policy changes like this are also amplified by a drop in consumer confidence.  We saw this happen in 2016 when the previous government launched a tax on foreign investors. A small number of international purchasers withdrew from the market – along with a huge cohort of domestic homebuyers.

 

“Canadian homebuyers from coast-to-coast were already struggling with new federal restrictions on access to mortgage financing,” continued Soper. “We expect the impact of the new government’s housing tax policies to be even more pronounced as they will force Canadians, Americans and potential buyers from elsewhere in the world out of the market.”

 

While 77.0 per cent of advisors stated that the provincial regulations will cause interest from international purchasers to decrease, this demographic was ranked last when respondents identified the group that was most impacted by the new policies. When asked, 44.8 per cent of advisors stated that the new housing policies most impacted residents of British Columbia, followed by 43.5 per cent who believed it was Canadians who own or are looking to buy property in British Columbia, but predominantly live in other provinces. Only 11.3 per cent of real estate professionals forecast that the policies would impact international purchasers the most.

 

“We expect that the new taxes will materially impact communities that rely on recreational property markets for the health of their local economy,” said Soper. “There will be some Canadians in British Columbia and across the country that will choose to sell their properties in the province as the new taxes add to the cost of homeownership.

“There are further unintended consequences from these kinds of policy changes,” Soper concluded. “If property values decline, property tax revenues decline. Local municipalities will have to deal with this added burden.”

 

When asked, 81.5 per cent of advisors said the new tax policies within British Columbia’s 2018 budget have already caused interest from Canadians living outside of the province to decrease, with 73.8 per cent believing that the move will lead the group to sell their property. This is predominantly led by the impending speculation tax, which 90.8 per cent of respondents believe will impact sales in the province from prospective homeowners located in other areas of Canada, like Alberta.

 

These sentiments were verified by advisors in Alberta, with 80.7 per cent believing that Alberta-based interest in B.C. recreational properties will decrease, and a further 75.6 per cent stating that Albertans who currently own recreational property in British Columbia would likely sell their secondary homes. Instead, it is believed that Albertans will now increasingly look within their own province (72.6 per cent) or south of the border (46.7 per cent) for secondary properties.

 

Survey Methodology

Royal LePage’s advisor survey was conducted online between March 14, 2018 and March 20, 2018, polling a total of 400 Royal LePage real estate advisors from British Columbia and a further 135 from Alberta. Responses were anonymously recorded and analyzed independently.

 

On March 26th, 2018, British Columbia announced amendments to its speculation tax. These amendments do not change the opinion of Royal LePage and its network of real estate professionals. While the size of the new taxes has been reduced modestly in one of the categories, the entire scope of the new tax regime remains in place. The results of the Royal LePage advisor survey are reflective of current expert opinion on real estate in the region.

 

About Royal LePage  

Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of almost 18,000 real estate professionals in more than 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women’s and children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.

 

Reprinted with permission...

 

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Taking on a do-it-yourself (DIY) project can be a gratifying experience. A key factor in DIY project success is careful research and safe execution.

Follow these tips to stay safe:

 

  1. Dress with your safety in mind. Serious injuries can be easily prevented with a few simple precautions. If you have long hair, tie it back. Remove jewelry and loose clothing that could get caught in machinery.
  2. Wear a dust mask, respirator and safety goggles. Understand the materials you're working with and protect yourself against inhaling dust particles or fumes. Similarly, safety goggles reduce the likelihood of sustaining optical injuries.
  3. When working with electricity, wear rubber-soled shoes. Rubber acts as an insulator and reduces conductivity of electricity and your chances of electrocution. However, in most cases, it is recommended that electrical repairs are best left to professionals.
  4. Keep any machinery and equipment in top shape. Drill bits, cutters, and other blades that are left to dull can cause serious injuries. Dull blades can bind or kickback. Keep your blades sharp and up-to-date.

Use ladders safely. For every four feet of height, your ladder should sit at least one foot from the vertical surface upon which it is leaning. Know the height of your ladder and situate it accordingly. Never step on the top two rungs of a ladder.

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It is true that a front garden, or an array of planters on a porch or balcony, will add to the appeal of your home among potential buyers. Selling a home in the spring months requires more attention to your outdoor spaces. However, there are ways to make short work of your garden chores.


