Have you gotten your 2020 Property Assessment yet? Values down across Metro Vancouver

Within this week,  owners of more than 1,040,000 properties throughout the Lower Mainland can expect to receive their 2020 assessment notices which reflect market value as of July 1, 2019. Have you gotten yours? If not, Homeowners can learn the value of your home without waiting for a mailed assessment by visiting BC Assessment online.

It is the first time in the last 20 years that B.C.’s total property assessment values have gone down, according to BC Assessment.

Both detached homes and strata properties are down as much as 16 per cent throughout Metro Vancouver, with some values holding steady without any change and the prices holding steadier the further a property is from the city of Vancouver.

The biggest drops were seen in single-family home values in West Vancouver and UBC, both down 16 per cent year over year, followed by Richmond’s detached houses, down 14 per cent, and then Vancouver, Coquitlam and North Vancouver single-family homes – all down 11 per cent.

Market Trends For Single-family Residential Properties By Geographic Area:

Single Family Home Changes by Community2019 Typical Assessed Valueas of July 1, 20182020 Typical Assessed Valueas of July 1, 2019% Change
City of Vancouver$ 1,755,000$ 1,568,000-11%
University Endowment Lands$ 5,904,000$ 4,946,000-16%
City of Surrey$ 1,042,000$ 1,010,000-3%
City of Burnaby$ 1,512,000$ 1,363,000-10%
City of Coquitlam$ 1,254,000$ 1,121,000-11%
City of Port Coquitlam$ 969,000$ 875,000-10%
City of Port Moody$ 1,342,000$ 1,192,000-11%
City of White Rock$ 1,310,000$ 1,196,000-9%
City of Richmond$ 1,532,000$ 1,322,000-14%
City of New Westminster$ 1,147,000$ 1,054,000-8%
City of North Vancouver$ 1,510,000$ 1,351,000-11%
District of North Vancouver$ 1,616,000$ 1,479,000-9%
District of West Vancouver$ 2,803,000$ 2,356,000-16%

Market Trends For Strata Residential Properties (e.g. condominiums) By Geographic Area:

Strata Home Changes by Community
2019 Typical Assessed Valueas of July 1, 20182020 Typical AssessedValueas of July 1, 2019% Change
City of Vancouver$ 740,000$ 686,000-7%
City of Burnaby$ 623,000$ 569,000-9%
City of Coquitlam$ 591,000$ 537,000-9%
City of Port Coquitlam$ 533,000$ 486,000-9%
City of Port Moody$ 648,000$ 615,000-5%
City of New Westminster$ 547,000$ 500,000-9%
City of North Vancouver$ 707,000$ 656,000-7%
District of North Vancouver$ 758,000$ 693,000-9%
District of West Vancouver$ 1,288,000$ 1,156,000-10%
City of Surrey$ 522,000$ 497,000-5%
City of White Rock$ 478,000$ 461,000-4%
City of Richmond$ 654,000$ 600,000-8%

While property values help determine a home’s property taxes, a lower value doesn’t mean you’ll be paying less in property taxes.

As noted on your assessment notice, how your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes. You can find your property class on your assessment notice next to your assessed value.

Click here to find the average change for your property class in your jurisdiction.

Cities throughout the region finalized their budgets and their property tax rates last month and those budgets don’t change based on the value of their constituents’ properties, so the amount homeowners pay will be recalculated based on relative values. For example, if the home values dropped 10 per cent in your community, but your home dropped by 13 per cent, it’s possible your tax bill could stay the same or even dip a little.

But considering the City of Vancouver alone has approved a seven per cent tax hike for 2020, the likelihood of paying less in property taxes this year is slim.

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Vancouver Real Estate 2019

Looking back at the 2019 Vancouver Real Estate Market

Home sales decline below long-term averages in 2019 despite increased demand to end the year

The Metro Vancouver housing market experienced below average sales activity and moderate price declines in 2019.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that sales of detached, attached and apartment homes reached 25,351 in 2019, a three per cent increase from the 24,619 sales recorded in 2018, and a 29.6 per cent decrease over the 35,993 residential sales in 2017.

