Between the 1920s and the 1960s, Vancouver built so-called ‘caretaker houses’ to serve as lodgings for park caretakers, a role that’s slowly becoming obsolete in this day and age. So, what happens to these houses once the caretakers retire? The city turns them into field houses and art studios which, according to the Globe and Mail, curbs the rising demand for recreational facilities in certain neighborhoods. The houses’ unique location also makes them an appealing choice of residence for some people:
In Canada, park caretaker houses are a unique part of the West Coast identity. Mr. Soulliere, who is from Calgary, doesn’t know of a Canadian city outside of the Lower Mainland that operates such houses.
“The more time I spend in Vancouver, the more it makes sense that we would provide these kinds of facilities,” he says. “I think the parks have a special place in people’s hearts in this city. And there’s a real understanding and appreciation for the nostalgic value that these buildings provide.”
While these converted residential properties may just be the nice, quaint home that some families seek, Vancouver only has 56 of them. What’s more, 36 of them are still occupied by active park caretakers to this day. For this reason, homebuyers would have to look elsewhere to find the house of their dreams. Take, for instance, RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside’s listings for Vancouver houses for sale. Sure, a simple house surrounded by trees and friendly neighbors may sound idyllic, but homebuyers should also consider other factors like peace and order, ease of transportation, and access to schools when looking for a house to buy.
Fortunately, Vancouver doesn’t have a shortage of neighborhoods that meet these criteria. Kitsilano, for example, is arguably one of the West Side’s best communities, with its beaches, cafes, and organic markets that appeal to young professionals as well as growing families. The Downtown area, on the other hand, has top-notch amenities that people can expect to pay top dollar for, while the West End offers more affordable property options.
Regardless of location, homebuyers need to review their choices carefully before they close any deal. Take Vancouver’s caretaker houses, for example, whose current owners are quick to remind potential buyers about the age of these buildings. Since most of these houses are not even insulated, the new owners would have to pay extra for this component. As such, even if certain houses for sale in Vancouver seem perfect, it wouldn’t hurt to inspect them thoroughly before a deal is struck. For a listing of desirable properties, buyers would do well to do business with a company like RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside.
(Source: Detached homes set amid lush Vancouver parkland – rent free, The Globe and Mail, September 26, 2014)
Vancouverites Carla Gibbons and Tyler Moore are having a tough time looking for a place to raise their kids. Barbara Yaffe, columnist for The Vancouver Sun, spoke with them and found out that even with their relatively high income, the couple cannot afford to buy a single-family detached house in the city. Given the limited housing options, the couple has decided to purchase a condo unit instead:
The family now lives in a two-bedroom townhouse on Fraser Street, for sale at $599,000 because they’ve outgrown it. The baby sleeps in her parents’ bedroom.
A new building is being constructed next door but Gibbons and Moore were disappointed that all 29 of the condo units feature a single bedroom.
They found two ideal three-bedroom townhouse developments in their east-side neighbourhood, but units in one started at $750,000, the other at $800,000.
Gifford and Moore’s story is a reflection of why many people prefer to buy a Vancouver condo than a single-family house of their own. While condos typically have a wide price range, the lower bracket is usually affordable enough to cater to first-time buyers and young families. Trusted real estate professionals, such as those from RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside, can point buyers in the right direction and help them find an affordable condo that suits their needs.
This doesn’t change the fact that condo living could be an excellent choice for a young family. Aside from the lower unit price, condos give people access to amenities they’d normally pay to have in their house—think swimming pools, gyms, and recreation rooms. Many condo units are also designed to cater to a certain demographic, which means that prospective tenants can expect to spend time with like-minded individuals and foster positive relationships with them. Finally, living in a condo means couples like Gibbons and Moore no longer have to mow the lawn, shovel snow from the driveway, and other chores.
The key is to find Vancouver condos for sale that meet pretty much every requirement without breaking the bank. Vancouverites would do well to remember that new condos are usually expensive because of ‘developer hype’, and that the prices typically drop after a considerable amount of time has passed. Given that the Vancouver property market is expected to remain rather pricey in the near future, young families like Gibbons and Moore can’t afford to make hasty decisions.
