Barbara Yaffe: Property developers bullish on Metro Vancouver real estate market -
Continuing low interest rates and a healthy stream of newcomers will ensure the good times keep rolling in 2015.

Vancouver’s hellish housing market forces some to go really small -
One of the world's most expensive housing markets is spurring on a teeny, tiny trend

Low dollar equals ‘bargain’ Vancouver real estate for international buyers -
The low dollar, the interest rate cut and the recovery of the American economy should mean good news for the real estate markets in most places in B.C., experts say. But the plummeting cost of oil and the resulting instability of the Canadian economy could hurt domestic demand and spell bad news for resort areas such as the Okanagan, which rely on people from Alberta buying vacation homes.

B.C. assessments show gains in value for most Metro Vancouver homes -
Lululemon Athletica founder Chip Wilson has the most valuable residential property assessment with his Point Grey Road mansion coming in at $57.6 million, according to the B.C. Assessment Authority

B.C. home values ride the commodity cycles -
Home values in resource-based communities across Northern B.C. boomed last year, but look a little closer at the numbers and there were some busts as well. Plunging coal prices and optimism over proposed liquefied natural gas resource projects sent assessed single-family home values in communities shooting in opposite directions.

Hong Kong ruling won’t affect Vancouver real estate company, says firm’s vice-president -
A Vancouver property developer with ties to a billionaire recently sentenced in Hong Kong to five years in jail for corruption is not expecting any fallout. “It is business as usual,” said Aspac senior vice-president Raymond Li in a statement. “Aspac Developments is a Vancouver-based, private company and has operated independently since 1993.”

Foreign ownership highest in downtown Vancouver condos: CMHC report -
Foreign residents own nearly six per cent of downtown Vancouver condominiums and 2.3 per cent of condos in the Metro Vancouver region, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. survey. The survey — part of CMHC’s fall rental market report — found that 5.8 per cent of condominium units in the Burrard Peninsula were owned by foreign buyers, compared with 3.4 per cent in the entire City of Vancouver.

Barbara Yaffe: CMHC insists Vancouver housing market not over-valued -
Say what? Vancouver’s housing market is not overvalued, but Montreal and Quebec City are at risk? This latest finding in a report this week by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. makes sense when you read the fine print.

Burnaby courts big towers near transit as an economic driver -
Aggressive urban planning around SkyTrain stations in Burnaby is turning the municipality into Metro Vancouver’s hotbed for condo development, according to an Urban Development Institute report. Heavy pre-sales in projects such as Station Square at Metrotown and the redevelopment of Brentwood Town Centre added up to almost 30 per cent of all new-construction sales across Metro Vancouver, outpacing Vancouver’s downtown and west side neighbourhoods.

Interest rate alignment drops mortgage rates slightly -
As the major banks became more aligned in their five-year interest rates, the cost of borrowing to buy a home dropped to the lowest point since The Vancouver Sun started the UDI/FortisBC Housing Affordability Index, now the UDI/Vancity Housing Affordability Index, in December 2012.

Housing affordability stays top of mind for Metro Vancouver mayors -
As Metro Vancouver’s mayors and councils prepare to settle into a new term, the issue of home affordability continues to loom large, especially in Vancouver proper.

Barbara Yaffe: Canadians more ‘house poor’ than Americans -
Sky-high house prices in Vancouver and Toronto are a major reason for a recent finding by BMO Financial Group that average property prices in Canada are now, incredibly, 50 per cent higher than in the U.S. A BMO graphic reveals an average Canadian house price of $400,000 compared to a U.S. average of $266,000. Both sums are based on prices for single-family homes and are expressed in Canadian dollars.

Barbara Yaffe: Vancouver’s real estate forecast to stay hot into next year, study finds -
Foreign money and a robust provincial economy will preclude any cooling of Vancouver’s red-hot property market next year, according to a major real estate study being released Wednesday. Office space is the one real-estate category where an oversupply is forecast in the city, to be accompanied by potential downward pressure on pricing.

