February 2012

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Vancouver, BC – February 28, 2012.The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) rose for the second consecutive quarter, advancing 1.1 points to an index level of 111. On a fourth-quarter over fourth-quarter basis, the CLI moved 1.6 per cent higher in 2011. While this is a marked slowing from the 5.2 per cent surge in 2010, the index picked up considerable momentum in the third and fourth quarter of the year, more than making up for a weak first half of 2011.

CLI Commercial Real Estate 2011 2012 Trend Chart

Click to enlarge

The trend in the CLI turned up slightly as early softness in economic activity was smoothed out by a stronger second half of the year.  This change in trend indicates a positive economic environment for the BC commercial real estate sector in 2012.

“Improving economic data provided a strong tailwind for the CLI in the second half of 2011,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Economist. “However, growing anxiety surrounding the global economy could constrain the economic environment for commercial real estate this year.”

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80-1655 Ord Road Home For SaleImmaculate 11 year old home with open concept living. Vaulted ceilings, new interior doors, updated countertops & tile backsplash in kitchen. The bedrooms are very large & spacious with oversize closets. Central A/C 3 year old. Large fully fenced yard with covered deck & 8×20 wired workshop. Park will sign a site lease, no rentals (special permission sometimes) & small dogs & cats allowed. You can move right in & enjoy.

Click here to view more pictures of this home.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

This weekend, on Saturday, February 25th and Sunday, February 26th, 2012 open houses will be held in Aberdeen and Campbell Creek (Near BC Wildlife Park).

Open House 2285 Linfield Drive Aberdeen KamloopsSaturday, February 18th & Sunday, February 25th, 2012: 12:00-2:00: 2285 Linfield Drive, Aberdeen, $469,900

This stunning home has a dramatic entrance w/18 ft ceiling. Oversized living room has vaulted ceilings and large windows. Master bedroom ensuite has 2 sinks and separate tiled shower and soaker tub. more

Open House Campbell Creek Kamloops BCSaturday, February 25th, 2012: 1:00-3:00: 8970 Grizzly Crescent, Campbell Creek, $409,900

Brand new home in a newer subdivision that sits on a large private lot. This home has 3 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms which includes a full 4 piece ensuite with separate shower and soaker tub. more

8905 Badger Drive Campbell Creek Kamloops HomeSaturday, February 25th, 2012: 2:30-4:00: 8905 Badger Drive, Campbell Creek, $468,500

Beautiful Campbell Creek executive 2 storey home. Tons of value in this home with over 3100 sq ft finished, 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. more

 

Click here to view more pictures of these homes.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

This article appeared in the Vancouver Sun on February 24th, 2012.

In real estate, like many other fields, professional representation is avail-able for every step of the process. How much or little representation you need or want will depend on your knowledge and background in real estate, as well as the amount of time you have to dedicate to the process.

The purchase or sale of real estate has significant financial implications for those involved, although the way in which the transaction unfolds can have more significant consequences for those involved than the price tag.

“It’s critical to understand your com-fort level going in. Buying or selling a home is the largest financial transaction that most people will ever be a part of and you want to ensure that all aspects of the transaction are handled in an efficient manner that helps protect you,” Rosario Setticasi, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president said. “Realtors provide clients with professional representation in a real estate transaction. As your agent, they are duty-bound to work and advocate in your best inter-est.”

Realtors provide a broad range of ser-vices, depending on individual business models and the agreement between you and your Realtor as to which services you want.

Depending on that agreement, services may include helping you determine the value of your home if you’re a seller, or helping you establish a reasonable purchase offer if you’re a buyer. It may include listing a property for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) system to bring it to the attention of Realtors working on behalf of buyers. It may include marketing a property on www. realtor.ca or www.realtylink.ca, in a local newspaper, on signs, via open houses or other advertising vehicles. It may include help negotiating the sale if you’re the seller, or the purchase price and conditions if you’re a buyer. It may include seeking advice on conditions and appropriate subjects.

There are a lot of ‘mays’ in the range of potential services, again depending on a Realtor’s specialties, i.e. residential, commercial, the types of services a Realtor offers, and the types of services you choose.

What’s equally valuable is the level of protection you gain from hiring a Real-tor. Buying a home is the most significant purchase most people make in a lifetime. A Realtor brings assurances and safeguards to the process.

Each stage of the transaction occurs in front of a well-regulated backdrop created over many years to protect the public. This includes Realtor insurance, an assurance fund, and multiple avenues of recourse if someone feels their agent did not act in accordance with their professional and contractual obligations. Those avenues include the BC Real Estate Council and the appropriate real estate board.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of the protections that come from working with a Realtor:

STANDARDS, LEGISLATION AND REQUIREMENTS

The real estate profession is one of the most highly regulated in the country. The Real Estate Council of BC is a regulatory agency established by the provincial government to protect consumers through the licensing of all individuals who practice real estate in the province. The conduct requirements for all real estate licensees and brokerages include:

1. Undivided loyalty. The brokerage must protect the client’s negotiating position at all times, and disclose all known facts, which may affect or influence their decision.

2. Obey all lawful instructions of the seller.

3. Keep the confidences of clients.

4. Exercise reasonable care and skill in performing all assigned duties.

5. Account for all money and property placed in a brokerage’s hands while acting for the client.

The above speaks to the minimum required under the Real Estate Services Act. Realtors are subject to a higher standard. As members of their local real estate board, Realtors are also required to adhere to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s REALTOR® Code and Standards of Business Practice.

