Saturday, March 31, 2012

New proposed development at 1412-1460 Howe Street, 1410 and 1429 Granville Street, and 710 Pacific Street

The City has received an application to rezone the sites at 1412-1460 Howe Street, 1429 and 1410 Granville Street, and 710 Pacific Street from BCPED (B.C. Place/Expo) and FCCDD (False Creek Comprehensive Development) Districts to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. The proposal is for a mixed-use development as follows:

  • on the Howe Street sites, a 49-storey residential tower with a 9-storey podium including market rental housing, commercial uses, and a childcare facility
  • on the Granville Street and Pacific Street sites, 6-storey buildings providing retail (including a grocery store, drugstore and liquor store) and office uses
  • a proposed floor space ratio (FSR) of 4.8 (i.e. the total building floor area permitted would be equal to 4.8 times the site area)
  • a total floor area of 60 668 m² (653,046 sq. ft.)
    • 39 464 m²(424,800.9 sq. ft.) strata residential
    • 6 340 m² (68,245.4 sq. ft.) rental residential
    • 6 300 m² (67,814.9 sq. ft.) retail
    • 5 935 m² (63,885.9 sq. ft.) office space, and
    • 650 m² (6,996.8 sq. ft.) childcare
  • a maximum height of 150 m (the General Policy for Higher Buildings has identified this site as a location for a higher building);
  • a total of 600 residential units including 180 market rental units; and 713 parking spaces, 8 loading bays, and 270 bike spaces.

Application (January 31, 2012)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Investors may face budget blues

Some landlords may not want to hear this, but the goverrnment will leave mortgage rules alone Thursday, predicts the head of the country`s national association of mortgage professionals, pointing in part to his own industry`s lobbying efforts.

“In terms of mortgage insurance rule changes, given his announcement last week, I believe the Minister will continue to monitor,” Jim Murphy, CEO of the Canadian Association of Acredited Mortgage Professionals, told “There are unlikely to be changes in the budget, however, this does not prevent the government from acting in the future if they feel tightening is required.”

The comments comes after weeks of industry lobbying in Ottawa, largely led by CAAMP, and focused on encouraging Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to leave the mortgage rules around amortization, down payments and other key areas unchanged.

Murphy argues that those efforts have had a tangible effect, despite the number of bank economists asking for tighter rules. Those more-rigid requirement could stem the flow of renters now moving to homeownership.

“CAAMP’s overall message of not instituting changes that cause a housing downfall or that adversely affect job creation are being well received,” said Murphy, who’ll be in Ottawa for Thursday’s budget announcement.

Exactly a week prior to the scheduled communiqué, Flaherty used a media scrum to suggest he would resist calls for stricter rules, namely, a reduction of the maximum amortization to 25 years and an increase in the minimum down payment to 7 per cent or 10 percent. He also criticized the banks for creating the kind of ultra-low rate environment driving up household debt levels and, possibly, the need for tighter mortgage rules.

“I find it a bit off that some of the bank executives are taking the position that the Minister of Finance or the government somehow should tell them how to run their business,” Jim Flaherty told reporters just outside Ottawa Thursday. “They decide what they want to charge in interest rates.

"The new housing market produces a lot of jobs in Canada so there’s a balance that needs to be addressed."

Still, Murphy is anticipating the minister will introduce some new rules to clamp down on mortgage growth.

“I’m expecting there to be legislation on covered bonds,” he told “This is a relatively new funding source in Canada and the question will be whether these products can be insured. “Given current messaging out of Ottawa, I expect them not be eligible for mortgage insurance coverage.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Re/Max predicts 'heated' spring market

Canada’s housing market won't be cooling down just yet, with a new report by Re/Max pointing to a growing number of bidding wars in markets across the country.

The report found 12 of 15 of Canada’s major metropolitan centres reported year-over-year increases in sales activity in the first two months of 2012, and more than half had double-digit increases. Low interest rates and consumer confidence, along with the recent mild weather, will push an early start to an expected strong spring market, said RE/Max. Average price climbed in 14 of the 15 markets.

