Featured Property: 41-1900 Hugh Allan Drive, Pineview Valley, Kamloops, B.C. $329,900

41-1900 Hugh Allan Drive Northgate Kamloops Pineview Real Estate41-1900 Hugh Allan Kitchen Northgate Pineview Kamloops Real EstateImmaculate two story end unit with lots of upgrades and fully finished basement. Three bedrooms and four bathrooms that has a large laundry room on the second level with the bedrooms. Extras include tile backsplash in kitchen, custom closet organizers in all closets, tile around bath tubs, custom window coverings, kitchen appliances 1 month old, fully finished basement with large rec room, 4 piece bathroom and daylight walkout basement with lots of natural light. This home is like new, 1 car garage with extra parking outside the unit. Low strata fees and home warranty in effect. March 30 or later possession and washer/dryer do not stay. You won’t find a nicer unit in this complex. Within steps of transportation, walking trails and minutes to shopping.

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Featured Property: 1580 Monte Creek Road, Monte Creek, Kamloops, B.C. $548,500

1580 Monte Creek Road Monte Lake Kamloops PropertyMust see! Mountain & creek views, animal lovers dream. Prime location 20 minutes from Kamloops city centre. Many features of the property include detached 30×24 shop, a barn and many outbuildings on just under 5 acres. The home has over 3,400 square feet of living space with a huge hobby room open for your ideas. There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms, main floor laundry, tons of storage and two large rec rooms.  There is lots of parking for RV’s and toys.

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Featured Property: 701 Wittner Road, Deloro, Kamloops, B.C. Riverfront Acreage $579,900

701 Wittner Rd Kamloops Riverfront Property For Sale701 Wittner Rd View Riverfront Real Estate KamloopsSpacious riverfront heritage home sitting on 3.9 acres. 900+ feet of south Thompson riverfront on the deep canal of the river.

There is over 3,200 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a large living room and dining room on the main floor and a rec room on the second level that could be converted to two other bedrooms. There is also a large finished attic space great for a kids play room. There is enough room on the main floor to put in a den/office/bedroom.

Updates include granite island in kitchen, hardwood floors on main and roof approx 12 years.The kitchen has heated tiles and is very large – great for the chef in the family. There is a small family room off of the kitchen, spacious nook overlooking the river and laundry room.

This home comes with all appliances, the dock and hot tub. 2 car garage. Endless views of the mountains and river. Rivershore golf course is within minutes, fish right off of your dock or boat to the Shuswap Lake in the warmer months.

This property would be ideal for a hobby farm, horses, dog kennel or B & B so bring your ideas. A detached shop or carriage house could be built easily on this flat property. Call for more details.

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Mortgage Rates Dropping Due to Cheap Bonds BMO, TD Lower Some Fixed Rate Offerings to 2.99%

This article appeared on CBC.ca on January 13th, 2012 and was written by Pete Evans.

A strong international demand for bonds from Canada’s biggest banks is trickling through the system and pushing mortgage rates to record lows at the consumer level.

The Bank of Montreal moved its five-year fixed mortgage rate to 2.99 per cent late Thursday — the lowest posted rate from a major bank in Canadian history.

BMO announced the rate cut late on Thursday and TD followed suit by lowering their four-year fixed rate to 2.99 per cent on Friday afternoon.

BMO’s offer, which ends Jan. 25, states that lump sum payments are limited to 10 per cent of the principal each year. The mortgage is also based on a 25-year amortization period. TD’s offer is open until Feb. 29, 2012. It’s also for a four-year term, much less common than the standard five-year.

Other banks are expected to follow suit. On Wednesday, Toronto-Dominion Bank reduced its posted six-year rate 132 basis points to 3.79 per cent and lowered the posted seven-year fixed rate 91 basis points to 3.99 per cent.
Access to capital

Borrowers can often negotiate a better rate from a bank based on their credit history, but the posted rate at a bank is seen as the benchmark for its mortgage offerings. The five-year rate is by far the most common term for a first-time homebuyer.

Lower mortgage rates are the results of a broader trend in which international bond investors are gobbling up Canadian offerings at record levels because they’re generally perceived as being safer than bonds from other countries.

“It’s not surprising given that mortgage rate declines have actually been lagging behind falling bond yields,” Queens University real estate expert John Andrew said. “[It’s] driven by global economic uncertainty.”

Earlier this month, BMO was able to sell $1.5 billion worth of five-year bonds at a rate of 2.544 per cent. Contrast that with the government of Italy, for example, which sold an offering of bonds with a 4.83 per cent yield on Friday.

Essentially, the bond market considers BMO a better bet than Italy. A lower yield is a sign investors have more confidence in that lender’s ability to live up to the terms of the loan.

