Paul Liberatore

Paul: 604-788-0463 |


"I'll give you $5,000 cash if you tell me what the highest offer is, and we will beat it." 


Let me back up a bit. I want to first start off by saying this situation did not happen to me, but rather a friend/colleague of mine. I am taking this story from him, ala when Peterman bought Kramer's stories in Seinfeld. I did not however pay him for this, which brings me to my next point. In this crazy crazy white-hot Real Estate market, information is valuable....and recently I found out how valuable, $5,000. So here is the scoop, my colleague lists a home for sale in Coquitlam, gets 200000 people thru the open house (that may be an exaggeration, it was probably 150,000). 6 or 7 Realtors confirm they will be writing an offer the next night its set for 7pm. One of the Realtors calls the next day and says "Hey Mr Listing Agent (not his real last name), if you tell me what the highest offer is so we can beat it, I will pay you $5,000 cash under the table. I can tell you that my colleague works for a very successful and reputable team that would never in a million years entertain that idea, and the Realtor quickly got shut down, and there may be a complaint filed, I'll leave that with them. When he told me the story, the first thing I thought was......if this agent is asking you to do this, I am sure it's not his first time.....I am sure he has done it before and listing agents have agreed. Now let me list some of the 'laws' that us agents must adhere to, and you can decide if any one of them was broken.

- act honestly
- act in an impartial, objective manner
- avoid all conflicts of interest
- not make secret profit


Those are just a few of the rules, pretty sure this buyers agent broke a lot more than them. How would you feel if you were a buyer, trying to buy a home in this market, where literally 95% of homes are selling for over asking price in competing situations, and this happens. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, the dirty realtor gets the offer accepted. This has to stop, and guys like this need to be tossed out of the business forever, with their licenses revoked forever.

Something else similarly happened to me a few years ago, but this situation, the agent was actually not 'technically' breaking any rules.....technically. I get a phone call from a friend of mines sister saying she wants to write an offer on a foreclosure, and her current agent said he could do it, but he was also writing another offer on the same property with a different client. Is this allowed? "technically" yes...... but 1) it should not be 2) even if all the proper paperwork is filled out, its nearly impossible to execute this and not break any rules. I personally would never even attempt to try it, and would refer whoever contacted me last, to a good agent in my office. So I explain to her that in a foreclosure deal, you have 1 shot. You write 1 offer, and put it in an envelope, and submit it to a judge. So basically, your 'agent' (I use that term loosely) knows before he even shows up to court that day, that one of his clients has no chance. How would you feel if this agent is representing you and his cousin. He comes to see you first at 7pm to write the offer and you write $525,000. He meets his cousin at 8pm and his cousin says "I think I want to write $522,000...what do you think?" What do you think the agent does? Is he representing either party professionally?


The agents that worry about THEIR pockets before their clients, need to get weeded out, plain and simple.



Other than the weather, 2016 has not been particularly kind to Canada.

The Loonie is the lowest it has been in 15 years, a barrel of gas is trading for less than $30 and Canada's National Men's Junior hockey team didn't even reach the semi-finals! Compare these factors against the rising U.S. greenback and you get one gloomy economic forecast. However, there is one section of our economy that seems to be unaffected, as the real estate market is showing little signs of slowing down on a national level.

Despite the troubling forecast, don't expect any price breaks in Canada's real estate market for 2016. TREB is predicting an increase in the average price of a home to rise by nearly 10 per cent, a number skewed by big markets where demand outweighs supply like the GTA.


The Canadian housing market is coming off a truly remarkable run, and RentSeeker is here to help you prepare for the road ahead. These will be some of the biggest factors affecting the housing market in 2016 and must be considered by anyone who is currently in or thinking about entering it.

Oil Prices

Oil prices have hit lows we haven't seen in decades as the price of a barrel plummeted more than 60 per cent since June of 2014. Currently trading for less than $29 a barrel, the 'bottom of the barrel' seems more like an endless pit.

Certain oil producing countries and companies have flooded the market with a surplus of supply, driving down the cost of crude. As a result it's been a downhill slide for the Canadian energy sector that plays a huge role in the national economy.

The oil, gas and mining sector accounts for more than a quarter of the national GDPand many workers have been laid off as Canadian oil production has come screeching to a halt.

When the energy sector is in good shape, so is real estate, particularly in Western Canada. However, the market in British Columbia is soaring as house prices in Vancouver continue to skyrocket, although Alberta is definitely taking a hit after experiencing numerous years of growth.

The Low Loonie

The Canadian dollar is worth less than 70 cents U.S., a rate we haven't seen since 2003 -- a time before Netflix and when most people didn't have Internet access on their cell phone.

Furthermore, our currency has lost more value against the U.S. than other major currency, including the Pound or Yen, leading some economists to state that we'reflirting with recession.

Depending on where you live in Canada, these overwhelming numbers will have a drastic affect on the housing market in your area. At this point, many economists believe the worst is still yet to come, and that may be tough to believe for those living in Western Canada.

Many companies in Canada are suffering from increased expenses and people are loosing jobs. The Toronto Star has shut down its printing plant, and Goodwill shut down 16 stores in Ontario -- two examples of companies that have experienced hard times and are cutting jobs.

When Canadians lose jobs, the real estate market suffers. We will see how the low Loonie affects the unemployment rate and which provinces will be hit the hardest.