Here are a few tips on how to create a low-maintenance garden to carry you through the selling season:

 

  1. Easy container gardens. Use planted containers in a variety of shapes and sizes for a charming look in entrance ways or on a balcony. Pot your urns with a variety of tall, medium and trailing plants.
  2. Incorporate perennials for easy care. Choose perennials as the backbone of your garden then add colour as needed with a selection of drought-resistant annuals.
  3. Drought-tolerant plants. Choose annuals that require less watering such as zinnias and marigolds. Perennials offer the hardiest choices. Ask at your local garden centre for recommendations on drought-tolerant plants for your area.
  4. Condition your soil. To promote lavish growth, add manure or compost to your soil. Testing your soil will help identify excessive sand, clay or other elements that contribute to or take away from soil acidity.

Don't forget to fertilize. 



Periodically, you'll need to feed your plants.



Fertilizing will keep them healthy, robust and promote consistent flowering.

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According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey1, Canada's residential real estate market saw strong, but slowing year-over-year price growth in the fourth quarter of 2017.

 

While year-over-year aggregate appreciation remained high in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Greater Vancouver, two-storey and bungalow home values softened in the GTA, slightly declining on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Meanwhile, in both Greater Vancouver and the GTA, condominium prices continued to outpace all other property types, primarily due to growing affordability constraints within these markets.

 

The Royal LePage National House Price Composite, compiled from proprietary property data in 53 of the nation's largest real estate markets, showed that the price of a home in Canada increased 10.8 per cent year-over-year to $626,042 in the fourth quarter of 2017. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 11.1 per cent year-over-year to $741,924, and the median price of a bungalow climbed 7.1 per cent to $522,963. During the same period, the median price of a condominium appreciated faster than any other housing type studied, rising 14.3 per cent to $420,823 on a year-over-year basis.

 

"To prospective homeowners in our largest cities, condominiums represent the last bastion of affordability," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. "This is especially true for first-time buyers whose purchasing power has been reduced by tightening mortgage regulations."

 

"Historically, condos have appreciated at a slower pace than detached homes, simply because supply constraints are easier to address, building upward uses much less precious land. For now, demand for those relatively affordable spots in the sky is so high that the trend has been reversed. As builders respond, new projects will come on-stream and condominium price increases will moderate somewhat. However, without hesitation, we can say Canada is now a condo nation, like other advanced economies around the world."

 

In line with the company's previous Market Survey Forecast, Royal LePage predicts that the price of a home in Canada will increase 4.9 per cent by the end of 2018. In the country's largest markets, Royal LePage expects home price gains in the Greater Montreal Area, Greater Toronto Area and Greater Vancouver to grow by 5.5 per cent, 6.8 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, by the end of 2018, appreciation in Calgary and Regina is expected to slow slightly on a yearly basis to 2.3 per cent and 0.7 per cent, while Edmonton is forecast to depreciate modestly by 1.5 per cent over the same period. Royal LePage also reported 2018 forecasts for Halifax, Ottawa and Winnipeg, where it foresees home price increases of 2.5 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 4.0 per cent, respectively, in these markets.

 

To view the chart with aggregated regions and markets visit royallepage.ca/houseprices

For more information see royallepage.ca/mediaroom


1 Aggregate prices are calculated using a weighted average of the median values of all housing types collected. Data is provided by RPS Real Property Solutions.
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Largest Cohort of Millennials Changing Canadian Real Estate, Despite Constraints of Affordability and Mortgage Regulation

‘Peak Millennials’ (aged 25 to 30) to create strong wave of demand

National survey shows while the peak millennial dream to own property is very strong, challenges to homeownership vary across the country


The number of 25-30 year olds is set to grow again

According to the Royal LePage Peak Millennial Survey released, high home values in Canada’s largest urban markets and job uncertainty in other regions mean new strategies and different priorities for ‘peak millennials,[1] a term coined to describe the largest cohort of the millennial demographic and the impact of their potential purchasing power[2].

 

With every census metropolitan area but Fredericton and all provinces with the exception of Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland adding to their population of 25-30 year olds over the past 5 years,[3] decisions made by peak millennials will be far reaching.  With peak millennials as a group now reaching their late 20s, the number of people aged 25 to 30 is projected to increase 17 per cent in 2021 compared to 2016.[4]

 

“Whether they choose to buy or rent, peak millennials will inevitably shape the housing market due to their sheer volume,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “We expect demand from this demographic to put additional pressure on entry-level housing and investment properties being used to supplement the limited inventory of purpose-built rental buildings.”

