Nanaimo Real Estate News

Rising Interest Rates – What does it mean to you?

Published By: on September 14th, 2017 in Category Buyer Information, Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on September 14, 2017

Last week the Bank of Canada raised their interest rates, again, by a quarter of a percent. Financial experts are expecting one more similar hike before the end of 2017.

Why are they rising? Interest rates are rising because of Canada’s strong economy. Business is good. Low interest rates are meant to stimulate the economy and they have done their job.

The good news: Rising interest rates mean greater return on investment dollars. For those who already own their own home and are living off their investments, they will be breathing easier.

The bad news: We are still 3% below 2008 rates but with higher prices and higher stress tests. The stress test means that you must qualify for an interest rate that is 2% higher than what you will actually be paying. This is to protect consumers from getting caught paying more than they can afford if rates continue to rise.

If you are trying to get into the market, you need to lock in current rates before they rise again. Get a 3 month written approval from your lender. You’ll need to go through a full credit review in order to get a guaranteed rate. Then it’s time to shop!

Call us at Love Real Estate Group to help you find your new home. We’d love to help you through the process.  Call (778) 557-6583

Pros & Cons of Buying New Construction

Published By: on July 28th, 2017 in Category Buyer Information, Buying new construction, Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on July 28, 2017

Moving to Vancouver Island? Great idea!

Here’s some things you may want to consider:

The logistics of moving into a new town, city or province are challenging.

Often Buyers come to Nanaimo (commercial center of Vancouver Island) to stay for a weekend or even a week, to shop for a future home. They are planning a move in a month or two and need to find their new home.

Competition for resale homes in Nanaimo and much of Vancouver Island is fierce. Most homes are selling within the first few days. That makes it very difficult for Buyers who are coming from afar. You may find a suitable home online, book a flight and race out here to view it in person, only to find that the home is sold by the time you arrive.

One solution to this dilemma is purchasing new construction.

When you buy new construction you can buy yourself the time you need. There is less competition for new homes, so as an out-of-towner you will have a little more time to consider your purchase and a little more time to organize your move.

Buying new has some great advantages and also some significant drawbacks. Here’s some things you should keep in mind:

Top 3 Advantages when buying new construction:

1. AVAILABILITY – On the top of the advantages is availability. If you are not able to stay in the area for an extended period of time, you may not be able to access a resale home that meets your needs. Inventory is very low and timing is everything when you have this much competition.

2. NEW HOME WARRANTY – All new homes in BC must be covered by a New Home Warranty or an Owner-Builder Declaration. The New Home Warranty is a 10-year warranty for your home, but it is better to call it a 2-5-10 warranty. There is a 2-year warranty on labor and materials. A 5-year warranty on the building envelope, including water penetration and a 10-year warranty on the structure of the home. Owner-Builders who build their own homes and occupy them are not required to purchase a New Home Warranty. If they sell their home within 10 years then they are personally liable for any defects that would be covered by a New Home Warranty. As you can imagine, this comes with its challenges.

3. CHOICES – If you buy early enough you may have some choice regarding colours, finishes and appliances. Most new construction homes are Spec Homes. These are homes where the builder has planned and some times completed the home before having a committed buyer. In this case you will be buying the home as planned by the builder. You may have some input, but it will be limited. If you want to have control over more detail you will need to hire a custom builder. This comes with a higher price tag because it is very time consuming for the builder.

Top 3 Disadvantages when buying new construction:

1. TIME DELAY – While the timing may have been easier for you at the time of purchase, the timing of completion is much harder to predict. There is no way around the unpredictability of construction. Weather, illness, supply problems, labour shortages can all slow a project down. As a Buyer you must have a contingency plan in mind in case your move in date is delayed. Be prepared to put your goods into storage and find a vacation rental while you wait. Make sure you’ve allowed yourself some cash reserves to cover any delays. Possible delays and their consequences should be dealt with in your contract of purchase and sale.

2. SURPRIZES – It’s possible that you may arrive and find that the home is not as you expected. When you are negotiating your contract, make sure that you signing off on a specific floor plan and finishes list. Significant variation from these specifications may then be a breach of contract. However, in a rising market, the builder may be happy to back out of a contract and put the finished home back on the market to sell at a higher price.

