Friday, February 29, 2008
Monty Horton said with the price of real estate sitting low in comparison to Lower Mainland, Alberta and US markets, the region and Nelson will see a current 34 per cent non-district ownership level rise.
Of the 22,541 properties in rural RDCK and 15,044 in municipalities, around 10 percent of the properties were owned by Albertans and 19 percent owned by BC residents living outside of the RDCK, according to a 2007 Year End Report prepared by the RDCK’s Development Services Department.
Nearly 11 percent of the properties in municipalities like Nelson were owned by Albertans, with Kaslo the highest at 25 percent.
The percentage of non-district owners hasn’t reached a critical level, said Horton byt it is increasing.
“We’re slowly taking steps towards becoming an elitist community,” he said. “But if it does get to the excess (like the Okanagan) the community will recognize that before it is a problem.”
Of the non-district owners in the RDCK, three percent were from the US and 1.5 percent by people from other provinces.
The figures were calculated after Crown, BC, Hydro, FortisBC, gas utilities, school board and Columbia Power properties were taken out.
Area D north of Kaslo had the largest non-resident ownership at 32 percent as well as the highest US share at four percent. Area A on the East Shore had the second highest non-resident ownership at 27 percent.
A large non-resident population erodes the fabric of a community, said Horton, with schools and businesses closing and the older demographic pushing out the younger one.
But right now it is a law of supply and demand, said Horton, and if there is a supply of cheap real estate it is going to get snapped up.
Projects in the rural areas are now beginning to reflect that demand. Two weeks ago a developer began the application process to place a proposed 85 lot bare land strata on a property next to the Ministry of Forests Building on the North Shore.
This demand continues to come despite a 21 percent increase in the assessed value of residences in the RDCK and a 95 percent change since 2005, according to the BC Assessment Authority. Nelson jumped by 91 percent in the same time span.
Dennis Hickson with BC Assessment told the RDCK board of directors Saturday in their regular monthly board meeting, Nelson and the boarding RDCK electoral areas, E and F, led the West Kootenay in total residential assessed values.
This means the average price of a home in those areas is high, Hickson said, reflecting peoples desire to live there. Nelson’s average value was $305,538, a number which now includes strata’s, and Area E was $293,329 but Area F led the entire RDCK at $348,638.
“Nelson, as far as home value goes, is the absolute hub of the West Kootenays and that explains why areas E and F have followed,” he said.
Although some areas like Slocan come in at $61,832 average value per occurrence, they have experienced a 23 percent rise in residential assessed value sine 2007.
The hottest markets from an assessed value perspective this year is Kaslo and Area K, the Arrow Lakes region, with a 30 percent change. However, this moves the average price per home in Kaslo to $153,690 and to $198,782 in Area K.
Area I northeast of Castlegar had a 28 percent jump as average assessed house values rose to $$232,781. Nelson itself had a 15 percent increase, while areas E and F were 20 and 18 percent respectively.
Timothy Schafer Nelson Daily News February 26, 2008
Oliver Berkeley says the private facility will be a major engineering challenge.
“We have a proposed pier that goes about 200 feet out into the lake, with a clubhouse and 60 boat marina just in front of it,” he says. “it will be the first floating breakwater on the lake.”
Thirty-four lots have already sold in the up market project that sits on 450 acres of forest and spans three kilometers of waterfront. More than half the property has been designated parkland where no building will take place.
Greg Nesteroff The Weekender February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
But the Home Buyers Plan can provide options for anyone saving for retirement but in need of investing in more immediate priorities - especially with the increasing price of real estate.
With the Home Buyers Plan, younger people who begin contributing to an RRSP may not even own a house yet. Does it make sense to contribute to an RRSP if you think you will need to keep funds liquid to buy a home?
In some cases the answer is yes, especially if a person is earning good income.
The HBP allows participants to withdraw up to $20,000 in a calendar year from an RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home. Couples may each utilize the HBP (combined maximum of $40,000). The plan may be suitable for any first-time home buyers who are buying a home and may need additional funds to pay for a down payment or reduce financing costs. A larger down payment may eliminate the costs to insure the mortgage.
The Home Buyers plan is open only to first-time buyers.
You may not be considered a first-time home buyer if, at any time during the period beginning January 1 of the fourth year before the year of withdrawal and ending 31 days before the withdrawal, you or your spouse or common-law partner owned a home that you occupied as your principal place of residence.
Participants in these plans should understand that withdrawals need to be repaid or have the amount included as taxable income.