 

Although the desire to own a home is strong among peak millennials, the challenges they face on the path to homeownership are numerous. The cross-Canada survey conducted by Leger found that 87 per cent of Canadians aged 25 to 30 believe homeownership is a good investment. Yet, while 69 per cent hope to own a home in the next five years, 57 per cent of those surveyed believe they will be able to afford one.

 

“Facing challenges their baby-boomer parents never encountered, peak millennials are confronted with significant obstacles that vary depending on where they live,” remarked Soper. “While finding employment in our largest urban markets, Toronto and Vancouver, is relatively easy compared to other areas of Canada, buyers face limited inventory and high home values in these regions. Where prices are more affordable, job markets can be more uncertain.”

Often renting or choosing to live at home can be part of a smart saving strategy for future home buyers. Thirty-five per cent of peak millennials surveyed already own a home, while another 50 per cent are renting and a further 14 per cent are living with their parents.

 

“The pent up demand for housing from millennials is enormous, with only a third of this large demographic currently owning a property and an overwhelming majority desiring to be homeowners,” added Soper.

When looking to purchase a property, 75 per cent of peak millennials surveyed would look to use their personal savings for a down payment, with 37 per cent seeking out alternative means of funding as well, like financial support from their families (25 per cent).

 

Though 61 per cent of peak millennial respondents across Canada would prefer to buy a detached home, only 36 per cent believe that they will realistically be able to find a property within this market segment. Consequently, many within this age range have adjusted their expectations and have become increasingly open to other property types, provided that they are move-in ready. Over half (52 per cent) of those surveyed would look to the suburbs when purchasing a property, especially when it comes time to raise a family (59 per cent), as the supply of new developments and spacious residences are more abundant in these areas. In addition, 61 per cent stated that they would be willing to move to another city or suburb where property is more affordable.

 

“While peak millennials are becoming increasingly inventive in their quest for homeownership, careful attention to urban planning could help to alleviate some of their constraints,” said Soper. “By focusing on vertical living, and developing larger, affordable condominiums in urban markets, supply limitations would ease, providing long-term, appealing solutions to young buyers in search of affordable property.”

 

In addition to high home values, peak millennials also face increasingly stringent mortgage stress test regulations, which push potential buyers to the sidelines, electing to either remain in the rental market to save up enough money for a down payment, or move to more affordable regions.

 

When asked, 64 per cent of peak millennials currently believe that homes in their area are unaffordable, with a significant proportion of respondents in both British Columbia (83 per cent) and Ontario (72 per cent) asserting that prices are simply too high. Of those that do not believe they will be able to own a home in the next five years, 69 per cent stated that they cannot afford a home in their region or the type of home they want, while roughly a quarter (24 per cent) are unable to qualify for a mortgage.

 

“Even in our two affordability-challenged provinces, millennials who are prioritizing homeownership can find affordable alternatives to our two largest housing markets according to our Royal LePage National House Price Composite,” said Soper. “In British Columbia, a home in Langley, Kelowna, or Victoria is approximately half the price of a home in Vancouver. In Ontario, cities such as Ottawa, London, and Hamilton offer an affordable alternative to Toronto.”

 

In total, nearly half (49 per cent) of the peak millennials surveyed believed that the federal government’s new mortgage regulations have impacted the types of property that they can afford, effectively pushing them into highly competitive, lower-priced market segments.

 

When looking for a home, 53 per cent of peak millennial purchasers across Canada are willing to spend up to $350,000, which would typically buy them a 2.5 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom property nationwide, with 1,272 square feet of living space.[5] Yet, with 58 per cent of respondents having a annual household income of less than $69,000, and only 34 per cent currently tracking to have a sufficient down payment of over 20 per cent to qualify for a mortgage in this price range, the actual logistics of homeownership can be quite difficult.

 

British Columbia

In British Columbia, high home values have left many purchasers between the ages of 25 and 30 outside of the market looking in. While 86 per cent of peak millennials studied in the province believe that homeownership is a good investment, 83 per cent stated that housing in their region is unaffordable – the highest rate in all of Canada – and the same proportion believe they will not be able to purchase a home within the next five years.