“Major Canadian real estate markets continued to show exceptional resiliency throughout the first quarter of the year, with strong demand and diminished supply setting the stage for a heated spring 2012,” according to the Re/Max report.

The tight conditions have recently sparked bidding wars, said Re/Max, noting such trends in Winnipeg, Toronto, Saskatoon, Regina, London-St. Thomas, Hamilton-Burlington, Ottawa, St. John’s, and Halifax-Dartmouth.

In Halifax-Dartmouth, sales activity has been up 35% since the same time last year, bolstered by the announcement of a $25 billion shipbuilding contract late last year.

Sales activity was also up 21% in Saskatoon and 20% in Saint John. Sales were down 16% in Vancouver, however, which has an average price of $786,695 – well more than $300,000 higher than any other Canadian major city.

Victoria was the only one of the 15 markets to see a price decline in the first two months of this year compared to the same time in 2011, down 1% to reach $469,399. St. John’s, the Greater Toronto Area and Winnipeg all saw 10% average price increases over last year. Kitchener-Waterloo wasn’t far behind at 9%.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rebranding home ownership. Cohousing comes to Vancouver new

David Allison
Property Biz Canada
Tue Mar 06 2012

There are many factors that Vancouverites and non-Vancouverites alike contribute to “the Vancouver Brand”. When it comes to politics, the general consensus is that we’re a bunch of hippies – a left-wing bunch who prefer to approach government with a laissez-faire attitude. Fashion-wise, everyone knows that an undying love for the great outdoors is the (poor) excuse for the astonishing number of individuals traipsing around in ‘active’ clothing, namely Lululemon and Taiga, any and every day of the week. And where housing is concerned, there’s sure a lot of people who don’t want things to change in Vancouver. In fact, our NIMBYs are the envy of the NIMBY world, what with their social media organizing savvy and snappy poster-headline writing skills.

But brand attributes can change – even commonly accepted ones. And as of last month, an entirely new way to look at housing arrived in Vancouver.

Along with award-winning green developer Alan Forrester and local co-housing experts Yonas Jongkind, Vivian and Paul Vaillant and Alan Carpenter, California-based architect Charles Durrett is looking to build Vancouver’s first cohousing community on piece of land the group purchased at 33rd Avenue near Victoria Drive.

Durrett, with his wife Kathryn McCamant, introduced the concept and coined the word “cohousing” in the U.S. with their book, Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. Now, with the help of Forrester, Durrett is championing the concept in the Great White North.

Essentially, cohousing features privately titled homes, townhomes or apartments, with a strata, but fosters community-driven living through common gathering spaces, such as a community kitchen, guest accommodations and gardens.

And as far as Forrester is concerned, it’s a model that just makes sense. “Cohousing is about creating communities that offer opportunities for people to connect,” said Forrester in a recent Vancouver Sun article. “This is about social sustainability. It’s a good model and it makes sense in so many ways.”

Fair enough. But sometimes – actually, lots of times – I don’t feel like getting to know my neighbours. I like my privacy. I don’t want my Sunday-morning-espresso-and-stack-of-weekend-newspapers time to be interrupted by Chatty Kathy in unit 201, who is all worked up about her perennials. And I’ll hazard a guess that I’m part of the mainstream majority opinion on this one.

Still, I have to give credit where credit is due. Here we have a group of entrepreneurs working hard to create a more feasible way for home ownership in this city, and, whether I can imagine living there or not, the effort itself is certainly worthy of applause. Perhaps if we were more open to rebranding what it means to own a home, we would be more inclined to see value in alternative ways of living.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Your FREE account at Century 21

Your FREE Account at Century 21

About Your Account: 

This free service allows you to: 
  • Save and view your favourite properties 
  • Save and view your recent home searches 
  • Schedule automated E-mail updates 
  • Create a personal profile 
  • And more! 
Sign up today, if you haven’t already done that! 


Sanjin Cvetkovic