Both the Real Estate Council of BC and the 11 BC real estate boards use a comprehensive investigatory and disciplinary process to deal with complaints. Realtors who are found to have breached either the legislation or the REALTOR® Code are subject to sanctions by their board and/or the Real Estate Council.

REALTOR DUTY TO DISCLOSE

In 1991, the BC Real Estate Association, the provincial association for Realtors, introduced the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). This document is a detailed form that asks a property seller to disclose any defects to a prospective buyer. This document is not required by law, however, the Realtors of BC decided to make the PDS (and associated forms, the Strata Property Disclosure Statement and the Rural Property Disclosure Statement) available to any client wanting to list a home on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). The PDS can be legally incorporated into the Contract for Purchase and Sale.

The PDS goes beyond current legal disclosure obligations and requires that potential problems be itemized for prospective buyers, such as buried fuel storage tanks, asbestos insulation, unauthorized rental suites, renovations done without a permit, moisture problems, unregistered easements or encroachments, and whether the home was ever used as a grow-op or drug lab.

Although the PDS is never a substitute for a thorough, professional home inspection, it is a great place for buyers to begin their due diligence investigation into any home they are hoping to purchase.

By choosing to make the PDS mandatory, the Realtors of BC sought to provide the public with an additional level of certainty when they purchase a home.

SPECIAL COMPENSATION COVERAGE

The Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation is authorized by the Real Estate Services Act and provides protection for consumers who have lost de-posit monies entrusted to a real estate licensee (or an unlicensed individual related to the brokerage, for example, a receptionist, director or officer) that is misappropriated, wrongfully converted, intentionally not paid or accounted for or obtained by fraud. As a condition of licensing, it is mandatory for all Realtors to participate in the fund.

Transaction deposits held by real estate brokerages are protected by the Special Compensation Corporation and are held by the Realtor’s brokerage as the stakeholder until the transaction completes or the parties give instructions as to the disposition of the deposit. Deposit monies can only be removed from a brokerage trust account under specific circumstances – check with your Realtor for more information.

ERRORS AND OMISSION INSURANCE

Anyone licensed to engage in real estate in BC is required to have Errors and Omission Insurance. This provides cover-age for professional errors made in the contract phase.

RECOURSE FOR THE PUBLIC

Real estate boards deal with breaches of the REALTOR® Code. The Real Estate Council of BC deals with breaches of the Real Estate Services Act.

The Professional Standards Department at the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) educates members about professional conduct, and resolves and mediates complaints and concerns of both members and consumers. Where a resolution isn’t possible, files can be forwarded to the Board’s Professional Conduct Committee for further review. The REBGV website is www.rebgv.org.

The Real Estate Council enforces entry qualifications, investigates complaints and imposes discipline under the Real Estate Services Act. The Real Estate Council of BC website is www.recbc.ca.

REALTOR EDUCATION

Realtors complete educational and licensing requirements and must be of good reputation in order to become licensed.

Realtors are committed to continuing education and consistently refine and improve their skills and professional knowledge through participation in the profession’s required Professional Development Program.

Every two years, Realtors must complete a required number of course credits as a condition of continued member-ship in their Board. These courses are designed to keep Realtors up-to-date with new and changing information relating to real estate.

As licensees, Realtors are also required by the Real Estate Council of BC to complete a re-licensing education program every two years.

(* REALTOR® is a trademark owned by the Canadian Real Estate Association.)

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This article appeared in the Economic Times on February 24th, 2012.

Bank of Canada Kamloops Real Estate Mortgage Interest RatesOTTAWA: Canadian homeowners are loading themselves with too much debt and face serious problems if house values start to drop, the Bank of Canada warned Thursday.

For months, some economists have warned that Canada is in the middle of a housing bubble, with prices in many cities doubling in the past five years. House prices are now out of reach of most working and professional families in the country’s four largest major cities.

“There has been a steady rise in Canadian household indebtedness,” the Bank of Canada said in the winter issue of the Bank of Canada Review, a quarterly publication of academic articles.

“Households could therefore experience a significant shock if house prices were to reverse.”

A large correction in the housing market would hurt the Canadian economy by having “a relatively large impact on consumption”, Xinhua quoted the report as saying.

Still, the bank said other countries have seen worse housing issues.

“The Canadian housing market has not exhibited the excesses seen in other countries,” the bank said in the Review.

The bank says consumer spending pulled Canada out of recession in 2009. Unlike the US, Canada did not see a major drop in housing prices in the last recession, and house prices have continued to grow since then.

Canadian home buyers have been spurred on by easy credit and low interest rates, with banks offering mortgages at historically low rates below 3 percent. The ratio of mortgage debt to disposable income has increased to almost 100 percent from about 50 percent over the last 30 years, the report said.

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Aberdeen Glen Village Kamloops For SaleNicely updated 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom modular home has new laminate floors, paint & trim. Sitting on one of the biggest lots in the complex fully fenced perfect for kids & pets. Spacious open floor plan with big bedrooms. Large detached wired shed & sundeck great for BBQ’s. It is located 2nd to the end of the complex so it is very quiet & private. Washer/dryer not included. Low $76/month strata fee.

