Michael Cowling

Changes of Interest Rate Hike Increase - How Soon?

With Canada’s economy strengthening and key policymakers’ speeches and interviews hinting at a forthcoming rise in interest rates, the loonie has risen to a four-month high.

The speeches follow the US Fed’s strong moves in raising rates three times in seven months, with more US rate hikes likely to be on the horizon.

Canada has seen historic low interest rates over the past few years – but Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz told CNBC in Europe earlier today that, “It does look as though cuts have done their job… We certainly need to be at least considering that whole situation [of raising rates] now that excess capacity is being used up steadily.”

However, Poloz added, “The US [is] obviously way out in front. Canada [is] some distance, perhaps as much as two years, behind, given the oil shock.”

This two-year lag jives with predictions in the British Columbia Real Estate Association’s latest Mortgage Rate Forecast, released June 28.

The BCREA conceded that the chances of an interest rate hike had increased recently, but predicts that this will not come to fruition until early 2018.

The report said, “While the economy is currently very strong, Canada has had several false alarms when it comes to an imminent increase in interest rates. The case for Bank of Canada tightening this time around, however, may be stronger than in the past.”

The BCREA reiterated Poloz’s sentiment that 2015 rate cuts had “done their job” to deal with the oil crisis as one of two reasons why interest rates might rise.

“Firstly, a rate increase of 25 basis points would mainly undo the rate cut made in 2015 to deal with the dramatic decline in oil prices. With the macroeconomic consequences of that oil shock dissipated, there is no longer a need to keep interest rates at their current level.

“Secondly, rapid growth in the Canadian economy means that slack in labour and products markets is being eliminated faster than expected, which should begin to put upward pressure on inflation, with a return to the Bank’s two per cent inflation target sooner than currently projected.”

However, contrary to some predictions that the rise could happen as soon as next month, the BCREA said it does not think interest rates will go up this year.

“While the likelihood of the Bank raising its target rate by the end of 2017 has certainly increased, we still expect the Bank to hold off until early 2018, particularly if oil prices remain low and inflation fails to pick up.”

-Originally published on rew.ca by Joannah Connolly

Housing Market Insight May 2017

Originally published: Housing Market Insight – Vancouver CMA – Date Released – May 2017

When home prices in the City of Vancouver fluctuate, there is a measurable effect on home prices of other municipalities; this is known as a spill-over effect. „ The spill-over effect from Vancouver takes several years to fully set in for other municipalities. „ Within commuting distance of Vancouver City, the length of the commute and the size of the spill-over effect are related. „ House prices in municipalities that are outside of the commuting range are still affected by price changes in Vancouver.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, in CMHC’s Housing Market Assessment, moderate evidence of house price acceleration was detected in the Vancouver census metropolitan area (CMA), and in the following quarter acceleration was also measured in the Victoria CMA. Market commentators have also suggested that strong house price growth in Vancouver in 2016 was spilling over from Vancouver to other centres in British Columbia. The purpose of this report is to measure the link between house prices in the City of Vancouver and other major centres in British Columbia, and to discuss possible causes.

Spill-over effects from Vancouver City are strongest in Richmond and the North Shore. CMHC estimated how price movements in the City of Vancouver affect municipalities that are both nearby and farther away. Our results show: „ There is a detectable spill-over effect. „ The spill-over effect is strongest in municipalities adjacent to the City of Vancouver. „ As the distance increases, the spill-over effect generally becomes smaller, but only up until a point. Beyond commuting distance, the effect is similar regardless of distance. “Our estimates show that on average a 1.0% increase in house prices in the City of Vancouver was immediately transmitted to places like Burnaby, Richmond, and the North Shore resulting in price increase of 0.45% in Burnaby and Richmond and 0.73% in the North Shore.”

Figure 1 shows the spill-over effect from Vancouver to other municipalities in British Columbia. These results measure price changes due to a random and unexpected increase to the house prices of Vancouver after accounting for other sources of variation. The reported results are an historical analysis of the house price data in British Columbia and they can be thought of as the average spill-over effects of the past. That means that this is not a forecast of how spill-over effects will happen in the future, as the exact causes of spill-over effects are complex and differ over time. In addition, these values do not imply that every price movement in Vancouver has resulted in a visible price movement in other markets. There are other factors that may have cancelled out these effects or amplified them, depending on the particular example. These effects are related to changes in the Vancouver housing prices in isolation of other factors that would jointly affect house prices in B.C. centres like province-specific or national economic developments and regulatory changes targeted to housing markets.