3. CONSTRUCTION ZONES – If you are one of many new homes in a development you may be moving into a construction zone. This can be trying. Noise, dirt and congestion are the top 3 of many challenges.

Top 3 Pieces of Advice when buying new construction:

1. BUYER’S AGENT – Get an experienced Realtor to act as your Buyer’s Agent on your side. This will not cost you anything extra. The Seller usually pays buyer’s Agent fees.

2. LEGAL ADVICE – Ask a local lawyer (one who knows the local market) to look over your contract to make sure that you are protected in case of major delays or departures from your plans.

3. RESEARCH YOUR BUILDER AND THEN PLAN IN SOME FLEXIBILITY – Most builders have great intentions and take pride in their work. Their reputations are very important to them. Even the best builder cannot control every aspect of your project. A bit of flexibility on your part can keep communications open and cooperative getting you moved in as soon as possible.

Now in Effect – New Rules for Minimum Down Payments on BC Homes

Published By: on February 17th, 2016 in Category Buyer Information, Nanaimo Real Estate, Nanaimo Real Estate News

 

money

Written on February 17, 2016

INCREASED MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENTS FOR BC HOMES OF MORE THAT $500K  The new  down payment rules are now in effect for those purchasing BC homes over $500K. Up to $500K a buyer is required to have a 5% down payment. On purchases over that price, the buyer will be required to put down 10% of the amount over $500k.

For example: on the purchase of a $700k home. 5% of $500k is $25k plus 10% of the extra $200k is $20k for a total minimum down payment of $45k. That’s up $10k from the previous rules.

The intent is to prevent buyers from taking on more debt than they can afford.

BC Budget 2016 – What’s in it for Home Buyers?

Published By: on February 17th, 2016 in Category Buyer Information, Nanaimo Real Estate, Nanaimo Real Estate News

new home

Written on February 17, 2016

 Important Real Estate News:

There are some significant changes in the BC Budget for 2016. If you are thinking of buying in BC this year, you’ll need to know how these changes affect your bottom-line.

Yesterday’s budget includes several measures intended to increase housing supply, allow first-time buyers to enter the market, and finally measure the prevalence of foreign ownership.

They include:

INCREASED PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX ON LUXURY PROPERTIES      

An increase in the property transfer tax for luxury homes with a new tier of three per cent on the portion of a purchase above $2-million. That is on top of the current rates, which impose a one per cent tax on the first $200,000 and two per cent for the portion between $200,000 and $2-million.

EXEMPTION FROM PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX ON ALL NEW CONSTRUCTION BELOW $750K    Exemption for newly constructed homes, which will mean the property transfer tax won’t apply to new homes below $750,000. A partial exemption will apply for homes between $750,000 and $800,000. Those exemptions only apply for Canadian citizens and permanent residents purchasing their primary residence. The first-time home buyer program, which provides exemptions and reductions for houses below $475,000, remains in effect. Great news! On a $500k home that is a savings of $8K. That is a significant savings.

TRACKING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP                                                                                  

The province will track foreign ownership by requiring anyone purchasing a residential property to disclose whether they are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident– and, if not, where they are from. The requirement also applies to directors of corporate owners.

The intent here is to make it easier for Canadian buyers to purchase moderately priced homes, while increasing the tax burden on luxury buyers. Also, the government is making a commitment to track foreign buyers so that they can manage the situation based on facts not perceptions.

 

Affordable 1 Bedroom Condo in newer building near Nananimo Hospital and VIU – $150,000!

Published By: on August 21st, 2014 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News, Videos

Now offered at $150,000 – this is the best deal in town for a one bedroom condo in a newer, super well run building. Pets are allowed. It’s pretty hard to find a place that will accept 2 cats!

