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Property Transfer Tax and the new BC budget

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

There are no changes to the first time home buyer exemption limits;

All buyers (whether first time buyers or not) no longer pay PTT on purchases of newly-built homes up to $750,000 in value; note the buyer must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident; there is a partial exemption for homes between $750,000.00 and $800,000.00; The newly built home exemption will only apply to people who actually occupy the home as their principle residence for a year after purchase. (relatives do not qualify)

PTT has changed so that there is now a 3% tax on amounts over $2,000,000.00. The 3% tax is only paid on the amount over $2,000,000.00, not the full price.

 

The existing first time home buyers program for re-sale homes remains unchanged. The threshold remains $475,000 with a partial exemption for homes between $475,000 and $500,000

 

Linda Klein, Kamloops real estate. How to Finance your Renovation

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
Courtesy of Mark Bertoli, Abbott Wealth
Home improvement is always in fashion. But the big question for many homeowners isn’t what to do, it’s how to pay for it. There are many ways to secure the financing you need, and each has advantages in certain situations.

Home equity line of credit
A line of credit gives you access to a predetermined amount of credit on demand. Generally, you can borrow up to 75% of the appraised value of your home — up to 90%, if the line of credit is insured. You take what you need, when you need it, and pay interest only on the outstanding amount.

A line of credit secured against the value of your house will typically be issued at a lower rate than an unsecured loan or personal line of credit. Accessing the home equity line of credit is easy and convenient. You may have the option of writing cheques or using a credit card or bank card.

Repayment is also flexible. You can pay some or all of the outstanding balance at any time without penalty, or make interest-only payments.

Increase your existing mortgage
Increasing the amount of your mortgage may be the right renovation-financing option for you if your mortgage is coming due, if you are selling one house to buy another, or if you are taking out your first mortgage.

It may also be a smart move if you’re locked in to a long-term mortgage at a significantly higher rate than is currently available. In this case, any penalty you may incur could be offset by the savings in interest over the long term.

While this option lacks the flexibility of a line of credit, the advantage for many is knowing that the borrowed funds are structured to be paid back in a set amount of time. And interest rates can be fixed, if you choose — unlike a line of credit, which floats against prime.

A second mortgage
A second mortgage is just that — a mortgage that is in addition to your first mortgage. Like a first mortgage, a second mortgage is a loan with a specified rate of interest and repayment schedule.

A second mortgage can be a good choice for homeowners who are locked in to a longer-term mortgage, but wouldn’t benefit from breaking their first mortgage. Lending rates for a second mortgage may be higher than a first mortgage.

Like increasing your mortgage, this option trades repayment flexibility for the peace of mind of knowing the debt will be paid down if you stick to the repayment schedule. Every situation is unique. But we can help you determine your best option.

Housing starts across Canada remain flat except growing momentum in B.C

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Housing starts across Canada remained flat year over year in November, although seasonally-adjusted numbers point to growing momentum in British Columbia and Quebec as developers ramp up to meet immigration demands.

“The trend essentially held steady for a third consecutive month in November,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, in releasing November numbers Monday. “This is in line with our expectations for 2014, of a stable national picture with new home building concentrated in multiple starts, particularly in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario.”

Seasonally adjusted starts in November climbed 6.5 per cent month-over-month to 195,620 units. More than half of those starts were multi-unit properties in urban centres, led largely by Ontario and Quebec, though British Columbia posted the largest gains – 26.7 per cent – from October.

t’s important to note, say analysts, that starts were flat from the year-ago period.

While reports suggested overbuilding would become a problem for Canada’s major urban centres, CMHC said more housing is needed to fill the demand created by healthy immigration.

“Ask any real estate developer in any of Canada’s major cities about the risk of overbuilding, and the first line of defense would be immigration and its critical role in supporting demand,” said Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s deputy chief economist. “It turns out that, at least for now, this claim is more valid than widely believed.”

New immigrants account for 70 per cent of the increase in Canada’s population. Half of these new immigrants are aged between 25 and 44, representing the country’s economic engine, according to CMHC’s 2014 Canadian Housing Observer.

Housing market ‘modestly’ overvalued, CMHC says

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

House prices in parts of Canada may appear to be increasingly out of reach for many Canadians, but lofty prices aren’t about to sink any time soon.

In fact, Canada’s homes are only “modestly” overvalued on average, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says in an analysis, and there is no evidence that any dramatic reversal is in the cards.

Over all, “there is little risk of a housing price correction,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan says. “There is only a modest amount of overvaluation, and other risk factors don’t seem to be present now in Canada.”

Nationally, house prices are only slightly higher than where they should be relative to disposable income and population growth, the study shows. Overheating and price acceleration are also not a concern on a national basis.

The challenge of renovating a heritage castle in Moncton, N.B.,for less than an East Vancouver bungalow.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Castle Manor

A Vancouver owner who wishes to remain nameless has taken up the challenge of renovating a heritage castle in Moncton, N.B., that went on the market earlier this year for less than an East Vancouver bungalow.

Jay Tse is a Moncton-based, semi-retired contractor with family ties in Vancouver. Much of his family is involved with real estate and construction.

“That’s what we talk about — construction and how much real estate is in Vancouver and in Moncton — and the topic of the castle came up because at that time, it was for sale,” said Tse, noting media reports about the peculiar property had caught the eye of a Vancouver relative.

In January, The Province wrote a story comparing the price of East Van bungalows to the 107-year-old Castle Manor in Moncton, N.B.

While many B.C. bungalows were priced north of $700,000, the Moncton castle — with 54 rooms and 12-foot ceilings spread over 19,000 square feet — came in at under $700,000.

“By Vancouver standards, it was very economical and that’s how we all started,” Tse said.