Click here to view more pictures of this home.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

This article appeared in the Vancouver Sun on February 21st, 2012 and was written by Brian Morton. This tax credit will also benefit Kamloops as there is always a lot of new construction in our city. This will at the least help mitigate the HST expense on new homes for Kamloops buyers. Read article below.

Linfield Drive Aberdeen Kamloops HouseA new tax break for first-time buyers of new homes will help stimulate the construction industry and create plenty of new jobs, an industry executive said of Tuesday’s 2012 provincial budget.

“This is welcome,” Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association president and chief executive officer Peter Simpson said of a temporary bonus for first-time homebuyers that will be effective until March 31, 2013, and is worth up to $10,000.

“They have a difficult time getting into the market and typically get assistance from the bank of Mom and Dad. So this helps property virgins get on the first rung of home ownership and helps stimulate construction.

“For every home start, there are approximately three full-time jobs each year.”

The bonus, a one-time refundable personal tax credit, is equal to five per cent of the purchase price of the home to a maximum of $10,000.

The bonus will be reduced based on a buyer’s or couple’s net income. For single people, the bonus is reduced by 20 cents for every dollar in net income over $150,000 (it’s reduced to zero at $200,000 net income). For couples, the bonus is reduced by 10 cents for every dollar in family net income over $150,000 (it’s zero at $250,000 family net income).

The bonus, which includes detached houses, duplexes, townhouses, condos, mobile homes, floating homes and cooperative housing units, is based on homes where the HST is now payable.

In a budget briefing, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the incentive will help people get into the market.

“We hear from people that talk about the challenge their children or their grandchildren are having getting into their first home,” Falcon said.

“And the biggest hurdle is usually the down payment you’re required to come up with. We believe a $10,000 contribution towards those first-time purchasers of new homes is a great contribution, a great way we can help your children or your grandchildren get into their first home and at the same time receive the dual benefit of supporting the new home construction industry over the next 12 months when it’s forecast across the country to be slowing.”

Urban Development Institute executive-director Maureen Enser agreed, saying the homebuyer bonus was an added bit of good news for the home construction industry on top of the government’s announcement last week raising the HST-rebate threshold to $850,000.

“In the Lower Mainland in particular, where housing is very expensive, both measures together make it easier for people to consider a new home [purchase] for a family,” Enser said.

She added that the maximum $10,000 bonus for first-time buyers with net income under $150,000 should stimulate some potential buyers to move off the sidelines and look for homes, particularly in the Lower Mainland.

“[About] 13 per cent of new housing is priced below $525,000, and 50 per cent is between the $525,000 and $850,000 range,” Enser said, so the measures combined help bring down the cost of new housing at both ends.

However, Simpson was less happy about the budget’s lack of any significant tax relief for the home renovation industry, noting that B.C. homeowners will spend more than $7.6 billion in home renovation, improvement and repair this year.

“We’re still left with the issue of the underground economy, with people delaying their decision to renovate their home by waiting for the HST to disappear [on April 1, 2013],” said Simpson, who added that the home renovation tax credit of up to $1,000 a year for seniors to help them remain in their homes longer will not have a big impact on renovators.

Vancouver-based home renovator Todd Senft agreed with Simpson, saying he’d hoped for new relief but now believes the lack of tax breaks in Tuesday’s budget will force many people to put off renovations and go to the underground economy — where renovators with less credentials undercut legitimate contractors.

“That’s disappointing,” Senft, owner of reVISION Custom Home Renovations Inc., said.

“I’m glad they paid attention to new-home builders, but that doesn’t help us. People will wait a few months and save a few thousand dollars.

“It [the home renovation industry] is steady right now and the year has started moderately. But it will be a tough grind this year. I’m hoping more [homeowners] don’t head to the underground economy to save money. The savings by doing it under the table are massive.”

Meanwhile, Business Council of B.C. president Jock Finlayson said the 2012 budget is generally very positive for B.C.’s economy.

“We would give it high marks overall. It’s not perfect, but we think it will be well received in the business community and financial markets. [And] it reinforces the province’s strong fiscal position and aims to [return B.C.] to a balanced operating budget. It maintains most of the tax advantages of B.C.

“And the forecasts are credible, as we see it.”

However, B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair called the budget a continuation of policies that have put more money in the pockets of the richest British Columbians and B.C. Liberal insiders at the expense of working and middle-class families.

“British Columbians have a right to ask why in tough times we’re giving grants to CEOs to buy vacation homes in Whistler, while they’re telling health care workers and teachers that they have to take a pay cut. I think this is a poor excuse by a desperate government to try to capture the right wing.”

Sinclair said the budget speech acknowledged that front-line workers in B.C.’s public sector had already foregone billions in income due to real wage cuts over the past two years, while cabinet ministers and senior managers got double-digit pay hikes. “It’s simply not fair.”

Iain Black, president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade, said his overall grade for the budget is a B. “We’re dealing with a government with very difficult global economic conditions to deal with and yet it managed to carve out some careful, strategic moves for B.C.”

Kevin Evans, CEO of the Industry Training Authority, also praised the budget for providing tax credits for the shipbuilding and ship repair industry to help employers hire apprentices.

Shachi Kurl, director of provincial affairs, B.C. and Yukon, for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said the budget appears to be on track to balance the budget by next year, but raises the unwelcome spectre of corporate tax increases and fails to honour the commitment to eliminate the small business tax rate.

