TGIF: Westport Public Hearing – time to step up!

This Tuesday, 23rd, is the final public hearing for the ‘Westport’ project on the old Andres Wines site – 7pm – Inlet Theatre at City Hall. The proposal has received 1st & 2nd reading and this hearing is critical to moving forward. If you care, it is vital that you attend and participate.

Westport will be to the large western sector of Port Moody what Newport and Suterbrook Villages are to the north shore of the Inlet. It will serve as the welcoming city gateway at the corner of Barnet Highway and Clarke St. As well as housing, it will provide a vast array of much needed services in a seriously underserved area where residents are paying the same (or more) taxes as those in the neighbourhoods with many more amenities.

It will also be the catalyst which ensures that the vision of a heritage style Clarke Street, bustling with thriving small businesses, has a fighting chance of becoming a future reality. After hanging in for so long, our local businesses deserve to know that they have a permanent place in our community and will not be left in a vacuum.

Westport Village will include: diverse employment generating activities; arts and culture , including artist live/work space and public arts presentation space; a range of housing choices including rental, seniors and assisted living accommodations; child care space; retention and enhancement of environmental values along South Schoolhouse Creek; a distinct architectural identity; a welcome pedestrian oriented environment by creating plazas, walkways, paths and other publicly accessible areas and finally, integration of sustainable technologies.

This development has been 14 years in the creation with constant public feedback and focus groups – resulting in a well thought out, sustainable, inclusive proposal reflecting the wish list of local residents. A unique aspect is the strong legacy element with the gift of community spaces in and out as John Peller strives to honor his grandfather, Andrew Peller, the well loved corporate citizen who established Andres Wines in 1961.

If we want Port Moody to be a well balanced city serving all our residents, this is our opportunity to voice that. Letters can be sent to council@portmoody.ca – otherwise, please swell the crowd, attend the meeting and give your support in person.

We always want to advocate for our clients whatever it takes! We love where we live, work, play and shop and know that you do too. Our joint quality of life often demands our attention in order that we maintain that quality for us all.

If you have questions about activity in your neighborhood, or the real estate market in general, please call us. Rain or shine, we can keep you covered.

Enjoy all the amazing summer choices out there.

Your Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: Vancouver’s Thriving Green Sector and Your Update On The Foreign Buyer Tax

Did you know that Vancouver is leading the world pack when it comes to constructing tall wood buildings? Good for our green sector and great for our timber manufacturers.

The 18 storey Brock Commons Tower at UBC was the tallest wood building in the world when it was completed in 2017. Now visualize a 30-40 wood tower on west Broadway – location of the planned SkyTrain extension from Cambie & Broadway to UBC. If approved, this mixed-use proposal would forward Vancouver’s already progressive green standards by another decade! The tower would use BC manufactured & processed mass timber as well as engineered wood. While still reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the building will will be designed for maximum fire and structural safety.

And we just happen to have the timber manufacturing experts in Penticton – ‘Structurlam Products Ltd’ , part of the Adera Group since 2008! Adera builds exclusively with wood and has been turning to engineered structural woods, for their sustainability and construction benefits. Laminated timbers are set in floors and elevator shafts, leading to Adera’s claim that they are as quiet as, if not quieter, than concrete homes built to code.

On April 16, Vancouver released a “climate emergency response” proposal calling for new buildings to reduce carbon emissions by 40% from 2018 levels by 2030 and “remove regulatory barriers to mass timber construction”. Good to know that our construction industry is ahead of both the curve and the code! (Thanks to ‘Western Investor’ for these details).

If you are asking yourself how effective the Government’s foreign buyers tax has been, the answer is “very”. The BC data is now in – this year between March and May there were 261 sales to foreign purchasers as opposed to 1,974 sales during the same time period in 2016. Montreal is now feeling the benefit from our tax as the buyers are flocking there where there is no foreign buyers tax. It is an ill wind which blows noone any good!

The media has informed, debated and rehashed our record low sales for June. If all this leaves you wondering about how these statistics affect any of your real estate plans, please ask us. We are happy to chat real estate any time and promise to keep you covered, no matter the climate.