Borrowing Costs

Mortgage rates can't get much lower! The low, low Loonie and price of oil have been major contributors to muted borrowing costs for Canadians. Mortgage rates are extremely affordable, making it easier than ever for many new home-buyers (despite the modest increase in a minimum down payment for properties over $500,000), especially in smaller markets outside the Big Three (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal).

This CBCarticle states that "many economists predict Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will be forced to lower the interest rate yet again because low crude prices are cutting into Canada's economic growth."

As long as borrowing money is cheap, real estate prices won't be. For those who are priced out of the housing market, while rents have also risen across the country, it is the only option for many. Apartment finders like and classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji are a good place to search for those looking for an apartment to rent across the country.

Foreign Investment

Foreign investment in the Canadian real estate market has always been a double-edged sword. For those who own property, increased foreign investment has been welcomed as they have seen their own property value increase. However, for the majority of Canadians who rent, foreign investment means increased real estate prices that were already unaffordable.

Many people who have lived in Vancouver for years are being driven out of the city due to over inflated real estate costs, and locals are demanding governmentintervention. A prime example of the double-edged sword, Dirk Meissner of theCanadian Press pointed out that the B.C. Finance Ministry could lose $1 billion in real estate sales and nearly 4,000 construction jobs if the government intervenes to minimize foreign investment activity.

For better or for worse, foreign investment is a major factor, and a low Canadian dollar makes foreign investment very attractive. Don't expect a decrease for in-demand cities like Vancouver, despite a gloomy economic outlook.

Our new prime minister inherited a difficult situation on the economic and political front, and the Liberal Party has a tough road ahead. The Liberals have traditionally not been a "finance first" organization, and the current economic situation is one of the worse we have experienced in decades.

Rona Ambrose has clearlystatedherconcerns that a "very new and untested" Liberal Government isn't prepared to deal with the future, but let's hope she's wrong.

Despite the rocky start to 2016, our real estate market isn't showing signs of slowing down. We'll just have to wait and see how things turn out.


An investor syndicate linked to advertisements for a “sea view apartment development” at the industrial-zoned Molson Brewery site in Vancouver says it did not approve the online ads.

Responding to questions from The Province, Sun Commercial Real Estate had its lawyer issue a statement saying it voluntarily met with B.C. Securities Commission representatives “to demonstrate that it complies with all laws governing its activities.”

As The Province reported, an English translation of ads attributed to Sun Commercial on the Chinese language website stated “Sun Commercial real estate brewery project recruit shareholders, 330,000 feet of great sea view apartment development.”

Under the “zero risk, high return” plan advertised, small investors were required to contribute $150,000.

The industrial-zoned site was sold to a mystery buyer late last year, and both regional and city planners have stated they do not want condo towers built at the site.

In a statement Friday, Sun Commercial’s lawyer James Carpick stated that a woman posted the ads attributed to Sun Commercial on “purporting to solicit investors, but she did this without Suncom’s knowledge or approval ... those advertisements were not statements made, authorized or approved by Suncom. Suncom will take steps to address this misconduct by that individual.”

On its website last year, Sun Commercial described itself as a crowdfunding syndicate helping clients “with a relatively small amount of capital” gain access to some of the largest real estate investment projects in Vancouver. The firm’s website said it aimed to complete more than $400 million in land purchases in 2015, after completing nine property deals worth $200 million in 2014.

Crowdfunding is a form of online investor recruitment that has been regulated in B.C. since May 2015.

On an updated 2016 website, Sun Commercial lists its CEO as Davidson Guo. Davidson Guo, formerly known as De Xue Guo, is the director of the company SUNCROWDFUNDING HOLDINGS LTD. The company’s mailing address, in corporate documents researched by The Province in 2015, is listed as a Richmond mansion called the Ivy Manor. Property documents show that investor Kevin Sun, then known as Hongwei Sun, bought the $9.5-million home in 2009.

In its legal statement Friday, Sun Commercial states: “Recent media reports appear to suggest that Sun Commercial Real Estate Ltd. has been ‘crowdfunding’ to raise funds from investors and may have breached securities laws in material ways. These suggestions are false.”

Earlier this week spokesman Richard Gilhooley confirmed the BCSC was examining online information obtained by The Province and attributed to Sun Commercial.

“In terms of how we are using the information (reported) I’m afraid I can’t comment on that,” Gilhooley told The Province Thursday. “I can’t confirm or deny whether we are investigating.”

Sun Commercial's legal letter further states that it "has not been advised that the Commission takes any issue with any business activity it has undertaken."

On Friday, after reading Sun Commercial's legal letter, BCSC spokesman Gilhooley told The Province, "all I can say is we are continuing to review the situation involving Sun Commercial and Luxmore Crowdfunding (an unrelated Vancouver company)."

In one deal advertised online on Sun Commercial’s 2015 website, Sun Commercial reported buying a Cambie property across from Oakridge for $19 million in July 2013 and selling it for $26 million in October 2013, after holding it for just three months. Kevin Sun is director of Qiji, one of the companies connected to the deal in legal documents.

Another Sun Commercial project researched by The Province, a Metrotown land assembly, involves investors including Julia Lau, a former Vancouver realtor, and Mailin Chen, a major buyer of Vancouver residential real estate who made his fortune rapidly in Nanjing’s construction and development market. 


The City of Vancouver should approve towers taller than 1,000 feet in some areas of the downtown, according to Reliance Properties Ltd. president Jon Stovell.

The move would increase the housing supply, maximize density near transit and stop pushing density further into the suburbs.

Vancouver needs to “grow up,” he told an Urban Development Institute luncheon January 21.

