BUY OR SELL FIRST?
James Garbutt & Denny Dumas talk about different situations around whether you should buy or sell your property first. Watch the video below and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more VLOGS!
James Garbutt & Denny Dumas talk about different situations around whether you should buy or sell your property first. Watch the video below and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more VLOGS!
We thought we were done with winter.
We thought it was safe to start thinking about crocuses…
The mounds of snow and ice from a series of snowstorms in December had finally melted away when winter returned.
It’s been an exceptional season in these parts. We’re usually lucky to get away with one or two snowfalls through the season. And they’re quickly washed away by relentless rain.
But this year the cold and snow have stuck around. That’s made it tough for people to get around, navigating sidewalks that haven’t been shovelled, searching for parking in lots shrunken by sky-high piles of ploughed snow and ice.
It’s also created challenges for real estate. Photos of new listings can date pretty quickly when they’re shot through snowdrifts. We’ve got to remember to pack shovels to clear walkways when we’re hosting open houses.
On the upside, sleds that were purchased years ago are finally out of storage, we’ve actually been able to skate on outdoor, natural ice (for a few days at least), the skiing has been fabulous and our familiar surroundings have taken on a whole new beauty.
So cozy up to the fireplace, snuggle into your favourite blanket and enjoy this stroll through our latest blast of winter. We’ve endured the cold so you don’t have to!
We’re always curious about who’s buying a home in New Westminster.
After all, we don’t just work in New Westminster, we also live and play here.
It’s important for our clients, and for us, to have a handle on how the city is changing and how those changes might affect the local real estate market.
Whenever we hold an open house, we ask visitors where they’re from. The majority are usually local, mostly curious neighbours. But as we started tracking the numbers, we were seeing more and more people coming to our open houses from Vancouver. In fact, through Oct. 2016, 22 per cent of visitors to our open houses were from Vancouver.
When we looked at actual sales last year, the trends were even more definitive.
For detached single-family homes, 51 per cent of the buyers’ agents were from Vancouver, suggesting their clients likely are as well. For condos, 36 per cent of the buyers’ agents were from Vancouver. The next biggest source was from Coquitlam. But New Westminster residents who’ve chosen to stay in the city were close behind.
Overall 39 per cent of the buyers’ agents were from Vancouver.
It’s not surprising, really.
As real estate prices spiralled upward through the first half of 2016, Vancouver homeowners were cashing out and looking for value by buying a home in New Westminster.
New home buyers who can no longer afford Vancouver are looking for a place that fits their budget but still offers them the amenities of the big city they desire.
Like Justin Turcotte. The 29-year-old filmmaker and his wife, Jaycey, moved to New Westminster last year from East Vancouver. They bought a home in Sapperton because they could afford it, something they could no longer do west of Tenth Avenue.
But moving to New West hasn’t cost them the urban vibe they loved in East Van, says Turcotte. “It really doesn’t feel like a suburb.”
New Westminster is no longer a secret. The city is centrally-located, there’s a great sense of community and, quite frankly, it’s the most affordable community to buy into that’s within 30 minutes of downtown Vancouver.
Even people who grew up here are appreciating the value of buying a home in New Westminster.
Anna Horvath considered moving to Gastown, Chinatown and Mount Pleasant in Vancouver when she was shopping for her first home before she realized there’s no place like her hometown. She ended up buying a condo in the Trapp + Holbrook on Columbia Street.
“The area needed to have a sense of community,” she says. “I wanted it to be on a transit line and no bridges between my place and the downtown core. I did not want to spend most of my disposable income on a mortgage.”
Anna’s thrift is well founded; a two bedroom, two bathroom condo that’s between 800 and 900 square feet, in a five to 10 year-old building, will cost a little over half in Downtown New West than it would in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood.
But this new demographic of young professionals buying a home in New Westminster does create some challenges for British Columbia’s oldest city, says its mayor, Jonathan Coté.
“It certainly does present a challenge to be able to anticipate that services are in line with the growing population and demand,” says Coté.
To meet that challenge, the city embarked on a three-year process to update its Official Community Plan, a kind of road map for growth that was last visited in the 1990s. New Westminster’s population is expected to exceed 104,000 by 2041.
“The Official Community Plan is definitely a document that guides us how the city will transform,” says Coté. “The timing is perfect for a city in our stage of growth that is starting to become attractive.”
But to manage the city’s growth, it needs a variety of housing options, and the infrastructure like schools, transportation, recreation, culture and jobs, says Coté.
One key component is the city’s new Family-Friendly Housing Policy.