“Right now Canada is a function of what’s happening in the global environment,” Mark Kerzner of The Mortgage Group said. “And mortgage consumers are able to benefit from the noise in the rest of the world.”

As Europe’s debt crisis unfolds, investors are fleeing for safety. Canada is seen as a beacon in the financial world, so bond offerings from Canada’s biggest lenders are in strong demand. Cheaper borrowing for the banks has in turn allowed them to seek new customers by cutting their consumer rates.

“There’s a risk premium,” said Nick Mitskopoulos, president of mortgage broker Verico Mortgage For Less in Toronto. “The three-to-five year money is cheaper [but] their short term costs have gone up.”

“Their cost of capital is going up for the short term, but not for the long term.”

Mitskopoulos said other lenders will be hard-pressed to match BMO’s rate, although most will likely lower their rates a bit to compete. At that level, he suggests, BMO might be at a break-even level and is hoping to make gains from new customers through lines of credit.

Fixed-rate mortgages are closely tied to what’s happening in the bond market, as that’s how the banks finance their lending. Variable rate mortgages are more closely linked to the Bank of Canada’s rate.


New Strata Regulations Good for Condo Buyers, Strata Property Act Reforms Long Overdue

This article appeared in the Vancouver Courier and was written by Royal Lepage City Centre Realtor Deb Abbey. The strata rules will also be applicable for Kamloops condos, townhouses and stratified properties. The changes are welcomed as it is always important that both the sellers and buyers are thoroughly informed. Article below:

2012 brings long awaited reform to the Strata Property Act that will provide greater security for more than one million strata property owners in the province.

But the biggest beneficiaries of the new regulations will be prospective buyers. Buying a condominium is a complex process in B.C. with buyers and their real estate agents playing the role of real estate detectives trying to suss out information about the state of the building envelope or running down maintenance and engineering reports trying to assess the true value of the property given any potential liabilities.

Until now, there haven’t been many, if any, safeguards for purchasers of condos that have been badly built or managed by their owners. Poor maintenance, inadequate or no budgeting for future repairs and replacements, and little or no transparency in terms of liabilities are issues with many strata corporations in Vancouver. That is about to change.

Among the changes, strata corporations will be required to prepare a depreciation report. The report will include a physical inventory of the strata’s common property including building systems such as the building envelope, roof, pipes and boilers. The report will also include an estimate of the cost of anticipated maintenance, repair and replacement of those common property items projected over 30 years.

And most important to prospective buyers, the strata corporations will be required to prepare financial forecasts of how the strata will fund those expenses from the contingency reserve fund or special levies. The report will have to be updated every three years and include an onsite inspection. The new regulations will be effective immediately but stratas will have two years to comply.

As a potential buyer, you’ll be provided with a copy of the most recent version of this report along with the Form B. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Short-sighted stratas will be able to exempt themselves from this requirement with an annual 3/4 vote.

As a real estate agent, I hope that our industry widely adopts this report as a tool to assess risk and attribute value to the quality of management in strata corporations. Given the opportunity to buy or own a property that has future risk quantified and accounted for in this way, I know that I’d recommend those properties that have depreciation reports to my clients. The old adage “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it” has never been more appropriate.

Contingency reserve funds [CRF] have also gotten a boost from the new regulations. In the past, a 3/4 vote was required to make contributions to the CRF if it already exceeded 100 per cent of the annual operating expenses. The new regulations will allow strata corporations to make additional contributions to the CRF, once it reaches 25 per cent of the annual operating expenses, with a simple majority vote as part of the budget at the AGM.

This may sound like an insignificant bit of regulation but many stratas with looming expenses such as new roofs, windows or re-piping do not contribute enough to their CRFs to cover those costs and then have to levy significant special assessments that have condo owners rushing out to secure second mortgages.

And finally, there will be regulations requiring Form B to provide better disclosure to new strata owners. As of March 1, the rules and current budget of the strata corporation, Form J [the Rental Disclosure Statement] and the most recent Depreciation Report, will have to be attached to the Form B. The amendments will also require disclosure of how parking stalls and storage lockers are allocated to strata lots.

The changes fall short of the recommendations put forward by the British Columbia Real Estate Association and others. They don’t go nearly far enough in insulating prospective buyers from badly built or managed condos, but they will increase accountability and transparency for owners and potential buyers.

There’s bound to be some fallout from these regulations. The requirement to provide the depreciation report will be financially onerous for some strata corporations. Especially those with owners who qualified for mortgages with a minimum down payment and are just barely able to pay their strata fees as it is. I hope that the government recognizes that this will be a hardship and arranges some kind of low-interest financing tool so that as many stratas as possible can comply with the new regulations.