We remain your partners – Generations Real Estate Partners:- Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

Subject Line: TGIF: Talking Value and Strategy

What a great Canada Day weekend in our local cities! And as music continues to be a park attraction in both Port Moody and Coquitlam, along with many other seasonal events, make the most of the longer summer days remembering that we are already past the longest day of the year. 

This is also the time for the TriCities News Annual “A List” contest, where we residents vote best in class for local stores, restaurants and services. Thanks to all our clients & friends, who put us on top last year – we are hoping for a repeat performance and respectfully ask you to vote again this year: https://tcn.qabeta.glaciermediadigital.ca/alist

The News is making voting attractive by offering a $500 gift card from Coquitlam Centre.

Housing supply up – home sales and prices down” – this month’s quote from Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board.

Slowly declining sale prices seem to be spurring on an increasing number of sellers to list their homes currently – an unusual situation for the start of summer holidays. There is a 25% increase in number of listings on the market this year compared to the same time last year. On the other side of the coin, the total number of sales last month was the lowest since 2000. Surprisingly, sales of apartments showed a 24% decrease compared to last year.

Overall, the composite benchmark price for all residential property types in Metro Vancouver dropped below $1 million for the first time since May 2017 – now $998,700.

All of these stats make for the best selection of homes for a long time and buyers have the addition of very attractive interest rates. We never know when the soft landing will occur, but we do know that these interest rates won’t be with us forever. This market is tailor-made for the move up buyer looking at the dollars differential between their sale  and their purchase.

If listings hit the market at current market prices for their location and condition they are selling quite quickly in spite of the burgeoning number of stale overpriced listings with no offers. Buyers become experts in their own price range – they recognize a good solid deal.

There is the largest number of newly completed apartment buildings and townhome communities this year, which directly affect the resale complexes.  A number of buildings which should be completing right now are very delayed owing to current labour availability and often late starts because of permit backlogs.

It is an interesting market where global issues, foreign policies & politics, as well as local trends can and do affect our local markets.

All we can do is remember that famous quote from Ozzie Jurock – “You make money the day you buy, not the day you sell”

Wise words for buyers to always keep resale in mind. So many sellers forget their original purchase price  only to remember the price their neighbor got 2 years ago!

If you need help in figuring out where all this leaves you, please give us a call. Always up for talking value and strategy – a vital part of the buying & selling process these days.  We are here to always have you covered whatever the real estate weather.

Generations Team: Michelle Hawthorne, Scott Johnson, Sheila Francis, Ray Harris and Shane Goutsis.

TGIF: Happy Canada Day!

“Died! Last night at 12 o’clock the free and enlightened Province of Nova Scotia.” Headline from The Morning Chronicle, Halifax,  of July 2nd, 1867.  It went on to describe how the day before at the waterfront, an effigy of Charles Tupper (one of the Fathers of Confederation) had been burned alongside a live rat!

This was one reaction to the new Dominion of Canada when 3 provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Canada Province) joined to create Canada on July 1, 1867 with John A. Macdonald as its first prime minister.   However, in many towns Union Jacks were waving, brass bands playing, ale was flowing, there were military displays and fireworks.  We Canadians are pretty consistent – we celebrate the day pretty much the same these days except for the Maple Leaf replacing the Union Jack. From Burnaby to Maple Ridge, there are full on festivities on Monday  – a fun filled day of great free activities wherever you live.  The finale  in Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam is a fireworks display  while there is a fly over in Maple Ridge and in Port Moody the 4 day Golden Spike Days Festival winds up at 6pm on Canada Day.  Local firefighters are serving pancake breakfasts in Port Moody at the Inlet Firehall and a salmon BBQ in Port Coquitlam at Castle Park. This year  Port Moody Fire Department is celebrating 41 years of flipping Canada Day pancakes for charity.

Burnaby has 3 festive sites – Edmonds Plaza and Park, Burnaby Village Museum & Swangard Stadium with live entertainment, children’s activities and lots more.  

Coquitlam Town Centre Park is home to one of the region’s biggest patriotic celebrations with headliner band, ‘Ten Souljers’ playing a mix of classic & current Canadian rock hits to close the event.  Families can enjoy day long entertainment, activities, craft beer & food trucks.

