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How much will this recent interest rate hike cost homeowners?

Yesterday the Bank of Canada overnight interest rate went up for the 3rd time in just over 6 months, on the back of an economy getting stronger.  This has already lead to lenders raising their prime rates, effecting variable rate mortgages, and the Big 6 banks increasing the posted fixed rates.

So what effect will this interest rate hike have on our mortgage payments?

A quarter point interest rate hike represents about $13 per month, per $100,000 mortgage, for the average variable rate mortgage – about $52 a month extra on the average $400,000 mortgage balance.

This might not sound like much, but add that to the previous 2 rate hikes, these same mortgage holders could now be paying about $156 a month more  than they were just over 6 months ago.

Currently, the majority of local homeowners won’t be affected by the interest rate hike, as 50% have no mortgage, and more than 80% of the remaining mortgage payers are on a 5 year fixed rate. Even home owners with variable-rate mortgage won’t see monthly payments increase, with a rise in interest rates – these owners will just pay back a little more interest and a little less prinicipal each month.

So, once again, along with the recent mortgage rule changes, these rate hikes effect the first time home buyer the most. Once again, easy targets for our governing bodies. Your thoughts?

Percentage of money

Thingeries – a new lending library for all sorts of things.

Perhaps you have just a small household repair to make and you need to use just one tool. A tool that you don’t own, and really just need for this one job, and no one you know has this tool either. What you need is a Thingery – a lending hub that provides a variety of things to its members.

There is a movement in Vancouver to launch multiple Thingery locations in several Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods. The Thingeries are converted shipping containers that hold a variety of goods that members can borrow.

The container is accessed with a pin code lock, and the pin is granted to members who sign up and pay a one time lifetime fee (currenty $50) with a $29 annual maintenance fee.

What’s in the container depends on what’s been donated by the community, or procured based on community needs. Things like tools, sports & recreation equipment and event & entertainment gear.

There are currently several sights approved, and the group is in a membership drive that concludes on January 30th, with a goal to get 500 members on board which is needed to secure the balance (50% backing) from Vancity Credit Union. Sounds interesting!

A Thingery shipping container.

The TED Conference returns to Vancouver

The TED Conference – the annual event which brings together leading lights in the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design (that’s what TED stands for), as well as business, science, the arts, global affairs and sharing ideas via 18 minutes  presentation on stage is returning.

You might have watched Jamie Oliver talk about childhood obesity, Steve Jobs address the audience on seeing opportunites in setbacks, or Al Gore on climate change. What you might not know is that Vancouver is home to the TED Conference.

The 5 day meeting, headquartered at the Vancouver Convention Cente also features everything from thought provoking artistic performances, technology demontrations and innovative spaces to connect with fellow attendees.

Attending the TED conference is an exclusive opportunity, but even if you’re unable to attend the conference itself, there are other ways to participate. During the conference, you can watch the TED live stream broadcast at sites set up around Vancouver, including some Vancouver Public Library branches. After the event, many of the talks will be uploaded to the TED website, allowing you to watch them at your leisure.

This year the TED Conference is running from April 10-14.

1912 – The eastern end of False Creek is drained for railway lands

One of the biggest changes in Vancouver history – the draining of the eastern end of False Creek to create railway land.

In the early days, False Creek went up to Clarke Drive at high tide. There was a bridge across at Main Street, which was originally called Westminster Avenue.

The water in the east end of False Creek was shallow, and much of it turned into mud flats at low tide.  So Canadian North Railway comes forward with plans to fill it, and become one of the main competitors to the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Port Mann was meant to be the railway’s main industrial yard, with Vancouver the depot for passenger travel. The October 1st False Creek Agreement with Vancouver called for the railway to build a passenger station at a cost of not less than $1.5 million. The agreement also required Canadian Northern to erect a ‘first class hotel’ in Vancouver, and to make Vancouver the home port for a Canadian Northern steamship line ‘for all time’.

The railway was to build a seawall 270 feet west of the Main Street bridge, and to fill in the land to the east.

The original agreement was  to employ, white labour only, but this clause was later nixed.

Citizens overwhelmingly voted to approve the deal in a plebiscite on March 15, 1913, with 5,032 voting for and 1,385 against.

Canadian Northern had entered into an agreement with the Great Northern Railway in the US to co-develop the site, and Great Northern opened the first depot on the reclaimed land, Union Station on June 1, 1917.