Last year’s sales total was 20.3 per cent below the region’s 10-year sales average.

“We didn’t see typical seasonal patterns in 2019. Home buyer demand was quieter in the normally busy spring season and it picked up in the second half of the year,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “In terms of home values, prices dipped between two and four per cent across the region last year depending on property type.”

Home listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 51,918 in 2019. This is a 3.2 per cent decrease compared to the 53,614 homes listed in 2018 and a five percent decrease compared to the 54,655 homes listed in 2017.

Last year’s listings total was 7.6 per cent below the 10-year average.

“Home buyer confidence was a factor throughout the year. In the first quarter, many prospective buyers were in a holding pattern, waiting to see how prices would react to the mortgage stress test, new taxes, and other policy changes,” Smith said. “Confidence started to return in the summer, and we saw above average sales in the final quarter of 2019.”

The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $1,001,000. This is a 3.1 per cent decrease compared to December 2018.

The benchmark price of apartments decreased 2.7 per cent in the region last year. Townhomes decreased 2.4 per cent and detached homes decreased four per cent.

Source: REBGV-Stats-Pkg-December-2019

3 Festive Décor Trends to Deck the Halls

Emerald City

Celebrate in style with a glamourous take on holiday décor. Emerald green paired with gold and white puts a contemporary spin on a classic colour. The warmth of gold strikes a balance with cool undertones of white, while gold coloured details on plates, metallic champagne flutes and patterns like chevrons and dots elevate this style to modern and chic.


Add a dash of drama by incorporating hits of black in your décor – from ornaments to wall art.

Boho Brights

Add some Yuletide pop this season with a beautifully bright colour scheme. Pair hot pinks, bold blues and vibrant greens to achieve a whimsical décor style. The key to bringing this look to life is a proper balance of white – make sure it’s your backdrop for this fun and playful palette.


Don’t be alarmed by colour! Unify your theme by choosing pieces that pick up on any one of three key colours like blue, pink and green.

Classic Christmas

Nothing says Christmas more like traditional greenery and touches of red. This timeless décor scheme incorporates a subtle mix of soft white and sage greens to create a holiday look that’s both simple yet sophisticated.


Consider layering several garlands in different shades of green over a bannister to create multi-toned look.


Should I Renovate Before Selling?Avoid These Projects With Terrible ROI

Celebrities who perform dramatic home makeovers on TV and the average homeowner on Main Street live in two very different worlds. One has the budget of a reality show to foot the bill for materials and labor, and the other has whatever’s in their bank account and tight profit margins.

Investing big bucks in fixing everything isn’t the smart move if you want to see the highest return on your investment (ROI). Let’s take a look at some of the most popular pricey projects that have the lowest ROI and the wiser, low-cost upgrades that offer a bigger bang for your buck.

Check out a summary of the results below in Homelight’s custom infographic:

Source: homelight

Cleaning and Decluttering Is Your best Project To Increase Your Home Value

You’re better off spending less money on smaller scale projects than trying to recoup your spend on bigger renovations base on the HomeLight survey conducted in the first and second quarter of 2019.

Source: homelight

1. DON’T: Drop big bucks on a full kitchen renovation

According to HomeAdvisor website, A kitchen remodel averages in Canada at $21,999 with the typical range being $12,560 to $33,282.

According to data from HomeLight, top real estate professionals estimate that on the average smaller-scale $23,140 kitchen upgrade, sellers would recoup $23,122 at resale, for a -0.08% ROI. So… better, but you still don’t break even.

2. DON’T: Completely renovate the bathroom

As arguably the grungiest place in the house, on the one hand completely remodeling the bathroom makes sense. And at an average cost of $9,627 with the typical range being $5,923 to $14,010, it’s cheaper than redoing the kitchen.