Give me a call to view this lovely, spacious condo near Nanaimo Regional Hospital. Love Real Estate Group 250-802-9810

Spectacular View Home with Old World Charm and Quality – Nanaimo BC

Published By: on July 31st, 2014 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

This wonderful 1981 Character home is in Upper Lantzville – on a quiet country road, just 5 mins from Nanaimo’s shopping, Schools, recreation and the beach. With 5500 sq ft and 1.29 acres this ocean view home has room for everyone. Offered at $649,900, this is a special property. Call Love Real Estate Group & Marie Boichuk at 250-802-9810

Ocean View Condo – just steps to the Nanaimo Seawall

Published By: on June 16th, 2014 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

SOLD to a nice couple from Nova Scotia. Listed at $249,000 – this 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo has an ocean view and is located just steps from the sea wall. Walk into downtown or to the yacht club. This is condo has new carpet, light fixtures and designer window shades. The strata is well-managed and well-maintained.

Amazing Ocean, City and Mountain Views from this condo!

Published By: on June 16th, 2014 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Listed at $154,500, this 2 bedroom expands out onto it’s 3 decks each with it’s own view. It has a great downtown Nanaimo location, close to VIU, the seaplane terminal and the train station. Rentals are allowed so this could be a great investment property.

Check it out – call Love Real Estate Group or Marie Boichuk with RE/MAX of Nanaimo 250-802-9810

What was BIG NEWS in Nanaimo in 2013?

Published By: on January 16th, 2014 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Big News in 2013


Written on January 16, 2014

1.Downtown hotel

Finally- Nanaimo will get a hotel in the downtown core. Our beautiful new convention centre has been hampered by lack of hotel space for convention attendees. City council approved a 240-room, 21 storey development. Construction is expected to

2. Airport success

June 2013 brought a long-sought after addition of Westjet flights to our Nanaimo airport. Direct flights fly daily between Calgary and Nanaimo. Ridership in the 1st 6 months was very high. Westjet is very pleased with the response to this new service. Locals are hoping for more Westjet destinations to come – especially a sun destination. Comox has direct flights to Puerto Vallarta. Victoria had direct flights to Maiu and Kona. It’s our turn!

Nanaimo airport was once infamous for flights being unable to land during fog season. Due to upgraded navigational equipment, cancelled flights are now a rare exception. Nanaimo is now able to land larger planes because of lengthened runways and is also prepared to handle customs and immigration services because of re-designed departure and arrivals areas.

3. Passenger Ferry(ies) Spring 2014

Victoria-based Island Ferries Services Ltd. hopes to run up to six ferries a day between downtown Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver, starting as early as spring of 2014. “We are one major investor away from closing (the deal),” said David Lingwood, Island Ferries managing director.

According to B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone, a passenger ferry is also being considered to make B.C. Ferries more efficient and cut costs. A passenger ferry is being considered as an option as the ministry looks for ways to reduce costs and boost efficiencies with its four major ferry terminals that connect the mainland to Nanaimo: Departure Bay, Duke Point, Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen.

Perhaps by this spring we’ll have 2 passenger ferries, giving us more choices than ever. Of course, the corresponding cuts to the car ferries are still a concern.

Understanding the Foreclosure Process

Published By: on February 20th, 2013 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Written on February 20, 2013

Kent Locke from Vining Senini was our guest speaker at last week’s RE/MAX sales meeting. Thanks to Kent for giving us this refresher on the process of court-ordered sales and foreclosures:

The judicial process of a foreclosure begins with a demand letter sent to the borrower, which gives the borrower a short amount of time to pay off the mortgage. Once the letter is sent to the borrower, a petition is filed in the BC Supreme Court which requests an action called the Order Nisi that gives a redemption time to the borrower.  The redemption period, which is usually six months, is given to the borrower to redeem the mortgage. The borrow may try to sell the property themselves, during this redemption period.

After the Order Nisi, one of two things will happen.

1. The lender will chose to have the property listed for sale by the court by way of aJudicial Sale through a REALTOR. At this time, the lender will receive an order, approving the sale. The borrower will be responsible for any shortfall between the borrowed amount of the mortgage and the sale amount.

2. The court orders an Order Absolute foreclosure under the following conditions:

a. The redemption period has expired

b. The property is worth the same amount as the mortgage debt or more.

c. The borrower is judgment-proof (i.e. has no assets or money to apply towards deficiency)

d. There are no offers under a judicial sale.

When the lender is granted an Absolute Order, the lender becomes the new registered owner and all borrowers are wiped off title. No further action can be taken against the borrower after the court has granted the Order Absolute.

