Kristina Eng Your Residential and Investment Specialist

604-365-0991
 

I thought this was an interesting article in the Vancouver Sun:


B.C. home listings fall to 20-year low, real estate association says.....

 


 

Click here for the whole article :   BC Home Listings Fall to 20 Year Low

 

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The spring market is picking up with some multiple offer situations in South Surrey and White Rock.  

 

See below for the details for each neighbourhood in South Surrey and White Rock.  

 

 

 

 

 To see the full report for the Fraser Valley, click here: 

2017 April Fraser Valley Snapstats Report

 

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Here's a great article by Tony Gioventu, Executive Director of the Condominium Homeowners' Association, published in the Province newspaper.  In it he discusses the importance of the Form B and Form F in strata purchases and sales, and what protections there are for sellers and buyers in terms of debts owed by others to the Strata.

 

http://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-province/20160519/281724088781281

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Get ready for the 2nd Annual Community Garage Sale

in driveways throughout Crescent Beach!

 

Saturday June 4,

 

9:00am to 2:00pm

 

I'm sponsoring the Community Event for the second year - providing signage, advertising and cookies!  

 

It was such fun last year.  Come as a customer to shop for treasures or call me to say you'd like to participate and be put on the Event Map.  

 

Cheers, Kristina

 

Kristina Eng

Cell: 604-365-0991

Email: keng@sutton.com

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New regulations that further protect sellers in residential real estate transactions have been approved and will take effect May 16, 2016, Premier Christy Clark announced today.

 

"Government will not tolerate unethical or predatory conduct in the real estate market," Premier Clark said. "These rules will increase transparency and make sure that sellers' best interests are protected. Real estate licensees must act in the best interests of the client - not themselves."

 

With these new rules, real estate licensees who draft offers to buy property must include two separate terms about contract assignment in the offer: one that requires the seller’s consent to transfer the contract; and one that requires any resulting profit to be returned to the seller.

 

“When people decide to sell their homes – potentially one of their biggest assets – we need to make sure they have all of the information they need to make a decision about what is best for themselves and their families,”

Finance Minister Michael de Jong said. “Contract assignment fulfils a legitimate role in real estate transactions, and in certain situations can protect consumers if their circumstances change during a transaction. The changes we have made empower sellers by providing for full disclosure, informed consent and the opportunity for sellers to insist they receive any resulting financial benefit.”

 

If the prospective buyer wants to remove these terms from the offer, the buyer’s licensee must notify the seller that the terms have been removed from the offer. The seller has the power to reject the offer and insist on one or both of the terms. Sellers must be advised to seek independent professional advice. Sellers’ licensees are also required to discuss with their clients whether the proposed contract would be assignable and whether there would be any conditions on assignment, including whether the seller is entitled to any profit.

 

These changes are designed to prevent situations in which a buyer purchases a property, only to reassign the contract at a higher price before the closing date, without the seller approving the assignment. By ensuring conditions around assignment are transparent at the outset, sellers are in a better position to decide whether or not to accept an offer.

 

The regulations apply to offers made on or after May 16, 2016. The regulations will not apply to contracts signed before that date.

 

British Columbians with concerns about the conduct of real estate licensees should contact the Real Estate Council of BC. The council’s mandate is to protect the public interest by enforcing the licensing and licensee conduct requirements of the Real Estate Services Act. The council also investigates complaints against licensees and imposes disciplinary penalties under the act.

 

The Province looks forward to receiving recommendations from the Council’s Independent Advisory Group about further measures to address the effectiveness of real estate licensee regulation and improve consumer protection, expected in early June.