Unfortunately, while it’s technically cheaper, the ROI for a bathroom model is worse. HomeLight’s survey data indicates that if you spent smaller-scale $10,284 bathroom upgrade, you’d get back $10,180, for a -1.00 % ROI.

Spend less on renovations to make more money back

There’s no need to spend big bucks on one major renovation when a handful of minor upgrades throughout the home will actually net you a bigger ROI.

“A good agent will not let a seller spend $20,000 to get $20,000 back, because that doesn’t make any sense. You’re better off just selling the house as-is,” says Gaddis.  “The best agents work to help clients get two to three dollars back for every dollar spent. And those agents won’t be guessing. When you sell a lot of houses, you get pretty good at the science behind ROI.”

So when you’re prepping your home for sale, pick up the phone and consult me before you spend a single penny on home improvements.

Your 10-Step Guide to Successful Home Buying

It is safe to say that you are prepared to purchase your house? In spite of the fact that owning property can appear to be an entangled procedure, the means to pursue are generally basic. Here are ten tips that will assist you with this progress towards another progression throughout everyday life.

1.  Find the right moment

Start by analyzing your financial capabilities and professional perspectives before buying a primary residence. If you’re in a precarious or unstable position or you’re planning to move in the near future, it might be better to wait. In the long run, acquiring real estate is a great financial investment if you plan to stick around.

2. Outline your needs, goals and desires

Determine exactly what you’re looking for: number of bedrooms, yard size, location of shops and schools, privacy and open spaces or service proximity, etc.

3. Prepare a financial plan

Often part of your initial research should be your budget. To order to know how much you can afford to pay, it is important to develop your financial capacity. Experts generally say that your property’s price should not exceed two and a half times your salary.

4. Meet with a financial advisor

Make sure you know and understand all the funding options available to you before you start your research and visiting houses. It is important to learn about the various types of mortgage loans, what rates are being offered, the difference between fixed and variable loans, the term, etc. You can discuss the goals and budgets you have in mind by making an appointment with a mortgage advisor. It may help you to select the right loan while respecting your ability to repay it.

5. Get a pre-approved mortgage loan

You have chosen a financial institution that you would like to do business with and now you know all of your financing options — it’s time to choose the solution that suits you best and get your loan pre-approved.

6. Search for the ideal property

Contact a real estate broker if you want guidance during your search. You will be shown properties that meet your criteria and will accompany you throughout the purchase process.Their fees are paid by the sellers at the time of the sale (if it takes place).

7. On your mark, get set, visit!

To make sure you make the right choice, visit as many properties as possible. Go back and see it again once you find a home you want, get acquainted with the neighborhood, tell the neighbors about the area’s positive and negative aspects, etc.

8. Present a purchase offer

Once you find it rare gem, present the sellers with a purchase offer. Determine a fair price without hitting your maximum capacity for borrowing. During talks with the owners, this will give you some wiggle room.

9. Inspect the property

Your home will be a major financial engagement for many years, so it’s important that you ensure the property of your dreams is, underneath appearances, in good shape.

10. Negotiate

Between you and the owners you should expect some back and forth. It’s rare for sellers to accept a first bid, so starting with a lower offer is crucial than what you’re willing to pay.

Purchasing a property is an enormous commitment. By following each of these steps, you’ll have the best chance of avoiding any unpleasant surprises and having the most satisfying transaction possible. Once you’ve moved in, you’ll have more time to enjoy your new life as a homeowner.

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New Metro Vancouver real estate offer: Buy a townhouse, get a Tesla

This week, the escalating arms race between developers seeking to attract prospective buyers for their condominium and townhouse projects in Metro Vancouver reached new heights.

“We will include a free Tesla for every home you buy, “said Celia Chiu, Viridian Homes sales manager.. 

