Archive for September, 2010

Low Mortgage Rates Boost August Home Sales

VANCOUVER, BC – September 14, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 35 per cent to 5,590 units in August compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province increased 7 per cent in August from July 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 4 per cent to $487,804 in August compared to the same month last year.

August home sales posted the first month-to-month increase since March of this year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Lower mortgage interest rates and an improving labour market are inducing additional consumer demand.”

“The number of new residential listings in the province has fallen 30 per cent since April,” added Muir. “With fewer new listings, total active listings are now on the decline, signaling that an end to the buyer’s market may be on the horizon.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 8 per cent to $26.9 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales rose 2 per cent to 53,717 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 10 per cent to $501,226 over the same period.

Buyer’s market conditions continue in Greater Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC – September 2, 2010. Conditions in the Greater Vancouver housing market continued to favour buyers in August. Since April, prices have edged down slightly as the number of sales and the number of properties coming on to the market have been declining.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that the number of residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,202 in August 2010. This represents a 36 per cent decline from the 3,441 sales in August 2009, the second highest selling August ever recorded, and a 2.4 per cent decline compared to July 2010.

From a wider perspective, last month’s residential sales represent a 40.4 per cent increase over the 1,568 residential sales in August 2008, a 34.9 per cent decline compared to August 2007’s 3,384 sales, and a 26.6 per cent decline compared to August 2006’s 2,998 sales.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 17.5 per cent to 3,750 in August 2010 compared to August 2009 when 4,544 new units were listed. Total active listings in Greater Vancouver currently sit at 15,421, a 6.1 per cent decline from last month and a 29 per cent increase from August 2009.

“We’re seeing moderate demand, low interest rates and a healthy but slowing stream of supply in our marketplace, all variables that favour those looking to purchase a home,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said. “The last few months have also shown some stability when it comes to price fluctuations in the region, which is a welcome trend after reaching record highs in April.”

Since spring, housing prices have decreased 2.8 per cent compared to the all-time high reached in April when the residential benchmark price was $593,419. Over the last 12 months, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased 6.9 per cent to $576,597 in August 2010 from $539,600 in August 2009.

“Canada remains an attractive destination for foreign buyers, a fact that continues to affect activity in the Greater Vancouver housing market,” Moldowan said.

Sales of detached properties in August 2010 reached 893, a decrease of 34.7 per cent from the 1,367 detached sales recorded in August 2009 and a 66.9 per cent increase from the 535 units sold in August 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 8.5 per cent from August 2009 to $795,076.

Sales of apartment properties reached 935 in August 2010, a decline of 36.1 per cent compared to the 1,464 sales in August 2009 and an increase of 26.4 per cent compared to the 740 sales in August 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.5 per cent from August 2009 to $385,968.

Attached property sales in August 2010 totalled 374, a decline of 38.7 per cent compared to the 610 sales in August 2009 and a 27.6 per cent increase from the 293 attached properties sold in August 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6.6 per cent between August 2009 and 2010 to $489,511.

Vancouver Home and Interior Design Show

By Amber Beall, Benjamin Moore Dunbar

Vancouver is again the proud host of two of the hottest design shows in the country.  The Vancouver Home and Interior Design Show kicks off September 9-12th at the new Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre and IDS West (Interior Design Show West) arrives October 14-17th at the same location.  Both shows will feature a plethora of speakers and vendor booths with every kind of design advice and gadget imaginable.  From green to dream, there is a solution for all of your upcoming projects if you know what you’re looking for.

For new homebuyers, both shows offer a chance to gather ideas for any renovations or updates you plan to do in your new space.  The trick is knowing what to choose once you’ve brought all those nifty samples home with you; it can all feel overwhelming if you don’t have a plan or a colour scheme in mind.  Hiring a designer to help doesn’t need to break the bank.

Many designers are happy to provide a few hours of consultation to help you choose wall colours, corresponding tile, counter and flooring if necessary.  You will need to pay their hourly rate and you should determine all that up front, but for the cost of 2 to 3 hours with an expert, you will have a colour scheme that flows beautifully in your space for as long as you live there.  Wondering where to start if you’re looking for a designer? Call me! I love design jobs of any size, from a one-hour Benjamin Moore interior or exterior colour consultation ($135-150) to design consultation and sourcing ($100/hr). Let me take the stress out of the process.