 

Consequently, when compared to anywhere else in Canada, peak millennials studied within this region tend to be significantly more interested in lower-priced, resilient market segments, with 42 per cent yearning to purchase a condominium or townhome.

 

With a budget of $350,000, purchasers in British Columbia can typically find a 2.5 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom bungalow with 1,187 sq. ft. of living space. However, in Greater Vancouver, this budget will generally net an 879 sq. ft. condominium with 2.0 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms.

 

“As home prices continue to rise in what is Canada’s most expensive housing market, affordability within the Greater Vancouver continues to be a matter of contention, particularly among the millennial cohort who are most often first-time buyers,” said Adil Dinani, real estate advisor, Royal LePage West Real Estate Services in Vancouver. “As a result, we are seeing extremely strong demand in the condominium and townhouse segments, as younger purchasers look to at the last remaining touch points of affordability in the Greater Vancouver Market.”

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BCREA ECONOMICS NOW


Canadian Retail Sales and Inflation - March 23, 2018


Canadian retail sales increased 0.3 per cent on monthly in basis in January and were 3.6 per cent higher compared to last January. Sales were higher in 7 of 11 sub-sectors representing 63 per cent of total retail trade.  With today's data, and all other data available thus far for the first quarter, we are tracking Canadian economic growth at just 0.9 per cent for the first quarter of 2018.  In BC, after growing nearly 10 per cent in 2017,retail sales growth has slowed, falling 1 per cent on a monthly basis in January but rising 6.2 per cent compared to January 2017. 

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), jumped higher in February, registering 2.2 per cent year-over-year, up from 1.7 per cent in January. The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation were all higher as well and now are either very close to or exceeding the Bank's 2 per cent inflation target.   In BCprovincial consumer price inflation was 2.8 per cent in the 12 months to February.

Today's data is somewhat mixed in its impact on monetary policy in Canada. On the one hand, the Canadian economy appears to be slowing considerably, while on the other, inflation continues to close in on the Bank's target of 2 per cent.  We believe the Bank will continue to hold interest rates steady until summer or fall to get a better grasp on the direction of the economy before acting.
 

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Statement – Speculation Tax: Clarity Appreciated; More Needed


Vancouver, BC – March 27, 2018


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) was pleased to see more details of the proposed speculation tax. Refinement of the areas of the province where the tax applies and the introduction of different rates for different owners indicate a more strategic approach, and provide greater certainty.

We look forward to more answers as the speculation tax takes shape, and more opportunities to minimize its negative impact in all affected areas for all homeowners who pay income tax in Canada. For example, homeowners in the City of Vancouver could potentially be charged twice for leaving their homes vacant: once by the city and once by the province. Communities could face economic problems, due to fewer visitors, less consumer spending and lower housing prices.

Also, development properties are often bought years before they are developed, and the proposed tax would add costs that would be passed on to consumers, regardless of where they pay tax.

Finally, perhaps consideration should be given to offering incentives for homeowners to rent their properties, rather than a tax penalty.

BCREA urges the BC Government to undertake a formal, public consultation on the proposed speculation tax, to ensure the best input and insights are available, and to assure those affected that this measure is being carefully considered from all angles.

 

Reprinted with permission.

 

BCREA is the professional association for about 23,000 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

To demonstrate the profession’s commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

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The tulips and daffodils are starting to make an appearance in your gardens.


The Spring Real Estate Market in Greater Vancouver is also making a quick appearance.


Here are some tips to get your home "Spring Market" ready.


These are also great tips for Buyers to pay attention to as well.


Hire a landscape crew to spend a day cleaning up the yard, re-shading and trimming trees and evergreens, turning up the garden beds after the Winter and Fall seasons.


Does the trim and front door need painting?       

                                                                                   

Remember when these areas look tired, the Buyers assume the inside is tired as well, when they do a drive.                                                                                                                                                                      

Most Buyers do a drive by before viewing the home.


Get the gutters cleaned if they are full of debris.  An inspector may catch this during an inspection.


Have the windows cleaned.


Clean the leaves and cobwebs at your front door, give the front steps a cleanup.

                                  

Check to see if the front door needs a good cleaning and perhaps change the door knob and deadbolt.