“Grouse Mountain is 4,000 feet high and our Burrard Place, which is the third-tallest building in the city, 550 feet tall. Why should we ever worry that tall buildings could dominate our physical environment? Let’s finally let go of our bucolic fishing-village past and embrace the reality of a city that we have become in the eyes of the world.”

Stovell told Business in Vancouver after the event that he believes that buildings that the city now approves to be 300 feet tall should be increased to be 500 feet tall.

“Exceptions would be taller buildings that go up to 1,000-feet-tall in certain locations,” he said.

Critics were quick to lambaste Stovell for his proposals.

“Tall towers have serious issues with environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, the loss of views, wind tunnel effects and shadowing,” said Randy Helten, who is president of City Hall Watch, which is a registered B.C. society that Helten describes it as being a civic watchdog.

“There’s also the problem of emergency response and the cost to taxpayers to be able to provide services to those buildings.”

Helten pointed to a Canadian Medical Association Journal study released earlier this week that found that the higher people live in condominium towers, the more likely they are to die of a heart attack.

Building access issues and elevator waits were contributing factors to that finding, according to the study.

Stovell, of course, has an self-interest in the city allowing taller towers.


Reliance is the second-largest property owner in Gastown, with a portfolio of 50 properties worth in excess of $600 million . 

Reliance is also currently developing the one-million-square-foot Burrard Place in partnership with the Jim Pattison Group. That project, originally called Burrard Gateway , bounded by Burrard, Drake, Hornby and Davie streets, includes four towers including One Burrard Place, which will have 53 floors, even though it was marketed as having 60 floors.

The disparity is because the structure will not have a 13th floor nor any floor that ended with a four. The city banned that practice late last year for new buildings. One Burrard Place, however, was grandfathered and is one of the last buildings that the city is allowing to number its floors in this way even though the project has still not broken ground.

Reliance also owns land at the corner of Davie and Hornby streets, where there currently is a 7-11.

Stovell would like to build a 30-story, 300-foot-tall rental building on that site but he said that proposal has been with the city for a “long time” and is running up against obstacles.

“It’s a classic example of two public objectives in conflict,” he said.

“One is that the city says it wants developers to build purpose-built rental while the other is that they say we can’t build that building because it throws a shadow for half an hour across the intersection of Burrard and Davie [streets]. That’s enough to stop the project.”

Acting city manager Sadhu Johnston did not immediately respond to BIV's request for an interview. 

There has been a leadership vacuum at the city’s planning department since former general manager of planning Brian Jackson retired late last year.

The city is currently in the hiring process for a new general manager of planning and for a new city manager.

Former chief planner for the city Brent Toderian told BIV that even though he sometimes supports tall towers, he believes that Stovell’s rationale is “ridiculous.”

“If we don’t want 1,000-foot-tall towers, we’re somehow stuck in a fishing village past?” Toderian asked rhetorically. “Come on.”

When Toderian was the city’s top planner, he led an effort to identify five locations downtown where the city would be willing to make exceptions for taller towers if the designs were exceptional.

The height exception, however, would likely be far shorter than even 700 feet tall, , Toderian said.

Council approved those locations as:

•on Seymour Street between Beach Avenue and Pacific Boulevard;

•on Howe Street between Beach Avenue and Pacific Boulevard (where Westbank’s Vancouver House tower is under construction );

•on Burrard Street between Alberni Street and Georgia Street, where there is a Tiffany and Co. jewelry store;

•on Burrard Street between Alberni Street and a lane; and

•next to the Loden Hotel between Bute and Thurlow streets on Melville Street.

Those sites were identified even though there were no proposals for those locations at the time.

“We wanted to have signature buildings in key entrance points where it could change the architectural feel of our city,” Toderian said.

“That was in part because one of the narratives about Vancouver, aside from height, is that our buildings tend to look the same. We wanted to identify key terminus points in our views of the downtown. Like in other cities in the world, it only takes a handful of exceptional buildings to change the perception of the entire skyline.”


OTTAWA—Imposing curbs on foreign investment in Canadian real estate could have unintended consequences for the broader economy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned in a year-end interview with Canada’s Global Television Network, 

Mr. Trudeau said there is a lack of “concrete data” about the impact of foreign buying on Canadian real estate, so moving ahead without proper information is risky.

Mr. Trudeau’s comments emerge as a debate heats up over the impact overseas buyers may be having on housing affordability in the two of the country’s biggest housing markets—Toronto and Vancouver, British Columbia.

“You know you have to be cautious about decisions like that that are based on a single factor because at the same time [it] would potentially devalue the equity that a lot of people have in their homes right now,” Mr. Trudeau said, according to a transcript of the interview distributed by Global TV.

“We have to be very, very cautious about restricting foreign investment in our country at a time where we know we need foreign investment in businesses, in resource development.”

Economists indicate strong sales and price growth in Toronto and Vancouver are supported by job creation in the two metropolitan areas, and an increasing number of people migrating to those urban centers as resource-rich parts of the country suffer under the weight of low commodity prices, as opposed to foreign investment.

Meantime, Evan Siddall, the president of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., a government-owned mortgage insurer and housing agency, said in a recent speech that foreign investment could be contributing to the overvaluation of housing prices in the two markets. But, he said, the country lacks “accurate and reliable data” to determine the role foreign investment has on housing prices in the country.

CMHC data indicate foreign ownership of condominiums in Toronto and Vancouver edged up over the past 12 months, to 3.3% and 3.5%, respectively, from the low- to mid-2% range. The agency didn’t have data covering single-detached homes.