Amber Beall is an Interior Designer and Benjamin Moore Colour Expert based in Vancouver, BC.  Specializing in residential homes, Amber transforms her client’s spaces with colour palettes and design ideas as bright and bold as her personality!  Contact her directly at

Mortgage Basics 101

By David Rees, TD Canada Trust

What type of mortgage to choose? Fixed or variable? Open or closed? 5 year or 3 year? Mortgage or Line of Credit? Left or right? Ok, so that last one is not typically an option, but with all the different finance options, choosing the right type of mortgage may feel like a daunting task. But does it really have to be so confusing?

The foundation to answering some of the above questions really lays in your own personal plan and what you envision in the short term future – say up to 5 years. Are you planning on staying put for a while, or is your purchase just a temporary short term move? (i.e. less than 5 years).

Do you plan on coming into a win-fall of money? Is there the potential of putting large amounts of money onto the mortgage? I had a client who knew he was going to be receiving a rather large inheritance check within the year, so we had to ensure that the mortgage he got into allowed more than the normal pre-payment policies.

How comfortable are you with risk? Do you want to go to sleep at night knowing exactly what your mortgage payments will be, or are you comfortable with a little variance, knowing that you could pay less one month, but potentially more another?

Answering the above questions is a good place to start to narrow down what type of mortgage product you are best suited for. Once you have nailed this, it’s best to talk to a specialist who can guide you towards which product is best for your individual needs, based on these answers. As for each mortgage product, there is certainly much more to know, but don’t be overly concerned about the details at this point. It’s easy to get confused trying to understand everything and it’s really not necessary to understand it all. I find that as a home buyer moves through the process, the most pertinent, important details for that client, and their situation, come to the light and become clear; but they must first take just one step at a time with a qualified specialist to assist them along the way – that is all that is necessary!

David Rees is a Mortgage Specialist with TD CanadaTrust. He has been in the financial services industry since 2005. He specializes in all residential real-estate secured transactions, including new home (project site) purchases, re-sale home purchases, re-finances, equity take outs and investment properties. If you have any mortgage related questions, please feel free to contact David any time @ 778.217.0624 or

Smartmoves by Canada Post

So you’re in the home stretch and now that’s left is to plan for your move. Something I use every time I move is Smartmoves by Canada Post. They will forward all your mail from one address to another for a period of 6 or 12 months and for a nominal fee. At times its hard to keep a handle on all the mail we receive from different sources. This will prevent mail going to the previous address.

Lawyer Or Notary Public – Whom Do I Need?

By Yasin S. Amlani, Amlani & Associates

The question of whether to use a lawyer or notary public when purchasing or selling a house is a common one, as many are unfamiliar with the similarities and differences between the two.

A lawyer is a person whose profession is to advise others in matters of the law, giving legal advice and assistance to clients, and representing them in a transaction or court of law. In order to become licensed to practice law, a lawyer must graduate with a law degree from a recognized university, article with a law firm and pass the Law Society’s Bar Admission course and examination. Cheap Vancouver car rental .  Because of the nature of the duties and obligations required to maintain Law Society membership, lawyers are automatically also notary publics.

A concise definition of a notary public is an official witness. Notaries verify the identity and competency of those who sign documents and take oaths, thereby certifying the authenticity of these documents. To become licensed, notaries must complete formal training which lasts anywhere from six months to two years, in addition to writing an examination set by their society. Notary publics have been given authority to engage in certain types of transactions.

Another difference between the two is that a lawyer’s job is primarily to look out for the best interests of his client, while utilizing his knowledge of the law to perform the transaction at hand. In contrast, the level of legal advice a notary public may provide is minimal. A notary public may not give legal advice or practice law, unless he or she is also a lawyer.  That being said, many transactions are fairly straightforward and can be handled effectively by notaries. For those that require a deeper understanding of the law and the significance and consequences of a particular action or inaction, a notary would defer to the expertise of a lawyer, so it may be of a greater benefit to use one from the start.

Yasin Amlani primarily practices in the areas of residential and commercial real estate transactions as well as business and corporate law.  He has Bachelor of Science and Law degrees from U.B.C., as well as a Masters in Business Administration from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts.  He was called to the B.C. Bar in 2000.  He may be reached at (604) 434-9898 or