In its Viridian development overlooking the Nicomekl River, Developer Century Group offers a Model 3 Tesla base model with each of the remaining 10 homes.

Chiu said the rest of the homes have been on the market for the past year, but the whole community has “been around for two years and we wanted to take it to the next level with a market having a kind of subtle stall.”

The townhouse project includes 57 units, each with a living space of over 2,000 square feet and a price tag starting at just over $1 million.

The offered Teslas is valued at $55,000. The promotion will be available from Saturday onwards and will continue until October 31 or until the final 10 units are sold in the development.

“An incentive like this does have to have a wow factor,” Chiu added.

Each of the remaining units is fitted with a charging station for electric vehicles, something Century Group president Sean Hodgins said in a release reflects the project’s “innovative design with energy-efficient capabilities.”


Century Group is far from being the first developer to give potential buyers an incentive as the once white-hot real estate market in Vancouver has cooled in latest months. Earlier this year, Woodbridge Homes announced a plan to attract millennial home buyers to their West Coquitlam Kira development by providing them a year-long free avocado toast.

One month ago, Wesgroup Properties provided purchasers a glass of wine per day for a year if they bought a house during the month of June at MODE in South Vancouver.Real estate agent Gurdial Badh told CTV News Vancouver he admires the move. “Either he does that or does a price reduction to come in line with what the market is today.”

In recent months, the market has been soft, leading to lower rates, but sales are rising.

“We’re seeing a lot more activity on the lower range and once the low range starts moving then obviously it will have an impact on the higher price range properties,” said Badh.

What’s the future holding? Badh said there’s a lot to do with who’s forming the next federal government after October 21 election day.

“The primary thing that I believe the state wants to do is to assist these first-time buyers,” he said, hoping the market will pick up pace again.

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The housing market in Metro Vancouver is seeing a summer rise in sales

Home buyer activity has risen throughout the summer months to more typical levels in Metro Vancouver.

The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board (REBGV) reports that in August 2019, residential home sales in the region totaled 2,231, a 15.7% increase from the 1,929 sales recorded in August 2018, and a 12.7% decrease from the 2,557 homes sold in July 2019.

Sales last month were 9.2 percent below the average sales in August for 10 years.

“In July and August, home sales returned to a more historically ordinary level than in the first six months of the year.,” said REBGV President Ashley Smith.

At Metro Vancouver in August 2019, there were 3,747 detached, attached and newly listed apartment properties for sale on the Multiple Listing Service ® (MLS ®). This represents a decline of 3.5 percent compared to the 3,881 households mentioned in August 2018 and a decline of 18.8 percent compared to the 4,613 homes mentioned in July 2019.

The total number of homes currently listed on Metro Vancouver’s MLS ® system for sale is 13,396, a 13.3% increase over August 2018 (11,824) and a 5.9% decline over July 2019 (14,240).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2019 is 16.7 per cent. By type of property, the percentage for detached homes is 12%, for townhouses 18.4% and for apartments 21.2%.

Analysts generally claim downward pressure on home prices happens when the ratio falls below 12 percent over a continuous period of time, while home prices often experience upward pressure when they exceed 20 percent over several months.

“With more demand from home buyers, the supply of listed households for sale does not accumulate as in the previous year. These modifications create a more balanced market situation,” Smith said.

The composite benchmark cost of the MLS ® Home Price Index for all Metro Vancouver housing properties is presently $993,300. This reflects a decline of 8.3 percent over August 2018 and a decline of 0.2 percent over July 2019.

Detached house sales reached 706 in August 2019, up 24.5% from 567 detached sales in August 2018. For detached homes, the benchmark price is $1,406,700. This represents a decline of 9.8 percent from August 2018 and a decline of 0.7 percent from July 2019.

In August 2019, sales of apartment houses reached 1,116, an increase of 8.9 percent compared to August 2018’s 1,025 sales. A property’s benchmark cost is $654,000. This reflects a decline of 7.4 percent from August 2018 and an increase of 0.1 percent from July 2019.