The role foreign investment might be playing in driving up housing prices and sales in Toronto and Vancouver has sparked calls for lawmakers to act to keep housing prices in check. Former prime minister Stephen Harper pledged during the 2015 election campaign that his Conservative Party would act to tackle overseas buying of real estate. Mr. Harper lost a bid to win a fourth-straight mandate.

And in a move this month targeting the Toronto and Vancouver markets, the Liberal government moved to cool down activity in housing by requiring first-time buyers to make larger down payments on pricier homes.

Other nations are struggling with foreign investment in real estate too. In Australia, the government has strengthened rules amid concerns Chinese buyers are driving up housing prices and making properties unaffordable for locals. Overseas buyers are prohibited from purchasing houses in the resale market, although investment in new housing is allowed. Authorities in Australia estimate half of China’s total investment in the country is in real estate



More than a dozen families of Syrian refugees recently arrived in Metro Vancouver have found permanent homes at below-market rates thanks to a local real estate management company. 

"It's different to be in your own home, just you and your family. Very nice feeling," said Manel Okla, one of the 17 families moving into one of the apartments Concert Properties has offered in Coquitlam, B.C. 

Okla, her husband, and their three children haven't lived in their own home for five years. They lived in a shared home in Jordan after fleeing Syria and said they're excited about having a two-bedroom apartment to call their own. 


The company usually rents out a two-bedroom apartment for $950. But president and COO Brian McCauley says they're offering them at $700 for one year, until the families hopefully get settled in. After that the apartments would still be available, but at market rates. 

"We have a long history of giving back to the communities that we do work in," he said. "We just felt this was the right thing to do."

The 17 apartments on offer are in a large housing complex with more than 300 units, which McCauley said is slated for redevelopment in about three years.

Searching for permanent housing

The majority of Syrian government-assisted refugees who have arrived in B.C. are still living in temporary housing or hotels. Immigrant Services Society of B.C. told CBC last week that out of nearly 680 government-assisted refugees, only three families have been settled into permanent homes.

It's been so difficult to find permanent housing for refugees, Vancouver and Ottawa have asked the federal government for a pause in accepting any more of them as the cities try to work through housing bottlenecks.

Housing outreach worker Ahmed Fadhil says he has been working day and night to find homes at affordable rates. 

"It's not easy. It's very hard," he said. "When I see [an apartment] very low-priced, something very good for them, right away I call the manager and I take an appointment for us and we go together."

Government-assisted refugees get a housing allowance to cover their first year in B.C., but it's not a large amount. A family of four with two children under age 19, for example, would get about $800 a month. 


The B.C. government is examining a proposal for an “affordable housing fund” generated by a tax targeted at non-resident investors and speculators, Premier Christy Clark said Tuesday.

The concept by a group of university business school academics could help loosen the tight rental market by encouraging owners of vacant homes to rent them out, Clark told reporters at a tech conference in Vancouver.

But the premier also said administering such a tax is fraught with challenges, including making sure residents who periodically leave their homes vacant for professional or personal reasons aren’t side-swiped.

“(It) would also open up more rental market for people, because I assume if there were a financial penalty people might rent out their homes so someone is living in them,” she said. “It is one of those things, it’s a really good idea but the execution is really hard. So that is why we are giving it a hard look but it may take a little while to work through.”

At the same time, the premier hinted her Liberal government will unveil new changes to home ownership incentives in the Feb. 16 provincial budget to make it easier for first-time home buyers. She would not provide details.

“There are things government can do to support new home buyers in particular getting into the market. You will see more of that in the budget,” she said.

The Liberals have hinted they are willing to increase the exemption for first-time home buyers to the property purchase tax.

On Monday, 10 business, economy and finance professors at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University proposed a B.C. Housing Affordability Fund that would collect a 1.5-per-cent real estate surcharge from property owners “with limited residential or economic ties” to B.C. They suggest the fund could conservatively raise $90 million a year in Vancouver alone, which could then be distributed as lump-sum payments to all Canadian tax filers in the collecting region.

Thomas Davidoff, one of the proposal’s authors, said he was pleased to hear the premier is interested in the idea. But he’s disappointed Clark isn’t willing to include it in the February provincial budget and instead may increase the property purchase tax exemption, something he says doesn’t create real affordability for people who don’t have money to buy a home.

“I think when we sent the proposal to the government six months ago, affordability was not so much on their radar screen. I think it clearly is a priority now,” said Davidoff, an associate professor of business economics at the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business. “It is unfortunate they aren’t considering it for the provincial budget. We think it could be put in place fairly easily.”

The professors’ tax proposal was also endorsed by both the opposition New Democratic Party and a senior Vancouver councillor, but with a twist. Both David Eby, the NDP housing critic, and Coun. Geoff Meggs, the chair of the city’s finance committee, said they would want any money collected to be used by local governments for affordable housing incentives rather than being rebated to individual tax filers.

Meggs said if the academics’ estimates proved true, the fund could translate into 116 more affordable units annually in Vancouver alone, based on an average construction cost of $250,000 per unit.

“We have seen the senior governments leave the housing field, so it is great news that the premier is looking at measures to improve affordability,” he said.

Eby said Clark’s comments are a change from recent statements in which she seemed not to care.

“Just a few months ago, Christy Clark told CTV that if people are concerned about housing affordability they should move to Fort St. John or Prince Rupert,” he said. “It is a sign to me that the pressure we are putting on them is working.”

