Canada’s economy accelerates on consumer, business spending

[Source: Globe and Mail, May 31,2017] Canada’s economy accelerated strongly in the first quarter, driven by consumer spending and a rebound in business investment. Gross domestic product grew at an annualized 3.7 per cent pace, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday, slightly below economists’ expectations for 3.9 per cent, and following upwardly revised annualized growth of 2.7 per cent in the fourth quarter. The economy also appeared to be on solid footing ahead of the second quarter with growth rising by a better-than-expected [...]

Bank of Canada leaves key rate unchanged, but ‘soft hawkish tilt’ emerges

[May 24, 2017, Globe and Mail] The Bank of Canada is creeping closer to its first rate hike in nearly seven years as it weighs the clashing forces of anemic inflation and a surprise burst of economic growth. The central bank opted Wednesday to keep its key overnight interest rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent – the 15th consecutive time it has done so since July, 2015. But the generally upbeat tone of the accompanying statement suggests Bank of Canada Governor Stephen [...]

New real estate taxes only created new problems

[Source: The Province,  May 18, 2017] I’m not generally inclined to say “I told you so,” but the last few days have been quite validating for those of us who cautioned against government intervention through taxation in the Vancouver housing market. As most people know, the provincial government introduced a 15-per-cent property transfer tax on foreign buyers in August and Vancouver city council passed the empty homes tax, which also targets a lot of foreign buyers. The taxes were designed to [...]

Housing inventory at 20-year low, B.C. Real Estate Association says

[Source: CBC News, May 15, 2017] New data from the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) shows housing supply in the province is at a 20-year low, and the association says that lack of supply is making the ongoing affordability problem worse. The BCREA, the provincial real estate professional association, says the supply of homes for sale is down 17 per cent from April 2016 and down 50 per cent since 2012 after adjusting for seasonal variance. "We're really in almost uncharted territory [...]

Home Buying Costs

[Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, May 2017] 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 an overview. Buying costs Mortgage application Lenders may charge a mortgage application fee, which will vary depending on the lending institution. If you are borrowing part of your down payment through the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership Program, there will be additional fees. Mortgage insurance As of October 17, [...]

Going big with smaller homes

[Source: The Province, May 11, 2017] When Statistics Canada released its 2016 census last week, two figures caught my eye. The first was the fact that for the first time, the number of older Canadians exceeded the number of younger ones. The second was the news that the population of families in the city of Vancouver is now in decline. What does this mean for our housing mix in Metro Vancouver? It goes without saying that vibrant communities need people of all [...]

Vancouver’s final development frontier – False Creek Flats poised for office boom

[Source: BIV, May 16, 2017] Fifteen years after Finning International Inc. left the flats of False Creek, bequeathing 18.6 acres of its property on Great Northern Way to the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the area is finally coming into its own as the office hub it was long intended to be. With more than 20 years of city planning fuelling a vision for [...]

Ontario’s rent and housing reform: 16 big changes, explained in charts

[Source: The Globe and Mail, April 20, 2017] On Thursday, Ontario announced it would widen its rent-control rules and take pages from B.C.'s playbook to bring skyrocketing housing prices down. Here are the highlights. Rental housing What Ontario is doing: Expanding rent control to all private rental units Introduce legislation to strengthen the Residential Tenancies Act Making sure multiresidential apartment buildings are charged property taxes at similar rates to other residential properties A $125-million program over five years “to further encourage the construction of new rental [...]

Remodel vs. Renovation: What’s the Difference?

[Source:, February 13, 2017] You say potato, I say potahto. Remodel vs. renovation … same thing, right? While the terms remodel and renovation are used interchangeably all the time, they are actually very different animals. So exactly what is the difference between a remodel and a renovation? The key difference is how deep the changes go. A renovation means you’re updating an existing structure with cosmetic changes, whereas a remodel involves changing the structure through demolition and construction, explains Jason [...]

BC Election Checklist: where do parties stand on housing?

[Source: Metro, Apr 12 2017] As NDP leader John Horgan promised a $400 a year tax credit for renters, B.C.’s former minister responsible for housing was committing to help homeowners with a tax credit of up to $20,000 to create rental basement suites. Rich Coleman, BC Liberal candidate for Fort Langley-Aldergrove, made the comment during a panel event organized by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver in New Westminster on April 12. Coleman appeared with David Eby, the BC NDP’s candidate [...]