Attached home sales totaled 409 in August 2019, up 21.4 percent from August 2018’s 337 revenues. A unit’s benchmark cost is $771,000. This represents a decline of 7.8% from August 2018, up 0.2% from July 2019.

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The Armoury District: The latest workshop-dining area in Vancouver is stylish by design

The Armoury District, one of the latest acknowledged neighborhoods in the city, is scarcely a century old. But the area has seen an influx of architects, interior designers, retail shops and cafés over the past 10 years to complement the high-end vehicle dealerships that have been its most prominent characteristic for a while.


The Spirit Wrestler Gallery was founded in 1995 and is one of the longest running businesses in the area. Inuit, Northwest Coast and Maori artists are on display in the gallery. Gallery Jones exhibits contemporary art by artists from Canada and abroad. Visit Three Centuries and J.H. for antiquities. Tee Antiques (a specialty for state silverware) ; Westbridge Fine Art Auction House has a ticket for fine art. But this neighborhood is really about home decoration, with shops featuring cabinetry and floors (Troico and Frontier, respectively), home line of Giorgio Armani (Armani / Casa), patio furniture (Brougham), and more.


Some of the best examples of indulgences from Vancouver turn the neighborhood into a location for food. For top-of – the-line cheeses and sweets, these include Les Amis du Fromage and Chocolate Arts. Speaking of indulgences, Bel Café’s second location just opened here by famous chef David Hawksworth, and is the place to be seen eating French macaroons and gourmet sandwiches.


People don’t necessarily come to the Armoury District in search of parks, playgrounds or cultural activities (though the Indian Summer Festival offices are situated here). The fun here is of the aspirational kind: visiting local stores, designers and galleries, and playing with thoughts about the kind of life you want to live in / the setting you want to live in. And if you’re really aspiring, you’d like to ride the Lamborghini model.Live and work.

In this stretch of the town there may not be many condos, but there are plenty in neighboring regions such as the Olympic Village and a little further south in Kitsilano. The Armoury District itself is all about shopping and working, and here are several architectural, growth and interior design companies.

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The 2019 Canadian Mortgage Stress Test

Meeting the mortgage demands and being approved is already challenging enough, but securing a mortgage in 2019 is even more of a feat thanks to the recent mortgage stress test.

Let’s look at the new mortgage rules in greater detail and how it impacts home buyers in 2019.

Explained Canadian Mortgage stress test

In order to pass the mortgage stress test, You will need to qualify for your loan interest rate plus 2% or the present five-year benchmark rate of the Bank of Canada, whichever of the two is greater. As of this writing, The five-year benchmark rate of the Bank of Canada is 5.34 percent and has existed since May 2018.

For example, if you are applying for a mortgage at a rate of 3.65%, then your lender will assess you as if you were paying your home loan at 5.65% (3.65% + 2%) since 5.65% is greater than the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate.

Because of this stress test, Most new homebuyers have had their purchasing power reduced by as much as 20 percent because they are only eligible for a reduced loan at the stress-tested mortgage ratesThe fresh stress test regulations have also rendered refinancing or renewing their mortgage more hard for present homeowners.

How to Prepare For the Mortgage Stress Test

Lenders use a few key metrics when assessing borrowers to make sure they’d be able to pass the stress test and manage mortgage payments, including the gross debt service ratio (GDS) and total debt service ratio (TDS).

Gross debt service ratio (GDS) – Your GDS is the proportion of your pre-tax revenue needed to pay all cost of accommodation. In addition to your stress-tested monthly mortgage payment, your lender will look at the expense of all other monthly expenditures, including condo charges, utility bills, and property taxes.

Your gross monthly revenue will add all these expenses together and divide them. Ideally, lenders want a proportion not exceeding 32%.