But the premier also blamed local governments for contributing to the high cost of new housing and said they can do more to cool the market.

“Local governments, city halls, load in some cases over $100,000 per unit in taxes and charges on to every single new home. There is a lot local government can do to reduce the cost of new homes by reducing the taxes and fees they levy on them,” she told reporters.

That’s a hollow argument, according to Meggs, who said there is no evidence that fees the city charges developers for required community services are to blame.

“I think the price of housing is set by the marketplace. And if we reduce our (community amenity contributions) there will be increased profits to the developer but the price won’t come down,” he said. “The private sector does not operate on a charity basis, so if there is money from the sale of a house they will take that as a return on investment, not dutifully pass it back to the taxpayer to reduce the cost of housing.”


We have sold a property at 1805 4888 BRENTWOOD DR in Burnaby.
This is absolute STUNNER is located in the Brentwood Park area of Burnaby North. Extremely convenient location with shopping and skytrain only one block away. Just steps to the New Amazing Brentwood Town Centre, Costco, Save-on-Foods, Brentwood Park Elementary, The Keg Steakhouse, Cactus Club etc. Soaring unobstructed North Mountain views, Granite counter tops, stainless appliances, in suite laundry, fireplace, 1 parking and 1 storage locker for ultimate convenience. Great building with depreciation report already done. This apartment comes with perfect den for an office space. Pets and rentals are welcome. Meticulously maintained unit, with pride of ownership shining thruout. Low maint fees, balance of 2-5-10 warranty.


The guy on the left? The guy on the right?

Who are you hiring? If you are selling your home, there is a good chance you have no idea. Let me back up a bit. 




I get an email from a friend who got one of my auto-listings that matched what her and her fiance are looking for, and she emailed me to ask me if I had any other photos, as there was only an exterior shot. 


I contact the listing agent , we will call him "Jerry" (because that is his actual name) and ask if he has more photos, and he replies with "Hi Paul, yes it is still available, taking more pictures on this Friday Thanks! -- Jerry"


I say Great! please send them Friday. 




I text Jerry in the morning asking if he had the photos at 10am, no reply. 

I text him "??" at 1pm and he says "Sorry Paul I have been busy for the morning, yes I will send you the pictures in this evening"


No photos come. 




I text at 11am "Did you forget about the photos??" -  No reply


Finally at 5:30pm I text again "Hello, its me I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet, to go over, everything.....including the photos you were supposed to send me for your listing which is over a week old"


No Answer. 


Its now January 19th, still no answer, 2 week old listing, still no photos. (I guess Jerry is not an Adele fan?)


Moving on, to another client I have wanting to see a house. 


I call the listing agent "Charlie" and ask him to see his new listing on Monday at 7pm, to which he replies "I cannot Monday, I play squash on Mondays".........ME "ummmm ok how about Tuesday at 7pm then?" CHARLIE " Oh, Tuesday won't work, my wife has an appointment and I have to drive her, she doesn't like to drive in the dark" can see where this is going. 



So the funny part of this is, these sellers likely have NO idea that someone wants to see their home. 

SELLER "Hey Charlie, hows my listing going?" CHARLIE "No calls..."


SELLER "Hey Charlie, how's my listing going?" CHARLIE "Great!!! lots of calls , but I have been too busy to show it, I will get around to it, when I can fit it in.....gotta go, my wife needs a ride! talk soon"


Which do you think Charlie said to his seller? 


I wonder a couple things. I wonder if these listing agents realize that they are playing with peoples lives. Their sellers may need to sell their home quick to facilitate a purchase of their dream home. Perhaps they are in a miserable marital situation and just need to sell the home and move on. Maybe a big job opening depends on them selling their home and moving to a different city? Is Charlie thinking about this during his squash match? Realtors make a lot of money to sell homes, and part of that is payment for being inconvenienced. Sometimes you are going to miss drinks with your friends, or be late for a birthday party, or not be able to watch football on Sundays (this one still makes me sad) but its part of the gig. You know this going in. There is a misconception that WE make our own schedules......we do not. Our clients make our schedules, plain and simple. We get paid to service our clients at their convenience, not ours. 

So my advice is, if you are employing a Realtor, know who you hire, trust who you hire and keep them accountable. 



Just my 2 cents. 



VANCOUVER -- Downtown Vancouver is among the best urban centres in the country when it comes to the availability of grocery stores, but there remain pockets on the fringes of downtown that have become “food deserts,” according to a new study.

The study, produced by the University of Alberta School of Retailing, examines current and proposed grocery store locations in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa. It also highlighted areas in those city’s downtown cores that would benefit from additional grocery stores.

Drawing and expanding on other studies, the report mapped existing and proposed grocery stores within 500-metre radius trade areas, as well as locations for additional grocery stores based on a lack of nearby food stores, taking into account current and projected populations.

One New York City study recently determined that there should be at least one 15,000-square-foot grocery store for each 10,000 residents in a trade area.

Downtown Vancouver turned out to be one of the best served locations in the country, said University of Alberta researcher and retail expert Craig Patterson.

“Vancouver has … really great grocery store coverage in most of its downtown core, but it still has room for improvement,” he said in an interview.

The study found and identified 19 full-service grocery stores in downtown Vancouver, an area the researchers expanded to include a section of West Broadway to the south and Main Street to the east. Each of the stores included were 10,000 square feet or larger.

Patterson said they also identified two additional full-service stores in the downtown core that are in the early proposal stages.

“If you look at the downtown, they’ve … proposed two new grocery stores, and that will basically provide full coverage on the peninsula.”