(Source: Barbara Yaffe: Family can’t buy Vancouver home despite high income, The Vancouver Sun, September 28, 2014)
There’s a lot to love about living in Vancouver—the vibrant culture, the excellent schools, and the clean, livable surroundings. No wonder the city is regularly voted as one of the best places in the world to live in.
Being a world-class city, however, Vancouver’s home prices are, unsurprisingly, rather steep. As this article from The Globe and Mail reports, housing costs recently reached a new peak in July:
Prices in Vancouver for single-family detached homes have hit new heights.
The home price index, calculated by using a formula that strips out the most expensive resale properties on the Multiple Listing Service, reached $2,273,600 last month for a detached house on Vancouver’s west side, up 9.9 per cent from July, 2013.
July’s benchmark index price for a detached property on Vancouver’s east side rose 10.3 per cent year-over-year to $932,000…
Greater Vancouver, which includes suburbs such as Burnaby and Richmond, saw the home price index hit $628,600 last month for resale detached properties, townhouses and condos, up 4.4 per cent from July, 2013.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says that these figures might be skewed by sales of luxury homes, which naturally have higher asking prices. Regardless, statistics also show that home sales in the Greater Vancouver region are actually on the rise, reaching 3,061, which is 3.9% higher than the same period last year.
If you want to buy Vancouver houses for sale, though, be sure to take heed of these money-saving tips from real estate agency RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside:
A Matter for Size
The more square footage a lovely house for sale in Vancouver has, the heftier its price tag. As such, be sure to ask yourself if you really need a five-bedroom home or if a three-bedroom one will suffice.
Save Up for Your Down Payment
The bigger your down payment, the more attractive the interest rates you’ll receive—and the more money you’ll save over the next few decades. You may need to delay your purchase a bit to beef up your down payment lump sum, but it’ll be worth the wait.
Fixed is Good
When shopping for a mortgage, be sure to get a fixed rate loan instead of a variable rate one. By doing so, you’re guaranteed to pay the same monthly installment no matter how the real estate market performs.
A Little Bit More
By paying a $100 more each month on your mortgage, you can shave four years off a 30-year $250,000 mortgage at 6 percent interest, and save a cool $72,000 in the process.
(Source: Vancouver housing prices rise to new highs, The Globe and Mail, August 05, 2014)
Here’s a fact you may not know: about two-thirds of the country’s population lives in the suburbs. Of course, not everyone can afford a home with a picket fence and a front yard—especially in Vancouver, which the Economist Intelligence Unit says is the priciest city to reside in in North America.
Hence, many families opt to buy Vancouver condo units instead as they are more affordable. The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board says that over the last five years, the cost of a typical condo on the east side increased by just 21%, while single-detached homes soared by 50%-60%.
As Barbara Yaffe writes for The Vancouver Sun, though, more and more buyers are looking for larger units that are more conducive to family life:
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.
Condos with three bedrooms “are relatively unheard of in multi-unit residential projects,” says Sasha Faris, marketing director at Intergulf Development Group in Vancouver. But no longer…
The developer did not anticipate the demand for the big suites and so, The Empire’s floor plans had to be modified, with several one-bedroom units combined to create 12 of the larger units.
The larger units are being sought both by well-off boomers entering retirement and young families snubbing suburbia.
Yaffe adds that city policy now requires at least 25% of private market units be developed into two- and three-bedroom “family” units—a sign that the local government is aware of and supports this trend.
Families who purchase these condos in Vancouver can look forward to many advantages, aside from saving money. To begin with, they can enjoy a spacious living space without the hassles associated with maintaining a traditional home. That’s because condo association fees cover property maintenance, leaving residents more leeway to spend quality time with their kids. Furthermore, condo buildings often feature family-friendly amenities like pools, playgrounds, and function rooms that kids will love.
As with any home purchase, though, a condo is still a significant investment, which is why buyers need the help of real estate agencies like RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside to find a unit that has ample space, along with all the amenities they need.
(Source: Barbara Yaffe: Demand grows for larger, family-size condo units downtown, The Vancouver Sun, August 7, 2014)
Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland has this to say about Vancouver: “Vancouver is the square root of negative one. Technically it shouldn’t exist, but it does. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
This sense of wonderment and bewilderment about the city isn’t hard to understand. On the one hand, Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in North America to live in. At the same time, it’s also one of the most livable cities on the planet, consistently ranking in top three of many such lists.