 

Learn More:

The Real Estate Council of BC regulates the real estate industry. Find out more at:www.recbc.ca   

Read the terms of reference for the Independent Advisory Group:http://www.advisorygroupbc.ca/pdf/IAG_TOR.pdf

Read the group’s progress report:http://www.advisorygroupbc.ca/pdf/IAG_AprilReport.pdf

View the council’s notification form: http://www.recbc.ca/wp-content/uploads/Notice-Regarding-Assignment-Terms.pdf?v=1462906364

Learn about new real estate data collection measures: https://news.gov.bc.ca/10911

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Analysis by Dr. Sherry Cooper

Chief Economist Dominion Lending Centres

 

Budget 2016—Billed As ‘Growing the Middle Class’

 

Today’s budget included everything I expected and nothing that I feared. The fears first—there is no change in the tax treatment of capital gains or stock options, despite continued rumours and speculation. Indeed, in a press conference in the lock-up, Minister Morneau said that stock options tax changes are off the table because they are so important to young innovative companies. There is also nothing in the budget designed to tighten credit conditions in the housing markets. 

With respect to housing, Ottawa will support the collection of data regarding foreign purchases of Canadian residential real estate, providing additional funding to Stats Canada working with CMHC and British Columbia. Evidence-based assessment of the situation is important.1  Hopefully, governments at all levels will refrain from discouraging foreign investment in housing in a misplaced effort to create more affordable housing. The budget does express concern about affordable housing by investing $2.3 billion over two years for social infrastructure in communities where it is most needed, including $739 million for First Nations, Inuit and northern housing.

Budget 2016 states that “stable and secure housing markets protect the greatest investment of many middle class Canadian families. On December 11, 2015, the government announced coordinated actions to strengthen the resiliency of Canada’s housing finance system, increase market discipline in residential lending, and promote long-term stability and balanced economic growth. The government will continue to closely monitor vulnerabilities related to housing and consumer debt and is prepared to implement further measures, should they be needed.”

This is all good—no messing around with the housing market in this year’s budget, but reasserting a watchful eye on excesses and potential bubbles. There is a growing concern among U.S. hedge fund managers regarding the Canadian housing market and Canadian household debt as many expect a U.S.-style meltdown in Canada, similar to what happened in the U.S. in 2007-2009. This is nothing new, as Canadian pundits and media have been suggesting something similar for several years now. However, vigilance against fraud and insufficient qualifying conditions for credit is important to maintaining the financial stability of our economy and our financial institutions. 

 

The major initiatives in this budget were pre-announced. The biggest single spending item on the Liberal docket is the new Canada Child Benefit that swallows four former benefits — including the universal child care benefit and income splitting — into a single new payment targeting middle and lower income Canadian families. The program won’t roll out until July 1, however, as the federal government continues to fine-tune details with the provinces. With a maximum $6,400 a year per child under five and $5,400 annually for kids six to 17, the new benefit is an effort to reduce income equality. The Canada Child Benefit provides a net fiscal stimulus of $3.7 billion this year and $4.3 billion next year, accumulating to just under $8.0 billion over the next five years. 

The middle class tax cut was announced last December effective January 1. While it is estimated to provide a net boost to the economy of  $1.3 billion this year, the hike in tax rates for incomes over $200,000--which is called “the tax fairness measure” in the budget documents—is estimated to have a net negative economic impact of $0.7 billion over the same period. The negative impact of this tax increase could be substantially greater, especially over the longer term as it dampens entrepreneurial spirit and makes it more difficult to attract and retain talent and new high-growth businesses in Canada.

In addition, budget 2016 extends EI regular benefits by 5 weeks to all eligible claimants, and provides up to an additional 20 weeks of EI regular benefits to long-tenured workers, in the following EI economic regions:

• Newfoundland/Labrador
• Sudbury
• Northern Ontario
• Northern Manitoba
• Saskatoon
• Northern Saskatchewan
• Calgary
• Northern Alberta
• Southern Alberta
• Northern British Columbia
• Whitehorse
• Nunavut

Infrastructure spending increases in the budget are also pretty much as advertised. Phase 1 of the infrastructure plan provides $11.9 billion over five years for public transit, green investments and social infrastructure.

Ottawa estimates that the GDP impact of the combined fiscal stimulus will be 0.5% for FY 2016-17 and 1.0% for the following fiscal year. I forecast that the GDP growth rate in 2016 will be roughly 1.7%, rising to about 2.0% next year.