As one of the longest running family events in BC, Port Moody’s Golden Spike Days commemorates the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway Line and its arrival at the original western terminus in Port Moody where the last spike was driven. Live entertainment ranges from the traditional Port Moody Can Can dancers thru local bands to headliners, ‘Prism’ and ‘Harlequin’.  Take a chair or blanket to Rocky Point Park.

Port Coquitlam’s Castle Park celebrations begin with a pancake breakfast, continuing with  the popular day long fishing derby, a kids zone & entertainment.

A multicultural fashion show, tasty food from different cultures, diverse entertainment from both local performers and the rocking headliners, ‘The Matinee’ and ‘Odds and Taylor James’ are all part of the festivities at Memorial Peace Park, Maple Ridge.  There is a water spray and play area plus pony rides, roving entertainers, games, a farmers market, artisan market and a community BBQ.  It is suggested to walk, car pool or take transit and bring water bottles.

No good reason to stay home, let’s celebrate our communities.  We live in a wonderful province and country – Happy Birthday Canada.

We, the Generations Real Estate Partners will be enthusiastically out there with you.  Here’s to another great summer keeping you covered. Ready to talk real estate and community any time – just give us a call.  Have a great long weekend.

Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane

TGIF: Opportunity Knocks!

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one” – Mark Twain

Statistics are one thing and they are showing prices leveling off – specially in condos and townhomes.  However, the real news is at street level, boots on the ground experience.  In Ozzie Jurock’s latest newsletter, he says:- “Anecdotally there are many lights at the end of our tunnels”.  He is the proverbial onlooker seeing most of the game and has been eerily  accurate as a real estate forecaster over many years. He is constantly analyzing & tapping into an extensive network of  movers and shakers. As our own Michelle Hawthorne says:- “Noone rings a bell when we reach bottom” – take note!

We too are experiencing quick sales if the property is properly priced at current market – even some multiple offers.  As MLS has not continued to load on inventory, the good listings are selling, eating up the stock and mostly leaving behind the homes which need price adjustments (downward!). The low interest rates are encouraging smart buyers to make their purchase and lock in, providing that necessary peace of mind.  

Another interesting indicator of things to come is that commercial land sales and multifamily zoned land sales have taken a huge hit this year – down by 63 & 55%.  So the smaller (but still big!) developers want to sell out what they have and not take a chance on futures right now.  Which of course will lead to a smaller future, as well as present, inventory.

Please remember our Food Bank over the summer – this is when their supply is always low.  They need our help.

It is great to meet so many of you when we are out and about at community events – we love the TriCities, Pitt Meadows & Maple Ridge for their spirit and forward thinking in creating space & that small town feel for all the residents to get together for old fashioned fun times. Enjoy every moment and say hello.

We remain your Generations Real Estate Partners keeping you covered in every climate.  Our 2019 mantra is  “Excellence is not a skill – it’s an attitude”.  Test us out!

  Michelle Hawthorne, Scott Johnson, Sheila Francis, Ray Harris and Shane Goutsis.

TGIF: Aging in place!

This is a popular term these days but how do you do that when retired on a small fixed income? It is tough to replace the roof, do other costly maintenance and keep up with gardening when all the time your money is tied up in your home. There is now a great way to untie some of your investment and have a payment coming to you instead of the other way round. It is a “reverse mortgage” where, as long as you are over 55, you can free up some of your equity to not only maintain your home, but also to travel, pursue hobbies & not be concerned about having to drastically cut back your lifestyle. This is a great tool for peace of mind, hanging on to your investment & not making a costly move.

Mortgage Brokers require a separate license in order to arrange these mortgages and our office just learned plenty from Daniela Serena, our local broker who is licensed for, and specializing in reverse mortgages. If this is of interest to you, give Daniela a call – 604-889-6750.

If you have other real estate questions, please give our team a call at 604-936-7653.

Interest rates are remaining low & sometimes lower! Don’t wait til year end, gambling that they will stay at this level. If buying a property is in your plans, do it while the inventory with choice is there as well as low interest rates. Move up buyers – this is your market!