Fort St. John anticipates Site C real estate bump -
Fort St. John’s sizzling real estate market will gain even more heat if the province approves BC Hydro’s proposed $7.9-billion Site C dam project in northeast B.C. That was the consensus Tuesday among city real estate participants as the provincial cabinet works toward a final decision on the hydroelectric development that would be built about seven kilometres from Fort St. John.

$350-M skyscraper project proposed for Fort McMurray -
A Vancouver-based company is proposing a $350-million development project that promises to forever change the face of Fort McMurray. If approved, the Golden Buffalo Centre would be constructed over three years beginning next spring and include two skyscrapers offering more than 600,000 combined square feet of office, hotel and retail space.

Barbara Yaffe: ‘Bullish’ market for Vancouver apartment buildings -
Affordable mortgage rates and low numbers of residential vacancies are making 2014 “a breakout year” for sales of apartment buildings across Metro Vancouver. The Goodman Report, a local newsletter covering multi-family investment property, notes that selling volumes have been robust, with prices per-suite in suburban Vancouver markets up 22 per cent over 2013, 13 per cent for buildings in the city.

Edmonton wins nine awards at CHBA-Alberta annual gala -
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association - Alberta presented its top prizes for 2014 Friday night, recognizing the best in the province’s residential construction industry. The annual gala, held at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, saw Edmonton pick up honours in nine of the 23 categories, with Calgary taking home 10, central Alberta three and Lethbridge one. Builder of the year — large volume is Calgary’s Albi Homes, while the small-volume builder of the year is Lethbridge’s Ashcroft Master Builder. Homes by Avi went home with the award for multi-family builder of the year for its projects in Calgary and Edmonton.

Barbara Yaffe: Even condos becoming out of reach in Vancouver’s sky-high housing market -
Condos have long been touted as the affordable housing option in Vancouver. Not so much, anymore.

House prices keep going up but they are more affordable thanks to cheap debt -
Mortgage rates near all-time lows is what is keeping costs down, but don't look for that to continue much longer, says RBC

Barbara Yaffe: Townhomes an affordable alternative in Vancouver -
Can’t afford a single-family home in Vancouver, and not enamoured with condo living? There is another option, albeit a frustratingly elusive one: townhomes. It’s a great option for people who want to be able to walk out their front door and be outside — as opposed to exiting via a corridor full of neighbouring units, an occasionally slow elevator and a lobby.

Emerging tech firms home in on Mount Pleasant -
A change in tenancy this fall at a major office building in Mount Pleasant signals what a commercial real estate expert says is another step for Vancouver’s emerging technology companies as they hunt for office space without downtown prices.

Barbara Yaffe: Broken windows, damaged fences as neighbours battle construction crews across the city -
When a construction crew began work last March on a property next to mine, I could not have anticipated the mayhem that would be visited on my quiet Kitsilano street.

UDI/FortisBC Index: Four people, four incomes, yet one house remains an elusive target -
While the Affordability Index hasn’t moved much in the past year, that is cold comfort for Kate Stewart and her husband Glen, who have been looking since May for a single-family house to buy in North Vancouver.

Barbara Yaffe: Demand grows for larger, family-size condo units downtown -
A push is on to build larger condo units in Vancouver, as young families increasingly opt for a type of housing that is at once more affordable and cosmopolitan. In recognition of the growing trend, developers are starting to build a greater number of three-bedroom units, once as rare as hen’s teeth.

Controversial Vancouver highrise moves closer to breaking ground -
A controversial condo development planned for Mount Pleasant is one step closer to reality after it was conditionally approved by the Vancouver development permit board.

Boom times for Vancouver high-end real estate -
Demand for luxury real estate in Vancouver is booming and should increase through the year, according to a new report by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. Eager buyers snapped up almost 40 per cent more million-dollar-plus condominiums and detached single-family homes in the first half of 2014 than they did during the same period in 2013, according to the luxury real estate report, a biannual study on market trends for pricey pads in Canada’s largest markets — Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.

