A poor man once bought an old book at an open market for a few coppers. Between its pages he found something very interesting indeed: a thin strip of parchment on which was written the legend of the touchstone.

The touchstone, according to the document, was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold.

The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles on a beach. The real stone would feel warm to the touch, while ordinary pebbles are cold.

The man sold his few belongings, set out for the seashore, and began testing pebbles. He realized if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might inadvertently pick up the same pebble hundreds of times. So, each time he felt one that was cold, he threw it far into the sea.

He spent days at his search, picking up a pebble— cold —then throwing it into the sea... then, picking up another... and throwing it into the sea...

One day, after months and months, the man picked up a pebble and threw it into the sea. As it left his hand, he realized that the pebble had been warm. It was the touchstone!

However, by then, he had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away without taking time to feel its warmth.

Don’t let your habits trick you into throwing away your opportunities.

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This month’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard shows record home sales across the province along with a jump in housing starts and a continued rise in new listings. Employment in some sectors, especially high-wage sectors is showing strong growth, but restrictions due to the third wave and hesitancy from the public is still keeping employment in the accommodation and food service sector depressed. Retail sales were flat in February, though from a high level in January and are up double digits compared to the same time last year.

Housing Markets



For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

BCREA's updated COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard is available here.

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Name one thing you can’t live without. If you answered, “my cellphone,” you’ve got a lot in common with, well, everyone! A poll by Asurion found that Americans consider their cellphone to be their number one possession, more important than their car or refrigerator.

Much of what’s on our phones is often irreplaceable - 60% of people polled cited their contact list, 45% have documents and important notes, and 32% have their favorite music.

Staying in touch with loved ones we can’t visit seems to be a driving force— 82% of Americans have photos and videos they can’t stand the thought of losing.

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"A rose by any other name," as Shakespeare wrote, "would smell as sweet." But that shouldn’t stop you from coming up with substitutions for common words to keep your conversation lively and unique. Here are some creative synonyms for everyday terms:

Amazing. Awesome, spectacular, astounding, astonishing, confounding, breathtaking, extraordinary, dazzling, fabulous, eye-opening, miraculous, prodigious, overwhelming, remarkable, startling, staggering, stupendous, stunning, or wonderful.

Fun. Merry, enjoyable, amusing, frolic, diversion, high jinks, jocularity, or blast.

Said. Cried, demanded, blurted, wailed, yelped, agreed, barked, mumbled, pleaded, responded, retorted, answered, replied, or ordered.

House. Abode, billet, cabin, digs, crib, domicile, dwelling, habitation, home, lodgings, pad, quarters, or residence.

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Even as workplaces open up, many employers are seeing the benefits of a virtual workforce and a large number of new jobs may very well be remote positions. How can you make your mark, though, when you don’t have regular personal contact with your boss or your
co-workers? The Make It website tells you how:

• Set up your space. Take a look around the room where you do your work. What does it say about you? People who see you in virtual meetings will notice the pictures on your wall, the books on your shelves, the clutter on your desk, and more. Clean up before your first day to ensure you show a neat, professional profile.

• Communicate with your manager. During the first few days and weeks, make a point of communicating with your manager often. Don’t bug him or her, but talk
in depth about your role, the manager’s expectations, how you’ll be evaluated, and other crucial elements of doing your job well. Learn his or her priorities and get a solid idea of the organization’s big-picture goals.

• Learn how to communicate with everyone. You can’t peek over a cubicle or stroll down the hall to talk with a co-worker or manager, so you have to know how best to contact them. Does your boss prefer phone calls or emails? Are team meetings held via Zoom? How quickly do people expect responses to emails or texts? Figure out the best way to communicate with each person on your team to avoid misunderstandings.

• Get to know people. Your boss probably can’t take you to lunch on your first day to know your new team, so you’ve got to take a different approach. Reach out to team members one-by-one to introduce yourself and find out what makes them tick.

Understand the pandemic’s impact on your organization. Chances are your employer has been through some big changes in the past year– layoffs, new products, shifting priorities, adjusting to remote work, and many other issues. As you talk to people, find out what’s changed and what has stayed intact. This will give you a good idea of the organization’s values and priorities.

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Many years ago a young couple with three sons bought a house out in the country. The previous owner, who spoke only French, said something that made the couple think that gold could be found on the property. They told their sons, who began digging up the ground looking for wealth.

After a few weeks, much of the ground around the house had been turned over, and with no gold found, the father decided to plant some seeds: corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. With his sons’ help, he grew so much that he went on to open a roadside stand to sell the extra produce for a little additional money.