However, the Downtown Eastside and sections of the Broadway corridor were not as well served by large, full-service grocers, Patterson said.

“Looking at the Downtown Eastside, that’s a struggling area and is potentially a food desert,” he said.

Two sections of Broadway, one at Oak Street and another at Hemlock Street, could also use large grocery stores, he said.

“As the density increases in that area, you’re going to have more demand for grocery retail,” Patterson said. “It’s probably the case that we’ll see those gaps filled in by retailers as the density increases.”

Compared to other cities’ urban centres, downtown Vancouver was among — or at — the top of the list, he said. “Vancouver is great. Toronto is pretty darn good in certain parts, but Vancouver overall I would say is among the strongest in the country as far as grocery store coverage in the downtown core.”

As for the worst-served downtown cores in the country, Edmonton and Winnipeg had far too many food deserts, Patterson said.

”Especially Winnipeg,” he said. “It just doesn’t have the density, the population. Food deserts are a huge problem in Winnipeg.”

He said neighbourhoods in central Ottawa were also notable for a lack of grocery service.

Bal Atwal, a commercial realtor and principal with Avison Young in Vancouver, agreed with the locations in Vancouver highlighted in the study that could use more grocery service.

“Main and Terminal would definitely be a strong location because there has been considerable residential product that’s come online in that node and surrounding area,” Atwal said in an interview. “It would be very viable at that location.”

He said West Broadway could use at least one additional large food store. “Either would be viable today based on whichever intersection gets redeveloped first with additional density and condo development,” he said.

“I think both locations would be viable once we start to see more residential development get built out at those locations and we get closer to a SkyTrain line coming through the Broadway corridor.”

He said grocery retail as an investment or development in Vancouver remains strong. “The current supply is sustainable, but given the number of [residential] developments that are contemplated or currently underway in the downtown, there is definitely room for growth.”

The most desirable type of grocery store would be a stand-alone building on freehold land, he said, noting however that the newest grocers are setting up shop in strata units in mixed-use buildings.

“Acquiring grocery-anchored or grocery investment that has freehold land in the urban core — they’re virtually impossible to acquire,” he said. “There just isn’t any product of that kind. Moving forward I think you’ll see strata investments be the only likely form available for investors to acquire.”



While owners of single-family homes in Vancouver had the most immediate sticker shock from this year’s property value assessments, apartment building values have also increased sharply, and that will likely put even more upward pressure on rents.

Vancouver’s vacancy rate is currently 0.6%, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s fall 2015 rental market report. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city’s downtown, including the West End, was $1,313 compared with $1,239 in 2014. In the same area, rates for one-bedrooms in new rental buildings or condos can easily top $2,000 a month.

The heated activity in multifamily rental was evident throughout 2015, but Mark Goodman, a principal at HQ Commercial, described 2015’s last quarter as “insane,” when normal methods of appraisal and property pricing didn’t seem to apply.

“In that market we were consistently getting prices over the asking price even when we were aggressive,” Goodman said.

According to information Goodman provided to Business in Vancouver, total dollar volume for apartment building sales in Greater Vancouver increased 93% in 2015 to $1.51 billion compared with $778 million in 2014. The average price per suite increased 17% to $243,000.

In Vancouver’s upscale Kerrisdale neighbourhood, price-per-suite rose 38% to $611,000, mostly because of redevelopment potential, while in the West End buildings appreciated 25% with prices rising to $380,000 per suite. Other notable increases were seen in Marpole (14%) and South Granville (29%).

Buyers are both local players, who Goodman described as savvy investor groups with large holdings, and a small but disruptive number of buyers from mainland China who are focused on properties whose zoning allows them to be redeveloped.

“The money is pouring in so quickly from China and they’re buying these sites that they actually can’t afford to develop the properties right away,” Goodman said. “If you pay too much for the land, you can’t build condos and sell them off.”

Local buyers are more focused on existing buildings, where they plan to upgrade the building and increase rents, especially for new tenants (for existing tenants, rental increases in B.C. are currently capped at an annual 2.9% increase).

The supply of rental housing is extremely tight in Vancouver, and Goodman doesn’t see the situation improving until more apartments are built. Tom Durning, a tenant advocate with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, said Vancouver’s runaway home prices have put pressure on vulnerable renters because they now have to compete with younger people who have chosen to rent instead of buy.

In Vancouver, it’s difficult for building owners to get permission from the city to tear down existing rental buildings to build larger apartment buildings, which is what many owners would like to do, Goodman said. Goodman and his father, David Goodman, are proponents of relaxing the city’s current moratorium on demolishing older rental buildings in certain areas.

Goodman argued that displaced renters be given compensation or the right to return to the redeveloped building. But Durning said allowing for mass redevelopment would have dire consequences for tenants.

“Where are people going to go? There would be mass homelessness,” Durning said.

Durning’s organization supports the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations (CFAA)in its call to restore federal tax incentives to build new rental housing. 

“It’s the cost of land. You can’t build any sort of affordable housing unless there’s a subsidy, and the federal government got out of that 20 years ago,” he said.

The federal Liberals have promised to remove GST on new capital investments in rental housing. The CFAA has proposed eliminating the GST or HST on rental housing operations, increasing the rate of capital cost allowances and instituting a tax deferral if building owners are reinvesting in rental housing.


China’s savers are losing confidence in the yuan and that is going to continue to drive a flow of Chinese wealth out of the country, potentially creating bubbles in overinflated assets elsewhere, warn economists.

