TGIF: Our Local Real Estate Sales Summary

By now you will have heard the April sales news from CMHC and BC Real Estate Association. Both reports featured the drop in # of sales, 29% lower than April last year and 45% lower than the last 10 year average. They both talked about increased inventory, dropping prices, cautious buyers, bank rules and generally speaking to a public lack of confidence in the current real estate market. The term “buyers market” was used repeatedly. Statistics don’t lie but interpretations can be different – we only need to watch the political scene to know that!

When we look at the summaries attached to the recent SnapStats report we see between 1&2 homes in ten selling described as a “balanced” market – guessing that we have to be zero in ten to qualify as a buyers market! From the perspective of those of us out in the field negotiating with buyers and sellers daily, we can tell you that much of our market is a buyers market – both sellers and buyers need to know that so both sides can make a sensible, market driven decision. Some niche markets are faring better – mostly in close proximity to the SkyTrain, the single significant game changer in the last 2 years.

The healthiest resale market in April was in Port Moody – condos and townhomes, selling at a rate of 3.3 in 10. We are certainly looking forward to a stronger, more robust market which could be helped by both government & big banks confessing that they overdid the cooling measures and getting on board with some positive helpful measures for buyers (without assuming they have massive amounts of RRSPs!). Our entire economy here is affected by real estate sales.

If you want to know what we really think, please call us! Happy to unpack your local statistics both as buyers and potential sellers – it is never too early to prepare for selling your home. We remain your real estate partners as well as Generations Partners – keeping you covered as always!

Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

Happy Easter!

How come Easter is so late this year and Spring has not finally sprung? My rose coloured glasses tell me that we have been happily sitting outside at Easters gone by. We wish all our clients and friends a Happy Easter and a lovely long weekend catching up with family and friends. Lots of Easter egg hunts in our cities this weekend – watch out for all that chocolate!

On the real estate front, this could be a quiet weekend, although Mondays at the end of long weekends are often surprisingly busy. Our market in general is still unpredictable, but is moving quickly at entry level. Provided that they are priced fairly and the building is in good shape, one bedroom suites under $400,000 are flying off the shelf. As these sellers move up in the market, we should slowly see the ripple effect in action and maybe even a little stability at least in the first two levels of our market.

On completing several market evaluations this week, we realise that there is a total disconnect between the price tags on active listings and the actual sale prices in the same neighbourhoods. The interesting aspect of all this is that the market priced listings are selling quickly. There are just so few of them! Apparently the statistics are not convincing enough (fewer than 2 in 10 selling!) Until sellers realize that this is not fake news, our inventory will continue to grow and stagnate with overpriced listings. Serious buyers are experts in their own price range and pass over the obviously overpriced. Most often comment heard from sellers ignoring all media reports and statistics is “Well buyers can always make an offer”. Why would they want to take on a potentially losing battle when they can find a home they like comfortably in their price range? Yes, our market is in transition, but the facts speak for themselves and there is no mystery about the present – only the future!

So….the takeaway for buyers is don’t be afraid to make that offer if you would buy the home were it priced at market. And…the takeaway for sellers is that we are no longer in 2016 or even in 2017! Get the right price for April 2019 and avoid today’s pitfall of following the market down as we are seeing so many sellers doing right now.

Enjoy the long weekend with some promised sunshine. We always have you covered and are happy to interpret those statistics as they affect you. Your interests are ours.

Generations Real Estate Partners:- Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: Attention – increase in tax credit!

Recent polls tell us that millenials overwhelmingly want to buy a home. While it is hard to imagine many of them with $30,000 in RRSPs to throw into the mix (as per one supposed assistance from government to 1st home buyers), there is a small but practical new help with the 1st home buyers credit increasing from $750 to $2500.

This tax credit applies to 1st home buyers and to purchasers with disabilities. In order to qualify as a 1st home buyer, you or your partner must not have lived in a home owned by either of you for the preceding 4 years. To be eligible as a disabled buyer, you must be purchasing the home for the purpose of living in a more accessible home better suited to your needs. A step in the right direction – use it.

Springtime in the mortgage business spells deals – in some instances cash back (helps pay your legal fees) and in others, very advantageous rates for a limited time. This is the season to consult with a professional, full-time mortgage broker – this is their business and a good broker has you fully prepared with paperwork and guaranteed, capped interest rate for a period of time in order that you can house hunt in confidence. Being well prepared gives you the edge when making an offer on the home of your choice.

If you need more information on any of the above, or recommendations for experienced brokers, Generations Real Estate Partners are here always to help.

On a lighter note, a Council vote at its meeting in Port Moody on Tuesday was met with applause! Yes… approval for a new brewery and winery at 3039 Spring St. and lounge space on upper floor of 3044 St. Johns. A new twist on the tried and true – winery will be popular with the ladies who are not partial to beer. As a group, the breweries are a huge employer in Port Moody and… they are fun!

