Jul 2016 1

Jay and Brenda’s Newsletter: July Idyll

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Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.

— Sam Keen

Jay & Brenda News

After a hot Spring and a damp June and early July we are ready to celebrate the arrival of sunshine and heat. A beautiful summer day in Vancouver is perfect. We recognize why so many people from all over the world want to come here to live or spend quality holiday time.

The real estate news is the same old, same old. Prices are up, volume is up slightly in June. Real estate news gets lots of play in the local media. According to the President of the REBGV there have been more homes listed since March than in any other 4 month period in the past 10 years. Many sellers have jumped on the bandwagon now in case it slows or stops later. Some homes have not sold because they are clearly over-priced even in this market. Wishful thinking is always in good supply.

Brenda and Julie in MontrealBrenda and Julie celebrating last night in Quebec at Auberge Bonaparte in Old Montreal

Read full discussion of the market and the government response to the public outcry about affordability in my stats intro: Vancouver Market May Have Passed Its Peak in June 2016.

The real estate tax revenues from the Property Transfer Tax are up 43.9% compared to the last fiscal year. This translates to an additional $468 million in the provincial treasury by March 31 2016. The revenue from the PTT was $1.5 billion in the fiscal year. Combined with other taxes it is no wonder that BC has the only positive financial position of any Canadian province. The NDP opposition blames the lack of action to address the affordability crisis on the government's addiction to the river of cash flowing in from real estate taxes. Mike de Jong, finance minister says it's from all corners of the economy.

Recently Deloitte at the request of the provincial government convened a round table discussion called "Transit Enabling Livable Communities" attended by Minister Fassbender, regional mayors and other players. The idea was to discuss ways that the provincial government can work with local governments to increase housing around transit corridors. The head of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association states that much of the problem is there is no consistent or coherent regional plan for preserving or building affordable units. The free market encourages development that does not focus on affordability or family accommodation.

Julie and Constantin at Crooked Creek cottageConstantin driving boat with Auntie Julie on Deer Lake. He marked his face falling on gravel at Great-Auntie Jane's ranch

Usually when low-rise older affordable units are torn down they are replaced with smaller new units, either rental or condo at prices previous tenants cannot afford. Only the City of Vancouver requires that any rental unit in a redevelopment project has to be replaced one to one and tenant relocation strategies have to be in place.

A recent sale of a huge rental project in South Vancouver illustrates the long term value of owning land. Southview Gardens a 140 unit project built on 6.58 acres in Champlain Heights advertised for sale for multi-millions of dollars with the restrictive City of Vancouver zoning in place received enquiries locally and from all over the world. Sold to an investor who plans to hold it for the foreseeable future.

It's funny how policies that seemed fine are suddenly in the public's cross-hairs. Westbank a prestigious developer partnered with the Sewell family to build a project in Horseshoe Bay. Plans were drawn up. Everyone was excited about the project when they suddenly realized that Westbank was pre-marketing it through their offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Suddenly there was an outcry about empty units and prices too high for local buyers and marketing in Asia before plans were approved. Westbank doesn't usually miscalculate like that. Recall their intense expensive high end marketing plan for Vancouver House which has sold 35-40 % of the units to offshore buyers. One of the problems with requiring buyers to live in their units is that people's plans change and they may only want to be there part of the year. As Westbank said they don't want the world to think that Vancouver is not a free market. That could lead to unintended consequences indeed.

Now is the time to live in the moment.

What day is it?"
It's today," squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day," said Pooh."
— A.A. Milne

Family News

The past month has been full of excitement. Julie and I went on our annual Mother-Daughter vacation. Last year we cruised down the Danube River, visiting Alec and Lucia along the way. This year we toured Quebec on a fabulous trip. Quebec is a foreign country that uses Canadian currency. More details next month when everything is quiet again.

We had the pleasure of a week long visit from Alec, Lucia and our amazing grandson Constantin. It was wonderful to see them and to see Constantin as a little boy not the infant that we met last year. He is so bright and busy. I can see why mothers need to be young. I had forgotten how exhausting that job is.

Alec and Constantin at Stump Lake RanchAlec and Constantin at Stump Lake Ranch

Lucia and I had fun shopping. C is a pro. Riding along in his stroller, getting out when stores offered a play area. A, L & C went to Gambier with Great Uncle Russ and Great Uncle David, to Great Granny's for lunch, to Crescent Beach for a day with Claire and Mike and grandchildren, a trip to Granville Island on the False Creek ferry with Great Aunt Mo and all topped off by a few days at Great Aunt Jane's ranch at Stump Lake near Kamloops. Exhausting but fun. They sandwiched in time in Toronto on either end of their Vancouver jaunt. They finished their Canadian holiday with a weekend at Julie and Mary's cottage. Both Alec and Lucia enjoyed the thrill of water skiing again.