If you plan on relocating, RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside says there are many reasons why you should look at the many Vancouver houses for sale in the market:
British Columbia’s business hub, Vancouver has one of the most prosperous economies of any city in the country. As such, it is home to a diverse cross section of businesses, from technology firms (IBM, Microsoft, Intel), to biopharmaceuticals (QLT Inc.), and even video game developers (Electronic Arts). The unemployment rate in the city is currently at 5.6%—1.5 points lower than the national average.
Vancouver doesn’t only have a solid job market, it boasts an impressive educational system, too. Elementary and high schools are government funded and provide high quality education to kids. At the tertiary level, Vancouver is home to two major universities: the Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia (deemed the second-best university in Canada by Newsweek).
While it might seem like Vancouver is a buttoned-up city, it actually has vibrant culture and social scene. As this article from Moving2Canada.com states:
The downtown core of Vancouver is very urban and condensed within a small area, characterized by residential high-rises and office blocks that contribute to a fantastic skyline. Despite the downtown area being so dense, the entire area is circled by the sea with access to the Vancouver sea wall and many beaches, which are only a short walk away. The Downtown area includes the famous Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, offering more than 1,000 acres of park encircled by the sea wall. English Bay to the south of downtown offers a collection of sandy beaches (English Bay Beach, Second Beach, Third Beach and Sunset Beach) when you need a break from the city. The downtown area itself is very residential, with over 500,000 people living within a small area where everything is within walking distance.
Have these facts piqued your interest in buying houses for sale in Vancouver? If so, don’t hesitate to contact trusted real estate agencies in the area who will help you find the perfect home in this unique city.
(Source: Living in Vancouver, Moving2Canada.com, August 19, 2011)
Vancouver is one of the best cities in the world to live in, offering topnotch education, healthcare, and job opportunities to its residents. If you want a slice of the metropolis, though, be prepared to pay for the whole cake, so to speak. As Frank O’Brien writes for Business in Vancouver, you’ll also want to make your purchase sooner rather than later, as home prices will only get steeper in the next decade:
The average detached house price on the West Side of Vancouver will reach more than $7 million within ten years, suggests Altus Group, one of Canada’s premier appraisal and valuation firms.
“If [the current] trend continues, in the year 2024 the average price for older [detached housing] stock could be greater than $2 million on the Eastside and $7 million on the Westside of Vancouver. We are not saying this will happen, we are simply applying the math from the past decade and extrapolating forward to the next decade,” said Pedro Tavares, Altus Group’s director of research, valuation and advisory.
If your savings account has considerably less zeroes in it, though, you can purchase a more affordable Vancouver condo instead. Indeed, multi-family properties like condominiums have become a major fixture in the city’s housing market—as of 2011, they represent 37.7% of all new dwellings built in major cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
Aside from their more budget-friendly price tags, condo units also offer many other advantages over traditional homes. For instance, they require less maintenance because most of the upkeep is undertaken by the condo association or property managers (funded by the residents’ monthly contributions, of course). What’s more, condominiums are often located at the heart of the city, a stone’s throw away from major shopping and business districts. Another draw are the amenities they provide, such as swimming pools, entertainment pavilions, and fitness centers, among many others.
That being said, condos are still major expenses, costing people about $371,500 on average. As such, buyers need the help of a trusted real estate agency like RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside when looking for suitable Vancouver condos for sale. With their help, you can find the perfect unit that is near all the places you frequent at a price that won’t give you sticker shock.
(Source: Do the math: Vancouver house prices will reach $7 million, Business in Vancouver, June 4, 2014)
It’s no secret that Vancouver’s real estate market is on the rise, and for some it may appear that the city is in a perpetual ‘boom’ state. However, if you own a property and you’re considering a sale there’s always the question of when might be the best time to list. Below we’ll examine a few key indicators that suggest Vancouver’s real estate market is looking like an excellent opportunity for sellers. For more information or to book a home evaluation with one of our professional real estate agents, contact our offices today.
The Most Active Housing Market in Three Years
The Vancouver real estate market emerged from its annual winter slumber with a fury, as April and May 2014 were very busy. So busy, in fact, that Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver President Ray Harris stated that the Vancouver market is the most active it has been in the past three years – and the data backs this up. In May 2014 the Greater Vancouver area saw total sales increase 14 percent year-over-year versus 2013, an incredible rise and a positive indicator that those considering a sale of their house or condo should get moving.