Be careful on Monday – those April fool tricksters will be out! Have a great week and remember, we continue in that old tradition of trust and care by keeping you covered at all times.

Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray & Shane

TGIF: ‘Tis not too late to build a better world

Listening to the astounding political testimonies unfold this week, I am reminded of a famous quote from Tommy Douglas: “Courage my friends; ‘tis not too late to build a better world.”

And…speaking of a better world, we want to make a difference in the lives of our local students. Re/max of Western Canada is again offering 16 x $1,000 bursaries to grade 12 students – submissions will be accepted only until midnight March 11th. Quest for Excellence was established to recognize the success and ongoing pursuits of Western Canadian students in regards to leadership and community contribution initiatives – building that better world. Only online entries will be accepted – Good luck to all.

Here we are in the season of Lent – chocolate and wine sales should be down & gyms full! It is that time of testing ourselves and trying for our best selves. We’ll have more daylight in which to do that as we remember to move our clocks forward one hour Saturday night ready for the start of Daylight Savings Time this Sunday. Then comes hope with the first day of Spring the following week – without snow or freezing temperatures would be excellent!

Our early Spring real estate market is quite different this year going from a stagnant year end in 2018 to a clear buyers’ market by the end of February. Many of the new listings coming on stream are in line with the new reality, whereas others are clinging to the hope that recovery back to 2017 is imminent! The actual sales – small number that it is- are telling the tale and buyers are watching & in many cases, waiting. With an average of 1.5 in 10 homes in any category selling, our sellers have to find that sweet spot in price which gets them ahead of the market curve and makes them attractive enough to get one more buyer off the fence. And buyers with time and choice have to be bold and make an offer on a home they love. It is a perfect time for the move up buyer!

Navigating tricky markets is our strong suit owing to long experience working in changing markets. Let us help you as we continue a long tradition of trust and care – keeping you covered in all weathers. We remain your Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: Legendary Care. We Deserve It.

As a rapidly growing community – yes we do deserve it! Finally the vital expansion of Eagleridge Hospital is becoming a reality and a project in progress. On January 18, Minister of Health Adrian Dix announcing the start of construction, said “We are treating emergency care in this region as a priority, so people will be able to receive health care services in a state of the art facility, and health care workers will have the room they need to help patients get better, quicker.”

The Eagleridge Hospital Foundation has a fundraising goal of $5,000,000, while the Fraser Health/ Ministry of Health contribution is $22,600,000. 35 years ago when Eagleridge Hospital opened, its emergency department had about 20,000 patient visits per year – now, visits have increased to about 53,000 per year, 20% of these patients are children. The expansion will more than double the number of patient treatment spaces in the emergency department from 19 – 39. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2020.

The work will include four new isolation rooms to support improved infection control measures as well as two new resuscitation bays. Walk in patients and ambulances will have separate entrances and an area will be designated for chemical decontamination.

In 2018, close to 1600 patients were seen in Emergency for cardiac related events and more than 900 echo-cardiograms were performed on site. The first phase of construction will be renovations to make way for a new, expanded space for the Cardiology Department which will allow for a fourth cardiologist and provide a purpose built space for a pacemaker clinic within the hospital.

Kudos to the Eagleridge Hospital Foundation for their dogged determination to see this happen and to our TriCities MLAs for their support. As our infrastructure ages, medical equipment & technologies keep advancing medical practices and our population continues to grow, this is indeed great news and not before time.

Let’s get on board and support our Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation with its fundraising – we all use the hospital at one time or another. For more information, or to get involved, contact Charlene Giovannetti-King, Executive Director of the Foundation –

Stay warm and dry this week. If you have any questions about our real estate market or your home specifically, we are here to help always. We continue in that tradition of trust and caring, with our umbrellas up to keep you covered! We are your partners in real estate – ‘Generations’ – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray & Shane.

TGIF: A Glance at Last Week – and Charging Into Spring!

Love has been in the air this week and the colour is red! With the continuation of Chinese New Year festivities into this week, then Valentine’s Day, my favourite colour is everywhere. If the line ups at Purdy’s and Vivio Flowers were anything to go by, many sweethearts received the traditional chocolates and bouquets all dressed in red and restaurants were cooking the celebratory dinner. It is good to know that we still honour love and that red is still the powerful colour!

With Family Day coming up Monday, we shall be spending time with our family and showing them the love. Enjoy every moment.

Remember that the month of February is also Black History month across Canada, with lots of great events in Vancouver, including inspiring concerts.

At its latest Council meeting, the City of Port Moody voted to support the future and have 100% of the parking spaces in new apartment buildings be equipped with CHARGING OUTLETS. At commercial buildings 20% of parking spaces will be required to have charging outlets. It will then be the developers’ choice whether they actually install the charging stations or leave that to the buyers.

