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Realtor warns Canadian home prices could fall 40 percent in major housing market correction


 

 
  • Adam Major works as managing broker of Holywell Properties.

A realtor fears that the Canadian housing market is so overheated that it could burn the whole thing down.

Adam Major, managing broker with Holywell Properties, says that what led to the U.S. housing crash in 2008 might be happening now in the country.

Major believes that the government “probably should have done something already”.

 

“I do hope they can come up with a way to cool the maket rather than letting it burn too hot for too long, because it could create more problems in the long run,” Major told the Straight in a phone interview.

Major is also the CEO of Zealty.ca, a real-estate tracking site operated by Holywell Properties.

 

The realtor recalled that one of the causes of the U.S. housing crash were “teaser” or adjustable-rate mortgages. 

“In the U.S. in 2005 to 2006, somewhere between 30 percent to 40 percent of all mortgages sold were ‘teasers’, where the rates started out low, but went up after two years,” he explained.

Buyers then found out that after their rates went up, they could not afford the payments.

With the value of their houses going down, they could not refinance their mortgages.

Here in Canada, many home buyers are currently getting mortgage rates at 1.5 percent and below.

“We are now in a position where nearly 100 percent of the mortgages being sold in Canada could be ‘teaser’ rate mortgages,” Major noted.

The managing broker with Holywell Properties pointed out that if one has a 1.5 percent fixed rate mortgage and rates increase to 3.5 percent, payments go up 30 percent.

Major recalled that just about two or three years ago, Canada had mortgages of 3.5 percent. In 2007, the rate was almost six percent.

He said that at a mortgage rate of 5.5 percent, payment goes up 63.5 percent.  At 7.5 percent, payment more than doubles, Major noted.

“I don’t think mortgage rates are going to 7.5 percent, but they could easily go back to 3.5 percent,” he said. “Could they go to 5.5 percent?  That would mean someone paying $3,000 per month now will have to cough up $4,905 per month on renewal.”

Major said that what worries him are Canadians currently “stretching” to buy homes at 1.5 percent mortgages.

“What’s going to happen in five years if interest rates are 3.5 or 4.5 or 5.5 percent?” he asked. “They’re going to have to pay a lot more just to maintain their houses.”

Meanwhile, a lot of aspiring buyers will not be able to afford mortgages “if interest rates go to 5.5 percent, which is not that far out of reality”.

“There are going to be no buyers at the current prices,” he said. “Nobody will be able to afford anything at the current prices.”

What’s going to happen next is that “people will just sit on their wallets”.

“If you can’t afford your mortgage payments, nobody else is going to be able to buy that property,” Major said.

This then “creates a downward pressure on prices when people need to sell but there are no buyers”.

“If the average mortgage rate gets to 5.5 percent in Canada in five years, we could see house prices fall 40 percent,” Major said.

In some hot markets like Vancouver and the rest of Lower Mainland of B.C., resulting house prices could be “half of what they are now”.

Major noted that Canadian housing is more overvalued than U.S. properties were before the 2008 market collapse, which cut American home prices by around 34 percent.

“We could see a bigger housing price correction than what the U.S. experienced,” he said. “If U.S. housing fell 34 percent, how much could Canadian housing fall?”

The Bank of Canada dropped its interest-setting rate to 0.25 percent on March 27, 2020 to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

The central bank has maintained the rate, which is the lowest, and indicated that it will stay at that level until 2023.

However, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem has observed “excess exuberance” in the country’s housing market.

“What we get worried about is when we start to see extrapolated expectations, when we start to see people expecting the kind of unsustainable price increases we’ve seen recently go on indefinitely,” Macklem said on February 24 at a meeting with chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary.

But Macklem also said that the market, at the time, was still a “long way from where we were in 2016-2017 when things were really hot”.

In March 2021, the market in Metro Vancouver got even hotter.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has reported that March 2021 sales were the “highest monthly sales total ever recorded in the region”.

A total of 5,708 homes sold last month, a 126.1 percent increase from the 2,524 sales in March 2020.

Last month’s transactions also represented a 53.2 percent increase from the 3,727 homes sold in February 2021.

Home buyers are subject to a mortgage stress test in which they have to qualify for a higher rate.

Major said that while this stress test offers “protection”, he doubts whether it’s enough.

“One of the big trips with mortgages and renewing them is, what if your house goes down in value in five years?” he said. “Is the bank going to renew at the same rate if the amount you owe is more than the house is now worth? That’s potentially challenging.”

Major noted talk about the anticipated easing of COVID-19 restrictions, which will open the doors again to foreign buyers of Canadian property.

“You hear all these buyers are coming from Hong Kong and that might be true. But is it enough to…keep inflating the housing prices here? I’m skeptical that it is.”

Major noted that there is a saying that goes, “never catch a falling knife”.

“If you can buy for less in six months’ time, you’ll wait six months,” Major said. “So that’s the same way for Canadians and people coming from wherever else in the world: they’re going to wait to buy if prices start to go down.”

 
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Three ways Ottawa could cool the housing market in the federal budget

Click to play video: 'Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announces Canada’s spring budget to be tabled April 19'
 
WATCH: Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Tuesday announced during question period that the federal Liberal government will be tabling the spring budget at 4 p.m. on April 19. The government provided a fiscal update at the end of November, but it's been more than two years since it tabled its last budget – Mar 23, 2021

As Canada’s home prices reach the stratosphere, calls on the government to bring the housing market back to Earth — possibly with a soft landing — are growing increasingly urgent.