It was sparked by a 2015 City of New Westminster supply analysis that ranked New West 21st out of 22 Metro Vancouver communities for ground-oriented housing and 20th for housing options with three bedrooms that are more family-friendly.
But the need for family housing is growing. Census data from 2011 shows an 11 per cent increase in the number of families living in New Westminster compared to 2006. Of neighbouring communities, only Surrey and Coquitlam saw a larger jump, and BC’s overall increase was just 6 percent.
Matt Lorenzi knows the frustration of finding a family home in New Westminster only too well. He spent about a year searching for a new, larger home that could accommodate his growing family, his budget, and his desire to stay centrally-located in the Lower Mainland as well as close to transit.
“We wanted more space, something as modest as a third bedroom or spacious den,” says Lorenzi, whose family of four could no longer fit into their one bedroom plus den apartment. “We knew the supply of three-bedroom condos was limited. But we didn’t really realize it until we started our search.”
After a series of consultations with residents and builders, the City brought in a new bylaw that mandates new multi-family projects must dedicate at least 30 per cent of the units to two and three bedrooms with at least 10 per cent of the total comprised of three-bedroom units.
New multi-family rental buildings must also include a minimum 25 per cent two and three-bedroom units, with at least five per cent of the total comprised of three-bedrooms or more.
The bylaw, the first of its kind in British Columbia, came into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
So far developers have been receptive, says John Stark, New Westminster’s acting manager of planning. “There is a realization in the development community that three-bedroom units appeal to a wider market segment, like extended families and young professionals looking at shared living arrangements.”
In fact, says Stark, some projects that have been submitted by builders in the past year are even exceeding the mandated requirements for two and three-bedroom units. One of those is a new condo development planned for 100 Braid St.; 26.1 percent of its units will be two-bedrooms and 13.5 percent will have three bedrooms.
Stark credits an ongoing dialogue with developers as well as some key compromises, like not requiring the third bedroom to require direct light from a window, for the smooth transition. He says the city is committed to gauging the ongoing success of the bylaw and adjusting it if necessary.
“We’re still in the early days,” says Stark.
That gives Lorenzi hope his family will be able to stay in New West, even as their living requirements change. After flirting briefly with the idea of moving to Port Moody or elsewhere, they were able to find a suitable condo in Victoria Hill
“Over the eight or nine years prior to moving (to Victoria Hill) we grew to love New West,” says Lorenzi. “The city should encourage a mix of housing, especially larger units for growing families.”
Justin Turcotte says he’s confident moving to New West was the right choice.
“It took a bit of warming up to the idea of living so far from Vancouver,” says Turcotte. “We’re discovering new things about the city and have been pretty impressed by what we’ve seen so far. I definitely still think that it’s only going to improve and offer more.”
Anna Horvath says she’s also feeling good about her decision to stay in New West, close to family and the friends she grew up with.
“It ticks most of the boxes.”
A version of this article was commissioned for Tenth to the Fraser magazine, where it appears in the February, 2017 edition.
We’ve got a new home! Garbutt + Dumas is now part of the Keller Williams Elite real estate team.
Keller Williams is a global network of realtors and real estate professionals who believe in working together to help each other and our clients achieve success in business and life. In fact, Keller Williams is the world’s largest real estate franchise, with more than 110,000 realtors operating in 700 offices in Canada, the U.S., Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa and Dubai.
That’s a lot of expertise and talent to draw upon.
The team at Keller Williams Elite is just that, a team. They understand the team model. Their support systems and commitment to training and innovation will make us more effective, able to provide an even better experience for our clients.
We’re pretty excited about the move. But that’s not all that’s new for us in this new year.
To celebrate our move to Keller Williams Elite, we’ve got a new look.
If you follow our social media channels (and, really, you should), you may have noticed our new signs being posted in front of our newest listings. As the market gets busier, you’ll also be seeing more of our signs around Metro Vancouver.
We like to think our new signs are bold and distinctive to catch the eye of passersby. But they’re still classy enough you’ll be pleased to place one on your lawn.
Finally, if you pay attention to the address bar at the top of your browser window, you may have noticed we’ve also got a new URL.
Our new site may not look that much different from the old one, but we’re building it to make it more functional and informative, even if you’re not currently in the market to buy a new home or sell your current one.
Our listings will continue to feature some of the best properties in Greater Vancouver. And now you’ll be able to easily search for properties in specific communities and neighbourhoods, as well as learn a little about what it’s like to live there. Each community page features an interactive map of its neighbourhoods where you can get familiar with amenities like parks, recreation and shopping, as well as its schools and transit information.