Once a judgment is placed against a property it is placed on the market with a REALTOR. At this point a buyer can make an offer on the property.

Here’s what happens next:

1. The buyer makes an offer to purchase the property. This offer includes price and subjects such as inspection and financing.

2.If the offer is accepted and the subject clauses are removed within the specified time, a court date is set. The buyers subject-free offer goes to court for approval.

3.Once in court the vendor’s lawyer presents the offer to the judge.

The judge asks if there are any other parties in the courtroom who want to submit an offer.

If not, and the offer is market value, the judge will approve the sale.

If there are competing offers the judge will instruct all parties, including the original buyer to leave the courtroom and resubmit their final subject free offer in a sealed envelope to the vendor’s lawyer.

After all offers have been submitted the judge reviews the offers and approves the best offer. Generally speaking the sale goes to the highest bidder, however, if the bids are close (within $1-2,000 of each other) the judge will sometimes choose to award the sale to the party with the original accepted offer in recognition of their due diligence.

WestJet Comes to Nanaimo – at last!!!

Published By: on February 12th, 2013 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Written on February 12, 2013

Great news for Nanaimo travellers and investors! Monday Feb. 11, 2013 WestJet announced it’s new  service between Nanaimo and Calgary. Beginning in June, there will be daily DIRECT flights between our cities. Here’s the link for the Nanaimo Airport’s press release, including scheduling and pricing.

Of course, many of us are expecting that this services will be only the beginning. Hopefully the future will hold a direct link to Bellingham, as well as a “sun destination”, like Comox’s direct flights to Puerto Vallarta.

New Regulations for Home Construction in Nanaimo

Published By: on February 5th, 2013 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Written on February 5, 2013

Changes to the B.C. Building Code – December 2012

If you are building a new home in B.C. you need to know about these changes. Here in Nanaimo the city building inspectors are scrambling to get up to speed with the new requirements, specifically in the area of seismic upgrades.

In the Nanaimo area, new homes will be required to have Brace Wall Bands. These add lateral stability to the structure – important in the event of an earthquake.

Other new requirements limit the span of large open rooms such as great rooms and the amount of window surface allowed on a wall.

It is estimated that these changes will add $10-15,000 to the cost of building a single family home in Nanaimo.

For more information about building your own home in Nanaimo check out this publication by the City of Nanaimo.

Rental Suites in Nanaimo – What homeowners need to know

Published By: on January 31st, 2013 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Written on January 31, 2013

What’s the difference between Nanaimo’s AUTHORIZED suites and LEGAL suites?

1.Authorized/unauthorized suites refer to suites that were built before Feb. 7, 2005. Before that date there were no rules about suites. Once the City of Nanaimo decided to recognize these suites as an important part of city’s “housing stock”, regulations were introduced. Existing suites were then referred to authorized or unauthorized suites. Newly built suites were referred to as legal or illegal suites.

In order for a pre-2005 suite to be considered authorized it must meet all the “life safety issues” that appear in the building code. The main ones are as follows:

-Fire spread – 5/8” drywall in the ceiling and walls separating the suite from the main part of the house. Also there must be a separation of heat venting from the suite.
-Fire egress – windows in all bedrooms (big enough to climb out of), and appropriate door exits.
-Hard-wired smoke alarms

2. Legal/illegal Suites Any suite built after Feb, 2005 must meet all the building code standards in order to be considered a legal suite. In addition to the above issues, these suites must be no more than 40% of the total square footage of the home (using outside measurements). They must also have independent laundry, water shutoff and heating.

3. What if your suite is not authorized or legal? There are many unauthorized and illegal suites in Nanaimo. These are investigated on a “complaint basis”. This means that the City of Nanaimo tolerates the existence of these suites unless there is a complaint made, usually by a neighbour.  As of today (Jan 31/13) Nanaimo has a backlog of more than 300 suites to investigate for Life Safety Issues.

4.What happens if you are investigated? Nanaimo City inspectors will give you a list of improvements that need to be made with a deadline. If these improvements are not made then the suite will be decommissioned, usually by removing the 220 wiring for the stove.