Short-run Spill-Over Effects Mainly Affect Direct Neighbours of Vancouver City. Our estimates show that on average a 1.0% increase in house prices in the City of Vancouver was immediately transmitted to places like Burnaby, Richmond, and the North Shore resulting in price increase of 0.45% in Burnaby and Richmond and 0.73% in the North Shore. The immediate response of other centres was also detected.

Spill-over Effects Take a Long Time To Be Fully Realized. The spill-over effect only becomes fully realized over a long period of time, such as 5 years or more, for most municipalities in British Columbia. As with the short-run effects, the further away from Vancouver, the lesser the extent of the spill-over effect up until a point. Beyond commuting distance, the effect is similar regardless of distance. After five-years, in places as far away as Kelowna, for example, prices were 0.5% higher than they would have been otherwise. In Richmond and the North Shore, the long-run spill-over effect from Vancouver was as strong as the long-term effect on Vancouver itself. When prices increase unexpectedly in Vancouver, they eventually had the same effect on Richmond and the North Shore. For Burnaby, the link between prices was somewhat weaker. This is possibly due to the historically higher share of apartment sales in the Burnaby market as compared with Richmond and the North Shore.

Spill-over effects are consistent with a trade-off between commuting distance and lower house prices. House price levels vary from one municipality to another for many reasons including but not limited to: proximity to employment or economic activity, available services, land availability and use, property tax rates, natural and geographical features. When the difference in house prices between two neighbouring areas exceed what is warranted by such factors, home buyers have an incentive to buy in the lower priced area. A very common example is when a buyer chooses to locate in a municipality Vancouver increased faster than in Surrey or Langley. In all likelihood, some buyers chose to locate in areas with longer commutes because of the additional cost required for living closer to Vancouver. To be clear, this data is not conclusive evidence of this effect because we do not explicitly know buyer motivations. Vancouver has notably different type and quantity of supply than Surrey, for example, but the incentive structures are clear; there is a trade-off between house price and commute. With that in mind, this data also highlights the fact that the incentive structure changes over time, meaning future spill-over effects will likely differ from what occurred in the past.

Migration out of Vancouver provides another route for spill-over effects. The steady migration out of Vancouver means that there has long been a flow of potential buyers from the Vancouver CMA housing market into other parts of British Columbia (Figure 5). This out migration provides a clue as to another potential channel for spill-over effects. To the extent that the migration data approximates the flow of homeowners in Vancouver leaving for other parts of the province, price fluctuations in Vancouver house prices affect the home purchasing budgets that migrants take with them to other markets. Intraprovincial migrants leaving Vancouver were typically over the age of 30, with the highest concentration between the ages of 45 and 50. In other words, the people leaving Vancouver were very likely to have some home equity built up, especially considering the 65% homeownership rate in the Vancouver CMA combined with the fact that homeownership rates are higher, on average, for older demographics. Because there are other ways for Vancouver to influence other municipalities, spillover effects from Vancouver decrease with distance, but only up until a certain distance. For markets like Kelowna, the spill-over effects are likely linked to people leaving Vancouver and settling elsewhere.


Housing Market Insight – Vancouver CMA – Date Released – May 2017

When it comes to analyzing market trends, look beyond average price

As originally published on www.crea.ca 

 Because all real estate is local, home prices can vary widely across Canada. REALTORS® often use average prices because they’re easy to calculate: simply divide the value of homes sold by the number of sales. The result is an “average” price that can be compared from one time period to another and across housing markets.While this sounds simple enough, it actually isn’t. The problem with using averages to gauge price levels or changes is that extremely high value home sales distort calculations.

Imagine 10 people are at a bar, each of whom earn an annual income of $50,000. There’s no variation in their incomes and the average annual income for the group is $50,000.