The railway ran into financial difficulties with the onset of the First World War, and the federal government took it over in 1918.

Canadian Northern merged with Canadian Government Railways to become Canadian National, which was the name of the terminal until it was renamed to  Pacific Central in 1993. It still operates as a passenger terminal for Via Rail and Amtrak.

Union Station was torn down in 1965. In recent years, part of the old Great Northern yards have been developed as a city works yard and playing fields. The remainder is slated to become the new home of St. Paul’s Hospital and much more.

A huge mansion on ALR land sends assessed value soaring

A  new mega home on farmland in Richmond has driven the 26.6 acre lot it sits on from an assessed value of just $88,000 to $8.3 million.

Do you think these large homes are having an impact on prices in Richmond’s Agricultural Land Reserve? Are you concerned?

This is just one of many ALR lots that has dramatically jumped in value over the past year, and one by one each of these farms is being taken out of production and will likely never by farmed again.

A home currently being built on No. 2 Rd will be among the top 10 most expensive homes in Richmond upon completion. BC Assessment delisted this property from farm class.

City council has been grappled with the issue of house sizes on ALR for over a year now. Early last year, a couple of Richmond counsillers put forward a motion to temporarily limit ALR houses to 7,500 square, but was rejected by council. Soon after the same councillors implemented a bylaw for 10,764 square feet homes on lots greater than 2 acres. It is now going back for public consultation with new options to be presented to the public.

In the meantime we are seeing a bigger rush than ever to build 11,000 plus homes on ALR land, before this bylaw can be enforced.

And to make matters worse, ALR land in Metro Vancouver is not subject to the 15% foreign buyers tax. Do you think that might also be an incentive to take advantage of Richmond’s wishy washy stance on its ALR land? Your thoughts?

farmwatch

How much more crowded could Vancouver be?

A report released yesterday by the Fraser Institute ranks Vancouver as the 13th densest urban area among the 30 comparable cities from high income countries around the world.

Comparing Vancouver’s density to many of the other countries on the list suggests Vancouver could still grow and handle even more population and housing.

Density is expressed as a ratio, calculated by dividing a city’s population by its urban land area. Vancouver, based on 2016 data, has a population of 631,486 divided by its 115 square km urban area works out to a population density of 5,493 inhabitants per square km.

While Vancouver is the densest city in Canada, in comparison, San Francisco, another west coast port city of similar geographic land size has about 114,000 more residents, making it more than 30% more dense, or 1.31 times as dense.

The report notes that Canadian cities appear to have ‘relatively low population densities’ when compared with other major urban areas across North America. Hong Kong takes top spot in the world with a population density of 25,719 inhabitants per square km.

While the report makes it clear that the Canada’s most desirable urban areas have the physical capacity to comfortably accommodate far more housing units and residents than we have now, you have to wonder what these higher population densities would do to our living standards.

Using Mercer’s Quality of Life Ranking, which uses government data to look at infrastructure, public safety, political stability and health of more than 450 cities, the report also finds no statistically meaningful link between a city’s population density and its quality of living.

The report notes that a better understanding of how a city’s population density might or might not affect living standards can help people and policymakers ‘rethink their perceptions of urban living’ and to adjust the way they accommodate growing populations within existing neighbourhoods.

Excuse me for being a little skeptical, but I really don’t have much faith in our policymakers. So far, in my view, life style has decreased as Vancouver becomes more dense, and I don’t see it getting any better.  What are your views?

When money isn’t an issue – Indulge in one of these toys!

When money isn’t an issue, one can indulge in some very cool and expensive toys. Especially now that Christmas is over, it might be time to treat yourself. Toys that the rich own, but the rest of us have only seen in movies about the future. Toys that are very real and for sale, if you can afford their hefty price. One of my favourites is the Pav-V One Helicycle.  Yes, a flying motorcycle that sounds like something from Wacky Races, but thanks to the Netherlands, it is the real thing. The Pal-V is a 3 wheeled hybrid car and a gyrocopter. The dual vehicle can reach speeds of 112 miles an hour on both land and in the air. On a single tank of gas, it can fly a distance of 220 miles or drive for 750 miles on land.

Two downfalls though – In order to switch over from car to copter mode, it takes about 10 minutes. Also, you need 540 feet of runway space to take off because it is a gyrocopter and doesn’t lift straight up like a helicopter. So if you’re driving it around and run into a traffic jam, you can’t just turn on the copter and fly over those non-flying suckers.  An in order to drive a helicycle, you need more than $400,000, a driver license and a pilots license.

