Mortgage Insurance Rules Announcement

February 16, 2010

This morning, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced prudent changes to mortgage insurance rules intended to come into force on April 19, 2010. CAAMP was actively engaged in the discussions around these changes which are as follows:

1. All borrowers must meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term;
2. The maximum amount one can withdraw in refinancing their mortgage will be reduced to 90% from the current 95% of the value of one’s home;
3. Non-owner occupied properties will require a minimum down payment of 20%.

There were no changes to down payment requirements or length of amortizations for owner-occupied residences.

Source: CAAMP

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West Vancouver Detached Property Statistics

February 12, 2010

There are currently 367 detached properties for sale in West Vancouver, ranging in price from $749,000. to $30,000,000., with the average asking price coming in at $2,675,956. There have been 143 sales since November 2009, with the average selling price being $1,585,248. The lowest sale price achieved last year was for $550,000. in March. The highest sale price achieved last year was for $10,650,000. in October. With 259 homes currently for sale and taking into account the average number of sales per month over the last 3 months, there is currently an 8 month supply of homes.

There are currently 45 detached properties for sale in Ambleside, ranging in price from $960,000. to $5,892,000., with the average asking price coming in at $1,761,484. There have been 25 sales since November 2009, with the average selling price being $1,286,435. The lowest sale price achieved last year was for $765,000. in March. The highest sale price achieved last year was for $3,950,000. in July. With 45 homes currently for sale and taking into account the average number of sales per month over the last 3 months, there is currently a 6 month supply of homes.

There are currently 21 detached properties for sale in Dundarave, ranging in price from $1,299,000. to $10,980,000., with the average asking price coming in at $2,071,105. There have been 11 sales since November 2009, with the average selling price being $1,726,154. The lowest sale price achieved last year was for $850,000. in March. The highest sale price achieved last year was for $10,650,000. in October. With 21 homes currently for sale and taking into account the average number of sales per month over the last 3 months, there is currently a 7 month supply of homes.


Fine Dining In Vancouver

February 12, 2010

Living on the North Shore or anywhere else in the Lower Mainland for that matter, affords one the opportunity to take advantage of a plethora of dining options. The Cannery is just one of them.


So Close and Not So Far

February 10, 2010

Living in Vancouver puts you in a place to enjoy nearby activities like meandering through Seattle’s Pike Place Market. 2 & 1/2 hours aways by car from Vancouver and a great day trip…or better yet, a weekend get-away.


North Vancouver Condo/Apartment Property Statistics (2-Br)

February 6, 2010

North Vancouver
In North Vancouver there are currently 169 active two-bedroom properties for sale, ranging in price from $279,000. to $1,699,000., with the average asking price being $602,145. There have been 112 sales since November, with the average selling price being $461,631. and the average cost per square foot being $470. The least expensive sale price last year was for $170,000. in January and the most expensive was for $1,465,000. in July. With 169 properties currently for sale and taking into account the average number of sales per month over the last 3 months, there is currently a 4 & 1/2 month supply of homes.

Lower Lonsdale
In Lower Lonsdale there are currently 51 active two-bedroom properties for sale, ranging in price from $279,000. to $1,629,000., with the average asking price being $625,650. There have been 30 sales since November, with the average selling price being $476,643. and the average cost per square foot being $504. The least expensive sale price last year was for $198,000. in May and the most expensive was for $1,465,000. in July. With 51 properties currently for sale and taking into account the average number of sales per month over the last 3 months, there is currently a 5 month supply of homes.

The Pier
In The Pier there are currently 10 active two-bedroom properties for sale, ranging in price from $540,000. to $1,629,000., with the average asking price being $1,030,870. There have been 4 sales since November, with the average selling price being $652,450. and the average cost per square foot being $664. The least expensive sale price last year was for $470,000. in May and the most expensive was for $820,000. in April. With 10 properties currently for sale and taking into account the average number of sales per month over the last 3 months, there is currently a 7 & 1/2 month supply of homes.


Top 6 Winter Activities In Vancouver

February 3, 2010

1. Skiing / Snowboarding – There are 3 mountains nearby, including Grouse, Cypress and Seymour. And of course a little further away you will find the world-renowned Whistler.
2. Sailing – some of the best sailing times happen during winter months because of the wind and because Vancouver’s mild weather makes sailing possible most of the year.
3. Golfing – Most of Vancouver’s golf clubs operate year round. It’s true that Vancouverites can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon.
4. Tennis – On those occasions when winter weather produces a dry spell, Vancouver’s tennis courts get busy.
5. Swimming – The odd hardy person is known to venture into Vancouver’s outdoor swimming areas for a quick dip and on the January 1st Polar Bear Swim, thousands of people fearlessly wade into the Pacific.
6. Olympics – Number 6 on the list, but really it should be number 1 for this year as the Winter Olympics are being hosted by Vancouver. It’s going to be a fantastic February!

– from Vancouver Book of Everything


Buying Income Properties

February 2, 2010

From my January 2010 Newsletter:

While some seasoned real estate investors make it look easy, to be successful, beginners should follow some basic principles.

Learn all you can. Before committing your cash, you should have a fundamental understanding of real estate. For example, be aware that, in general, investment properties are not liquid investments. Barring exceptional circumstances, real estate does not sell at a moment’s notice. It could take days or months to sell a property, depending on the strength of the market in a particular region.

Consider cash flow. You’ll need to have enough capital on hand to cover any short-term losses due to vacancies between tenants.

Start small. Look into buying a condominium, single-family home or a duplex. Leave large apartment buildings and commercial properties to the pros.

Inquire at the local Chamber of Commerce about companies relocating into or out of the area. Company movement is one indicator of demand for rental and/or office space.

Find a property that will be in demand. Look for a moderately priced home with three or four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage that sits on a quiet street.

Research the property. The most common way first-time investors lose is by failing to investigate a property thoroughly. Look beyond the front door. Investigate the reputation of the school district, the crime rate, and plans for expanding a nearby highway or developing vacant land. Ask a local real estate professional about the area, its history, and how fast (or slow) properties are moving.

Inspect the home you’re considering for signs of water damage, such as stains on the ceiling and crinkling or gathering wallpaper; open and close every door and window; and check all electrical sockets by plugging in an appliance. Get an independent home inspection. Unexpected repair costs can eat away your cash flow. Because even the best inspection can’t always predict problems, try to set aside some of the rental income for unexpected repairs.

Spend time driving the streets of the neighbourhood noting the condition of other properties. Are lawns maintained? Are roofs in good shape? Are homes kept up?

Be ready to make fixes quickly and respond to the renter’s needs. If you’re not prepared to be a hands-on landlord, consider hiring a property management firm.

See your tax advisor for related planning and laws that can affect your investment decisions.

Remember, investing in a property is much different than living in one, and while emotion and attachment can be prime motivators when it comes to homes, it is return on investment that counts when investing in real estate.