5. What if you are buying a home with an unauthorized or illegal suites You can still rent the suite out, but be aware that if a complaint is made against you and the city investigates your suite, you may be facing some expensive upgrades. Income from an unauthorized or illegal suite cannot be counted on; therefore your lender will not accept the rent as part of your income.

6. How many suites are there in Nanaimo? Naturally it is impossible to know how many unauthorized or illegal suites are in the City of Nanaimo. However, we do know that there have been 1,500 legal suites added to Nanaimo’s housing stock since 2005. In 2011 and 2012, 60% of new homes were built with legal suites.

This influx of secondary suites has raised the vacancy rate in Nanaimo to 7% in 2012 (according to CMHC stats). This is good news for renters as the average rental price drops. It is bad news for homeowners who wish to rent out their suites. Landlords have had to drop their prices and work harder to attract good renters.

What You Need to Know about Household Mould!

Published By: on January 15th, 2013 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Written on January 15, 2013

What you need to know about moud in your home

Daryl from Discovery Home Inspections came to our sales meeting this week to educate us about the issue of mould in homes. Mold has become a hot-button issue in the past few years, with lots of misinformation floating around.  It is helpful to know that most molds found in our homes are harmless and easy to get rid of. Our environment is full of mold spores. They are a part of our natural world and should not be a source of alarm or fear.

Apparently 85% of household moulds are caused by “life-style issues” and can be fixed by better ventilation or more heat.  This is especially true of the mould found on many interior windows. Most molds are from vapour and condensation – not water infusion.

  • Black mould found in many attics is not harmful if the source is dealt with. Mainly this means better ventilation. It will not spread to the house because it is carried upward by the home’s heat.
  • White mould destroys wood. It can be easily dealt with by using an encapsulating spray. This creates a barrier between the mould and the air it needs to grow.
  • Mould around the tiles in a shower are most often in the old caulking. This is simple to scrape out and replace with new chaulking.
  • Most moulds can be removed by a good scrub with warm soapy water. It is not good to use bleach. It is no more effect in removing the mold than the soapy water and the fumes are not good for you.
  • When there is water damage, remediation is a simple matter of cutting away and replacing the effected material and, of course, fixing the source of the water.
  • Most mould on the exterior of stucco buildings is just surface mould caused by porous paint and wet weather. It can be simply washed off. To watch for more intrusive water damage look for bowing in the wall or vertical cracks that have not been repaired. Vertical cracks are a normal occurrence but they do need to be filled, when they occur, in order to prevent water intrusion

Here’s the link the Environment Canada’s website on the subject:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/in/poll/mould-moisissure/rid-debarrasser-eng.php

If you are unsure about whether you need to be concerned about mould in your home give Darryl at Discovery Home Inspections a call. He is a certified Mould Inspector and Remediator. 250-713-4811-713-4811    250-713-4811

http://www.discoveryhomeinspect.com/

Compassion in Commerce

Published By: on February 28th, 2012 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Have you signed that Charter for Compassion? Check it out at charterforcompassion.org

On March 21 Karen Armstrong will be speaking at the Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon on the topic of Compassion in Commerce. I’m going to attend. Anyone want to join me?

B.C. First-time New Home Buyers’ Tax Bonus 2012

Published By: on February 24th, 2012 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Tuesday Feb. 20 the B.C. Provincial Government announced a new income tax bonus of up to $10,000 for first time home buyers who purchase a new home. Effect from Feb.21/12 to March 31/13 this bonus will be prorated according to household income and the price of the home, but the levels are pretty reasonable. For example a couple who’s total income is $150,000/yr or less who is buying a home that is over $200,000 will receive the whole $10,000. Of course there are other requirement such as residency. This is good news for builders and for buyers.

So here’s the list of reasons why this is good time for First Time Home Buyers to jump into the housing market:

1. Great low mortgage rates

2. If buying new – up to $10,000 provincial tax rebate

3. Federal tax refund of up to $750

To see more details go to the B.C. Government press release.

NOTE: This any other HST rebate decisions are subject to legislative approval.

New HST/PST Rules for B.C. Housing

Published By: on February 20th, 2012 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

This week we learned that the the reign of the HST in B.C. will end April 1, 2013. At that time we will convert back to the 7% PST. In the meantime new rules have been implemented to help with the transition period.