Some of Canada’s big banks have recently joined the chorus.

“Overheated markets threaten to destabilize the economy down the road if or when a correction occurs, with possible heavy costs for governments,” Robert Hogue at RBC Economics has warned in a note to clients.

READ MORE: What you can buy in housing markets across Canada for $500K, $1M and $1.5M

Policymakers should act “immediately” to address soaring property valuations before “the market is left exposed to more severe consequences,” BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic echoed in a similar report.

The average price of a home in Canada has climbed an eye-watering 25 per cent to a record $678,091. And the housing frenzy shows no sign of cooling off. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) expects the national average home price to keep climbing fast in 2021.

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Freeland says upcoming budget will focus on ‘jobs and growth’ – Mar 25, 2021

While previous housing market booms have been centred around big cities, and especially Vancouver and Toronto, the current housing fever has swept the whole country, with the steepest increases registered in smaller communities and lower-cost provinces.

In Ontario’s cottage country, for example, prices in Tillsonburg District and Woodstock-Ingersoll are up more than 35 per cent compared to February of last year. Prices are up 28 per cent in Greater Moncton and 16 per cent in Chilliwack, B.C.

And while the pandemic housing spree was initially driven by Canadians yearning for bigger spaces and backyards, analysts are growing increasingly concerned about speculation and purchase decisions based on buyers’ fear of missing out.

READ MORE: Behold, the Canadian condo market joins the COVID-19 real estate frenzy

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“The action needed today is one that immediately breaks market psychology and the belief that prices will only rise further,” Kavcic wrote.

There’s little doubt that ultra-low interest rates are fuelling the fire behind skyrocketing home prices. But adjusting Canada’s trend-setting interest rate is the purview of the Bank of Canada, not the government. And with the economy still a ways away from pre-pandemic levels of activity, the central bank has made clear it isn’t going to hike rates any time soon.

As the federal government prepares to announce its first federal budget in two years on April 19, expectations run high the Trudeau government will announce new measures to pull the reins on Canada’s runaway housing market.

READ MORE: Can you afford a vacation home? Here’s what it takes across Canada

For now, the Liberal government remains tight-lipped about what may or may not be in the federal budget when it comes to housing.

“We continue to closely monitor the health and stability of the housing market. We cannot however comment on what may or may not be under consideration for the upcoming 2021 budget,” Katherine Cuplinskas, press secretary at the office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, said via email.

But over more than 10 years, Ottawa has already intervened several times to tame home prices with anything from higher down payment requirements to the mortgage stress test, which reduces the amount buyers can borrow from federally-regulated lenders.

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Click to play video: 'How will Ontario’s second pandemic budget affect your bottom line? Finance expert explains'4:48How will Ontario’s second pandemic budget affect your bottom line? Finance expert explains
How will Ontario’s second pandemic budget affect your bottom line? Finance expert explains – Mar 25, 2021

What else can the federal government do?

Global News put the question to three real estate experts. Here are four of the big ideas they discussed:

A nationwide speculation tax

The Liberal government has already floated the idea of a tax on foreign homeowners who live outside of Canada as part of a plan to lower housing prices.

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It’s an idea spearheaded by provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island, but John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty in Toronto, says current activity by real estate investors has been dominated by domestic players.

“Any policies that should be put in place should just be geared towards investors, period, whether domestic investors or foreign investors,” Pasalis says.

To discourage buyers from purchasing property only to flip it after a short period and pocket the gain from rapid appreciation, Ottawa could impose a tax on residential real estate sales with the rate gradually falling to zero over five years of holding the property, Kavcic says.

“This could easily crowd out speculation and alter market psychology,” he wrote in the report. At the same time, the measure would have no impact on long-term homebuyers.

Any national speculation tax should avoid focusing narrowly on very quick repeat sales, says Diana Petramala, senior economist at the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development at Ryerson University. Instances of investors who buy homes only to re-sell them six months to a year later remain relatively rare, she says. Flipping homes after holding them one to two years is more common, she adds.

Click to play video: 'What’s driving Toronto’s hot housing market? A real estate expert breaks it down'4:24What’s driving Toronto’s hot housing market? A real estate expert breaks it down
What’s driving Toronto’s hot housing market? A real estate expert breaks it down – Mar 9, 2021

Tweaking the capital gains tax

The notion of taxing capital gains on a principal residence is gaining attention, but all three experts Global News spoke with were cool on the idea.

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A capital gain refers to when you sell an asset for more than you bought it. Canadians currently have to pay tax on capital gains on investments such as stocks a real estate but not when it comes to their primary residence. Capital gains tax only applies to secondary residences (think: vacation homes and investment properties).

Extending the capital gains tax to primary residences would be problematic because the home is the biggest investment many Canadians have, Petramala says.

“There’s an equity impact … especially for seniors,” she says.

But the measure could backfire for millennials, as well, by discouraging older homeowners from downsizing and freeing up some of Canada’s scarce supply for larger properties, she adds.

Still, the government could shape a speculation tax as a special capital gains tax on short-term sales, says Kavcic. The tax would mean that those who buy and sell a property at a profit within a short period of time wouldn’t get to pocket as much of the gain as they do right now.