Deloitte tax policy expert Lisa Zajko said the retention of the 2.5-per-cent small business rate and the provisional one-precentage point increase to the corporate tax rate — from 10 per cent to 11 per cent effective April 1, 2014, if the economy falters — are not surprising. “The wait-and-see approach to the corporate tax rate increase is a safe move but may affect B.C.’s competitive position in the future if Alberta and Ontario keep their rate at 10 per cent, without entirely foregoing the prior work toward cutting corporate tax rates.”

Lac Le Jeune House For SaleRidgemont Dr Lac Le Jeune For Sale Beautiful chalet style home in Lac Le Jeune on a private 1 acre lot with lake views. This two storey home has 5 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms. The main living room has high vaulted ceilings with wood accents. The kitchen has ceasarstone counters, modern alder cabinets, new appliances and a large pantry.

The dining area is surrounded by numerous windows and skylights that open and have rain sensors. There is a 4 piece bathroom on the main floor, a 4 piece bathroom in the basement and a 3 piece master ensuite. All bathrooms have heated tile floors. The laundry room is on the main floor and has lots of room and storage. There are two spacious bedrooms on the main floor with the master bedroom above in the loft area.

The basement is partially finished and features a daylight walk out basement. There is a fully finished rec room, two bedrooms (need flooring and a ceiling), a storage area/wine cellar and workshop area. Other features of this home are the doors are all knotty pine, the outside deck is made of Trex (composite material with 25 year warranty), heat pump (central A/C), cedar & stone siding, two sliding doors to the patio and a back door as well, all interior walls are insulated, basement has 10 foot ceilings, extra drainage around the property for snow melt, tons of windows, potential for a large detached shop.

The storage shed/workshop is wired and is 8 X 12. This home was very well built and there is a ton of attention to detail evident throughout the home. Located on a beautiful treed lot, 20 minutes from Kamloops. There is waterfront access nearby.

Click here to view more pictures of this home.

Click here to view the video tour of this home.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

This article was written by Cam Fortems of the Kamloops Daily News on February 17th, 2012.

The HST will be gone in April next year but B.C.’s residential construction industry gets a bonus starting a year earlier.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced new transition rules Friday intended to end uncertainty among new-home buyers. As of April 1 this year it will increase the threshold from $525,000 today up to $850,000 for which there is a full rebate on HST.

The measure means more than 90 per cent of homes will be eligible for the full rebate of up to $42,500. The same rebates will be extended to second and recreational homes outside the Lower Mainland — a first.

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger blamed anti-HST campaigner Bill Vander Zalm and the Opposition New Democrats for spreading misinformation about the affect of the HST on new home purchases.

“We don’t want people to hold off (purchasing a new home) because they think they’ll save money — they won’t,” Krueger said of the new rules.

“There’s never been a better time to build a house. Interest rates are at the lowest we’ve seen in our lifetime.”

Brian Hayashi, president of the Kamloops branch of the Canadian Homebuilders Association, said the industry has suffered under misperceptions from potential buyers — something that should end with the new rules.

“There’s been a lot of uncertainty about what will happen with the HST,” he said.

“There’s been huge misunderstandings, just in speaking with clients and hearing stories…. It’s really slowed things down.”

Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine predicted the tax break on second or recreational homes, with the same $850,000 threshold, will help a recovering real estate sector on the mountain, where prices are down about 10 to 15 per cent and inventory is high.

“It’s great news,” said Raine, who argues the province must do something to level the playing field with the inexpensive American market.

“I’ve written enough letters to both levels of government. People forget British Columbians are free to buy recreational property wherever they wish.”

Raine called the $850,000 threshold for a full rebate on a new recreational home “perfect.”

While there are some new homes in the Kamloops market that sell for more than $525,000, particularly at Sun Rivers, Hayashi acknowledged pushing up the threshold won’t have a huge effect here.

The biggest move could be extending the tax break to recreational housing.

“I’m thinking around here that (second home tax break) might have a bigger impact and offset migration down south…. Now a place out at Scotch Creek or somewhere else in the Interior might be a little more appealing.”

Doug Wittal, the Kamloops builder who leads the provincial association, said extending the rebate to second homes will lead to a “huge boom” and more jobs.

B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon said the changes ensure that there is fairness through the transition period and provides a road map for the housing industry to make the transition back to the PST as smooth as possible.

“The homebuilding industry has been really looking for clarity and certainty, and that’s exactly what we will be delivering here today,” Falcon said at a press conference attended by homebuilding industry stakeholders.

After the HST-end date, those who buy a home built before April 1, 2013 will have to pay a two per cent transition tax on the full house price.

Falcon rejected comments from critics who suggest the government should be able to dump the entire HST by April 1 this year.

“I can’t agree with those who say, ’Gee, it took 11 months to get into this thing, I don’t think it should take any longer to get out,” said Falcon. “When you are going backwards, this is uncharted territory. It takes time to do it right.”

The change to the HST, a blending of the PST and the five-per-cent federal goods and services tax, was announced by then-premier Gordon Campbell and his then-finance minister Colin Hansen shortly after the 2009 election.

Anger over the implementation of the tax set off a province-wide referendum, and the tax was voted down last year.

The B.C. government announced last month it had worked out an agreement to pay back the $1.6 billion the federal government paid to the province in transition money.

While the province has to pay all the money back, it’s getting a $118-million break on interest and will be able to repay the money in installments over five years.