Thursday once again saw the Shanghai stock market crash seven per cent before a circuit-breaker was triggered, following one of the biggest downward adjustments to the yuan since August. The currency is fixed to the U.S. dollar and the People’s Bank of China has spent much of the past year gradually lowering its value against the greenback. Economists speculate the move is an attempt at competitive devaluation as the Chinese economy continues to show signs of slowing growth.

Thursday’s stock market crash can essentially be labelled a currency panic, as the unexplained lowering of the yuan has shaken investor confidence. It has also created concerns that China’s neighbours will be forced to engage in their own competitive devaluation to keep their exports competitive, worsening regional instability.


hroughout time and history that cannot come off an overvalued peg that has created internal imbalances and damaged export competitiveness in an orderly fashion,” said Derek Holt, vice president at Scotia Economics. “The authorities have repeatedly said they will not drive the currency lower, but then repeatedly done so.”


China’s currency fiasco also has repercussions for countries outside of Asia, including Canada. The selloff in Chinese stocks is an attempt by investors and savers alike to shift their money into assets not tied to the yuan, in order to protect the value of their investments.

All that money flowing out of China will have an effect on investments that have been popular with Chinese investors, including homes in Canada. 

“Stand by and watch your life savings go down as the yuan is deliberately pushed lower and confidence in policy communications deteriorates, or get out one way or another including buying the USD and more homes in Vancouver and thus creating further imbalances elsewhere,” said Holt. “That’s not easy for investors to do in China, but getting easier.”


Forget $1-million homes. The most growth in Vancouver real estate, according to one survey, was reported in homes in the $4 million-plus market.

It’s another report that tells us what we know: Vancouver’s real estate market is red hot.

But where is it hottest?

According to Sotheby’s, it’s the market for the most expensive of homes — those valued at more than $4 million.


Those homes sold 67 per cent more last year, compared to the year before.

But the most activity continues to come from detached homes selling above $1 million.

About 3,450 of them were sold in Vancouver last year — a jump of 42 per cent.


At the very high end of the North Shore real estate market – where multi-million-dollar mansions sport infinity pools and heated five-car garages and tear-downs go for $4 million – prices are headed in one direction: up.

Way up.

The top three property assessments this year – all in West Vancouver – are all over $26 million.

The highest assessment – an 11,000-square-foot home on the West Bay waterfront at 3330 Radcliffe Ave. – was valued at just under $30 million this year, at $29.7 million. That’s up from its value last year, of $24.2 million – a 23 per cent increase.

The second-highest assessment at 1690 Marlowe Pl. in the British Properties was worth $24.7 million this year – up from its value of $23.6 million last year and $21.3 million in 2014.

The third-highest assessment was for a $26.5-million home on the Dundarave waterfront at 2588 Bellevue Ave. – up from $24.5 million last year.

Waterfront West Vancouver mansions on streets like Radcliffe, Bellevue and Erwin Drive continue to be the most sought-after addresses for the top tier of the uber wealthy.

But assessed values often lag behind perceived market value of luxury properties. One six-bath, eight-bedroom home at 4351 Erwin Dr. – which clocked in at the fifth highest assessed value on the North Shore with a value of $23 million – is currently listed for sale at almost $43 million.

Another home at 5363 Kew Cliff Rd. – boasting a yacht garage with elevator access – didn’t even make the list of top 20 assessments in West Vancouver, but is listed for sale for almost $24 million.

The luxury real estate market has boomed in the last year, said Allan Angell, of West Vancouver’s high-end real estate firm Angell Hasman. In 2015, there were 119 sales of properties worth more than $5 million – the most ever, he said.

“It’s unreal,” he said. “A year ago I was selling lots in Dundarave for $2.8 to $3 million. Those same lots are now selling for over $4 million.”

Angell said wealthy buyers from China make up “over 40 per cent of our market,” in West Vancouver and closer to 70 per cent of the luxury home market.

In the District of North Vancouver, properties with the highest assessed values were found on the Dollarton waterfront. Nine of the top 10 highest assessments were in the 600- to 900-block area of Beachview Drive.

The highest-assessed property in the area was a home at 828 Beachview Dr., valued at just under $9 million. Neighbours at 672 Beachview with a home assessed at $8.9 million and at 650 Lowry Lane with an assessment of $8.7 million rounded out the top three.

In the City of North Vancouver, the top assessed properties this year were all single-family homes.

The highest assessment in the city went to the heritage Hamersley House at 350 East Second St. with a value of $2.4 million.

Two homes in the Tempe Heights neighbourhood at 407 and 383 Brand St. both worth approximately $2.3 million, rounded out the top three.



With housing prices in Metro Vancouver flying ever-further out of reach for local incomes, real estate professionals say an increasing number of families are pooling resources to get into the market.

Co-ownership — facilitated by the so-called “mixer mortgages” promoted by banks and credit unions such as VanCity — allows families or friends to own and live in the same residence.

Co-ownership is not new in Vancouver. But with average detached home prices surging to $2.5 million and “runaway” prices increasingly “divorced” from local incomes as Mayor Gregor Robertson said this week, it makes sense that more people are reportedly looking at these financing arrangements.

According to VanCity, which has promoted shared ownership financing since 2006, the new mortgage product was developed as increasing numbers of Vancouver residents inquired about sharing homes with family, friends and roommates.