Now suppose Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, sits down at the bar and his annual income is, say, $1 billion. The average annual income for the group of 11 is now $90,954,545 – yet no one’s individual salary has changed. The average is still statistically correct, but misleading and/or misrepresentative.

Similarly, when the number and/or proportion of home sales rises in three of Greater Vancouver’s most expensive neighbourhoods (namely, West Vancouver, Richmond and Vancouver West), the national average price climbs (all other things being equal). However, that doesn’t mean selling prices have climbed in other neighbourhoods.

As the chart above highlights, from May 2008 to January 2009, home sales in these three neighbourhoods dropped by 72%, contributing to a drop of over $43,000 in the national average price. As home sales there rebounded from March to October 2009, the national average price jumped back up by $52,000.

Between April and August 2010, sales again dropped in these neighbourhoods, after CMHC introduced tighter mortgage regulations. This contributed to a decline in the national average price. Fast-forward to early 2011 (January to May), when home buyers in these neighbourhoods advanced their purchasing decisions to beat further mortgage regulations, and the national average price rose. It then subsequently declined between May and December 2011 as sales in these three neighbourhoods dropped once the regulations took effect.

More recently, due to a surge of activity in the Greater Vancouver market between August 2015 and February 2016, the national average price climbed by more than $70,000. However, between February and October 2016, the national average price slipped by just $21,000 as home sales in these neighbourhoods decreased by over 71%. The smaller decline in the national average price reflected rising sales activity in the Greater Toronto Area, where the proportion of national sales activity is greater than any other major urban centre and ranks among Canada’s more expensive markets.

It’s difficult to know whether average price changes reflect an actual appreciation or decline in home prices versus changes in the mix of sales. That’s why the MLS® Home Price Index is a far better way of gauging price trends and levels: unlike average and median prices, it isn’t prone to being distorted by changes in the sales mix from one month to the next.

Mortgage Qualification Tips for Newcomers to Canada

Have you recently moved to Canada and want to buy a home? Independent mortgage broker Atrina Kouroshnia of Lava Rates explains what you need to know.

If you’re new to Canada and want to buy a home here, there are some rules you will need to follow. First off, the good news is that the Canadian government does not restrict foreign ownership of real estate, so you can buy property here even if you’re a temporary (or permanent) resident, rather than a citizen. Some provinces do limit the amount of agricultural land foreigners can buy, but this won’t apply to most home buyers.

However, foreign banks cannot register mortgages in Canada, which means you’ll need to get a mortgage from a Canadian bank if you plan to finance the property. The underwriting process for a newcomer can be a bit more complicated than it would be for a citizen, but I’ve seen people qualify for a mortgage only a few months after arriving in Canada.

If you want to buy a home as a transplant to Canada, here’s what you need to know:

Down payments: Depending on the lender, you may need a larger down payment because you could be perceived to be a higher credit risk. Some lenders require newcomers to put down at least 35 per cent, but there are alternative options for newcomers. You may be required to have had a down payment in Canada for at least 30 to 90 days depending on the lender, but some exceptions can be made depending on the country where the down payment is coming from and whether or not those funds can be traced. Lenders may also require that newcomers who are putting down less than 35 per cent purchase mortgage loan insurance because the risk of default is higher among non-citizens.
Employment and credit history: If you’re brand new to Canada, you probably haven’t had much time to establish a long credit or employment history here. Some banks will accept a 35 per cent down payment for those who have been in Canada for less than five years and have yet to establish employment sufficient for the mortgage they are seeking. Under other programs, the lender may require you to wait until you’ve worked with a Canadian employer for at least three months or you may need to provide extra documentation to show that you’re creditworthy. This might include immigration documentation such as a work permit, references from banks or employers, credit reports from your home country, records showing 12 months of on-time rent payments and proof of funds for your down payment. If you’re working for the same company because they’ve relocated you to Canada, that may help demonstrate your stability and creditworthiness to lenders.
Property Transfer Tax: Property transfer taxes may work differently than in your home country, so make sure you do your homework and budget accordingly. The main thing to note is that if you are buying a home in Metro Vancouver, you will have to pay not only the basic provincial Property Transfer Tax that all homes are subject to, but also an additional foreign-buyer Property Transfer Tax of 15 per cent of the purchase price. That applies whether you are resident in Canada or still living overseas, to those who do not have Canadian citizenship or permanent residency. However, if you are a foreign national living in Metro Vancouver with a Canadian work permit, you will be exempt from this extra tax. And the tax only applies to Metro Vancouver, as of late 2016, so if you’re buying outside that region, there is no additional tax for foreign nationals.
If you are exempt from the foreign buyer tax, British Columbia also offers first-time home buyers an exemption from the basic Property Transfer Tax. But again, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (not on a work permit) to qualify and you cannot have purchased property or been on the title of a property anywhere in the world at any time. The exemption also requires you to have either lived in BC for 12 consecutive months before the date you register the property or have filed income taxes as a BC resident for at least two out of the last six years.