We also want to keep you up-to-date on everything real estate in Greater Vancouver. Our blog features timely updates on market news, issues and policies, as well as useful tips and information that will help you understand and navigate the process of buying or selling a home, or just make your life a little easier if you’re content right where you are.
After a record year in 2016, and with the support of Keller Williams Elite, our growing team at Garbutt + Dumas is poised for an even bigger 2017. But our priority will always be to provide our clients with the best service and a great experience.
The wintry weather we’ve all endured for the past month has focused attention on municipal bylaws about clearing snow and ice from sidewalks.
The unusual pattern of snowfall, followed by a slight thaw, followed by an extended cold snap, caught many people out. Homeowners, property managers and even city crews that didn’t clear the first snowfall right away suddenly found themselves confronted with a thick moonscape of ice, frozen slush and crusted snow on sidewalks, parking lots and even roads. That made getting around tough for cars, treacherous for pedestrians.
Municipal bylaws are a set of rules and regulations that set standards for safety, maintenance, appearance, liveability and sustainability in a community. They’re implemented so residents, businesses and visitors can enjoy the community and coexist harmoniously. One of the those rules, common to many cities, mandates when property owners must clear snow from sidewalks or foot paths bordering their property.
In New Westminster, bylaw 6.28.2 says “the owner or occupier of real property shall: remove snow and ice from any Sidewalk, transit landing and foot path bordering that person’s real property and from the roof and other part of a structure adjacent to or abutting on any portion of the Street, not later than 10:00 a.m. of the day after the snow or ice was deposited thereon.” The sidewalks must be cleared their full length and width, right down to the bare concrete; it’s not good enough to create just a shovel-wide foot path. And if you’ve got an awning that hangs over a sidewalk, it should be cleared as well.
In Burnaby, businesses have to remove accumulated snow by 10 a.m. of any day they’re open to the public and residents must clear their sidewalks “as soon as possible.”
But regulations about clearing snow are only the tip of the municipal bylaws iceberg.
Municipal bylaws can affect many aspects of your life, from where you can park your car, to how loud and late you can play your stereo, to how well you must care for your property and the kind of renovation work you can do on it. They can govern when and how you dispose of your garbage, how you care for your pets, and even what kind of pets you can keep.
Municipal bylaws are passed by elected councils. They’re often created to address specific issues in communities, sometimes in response to concerns and complaints from community members.
For instance, the value New Westminster residents have placed on preserving the city’s heritage homes and buildings led to the creation of a “Community Heritage Register” of those properties in 1997. It’s accompanied by a whole series of municipal bylaws that regulate how protected heritage properties must be maintained. They also set procedures owners of those properties must follow if they want to do any renovations, restorations or even just paint the exterior.
The growing concern about the loss of trees and the possible impact on climate change as well as the appearance of neighbourhoods has led many communities to pass municipal bylaws that regulate the removal of trees. Those bylaws stipulate what size and kind of trees can be removed, as well as procedures to remove those trees so other trees aren’t affected and replant new trees.
When you become a homeowner in a community, it pays to familiarize yourself with its municipal bylaws. Or rather, you won’t pay if you know the rules because then a bylaw enforcement officer won’t show up at your door with a ticket for a violation.
Slight price increases for detached houses, townhouses and condo apartments in New Westminster capped a busy year for Vancouver real estate.
The benchmark price for a single family detached home in New West reached $1,035,600 in December. That’s a .9 per cent increase over November and 18.7 per cent higher than December, 2015. Townhouses were up 4.6 per cent over the month prior, 20 per cent more than a year ago; and the benchmark price for condos increased .2 per cent to $380,700, 22.6 per cent more than the end of last year. Overall, the benchmark price for a typical property in New West increased .6 per cent over November, 21.2 per cent more than a year ago.
The benchmark price for residential properties in South Burnaby also increased one per cent in December over November to $858,300. That’s mostly due to a 2.7 per cent bump in the price of condos in the area while townhouses and detached homes dipped slightly.
Those increases came even though there were fewer listings and sales. They also bucked a slight downward trend across Metro Vancouver where the benchmark price for all properties dipped 1.2 per cent from November.
In North Burnaby the overall benchmark price dipped .5 per cent in December and it was down .4 per cent in East Burnaby.
A general cooling of the real estate market in the last half of 2016 wasn’t enough to keep the year from being the third-highest selling on record, said Dan Morrison, the president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Only 2015 and 2005 recorded more property sales.
“The supply of homes for sale couldn’t keep up with home buyer demand for much of 2016,” said Morrison. “This allowed home sellers to raise their asking price.”