Too many restrictions – I think I will pass. What’s next!

Image result for images of pal v one helicycleImage result for images of pal v one helicycleImage result for images of pal v one helicycle

Tips on getting the most out of a Home Inspection

A proper home inspection is your best defense against buying a home that can be an improvement nightmare. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your home inspection.

Show Up  Make sure you are present for the inspection and be prepared to ask questions and point out specific problems you’d like checked out further. This will be the first time your inspector has been to the property, so you may be aware of some potential issues from your previous viewings.

Use Someone You Trust Do your homework and find a home inspector that will give you the peace of mind you need.  Find an impartial home inspector that won’t have any loyalty to anybody and will be able to speak freely and frankly about potential issues.  You may have to pay a bit more for a quality inspection, but compared to the purchase of a house, it’s well worth it.

Get Pictures for Proof  A home inspector worth using will bring a camera along on the inspection. The inspector will likely be heading into places that you won’t want to go to if you don’t have to (the roof, crawl space, under decks, the attic, etc) Ask your inspector to photograph any potential issues that arise so you can see these issues for yourself. Infrared and thermal cameras are also available now, and can give your inspector a look behind walls and floors that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get without ripping out drywall and flooring. Some inspectors may charge an additional fee for this service.

Do Your Own Pre-Inspection  You can learn a lot about a house just by looking at it. Make sure you do your own home inspection and note any possible issues. Look at walls and ceilings for any evidence of water damage. Try all the light switches and outlets you can to make sure the electrical layout makes sense. Peek at the electrical panel to see if there are any potential wiring issues (look for new wire, old wiring that isn’t hooked up, etc). On the outside look for drainage issues, areas with peeling paint, around decks and porches. Inspect the siding. Before your official inspection you should have an idea of things you would like your inspector to pay extra attention to.

Do The Required Maintenance  After the home inspection your inspector is going to leave you a list of items that need immediate attention, and items that will need regular maintenance. Upon settling into your new home, be sure to pay quick attention to the items in priority that need immediate attention, and for your homes well being, and to be certain it is in the best care when you are ready to sell, be sure to attend to the items regularly that require ongoing maintenance.

Remember, regardless of the age of a home – with proper care and attention it willl last indefinitely.  Enjoy!

Show UpUse Someone You TrustDo Your Own Pre-InspectionPay Attention to the RoofTest GFCIsLook in the Attic

Pick of the Week – 4 Bedroom Langley townhome – $500,000 range

Welcome to our “Pick of the Week’. Wonderful 4 bedroom townhouse in family friendly Willoughby Heights. Only 11 years old and features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths up with powder room on the main and a bonus 4th bedroom below. Bright and open living and dining rooms and wonderful kitchen with s/s appliances & granite counters. This brand new listing won’t last long – Call us today for more details.

The best listings are selling fast. Don’t miss out. Let us automatically email you new listings that fit your criteria the moment they become available – 48 hours before they hit the public sites. Simply call us today, and let our system do all the work!  Sign up today – with absolutely no obligation.

 

Doing some home reno’s? Tips on how to hire a contractor

Here are a few tips on how to hire a contractor or sub contractor for home renovations over $1000. Receiving quotes to have a job done can be time consuming, but very important. Plan ahead and try not to be rushed into having a job done because you waited until it had to be done. You don’t want to have to go with the first or only company who gave you an estimate.

1.  Always get 3 written quotes.

2.  Be sure the quote states exactly what the company is willing to do, and how much this will cost you. Ask about the extras.

3.  Ask for a written list of all materials that will be used on the job. The list should state the quantity, quality, sizes and brand names if any, of everything needed to complete the job.

4.  Find out how long the quote is good for.

5. Ask how long the job will take. The starting and completion dates should be in writing with an allowance for bad weather and complications due to changes.

6.  Ask who is responsible for cleaning up and whether it is included in the price.

7.  You should probably ask to see a job the contractor has recently completed.

8.  You may be tempted to go with the cheapest price, however that may or may not be the best deal. Check over the estimate to see who giving you the most for your hard earned dollar.

9.  It is not uncommon or unreasonable on large jobs to keep a hold back of 30% of the total cost of the job for 30 to 45 days to make sure you are totally satisfied.

Remember – the taste of a cheap price doesn’t last as long as a job done poorly.   Good Luck!

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