On principal residences, homeowners would have to pay a capital gains tax if they sell for a higher price within a few years. On non-principal residences, owners would have to pay capital gains at a higher rate than they currently do, Kavcic wrote in his report.

But broadly increasingly the current capital gains tax on non-primary residences without specifically targeting short-term resales could have significant undesirable spillovers, Kavcic noted in his report.

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“Such a measure would … discourage all forms of real estate investment, not just flipping. For example, it would reduce the incentive to own long-duration rental property, which could work against much-needed rental supply,” he wrote.

Click to play video: 'House prices soaring in Vancouver and Toronto'2:12House prices soaring in Vancouver and Toronto
House prices soaring in Vancouver and Toronto – Mar 3, 2021

Tightening mortgage regulation

Tightening mortgage standards is “a well trodden path” for the federal government, Kavcic wrote. But the impact of a further regulatory tightening would be “low,” he wrote.

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But the current mortgage stress test, which vets borrowers’ finances based on an interest rate that’s higher than the contract rate they’d otherwise qualify for, is only mandatory for federally-regulated lenders, which include all the big banks. It would help if provincial governments adopted similar rules for provincially-regulated lenders, Petramala says.

And further raising the bar for qualifying for a mortgage would make it even harder for first-time homebuyers to get into the market, Pasalis says.

“Any policies that the government puts in place should really be making it harder for investors to capitalize on the housing market, not … make it harder for first-time buyers to get into the market,” he says.

For example, Pasalis says, Ottawa could follow the example of New Zealand, which recently reinstated lending restrictions it had removed after the onset of the pandemic, raising the minimum down payment required for home purchases by real estate investors to 30 per cent with plans to further hike that threshold to 40 per cent starting in May.

And Canadian policymakers should be careful about introducing measures that hurt first-time homebuyers because when young people can’t afford a place to live, they leave, Petramala says.

“Housing affordability is something that drives people away,” she says. “So you maintain economic competitiveness, you want to keep people here.”

Click to play video: 'How the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping Canada’s economy'1:13How the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping Canada’s economy
How the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping Canada’s economy – Mar 9, 2021

Short-term measures with an eye to long-term solutions

Measures that curb the demand for housing are the short-term fix to rein-in an unbridled real estate market, Petramala says. But demand-side policies tend to have only a temporary effect. They can dampen the collective euphoria and push many buyers to the sidelines for a little while.

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Eventually, though, people tend to adapt to the new rules, whether it’s saving longer for a bigger down payment or coming to terms with buying a smaller house, she adds.

Holding back housing demand will buy policymakers time they should use to roll out long-term solutions, Petramala says.

That means tackling chronic housing supply shortages, Petramala, Kavcic and Pasalis agree.

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“Overall the region continues to face a shortage of rental housing options suitable for households with different incomes.”

The Canadian Real Estate Association says Canadian home sales through its multiple listing service system dropped by 2.3 per cent last month compared with October.The Canadian Real Estate Association says Canadian home sales through its multiple listing service system dropped by 2.3 per cent last month compared with October. PHOTO BY RICHARD BUCHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Metro Vancouver has a “moderate” degree of vulnerability in its housing market largely because of too many new rental units sitting empty, said the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. in a report Thursday.

It singled out excess inventory in new rental apartments, which has been hit hard by a drop in immigration and the number of international students, and loss of renters working in the service industry who may have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

The excess inventory can be seen in the higher vacancy rate for newly completed apartments “that are asking for rents that are more than what is demanded by the market in these times,” said Eric Bond, senior specialist at CMHC. “Operators of those buildings might see some financial head winds in the short term.”

But this excess inventory is specifically in newly completed rental units, he noted, and does not reflect the broader rental market.

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“Overall the region continues to face a shortage of rental housing options suitable for households with different incomes,” said Bond. “In the medium to long-term, new supply will be crucial to increasing housing access in the future.”

The report found that housing sales saw an “elevated level of activity” in late 2020 and into 2021, while new listings were falling in submarkets, increasing competition for scarcer homes. MLS prices increased 12 per cent year over year, it said, a pace not seen since 2017.

Sales rose faster than new listings in most areas in Metro Vancouver, showing a shift toward a seller’s market compared to a year ago, said the report.

It said overheating — where demand outpaces supply in the housing market consistently — is not currently a concern, but Bond noted this report is backwards-looking, analyzing data from the first quarter of 2021 and the last quarter of 2020.

Recent stories of homes selling quickly or selling significantly higher than asking prices may be an indication the trend will continue its uptick. “The market is quite active for buyers and sellers re-entering the market after taking a pause last year,” he said.

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Behold, the Canadian condo market joins the COVID-19 real estate frenzy

Click to play video: 'House prices soaring in Vancouver and Toronto'
 
WATCH: Two of Canada's hottest housing markets are getting hotter. Sales and prices have been rising in both Vancouver and Toronto, which would normally happen in the spring. Robin Gill explains why homes are going like hotcakes – Mar 3, 2021

Canada’s COVID-19 housing market extravaganza has, until recently, ignored condominiums. But no longer.

In the Greater Toronto Area, condo prices were down 3.7 per cent annually in February and in Greater Vancouver up by a puny 2.5 per cent, even as both cities saw detached home values rise by double digits.

But the demand for apartments is coming back — and fast.