In fact, the benchmark price for all homes in Metro Vancouver reached $897,600 at the end of 2016, 17.8 per cent higher than December, 2015. The benchmark price for a typical single family detached home increased 18.6 per cent over the year to $1,483,500 while townhouses went up 20.4 per cent in 2016 to $661,800 and condos increased 17.3 per cent to $510,300.
Morrison said while government interventions to temper the frenzy in the local real estate market in the first six months of 2016 may have contributed to lower sales volumes and prices in the last half of the year, it’s still too soon to tell if their impact will continue to be felt into the new year.
“The long-term effects of these actions won’t be fully understood for some time,” said Morrison of the provincial foreign-buyers’ tax that was implemented in August to discourage off-shore speculators and new rules to make it tougher to qualify for a mortgage that were introduced by the federal government in the fall.
Another new measure introduced by the provincial government, a loan program to help first-time homebuyers with their down payment, begins accepting applications on Jan. 17.
Morrison said the market was under the microscope as sales and prices peaked in the late spring.
“Escalating prices caused by low supply and strong home buyer demand brought more attention to the market then ever before,” said Morrison. “As prices rose in the first half of the year, public debate waged about what was fuelling demand and what should be done to stop it. It was an eventful year for real estate in Metro Vancouver.”
Property assessment notices for 2017 are in the mail, and some homeowners might be excused if they go a little bug-eyed in the next few days. In some parts of Greater Vancouver, assessed values have jumped 30-50 per cent for a detached single-family home, and 15-30 per cent for strata properties.
In New Westminster, assessments increased by an average of 28.48 per cent. In Burnaby the average increase over 2016 was 30.72 per cent. Assessments in Coquitlam increased by an average of 32.91 per cent; in Port Moody it was 31.49 per cent and in Port Coquitlam it was 33.86 per cent. Residential assessments in Surrey increased by an average of 36.26 per cent.
The most expensive residential property in Greater Vancouver is at 3085 Point Grey Rd. in Vancouver, with an assessed value of $75,821,000. All of the top 100 most expensive properties receiving assessment notices in the region are located in either Vancouver or West Vancouver.
Across the province, 2,017,364 properties were assessed for a total value of $1.68 trillion, a 25 per cent increase in value over 2016.
Property assessments are set on July 1 by BC Assessment. Assessment notices are then sent to homeowners early the following January.
The agency estimates the market value of every residential, commercial and industrial property in the province based upon an analysis of current sales in the immediate area of each property, as well as its size, age, quality, condition, location and view. That information is then used by municipalities as a component for calculating property taxes, although a 30 per cent increase in assessed value doesn’t typically mean a corresponding increase in property tax. In fact, if the increase in the assessed value for a property is in line with the average increase of other properties in the community, your property tax will likely go up only by the rate set by the municipality to meet its budget.
But a property’s assessed value isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of what that property might currently sell for on the open market. Some properties sell for more than their assessed value, while others can sell for less. A month after BC Assessment set its values for this year, the BC government introduced its foreign buyers’ tax on residential property transactions in Greater Vancouver that accelerated the usual summer slowdown of prices. Subsequent initiatives by the provincial and federal governments to help address the affordability of housing further impacted sales and prices.
Homeowners who can’t wait for their property assessment notice to arrive in the mail, can check their assessment online. They can also compare their assessment to others in their neighbourhood, as well as get information on how to correct or appeal incorrect assessments.
To say the 2016 real estate market in Greater Vancouver was wild and crazy would be an understatement.
The first half of the year was insanely busy as the market exploded. Homes were selling as soon as they hit the market, often after multiple offers, without subjects and above list.
The Lower Mainland has always been a desirable destination for home buyers, but this was off the hook, unsustainable. The 2016 real estate market was already showing signs of cooling down to a more sustainable level when the B.C. government implemented its foreign buyers’ tax. Some areas, like Vancouver’s West Side, felt its chill immediately.
That created a bit of a domino effect that reached into the suburbs as buyers and sellers decided to step aside to see how the market plays out.
The federal government’s new mortgage rules further tempered the market by making it a little tougher to qualify for a mortgage.
Then, in December, the provincial government introduced its new loan program to help first-time homebuyers with their downpayment, beginning in the new year. It’s too soon to tell if the incentive will reignite home sales; but for young people looking to plant roots in their community, every little bit helps. And the Bank of Mom and Dad will no doubt appreciate the relief.
Garbutt + Dumas enjoyed a record year; we sold 140 properties for a total of $98 million. It was hard work. But we still managed to have some fun along the way. Because providing our clients with an enjoyable real estate experience is our passion.
That commitment to superior service will continue in 2017. In fact, we’re planning to kick it up a notch or two by keeping you even better informed about what we’re up to and what the market is doing and making the biggest transaction of your life even smoother and as stress-free as possible.