The boys kept digging and turning over the soil as they went deeper and deeper, allowing the couple to plant even more crops.

This went on for several years. The vegetable stand prospered, and soon the couple had enough money to send all of their children to university.

One day the original owner came by for a visit. He had since learned English, and he asked the couple how they’d gotten started in the vegetable business. When the husband reminded him about the gold, the first owner laughed.

“I didn’t say there was gold in the soil,” he explained. “I said the soil was very rich.”

And as things turned out, it was.

Gino Pezzani
DIEN Realty
604-418-9366

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The Bank of Canada maintained its overnight rate at 0.25 per cent this morning, a level it considers its effective lower bound. The Bank reiterated what it calls "extraordinary forward guidance" in committing to leaving the overnight rate at 0.25 per cent until slack in the economy is absorbed and inflation sustainably returns to its 2 per cent target. The Bank is now projecting that will occur in the second half of 2022 rather than in 2023. The Bank is also continuing its quantitative easing (QE) program, though it will be reducing its bond purchases from at least $4 billion of Government of Canada bonds per week down to $3 billion per week. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the economic recovery has been considerably stronger than forecast and noted risk associated with the rapid rise in home prices, a risk the Bank will continue to monitor. Strong growth in exports and business investment, along with additional fiscal stimulus from the federal and provincial governments are expected to push Canadian Real GDP growth to 6.5 per cent in 2021 and nearly 4 per cent in 2022.

A dramatic re-set of market expectations for growth and inflation prompted a jump in government bond yields over the second half of February. However, since then bond markets have calmed with rates trending sideways for the past several weeks. As a result, Canadian mortgage rates have plateaued around 2.14 per cent on a five-year fixed rate. However, the Bank's announcement of a tapering of its QE program and an earlier date for potential future rate increases may put some upward pressure on mortgage rates in coming months, which along with the proposed 5.25 per cent minimum qualifying rate, could have a moderating influence on home sales through the summer.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Link:  https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/bank-of-canada-interest-rate-announcement-april-21-2021

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Canadian housing starts increased 21.6% m/m to 335,200k units in March at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), after declining in February. Building activity was up month-over-month in both multi-unit (+34%) and single-detached (+4%) segments. On a year-over-year basis, starts were up 70%, though this measure will become quite distorted by base-year effects going forward as we compare to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The six-month moving average in Canadian housing starts stands at a very strong 273,664 units SAAR.

In BC, housing starts increased by 57% m/m to a record high 71.2K units SAAR, following an increase of 21% in the previous month. That remarkable jump in new home construction was the product of a flood of building activity in the multi-unit segment, which was up by 77%, while single-detached starts were up 7%. The rise in the multi-unit segment was led by Vancouver, which reported a 71% increase in multi-unit starts in March to an all-time record of 3,120 units or 41K units SAAR. On a year-over-year basis, total housing starts were up by 106% in BC.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Link:  https://mailchi.mp/bcrea/canadian-housing-starts-march-april-19-2021

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How much do you love your houseplants? Enough to play music for them? A British survey reported by The Herald found that almost 50% of plant owners play music for their leafy friends in a variety of genres, from folk to rock to classical, and everything in between.

The most popular artist choice is Scottish pop singer, Lewis Capaldi, shared by 62% of the survey’s 1,150 respondents. The Korean pop band, BTS, came in second with 55%, followed by America’s Taylor Swift, at 51%. Elton John, David Bowie, and Fleetwood Mac also ranked in the Top 10.

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Vancouver, BC – April, 2021. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 15,073 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March 2021, an increase of 123.3 per cent over March 2020 and a new all-time record for monthly BC home sales. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $947,707, a 20.4 per cent increase from $787,032 recorded in March 2020. It should be noted that average prices across the province are being skewed higher as more expensive single-detached homes remain a higher share of dollar volume during the pandemic. Total sales dollar volume was $14.3 billion, a 168.9 per cent increase from last year.

“Home sales in the province shattered the previous record, led by markets in the Lower Mainland,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While mortgage rates have risen in recent months and a modest tightening of mortgage regulations is on the horizon, market activity is expected to remain very strong through the spring.”

Total active residential listings were down 24.4 per cent to 22,337 units in March. The total inventory of homes for sale remains severely depleted, but new listings activity has accelerated in response to high prices.

“While the total supply of re-sale listings remains at crisis levels, many markets saw record new listings activity in March. Strong new listings activity will need to continue for some time before markets will see a healthier balance with less pressure on home prices,” said Ogmundson.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.