Total debt service ratio (TDS) – All of your debts will also need to be factored into the equation, so lenders will look at your TDS as well. This is how much of your monthly revenue is required to cover your debts properly.

To better prepare yourself for the stress test, consider taking the following actions:

Pay down your debt. As already mentioned, Your lender will examine all the debt you presently carry and determine if you would qualify for a mortgage or not. The smaller your current debt load, the lower your TDS will be.

In turn, The findings of your stress test may be more favorable. To prevent paying so much in interest fees, focus first on paying down your high-interest debt (such as your credit cards).

Apply for a smaller loan amount. Be realistic about how much house you can actually afford. You might have your sights set on a home in the $900,000 price range, but if you look at homes in the $700,000 range instead, you might make things much more financially feasible for yourself.

This will not only improve your chances of passing the stress test and obtaining a mortgage approval, but it can also free up more of your income and prevent you from going “house poor.”

Crunch some numbers. Ask yourself if you can afford to pay an extra $500, for example, In mortgage payments if rates raise suddenly after approval.

You could be comfortable making monthly mortgage payments of $1,000, for instance, But what if you had to throw an extra $500? Would that be doable? Or would that throw you into a financial frenzy?

That’s precisely why this stress test was carried out. In the near future, if you are confronted with greater prices, your lender would want to make sure that you are still able to create complete payments each month rather than face default.


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Thinking about investing in commercial property in Canada? Here are 5 tips for new investors

To own commercial property, you don’t need to be rich, and there are more opportunities with the downturns in the Vancouver and Toronto markets.

Chris Catliff, The President and CEO of Blueshore Financial, says for middle-class investors, there are other methods to enter the property business.

He lately shared five tips with those considering building up their commercial real estate retirement portfolio.:

  1. Start small with a REIT

To own commercial property, you don’t need to be rich, Catliff said. “In fact, my son is already invested in a Tax-Free Savings Account with a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).”

A REIT is a company that owns, operates and pays dividends on a variety of real estate assets on behalf of a pool of investors who purchased shares or stocks.

“They have relatively high yields compared to the broader market, or bonds or Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs),” he said. They’re typically riskier than government bonds or GICs but much less risky than tech stocks.

The purchase of shares in a REIT basically includes a collection of assets across the nation.Some REITs focus on the office sector, others on apartment or industrial or retail properties

“That diversifies your risk,” he said, adding that most REITs can be purchased through a stock broker, financial advisor or online through your direct investing platform.

  1. Invest in a strata unit

For bolder middle-class investors — and ones who don’t mind a bit more work — you could buy your own strata unit in a commercial development, Catliff said.

Like with condo residential buildings, many developers build strata commercial buildings in various asset classes including office, retail and industrial..

  1. Buy in a place you can visit

Catliff said he likes to own units in buildings he’s familiar with and can visit. “I purchased business units on my drive to work so I could see them twice a day..”

That’s so you can see what kind of development is taking place around your building and stay familiar with the market and the other tenants, he said.

  1. Think urban

More than three-fifths of immigrants to Canada are settling in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, Catliff said. That means demand for homes, jobs and work space will continue to grow along with the population in those areas.

More demand for your space means less cash flow risk.

Catliff said it’s important to understand the supply and demand elements of your local market. In places like Vancouver and Toronto, demand for small industrial warehouse space or small light-manufacturing units has never been stronger.

Demand is also high for small street-front retail spaces in urban cores. There will always be people trying to buy themselves a job with a business like a sandwich shop or small restaurant, Catliff said. “There is just a lineup of people waiting for that kind of space.”

  1. Do your homework


“You really have to consider location,” he said. “You’re looking for high traffic. How easy is it to rent out to somebody else? Anything downtown pretty much has a lineup of people. If it’s in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Kelowna, you can always rent something out, it’s just a matter of what return you get.”

In the suburbs, anything you purchase should be considered for its future redevelopment potential, he added. “In the burbs… you’re (often) holding land until development comes to you.”

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