Here are the key elements that I have gleaned from the press releases:

1. Previously the top threshold for receiving any HST rebate was $525,000. At that price you could receive a $26,250 rebate. Beginning April 1,2012, with the transitional rules, the threshold has been raised to $850,000 with a maximum rebate of $42,500.

2. These rebates are now available for 2nd homes.

3. After April 1, 2013, buyers will pay a 2% transitional tax on homes built before April 1, 2013.

This government site on New Home Purchases attempts to explain the rules for the transition from the HST to the PST.

Biodiesel from Chicken Bones?

Published By: on December 1st, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Triple Benefits from the Green Bin Program

  1. The volume of trash headed for our local Nanaimo area landfill is reduced by close to 50%.

2. ICC’s composting plant at Duke Point, just south of Nanaimo, currently processes 50-60 tons of organic waste, creating rich compost and compost-enriched soil available for your garden.

3. In the future food waste will be converted into renewable fuels.

Yes – you read that right! In the future your chicken bones and corn cobs will be converted into fuel to run your car or generate electricity. The B.C. government has promised a $2.5 million investment into the International Composting Corporation (ICC), Nanaimo based liquid biofuel project. The plan is for 2 million litres of biodiesel to be produced annually from the organic waste collected from our region.

This diagram from ICC shows how it works. For more information visit http://www.iccgroup.ca

Carpenter Ants & Termites – what you need to know

Published By: on November 29th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Carpenter Ants and Termites – what’s the difference?

Carpenter ants love moist areas and dry wood. They cause damage as they tunnel through wood to create their “galleries” as seen in the photo above. You may find little piles of sawdust with ant bodies.

Carpenter ants have 3 body segments; some have a red center section. Carpenter ants come in all sizes and are very hard to identify. Some carpenter ants are all black and as small as 3/8”, so just because it’s small you cannot assume it is a sugar ant.   Carpenter ants are noctural so if you think you hear chewing in the walls at night, you are not going mad – you probably have ants tunneling in your bedroom wall.

In cold weather they go dormant. You cannot treat them in the winter anyway. Carpenter ants swarm in the spring so if they come back with the warm weather get a pro in to treat your home. They will treat the whole property because there may be satellite nests that will are hard to locate.

Termites have small black bodies and long wings. They swarm in the spring and in the fall when the rain begins. They cause more structural damage than carpenter ants because they consume wood for food rather than just digging tunnels. As you can see in the photo above, there can be a lot of damage hiding behind your drywall.

They create mud tunnels which often can be found near the house’s foundation:

They often come up the expansion joint between the foundation wall and the floor. Termites love sandy soil so that means that the land between the Country Club area in Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach is prime habitat for them.

Ways to prevent infestation are:

  1. regular inspection, especially foundation walls.
  2. trim vegetation close to the house
  3. keep all wood from contacting soil
  4. repair any water leaks

If you see ants – get a sample! It’s the only way to identify if it’s a destructive wood eater or a harmless nuisance.

Susan Cudahy – New CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation

Published By: on November 27th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Susan Cudahy – New CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC)

There’s a lot of excitement and optimism in the air after Susan Cudahy’s first 30 days as CEO of the NEDC. The NEDC has been formed to allow the business community to move forward with economic development plans at an arms-length from the Nanaimo’s city government. Economic plans will be made in-line with the vision of the city, but at the speed of business – not the speed of government!

The NEDC is basically a sales and marketing organization and Nanaimo is its product.

  • Priorities for the NEDC include:
  • Rebranding Nanaimo
  • Developing a clarity of vision for all stakeholders
  • A new downtown hotel to allow the conference centre to attract more business.
  • Attracting new carriers and new destinations for Nanaimo’s airport – Calgary being a top priority.
  • Re-establishing a fast ferry service, downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver
  • Attracting a larger commercial and industrial tax base to take the pressure of the residential tax base.
  • Developing a “concierge philosophy” in City Hall. i.e. a customer service approach that gives the message – “Your business is welcome here”.

THIS IS NOT A BUBBLE!