The first repayment is due the second year following the year in which a withdrawal is made. Each year, Canada Revenue Agency will send you a Notice of Assessment with a statement include including: amount repaid (including any additional payments), HBP balance, and the amount of the next repayment to make.
Participants have up to 15 years to repay the amount that is withdrawn.
Generally, each year the repayment amount is approximately 1/15 of the total amount withdrawn until the full amount is repaid to your RRSPs. For example, if Bill withdrew $15,000 from his RRSP in September 2007, he must pay at least 1/15th (or $1,000) of the withdrawal in 2009 (or the first 60 days of 2010).
Withdrawals from an RRSP account are generally considered taxable income.
Financial institutions are required to withhold the following tax on RRSP withdrawals: 10 per cent on the first $5,000, 20 per cent between $5,001 and $15,000, and 30 per cent on amounts greater than $15,000.
Exceptions to this rule are if you give the financial institution a signed form T1036 (HBP) or RC96 (LLP).
These forms allow a financial institution to release the full amount of funds to you without withholding tax.
Both plans require participants to file a completed Schedule 7 with their income tax return to designate the contributions as either a LLP or HBP repayment.
Failure to complete this schedule may result in CRA including the required repayment as income and assessing your tax return accordingly. The repayment may be done to an existing RRSP account or to a new one. The RRSP issuer should give the participant an official receipt for the contribution.
Liquidity is a very important component to consider if you are looking at participating in one these plans. Cash has to be available within the RRSP account.
Some investments that may be purchased within an RRSP are illiquid or require fees for selling early.
Before you pay your tuition or buy a home you may want to consider all of your funding options.
Care should be taken to understand all important dates and exceptions that are specific to both plans.
Prior to considering these plans you should read the CRA guides RC4135 (HBP) and RC4112 (LLP) available in both printed versions and online.
-- Keith Greenard CIM FCSI and Kevin Greenard CA FMA CFP are members of The Greenard Group at ScotiaMcLeod in Victoria.
Victoria Times Colonist
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The 2007 donation surpassed the agents’ 2006 contributions by more than 14 per cent. Since 1992, RE/MAX sales associates nationwide have contributed close to $30 million to the cause. The 2007 break-down of contributions saw over $654,000 donated to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in Vancouver.
"What many don’t realize is that the corporate and private sectors play a vital role in making miracles possible,” says Marie Sheppy, Senior Coordinator, Corporate Affairs, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “With public coffers stretched to the limit, it’s a fact that organizations like RE/MAX fund a significant portion of the required cost to treat sick and injured children in pediatric facilities across Canada. We work so hard because we know our donations mean more than dollars and cents—it's an opportunity for healthy, happy childhoods and hope for promising futures. There really is nothing more rewarding than watching kids just be kids.”
RE/MAX realtors generate donations through the RE/MAX Miracle Home Program®, whereby a portion of their commission earned on the purchase or sale of each home is given to Children's Miracle Network affiliated hospitals. Children's Miracle Network supports 14 children's hospitals and foundations across Canada. Donations are often maximized through additional fundraising events including golf tournaments, gala evenings with silent auctions, casual Fridays and much more. Funds raised in each community stay in that community to be invested in the local Children's Miracle Network hospital.
“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when people work toward a meaningful cause,” says Christine Martysiewicz, Director of Internal and Public Relations, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “The synergy, commitment and enthusiasm of the RE/MAX network are truly phenomenal. However, what’s more amazing is that the charitable efforts undertaken by our realtors are 100 per cent voluntary. Supporting Children’s Miracle Network is a chance to make a real difference in the lives of local children and families in their own communities. That type of involvement is something that’s been woven into the fabric of the RE/MAX organization since its inception. The way we see it, we don’t just serve and work in these communities, we truly are a part of them, and we care—it’s that simple.”
In Canada, the funds raised on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network help support outreach programs and fund advancements in critical research, as well as upgrades to medical facilities and equipment.
“The outstanding generosity of RE/MAX Associates has helped more than 2.5 million Canadian children in 2007 alone – that’s 1 in 4 kids nationally,” says John Hartman, Chief Operating Officer – Canada, Children’s Miracle Network. “RE/MAX has made Children’s Miracle Network hospitals a vital part of what they do and continue to put giving back at the top of their agenda. Since 1992, RE/MAX has been a strong supporter of Children’s Miracle Network. Their dedication, passion and enthusiasm for the kids and families in their communities across Canada is outstanding. They continue to give and give more. We are very proud to be affiliated with RE/MAX. The progress being made thanks to contributions, like that from RE/MAX, has been nothing short of astonishing. While care and outcomes have improved significantly, it also remains a reality that the need has never been greater.”
