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The City issued 350 Laneway permits in 2012, that is a big increase from the average of 146 from 2009-2011! Laneway houses are one of the many ways homewowners help pay for their mortgages. With the new mortgage rules limiting what most people can afford, having a secondary source of income in your property, whether through laneway houses or secondary suites, is a natural move for most families. They can build the laneway house and rent it out until their family grows and needs the extra space. Many families are opting to share land, with one generation in the laneway house and the other inhabiting the main house. Laneway houses aren't costly to build, though the process can be long and quite involved, and you need to have the proper RS-1 or RS-5 Zoning to begin with. 

 

For more information on the process of building a laneway house, see my Laneway Guide here

 

If you have any questions, or would like to chat about your possibilities with laneway houses and what you can afford, feel free to contact me

 

Information taken from News 1130: http://www.news1130.com/2013/01/28/vancouver-boasts-record-year-for-laneway-housing-permits/

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City’s housing affordability problem boils down to too many people on too little land


What drives Vancouver’s house prices so relentlessly to levels four times higher than Winnipeg’s, and more than half again what Torontonians pay?

It’s simple, says Tsur Somerville of UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate.

“If you want Winnipeg-level house prices here, all you have to do is tear down the mountains and fill in the ocean.”

Well, that puts slow or stop to the steady influx of people — though the massive loss of amenities if our landscape were to be suddenly levelled might do that automatically.

“Depending where you draw the circle,” Somerville says, “70 per cent of the land isn’t developable. It’s mountains or water or the United States.”

Then, on top of this insurmountable geographic limitation, add the relentless population growth that, in good years and in bad, ranges from 1.3 to 1.5 per cent a year.

“The higher the population of a city, the higher the house prices,” he says. “If we lose 70 per cent of the land, our metropolitan area of two million will have the same house prices as a seven-million metropolitan area. Because people have to commute the same distance.”

The myths

Does this mean there’s no truth to some, or all, of the pervasive myths? You know, the ones that maintain our housing costs are driven by rich immigrants looking to get families and/or mistresses out of Hong Kong or other Asian cities. Or by criminals laundering ill-gotten gains. Or speculators. Or empty nesters who reap big tax incentives to not budge from big houses on the best land. Or all that acreage tied up in parks and the Agricultural Land Reserve. Or the rules and fees imposed on developers. Or the property transfer tax on all home sales, and the HST on new ones. Or the civic amenities for which buyers pay through the nose. Or imprudent young buyers willing to take on massive debt. Or an inherent result of a good economy. Or ....

One reader even suggests it’s the fault of public employees, who are so numerous and so well paid they over-invest in property. And an academic study on my desk argues it’s the high hidden cost of the city’s ubiquitous “free” parking.

This short series will look at several of these myths, which collectively point one finger or another at most Metro residents, no matter which group we fall into. The conclusion is, in short, that many of them are, like all good myths, rooted in a little truth. But none come close to matching the impact of the Law of Supply and Demand.

“That’s why, even if the economy collapses, house prices don’t tank,” says Jock Finlayson of the B.C. Business Council. “You get some drop, but it’s typically modest because there’s a growing population and there just isn’t a lot of land.”

Maintaining demand

What helps maintain this demand, says Cameron Muir of the Real Estate Council of BC, is that much of the population growth stems from international immigration, and it, unlike internal migration, tends not to follow the business cycle.

“When the economy is performing weakly, immigrants still come,” Muir says. “This not only bolsters our population, but also housing demand.”

And: “Our immigrants tend to be the cream of the crop,” Muir says, citing statistics showing 55 per cent of Canada’s investor immigrants come to B.C., mostly to Metro Vancouver.

But for people already here and newcomers who don’t arrive with money, Finlayson notes, “Incomes aren’t that high here. They’re less than in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa or London, Ontario. But our houses cost a lot more. So people cope by getting less house. They commute farther than they would in another community. Or they get less space than they would settle for in another city.

“They live in condominiums and raise children, which is not common in other parts of the country.”

Or, in the case of a growing number of young people, they’re coping in a far more worrisome way, says Andy Yan, a planner and researcher with Bing Thom Architects.

Yan has looked at what’s happened with housing in a few other high-priced cities.

In Hong Kong, which ironically is seen as a bastion of free enterprise, 60 per cent of the people live in government-subsidized housing, he said.

On the other hand, prices in San Francisco shot so high that demand has flattened or even decreased over the last 20 years, and huge numbers of the city’s workers live somewhere else and commute in daily.

Two-thirds of Metro’s people also live outside the City of Vancouver, though we haven’t yet hit the downward pressure on price seen in San Francisco.

Instead, Yan sees a lot of young Vancouverites, especially those who have an artistic bent and who thrive on the energy of a vibrant city core, packing up to leave for Montreal or Toronto simply because it’s cheaper to live there and pursue creative goals.

“Because Vancouver is going through a very destructive real estate market,” he says.

“High housing costs have a great way of killing innovation and creativity. Can the next Facebook or the next Apple computer really come from Vancouver if you’re too busy trying to pay the rent?”