-originally published on www.rew.ca

Richard Bell B.A. LL.B. Bell Alliance
Once you’ve found your new home, then comes the seemingly tricky bit of lawyers, notaries, searches and contracts. Richard Bell of Bell Alliance explains that it’s really quite simple.

So, working with your real estate agent, you have found your new home and, with assistance of your mortgage professional, you have arranged for a mortgage. What’s next?

It’s time to hire a lawyer or notary public to help with the legal process to finalize the purchase of the home.

Here are the eight steps you will need to go through.

Step 1: Retain the services of a lawyer or notary. Ask your other professional advisors for a referral or family and friends that have gone through the process. Make sure you are hiring someone with experience in real estate closings. Most closings go smoothly but if something unexpected happens you want to make sure your lawyer or notary public has the necessary expertise. You should contact your lawyer or notary as early as possible in the process.

Step 2: Your lawyer or notary will need to gather information from you, including how you wish to hold title to the property. If you are buying with your spouse or partner, most couples hold title as “joint tenants,” which means that the couple jointly owns 100 per cent. Upon the death of one owner the property automatically passes to the survivor outside of their will. The other way to hold title to property is as “tenants-in-common” which means each owner owns a fixed percentage, which could be 50-50, 70-30 or any combination. Upon the death of one owner, the owner’s interest passes under their will.

Step 3: Your lawyer or notary conducts a title search and obtains tax information and any additional information necessary to prepare the statement of adjustments. This is a balance sheet of the transaction showing the total funds required to complete after accounting for the deposit and mortgage proceeds. And there may be adjustments for taxes, strata fees or rental income.

Step 4: Your lawyer or notary prepares closing documents including title transfer, mortgage, property transfer tax forms and statement of adjustments. Your lawyer or notary will forward the seller’s closing documents to the seller’s lawyer or notary for execution.

Step 5: One to three days before closing is when you usually meet with your lawyer or notary to sign documents and deliver the balance of the down payment or equity.

Step 6: Your lawyer or notary registers the transfer and mortgage documents, arranges for the seller’s lawyer or notary to pick up funds and notifies you that the purchase has completed.

Step 7: You receive the keys for your new home. Normally you receive the house keys directly from your real estate agent on the possession date as set out in the contract of purchase and sale.

Step 8: Move in and enjoy your new home – congratulations!

Originally published on rew.ca

October 9, 2014

Here’s how to apply for BC’s first-time home buyers’ loan

We came across this helpful article via the Daily Hive, and wanted to share it with you! For more information, please feel free to contact us at any time with your questions. We’re here for every step of your home buying journey! 

article via Daily Hive

Feb. 16 2017

You’ve heard about it since December, but it’s finally real – now BC residents can get a loan to help them buy their first home.

The provincial government has invested more than $700 million in the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership, which will provide up to a $37,500 loan to first-time home buyers.

Applications for the program opened on January 16, and will be accepted until March 31, 2020. Many millennials will be excited to use this program since it makes Vancouver’s housing more affordable.

But it isn’t as simple as walking into an office and coming out with a cheque. To help, we’ve compiled a list to help you apply for your first-time home buyers loan.

Find out if you’re eligible

To apply for the BC HOME Partnership loan, you can’t have owned any part of any residence anywhere in the world. It’s also required that you’ve been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years.