In Canada, the children's hospitals/foundations receiving funding from Children’s Miracle Network are: BC Children's Hospital Foundation in Vancouver, Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation in Calgary, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation in Edmonton, Children’s Health and Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, The Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba in Winnipeg, SickKids Foundation in Toronto, Children's Health Foundation in London, McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation in Ottawa, Operation Enfant Soleil (St. Justine’s Children’s Hospital, Montreal Children’s Hospital, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ) , IWK Health Centre in Halifax, and Janeway Children's Hospital Foundation in St. John's. For more information, visit: www.childrensmiraclenetwork.ca.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
"BC home sales edged down in January for the first time in nine months," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "The combination of fewer home sales and an increase in active listings is pulling the BC housing market toward balanced conditions. This means upward pressure on home prices is less severe than a year ago."
"While unit sales are no longer breaking records," added Muir, "they still reflect strong consumer demand for housing." The 4,949 units sold last month in the province were well above the ten-year average of 4,230 units for the month of January.
"The provincial economy is continuing its expansionary phase," noted Muir. "While weak demand for BC lumber and exchange rate parity with the US is negatively impacting some resource-dependent communities, strong employment growth and rising wages in other sectors are helping to underpin housing demand in the province."
Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
6 MONTHS - 7.05% - 6.50%
1 YEAR - 7.35% - 5.30%
2 YEARS - 7.40% - 6.05%
3 YEARS - 7.40% - 6.05%
4 YEARS - 7.34% - 5.95%
5 YEARS - 7.39% - 5.84%
7 YEARS - 7.70% - 6.20%
10 YEARS - 8.05% - 6.25%
Mortgage Rates Februaary 14, 2008
Prime Rate is 5.75%.
Variable Rate Mortgage (Prime - 0.60) 5.15%
Monday, February 11, 2008
“Historically low mortgage rates, solid employment and income growth as well as a high level of consumer confidence continue to underpin the high level of housing starts”, said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “Housing starts in January returned to a level more consistent with our expectation that housing starts will total 211,700 units in 2008, remaining above the 200,000 mark for the seventh consecutive year.”
In January the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 25.2 per cent to 189,500 units compared to December. Urban multiples surged 64.1 per cent to 108,000 units in January, while singles fell 4.8 per cent to 81,500 units.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in four of Canada’s five regions in January. Urban starts registered an increase of 43.7 per cent in Ontario, 22.4 per cent in Quebec, 19.4 per cent in the Prairies and 17.5 per cent in British Columbia. The Atlantic region bucked the trend and registered a decline of 17.4 per cent in January. Urban multiple starts were up in all regions except in the Atlantic. Urban singles were down in all regions except Quebec and Ontario.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 33,200 units in January.
Actual starts in rural and urban areas combined, decreased by an estimated 11.1 per cent in January 2008 compared to January 2007. In urban areas, actual total starts decreased by an estimated 11.5 per cent. Actual urban single starts for January 2008 were down 15.7 per cent compared to January 2007, while multiple starts fell an estimated 8.9 per cent over the same time period.
1. All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts, are seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) — that is, monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels.
CMHC February 8, 2008
During this same period, the average sale price of a single family home sold with the assistance of a Realtor was $247,000. After paying a commission of $12,752 (7% on the first $100,000 and 3.5% on the balance) they would have netted $234,248 or $47,047 more than the FSBOer.
Stastics can at times be misleading but I think that the message sent by these stats are quite clear. Chances are that if you FSBO you will be working for free.
**source NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers**
Thursday, February 7, 2008
The Nelson Synergy Group has put forward the development.
Russell Precious is a spokesperson for the group, he says the group is advancing the development, with units that would sell between $300,000 and $600,000, because it would “do something that’s coherent and beautiful.”
The group has applied to have the block rezoned to allow more housing units – an additional four to the 24 allowed under current City bylaws. They are also applying to be allowed to cover 52 percent of the property instead of the current 45 percent.
Precious says the developers want to cover more of the lot so they can offer more housing and keep prices down.
The development would come with underground parking for 54 vehicles and would stay within R! housing heights of 10 meters.
“we’ve tried to keep the sightlines as they are now.” Precious says.