Township of Langley wins appeal, can resume construction of 3-story building on heritage site -
Construction of a sprawling three-story complex on a heritage site in the centre of Fort Langley that has been on hold since the fall can resume after Langley Township won an appeal in court this week.
The Coulter Berry Building project, which is a 44,000-sq.-ft retail and office building with an adjoining restaurant and 10 residential suites, came to a halt in November after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the building exceeded the township’s height and lot requirements for a heritage conservation area.

Drop in mortgage rates giving boost to B.C. housing market -
Another healthy jump in real estate sales across the Lower Mainland in June is putting some areas “on the cusp” of a seller’s market where demand outstrips supply and pushes prices higher, according to reports released Thursday by the region’s major real estate boards.

Mortgage wars at big banks helps drive B.C. home sales: Economist -
The mortgage wars between big banks helped stoke British Columbia’s real estate markets to their busiest May since 2007, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association.

B.C. realtors post busiest May since 2007 -
The mortgage competition between big banks helped stoke British Columbia’s real estate markets to their busiest May since 2007, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association. The province’s 13 real estate boards recorded 8,729 sales through the Multiple Listing Service, a 14-per-cent increase from the same month a year ago with big bumps in the key Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley markets influencing the provincial increase.

CMHC to stop insuring mortgages on million-dollar homes, condo construction -
OTTAWA - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says it will no longer offer mortgage insurance for homes that cost $1 million or more, starting July 31, even if the buyer has made a deposit of 20 per cent or more.

Is the ‘racist’ label being abused in Vancouver’s housing debate? -
An ethnic Chinese newspaper reporter is the latest to challenge the way Metro Vancouver real estate developers and their supporters have long used the “racist” label to muddy debates over the extraordinarily high cost of housing.

Barbara Yaffe: Brothers cashing in on real estate space race -
Flex space. Multi-functional. Affordable. Those buzzwords describe Vancouver’s latest response to crazy housing prices. Developers increasingly are building compact condos, with units as small as a few hundred square feet. Obviously in this scenario space maximization becomes key.

Lower Mainland real estate sales trend continues rise -
Property sales across the Lower Mainland continued at a rising pace in May, extending a trend of strengthening demand that began in the earlier months of 2013.

Barbara Yaffe: Condo marketed as ownership with privileges -
Condo towers are sprouting like mushrooms around Metro Vancouver, forcing competition among developers to find novel ways of attracting buyers. The River Green development in Richmond, with 458 condo units priced from $459,000 to $3.6 million, is pitching membership in an exclusive club for those signing on the dotted line.

Scotiabank joins wave as mortgage rates slided downward -
TORONTO — Scotiabank is the latest lender to create waves in the mortgage market after lowering its special fixed five-year rate to 2.97 per cent, the lowest fixed rate among the big banks.

Monthly cost of Metro Vancouver home eats up 82 per cent of typical income -
A rebound in Metro Vancouver prices in the first quarter of 2014 has pushed single-family homes back into the upper reaches of unaffordability on RBC’s regular housing-affordability index. The rise is a matter of supply and demand, said RBC senior economist Robert Hogue. Builders keep building more condominiums — which remain relatively affordable in Metro Vancouver — and buyers keep bidding up prices on single-family homes.

Home affordability expected to get even tougher, Royal Bank report says -
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for families to own a home in Canada and affordability is expected to get worse going forward, according to the Royal Bank of Canada. With house prices continuing to rise, RBC […]

Leaky condo crisis rears its head again in B.C. -
Evidence of a second wave in British Columbia’s leaky-condo crisis is beginning to emerge, 15 years after the first one subsided. It is becoming more apparent as condo strata corporations prepare mandated depreciation reports on their buildings. That process is forcing them to own up to the condition of their properties and the shortcomings of maintenance programs for structures that weren’t fixed in the first wave of repairs.

Out with the cold (city), in with the new neighbours -
Knock on any condo door in Metro Vancouver and you’re liable to hear of horror stories, hurt feelings and other fiascos. At best, you’ll find residents living in virtual isolation, often not even knowing their next-door neighbours. These stories about “condo hell” prompted Joseph Nakhla to launch Bazinga!, a service that’s bringing social networking to apartment living, a little like the fledgling Facebook did when it first connected students on campus.