READ MORE: The average price of a home in Canada could rise over 16% in 2021

In Toronto, 41 per cent of condos sold for more than the seller’s asking price last month, according to John Pasalis of real estate brokerage Realosophy.

Excluding the pre-pandemic peak of February and March 2020, it’s the largest share of sales priced above asking since 2017, before the introduction of the federal mortgage stress test for buyers with a down payment of 20 per cent or more.

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In Vancouver, where overall home sales were up 74 per cent annually in February, the rising tide of the residential real estate market is “lifting all boats,” according to Steve Saretsky, a real estate agent with Oakwyn Realty.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the ratio of sales to active listings for condos is 42 per cent, which Saretsky says is the highest ratio since 2018.

“This is an early indicator that prices will head higher,” assuming the trend holds, Saretsky wrote in a recent report.

The spike in sales volume is concentrated in Toronto and to a lesser extent in Vancouver, with other major cities like Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary seeing significantly lower levels of activity, according to Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage.

READ MORE: Pandemic housing boom means affordability is no longer just a big-city problem

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And while end users and especially first-time homebuyers looking for larger homes away from downtown cores drove the real-estate frenzy of the latter half 2020, the resurgent demand for condos is all about investors, Soper adds.

“People who will be landlords are seeing the vaccine rollout around the world. They’re seeing the government’s commitment to bring back foreign students and to kick start immigration again,” he says.

There’s little doubt that rock-bottom borrowing costs are also helping to fuel investor demand, Pasalis, Soper and Saretsky agree. Although mortgages rates have begun to creep up from the record lows they reached in the summer of 2020, they remain at historically very low levels.

And while Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor Tiff Macklem recently said the country’s housing market is starting to see signs of “excess exuberance,” the central bank hasn’t given any indication it is pondering an interest rate hike in the near future.

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In its latest interest rate decision on March 10, the BoC reiterated it is committed to keeping its trend-setting rate on hold until inflation is back to around two per cent, something the bank does not expect until some time in 2023.

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“Everybody sees the writing on the wall … and the Bank of Canada keeps hammering it home, that we’re not going to raise rates until 2023,” Saretsky says.

READ MORE: Canada’s housing market showing ‘early signs’ of overheating, Bank of Canada warns

But unlike in the middle of the last decade, when demand from foreign and new Canadian investors had a real impact, especially in B.C., the current investor demand for condos is primarily domestic, Soper says.

It’s not just investors buying condos. In Vancouver, Saretsky says, a significant chunk of demand is coming from Canadians who want to buy condos to live in them.

“We’ve got clients that were looking for single-family houses, and they slowly got priced out,” he says.

Many buyers, he says, are settling for what they consider the next best thing: townhouses and condos.

READ MORE: Fixed mortgage rates are on the rise, mortgage brokers warn

In Toronto, buyers were back to snapping up condos at a relatively healthy clip as soon as June and July, Pasalis wrote in a recent analysis of the city’s condo market. But between August and October, the city saw a spike in new listings likely driven by investors offloading units in a weak rental market.

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Still, inventory levels never strayed too far from what analysts call a “balanced market,” one with homes selling reasonably quickly but without bidding wars, Pasalis wrote.

“We saw a significant movement of investor-owned condominium into the hands of first-time homebuyers in 2020,” Soper says. “But there was still more people selling than buying, so prices softened in places like Toronto and Vancouver.”

The return of domestic investor demand, though, is turning that around, he adds.

Saretsky says condo prices in the Vancouver suburbs are already up five per cent or more compared to this time last year. And even one-bedroom condos in downtown Vancouver — a type of listing real estate agents would almost dread between April and November — are starting to be hot commodities again.

“Every one-bedroom condo in downtown Vancouver under $650,000 has a multiple offers now.”

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I have sold a property at 1243 SEYMOUR ST in Vancouver.
A perfect townhome. These townhomes have the best layout in the whole city featuring an 11-foot ceilinged entrance! Elan features a live-in manager. games room, weight room, cardio and yoga studio, steam room, and meeting rooms. This townhome boasts a large, quiet back patio facing the garden, a front patio, 2 master bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a flex space, a powder room on the main floor, and office area facing tree-lined Seymour Street. Elan is in the heart of downtown Vancouver & Yaletown, steps to the Skytrain, Canada Line, restaurants & cafes, David Lam Park, George Wainborn Park, Aquabus, and the Seawall. BONUS SIDE BY SIDE 2 parking stalls and STORAGE LOCKER! Walk to Emery Barnes Park, Choices Market, beaches, shops and Yaletown all at your doorstep!!
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Vancouver real estate: East Side home gets 21 offers, sells $600,000 over asking price for $2.3 million


 

 
  • This residence at 7315 Rupert Street has a 2021 assessed value of $1,664,200.

Another day, another head-spinning deal.

Demand for homes amid what realtors and analysts say is a low-inventory market seems to have driven buyers into a frenzy.

 
 

Money seems to be no object as purchasers offer hundreds of thousands of dollars above listed prices of properties.

A recent deal in East Vancouver serves as another example.

 

The two-level detached home at 7315 Rupert Street went on the market on February 23.

It was listed for $1,688,000.

Home buyers submitted multiple offers.

The seller’s realtor, A.V. Sayson, told the Straight that the five-bedroom, three-bath residence received a total of 21 bids.