Detached Home Sales Are Scorching Hot
If you own a detached home and you’re eyeing a sale, you’re in even better shape. Sales of detached homes were up a whopping 20 percent year-over-year in May, making it clear that sellers aren’t likely to have to face lengthy negotiations or lowball offers from semi-serious buyers.
For those with apartments, sales are up a competitive 13 percent, which is a positive sign for those looking to sell their smaller home and make an upgrade into a larger living space.
Buyers Are More Competitive Than Ever
Real estate agents throughout the city are noticing another trend amongst this year’s crop of buyers: a high level of competition. In years past, many buyers would simply move on to another property if they found out that they would be competing for the listing. In 2014, buyers are far bolder in placing a competing offer – even when it means offering more than the asking price. Again, this is excellent news for those who are looking to sell their house or condo in Vancouver, as they may end up cashing out with much more than they had initially anticipated.
Key Advice: Use an Agent and Be Ready for Quick Offers
For those who are looking to get the most value for their property, there are a couple of key pieces of advice to follow. First – don’t try to sell without professional help in a market as hot as Vancouver’s. Your real estate agent will assist you in numerous ways, from determining the maximum price you can get for your house or condo, to taking care of the real estate marketing, to ensuring that the final closing paperwork is in order.
The second tip: be ready for quick offers and ensure you have a plan to react. Many Vancouver home sellers are shocked to receive multiple offers on their home the very first day the listing is live – don’t let this throw you off. Stick with your agent’s advice and the plan that you formulate together, and good luck with your sale!
If you’ve tried to buy a home in the Greater Vancouver area in the past couple of years, or if you’ve been paying attention to news in the real estate space, you’ve likely heard that some are displeased with the perception that prices are rising due to overseas buyers scooping up properties. Let’s take a look at how prices in Vancouver’s real estate market are changing due to outside influence from foreign investors.
We Now Live “On the Planet” – Not in Vancouver
A remark made by real estate marketer Bob Rennie at a recent conference of the Urban Land Institute – that “We no longer live in Vancouver. We live on the planet” – is key to understanding why Vancouver’s real estate market isn’t limited to those who reside here. Vancouver’s popularity on the world stage has risen, with The New Yorker magazine labelling our coastal home as one of the world’s new “Superstar Cities”.
Foreign Capital Flooding in from Emerging Markets
Vancouver, along with Canada as a whole, is seen as a safe haven for investors who are sitting on large piles of capital in countries governed by less-than-friendly or non-democratic regimes. As the city’s popularity grows, so does the perception that the real estate market is a place that one can earn a return that performs as well – or better – than the usual investment markets with the bonus that the wealth is now safely tucked away offshore. For better or for worse, Vancouver is starting to shine on the global stage and this is attracting the attention of those with significant wealth to move.
Vancouver’s Globalization is Incredibly Diverse
While those who reside in Vancouver may get the perception that foreign investment is limited to a small handful of countries in Asia, data shows that this isn’t always the case. UBC geographer Dan Heibert produced research which indicates that up to 24 different ethnicities can be found in a small community cluster of just over 600 individuals. It’s clear that although a significant number of property purchases stem from foreign investors located in China, Hong Kong and India, they aren’t causing the massive shift in the market that the general public might make them out to be.
Other World Cities Facing a Similar Situation
Finally, it’s important to note that Vancouver isn’t the only major world city that is facing an influx of foreign capital intent on investing in real estate. On April 11, 2014 the BBC published an article entitled “Foreign buyers dominate London’s luxury housing market”, while a similar article published in the New York Times on April 15, 2014 opined on the “…seemingly insatiable demand for luxury condos in Miami”.
Buyers of Vancouver real estate are facing as competitive a real estate market as ever, and they will need to adequately prepare themselves before jumping in to compete. By leveraging the assistance of a professional real estate agent, being ready with a quick offer and having financing lined up long before the sale closes, a buyer will still be able to secure the property of his or her dreams.