You also need to have lived in BC for at least a year before applying. You can have more than one person on the title of the home you are buying, but everyone needs to fulfill the eligibility requirements. The combined gross income of everyone on the title must be less than $150,000 a year.

Before applying, you also need pre-approval for a high-ratio insured mortgage. That means at least 80% of the property’s value is mortgaged, and the mortgage is covered by insurance that protects the lenders. You have to get a letter from an approved bank or financial institution confirming you are pre-approved.

If you’re still unsure, you can use BC Housing’s online calculator to find out if you’re eligible.

Save your money
The BC HOME Partnership loan is conditional based on the amount of money you have for a down payment. Your down payment must be equal to or more than the amount you’re applying for. The BC HOME Partnership program will loan a maximum $37,500 or 5% of the home’s purchase price.

If you want to reduce your mortgage payments, you can save more for your down payment – although the program won’t loan you more money. You can have a down payment of up to 15% of the home’s purchase price and still be eligible for the BC HOME Partnership program.

Prepare the paperwork

Applications for the BC HOME Partnership program are done online, but you’ll still need to put together paperwork for you application. This includes:

Proof of status in Canada – either a Canadian birth certificate, permanent resident card, or certificate of Canadian citizenship
Proof of residency in BC
Secondary identification with a photo – either your BC driver’s licence, BC Identification Card, Passport, or secure certificate of Indian Status
Notice of Assessments from Canada Revenue Agency, or a Proof of Income Statement from the revenue agency
Letter of pre-approval for an insured first mortgage
These must be submitted electronically, in one of the following file types: PDF, DOC, DOCX, TIFF, JPG, JPEG, GIF, or PNG.

Find the house
Once you’re approved for the loan, you’ll need to find your house. Upon approval, you’ll get a Homebuyer’s Package that outlines the steps you and your mortgage broker need to take to receive the loan.

Because the loan only covers up to 5% of the purchase price, you need to find a home that’s $750,000 or less before taxes. To be eligible, the house has to have a closing date on or after February 15 – and you need to take possession of the home within 30 days of closing and move in within six months.

You’ll also need to have the home as your principal residence for the first five years you own it – and that goes for everyone on the property’s title.

You can find more information on the BC HOME Partnership program and how you can apply via the provincial government or BC Housing.

Article originally published on www.vancitybuzz.com

A total of 944 public and independent elementary schools in the province have been ranked in the Fraser Institute’s 2016 Report Card of British Columbia’s top elementary institutions.

The evaluation is based on 10 academic indicators derived from the province-wide Foundation Skills Assessments (FSA) results.

This year, only two public schools made it to the top of the list – Irwin Park and Cedardale, both in West Vancouver – tying for first place with 16 independent schools from across Metro Vancouver, all scoring a perfect 10.

Meanwhile, West Vancouver had the highest average school ranking at 9.2 out of 10.

18 top ranked elementary schools in British Columbia

All tied, in no particular order:

  1. Crofton House (Vancouver)
  2. Southridge (Surrey)
  3. St George’s (Vancouver)
  4. Vancouver College (Vancouver)
  5. West Point Grey (Vancouver)
  6. York House (Vancouver)
  7. Corpus Christi (Vancouver)
  8. Holy Cross (Burnaby)
  9. Mulgrave (West Vancouver)
  10. St Michaels (Victoria)
  11. St Paul’s (Richmond)
  12. Iqra Islamic (Surrey)
  13. Our Lady Of Mercy (Burnaby)
  14. Irwin Park (West Vancouver)
  15. Our Lady Of Sorrows (Vancouver)
  16. Our Lady Of Perpetual Help (Vancouver)
  17. Cedardale (West Vancouver)
  18. Diamond (Surrey)

Below is a breakdown of the rankings by area. “=” represents a tie in the overall rankings.

11 top ranked public elementary schools in B.C.