After seven days on the market, the home sold on March 2 for $2.3 million.

 

That’s $612,000 above its original asking price.

The Fraserview property has a 2021 assessed value of $1,664,200.

“Fraserview has been trending up,” Sayson said in a phone interview.

According to the property agent with RE/MAX Pinpoint Listings Team, the neighbourhood is considered to be “one of the nicest areas in East Vancouver to live in”.

“It’s super quiet,” said Sayson, whose team is affiliated with RE/MAX City Realty.

Sayson also shared detailed figures about the market for detached homes in East Vancouver, based on official statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

In an indication of strong demand for single-family homes, REBGV numbers show that 136 detached homes on this side of the city sold in February 2021.

The total represents an increase from the 110 sales of freestanding homes in January.

Also, the benchmark price of a detached home in East Vancouver increased to $1,565,800 in February 2021, marking a 10.5 percent one-year change.

Remarkably, Sayson noted that as shown by REBGV statistics for February 2021, the benchmark price for Fraserview was already at $1,945,100.

This places the price of a typical home in Fraserview as the highest in all neighbourhoods in East Vancouver, Sayson said.

"The sale of this listing and the attention it attracted was not unexpected," the Philippine-born and -raised realtor said.

According to Sayson, 7315 Rupert Street started to receive inquiries on day one of the listing.

“A number of the buyers who wrote offers did so without seeing the interior of the house,” he related.

The Straight has reported on a number of deals like the one Sayson did.

To cite an example, a Kitsilano home sold on October 27, 2020 for $2,811,000. This was $613,000 over the asking price. The 1842 Collingwood Street residence has a 2020 assessed value of $1,898,300.

Another one was 2930 West 28th Avenue in the MacKenzie Heights neighbourhood. It was bought on February 9, 2021 for $2,950,000. That’s $551,000 over the listed price. The home has a 2021 assessed value of $2,411,000

One that got a lot of attention was 3285 Victoria Drive, a detached home located across from Trout Lake.

A successful buyer offered $872,134 over its original asking price. The property sold on February 24 for $2,600,134. Its 2021 assessed value was $1,741,000.

The Straight learned about the 7315 Rupert Street deal from David Hutchinson, a realtor with Sutton Group West Coast Realty and a keen market observer.

Hutchinson noted that although Fraserview is not as transit-friendly as other locations in Vancouver, the neighbourhood has many pluses.

The area is close to neighbourhood malls, the Fraserview golf course, schools, local parks, the Killarney Community Centre, and the emerging River District community to the south.

Central Park and Metrotown, both in Burnaby to the east, are also accessible.

With its frontage of 50 feet and depth of 110 feet, the property features a considerable-sized lot. The 3,089-square-foot home split on two levels offers generous space.

According to Hutchinson, it’s perfect for someone who’s willing to “pay a little more for location and home”.

Or, the property could be redeveloped. The home built around 1965 serves as a rental property. The seller does not live in Vancouver.

As Sayson related, the listing drew a lot of interest from home builders and property developers.

Sayson noted that potential redevelopment could see a brand-new luxury home built, with or without a laneway house. Or a duplex.

Back to Hutchinson, the long-time realtor asked: “Does all this warrant $600,000 over asking price for a house tax assessed at $1,664,200?”

Answering his own question, Hutchinson said: “In this crazy market, for someone it does.”

 
Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo
 

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Simmone Lyons, director at Scandinave Spa Whistler, empowers her team through unwavering leadership


 

2 of 5
  • Simmone LyonsSCANDINAVE SPA WHISTLER

(This story is sponsored by .)

March 8 is International Women’s Day—dedicated to honouring women’s achievement and promoting equality. The global day of recognition is the perfect opportunity to celebrate local women who demonstrate exceptional leadership inside and outside of their workplace.

 
 

Simmone Lyons first visited Whistler in 2007 and after falling in love with the downhill skiing and mountain biking in the resort, she became a permanent resident. Lyons began working in tourism and was hired at the village’s beloved Scandinave Spa Whistler in 2014, as the sales and marketing manager.

Lyons sailing over a mountain biking jumpLyons sailing over a mountain biking jumpSCANDINAVE SPA WHISTLER

Scandinave Spa Whistler’s mission is to offer a haven for personal renewal in the Scandinavian age-old tradition where body and mind find peace. The spa is most famous for its outdoor baths that are filled with steaming turquoise water, nestled among often snow-covered trees.

 

Along with the hydrotherapy experience, visitors can also book massages for ultimate relaxation. The magic of the Scandinave Spa Whistler stems from its welcoming atmosphere and genuine customer service.

After demonstrating authenticity, team spirit, professionalism, and the ability to openly communicate with team members, Lyons became the spa director in 2018.

But leading one of Whistler’s most sought-after tourism experiences has its fair share of challenges. These include navigating the high staff turnover as it’s a seasonal resort destination that contracts massage therapists, which is now implementing COVID-19 safety protocols.

Lyons must also ensure that team members are engaged and feel sufficiently empowered to enforce the spa’s policies promoting silence and prohibiting digital devices. Both regulations are integral to the best possible experience for all guests.

SCANDINAVE SPA WHISTLER

Through teaching by example and embodying the spa’s ethos, Lyons has become a well-respected team leader and mentor.