The big loser in this budget is the energy sector. The government repeatedly states in the budget documents that it will subsidize clean energy initiatives and reduce Canada’s carbon footprint.  For example, “the government will invest in electric vehicle and alternative transportation fuel infrastructure.” Ottawa has promised that Canada will be a leader in addressing the causes of climate change. We already know the Liberals are not supporting the Gateway pipeline or pipeline development in general. 

The assumption for oil prices in 2016 is $40 (U.S. per barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude oil)—slightly above the current level and well above the lows posted early this year. Oil prices are expected to rise from there to $52 in 2017 and $63 in 2020, still well below the levels posted during the oil boom. 

The other economic assumptions in the budget are consistent with the average of private sector forecasts, which have been revised down considerably from budget 2015 because of the larger than expected oil price decline. As well, the Canadian dollar is forecast in the budget to average 72.1 cents U.S. in 2016, well below current levels of 76 cents plus. The loonie is forecast to edge upward gradually over the next five years.

Bottom Line: While there will no doubt be quibbles about the specifics of today’s budget, the good news is that it will provide economic stimulus without threatening Canada’s solid financial position. There is no doubt we will maintain our triple-A rating. The government was urged by some to spend more and by others to spend less, so they have reached a reasonable balance without raising the tax burden further on high-income Canadians. The actions taken will help, at least at the margin, to assure a minimum standard of living for all. 

Household debt levels are at record highs relative to income and interest rates are at record lows. The Bank of Canada estimates that roughly 8% of households are severely indebted and vulnerable to rising interest rates in the future and/or a job loss owing to economic shocks. The oil price rout has already tested these conditions in Alberta and Newfoundland where credit card delinquency rates are already rising. The use of homes as piggy banks is a concern as home equity lines of credit have grown rapidly. As well, auto loans and credit card borrowing may well be too readily available for a segment of the population that is overstretched.

Budget Fundamentals

As expected, the current fiscal year budget deficit is forecast to come in at just shy of $30 billion ($29.4 billion, to be exact) and to fall only a bit next year (to $29.0 billion), nearly three times the size of deficit promised during the election campaign. As well, deficits will remain over the five-year forecast horizon. There is some cushion here in that these numbers include a $6 billion contingency reserve. But to the surprise of some, there is no estimate of when the federal budget will be balanced.

Despite these large deficits, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio--while rising in the fiscal year (FY) that begins April 1 from 31.2% to 32.5%--will fall over each of the next five years to end FY 2020-21 at 30.9%. Canada has the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio by far in the G7, so no worries here. With interest rates so low, debt servicing costs have dropped sharply.

 

Also on the data collection front, the government will re-introduce the long form census, a move that will be applauded by all economic and demographic researchers. 

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BC Home Sales Sizzle at Record Pace Vancouver, BC – March 14, 2016.

 

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 9,637 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) last month, up 44.7 per cent from February of last year.

 

This smashed the previous record of 8,157 unit sales for the month of February recorded in 1992.

 

Total sales dollar volume was $7.51 billion in February, up 76.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

 

“Downward pressure on active listings has created significant upward pressure on home prices in some regions, particularly in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley,” added Muir.

 

“While home builders have responded with a record pace of housing starts for BC last month, the supply isn’t expected alleviate the imbalance in these markets in the near term.”

 

The year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 73.6 per cent to $11.9 billion, when compared with the same period in 2015.

 

Sales to Active Listings (number of residential units sold in month of February compared to the number available on the market):

Fraser Valley:  59.2%   (Compared to 20.4% in Feb 2015)

Greater Vancouver:  52.6%   (Compared to 24.2% in Feb 2015)

 

Average Selling Price:  

Fraser Valley:  Increased 24.9% (over Feb 2015)

Greater Vancouver:  Increased 25.6%  (over Feb 2015)

 

“Housing demand is now at a break-neck pace,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.

 

“Home sales last month were not only a record for the month of February, but on a seasonally adjusted basis, demand has never been stronger in the province.”