First approved in the autumn of 2011, the Evergreen Line is the latest link in Greater Vancouver’s SkyTrain rapid transit network. While rapid transit projects are nothing new to the area, the Evergreen Line has surprised some with its popularity and with the sudden interest in houses, condos and other property around its seven stations. Let’s take a look at why real estate near the Evergreen Line stations is set to see very high demand and some quick price appreciation.
A Key to Coquitlam and Port Moody’s Growth
As the Evergreen Line connects Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody with Burnaby and Vancouver via its junction with the Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain station, the line is key to the region’s ability to grow. Individuals who live in the area and currently face incredibly long commutes to Burnaby or Downtown Vancouver will now be able to take a relaxing SkyTrain ride to and from work.
By itself, the ease of transportation to and from central Vancouver will be enough to cause the region to grow substantially. Real estate prices in the Evergreen Line area are seen as more affordable than homes in Vancouver, especially for first-time buyers who are looking to settle a small family for the first time. There are some great deals to be had; check our listings or call our offices and one of our professional real estate agents will be happy to assist.
House Price Growth vs. That of Condos and Lots
Economists have debated the growth of house prices versus those of condos and apartments when rapid transit sprouts nearby. Analysis of numerous studies points to a common trend: existing condo towers and apartments generally see a five percent increase in price when a rapid transit station is built nearby, vacant lots that are already zoned can see increases of 25 percent, and single-family detached homes can see values double.
There is quite a bit of real estate on the market in Port Moody and Coquitlam, and with developments yet to be announced, there could be more coming. For those interest in buying in the area, now is an excellent time to get into the market before the price rapidly appreciates as the Evergreen Line is completed and the trains start running.
Recent Developments Make Station Living More Palatable
Finally, as crime has decreased in the immediate areas surrounding suburban SkyTrain stations in the past few years, living close to – or even on top of – a rapid transit station has become desirable. A decade ago, buyers would generally be interested in living no closer than two to three blocks away from the closest station. As TransLink put more effort in to developing the area around the stations, and as developers looked to build more mixed-use projects that included homes, businesses and rapid transit, condo buyers followed and welcoming communities developed.
All of the factors above lead to the likely conclusion that real estate properties and developments near the many new Evergreen Line stations are set for some rapid, sustainable growth. To learn more about investment or living opportunities in these areas, contact our offices today.
As a place to live, False Creek seemingly has it all: pleasant weather, safe and secure neighborhoods, good schools, and access to basic, recreational, and social amenities. You can easily find all these within False Creek’s borders. The neighborhood lies close to a seawall, so residents can enjoy biking, jogging, and picnics along the sea. You can also find a wealth of dining choices. All these qualities make False Creek a perfect place to reside in.
The benefits do not end there.
Recently, Canadian residential developer and real estate investment firm Concord Pacific unveiled its plans to develop a False Creek neighborhood into a sports and entertainment district. The plan, considered to be one of the largest development projects in Vancouver, has been fully approved by the city government. Vancity Buzz provides more information about the plan’s specifics:
“When complete, this will be the largest development in Vancouver since the Olympic Village was constructed for the 2010 Winter Games. Concord Pacific has announced its plans for False Creek Central – a $1.3 billion development.
The proposal is located on one of Concord Pacific’s last remaining parcels of undeveloped Expo ’86 lands and will include eight residential buildings with over 1,000 units for 3,000 people. The area will also include 90,000 square feet of amenities, bringing a selection of services and commercial activity such as a public fitness and wellness club, restaurants and lounges, cafes, a market, boutiques and more.
Concord Pacific’s plan also includes a new bicycle and pedestrian route that will connect downtown Vancouver to the seawall and the Cambie Bridge. Completion of all the towers, amenities and infrastructure is not expected until 2023.”
It’s easy to realize that this is the opportune time to start investing in the area. If you’re looking to purchase Vancouver houses for sale as an investment, False Creek is the place to check. With the Concord Pacific’s project soon to be underway, False Creek’s future looks bright.
First time investors should, however, take note of one extremely important thing before investing in the area: working with a local REALTOR® will pay dividends in the outcome of your deal. A REALTOR® with many years of experience in the business and knows the locale like the back of his or her hand will be good at negotiating, to get you the best price for the houses for sale in Vancouver you’re interested in.
(Source: $1.3 BILLION FALSE CREEK CENTRAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNED, Vancity Buzz, Oct. 3, 2013)