The group plans to make the building compliant with LEED Gold level environmental standards.
Council voted to refer the project to the Advisory Planning Commission and told Nelson Synergy Group to plan for public meetings on the development.
Chris Shepherd Express News, Wednesday February 6, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
“Despite some global financial instability with regards to the U.S. housing market, Canada continues to experience robust employment levels, ongoing income gains and low mortgage rates,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC. “This has strongly supported Canada's housing markets. However, housing starts are expected to decrease in 2008 mainly due to recent increases in house prices, which will push mortgage carrying costs higher for home buyers.”
Existing home sales, as measured by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), are poised to experience a very strong year with about 520,000 units in 2007, a 7.6 per cent increase over 2006. In 2008 the level of MLS® sales is expected to fall by 3.9 per cent to 499,650 units, while 2009 will see an additional decrease to 488,300. Growth in the average MLS® price has remained high at 10.6 per cent in 2007, mainly because of continued strong price pressures in Canada's western provinces. However, as most resale markets move toward more balanced conditions, growth in average MLS® price is forecast to slow to 5.2 per cent in 2008 and 3.8 per cent in 2009.
At the provincial level, British Columbia's housing starts, which have been above historical averages, are expected to decline in 2008. It is anticipated that a continuing tight labour market, robust income growth and high levels of consumer confidence will help to offset the dampening effect of rising mortgage carrying costs on the demand for new and existing homes in British Columbia. Housing starts should decline from 39,195 units in 2007 to 33,250 in 2008 and 31,700 in 2009. The average MLS® price in British Columbia will grow by 12.1 per cent in 2007, 6.0 per cent in 2008 and 5.0 per cent in 2009. This moderation is due to increased listings and fewer resales bringing more balanced supply and demand conditions to existing homes.
Alberta continues to experience very low unemployment and continuing overall prosperity. Despite these positives, the province is expected to face a drop in net migrants between now and the end of 2008 due to the growing difference in provincial house prices and improved labour market conditions in other provinces. These factors will combine to reduce housing starts from 48,336 units in 2007 to 39,500 in 2008 and 37,750 in 2009. Following an unprecedented 30.7 per cent gain in 2006, and a forecasted strong 24.4 per cent rise in 2007, the average MLS® price is expected to climb by 3.9 per cent in 2008 and 5.4 per cent in 2009.
During 2007, Saskatchewan experienced steady economic growth, a healthy employment situation and gains in net migration. This contributed to strong housing demand. Total housing starts reached 6,007 units in 2007, the highest level in 24 years. However, escalating costs will push housing starts down to 5,600 units in 2008 and 5,300 in 2009. The average MLS® price in Saskatchewan will rise by 31.7 per cent during 2007, 26.4 per cent in 2008 and 8.2 per cent in 2009.
Manitoba is one of five provinces whose economic growth is expected to exceed the national average for 2007. This success has contributed to a five-year high in job creation, which has increased net migration to levels not seen since 1982. These factors will contribute to healthy levels of new home construction through 2008. Total housing starts reached 5,738 units in 2007, the best performance in 20 years. Starts will edge up slightly to 5,800 units in 2008 and 5,900 in 2009. The average MLS® price in Manitoba will rise by 12.5 per cent in 2007, 9.8 per cent in 2008 and 5.7 per cent in 2009.
The Ontario economy is expected to improve slightly during 2008 and this will help sustain housing demand across the province. New home construction activity will be moderate between now and the end of 2008. Housing starts are expected to move up from 68,123 units in 2007 to 69,150 units in 2008, while a more modest economy in 2009 will push starts down somewhat to 67,150 units. The average MLS® price in Ontario will rise by 7.6 per cent in 2007, while 2008 and 2009 should see increases of 6.2 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively.
Solid job creation and steady economic growth in Quebec during 2007 pushed housing starts up by 1.4 per cent to 48,553 units. A moderation of the economy will cause a slight shift downwards in 2008 to 46,500 units and 45,375 in 2009. A reasonably healthy resale market will also fuel average MLS® price growth in Quebec; 6.6 per cent in 2007, 3.8 per cent in 2008 and 3.0 per cent in 2009.
In New Brunswick, rising mortgage carrying costs, a slower economy and more choice in the resale market will result in lower levels of new home construction. Housing starts are forecast to decline from 4,242 units in 2007 to 3,925 in 2008, a decrease of 7.5 per cent. Moving into 2009, starts are expected to fall to 3,650 units. The average MLS® price in New Brunswick should rise by 8.1 per cent during 2007, 3.6 per cent during 2008 and 2.8 per cent during 2009.