“With a young and diverse workforce, it’s imperative to motivate our team to apply their individual self-interest toward working together to achieve goals as a group,” she says. “I highly value participation, sharing power, and being as transparent as possible with information regarding our business and operations.”

When Lyons isn’t working, she’s spending time outdoors—a true Whistler local through and through. Lyons encourages staff to take time off that they earn as she understands the significance of leisure and travel when it comes to one’s health and well-being.

“It’s important for me to help our staff grow, not only in their position at the spa but to help them achieve their future career goals,” says Lyons. “As a result, they feel more confident in their work and value their role in the organization. The strength of our team comes from employees who feel appreciated and recognized.”

To make a reservation for the hydrotherapy baths or a massage at the Scandinave Spa Whistler, 

For more information, visit 

 

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Wait out the pandemic in peace by using CBD oil to combat stress and anxiety


 

2 of 3
  • CBD2HEAL

(This story is sponsored by .)

The last year has been nothing short of a disaster. Many people have had to navigate pandemic-related changes, leaving them feeling stressed, anxious, exhausted, and even depressed.

 

Prioritizing self-care is the best way one can avoid or pull themselves out of the dreaded COVID-19 slump. This can include exercising, caring for a house plant, finding new hobbies, eating healthy, and trying 

Canadian company CBD2HEAL is committed to developing lab-tested CBD (Cannabidiol) products that help people achieve optimal mental health. Unlike brands like that concentrate on pain relief,  specializes in anxiety relief—something many could benefit from as we patiently wait for the pandemic to end.

 

If you have been finding it difficult to stay positive and motivated, CBD has an abundance of benefits that can give you that much-needed boost.

Heighten concentration and focus

By now, we are all starting to realize that work-from-home burnout is a very real thing. Even though people were given the opportunity to forgo uncomfortable button-up pants and lengthy commutes, staying focused on work can be difficult. It’s near impossible to go an hour without scrolling through TikTok and trying a couple of the dances in the bathroom mirror.

CBD2HEAL offers  tinctures, capsules, and sprays that can help improve focus and concentration. There is no Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in any of CBD2HEAL’s organic non-GMO products so users won’t experience any highs. 

CBD2HEAL

Reduces stress and anxiety

If you’ve been crushing bags of dill pickle chips and chewing your fingernails to cope with stress, it’s time to try CBD oil. Untreated stress and anxiety can result in decreased libido, gastrointestinal problems, lack of energy, and much more.

Instead of finding healthy ways to cope, many people choose to overindulge in alcohol, cigarettes, and food. These unhealthy habits make you feel much worse in the long run.

Several of CBD2HEAL’s products can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and anxiety-induced insomnia. Better yet, CBD oil does not cause any withdrawal symptoms or side effects, making it a safe way to improve your mental health. It should be treated like a daily supplement.

CBD2HEAL

Improves sleep quality

If we knew that adulthood went hand-in-hand with difficulty sleeping, we may not have signed up. Getting eight hours of sleep every night is no easy feat, especially when people are spending the majority of their time at home due to the pandemic.

CBD can act as a sleep aid by promoting relaxation because of its anti-anxiety properties and decreasing the symptoms of insomnia. For optimal results, aim to fall asleep at same time each night and discontinue the use of electronics two hours before going to bed.

To browse all of CBD2HEAL’s products, visit  Use discount code STRAIGHT at check out for 20 percent off sitewide.

For updates, follow CBD2HEAL on 

If you're looking for full spectrum products, go to CBD Magic’s .

 

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Vancouver real estate: home across Trout Lake listed $1.7 million, sells $870,000 over asking for $2.6 million

 

2 of 2
  • Oakwyn Realty Ltd. sold 3285 Victoria Drive after eight days on the market.

The Straight has previously reported about homes selling over $500,000 on top of their listed price.

If some thought nothing is ever going to beat that, here’s a surprise.

 
 

A home in East Vancouver recently sold $872,134 over its original asking price.

The top-up alone is enough to buy a townhouse or perhaps two condos.

 

The two-storey home at 3285 Victoria Drive sold on February 24 after eight days on the market.

Oakwyn Realty Ltd. listed the five-bedroom, four-bath residence on February 16.

The listing price was $1,728,000.

A buyer picked up the property for $2,600,134 million.

The transaction was tracked by Zealty.ca, a real-estate information site owned and operated by Holywell Properties.

 

Holywell’s managing broker Adam Major informed the Straight about the sale of Victoria Drive.

According to Major, the deal for the home located across from Trout Lake is a “candidate for craziest individual deal”.

B.C. Assessment placed the 2021 value of the property at $1,741,000 as of July 1, 2020.

There may be buyers out there who have a fear of missing out as the market continues to sizzle.

They may be tempted to enter into bidding wars.

Major’s advice: don’t.

“For buyers, I would recommend caution,” he said.

The market may have become too hot that the government could decide to do something about it.

“There is a risk that the federal government steps in to cool the housing market,” Major said.

Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem has observed “excess exuberance” in the country’s housing market.

“What we get worried about is when we start to see extrapolated expectations, when we start to see people expecting the kind of unsustainable price increases we’ve seen recently go on indefinitely,” Macklem said on February 24 at a meeting with chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary.

The central bank dropped its interest-setting rate to 0.25 percent on March 27, 2020 to ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economic.

The bank has maintained the rate, which is the lowest, and indicated that it will stay at that level until 2023.