Wash down all the sundeck, patios and railings.


Place some outdoor furniture to show how the space can be used.  Think of this area as another room.

Empty nesters and Boomers are looking at these spaces.


Do a fresh coat of paint to cover all the scuffs in high traffic areas .

                                                          

While you are at it check other rooms and areas in the home that can use a little paint touch up as well.


A fresh coat of paint in the teens bedrooms with the funky colours and taking the Thomas the Train wallpaper down in the 14 year olds bedroom could be the first order of business.

                       

Remember neutral colours with always works best.  


Add some colour in the pillows on the bed.


Make your home inviting, most Buyers want to be awed.

                                                                          

Create a comfort setting that makes them have that I can't wait to move in feeling.


Quite often we sound like a broken record, but telling Sellers that cleaning up, de-cluttering and hiring some help, if needed, really can put more $$$ in their pockets.


It is Spring time so please take down the Halloween decoration and Christmas lights.


You may think this will take a lot of time, but if you need help and are a little over whelmed or have a limited amount of time, by hiring the right trades you can get "Spring Market" ready in just a week time.


We have seen it done!

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1) B.C. PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX (PTT ) FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS ’ PROGRAM Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remainder of the purchase price of a resale home priced up to $500,000. There’s a proportional exemption for homes priced between $500,000 and $525,000. At $525,000 and above the exemption is nil. Learn more by talking to your Realtor or calling 1-250-387-0604.


2) B.C. PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX NEWLY BUILT HOME EXEMPTION Qualifying buyers of new homes may be exempt from paying the PTT on a newly built home or newly subdivided unit priced up to $750,000, saving buyers up to $13,000; and a partial exemption on newly built homes priced $750,000 to $800,000. Learn more by talking to your Realtor or calling 1-888-355-2700.


3) B.C. HOME OWNER GRANT Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value up to $1,650,000. The grant is reduced $5 for each $1,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,764,000 or $1,804,000 in northern or rural areas. Basic grant: up to $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts; an additional grant of $200 to rural home owners elsewhere in the province; and an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65 and older, those who are permanently disabled, and veterans of certain wars. Learn more by contacting your municipal tax office.


4) B.C. PROPERTY TAX DEFERMENT PROGRAMS Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors: qualifying home owners aged 55 and older can defer property taxes. Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program: qualifying low-income home owners can defer property taxes. Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children: qualifying home owners who financially support children under age 18 can defer property taxes. If you’re in Vancouver, learn more by calling 604-660-2421. If you live elsewhere in B.C., call 1-800-663-7867.


5) HOME BUYERS ’ PLAN Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Learn more at the Canada Revenue Agency website by searching “Home Buyers’ Plan”.


6) GST/HST NEW HOUSING REBATE New home buyers can apply for a rebate on the five per cent GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36 per cent of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There’s a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. There’s no rebate for homes priced at $450,000 and above. Learn more by contacting the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800- 959-8287.


7) FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS ’ TAX CREDIT Eligible persons who bought a qualifying home in 2017 can claim the home buyers’ amount of $5,000 on Line 369 of Schedule 1 when filing their 2017 income tax and benefit returns. For 2017, the maximum home buyers’ tax credit is $750, which is calculated by multiplying the home buyers’ amount of $5,000 by the federal non-refundable tax credit rate of 15 per cent (equal to the lowest personal income tax rate for the year). Learn more by contacting the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.


8) HOME ADAPTATIONS  FOR INDEPENDENCE  A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer. Learn more at bchousing.org, or by calling 604-433-2218 or 1-800- 257-7756.

 

9) B.C. SENIORS ’ HOME RENOVATION TAX CREDIT Assists eligible seniors 65 and older with the cost of some permanent home renovations to a principal residence to improve accessibility. The maximum refundable credit is $1,000 per tax year and is calculated as 10 per cent of the qualifying renovation expense (maximum $10,000). Forms are available online. Learn more by calling 1-800-959- 8281.


10) CMHC MORTGAGE LOAN INSURANCE PREMIUM REFUND Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10 per cent premium refund, and possible extended amortization without surcharge, when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations. Learn more by contacting the CMHC at 604-731-5733, or search for “Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund” on cmhc.ca.