Real estate lawyer Richard Bell, who advises clients on preparing co-ownership agreements, says the majority of agreements involve parents and adult children dividing and living in shared property. He says over the past year he’s seen a big increase in families entering such agreements and he expects the trend to increase. Vancouver’s new zoning of laneway houses is also boosting the co-ownership trend, he said. In fact Bell and his wife co-own a property with his Millennial daughter and her husband, with both couples living in duplex-like units. Bell also plans to rent out a laneway house on the property to a third party.

Experts at VanCity caution that co-ownership isn’t comfortable for everyone and deals can be stressed through disputes, deaths or divorces.

Real estate lawyer Randy Klarenbach told Vancouver’s Real Estate Weekly magazine that he strongly cautions his clients against jumping into co-ownership, because so much can go wrong when un-related parties are involved.

“Bottom line, it’s a huge financial risk,” he said.

However Bell says that his firm believes they have devised legal packages that can cover the difficulties that arise among non-related co-owners.


We have listed a new property at 1805 4888 BRENTWOOD DR in Burnaby.
This is absolute STUNNER is located in the Brentwood Park area of Burnaby North. Extremely convenient location with shopping and skytrain only one block away. Just steps to the New Amazing Brentwood Town Centre, Costco, Save-on-Foods, Brentwood Park Elementary, The Keg Steakhouse, Cactus Club etc. Soaring unobstructed North Mountain views, Granite counter tops, stainless appliances, in suite laundry, fireplace, 1 parking and 1 storage locker for ultimate convenience. Great building with depreciation report already done. This apartment comes with perfect den for an office space. Pets and rentals are welcome. Meticulously maintained unit, with pride of ownership shining thruout. Low maint fees, balance of 2-5-10 warranty.

We have sold a property at 910 LONDON ST in New Westminster.
Pre-sale opportunity in highly desirable Moody Park area. Designed by Architrix Design Studio & built by quality builder Panesar Construction, this home features a timeless exterior design with all the modern features inside. Features include 10 ft ceilings on main floor with open expansive family & dining room. Large kitchen that opens up to a covered Veranda with built in F/P. Upstairs, 3 spacious bedrooms w/2 bathrooms & 2 large balconies. Downstairs has a two-bedroom self contained legal suite with access from the front. Two car garage & open parking. HRV, Radiant floor heating, custom built-ins, vaulted ceilings, F/P bay window seating & much more. Expected completion Spring 2016.

We have sold a property at 906 1065 QUAYSIDE DR in New Westminster.
Central New West location. Concrete Bosa building; indoor pool & spa. You'll love the 9th floor view unit's efficient layout. Outstanding panoramic Southwest river view in a completely top down reno'd 1263 sqft condo. Professionally rebuilt by current owners to the highest standards; neutral tones w/new carpet, tile & cork floors, paint, backsplashes, quartz counters, glass front & wht kit. cabinets, pot + track lights, new SS appl pkg & loads of natural light off a large covered balcony. New In-suite laundry set. Den could be a third bedroom for guests or an office. Easy walk to the Riverside Mkt, Waterfront Esplanade & Park, Anvil Center, Landmark Cinemas & Skytrain, amenities & shops, bus loop, board walks & more. Call now.

We have sold a property at 1111 ROCHESTER AVE in Coquitlam.
Gorgeous 1/2 Duplex in a FANTASTIC location & neighborhood. Spacious and bright open layout on the main floor features laminate floor. Kitchen with granite countertops, s/s appliances. Large windows in the family room facing the huge beautifully landscaped private backyard with fruits, like plum, blueberry, and cheery. And also be an organic vegetable garden. 3 bedroom + den on the top floor. South facing master bedroom has a beautiful Fraser River view. 5 – 10 mins walking distances to elementary and middle school, private school. Close to Austin shopping mall, Superstore, silvercity etc. Easy access to HWY 1 & Lghd HWY. OPEN HOUSE on Sunday January 3rd, 2-4 PM.

Don't pay?

Will they take my house?
Will I be fined?
Will I go to jail?

So now that property tax notices have been issued, and most property values are seeing HUGE gains, I've had a few people tell me that their taxes are getting crazy. One specific example I want to touch on, is seniors. Seniors who have lived in their same homes for years and years, our parents, our grandparents etc are being hit with these huge bills for taxes, and are on a fixed pension. These increases are enough to really put a damper in a seniors quality of life. To this, I have a solution.....Don't pay. Yep, you heard me correct, do not pay. No you will not get fined, no you will not go to jail.

Let me explain,

Many people do not realize that if you are over 55 years old, you can defer your taxes.....forever really (well until the senior, or their kids, beneficiary etc sells the home.) So instead of forking out $5,000 per year for the next 30 years if you are 55 years old you can defer all those payments yearly and never pay. When the senior decides to sell the home and move to an old folks home, move in with their kids, or worse.... and the house sells for a million dollars, $150,000 of deferred taxes would then go to the city to pay all those years of taxes, and the balance of $850,000 goes to the senior (or their kids etc). Most peoples homes are worth 10x more than what 30 years of deferred taxes would be. So imagine never having to pay your property taxes from this point onwards! Not only is this totally legal, its a government instated program (that many people don't know about, or take advantage of).

There is an interest to use this service, but its really really small in the grand scheme of things. For example, to not pay this years $5,000 property tax bill, it would cost you only $42 per year. Yep, that's it.

To qualify for this you must be

  • 55 years of age or older
  • Be a Canadian Citizen
  • Have 25% equity in the property
  • Have current fire insurance
  • Live in your home

That's it! Really easy to qualify and this article could make your parents, or grandparents life a lot more comfortable!

Feel free to contact me with any questions


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