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On Saturday, February 18th and Sunday, February 19th, 2012 the open houses will be held in Aberdeen, Juniper Ridge and Westsyde in Kamloops.

2285 Linfield Drive Aberdeen Kamloops For Sale

Saturday, February 18th & Sunday, February 19th, 2012: 12:00-4:00: 2285 Linfield Drive, Aberdeen, $469,900

This stunning home has a dramatic entrance w/18 ft ceiling. Oversized living room has vaulted ceilings and large windows. Master bedroom ensuite has 2 sinks and separate tiled shower and soaker tub. more

Westsyde Kamloops Real Estate 827 Sumac Pl

Saturday, February 18th, 2012: 12:00-1:30: 827 Sumac Place, Westsyde, $339,900

Great Westsyde home with lots of updates. 2 bedrooms on the main but could be converted to a 3 with 2 bedroom sin the basement. Recent upgrades include: flooring, paint, trim, furnace (2008), central a/c(2008) more

Juniper Heights Home Sale MLS Listing 20-2210 Qu'appelle Blvd

Saturday, December 10th, 2011: 1:00-3:00: 20-2210 Qu’appelle Blvd, Juniper Ridge, $359,900

Beautiful open design townhome with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms & a gorgeous island kitchen. Downstairs bathroom has heated tile. more

Click here to view more pictures of these homes.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

8970 Grizzly Cres Campbell Creek Kamloops BC For SaleBrand new home in a newer subdivision that sits on a large private lot. This home has 3 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms which includes a full 4 piece ensuite with separate shower and soaker tub. The master suite is very large with double doors and a huge walk in closet. The dedicated laundry room is on the 2nd floor with the bedrooms. The main floor features high vaulted ceilings, with a living room, family room, kitchen, dining room, nook and storage/utility room. There is a lot of natural light in this home. The dining room could easily be converted to a office or den. The family room has a beautiful stone fireplace with wood mantle. There is a full unfinished basement with a separate back entrance and rough in for a full bathroom in the basement. There is potential for two bedrooms and a large rec room or an inlaw suite. The home has tile and high grade laminate floors on the main floor, hardiplank exterior with stone accents, a covered front porch and a covered patio in the back of the home. The yard is partially fenced and does have some mature shrubs bordering the lot. Rough in for central A/C or heat pump and central vacuum. New home warranty in effect. Price does not include HST.

Click here to view more pictures of this home.

Click here to view the video tour of this home.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

This article appeared on Wire Service Canada, Canada Free Press Release Service on February 15th, 2012.

Some expected the move, while others are against it. It seems Canadian banks are tightening lending standards in a move to avoid a U.S.-style housing correction, but a local builder, Bright Coast Homes Ltd., is confident Vancouver’s robust housing market isn’t expected to face a severe price correction.

WireService.ca Press Release – Feb 15, 2012 – “I think the tightening of some of the lending standards is favourable in our current housing market,” said Ken Gee, project director of Bright Coast Homes Ltd. of Vancouver. “Home buyers can be confident that banks are screening new borrowers for their ability to carry the mortgage.”

Canada’s banks are in talks with the federal government about ways to curb mortgage lending in response to a “genuine concern” about the country’s housing boom and rising consumer debt levels, said TD Bank chief executive officer Edmund Clark.

“Household debt numbers are coming up to U.S. levels, so that is causing us a concern,” said Clark. The banks have responded by restricting some lending and raising prices on higher-risk borrowers. “I truly believe home buyers and investors should be taking advantage of the historically low interest rates right now,” Mr. Gee commented.

TD Bank joined Royal Bank of Canada this week in ending a promotional 2.99 per cent four-year mortgage rate, three weeks before it was set to expire.

Although the Vancouver housing market may be out of equilibrium, a significant correction is not expected, said Tsur Somerville, director at the University of B.C. Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate at the Sauder School of Business.

“I think there’s some concern that prices don’t get so far out of whack that there’s a substantial correction,” Somerville said. “All you have to do is look around and you’ll see that if [a substantial correction] does happen, that would be a real big problem. So let’s not let the housing market be driven by a wave of cheap and easy-to-access money.”

The Bank of Canada is trying to reduce the exposure to mortgage debt and put the brakes on the housing market without using “really, really big hammers,” like raising interest rates, Somerville said.

“The government has already taken steps to control mortgage lending through its regulations and I think there’s a wariness about tightening those too much, so they’re encouraging the banks to look at their mortgage book more closely.”

In a recent Reuter’s article, it was reported there is an expectation that mortgage rates will stay low is taking the sizzle out of Vancouver prices.

At the same time, Chinese investors, who have long helped to underpin the city’s red-hot market, are holding back because property market curbs back home means they have less cash available. But with immigrants still streaming in from China and elsewhere, and the city frequently rated one of the most livable on the planet, most experts see prices fizzling rather than imploding with a bang. Vancouver price rises peaked at a stunning 19.8 per cent in 2006, dipped in 2009, and came roaring back with double-digit growth in both 2010 and 2011.

A house bought for $500,000 in 2001 would have fetched about $1.2 million a decade later, based on average price changes.

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Vancouver, BC – February 15, 2012. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that the dollar volume of homes sold through Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC dipped 7.6 per cent to $2.1 billion in January compared to the same month last year. A total of 3,976 homes traded hands on the MLS® over the same period, down 3.9 per cent. The average MLS® residential price was 3.8 per cent lower at $527,219 compared to January 2011.

