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A Snapshot of Vancouver

A Snapshot of Vancouver

Vancouver has consistently been voted one of the top 3 cities in the world to live in. The Vancouver Foundation’s 2007 report brings together factual information, perceptions gleaned from an Ipsos Reid survey, and ideas from residents about problems and solutions.

The report finds that Metro Vancouver is indeed a desirable place to live, but many of our 2.1 million residents face challenges. At the top of the list:

*affordable housing – rising housing costs coupled with diminishing rental stock caused homelessness to more than triple between 2000 and 2005

*the income gap – one in 4 (26%) of children live in households with incomes below he poverty line. National average is 17%

*getting started – new immigrants continue to face barriers to employment despite high levels of education. This results in higher poverty rates compared to non immigrant residents

*getting around – residents spend an average of 67 minutes commuting and $9,000 a year on transportation, the second highest expenditure after housing. Households spend $1,000 more on transportation than food

The good news

*we’re working – employment has increased an average of 2.6% annually since 1987

*we’re volunteering – volunteering is on the rise with 43% of us regularly contributing

*we’re conserving – turning off the tap meant a 23% decrease in water consumption from 20 years ago

*we’re healthier – over half of us (58%) rate our health as excellent or very good

*we’re educated – moe than half of us (51%) have completed a post secondary degree, certificate or diploma

*we’re safer – property crime has decreased by 43% since 1996 and violent crime has dropped by 17%

*we’re growing food – close to half of us (44%) grow some or all of our own food

Making the grade residents had the opportunity to grade Metro Vancouver in 12 areas. Here’s the report card:

getting around:c-    food:c+   arts & culture: b   belonging & leadership:b-   environment:c+   gap between rich & poor:d   getting started:c   health & wellness: b   housing:d   learning:b   safety: b-   work:b

New Year’s Eve Events

New Year’s Eve Events

I was going to compile a list of what’s happening around town on the last night of 2007 but the province have a complete list, so i thought it was easier to provide a link to them.

Wishing you a healthy, happy and successful 2008!

The IGA Site at Arbutus and W. Broadway

The IGA Site at Arbutus and W. Broadway

In last week’s Business in Vancouver, Peter Mitham’s Real Estate Roundup reported that Home Depot, who owns the lot the IGA is on, has put it up for sale.  We can probably assume this means HD will not be reapplying to City Hall to build on the site.

You may remember that in 2004 the hood came out heavily against a Home Depot being built here, which led City Hall to put a cap of 10,000 sq.ft. for this area. I understand the lease is up in 2009.

Personally, i always enjoyed shopping there – wide aisles in the IGA store, lots of parking, easy access and the convenience of a liquor store as well.  The new IGA which is not corporate and therefore union but a franchise and non-union has narrow aisles.

What do you think should be built on this prime site? Condos? Another liquor store? Retail? Offices? Daycare?

Friday’s Stats

Friday’s Stats

For November 30, 2007. In my market there were 24 new listings. 4 price changes – all reduced and 30 sales. This is indeed a tight market, with sales for the day slightly under, equal to or surpassing the new lsitings for the day. Traditionally, listings and sales decrease for December.

Will the New Year bring an increase of sales? What do you think?

I don’t believe the buyers who bought in the last 4 years will be selling yet and there continues to be lots of interest from non local buyers, so i see the market remaing tight for a while. We shall have to wait until the babyboomers start to retire and sell their investments or the non canadian owners take profits and move to the next place that is undervalued.  I shall try to find some stats on the average length of time Vancouver homeowners hold a property.

Have you purchased property since 2002? If so, when do you plan to move?

In my next post I wish to share with you some thoughts on the future of Canada, as presented by my favourite local economist, Michael Levy. Canada Rocks!

Home Owner’s Property Taxes

Home Owner’s Property Taxes

“The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet”. Damon Runyan

I thought i’d do a few posts on property taxes.

Do you know what your property tax bill includes? Here’s what –

-Municipal Tax, which is set by the municipality and is based on revenue needs set by city council and staff in their annual budget. Revenue funds local infrastructure and services

-Regional District Tax, municipalities belong to a regional district, such as the GVRD. Regional services include water and sewer. Municipalities collect taxes for regional districts.

-School Tax, set by the BC Government to fund schools, this tax varies by school district and is paid by residential and non residential property owners

-Hospital tax, set by the BC Government to help fund health authorities. In the GVRD, hospitals are funded by the BC Government, not by property taxes

-Other Taxes – set by other local taxing authorities, but collected by the municipality to fund BC Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority and TransLink

In fact, property taxes pay for Archives, Community Centres, Fire Departments, Historic Sites, Libraries, Local road maintenance, Museums, Parks, Police, Sewers, Skating rinks, Swimming pools and Water

Do you agree with what the governments spend your property taxes on?

Changes to the Homeowner Protection Act

Changes to the Homeowner Protection Act

Buying a new home in BC? here’s new legislation to be aware of

Effective November 19, 2007 these changes became law:

-an owner builder is not permitted to sell a home during construction “as is” without permission from the HPO

-an owner builder must occupy the new home for at least one year after obtaining an occupancy permit. the home cannot be sold or rented during this one year period.

-home buyers should understand that only owner builders who purchase 2-5-10 home warranty insurance from a warranty provikder have the backing of a new home warranty

-owner builders must provide a disclosure notice from the HPO to prospective buyers within the first 10 years after occupancy. Subsequent buyers are also required to provide a disclosure notice if they sell the home within the 10 year period. The disclosure states that the home was built by an owner builder. It also states whether or not there is a home warranty insurance policy.

-owner builders who sell their home within the first 10 years are obligated to subsequent purchasers for defects in the new home during that 10 year period.

-new homes under construction but not complete cannot be listed or sold unless the home is covered by home warranty insurance or has received an exemption.

Registry of new Homes – a searchable registry of new homes will soon be available to home buyers on the HPO website.

Kits Stats October 2007

Kits Stats October 2007

Houses

There were 13 homes sold from $800K (lot value) to over $4million on Kits Point. Two sold over list and one at list price. Days on market: 27.

There are currently 39 listings from $858K to $12,995,000 on Point Grey Road.  3 months of inventory.

Townhomes

October saw 18 sales, from $375K for a l bedroom 685 sqft to $1,568,000 for 1448 sqft. Six sold over list price and 2 at full price.  2 sales under $500K, 5 sales over $1 million. Average days on market: 29.

Current listings 35, starting at $399,00 for 850 sqft 2 bedroom.  22 under $1M and one over $2M.  2 months of inventory.

Condos

40 sales in October…a very busy month, 4 sold under $300K, 26 sold between $300K and $500K, 8 sold between $500 and $1M and one over a million dollars. 6 sold at list price and 13 over list price….meaning just about half of the sales sold at or over list…certainly a very tight market with high demand.

There are currently 84 listings, only 3 under $300K, 49 under $500K, 3 over $1M and one over $2M. Only 2 months of inventory.

Kits remains a highly desirable neighbourhood.  I am a buyer looking for a l bedroom up to $350K and there are only 2 places to show him. Please call me if you or anyone you know is planning to sell your l bedroom condo…i have a buyer!

Remarks

We are seeing a decrease in the demand for houses…possibly because of the high prices and more buyers opting for townhomes or condos.

Happenings

The IGA at Broadway and Vine opened last week….i was lucky to turn up at 5pm and got a turkey for 44 cents a lb…..that was like a throwback to the ’70s.  Can you remember what decade we paid 44 cents a lb for a turkey?? Apparantely they are not closing the old store..mmmm

Know of a neighbourhood event that you’d like to share with us? we’d love to hear from you.