Housing Market Picking Up Steam

BCREA 2013 Third Quarter Housing Forecast Update

Vancouver, BC – August 22, 2013. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2013 Third Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

MLS_SalesBC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to increase 3.9 per cent to 70,300 units this year, before increasing a further 6.1 per cent to 74,600 units in 2014. The five-year average is 74,600 unit sales, while the ten-year average is 86,800 unit sales. A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

“After a marked pull back of consumer demand in 2012, the housing market is now transitioning to more elevated home buying activity,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, the effect of sluggish employment growth this year is expected to spill over into 2014, limiting housing demand to a 6 per cent increase, with total home sales matching the 5 year average.”

“The average MLS® residential price in the province has been revised from remaining unchanged to increasing 3.3 per cent to $531,700 this year. A stronger than expected decline in the inventory of homes for sale has created balanced market conditions in the Lower Mainland, causing home prices to align more closely with overall consumer price inflation,” added Muir. The average MLS® residential price in BC is forecast to increase 2.2 per cent to 543,400 in 2014.

To view the full BCREA Housing Forecast Update, click here.

Canadian Manufacturing Sales – August 16, 2013

Canadian manufacturing sales declined 0.5 per cent in June, the fourth decrease in the past six months. Weaker sales were recorded across the manufacturing sector as 16 of 21 manufacturing subsectors saw sales decline. 

In BC, manufacturing sales fell 4.5 per cent as sales were pushed lower by an 11 per cent decline in BC wood products, the second decline in that sector in the past two months following a remarkably strong start to the year. However, in spite of recent weakness, wood product sales remain 35 per cent higher through the first half of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012. Overall manufacturing sales in BC are 2 per cent higher through the first 6 months of the year. 

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani

Windows – A Clearer View To Home Safety


CHINESE TRANSLATION WEBSITE:  www.vancouver.ca/police/community-policing/block-watch/index-chinese.html


Greetings Block Watch members,

For the last several years I have asked you to consider strengthening all of your exterior doors, door frames, locks and other door hardware.  The following e-mail from one of our Block Watch members serves to remind us that our doors are only one part of the home safety equation. 

Simple plate glass windows can also put a family at risk from a property crime thief.  Plate glass is easily smashed so the suspect can reach through and unlock a nearby door or window. 

Where appropriate, barring your windows (in combination with a smoke/fire detector) will afford the greatest degree of safety even against a glass cutter or the removal of the window frame.

Good window locking mechanisms are also highly recommended. 

Another method of strengthening your windows is to replace plate glass with laminate glass.  Laminate glass is layers of glass and plastic pressed together.  It is very difficult and noisy for a property crime thief to break through and they are reluctant to make noise that will draw the attention of someone in the house, a neighbour or a passerby.

Take a moment and watch this You Tube video  where a man is demonstrating the effort and noise it takes to break through a laminate glass window.  I am not recommending any brand, type or company; so do your research and find out which laminate glass product is suitable for your home or office.

Block Watch strongly endorses the use of laminate glass for residential and business locations.

Please read the following e-mail from an Arbutus Ridge Block Watch member.

Cst. 1225 Dave Krenz

Block Watch Investigations and Training Officer



Sent: Saturday, June 8, 2013 6:44:53 PM
Subject: BREAK INS in our Neighbourhood

Dear Friends and Neighbours:

I have just been alerted to a number of Break Ins that have happened recently in our neighbourhood and am using the KARA list to alert people. Apologies to any who are outside the immediate neighbourhood of 13th to 16th Avenues.

I received the following message giving details:

“On Mon Jun 3, at 1 PM, a neighbour in the 2100 West 15th block heard the doorbell ring a couple of times.  They were busy and unable to get to the door.  The next moment, they heard a horrible smashing sound!  Racing to check the source of the sound, they SCREAMED.  Whoever it was, was gone by the time they reached the front door. [It appears the thief smashed the glass beside the door, reached through and unlocked it.]

The police came, forensics checked for fingerprints, but clearly this culprit was wearing gloves and there was no identifiable evidence.

This was a brazen act of thievery, mid-day, and could easily have gone sour.

Further, upon discussion with another neighbour who lives in the 2100 block West 14th—I’ve found out that they’ve had their garage broken into not once, but several times.  Most recently was Monday night, June 1st as well. Probably after 1 am or later.  This garage backs into the laneway between 14th/15th Ave.