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There's an interesting article in today's Vancouver Sun by Ian Mulgrew.  BC is following the lead of many countries in the European Union and making the small claims process more accessible, faster and cheaper for strata and other claims up to $10,000.  90% of small claims are self-represented.  The process will now be going online. Here's the article....

 

Ian Mulgrew: Small claims and strata disputes to move online

 Soon you will be able to settle squabbles without setting foot in a courthouse

 

BY IAN MULGREW, VANCOUVER SUN FEBRUARY 10, 2016

 

B.C. will become the first Canadian jurisdiction to operate an online Civil Resolution Tribunal for small-claims disputes up to $10,000 and strata conflicts.

 

Have a small-claims battle or condo war to settle? In B.C., there’s an app coming for that.

More and more provincial legal services will be going online and soon you’ll be able to use your computer or smart phone, night or day, rather than going to court to settle squabbles.

Europe is well down this road and — given the high cost of lawyers, the archaic procedures, the difficulty of navigating those shoals, the length of time it takes to get a resolution and the emotional cost of the ordeal — this is clearly the way of the future.

B.C. was the first province to experiment with electronic filing of documents back in 2005.

Since then Consumer Protection B.C. and the Property Assessment Appeal Board have embraced online dispute resolution.

Later this year, the province will become the first Canadian jurisdiction to operate an online Civil Resolution Tribunal for small-claims disputes up to $10,000 and strata conflicts.

A website (https://www.civilresolutionbc.ca/) has been established and the government is encouraging people to help test it before it goes live.

It will start as a voluntary portal but Victoria intends to make using it mandatory, possibly as soon as next year.

It will have a broad and sweeping effect.

The pioneering system includes party-to-party negotiations, a facilitation phase, akin to mediation, and adjudication with the same force as a court ruling.

There will be information pathways, online tools and resources.

Case managers and facilitators will monitor and enable the parties’ progress or transfer the dispute to a specialist tribunal member if they reach an impasse for a decision.

It is hoped the process will take no more than 60 days and cost no more than the filing fees charged for small claims.

Those who settle early will get a discount.

On strata matters, which at the moment must be heard in B.C. Supreme Court, a decision will be final though you will be able to appeal to that bench in limited circumstances.

For small claims, there is a form of appeal to the provincial court.

The problem-solving software is similar to that used and perfected by companies like eBay and PayPal, which resolve millions of disputes annually with such systems.

The ostensible rationale offered by Justice Minister Suzanne Anton when she unveiled the plan a year ago was that such a system is less expensive, far more convenient and will improve access to justice.

It can take up to 16 months for a small claims case to be resolved and even longer for strata fights involving neighbours.

You can imagine how emotionally stressful communal living becomes when you can’t get rid of an irritating burr.

The bottom line is the courts are pricing themselves out of dispute resolution — big companies are abandoning B.C. Supreme Court in favour of mediation and arbitration while provincial court judges have become too expensive for this work.

Such minor legal skirmishes are also usually not a gold mine for lawyers, so the government has not faced much opposition to this move.

When you consider 90 per cent of the people involved in small-claims conflicts are self-represented, the approach makes a lot of sense.

Over the following months, other online legal services are going to be rolled out.

Still, there are concerns around computer literacy and availability, English comprehension and legal understanding.

In the past, the courts and legal-system stakeholders also have proven highly resistant to accepting modern communications technology.

Regardless, it is inevitable — it is already part of the mainstream landscape in the EU and several states.

Soon it will be here.

imulgrew@postmedia.com

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Over 20 households are participating on Saturday 6 June 2015 in the Community-Wide Crescent Beach Garage Sale.  It's live on Craigslist and there's a featured ad on Kijiji.  There will be a prominent ad in the Friday garage sale section of the Peace Arch News, and I'll be running around the community early on Saturday morning with signs and balloons!  :)  

There's going to be a cornucopia of treasures available, ranging from a stuffed giant marlin sculpture to furniture, tools, collectibles and household items.   Neighbours and helping neighbours, family members are pitching in, people are getting together to declutter and other people are getting ready to find new treasures.  There's quite a buzz - it's going to be a community event.