This will undoubtedly add to the value of these suites as every older building in the TriCities is currently discussing how to accommodate electric vehicles and instal air conditioning after the fact. The cost of adding the outlets at the building stage is vastly less expensive than retrofitting later – adding stations to existing parking is estimated to be $6800 per space. Considering that cars create one half of our community emissions, this was a bold, necessary decision on Port Moody’s part.

We of Generations Real Estate Partners are already charged up and working in a more lively Spring market. In spite of the snow and slush, we still have you covered. Bring on those questions!

Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: Happy Chinese New Year – Good Fortune to All This Year!

Gung hay fat choy! Hope all our clients and friends celebrating Chinese New Year this week have been enjoying getting together with family and friends, great food and are ready for a round of parades, parties etc this weekend. Good fortune to all this year.

Absorption rate is always a great measure of where our real estate market is at. The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board just gave us the January statistics on that very measure. The sales to active listings ratio for detached was 6.8%, townhomes 11.9% and condos 13.6%. The Board reported that analysts say that that pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12% for a sustained period. “Home prices have edged down across all home types in the region over the past 7 months” commented Board President, Phil Moore.

This is no lull – it is the new reality where sellers need to be competitive with price in order to get into that small percentage of inventory selling. This is the opportunity for buyers moving up with lots of choice and wiggle room for offers. As realtors in the field, we are seeing a lot more buyers out looking and right priced homes selling, so we can hope for a return to market balance. The Spring numbers will tell the final tale.

With as much construction happening as we have right now, we need to be really careful when buying a presale. Is your view going stay the same? Is the green space going to stay green or will construction be happening? And when views are critical, how are the balconies configured? So much to consider and developers leave themselves leeway for changes. If your suite is in a building to be finished 2 years from now and then you find it was a mistake, you may not be able to flip it for the same price you paid depending on market conditions 2 years from now. Caution and research are key to really feeling confident that you know exactly what you are getting. When everything around is built out, it is so much easier but still not foolproof. Do not rely on the official community plan – this can change quickly as it is a guideline. Take us with you – another set of eyes help and there will be some negotiation to be had as the market changes.

Lots of talk around town about our tax assessments which are now sadly outdated as they are an average at best of sales which took place in 2017. They are completely irrelevant in today’s market where certified appraisers as well as realtors are bound by recent sales data as, of course, are buyers and banks. As the daffodils were popping up and we were messaging photos to our family and friends back east, Mother Nature put paid to our boasting! Could we even remember where the outside water shut offs were? This is a reminder of how lucky we are – if we want snow we can go up Grouse Mountain or drive to Whistler, we don’t have to live with it through long winters. Let’s live in gratitude and spare some sympathy for our Eastern friends!

Whatever the temperature, we always have you covered – continuing in that tradition of trust and caring.

We remain your Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: Your Friday Recap of Life in the YVR ‘Burbs!

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Yes – it’s Lunar New Year once more on February 5 when we usher in the year of the pig – 12th of all zodiac animals. Chinese myth has it that the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which the animals arrived at his party. Pig was late because he overslept! But even so, pigs still symbolize wealth in Chinese culture with their chubby faces and big ears also signs of good fortune. Materialism motivates pigs to work hard and enjoy life. They are energetic and enthusiastic even for boring jobs.

The Spring Festival extends from February 5 through February 19. This is the time for only positive thoughts, words and actions. FlyOver Canada will be showcasing China’s beauty with ‘Flight of the Dragon’ for a limited time and the Chinese New Year Flower and Gift Fair will open February 5 at the Aberdeen Centre. Chinese art will be celebrated at the New Year Art Exhibition, opening 2pm February 9 in centre court at International Village Mall.

This Saturday gets our local celebration into gear with a Chinese New Year Dance and Cake Demonstration at Place Des Arts, on Brunette, in the historic Maillardville neighbourhood. Watch out for lanterns and fireworks around town.

On a less celebratory note, be aware of the new speculation tax and empty homes tax. This is a tax grab cleverly hidden under the guise of taking action on the shortage of affordable housing or on behalf of the homeless, who would not be living in your ski cabin at Whistler or your condo in wine country. Recreational property is a form of investment for many Canadians who will not be receiving a work pension and choose to invest in real estate rather than RRSPs or the stock market. These pieces of real estate are a buffer against a poor retirement as well as a reward for hard work and saving. We also have retirees who go south for the winter and of course their family home is vacant for these 4-6 months. Is the Government seriously suggesting that these folk have strangers in their home during this time? There is something very discriminatory and ill thought out about these new measures. For all the details go to Spagnuolo and Company Real Estate Lawyers. If you are guilty of paying a mortgage and enjoying a recreational property, creating your own pension fund by owning a revenue property or simply enjoying some winter sunshine in your retirement, watch out! For info see below.