In terms of the market, I expect mortgage insurers and lenders will quickly adopt guidelines that give preference to strata corporations that are measuring and managing their risk. Over time, this will mean strata buildings that provide more disclosure will sell at a premium to those that don’t. And they’ll be worth it.

New Owner Working to Finish Mission Hill Project Kamloops

This article was written by Jeremy Deutsch of Kamloops This Week on January 17th, 2012.

After sitting idle for more than a year, a controversial condo development has a new owner with a mission. An Edmonton-based real-estate company has been hired to complete construction of the stalled Mission Hill​ development in the West End.

Officials with Brentwood Developments have met with the city’s building department a couple of times to get the project restarted.

David Trawin, director of development and engineering services, said the company has told the city it wants to get phase one of the troubled project complete and sold. “We feel like it’s moving along like any other normal development at this time,” he told KTW, describing the initial meetings as positive. “From our perspective, it feels like it will get done.”

In October 2010, New Future group filed for protection from its creditors under the Companies Creditors Arrangements Act, the legislation that allows for a restructuring plan to be created. The group of companies, which is headed by Kamloops developer Mike Rink, owed a reported $80 million on projects, including Mission Hill. But, after more than a year under the protection of a court-ordered monitor, a financial firm from Toronto foreclosed on the property at the end of December. The move leaves Rink out of the development.

Mission Hill still has some hurdles to clear before it gets to the market. Trawin explained the city still needs to sign off on an amended development permit and occupancy permit, while the project still must become a strata before units can start to sell.

The amended development permit originally submitted by Rink looked to change some of the amenities in the development. Specifically, part of the plan was to build a pool in the first phase, but a geo-technical study concluded it wouldn’t work.

Trawin said the new company is considering its options, but he noted the amended permit will have to get final approval from city council. He couldn’t provide a timeline for completion of the project.

At the time of the development’s legal troubles, there were concerns from city officials about the state of the first phase, a 60-unit building, while it sat idle and incomplete. Though the city has not inspected the building, relying on inspection documentation from an outside engineer, Trawin is confident the structure is sound. “No red flags have been raised to me by the building department,” he said.


Housing Market Shows Signs of Slowdown, CBC News

This article appeared on CBC.ca on January 16th, 2012.

The average price of a Canadian home sold in December was $347,801, just 0.9 per cent higher than the same month a year earlier.

That’s the smallest increase since October 2010, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday.

“Momentum for national sales activity and average price remains positive but is slowing,” CREA chief economist Gregory Klump, said. “National average price momentum may wane further over the next few months.”

More than half of all local markets across the country showed a gain, with the remainder showing a small decline. At the local level, big gains were recorded in Saskatoon (up 21 per cent), Winnipeg (up 11 per cent) and Kitchener-Waterloo, which was up 13 per cent.

Stronger gains through much of the year in large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver skewed the overall average higher, CREA said.

Vancouver house prices increased by 15.4 per cent in 2011, while prices in Toronto were 7.9 per cent higher after being above 10 per cent earlier in the year.

Greater Toronto Area sales have consistently gained since the middle of 2010 and are now up by 36 per cent since July 2010, while prices have been mostly flat since April, TD economist Francis Fong noted in a report following the release of the CREA statistics.

Sales activity came in 4.6 per cent above year-ago levels in December. It also stood above the five- and 10-year average for December sales.

The agency reported that 456,749 homes were sold across CREA’s multiple listing service in Canada last year, broadly in line with the average over the last 10 years.

Real estate firm Royal LePage forecast last week that prices in 2012 will increase by an average of 2.8 per cent across the country. That’s ahead of December’s annual pace but well behind some of the rates of return seen in recent months and years.

“We look for both sales and prices to be roughly flat this year,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said. “That could be just what the policy doctor ordered, allowing incomes to catch up to higher prices.”


Kamloops Home For Sale: 4302 Karindale Road, Westsyde, B.C. $304,900

Westsyde Property for Sale KamloopsNicely updated Westsyde home with Southern views, large yard and in-ground pool. Recent updates include: laminate floors throughout, bathrooms, updated windows, 3 year old pool liner and pump, paint and more. There are custom cabinets in the rec room and main living room for your TV and all it’s components as well as a gas fireplace on the main and wood in the basement. The kitchen overlooks the yard, it features lots of storage and all appliances are included. There are 3 bedrooms on the main floor and currently the master bedroom is in the basement. The master has a large 4 piece ensuite and a custom walk in closet. The master could be on the main floor again for families with small children. Bright, spacious laundry room with washer & dryer included. There is large covered deck over the carport and access to the backyard from the basement. Central vac, wide paved driveway with RV parking. Quick possession possible and easy to show.

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