See the map and list of participating addresses in the "Sponsored Garage Sales" section of my web site.  

 

 

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Balanced Housing Market

 

Housing demand in the province has now almost fully recovered from the downturn recorded in 2012. However, the spillover effect of a sluggish provincial economy and stalled employment growth over the past year will likely constrain housing demand over the next few quarters.

 

A more robust economy is expected to put housing demand back on an upward trajectory during the second half of the year and through 2015.

 

While 2013 was the second consecutive year of relatively weak economic growth, stronger conditions are expected to emerge this year. BC exports should accelerate as a result of stronger global economic growth, led by a resurgent US economy, and a favourable exchange rate. In addition, a return to more typical employment growth will help stem the exodus of workers to other provinces and bolster household growth. Consumers also appear to be awakening from their year-long slumber as retail sales growth climbs out of the doldrums. Finally, while interest rates are forecast to remain low through most of this year, their inevitable normalization is expected to act as a counterbalance to more robust economic fundamentals and keep housing demand from outstripping supply.

 

Market conditions are expected to post further improvement this year, with Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and BC Northern further bolstering their balanced market status. Stronger consumer demand is also likely to pull Victoria into balance conditions this year and trend most other regions towards more equilibrium between supply and demand. Seller’s market conditions are not expected to prevail over the next two years, meaning home prices in most markets won’t likely rise much higher than overall inflation.

 

Housing starts are keeping relative pace with household formation. However, supply imbalances do exist in some communities. New construction activity is estimated to be up 1 per cent last year to 27,750 units, on the strength of an 8 per cent rise in single-detached starts. Housing starts are forecast to remain relatively unchanged this year, albeit increasing 0.2 per cent to 27,800 units. Stronger economic and housing market conditions in 2015 are expected to generate a further 2.9 per cent increase to 28,600 units.

 

Source:  BC Real Estate Association   Housing Forecast Update   First Quarter Jan 2014

“Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Kristina’s Comments in a Nutshell:

We’ve almost recovered from the slump in 2012.  In most areas of South Surrey / White Rock and the Lower Mainland it’s a balanced market (of buyer demand and seller inventory) and it is expected to stay that way for a couple of years.  The second half of 2014 and 2015 are forecast to be more active than the first half of 2014.  

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The City of Surrey is implementing a more vigorous approach for registering secondary suites in the city.  Starting February 1, 2014 the City will charge homeowners a $1000 penalty if they become aware of an unregistered secondary suite. 

There is more information on the City of Surrey web site at

 http://www.surrey.ca/city-government/7617.aspx 

or you can call the Property Tax and Utility Department at 604-591-4181.  

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If you are craving some high quality classical music, but don’t want to travel to downtown Vancouver, then there is a wonderful local opportunity:

 

A new local concert series of duos and soloists by Encore Peninsula Concerts, is starting February 2 at 3pm.  The four concert series will run once a month until May 2 on Sunday afternoons.  It’ll be held in the lovely acoustics of the First United Church at 15385 Semiahmoo Ave, White Rock.  The first concert features pianist Eugene Skovorodnikov and violinist Yuri Zaidenberg.  Tickets are $15/$25 per concert or $50/$80 for the series. 

See www.peninsulaproductions.org  or call 604-541-2199 for details. 

 

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Attractive homes, gently rolling land, quiet curved streets and established landscaping give the neighbourhood of Rosemary Heights a lot of appeal.  Now an established neighbourhood about 12 years old, Rosemary Heights in South Surrey has many amenities to enjoy: large open greenspaces, walking trails with mature trees, a thriving elementary school (Rosemary Heights Elementary), a children's playground, and diverse shopping and services on its main street.  Nearby is the golf course of Morgan Creek and the Grandview Corners shopping area.  Rosemary Heights is situated for easy access to Hwy 99 to travel north to Richmond and Vancouver or south to the US border.  The beaches of White Rock and Crescent Beach are only a few minutes' drive away.  



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