  • Irwin Park (West Vancouver) (=1)
  • Cedardale (West Vancouver) (=1)
  • Gleneagles (West Vancouver) (=23)
  • Halfmoon Bay (Halfmoon Bay) (=27)
  • West Bay (West Vancouver) (=30)
  • Caulfeild (West Vancouver) (=30)
  • Ridgeview (West Vancouver) (=35)
  • Jessie Wowk (Richmond) (=40)
  • Dr R E McKechnie (Vancouver) (=40)
  • Westcot (West Vancouver) (=67)
  • Chartwell (West Vancouver) (=67)

11 top ranked elementary schools in Vancouver

  • Crofton House (=1)
  • St George’s (=1)
  • Vancouver College (=1)
  • West Point Grey (=1)
  • York House (=1)
  • Corpus Christi (=1)
  • Our Lady Of Sorrows (=1)
  • Our Lady Of Perpetual Help (=1)
  • Stratford Hall Vancouver (=23)
  • Immaculate Conception (=40)
  • Dr R E McKechnie (=40)

5 top ranked elementary schools in Burnaby

  • Holy Cross (=1)
  • Our Lady Of Mercy (=1)
  • St Michaels (=40)
  • St Francis de Sales (=47)
  • John Knox Christian (=60)

5 top ranked elementary schools in Surrey

  • Southridge (=1)
  • Iqra Islamic (=1)
  • Diamond (=1)
  • Star Of The Sea (=23)
  • Khalsa (=35)

5 top ranked elementary schools in Richmond

  • St Paul’s (=1)
  • Richmond Christian (=23)
  • Cornerstone Christian (=27)
  • St Joseph The Worker (=40)
  • Jessie Wowk (=40)

5 top ranked elementary schools in the Tri-Cities

  • Traditional Learning Academy (Coquitlam) (=67)
  • Hope Lutheran (Port Coquitlam) (=75)
  • Our Lady Of The Assumption (Port Coquitlam) (=82)
  • Our Lady Of Fatima (Coquitlam) (=87)
  • Queen Of All Saints (Coquitlam) (=109)

5 top ranked elementary schools in West Vancouver

  • Mulgrave (=1)
  • Irwin Park (=1)
  • Cedardale (=1)
  • Collingwood (=19)
  • Gleneagles (=23)

5 top ranked elementary schools in North Vancouver

  • Brockton Preparatory (22)
  • St Pius X (=30)
  • Lions Gate Christian (=62)
  • Holy Trinity (=75)
  • St Edmund’s (=87)

5 top ranked elementary schools in Delta

  • Southpointe (=40)
  • Immaculate Conception (=62)
  • Sacred Heart (=75)
  • Cougar Canyon (=120)
  • Devon Gardens (=206)

5 top ranked elementary schools in Langley

  • St Catherines (=67)
  • Credo Christian (=93)
  • Langley Christian (=109)
  • Dorothy Peacock (=120)
  • Alex Hope (=150)

5 top ranked elementary schools in Abbotsford

  • MEI (=62)
  • St James (=67)
  • Bradner (=82)
  • Dasmesh Punjabi (=87)
  • Auguston Traditional (=93)

5 top ranked elementary schools in Victoria

  • St Michaels (=1)
  • Glenlyon Norfolk (=27)
  • St Patrick’s (=35)
  • Christ Church Cathedral (=35)
  • St Margaret’s (=52)


It is worth noting that the Fraser Institute’s rankings have been said to be controversial due to their insufficient methods of gathering information on schools and their students. 


Buying Costs

If you’ve decided to buy a home, it’s important you understand all the costs involved in addition to the price you’re paying for the property.

Here’s a helpful article published by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver – we thought you might find it to be useful:

Here’s an overview:

Buying Costs

Mortgage application
Lenders may charge a mortgage application fee, which will vary depending on the lending institution.

Mortgage insurance
The federal government requires high-ratio mortgages with less than 20 per cent down payment to be insured against default. The cost ranges between 0.60 to 3.85 per cent of the mortgage amount which is added to the mortgage principal.

As of February 15, 2016, the federal government requires a 10 per cent down payment requirement on homes valued at $500,000 – $1 million, that need mortgage insurance. Homes valued at $1 million+ require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. Mortgage insurance is not available for homes in this price range. Learn more

Appraisal fees
Before your lender approves your mortgage, you may be required to have the property appraised. Sometimes your lender will cover this cost. If not, you’re responsible. The fee ranges from $300 to $450 plus GST.