The upshot, he says, is that Vancouver is increasingly seen by the young as a nice place to hang out for a couple of years, but not a place to settle down.

“That’s serious. You’ve got to think about what’s down the road. They’re not going to be here to support us, to pay for our social infrastructure and all of that.”

dcayo@vancouversun.com

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Article from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC - Home sales activity in Greater Vancouver was quieter last month than most Julys over the past decade, with residential sales, prices, and the number of homes listed for sale trending downward in recent months.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that the number of residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,255 in July 2010. This represents a 45.2 per cent decline from the 4,114 sales in July 2009, the highest selling July ever recorded, and a 24.1 per cent decline compared to June 2010.

Looking back further, last month’s residential sales represent a 3.7 per cent increase over the 2,174 residential sales in July 2008, a 41.8 per cent decline compared to July 2007’s 3,873 sales, and a 17.5 per cent decline compared to July 2006’s 2,732 sales.

“With the pace of home sales and listings easing off in our market, we’ve begun to see a levelling of home prices from the record highs seen in the spring, creating greater affordability,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said. “Activity in today’s marketplace is clearly trending in favour of buyers.”

The number of properties listed for sale on the market has been trending downward since spring, with 4,138 new listings in July compared to April’s peak of 7,648. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) declined 17.9 per cent in July 2010 compared to July 2009, when 5,041 properties were listed for sale.

At 16,431, the total number of property listings on the MLS® in July declined 6.5 per cent compared to last month and increased 33 per cent compared to July 2009.

“It’s currently taking home sellers who work with a REALTOR®, on average, 45 days to sell their property, which is a historically healthy timeframe for people on both sides of a transaction,” Moldowan said.

Since spring, housing prices have decreased 2.8 per cent compared to the all-time high reached in April when the residential benchmark price was $593,419. Over the last 12 months, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased 9.1 per cent to $577,074 in July 2010 from $528,821 in July 2009.

Sales of detached properties in July 2010 reached 908, a decrease of 43.7 per cent from the 1,614 detached sales recorded in July 2009 and a 9.8 per cent increase from the 827 units sold in July 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 11.5 per cent from July 2009 to $793,193.

Sales of apartment properties reached 979 in July 2010, a decline of 42.7 per cent compared to the 1,708 sales in July 2009 and an increase of 1.3 per cent compared to the 966 sales in July 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 6.2 per cent from July 2009 to $387,879.

Attached property sales in July 2010 totalled 368, a decline of 53.5 per cent compared to the 792 sales in July 2009 and a 3.4 per cent decline from the 381 attached properties sold in July 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 8.6 per cent between July 2009 and 2010 to $490,995.

For more information please contact:
Craig Munn, Assistant Manager of Communications
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Phone: (604) 730-3146
cmunn@rebgv.org

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An interesting report release by the BCREA today predicts a rise in home sales in 2011. Though their forecast for this year shows a 7% decline compared to 2009, they expect to see a 5% rise in 2011. Stating a slowly falling number of listings heading into the second half of the year (which, while contrary to many media, is quite accurate), it looks like the current Buyer's market may be shorter-lived than originally thought and balance could be restored by early next year.


Read the full article below:

For a PDF version of this news release, including data table, follow this link:
www.bcrea.bc.ca/news_room/2010-07-30Forecast.pdf.

For immediate release

BC Home Sales to Rise in 2011  
BCREA Housing Forecast Update - Third Quarter 2010

Vancouver, BC – July 30, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its Housing Forecast Update for the third quarter of 2010 today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to decline 7 per cent from 85,028 units in 2009 to 79,500 units this year, before increasing 5 per cent to 83,400 units in 2011.

“The volatility in consumer demand characteristic of the past 24 months is expected to give way to more gradual improvement through 2011,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Housing demand has fallen back to earth from its break-neck pace at the end of 2009 and is expected to more closely match overall economic performance over the next 18 months.”   

“A larger inventory of homes for sale has created the most favourable conditions for home buyers in more than a year,” added Muir. “However, the buyers’ market is expected to be short-lived as total active listings peaked in May and are beginning to wane, with more balanced conditions set to emerge in the fall.”

The average MLS® residential price is forecast to climb 6 per cent to $492,800 this year and remain relatively unchanged in 2011, albeit declining by 1 per cent to $489,500.

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Vancouver, BC – June 14, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 4 per cent to 7,950 units in May compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province declined 11 per cent in May from April 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 7 per cent to $498,294 in May compared to the same month last year.

“A slower pace of home sales combined with an increase in the inventory of homes for sale has quelled upward pressure on home prices,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. A total of 54,362 MLS® residential listings were recorded in May, up 26 per cent from January on a seasonally adjusted basis. “Moderating market conditions in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria are reducing the number of multiple offers as a greater selection of homes for sale lessons competition amongst home buyers,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 50 per cent to $17.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales rose 31 per cent to 34,619 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 14 per cent to $505,468 over the same period.

For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, follow this link:www.bcrea.bc.ca/news_room/2010-05.pdf.


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