11) ENERGY SAVING MORTGAGES Some financial institutions offer special mortgages to home buyers/owners who are making their homes energy efficient. For example, home owners may qualify for a BMO Eco Smart Mortgage for single family and townhomes if the home has the required energy efficiency features, which are confirmed by an approved energy auditor arranged by the bank. Learn more by contacting your financial institution.


12) LOW INTEREST GREEN RENOVATION LOANS Financial institutions offer loans to home owners making energy efficient upgrades, for example, Vancity’ Home Energy Loan up to $50,000 and RBC’s Energy Save loan offers one per cent off the interest rate for a fixed-rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed-rate installment loan over $5,000. Learn more by contacting your financial institution.


13) B.C. HYDRO AND FORTISBC REBATES TO IMPROVE A HOME’S EFFICIENCY Rebates for insulation, draft-proofing, hot water heaters, EnerChoice fireplaces, and a $750 bonus offer for making three or more eligible upgrades. Learn more by going to bchydro. com and searching for “rebates”.


14) FORTISBC NEW HOME ENERGY REBATE OFFER FortisBC and B.C. Hydro customers can receive rebates when building ENERGY STAR new homes or installing high-efficiency natural gas fireplaces. Learn more by going to fortisbc. com and searching for “rebates”.


15) HOME ENERGY REBATE OFFER B.C. Hydro and FortisBC offer home owners rebates for upgrades and improvements, including insulation, space and water heating systems and ventilation to reduce your energy bill. The program includes a bonus offer for completing three or more upgrades. Total value of available rebates: up to $6,500. Learn more by going to bcenergycoach.ca and clicking on “incentives”, or by calling 1-877- 740-0055.


16) ENERGY SAVINGS KITS B.C. Hydro and FortisBC offer income-qualifying customers a free energy saving kit containing products to help save energy and dollars. Learn more by going to bchydro. com or fortisbc.com and searching for “energy saving kit”.


17) FORTISBC REBATES F OR HOMES Rebates for home owners include a $300 rebate for purchasing an EnerChoice fireplace, or up to $1,000 for installing a tankless, storage, or hybrid hot water heater, or a rebate of up to $2,700 for connecting to natural gas and installing a natural gas heating or hot water system (from oil or propane). Learn more by going to fortisbc. com and searching for “rebates”, or by calling 1-800-663-8400.


18) FORTISBC REBATE FOR RENTAL APARTMENT BUILDINGS The Rental Apartment Efficiency Program, for owners and managers of rental apartment buildings of nine or more units, includes a new water-efficient shower head, and kitchen and bathroom faucet aerator for each unit, an energy assessment, and ongoing professional assistance. Learn more by going to fortisbc.com and searching for “rebates”.


19) JOIN THE POWER SMART TEAM Become a member of Team Power Smart and start a challenge to reduce your electricity use by 10 per cent over the next year. If you’re successful, you’ll earn a $50 reward. Learn more by going to bchydro.com and searching for “Power Smart Team”.

20) ENERGY STAR APPLIANCE REBATES B.C. Hydro Power Smart and participating municipalities offer $100 mail-in rebates to home owners buying ENERGY STAR clothes dryers and refrigerators. Learn more by going to bchydro. com and searching for “appliance rebate”.


21) B.C. HYDRO POWER SMART APPLIANCE REBATES B.C. Hydro offers rebates for clothes washers ($50 rebate), refrigerators (up to $100 rebate), and clothes dryers (up to $100 rebate). Learn more by going to bchydro. com and searching for “appliance rebate”, or by calling 1-800-224- 9376.


22) CITY OF VANCOUVER THERMAL IMAGING PROGRAM Helps home owners identify heat loss and connect them with energy-saving incentives. Neighbourhoods piloting the program include Strathcona, Hastings Sunrise, Dunbar-Southlands, Riley Park and Victoria Fraserview. Learn more by going to vancouver.ca and searching for “thermal imaging program”, or by contacting Chris Higgins at chris.higgins@vancouver.ca.


23) BUSINESS ENERGY SAVING INCENTIVES Provides financial incentives to organizations that replace inefficient technologies with energy efficient technologies. Learn more by going to bchydro. com and searching for “business energy saving”, or by calling 1-800- 474-6886.