MLS Residential Sales BC January February 2012

Click to enlarge

“Increased market activity outside the Lower Mainland in January was offset by fewer sales in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. MLS® Residential sales rose 7 per cent to 1,620 units outside the Lower Mainland, while declining 10 per cent to 2,356 units in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

“While provincial sales activity was down in January from year ago levels, consumer demand has posted modest improvement since last fall, driven by low mortgage interest rates and gradually improving economic conditions,” added Muir.

Full article click here.

This article appeared on the DigitalJournal.com on February 15th, 2012 (from Canada NewsWire).

OTTAWA, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national resale housing activity retreated in January 2012 from the strong finish reported for December 2011.

Highlights:

  •   Home sales were down 4.5% from December to January.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity came in 4.0% above levels in January 2011, and stood even with the 5 and 10 year averages for January sales.
  • The number of newly listed homes edged down 1.4% from December to January.
  • With sales down by more than new listings, the national market shifted further into balanced territory.
  • The national average home price was up less than 2% year-over-year in January, ranking it among the smallest increases of the past year.

Sales activity recorded through the MLS® Systems of real estate Boards and Associations in Canada fell 4.5 per cent from December 2011 to January 2012. This marks the first monthly decline in national activity since August 2011 and the biggest monthly decline since July 2010. The monthly decline reversed a string of monthly increases over the closing months of last year, and returned national activity to where it stood at the end of the third quarter of 2011.

“The national housing market is stabilizing and remains well balanced,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s President. “That said, forecasts for economic and job growth going forward vary widely for different parts of the country, suggesting a possible continuation of a softening trend in some markets, as well as the potential that demand will pick up based on strong fundamentals in others. All real estate is local, so talk to your local REALTOR® to understand how price trends in your neighbourhood are shaping up.”

Activity was down in over half of all local markets in January from the previous month. Led by declines in Greater Toronto and Montréal, demand also softened in a number of other major urban centres including the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Greater Vancouver.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity was up four per cent from year-ago levels in January, the smallest year-over-year increase since last May. As was the case in a number of months last year, actual sales in January 2012 stood close to the five and ten year average for the month.

The number of newly listed homes edged down 1.4 per cent on a month-over-month basis in January following a 2.9 per cent increase in December. The monthly decline in new supply reflects a drop in new listings in a number of Canada’s largest urban centres, which offset a jump in new listings in Vancouver.

Sales fell in January shifting the national market back towards the mid-point of balanced territory and reversing the recent trend which had seen the market becoming tighter over the final four months of 2011. The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 53.8 per cent in January, down from 55.5 per cent in December and 55.4 per cent in November.

Based on a sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40 to 60 per cent, 60 per cent of local markets were balanced in January. Compared to December, there were fewer buyers’ and sellers’ markets, and a greater number of balanced markets.

The number of months of inventory stood at six months at the end of January on a national basis, up from 5.7 months in December 2011 and returning it to where it stood in October 2011. The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and is another measure of the balance between housing supply and demand.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in January 2012 was $348,178, representing an increase of 1.2 per cent from its year-ago level. This ranks among the smallest increases since late 2010.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the national average home price rose 1.6 per cent on a month-over-month basis, marking a rebound from a decline of similar magnitude in December. This pattern mirrors the one playing out in the newly-launched MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), published on February 6.

“Year-over-year comparisons in the national average price are expected to become volatile and may turn negative, reflecting average price developments in the first half of 2011 in Vancouver,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “At that time, high-end home sales in Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods surged to all-time record levels, which skewed the national average price upward considerably. A replay of this phenomenon is not expected this year. As a result, comparisons for national average price to year-ago levels over the coming months will reflect an upwardly skewed base effect. For this reason, year-over-year comparisons should be kept in perspective. Developments in the MLS® HPI will provide important guidance on price trends, since it is not affected by the problem of compositional shifts in the mix of sales activity.”

Link

This article appeared on the CBC news website on February 15th, 2012. I found this article interesting only because I have noticed an increase in the number of court ordered sales in Kamloops over the past year or so. Kelowna is a close neighbour and some of the economic factors that affect them also are present here in Kamloops.  There is a video on the CBC news website with this story. Click here to see the video.

Foreclosure Home For SaleHome foreclosures are on the rise in B.C.’s Central Okanagan in recent months, but local real estate agents disagree about who might be losing their homes.

There are more than 170 court-ordered sale properties on the market in the Central Okanagan, more than 10 times more than three years ago.

Real estate agent Jason Neumann says according to his estimates, in the last 30 days alone 60 new foreclosures were put on the market, and he calls it a disturbing trend.

Foreclosure are up in the Central Okanagan according to local real estate agents. Foreclosure are up in the Central Okanagan according to local real estate agents. (Reed Saxon/AP Photo)

Neumann is worried the number of foreclosures will bring the overall market down, hurting anyone who wants to sell their home.

“What do you tell your sellers that are not in foreclosure that are now up against something they didn’t see coming? It’s one of those things where the bank is going to have to do what it’s got to do to get it sold.”

Neumann thinks many working class families are losing their homes, but not all real estate agents agree.

Elton Ash, the vice-president of Remax Realty in Western Canada, says most of the foreclosed properties are from people who were trying to flip homes during the hot market a few years back.