Land survey fees
Lenders may require a survey of the property. The fee ranges and is typically $500 plus GST.

Home inspection fees
A home inspection is a report on the condition of the home and includes structural and moisture problems, as well as electrical, plumbing, roofing and insulation. The fees range and is typically $500-$900 depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the inspection. Some inspectors also charge an additional fee for an older home or a home with a secondary suite, a crawlspace, or a laneway home.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)
The GST on a new home is 5% of the price. A GST rebate equivalent to 36% of the GST paid is available for new homes priced up to $350,000 and a partial rebate on new homes priced up to $450,000.

Buyers also pay the GST on fees for services from appraisers, home inspectors, lawyers, Notary Publics and REALTORS®.

Provincial Sales Tax
The PST is generally not payable on services except for legal and notary fees. Both the GST and PST are paid on legal and notary fees.

Property Transfer Tax
Home buyers in BC pay a provincial Property Transfer Tax (PTT) when they buy a home. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the remainder up to and including $2 million. The PTT is 3% on amounts greater than $2 million..

Qualifying first-time home buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT if the purchase price of their home is priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil.

Qualifying buyers of new homes may be exempt if the purchase price of their home is priced up to $750,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $750,000 and $800,000. At $800,000 and above there’s no rebate.

Click here for the Property Transfer Tax fact sheet.

Click here for more cost saving programs.

Adjustments (see details in the Contract of Purchase and Sale)
Property taxes
Depending on the Contract of Purchase and Sale, a property buyer will likely be required to reimburse the seller for any prepaid property taxes. The lender may require the buyer to add property tax installments to monthly mortgage payments.

Utility bills
A buyer is typically required to reimburse the seller for any prepayments for municipal swer and water fees.

Rent and security deposits
If there is a secondary suite or a laneway home rental and the tenancy continues, the buyer receives the security deposit from the seller with accrued interest because the buyer is responsible for reimbursement when the tenant leaves.

Mortgage life insurance
If the owner dies, this type of insurance will pay off the balance owing on their mortgage.

Fire and liability insurance
Most lenders require property buyers to carry fire and extended coverage insurance and liability insurance.

Home insurance
Lenders typically require home buyers with a mortgage to buy home insurance. The insurance should be effective on the earlier of either the completion date or the date that the balance of funds is placed in trust.

Legal or Notary Public fees
Buyers typically hire a lawyer or Notary Public to assist with drafting documents and ensuring the title of the home is properly transferred. Likely fees include a:

*title search for a property, this costs up to $11
*land title registration fee, which is about $75
For more information about land titles, visit the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC at www.ltsa.ca.

Moving fees
Moving fees vary depending on the distance moved and whether professional movers do all of the packing. Rates vary.

Utility hook ups
There are fees for hydro, gas, water and sewer, cable, and phone connections.

New owners should always have door locks rekeyed. Costs depend on whether the locks are standard or electronic.

Strata maintenance fees
Typically paid on the first day of each month.

Commission fees
What does it cost to hire a Realtor you may also ask?’ There is no set commission rate in the real estate profession. Most Realtors are paid after ownership is transferred. Fees are typically paid to the real estate company by the lawyer or notary in the transaction from the sale proceeds.

Compensation is always agreed to beforehand between you and your Realtor. There is no such thing as an average commission. The Commission paid depends on the services provided by your Realtor, which can vary significantly depending on your needs as a client or the business model employed by the Realtor.

When does a commission become payable?
The standard Multiple Listing Contract provides that commission is payable on the earlier of the following: completion date under the Contract of Purchase and Sale, or the actual date the sale completes.

Read full article via the REBGV online here.

RE/MAX Michael Cowling And Associates Realty

Business: 604-276-2335
Cell: 604-241-7653
Email: info@michaelcowling.com

#110 – 6086 Russ Baker Way
Richmond, British Columbia
V7B 1B4

How to Stage Your Home During the Holidays

The holidays are all about giving (even when you’re hunting for an offer), so take the time to give your house a mini seasonal makeover for festive home viewings.