24) FORTISBC REBATE PROGRAM FOR BUSINESSES For commercial buildings, this program provides a rebate of up to $45,000 for the purchase of an energy efficient boiler; up to $15,000 to buy a high-efficiency water heater; up to $60,000 to hire an energy consultant; and up to $1 million to conduct plantwide audits, feasibility studies and energy-efficiency upgrades. Learn more by going to fortisbc. com and searching for “business rebate”.


25) ENERGY EFFICIENCY UPGRADES FOR BUILDINGS The city of Vancouver’s $1 million fund includes a $150,000 grant to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation for retrofits to pre-1940 homes, a Home Energy Efficiency Empowerment Program for 675 homeowners, and a $1 million Green Landlord Program to help non-market apartment building owners and operators reinvest in buildings and reduce energy costs. Learn more by going to Vancouver.ca and searching for “Energy Retrofit Fund”.


26) HERITAGE ENERGY RETROFIT GRANT Grants of up to $6,000 per household for energy retrofits for pre-1940 Vancouver homes and homes on the Vancouver Heritage Register. Retrofits include insulation, air sealing, window repairs, storm windows and high efficiency heating and hot water. Learn more by going to vancouverheritagefoundation.org and selecting “get a grant”.


27) RAIN BARREL SUBSIDY PROGRAMS Metro Vancouver municipalities offer rain barrels for sale at a discount for residents: Richmond - $30; Burnaby - $100; Coquitlam $72. Other municipalities may have similar offers. Learn more by contacting your municipality.

28) WATER SAVING KITS Metro Vancouver municipalities offer water saving kits to reduce water use. Learn more by contacting your local municipality.


29) LOCAL GOVERNMENT WATER METER PROGRAMS Municipalities may offer water metering, so you pay only for water you use. Burnaby, Delta, Richmond and West Vancouver have programs. Learn more by visiting your municipality’s website and searching for “water meter".

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When it comes to your home, a musty smell of dampness is definitely undesirable.  Dampness can produce mold on hard surfaces, mildew on soft surfaces, and potentially even lead to health or safety issues.  But before dampness in your home can put a damper on your spirit, here's the 411 to help you detect it, deal with it, and avoid it in the future.

 

Identifying dampness

The geographical region of where you live could be a predictor for dampness in your home. Check with your Realtor or local public library for information on the humidity and rainfall in your area. Damp homes are often caused by an influx of water from the outside or by increased humidity from showering, drying clothes, and cooking. If water is entering your home from the outside, you may be able to determine where by looking for water tides on painted walls or white salt deposits (called efflorescence) on brick.

 

Dealing with dampness

If your home is showing signs of dampness, it is important to address these issues as quickly as possible to mitigate any significant damage or health issues. The first thing to do is locate the source of the problem. Check for obvious causes such as blocked gutters, missing tiles, objects stacked against an external wall, leaking pipes, or damage to your roof or foundation. If you cannot find the source, hire an expert to help. Once you have identified the problem, it is time to seal the deal. Depending on the complexity and severity of the problem, there may be some solutions you can take care of yourself (e.g. caulking a window to keep moisture out), whereas others may be better suited for a professional (e.g. fixing leaks to pipes or addressing foundation problems).

 

Avoiding dampness

Prevention is key. Here are some steps you can take to keep dampness away from your home:

* Limit moisture during humid weather by keeping windows and doors closed.

* Use an air conditioner and/or dehumidifier to keep humidity below 60%.

* Ensure all vent fans are clear and connected directly outdoors and not to the attic.

* Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to control humidity.

* When possible, consider limiting the boiling time of water, covering saucepans when cooking, and discontinuing use of portable gas heaters.

* Position the downspout runoff so it's directed away from the foundation of your home.

* Increasing or improving the insulation of your home and around pipes.

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Downsizing has become a popular term for homeowners who find their current home is no longer the right size for them. But as we get older and our lives change, sometimes making the decision to buy a new home is about more than just the size. You may have found yourself newly divorced, or perhaps your grown children have moved out or you want to be closer to the grandkids.

 

Instead of downsizing, we prefer to help our clients rightsize! Choosing the right home is all about finding a home that adapts to your changing lifestyle.