If you want to discuss the logistics of the best way to sell and buy, or how to prepare your home for the market, we are your resource. We are happy to spend the time with you to reduce your stress and streamline the planning. In spite of endless talk about “affordable housing”, rents are still high here and if you can come up with the downpayment, buying is less expensive than renting. And…no one will kick you out!

We are always here to keep you covered and to team up with you in the exciting real estate process one step at a time. Continuing in a tradition of trust and care.

We are your Generations Real Estate Partners:- Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: The Original Freedom Fighters

“Seventy five years ago, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen left these shores in the cause of freedom. The fate of the world depended on their success. Many of them would never return and the heroism, courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives will never be forgotten.”

These were the words from the Queen at a commemoration service in Portsmouth, England, on Wednesday remembering D Day. She was joined by Prime minister Justin Trudeau, American President Donald Trump and other world leaders. The dwindling number of Second World War veterans in attendance, most now in their nineties, were honored for their role in the conflict freeing the world of tyranny. Trudeau paid homage to those who fought and died, but also promised to work together to ensure the horrors of that global conflict are never again repeated. The leaders made a joint pledge at the end of the ceremonies recommitting to their shared values because they “support the stability and prosperity of our nations and our people. We will work together as allies and friends to defend those freedoms whenever they are threatened”

Ceremonies continued in Normandy Thursday, including at Juno Beach where the Canadians came ashore. Haunting memories!

Closer to home, we have discovered that the Government is sending bills for the SPECULATION AND VACANCY TAX to seniors who moved into assisted living, then sold their home while vacant. Under these circumstances, the owners are actually exempt from the tax. The problem lies in that sometimes the notice to file has gone to the old address, or the senior doesn’t understand the need to file because he hasn’t done anything wrong. Our seniors need advocates in dealing with this as, in the event they have received an unwarranted bill, the seniors themselves have to be the people who call 1-833-554-2323. It is confusing, so it is wise to have the advocate standing by ensuring all the necessary information is at hand. It is an easy, if somewhat time consuming, process to rectify the situation once speaking with the appropriate government agent.

So… if someone you know, specially a senior, has been sent such a bill, make sure it is not paid without calling the department and checking for an exemption. Thanks to DBM for helping us help others with this odd situation – always learning something new. Let’s value our seniors, specially this week.

Just as our name sounds, we have the privilege of representing all generations and enjoy every moment keeping them covered.

Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray, and Shane Generations Real Estate Partners

TGIF: Our Community and Real Estate News – What You Should Know!

Photo Credit: Tri-City News

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE!

So goes the famous Beatles song and so goes an amazing group of local young people – the Love My City team. Dave Jonsson was the passionate spokesperson for the team’s delegation at this week’s Port Moody Council Meeting looking to have July 6-13 declared Love My City Week 2019. Last year was their first venture for a week of love when they cleaned parks, picked up garbage and performed random acts of kindness in the TriCities. Dave’s vision is that Love My City Week spreads like wildfire to other cities way beyond our own.

There are many negative observations about Millenials – these young people debunk the beliefs that we older people have. Let’s support them in their exemplary, exciting mission, lend a hand & spread the word. After all – we can’t have too much love in our cities.

Just when we thought that real estate could not receive more press and media attention than in the last couple of years, it is now the centre of attention in a number of different reports including money laundering, amount of lost equity owing to government interference, the effect of a real estate slow down on the economy at large and on… Any realtor will tell you that the horse was already out of the barn when the government stepped in. The market was slowing based on the usual factors – escalating prices which became as untenable for the foreign investor as the local homeowner and increasing inventory following an extraordinarily long time of very low housing stock. Foreign buyers were already focusing on lower priced cities such as Montreal and most local buyers were priced out of the market.

Markets have always experienced cycles – this was just the start of another. Few of us realtors (and we don’t know any) have experience with money laundering as we are dealing with local folk moving up the real estate ladder, downsizing, or moving here to live.

The result of home prices declining have no effect if you are living in your home longterm. However, if you bought within the last 3 years with 5% – 25% down and need to move, most or all of your equity is gone. This will prevent an immediate new purchase – back to the drawing board. With every market change there are those who are in the wrong place at the wrong time and those who find opportunities, like current upsizers. Never a better time in recent history for those looking to move up.