It’s  very clear to me that we have thieves scoping our area.  And I’m certain that extra sets of eyes will truly help us maintain the safety of our neighbourhood.  If you see something suspicious, please call the police!

Meantime, I suggest we lock our doors when we’re home and keep our garage doors locked at all times.  And if you have alarms, PLEASE use them!

Please tell your neighbours.  Please be careful.”

That is the gist of what I know. Also, our immediate neighbour at 2100 West 15th Avenue had her car broken into on June 3.

Hope this message helps.



I am requesting that all recipients to this e-mail SERIOUSLY consider installing Grade 2 dead bolts and heavy duty strike plates to PREVENT ANY INTRUDER from shouldering or kicking in the front, back and side doors.  In addition, consider installing laminate glass where you have the cheaper single paned glass along your ground floor.  It is far more difficult to break! 

Please note, the suspect rang the doorbell several times to determine if someone was home before they forced their entry.  Do not ignore these door bells or knocking.  Look through the peep hole or open a window to see who is there.  Do not be so quick to open a door if you are not expecting a caller.

Let’s keep these suspects on the OUTSIDE and never give them a chance to get in our homes.


B 604.717.2857 | F 604.606.2693 | E BlockWatch@vpd.ca | W www.vancouver.ca/police/blockwatch



Home Renovation Financing Options

There are many different reasons to renovate a home: to save energy (and save on utility bills), to make room for a growing family, to improve safety or increase the resale value of your home, or simply to bring a fresh new look to your home. There are also a number of different ways to finance your renovation.

Explore your options

Your own resources: For smaller renovation projects, you may consider self-funding material costs, especially if you plan to do the work yourself.

Credit card: Likewise, you can use your credit card to pay for materials for smaller renovations. But be careful not to carry the balance for too long. Credit card interest rates can exceed 18%.

Personal loan: With a personal loan, you pay regular payments of principal and interest for a set period, typically one to five years. You also have the option of a fixed or variable interest rate for the term of the loan. The interest rate on a personal loan is typically less than that of a credit card. Unlike a line of credit, however, once you pay off your loan, you’ll have to reapply to borrow any new funds needed.

Personal line of credit: This is another popular choice for financing renovations. It’s ideal for ongoing or long-term renovations since it lets you access your funds at any time and provides a monthly statement to help track expenses. A line of credit offers lower interest rates than credit cards, and charges interest only on funds used each month. And, as you pay off your balance, you can access remaining funds, up to the line of credit’s limit, without reapplying.

Secured lines of credit and home equity loans: These options offer all the advantages of regular lines of credit or loans, but are secured by your home’s equity. They can be very economical, since they offer preferred interest rates, but keep in mind that initial set-up costs including legal                and appraisal fees usually apply. Lines of credit are typically limited to 65%, while home equity loans are capped at 80% of your home’s value.

Mortgage refinancing: When funding major renovations, refinancing your mortgage lets you spread repayment over a longer period at mortgage interest rates, which are usually much lower than credit card or personal loan rates. This type of financing can allow you to borrow up to 80% of your home’s appraised value (less any outstanding mortgage balance). Initial set-up costs including legal and appraisal fees may apply.

Financing improvements upon purchase: If you’re planning major improvements for a home you’re about to purchase, it may be advantageous to finance the renovations at the time of purchase by adding their estimated costs to your mortgage. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Mortgage Loan Insurance can help you obtain financing for both the purchase of your home and the renovations – up to 95% of the value after renovations – with a minimum down payment of 5%.

Grants/rebates for energy-saving renovations

Across Canada, renovation grants and rebates are available from the federal and provincial governments and local utilities, especially for energy-saving renovations. If you qualify, they may help pay for some of your project’s costs.

Courtesy of:

Karen Boies
Mortgage Planner
Dominion Lending Centres National Ltd.
Phone: 604-726-9550
Fax: 1-877-271-6584
E-mail: karenboies@dominionlending.ca
Website: http://www.karenboies.ca/

Incentives of a Green Home

Are you wondering what the incentives are of a green home? There are several government, utility and other incentives to encourage homeowners to green their homes. These include, but aren’t limited to, the following information. Check with your local municipality, regional district and utilities for additional incentives.

Residential Retrofits and Renovations

ecoENERGY Efficiency for Housing
The ecoENERGY Efficiency program is investing $195 million between 2011 and 2016 to maintain the Government of Canada’s momentum to improve energy efficiency in Canada — at home, at work and on the road. The ecoENERGY Efficiency for Housing program is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to advance clean energy solutions. This program encourages the construction and retrofit of low-rise residential housing, making the stock more energy efficient.