Nova Scotia will experience slower employment and population growth during 2008, causing new home construction activity to be more restrained. Housing starts are forecast to stabilize from 4,750 units in 2007 to 4,550 in 2008 and 4,500 in 2009. The average MLS® price in Nova Scotia is expected to rise by 7.5 per cent for 2007, while 2008 and 2009 will see growth of 4.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively.
Prince Edward Island's economy is expected to undergo modest economic growth through 2008. As a result, housing starts will slowly decline from 750 units in 2007 to 700 in 2008 and 675 in 2009. The average MLS® price in Prince Edward Island will rise by 6.0 per cent in 2007, 3.4 per cent in 2008 and 3.3 per cent in 2009.
In Newfoundland, a strong export-driven economy has pushed housing demand up. However, it is expected that higher homeownership and construction costs and lower employment growth will dampen housing demand in 2008. Housing starts for 2007 were up 18.6 per cent to 2,649 units. For 2008, minimal change is expected at 2,650 units. Meanwhile, 2009 will see an additional increase of 0.9 per cent to 2,675 units. The average MLS® price in Newfoundland will rise by 7.0 per cent in 2007, 7.2 per cent in 2008 and 6.3 per cent in 2009.
As Canada's national housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) draws on over 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable homes — homes that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country.
CMHC February 4, 2008
An effort to streamline the wheels of city planning is on the road.
A plan is taking shape to delete repetitive review of substandard lots – and save taxpayer money and council’s time – on a general zoning amendment that has been a slam-dunk approval for council in the past.
The amendment past first and second reading January 14.
The planning department recommendation was for boundary adjustments on properties with houses constructed across lot lines. It would allow the homeowners to subdivide their property into new, substandard lots to the minimum lot size without having to go through city council for approval.
Instead, the application for subdivision will have to meet five requirements, as well as general requirements of the subdivision approving process and only go through an approving officer.
Although less council and staff time will be devoted to rezoning applications that cross lot lines, some councilors felt approving the amendment would take the public process out of future decisions.
“What we have now is the ability to screen (these amendment) through public process,” said Councilor Ian Mason. “you lose that by approving this. I’m not sure if it’s worth it to lose that.”
If approved Councilor Mason said anyone sitting on a double lot would see a significant rise in property values.
He admitted some work still needed to be done to maximize the land base and create more density but there had to be an idea of equity about it.
In his report, senior planner Dave Wahn noted council historically approved every instance where a homeowner with a substantial lot made an application. In some cases it involved going from three substandard lots to two substandard lots, and vice versa.
He cited seven recent cases of amendments which passed through council and gained approval. He had been directed by council when he took the position of senior planner several months ago to look for ways to streamline the planning process and this was one of them.
“If it seems that they’re all going through so why put property owners through the expense and angst of that process and save a cost to the taxpayers and the time of council?” he said. “If we can do it once through a rezoning process, why do it several times?”
In order for a subdivision of two of more contiguous substandard sized lots to gain approval of a planning officer, they must meet all of the following:
1. Be legally constructed single-family dwelling crossing a property line
2. Be a subdivision dividing into equal or fewer lots,
3. Have no new lot smaller then any existing lot
4. The existing house shall meet setback requirements to the newly created lot lines’
5. The principle use shall be a single-family dwelling.
Wahn said there couldn’t be a bylaw written that would satisfy every possible concern.
“There are always going to be people with problems in any bylaw,” he said. “It’s a degree of compromise. I have to put in planning that works for the majority of the population and this does that.”
Timothy Schafer Nelson Daily News February 5, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
On January 21 the Nelson City Council voted unanimously to a bylaw that will raise fees charged to land developers and sub-dividers. City staff recommended the increases after a report found that the City of Nelson was consistently low in development costs compared to other BC municipalities.
The increases will put the costs of processing development applications on the backs of the user rather then the general taxpayer. Based on 2007 statistics the City should realize a revenue increase of $44,755. In 2007 only $12,595 was collected.
A major development permit application will now cost $1500 up from $300 charged in 2007. A zoning or land use bylaw amendment more than triples from $700 to $2,500, plus charges of $25 per proposed residence or lot, and $5 per square meter of commercial space. Preliminary layout approval for lot subdivision goes from $10 to $350 per lot.