“People weren’t able to achieve their goals in doing this and so they quit making payments,” he said.

“The market in the Okanagan has really come to a standstill on that speculative investment front, and that is really what has been a major portion of the court-ordered sale thing that has increased so dramatically.”

Ash says many Canadians are now buying vacation homes in the U.S., where prices are currently low, but he predicts prices will eventually rise in the U.S., and investment home buyers will again look to Kelowna.

Link

This article appeared in the Kamloops This Week on February 10th, 2012 and was written by Jeremy Deutsch.

Sun Peaks Real Estate Douglas Court

Photo By Sotheby's Sun Peaks

If you had eyes on the most exclusive address at Sun Peaks, but were just holding off to make that purchase, you would be out of luck.

The most expensive home in the resort community was officially sold on Friday (Feb. 10) to a Canadian family for $3.4 million.

The chalet, which was listed through Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, hit the market in December of 2010 for $4.3 million.

Located on Douglas Court, the 4,500-square-foot full timber-frame home is the ultimate in winter luxury and comes fully furnished with a wine tasting and theatre room, an outdoor hot tub and a grand piano.

Liz Forster, managing broker at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said the sale is a sign that Sun Peaks has come of age offering some of the finest resort properties in the world.

She suggested the family could have bought property anywhere in the world.

“They decided on Sun Peaks because this is where they want to be,” Forster said, adding the buyers have frequented the resort and love the mountain.

She was unsure if the new owners would be moving to Sun Peaks permanently.

In 2010, a home on Sundance Drive sold for $2.2 million, beating the previous most expensive house at $1.5 million.

The $2.2 million home sold after being on the market for only two months.

In the case of the latest sale, Forster said a year is a typical time frame for a recreation property given the current market conditions.

It’s also another good news real estate story for a community on a roll.

Last June, the Pacific National Exhibition bought two lots at the Lookout Ridge area in Sun Peaks.

Though officials with the exhibition wouldn’t divulge exactly what the properties will be used for because of strict lottery rules, they are expected to be PNE prize homes in the coming years.

Forster noted there is interest in a couple of other properties in the $3-million range at the resort, which could also be sold in the near future.

Link

Parker Bennett Home Inspector KamloopsMany homes in Kamloops are serviced by septic systems. It is sometimes hard to know if your septic system is functioning properly. These are some of the basic symptoms, which will give you the heads up that you have a serious septic issue:

• Sewage backup in your drains or toilets (usually in the lower levels of your home ). This is often a black liquid with a disagreeable odor.

• Slow flushing of your toilets. Many of the drains in your house will drain much slower than usual, despite the use of plungers

• Surface flow of wastewater. Sometimes you will notice liquid seeping along the surface of the ground near your septic system. It may have a smelly odor.

• The presence of coliform bacteria in your drinking water well. This indicates that liquid from the system may be flowing into the well through the ground or over the surface. Water testing can help to identify this issue, however depending on your well type this can be a giveaway.

• A consistent unpleasant odor around your home. Often, a failing septic system causes a buildup of disagreeable odors around the house and you may notice the smell periodically when your outside, doing yard work.

Parker Bennett, Rest Assured Home Inspections
P. 250-372-7375 E. moc.oohaynull@snoitcepsniemohderussatser

This weekend, on Saturday, February 11th and Sunday, February 12th, 2012 open houses will be held in Aberdeen, Dallas and North Kamloops.

Royal Ave River Front Property For Sale Kamloops BCSaturday, February 11th, 2012: 12:00-1:30: 327 Royal Avenue, North Kamloops, $409,900

Riverfront home minutes from downtown Kamloops with self contained inlaw suite. Many recent updates include: roof (4 years), h/w tank (3 years), all windows, all external doors, more.

North Kamloops Real Estate For Sale 1084 7th AveSaturday, February 11th, 2012: 2:00-3:30: 1084 7th Street, North Kamloops, $349,900

Great North Kamloops home in a quiet neighbourhood close to shopping and transportation. Many recent updates including all windows, furnace (2 years), h/w tank (2 years), roof (8 years), more.

Kamloops Home 92-7545 Dallas Dr Gateway Estates Saturday, February 11th, 2012: 1:00-3:00: 92-7545 Dallas Drive, Dallas, Gateway Estates, $234,900

Spotless home in popular Dallas bare land strata complex with low monthly fees of $60. Spacious doublewide floor plan with 3 large bedrooms, 2 full 4 piece bathrooms. more

 

Aberdeen Kamloops 2285 Linfield Drive Home For SaleSaturday, February 11th and Sunday, February 12th, 2012: 1:00-3:00: 2285 Linfield Drive, Aberdeen, $469,900

This stunning home has a dramatic entrance w/18 ft ceiling. Oversized living room has vaulted ceilings and large windows. Master bedroom ensuite has 2 sinks and separate tiled shower and soaker tub. more

Click here to view more pictures of these homes.

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

This feature article appeared in the Kamloops this Week on February 9th, 2012 and was written by Jeremy Deutsch.

McArthur Island Park Kamloops Aerial ViewIf you take a drive around the North Shore, it’s not hard to see — there is plenty of construction and new development.

In recent years, the cityscape of the community has started to transform.

The list of new developments and projects is as long as a drive-thru lineup during a lunch rush at the new Brocklehurst Tim Hortons outlet.

There is the new Holiday Inn and the Golden Vista Suites on Cherry Avenue.