If you want to know what we REALLY think about our residential market, please get in touch! We have you covered no matter the changes. Happy to consult long before you plan to move – be like the the Girl Guides & Scouts – prepared! Continuing in our tradition of trust and caring, your partners in real estate.

– Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane. Happy New Year!

TGIF: Commercial real estate and pot!

2019 will be an unprecedented year in Metro Vancouver for commercial and industrial real estate with the office sector leading the pace. The perfect storm combines some of the lowest vacancy rates in north America, record high prices and sustained development. Even though 1.6 million square feet of new offices are currently under development downtown, most of this space is already claimed!

Commercial lenders are however more conservative this year, looking for familiar names with experience in executing projects. They want to efficiently transition from non income supporting portfolios to construction portfolios in record time. Strata pre sales are a key element with repayment on the mortgage at construction stage. Lenders are now looking for higher presale requirements to prove financial viability of the development.

High density residential sites with an often large commercial component continue against all odds to sell at staggering prices. Most recently a 35,580 sq.ft. high rise zoned residential parcel in Burnaby’s Metrotown sold at $43.2 million.

Meanwhile the much anticipated marijuana industry is floundering under conflicting and confusing government regulations and laws. Why not close down the experienced long term successful pot shops in favour of opening new government outlets with insufficient supply? The black market received an unexpected windfall!

Remember if you have a licence to grow marijuana at home, avoid growing it in the house. Because of resulting mould, the banks currently won’t touch financing a home where plants have been/ or are growing. This could change over time, but right now there are no exceptions to the bank rules with regard to growing marijuana.

Meanwhile in our world, we saw more people out viewing our open houses last weekend and making offers on the well priced properties – a good sign. With Chinese New Year around the corner our Asian clients are looking for good fortune this year and shopping for a new home at this propitious time. Always with our umbrellas and advice at the ready we have you covered for all things real estate. Let us help you navigate an interesting market in order to reach your goal.

We are the Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: Community Art and Real Estate

Port Moody City of the Arts is continuing to live up to its name and growing reputation by welcoming a new resident artist on staff.  Sara Graham is a talented local artist working her magic in multi mediums from drawings to designing sculptures. Over the next number of weeks, there will be brainstorming on how best Sara can bring her artistic lens to the City on projects large and small. It will be exciting to see her work intertwine with civic events.

For lovers of both art and history, Port Moody Museum is the place to go this year – the museum’s 50th year in existence. Their special year kicked off by being highlighted at the start of Port Moody’s Council meeting last Tuesday with a beautiful hand painted cream pitcher dating back to the late 1860’s. This is the first of a display of 50 such artifacts to be featured over 2019, both in the Museum and by digital display at City Hall. The cream pitcher was painted by Port Moody resident, Jane Murray Raymond – after whom Port Moody named two streets – Murray and Jane.  Look on the Port Moody Museum’s website if you are interested in participating in their call for heritage recipes for a cookbook the museum will produce this year.

WHAT WILL HISTORY tell us about the 2019 REAL ESTATE MARKET?  Without that elusive crystal ball, we can only use educated guesswork.  What we do know as of right now is that this is a perfect market for those wanting to move up the real estate ladder to gain more space and possibly a location better suited to their needs. There are choices in every category of home right now from the condo to the large detached home with more new listings continually coming on stream.  The current fear is that you are not going to achieve the same high sale price for your home as you could have in the past 2 hears – however neither is the seller from whom you are buying.  In absolute dollars you are ahead of the game as you are buying a more expensive home where the seller’s “loss” amounts to more money than yours.  And… even with the past raises in mortgage interest rates, history tells us that they are still incredibly low.

First-time buyers too can benefit this year as long as they can qualify for financing with the more stringent bank rules – this qualification must have the paper trail where all the buyers’ documents have been submitted to the mortgage broker / financial institution and the approval returned subject to having an accepted offer on a property.  On line or phone conversations do not equate to the approval necessary for a purchase. Save yourself from disappointment and frustration!

Yes – we are going to experience a reality check in our real estate market in the next little while, but we are part way there.  Sellers are realizing that sitting for 100+ days at an inflated price is non productive, even annoying,  while buyers are beginning to discern between realistic asking prices and the ones dating back to 2016.  With a bit of luck, our stalemate will end soon and we shall have a more balanced market.

Every person’s situation is different and we are happy to sit down with you, listen to your requirements and tailor our advice accordingly. If this timing is good or not so good for you, we’ll be truthful and work on either a current plan or a more long term one for the future. Downsizers cannot start too early to consult with us – lots to think about and prepare.

We have you covered whatever the conditions and shall continue in our tradition of trust and care.

Best wishes from the Generations Real Estate Partners –  Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

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