“We are starting to see some early signs of excess exuberance, but we’re a long way from where we were in 2016-2017 when things were really hot,” bank governor Macklem said on February 24.

Holywell’s Major noted that the central may be “only six months late” in issuing a “warning about the housing market overheating”.

“But better late than never.  At some point, the rules could change and it could happen overnight,” Major said.

Major cited the case of New Zealand.

In April 2020, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand lifted lending restrictions to prop up the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure eased credit flow, and led to strong sales in the country’s housing market, with price increases setting new records.

Moving to cool the market, New Zealand’s central bank decided to reimpose so-called loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions.

Starting in March 2021, banks can allocate only 20 percent of their residential mortgage lending to owner-occupiers with a down payment of 20 percent.

Moreover, banks can lend not more than five percent to investors with a down payment of less than 30 percent. Starting on May 1, the deposit requirement for investors will increase to 40 percent.

Back of 3285 Victoria Drive.Back of 3285 Victoria Drive.

Here at home, Holywell’s Major said that the last week in February 2021 was the “busiest for weekly sales since 2019” in markets served by the Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Chilliwack real estate boards.

According to Major, 1,998 sales were reported in the combined areas of the three real estate boards.

“In the last week of February 2020, there were 1,109 sales, so we are up 82 percent over the same week last year,” he said.

Zealty.ca tracking also indicates that the last week of February 2021 was the highest since January 15, 2021.

Major also noted that the Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation has been “awfully quiet”.

He recalled that CMHC predicted at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 that housing prices would fall 18 percent.

“The exact opposite happened,” Major said.

He speculated that an increase to down payment requirements by CMHC could be come “any day”.

So again for buyers out there, caution is the word.

“Are you sure you want to win a bidding war on a teardown in the sticks to wake up to the next morning to discover the feds changed the rules so nobody else makes the same mistake?” Major said. 

 
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plant me. puts a nutritious and plant-based spin on classic takeout


 

2 of 4
  • PLANT ME.

(This story is sponsored by .)

Preparing an average of 21 meals every week can be exhausting and monotonous, which makes ordering takeout seem very enticing. But unfortunately, many rely on nearby fast food joints that serve items stuffed with unhealthy fats and disturbing amounts of sodium.

 
 

Instead of consuming takeout that leaves you feeling sluggish and full of regret, try  fresh and healthy premade meals. Think plant-based bowls, slow-roasted cauliflower in creamy cashew sauce, homemade taro chips with dip, and much more.

The fast-casual vegetarian eatery opened its doors in the midst of the pandemic with the goal of providing nutritious food to the community. Since its soft launch in November, plant me. has been operating out of Our Town Café in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant.

 

“We grew up and now raise our families here. The pandemic forced us to think about what was truly important,” says Jeff Holmes, owner of plant me. “This includes our health, our families, and supporting our corner of the world. Our Town Café and plant me. is allowing us to do that.”

PLANT ME.

The sustainably minded restaurant not only offers takeout options for one but it also creates colourful and delicious meals for families of two and four. These ready-to-eat meals allow tired and uninspired home cooks to take a night off. Each family meal comes with your choice of entrees, a salad, and snacks to share. 

Those who are following a vegan or vegetarian diet are sure to appreciate plant me.’s filling comfort food options. Dark and rainy nights call for a large bowl of the eatery’s trademark churry—a hybrid of chili and curry.

Plant me.’s taro chips with fresh Almond Trickotta and Beet Cashew dip, makes the perfect snack as you research destinations to visit once travel bans are lifted.

Along with prioritizing our health and relationships with loved ones, the pandemic has taught us that supporting local and small businesses can help our community flourish. “We partner with local vendors like Fife Bakery, the Juice Truck, Main Street Brewing Company, the Flourist, Coligny Creek Egg Co., the Wood Shop co-op, and more,” says Holmes. “Additionally, our rotating resident artist and feature roaster program show that we’re beyond committed to supporting local.”

Plant me. is offering 10 percent off of all takeout orders to celebrate its grand opening from February 25 to  March 25, 2021.  to place an order.

For updates, follow plant me. on .

 

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DanceHouse’s streaming of Joe provides virtual audiences with an expressive look into Canadian dance


 

2 of 3
  • ROBERT ETCHEVERRY

(This story is sponsored by .)

Watching a captivating dance performance is a therapeutic activity that many of us could benefit from in the midst of the pandemic. The captivating live art form can bring forward emotions, stimulate memories, and spark meaningful conversations.

 

Because the pandemic cancelled all of our plans, we’ve been given plenty of time to devote to our hobbies and personal interests. Instead of spending endless hours scrolling on your phone, how about using this opportunity to learn more about the history of dance in Canada?

In order to continue bringing dance to Canadians during the pandemic, DanceHouse has partnered with the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and Danse Danse in Montreal. Through this partnership, Digidance was born.

 

By combining expertise, experience, and international networks, the four organizations were able to pivot to presenting exceptional dance content online. This allows dance enthusiasts to enjoy the organizations’ extraordinary work from the safety and comfort of their own home. 

DanceHouse’s next Digidance presentation is a vintage one—an iconic Canadian piece from 1984, which profoundly made its mark on audiences everywhere. Joe, choreographed and produced by the late Jean-Pierre Perreault (1947–2002), presents an image of the human condition through contemporary dance.