Northern Savings Credit Union Smart Home Energy Loan – Clients in northern BC may be eligible to recieve $300 cash back towards the cost of a home energy assessment and low-interest Smart Home Loans if you finance your renovations through Northern Savings Credit Union.

LiveSmartBC – This renewed BC-wide two-year, $60 million efficiency incentive program will help British Columbians reduce their carbon footprints and their energy costs. The LiveSmartBC: Efficiency Incentive Program will give homeowners access to rebates for audits and energy efficiency incentives.
Funding for this program runs until March 31, 2013.

Vancity Credit Union Bright Ideas Loan – The Bright Ideas Loan will help homeowners make energy-saving renovations to their homes by leveraging the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Program – a bright idea with many benefits.

FortisBC clients renovating electrically heated homes and completing the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes Grant Program may be eligible for a $50 rebate toward the cost of an energy assessment, plus bill reductions of up to $1,500 for installations of ENERGY STAR windows, heat pumps or insulation. Non-electrically heated homes also qualify for some incentives. Other rebates and incentives are also available.

BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program
BC Hydro will pickup and recycle your old, inefficient second fridge and give you $30 for it.

BC Hydro Power Smart Appliance Rebate Program
BC Hydro’s popular Power Smart Appliance Rebate can get you up to $75 off select ENERGY STAR® labelled clothes washers, dish washers, refrigerators and freezers.

Water Meter Program – Richmond
Encourages voluntary installation of water meters to promote water conservation. The program pays for meter installation.

Water Meter Program – Surrey
Encourages voluntary installation of water meters to promote water conservation. The program pays for meter installation.

Water Conservation Program – Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) – The goal of the SCRD’s Water Conservation Program is to reduce the rate of drinking water consupmption by promoting water efficient practices and technology.

City of Vancouver Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)
Vancouver homeowners can qualify for up to $7,000 in government rebates, and borrow up to $16,000 through Vancity at a 4.5% fixed interest over ten years to complete select home energy upgrades.

City of Vancouver Water Saver Kits
Vancouver residents can purchase water saving kits at a reduced price ($12 each), plus tips to use water more efficiently in the home and garden.

Saanich Green Building Rebate Program – The District of Saanich offers rebates on building permit fees for new and renovated single family homes built to energy efficient standards.

New Residential Construction

Power Smart New Home Program
The most cost-effective way to save energy in the home is to build with an energy-efficient design. BC Hydro may provide builders who build to EnerGuide for New Houses standards: financial incentives when available and where appropriate; promotional opportunities and funding; and Power Smart branding for the home.

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): Energy Efficient Mortgage Loan Insurance Refund
A 10% CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium refund may be available when you use CMHC-insured financing to purchase an energy-efficient home or make energy-saving renovations.

Saanich Green Building Rebate Program
Build in the District of Saanich and receive up to 30% off the cost of your building permits when you build your home to meet Built Green™, R-2000, BC Hydro Power Smart or EnerGuide 80 standards. Also available is a free one-hour consultation with City Green Solutions.

Multi-Unit Residential Buildings

Affordable Warmth BC
To support the upgrades to multi-unit residential buildings that house low-income tenants, City Green is providing complimentary energy assessments, along with energy efficiency toolkits and workshops, to a select number of buildings.

For other Canadian incentives, visit Natural Resource’s Office of Energy Efficiency site here.

Visit Metro Vancouver’s BUILDSMART site for incentives related to these categories:

  • commercial, institutional and industrial new construction
  • municipal or federal new construction
  • commercial, institutional and industrial retrofits and renovations
  • municipal or federal retrofits and renovations
  • non-profits and charitable organizations new and retrofits

In the US visit the Environmental Protection Agency site for national, state and local incentives.

Green Financial Services

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): Energy Efficient Mortgage Loan Insurance Refund
A 10% CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium refund may be available when you use CMHC-insured financing to purchase an energy-efficient home or make energy-saving renovations.

TD Canada Trust provides customers with a Green Banking option as a Net-Zero Energy Branch for home financing, investing and for business. TD’s Green Banking option allows customers to help reduce their operational banking footprint and, through the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, help support grass-roots community projects.

– See more at: http://www.bcrea.bc.ca/green-tool-kit-for-realtors/incentives-of-a-green-home#sthash.GdljHxX9.dpuf