Julie has been busy travelling with me, working fulltime, enjoying cottage time with Mary and guests. She loves the Tour de France and records each stage to watch at night. Her first comment in answering the phone is "Don't tell me about the Tour". Mary is loving her retirement from tight time schedules and being able to spend more time at Crooked Creek. When A, L & C were there Kath, Stef and DK and Carolyn joined them. Lots of dogs, water sports, good food and fun plus mosquitoes and black flies taken in stride. Summer in Northern Ontario at its finest.

Kath entertained Lucia and Constantin while Julie and Stef worked. She helped set up the car seat that Mary had borrowed from a work colleague. It moved easily from car to car and travelled free to Vancouver where it was set up in my car. It made it possible for them to go to the beach in TO with Kath's dogs and all and to travel around BC.

Alec Lucia and Constantin returning to Vienna from Toronto July 19 Alec, Lucia and Constantin returning to Vienna from Toronto

Jay has been very busy with work and enjoying playing golf with nephew Jordy. He is looking forward to a holiday in Toronto in August. He will go to the MOCOOL Wine Festival in Michigan with friends Dave and Miles, visit mother Bunny in Hamilton and spend a weekend at Crooked Creek with old friends Bruce and Christine. Jay and Bruce drive everyone crazy with their passion for old music.

Effi loves to garden. She lies around on the grass and watches the world go by while I water and weed. Jay walks her regularly for his health and hers. Effi loves Justin and the Woofer Walkers outing twice a week. She and I will mind the business while Jay is away.

FYI: We find that working with clients at every stage of life: buying first condo homes, moving up to family size townhomes or detached, then downsizing from the large family home to a condo again keeps us busy. We hope that Life is good for you too.

Real Estate News

For those interested in the tax rates of the Metro Vancouver municipalities Jay has compiled them and posted them on our website.

The complete June 2016 Stats Package from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is also posted.

Dan Morrison, President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver states "While we're starting to see more properties coming onto the market in recent months, the imbalance between supply and demand continues to influence market conditions."

"Since March, we've seen more homes listed for sale in our market than in any other four month period this decade,." Morrison said.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver MLS residential property sales of detached, attached and apartments reached 4,400 in June 2016, a.0.6% increase compared to 4,375 sales in June 2015.

June sales were 28.1% above the 10- year sales average for the month.

In June 2016 the number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS in Greater Vancouver was 7,812. This is a decrease of 35.9% from June 2015 (12,181).

With the sales-to-active-listings ratio at 56.3% in June 2016, it remained a seller's market which typically occurs when this ratio exceeds 20 percent for a sustained period of time.


The REBGV Home Price Index includes Benchmark Prices for consistent comparisons. Benchmarks represent a typical property within each market. The benchmark property descriptions have been updated to reflect current buying trends.

Home Price Index / Benchmark Prices
Detached June 2016 1 year change 5 year change
North Vancouver $1,664,100 41.4% 81.6%
Richmond $1,700,200 48.5% 65.1%
Vancouver East $1,511,500 38.2% 87.4%
Vancouver West $3,547,300 36.4% 66.0%
West Vancouver $3,261,600 37.8% 83.9%
Townhouse June 2016 1 year change 5 year change
North Vancouver $850,200 30.8% 46.6%
Richmond $709,800 29.8% 39.3%
Vancouver East $765,500 36.2% 54.6%
Vancouver West $1,092,900 35.6% 60.6%

The following schedule shows the change in sales volume from June 2015 to 2016:

Detached Home Sales
  June 2016 June 2015
North Van 154 156
Richmond 171 238
Van East 163 221
Van West 152 236
West Van 74 102
Townhouse Sales
  June 2016 June 2015
North Van 43 61
Richmond 131 117
Van East 57 45
Van West 81 88

Change is in the air. We're still advising clients to take advantage of the continuing low interest rates available now whether you are moving up or down in the market. You will be glad that you did so at this time!

We thank you for your referrals and look forward to assisting you or any of your friends and family with future real estate needs.

All good wishes for a wonderful summer,

Jay Banks & Brenda Kinnear


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