A Vancouver relative then became interested in buying the castle and asked Tse to look into the property on their behalf, and to consider taking on the renovations.

“I think they found it very interesting because of the history and the tradition of the castle in Moncton, and they asked me to think seriously about it,” Tse told The Province.

“I discouraged them because it’s not an easy project, as you know. It’s a heritage building and there were a lot of issues associated with a project this size and the extent of renovations.”

Following the sale, Tse said it took a few months to clear up legal paperwork and secure the right permits for the renovations.

The local community has also grown attached to the castle, which Tse said has challenged him to find the right balance between honouring the history of the castle, while also moving forward with renovations that will “make it last at least another 100 years.”

“That was the first huge stumbling block, but after that, it’s just a beautiful old building that needs a lot of tender loving care,” Tse said, adding the municipality has also been very supportive of the project and has offered extensive help.

For the Vancouver owner, who has asked to remain anonymous, Tse said the castle represented more of a challenge than an investment property.

“If they wanted to make money, there were other things they could do that are much easier,” Tse said, noting the new owner was adamant about buying the castle.

Still, the new owner has no plans to live in Castle Manor.

“I doubt they will move to Moncton — they love Vancouver too much,” Tse said.

Instead, the castle — which used to be a care home but has sat empty for several years — will be converted into a planned 14 high-end market condo units. Tse said the finished product could be ideal for mature professionals at a nearby hospital, professors and mature students at the local university, or retirees in the surrounding area who are looking to downsize but wish to remain in the neighbourhood.

There are no plans to change the stone facade of the castle, other than possibly adding a few windows, and the rest of the designs are still subject to the heritage board’s approval.

Tse and his crew — many of whom have worked with him for 25 years — begin their work on Tuesday, by conducting support-beam and sound- proofing tests. A completion date of Oct. 1, 2015 has been set.

“It’s a challenging but interesting project,” Tse said.

sip@theprovince.com

 

B.C. has a height limit of 6 storeys. Will high rises be built of wood?

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Adera Development Corporation’s Sail condo development at the University of B.C. in Vancouver includes two six-storey wood-frame buildings.

In the five years since B.C. increased the height limit for wood-frame buildings, new structures have been popping up all over the province. Now lumber’s biggest advocates are predicting they can build higher than they ever expected.

Since 2009, when the province raised the limit for wood-frame buildings to six storeys from four, 202 new five- and six-storey buildings have been approved, including 58 that are already complete.

Among the finished structures are the two buildings at Sail, a six-storey condo development at the University of B.C., the five-storey Library Square development in Kamloops and the five-storey Riverport Flats rental development in Richmond. The new projects come as the province pushes to revitalize the forestry industry and find new markets for wood projects.

But builders can go even higher than six storeys if they use mass timber — also known as massive timber. Unlike the light-frame or stud construction used to build houses and low-rises, mass timber is made by bonding together thin layers of wood to create a material that is much stronger and more fire-resistant than lumber.

To get approval for mass timber structures higher than six storeys, developers must prove that the building will be just as safe as if it were built with concrete and steel.

Vancouver architect Michael Green has been one of the world’s strongest voices in support of tall wood buildings. He grabbed attention with the audacious claim that mass timber construction can be used for structures as tall as 30 storeys, but he now believes he wasn’t shooting high enough.

“I’ve been saying 30 for a long, long, long time … but I picked the number 30 out of the air,” he said.

“I am quite convinced that we’re going to get to 40, we’re going to get to 45. I don’t know where we’re going to end.”

He believes that as these buildings push higher and higher into the sky, concrete and steel will be incorporated into the structure in an attempt to get the most out of each material.

Green’s firm designed the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, a seven-storey mass timber building at the University of Northern B.C. that was recently completed and should be cleared for occupancy in a few days.

Now he’s got his sights on much bigger things. Although he couldn’t give any details, he said his firm is now working on a “very large timber project” in Minneapolis with a large developer that has traditionally built skyscrapers.

And later this week, Green will submit his proposal for a groundbreaking new 16-18 storey wood student residence building at UBC.

“It will absolutely be the world’s tallest. It’s absolutely one of the most important wood projects to be announced in the last, well, ever,” he said.

“It’s a huge step for UBC and even if I don’t get the project, I’m tremendously honoured that everybody has embraced the idea to this extent.”

Green talks about wood with reverence, describing the beauty of lumber and the human desire to be surrounded by natural materials.

But he has practical reasons for advocating for wood as well.

“Sixteen per cent of the world’s fossil fuels go into making steel and concrete,” Green said. “How can we build big buildings in wood that sequesters carbon, that’s very low energy, that we can grow more of, that’s a renewable resource?”

On Monday, forest research organization FPInnovations launched a technical guide to help builders become familiar with wood as a construction material. It includes peer-reviewed research on building techniques.

Natural Resources Canada, which funded the creation of the guide, said in a news release Monday that “increasing the number of tall wood buildings is a priority for economic growth opportunity.”

Conroy Lum, FPInnovations’ research leader for structural performance in advanced building systems, said that incorporating wood will be key as the world’s population grows and becomes even more concentrated in urban areas.

“There’s going to be greater demand for buildings, both to provide service as well as to house people,” Lum said.

“If we can we do it with a material that allows us to deal with minimal impact to the environment, that would be preferred.”

He believes that Canada’s building codes are in need of a reboot to reflect the fact that fire-prevention science has advanced significantly in recent decades.

“Let’s start from fresh. Let’s look at the materials closely. Let’s see how can we go about building and designing with wood that will help us mitigate the risk,” he said.

blindsay@vancouversun.com

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/future+highrises+Wood+naturally/10112748/story.html#ixzz3ANhsbcxF

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