Thanks to all our clients for a great 2016. Thanks to our followers on social media and visitors to our website. Happy New Year! Bring on 2017!
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in *Metro Vancouver reached 3,646 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2015. This represents a 19.3 per cent increase compared to the 3,057 sales recorded in October 2014, and a 9 per cent increase compared to the 3,345 sales in September 2015.
Last month’s sales were 36.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.
“Home sales are more than one-third above what’s typical for this time of year yet the supply of homes for sale is the lowest we’ve seen in five years,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “This activity has created favourable market conditions for anyone considering selling their home today.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,126 in October. This represents an 8 per cent decline compared to the 4,487 new listings reported in October 2014.
The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 9,569, a 30 per cent decline compared to October 2014 and an 11.4 per cent decline compared to September 2015.
This is the lowest active listing total in Metro Vancouver since December 2010.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $736,000. This represents a 15.3 per cent increase compared to October 2014.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio in October was 38.1 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular community for a sustained period of time.
Sales of detached properties in October 2015 reached 1,437, an increase of 13.1 per cent from the 1,271 detached sales recorded in October 2014, and a 34.7 per cent increase from the 1,067 units sold in October 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 20.1 per cent from October 2014 to $1,197,600.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 3,345 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in September 2015. This represents a 14.5 per cent increase compared to the 2,922 sales recorded in September 2014, and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to the 3,362 sales in August 2015.
Last month’s sales were 32.9 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.
“Residential home sales have been trending at 25 to 30 per cent above the ten-year sales average for most of the year. The number of homes listed for sale hasn’t been keeping up with the demand,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “It’s this dynamic that’s placing upward pressure on home prices, particularly in the detached home market.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,846 in September. This represents a 7.9 per cent decline compared to the 5,259 new listings reported in September 2014.
The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 10,805, a 27 per cent decline compared to September 2014 and a 0.8 per cent decline compared to August 2015.
“At no point this year has the number of homes listed for sale exceeded 14,000, which is the first time this has occurred in the region since 2007,” McLeod said.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $722,300. This represents a 13.7 per cent increase compared to September 2014.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio in September was 31 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular community for a sustained period of time.
Sales of detached properties in September 2015 reached 1,272, an increase of 0.2 per cent from the 1,270 detached sales recorded in September 2014, and a 24.3 per cent increase from the 1,023 units sold in September 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 18.9 per cent from September 2014 to $1,179,700.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 3,362 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in August 2015. This represents a 21.3 per cent increase compared to the 2,771 sales recorded in August 2014, and a decrease of 15.5 per cent compared to the 3,978 sales in July 2015.
Last month’s sales were 27.9 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month. “There was no summer lull in our market this year. Home buyers have been working with their REALTORS® throughout the summer months,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “They’re motivated, but they’re competing for a smaller supply of homes for sale than is typical for this time of year — that’s the dynamic driving our market right now.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,281 in August. This represents an 8.7 per cent increase compared to the 3,940 new listings reported in August 2014.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the region’s MLS® is 10,897, a 26.2 per cent decline compared to August 2014 and a 5.3 per cent decline compared to July 2015.
“Those who have a sound buying strategy and an understanding of current price trends are having the most success in today’s market,” McLeod said.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $708,500. This represents a 12 per cent increase compared to August 2014.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio in August was 30.9 per cent. This is the sixth consecutive month that this ratio has been above 30 per cent in Metro Vancouver.
Home buyers and sellers became more active in the Greater Vancouver housing market in April.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 3,050 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in April 2014. This represents a 16.1 per cent increase compared to the 2,627 sales recorded in April 2013, and a 15.5 per cent increase compared to the 2,641 sales in March 2014.
Last month’s sales were 5.2 per cent below the 10-year sales average for April of 3,217.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 19.7 per cent in Greater Vancouver, which is the highest this measure has been since June 2011.
“We saw steady increases in home seller and buyer activity in April, which is typically the case in the spring months,” Ray Harris, REBGV president said. “People often look to buy or sell their home this time of year as the school year draws to a close and the summer holiday season is still a few months away,” Harris said.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,950 in April. This represents a 1.3 per cent increase compared to the 5,876 new listings in April 2013 and a 12.7 per cent increase from the 5,281 new listings in March. Last month’s new listing count was 1.2 per cent higher than 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 Greater Vancouver is 15,515, a 7.3 per cent decline compared to April 2013 and a 7.2 per cent increase compared to March 2014.
“Home prices in the region continue to show steady, yet modest, increases when compared to last year,” Harris said.