The government has it in their purview to determine who is buying homes and crack down on the money laundering – let’s not study it to death, rather immediately put in place the mechanism to deal with at least a part of it. It lies beyond the scope of your local real estate office. We would like less hype, more action and a return to business as usual.

Our team is so fortunate in our clients who return to us for their real estate needs and recommend us to their family, friends and colleagues – thank you. We continue to be a family business looking after every generation of buyer and seller – far from the criminal world of the daily News! If you want to check in with us about how the market affects your real estate goals please get in touch – always here to inform, advise and listen to your thoughts and plans.

Continuing to keep you covered whatever the climate, we remain the Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray & Shane.

TGIF: Our Local Real Estate Sales Summary

By now you will have heard the April sales news from CMHC and BC Real Estate Association. Both reports featured the drop in # of sales, 29% lower than April last year and 45% lower than the last 10 year average. They both talked about increased inventory, dropping prices, cautious buyers, bank rules and generally speaking to a public lack of confidence in the current real estate market. The term “buyers market” was used repeatedly. Statistics don’t lie but interpretations can be different – we only need to watch the political scene to know that!

When we look at the summaries attached to the recent SnapStats report we see between 1&2 homes in ten selling described as a “balanced” market – guessing that we have to be zero in ten to qualify as a buyers market! From the perspective of those of us out in the field negotiating with buyers and sellers daily, we can tell you that much of our market is a buyers market – both sellers and buyers need to know that so both sides can make a sensible, market driven decision. Some niche markets are faring better – mostly in close proximity to the SkyTrain, the single significant game changer in the last 2 years.

The healthiest resale market in April was in Port Moody – condos and townhomes, selling at a rate of 3.3 in 10. We are certainly looking forward to a stronger, more robust market which could be helped by both government & big banks confessing that they overdid the cooling measures and getting on board with some positive helpful measures for buyers (without assuming they have massive amounts of RRSPs!). Our entire economy here is affected by real estate sales.

If you want to know what we really think, please call us! Happy to unpack your local statistics both as buyers and potential sellers – it is never too early to prepare for selling your home. We remain your real estate partners as well as Generations Partners – keeping you covered as always!

Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

Happy Easter!

How come Easter is so late this year and Spring has not finally sprung? My rose coloured glasses tell me that we have been happily sitting outside at Easters gone by. We wish all our clients and friends a Happy Easter and a lovely long weekend catching up with family and friends. Lots of Easter egg hunts in our cities this weekend – watch out for all that chocolate!

On the real estate front, this could be a quiet weekend, although Mondays at the end of long weekends are often surprisingly busy. Our market in general is still unpredictable, but is moving quickly at entry level. Provided that they are priced fairly and the building is in good shape, one bedroom suites under $400,000 are flying off the shelf. As these sellers move up in the market, we should slowly see the ripple effect in action and maybe even a little stability at least in the first two levels of our market.

On completing several market evaluations this week, we realise that there is a total disconnect between the price tags on active listings and the actual sale prices in the same neighbourhoods. The interesting aspect of all this is that the market priced listings are selling quickly. There are just so few of them! Apparently the statistics are not convincing enough (fewer than 2 in 10 selling!) Until sellers realize that this is not fake news, our inventory will continue to grow and stagnate with overpriced listings. Serious buyers are experts in their own price range and pass over the obviously overpriced. Most often comment heard from sellers ignoring all media reports and statistics is “Well buyers can always make an offer”. Why would they want to take on a potentially losing battle when they can find a home they like comfortably in their price range? Yes, our market is in transition, but the facts speak for themselves and there is no mystery about the present – only the future!

So….the takeaway for buyers is don’t be afraid to make that offer if you would buy the home were it priced at market. And…the takeaway for sellers is that we are no longer in 2016 or even in 2017! Get the right price for April 2019 and avoid today’s pitfall of following the market down as we are seeing so many sellers doing right now.

Enjoy the long weekend with some promised sunshine. We always have you covered and are happy to interpret those statistics as they affect you. Your interests are ours.

Generations Real Estate Partners:- Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.
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