The powerful performance will be streaming to audiences worldwide from March 17 to 23, with tickets available for purchase online.

ROBERT ETCHEVERRY

Perrault was known as one of the most influential and highly regarded contemporary dance artists and choreographers in the country. His passion for design and painting allowed him to flawlessly link the dancers’ movement to the sound, lighting, and set.

Joe previously toured in Ottawa, Toronto, and Europe but the breathtaking performance never made it to a Vancouver stage. This is because before 2008, Vancouver was not on the pan-Canadian touring map for national and international companies. DanceHouse has since then filled that gap, allowing Vancouverites to attend world class performances without having to board a plane.

The contemporary dance piece, Joe, is performed by 32 professional dancers wearing work boots, long coats, and hats. The group of talented performers move in a compact mass that individuals occasionally attempt to free themselves to escape a foreordained destiny. Joe was remounted several times, which speaks to the importance of the work as managing a company of 32 dancers is no easy feat.

This archival and exceedingly influential performance can help virtual attendees deepen their understanding of dance in Canada. Joe has been described as “a work that has become a hallmark of contemporary Canadian dance and a masterpiece for all time,” by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 1996.

Though the video in its vintage resolution has aged slightly, the expressive and memorable performance of Joe remains young at heart.

To purchase a ticket to the virtual performance of Joe

For more information on DanceHouse and other upcoming events, visit 

 

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GEORGIA STRAIGHT

LEGAL

© 2021 VANCOUVER FREE PRESS. BEST OF VANCOUVER, BOV AND GOLDEN PLATES ARE TRADE-MARKS OF VANCOUVER FREE PRESS PUBLISHING CORP.
 
 
 
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I have sold a property at 407 15210 GUILDFORD DR in Surrey.
Beautiful top floor home with a view of the North Shore Mountains. Newly renovated with all new flooring, bathroom, stainless steel kitchen Appliances, crown moulding, insuite laundry, gas fireplace, and new blinds. Spacious and bright home with a very functional layout with balcony. Parking and storage locker! The building also has a gym and amenity room with lots of underground parking. The building is rain screened with brand new roof, and is within walking distance to all amenities. Walking distance to Guildford Recreation Centre & Guildford Town centre, close to Highway One and public transit. Professionally measured 728 sq ft by Absolute Measuring, strata plan shows 718 sq ft. Perfect for commuters - near the Port Mann bridge.
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Vancouver real estate: market crackles with buyers paying more than $500,000 over listed price of detached homes


 

  • Keller Williams Realty VanCentral listed this property at 2930 West 28<sup>th</sup> Avenue for $2,399,000, and it sold for $2,950,000.
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  • Keller Williams Realty VanCentral listed this property at 2930 West 28th Avenue for $2,399,000, and it sold for $2,950,000.

Forget whatever illusions remain about affordable detached homes in Vancouver.

Nowadays, buyers are willing to pay more than $500,000 over the listed price of single-family homes.

A good example is 2930 West 28th Avenue.

Keller Williams Realty VanCentral listed the MacKenzie Heights area home on February 2, 2021 for $2,399,000.

The 80-year-old home with three bedrooms and four baths got a new owner after seven days on the market.

 

On February 9, a buyer picked up the two-storey home with a basement for $2,950,000.

The selling price was $551,000 over the listed price.

The transaction was tracked by Zealty.ca, a real-estate information site owned and operated by Holywell Properties.

 

According to the site, the sold price of 2930 West 28th Avenue was 23 percent more than its listed price.

B.C. Assessment placed the 2021 value of the property as of July 1, 2020 at $2,411,000.

The Straight regularly asks realtor David Hutchinson of Sutton Group-West Coast Realty about what’s happening in the market.

Hutchinson, who has been in the business for two decades, is often sought by media organizations for his observations and insights.

Interestingly, Hutchinson cites a recent deal in which a buyer also paid over $500,000 on top of the listed price.

RE/MAX Select Properties listed 3355 West 12th Avenue on February 6 for $1,988,000.

The small Kitsilano area home comes with four beds and two baths.

After five days, a buyer picked up the 76-year-old home.

On February 11, the property changed hands for $2,502,850.

This means that the purchase price was $514,850 more than the listed price.

Zealty.ca notes on its site that the sold price was 25.9 percent over its original asking price.

RE/MAX Select Properties listed this property at 3355 West 12<sup>th</sup> Avenue (middle house) for $1,988,000, and it sold for $2,502,850.RE/MAX Select Properties listed this property at 3355 West 12th Avenue (middle house) for $1,988,000, and it sold for $2,502,850.

“Representing buyers ain't easy these days,” Hutchinson said.

The long-time realtor noted that buyers find properties that may not be ideal, but look like a “perfect deal”.

“We go see it, consider an offer, and then we realize it's going into multiple-offers,” Hutchinson said.

Buyers give it their best shot, often attaching no conditions to their offer, and then hope for the best.

“One buyer ultimately gets the home. The others are left dissappointed and back on the hunt,” Hutchinson said.

He also noted there are buyers who have been waiting from the sidelines, and ready to make a move once prices go down.

Unfortunately for them, the “bottom fell out, and the market spiraled in the other direction, which was up”.

“With selling prices of over a half-million dollars over asking, the days of any kind of dreamy affordability seem to be gone,” Hutchinson said.

 
Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo
 

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