Published By: on November 25th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Here’s a note from the head of RE/MAX NANAIMO:

I’ve been hard pressed to find a positive headline in the last few weeks. In view of that, I thought you may be interested in these comments. I had lunch today with Larry Pollock , CEO of the Canadian Western Bank. We were talking about the stability of real estate in Western Canada and on the Island.

CWB has a very large exposure to real estate and therefore a big interest in the stability of values. He first spoke of the differences between the Canadian and US markets that we often compare ourselves to. Given the tax deductibility of mortgage interest in the US, his analogy went like this. “In the US, the average homeowner goes to bed dreaming of a bigger mortgage to purchase consumer goods. In Canada, we dream of going to bed and paying off our mortgage”. 50% of Canadian homes are owned clear title. 30 to 40% have 50% equity or better. He sees a big difference between our two markets. These conservative habits have kept foreclosures to a minimum, giving his Bank the opinion that we are not in a bubble.

Other interesting points included; The Banks research suggests strong immigration numbers will continue to play a large role in the growth of Vancouver. The Bank has forecast prime rate to remain unchanged through 2012. More stability…

All in all, he stressed his optimism for real estate values and provided a list of impressive reasons to back it up.

Charlie

March 2011 Mortgage Rule Changes

Published By: on October 24th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Rule Changes from March 2011-what do they mean?

As of March 18, 2011, two significant rule changes took effect in Canada, with the third change commencing April 18, 2011:

  1. The maximum amortization period on insured mortgages with a down payment of less than 20% was reduced from 35 years to 30 years. For a $300,000 mortgage that made an increase of a little over $100 in monthly payments. Of course it  also increased the amount of capital being paid off each month. The point in this change was to insure that consumers have sufficient equity in their homes to keep them out of trouble in bad economic times. We need to learn from the misfortune of our friends south of the border.
  2. Insured refinancing now requires a 15% down payment, up from 10%.
  3. There is now a 5% minimum down payment required. Line-of-credit used for this 5% is no longer insurable.

These changes only have had a negative impact on highly leveraged purchases resulting in large interest payments and minimal equity in the property.  0% down has never been a good policy. The changes are enforcing what is really sound financial advise, especially for 1st time buyers.

Property Transfer Tax – what is it and who pays?

Published By: on October 24th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Property transfer tax (PTT)is a nasty surprise to some home buyers new to B.C. There are similar taxes charged in all provinces, however ours in B.C. is the 2nd highest in the country. It is calculated like this: 1% on the 1st $200,000 and 2% on the balance. I think the idea is that any property over $200,000 is a luxury property and thus should be subject to a higher tax rate. Hmmm. Has anyone looked at the average house price in B.C. lately? This $200,000 breakpoint is looking a bit out of date.

PTT is charged to the buyer in all transactions involving transfer of title from one owner to another. However, 1st time homebuyers are exempt. In order to qualify for the exemption you need to have never owned a property anywhere in the world at any time in your life. Each individual has the right to claim this exemption, so if one partner has owned a property before and the other has not, you can claim a percentage of the exemption based on the percentage of your ownership. For example, if you own 50% of your new property then you can claim 50% of the exemption.

PTT is based on the “fair market value” of the property – usually the sale price. If the price paid for the property is not considered fair market value, for example if it was gifted to a family member, then the value would be set at the assessment level plus improvements. The point here is that the government gets its money one way or the other.

Property Transfer Tax Exemption for 1st time Buyers

Published By: on October 24th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Property Transfer Tax Exemption

As a 1st time homebuyer you are exempt from paying the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) on a property of $425,000 or less. In order to qualify you need to have never previously owned a home, anywhere in the world, any time in your life. You also need to be buying the home as your primary residence and you need to be a full-time resident of B.C. for 12 months and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
If you are a 1st time buyer and you are buying a house with a partner who has owned before, you can still claim your portion of the tax exemption. For example, if you are going to be 50% owner, as in joint tenancy, you may claim an exemption of 50% of the tax.
For more details go to

http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/business/property_taxes/property_transfer_tax/first_Time_home_buyer.htm

Best of Tour – B&B Anyone?

Published By: on September 6th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

The Pepper Muffin Inn is for sale. This is a beautiful 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom home on 6.5 acres. Buy the business or use it for your own family, either way it’s the best of the rural lifestyle within minutes of town.