Construction is underway on a pharmacy/residential building along Tranquille Road, while plans continue to roll along for a four-tower, 410-unit development on Cottonwood Avenue.

In Brocklehurst, there is the RiverBend seniors complex and the new Tim Hortons, while the airport got a $25-million makeover.

But, when the topic of the resurgence of the North Shore is discussed, it seems to land back at Library Square.

Standing on his sixth-floor balcony, Bill Anhorn can literally see for miles.

From his Library Square apartment, he has a view of Eighth Street heading north to Batchelor Heights, west toward the airport and east right over Northills Mall.

As the first manager of the North Shore Business Improvement Association (NSBIA) more than 20 years ago, Anhorn likes what he sees from his balcony.

“This is central to everything,” he told KTW.

For the spry senior, Library Square is within walking distance of everything he needs — the ANAVETS 290 building, the White Spot Restaurant and the mall.

After his wife passed away from cancer three years ago, Anhorn, who was living in Cottonwood Manor at the time, but then moved to the Hamlets in Westsyde, said he wasn’t quite ready to stay at a seniors’ home, so he looked at Library Square.

In 2011, he decided to make the move and, as he puts it, “come back home.”

Library Square is a unique development consisting of 151 residential units mixed with two commercial areas and the North Kamloops public library.

It was one of the first P3s in Kamloops, a public-private partnership, and has been credited with anchoring the resurgence of the neighbourhood.

“This is really going to be the centre of development,” said Anhorn, who has championed the North Shore since he moved to the city in 1968.

He said when the North Shore as a business area was first conceived, the common complaint was there was not enough traffic.

Now, he jokes, people complain there is too much.

Originally, developer Casey VanDongen was looking at building something downtown but, with the city and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District working on development incentives and the new Holiday Inn being built, the president of Tri-City Contracting opted for the North Shore and Tranquille Road.

“We thought this might come around to something, and it did,” he said.

VanDongen admits he took a risk when he decided to take his development to the North Shore and break ground on the project in 2008.

But, four years later, he wouldn’t change a thing.

He said the city has been a good partner along the way, adding the neighbourhood needed a development like Library Square to kick-start its resurgence.

Construction on the third and final phase of the development will begin later this year and, though VanDongen admits the market isn’t exactly hot, units are selling.

NSBIA manager Peter Mutrie has always been the North Shore’s most-vocal cheerleader.

He also sees Library Square as an anchor piece for the neighbourhood, but suggested its success is just part of the transformation in the area.

Mutrie believes there is an attitude change in North Kamloops, where people are happy to do business in the community and young families are taking an interest in becoming residents.

“I’m hearing, ‘Boy, the North Shore sure has changed in the last few years’,” Mutrie said.

As more people in the community own their own homes, Mutrie said ownership comes with a greater interest in taking care of the area.

“It gets to be attractive and other people want to be a part of it and be here,” he said.

The days when realtors would steer clients away from the North Shore appear long gone.

Kirsten Mason has been a real estate agent in Kamloops for four years.

She said people are taking a closer look at all areas of North Kamloops because homes are cheaper than south across the river.

The average assessed value of a home on the North Shore, including North Kamloops and Brocklehurst, in 2012 is $303,000, compared to $404,000 in Sahali and Aberdeen.

Mason noted it is a mix of buyers, from young families to seniors and investors, who see a future in the community.

In a tough real-estate market still affected by the fallout from the 2008 economic meltdown and subsequent recession, real-estate sales in some neighbourhoods on the north side of the Thompson River have remained steady over the last three years.

According to the Kamloops District Real Estate Association, home sales in Brocklehurst have essentially remained even from 2009 to 2011, making up 13 per cent of all the sales in the district.

However, North Kamloops hasn’t been as fortunate.

The neighbourhood saw its share of sales in Kamloops drop to 6.4 per cent in 2011 from 7.6 per cent in 2010 and 7.8 per cent in 2009.

Though Mason, who lives in Brocklehurst, noted there remains a negative stigma attached to living in North Kamloops, she always encourages her clients to take a good look at the area.

“There’s some really nice neighbourhoods for kids to grow up in,” she said.

Link

This feature article appeared in the Kamloops this Week on February 9th, 2012 and was written by Jeremy Deutsch.

North Kamloops BC Park Real EstatePart of what has attracted so many new developments to North Kamloops can be found in the North Shore Neighbourhood Plan.

The 176-page document is a comprehensive land-use blueprint intended to guide the growth of the North Shore for the next 20 years.

It is full of initiatives, from green building-tax incentives to the design of green streets, all while encouraging density and infill development.

It took three years to complete before finally being approved in 2008.

Since its inception, the city has tackled or completed one-third of the medium or high priorities on the plan’s policy and capital-projects checklist.

Some of the larger projects include the completion of the North Shore Spirit Square at Yew Street and MacKenzie Avenue, a green-street pilot project on Fleetwood Avenue and the North Shore Transit Exchange.

They are projects worth millions of dollars.

“We’ve made huge progress on it [the neighbourhood plan],” said David Trawin, the city’s director of development and engineering services.

In the last four or five years, he noted, interest in development in North Kamloops has outpaced that seen in the downtown core, in part because there is more vacant land.

“It’s [the North Shore] kind of rediscovered itself in another way and now we’re actually seeing some development and interest by a lot of groups,” Trawin said.

Link

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