Light it Up – First, make sure all the year-round outdoor lights are functioning — winter days are shorter so having the walkway and front door lit up for evening viewings is a must. Second, when it comes to seasonal light displays, keep it simple. String white lights to highlight an architectural feature or a splendid fir tree in the front yard…and make sure the light-up reindeer display stays in the garage.

Festive Front Door –  Any home stager worth their salt will tell you first impressions are most important — and since the front door is often the first thing a potential buyer will see, better make it count. Give that dull door a done-in-minutes holiday makeover by hanging a tasteful wreath or swag. Placing a seasonal arrangement in the entryway or on a hall table also makes it feel like they’re coming home for the holidays, rather than coming into your home for an open house.

Holiday Flair – Even though year-round home staging is all about a less-is-more philosophy, when the holidays roll around ramping up your ornament game is a must. But don’t go totally overboard: a bowl of fragrant pinecones, some strategically placed sprigs of holly, or a bowl of shiny glass baubles should do the trick. Oh, and stay away from overtly religious displays as it might put off some people — remember it’s about them, not you.

Pretty Palette – Your eclectic collection of Christmas tree ornaments may hold great sentimental value to you and your family, but they may clash horribly with your home décor and need to remain securely packed away. Think about your living room’s colour palette and find ornaments that fit within it. If the walls are white, maybe opt for a faux white tree, or if the room is decorated in darker tones, consider gold or green holiday accents.

Warm Up -Stepping out of the biting cold and into a warm and cozy home is one of the few pleasures of wintertime. Enhance the corporeal experience of your potential buyers by making sure the thermostat is turned up a couple of extra degrees. If there is a fireplace, always have it lit, either when showing the house or when taking staged photos.

Seasonal Fragrance – Thanks to human physiology, the quickest way to access memories is through the sensation of smell — so make sure your potential buyers are getting good ones the moment they walk through the door. Simmering apple cider or baking a batch of ginger cookies are good standbys, but take it a step further and sparingly spritz a winter-scented home fragrance throughout and breathe deeply.

Now, enjoy creating this seasonal (and sellable) sanctuary and happy holidays!

(article courtesy of RE/MAX Canada and HGTV)

Home sale and listing activity dip below historical averages in October

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board

November 2, 2016


Reduced home sale and listing activity are changing market dynamics in communities across Metro Vancouver.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 2,233 in October 2016, a 38.8 per cent decrease from the 3,646 sales recorded in October 2015 and a 0.9 per cent decrease compared to September 2016 when 2,253 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 15 per cent below the 10-year October sales average.

“Changing market conditions compounded by a series of government interventions this year have put home buyers and sellers in a holding pattern,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “Potential buyers and sellers are taking a wait-and-see approach to try and better understand what these changes mean for them.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 3,981 in October 2016. This represents a decrease of 3.5 per cent compared to the 4,126 units listed in October 2015 and a 17 per cent decrease compared to September 2016 when 4,799 properties were listed.

Last month’s new listing count was 9.5 per cent below the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,143, a 4.5 per cent decrease compared to October 2015 (9,569) and a 2.3 per cent decrease compared to September 2016 (9,354).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2016 is 24.4 per cent. 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.

“While sales are down across the different property types, it’s the detached market that’s seen the largest reduction in home buyer demand in recent months,” Morrison said. “It’s important to work with your local REALTOR® to help you navigate today’s changing trends.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $919,300. This represents a 24.8 per cent increase compared to October 2015 and a 0.8 per cent decline compared to September 2016.

Sales of detached properties in October 2016 reached 652, a decrease of 54.6 per cent from the 1,437 detached sales recorded in October 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,545,800. This represents a 28.9 per cent increase compared to October 2015 and a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to September 2016.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,178 in October 2016, a decrease of 23.7 per cent compared to the 1,543 sales in October 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $512,300. This represents a 20.5 per cent increase compared to October 2015 and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to September 2016.

Attached property sales in October 2016 totalled 403, a decrease of 39.5 per cent compared to the 666 sales in October 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $669,200. This represents a 25.7 per cent increase compared to October 2015 and a 1.1 per cent decrease compared to September 2016.

Contact Michael Cowling for the statistics for your property type and neighborhood at info@michaelcowling.com

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