 

Should You Rightsize? Questions to Ask Yourself

When making the decision to rightsize, it’s important that you evaluate your lifestyle by asking yourself the following questions:

 

Is your home equipped for your future? Whether or not you currently have any mobility or health issues, you may want to consider the possibility that this could happen in the future. Ask yourself if your home is adaptable to any changes you may see in your physical health. If you currently own a two-story home, this may mean looking for a bungalow instead.

 

Does your home require a lot of maintenance? As you get older, you may not want to spend hours every week keeping up with the maintenance on your older home. And if you don’t want to pay someone to do it for you, you should consider moving to a lower-maintenance option like a new build or one with less outdoor space.

 

Does your home have the space you need? How many bedrooms does your current home have? Is that enough for your needs, or do you require more to accommodate your children and grandchildren when they come to visit?

 

Does your home have all of the amenities you need? Which amenities are important to you? Do you need a two-car garage, especially if you’re downsizing to one car? Would you like a large dining room that can fit your growing family comfortably at holidays? Do you need a large kitchen if you’re doing less entertaining? Be realistic about the things you want and need.

 

Do you want to save money on mortgage payments? If you’re recently retired or divorced, it may be important to you to own a home that costs you less money. If you’re no longer able to afford your mortgage payments, or if you want to have more disposable money for things like travel or investments, consider making the move to a less expensive home.

 

Does your community or neighbourhood fit your needs? If you have grownup children, you may have chosen your neighbourhood based on the quality of its schools and proximity to outdoor recreational places for them to play. If they’ve flown the nest, re-evaluate what it is you want out of your neighbourhood.

 

Do you have adequate access to transportation?

Retirees often choose to sell their cars, whether it’s out of necessity to save money or if they’ve lost their license due to eyesight or other health issues. If you see this happening in your future, consider how close your home is to other modes of transportation like city buses or whether it’s within walking distance to shops and restaurants.

 

If you’re ready to rightsize, call Marie and Kim Taverna 

 

With over 45 years of combined experience in the real estate business, we can help you find the right home for your lifestyle.

 

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Home buyers were less active in February

Metro Vancouver* home sales dipped below the long-term historical average in February.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,207 in February 2018, a nine per cent decrease from the 2,424 sales recorded in February 2017, and a 21.4 per cent increase compared to January 2018 when 1,818 homes sold.

 

Last month’s sales were 14.4 per cent below the 10-year February sales average. By property type, detached sales were down 39.4 per cent over the same period, attached sales were down 6.8 per cent, and apartment sales were 5.5 per cent above the 10-year February average.

 

“Rising interest rates and stricter mortgage requirements have reduced home buyers’ purchasing power, particularly for those at the entry level of our market,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “Even still, the supply of apartment and townhome properties for sale today is unable to meet demand. On the other hand, our detached home market is beginning to enter buyers’ market territory.”

 

There were 4,223 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in February 2018. This represents a 15.2 per cent increase compared to the 3,666 homes listed in February 2017 and an 11.2 per cent increase compared to January 2018 when 3,796 homes were listed.

 

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,822, a three per cent increase compared to February 2017 (7,594) and a 12.6 per cent increase compared to January 2018 (6,947).

 

“The spring is traditionally the busiest time for home buyers and sellers in our market. We’ll wait to see how they react to the taxes and other policy measures that our provincial and federal governments have introduced so far this year,” Oudil said. “To help you navigate these changes in today’s housing market, it’s important to work with your local REALTOR®.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for February 2018 is 28.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 13 per cent for detached homes, 37.6 per cent for townhomes, and 59.7 per cent for condominiums.

 

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,071,800. This represents a 16.9 per cent increase over February 2017 and a 1.4 per cent increase compared to January 2018.

 

Sales of detached properties in February 2018 reached 621, a 16.6 per cent decrease from the 745 detached sales recorded in February 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,602,000. This represents an 8.2 per cent increase from February 2017 and is virtually unchanged from January 2018.

 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,185 in February 2018, a 7.1 per cent decrease compared to the 1,275 sales in February 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $682,800. This represents a 27.2 per cent increase from February 2017 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to January 2018.

 

Attached property sales in February 2018 totalled 401, a 0.7 per cent decrease compared to the 404 sales in February 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $819,200. This represents an 18.1 per cent increase from February 2017 and a 1.9 per cent increase compared to January 2018.

 

Call Marie and Kim to find out what is happening in your neighbourhood.

 

Click here to download the full package.

 

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.