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This Golden Retriever wants to sell you a condo

Jordan Yerman
Jun 25th, 2013

Give your real estate agent a treat

Golden Retrievers are intelligent, friendly, and capable dogs. Therefore it stands to reason that you would want to include one in your real estate business.

As the photo above suggests, however, a canine real estate agent requires a human support team for tasks such as signing documents (dogs have no thumbs) and communicating with building managers (dogs have trouble on the phone). till, a dog can serve a fundamental purpose in your office beyond the chasing of errant tennis balls.

Are you really ready for this job?

I spent two years in the New York City real estate industry, and one of the first lessons I learned was how hard it is to differentiate yourself in a very crowded marketplace. Different real estate sales and rental companies have different specialties, as well as varied access to exclusive listings. The "exclusive listings" bit was especially important in New York, where a good deal's market availability is measured in hours.

Branded Trump Tower update: site "not cursed"

Jordan Yerman
Feb 28th, 2013

Vancouver's Turn: detail from City of Vancouver policy report (pdf). Formerly the Ritz-Carlton project, this skyscraper is set to become Vancouver's tallest.

Trump Tower in Vancouver?

When you think of Vancouver, Donald Trump probably doesn't spring to mind right away. That's why I'm sure I'm not the only one who spotted a distinct lack of enthusiasm as CTV's anchors discussed the possibility of a Trump-branded high-rise in Vancouver.

The brand Trump-Vancouver rumour is pinned on that construction site on West Georgia between Thurlow and Bute. UBC marketing professor Darren Dahl spoke for many a Vancouverite when he said, "When you think of Vancouver, you don't think about Donald Trump in any way, to be honest."

The project is called Vancouver's Turn, due to the twisting facade of the proposed 67-story building. The first 20 floors would have been home to a Ritz-Carlton hotel, with the rest as apartments. This is the City of Vancouver's policy report on the project (pdf).

Luxury market stumbles, but still records second best year: realtor reports

Patricia Houlihan
Feb 27th, 2013

The BC luxury home market stumbled in 2012 as sales of high-end homes fell 36 per cent from their peak in 2011. However, even with the drop, 2012 was still the second best year in history for sales of luxury homes.

439 $3-million+ homes transacted in 2012, down from a peak of 691 in 2011. However, to demonstrate how far prices in BC's real estate market have increased over the past 10 years, only 10 homes sold for over $3 million in the year 2000. Of the 439 homes that sold for over $3-million in 2012, 107 sold for over $5-million and 44 were condos or townhomes. The most expensive home sold in 2012 was by Macdonald Realty for $19.8 Million.

The majority of homes sold for over $3 million in 2012 were located in Vancouver's Westside. West Vancouver was also well represented while a disproportionate number of expensive homes sold in South Surrey/White Rock. Outside the lower mainland, Vancouver Island saw eight $3-million+ sales while the Okanagan recorded four.

How well do you really know Kitsilano?

Jordan Yerman
Feb 15th, 2013

The changing face of Kitsilano

I checked in with the staff at M&J Car Wash down by Granville Island and got some good news: the iconic car wash won't be torn down and replaced with condos... at least not yet. M&J Car Wash has a reprieve, at least through 2015.

On the way back, though, I looked again at the unusual number of vacant storefronts along West 4th Avenue. This stretch of Kitsilano thoroughfare commands the second-highest commercial rent in Vanouver, with only Robson Street being less affordable for a business-owner looking to hang out a shingle.

This means that businesses have to thrive in order to survive: there's no just scraping by on West 4th. In turn, when a storefront becomes vacant, it will more likely be occupied by a chain store, or at least a business with more than one outlet.

That's how a neighborhood homogenizes. Just look at Lower Broadway in Manhattan. It's happening in New York; you think it's not happening in Vancouver?

Vancouver real estate and 2013: proceed with caution

Kim Little
Jan 19th, 2013
Recently @DouglasCoupland quipped on Twitter  that 2013 was a very bad name for a year, so he was going to rename it Tammy. "Tammy" sounds like a hurricane name, if you ask me.

But then again, perhaps that's what we can expect. We have entered uncharted waters, and there are as many reasons why this state of things can go on much longer as why it can end tomorrow.

Drop in BC home assessments no big deal

Kim Little
Jan 5th, 2013

BC Assessments dropped in some areas.

So, here's a question:

If I have a lollipop I bought for 25 cents but someone comes by that loves the look of it and offers me 50 cents, does it mean it's really worth 50 cents?

Does it mean I could sell another one to someone else for double as well? And if  I can only get 40 cents the second time around, can we say its value has gone down?

Welcome to the world of Vancouver real estate.

The assessments that BC Assessments do are there to tell us what our homes were “worth”—or what they probably would have sold for July 1 of last year.

That information is used effectively for property tax purposes. That information is effectively useless in terms of determining what your home is worth now.

Vancouver real estate: residential property sale below 10-year averages

Patricia Houlihan
Dec 17th, 2012

Image by Bigstock Photo

Over the past six months, the Greater Vancouver housing market has seen a reduction in the number of homes listed for sale, a gradual moderation in home prices and a decrease in property sales compared to historical averages.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 1,686 on the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November, a 28.6 per cent decline compared to the 2,360 sales in November 2011 and a 12.7 per cent decline compared to the 1,931 home sales in October 2012.

November sales were 30.3 per cent below the 10-year November sales average of 2,420.

Remember to Breathe: Buyer’s Market Has A Calming Effect on House Hunters

Steven Threndyle
Nov 2nd, 2012

Photo courtesy of Bigstock Photo

A calmer atmosphere. Might that phrase refer to the amount of Lululemon seen at the typical West Side open house?

Not really, according to president-elect Sandra Wyant of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “Overall conditions in today’s market remain in favour of buyers, with low interest rates, more choice, and less time pressure in terms of decision-making. This translates into a calmer atmosphere for those looking to buy a home and it places more onus on sellers to ensure their homes are priced to compete in today’s marketplace.”

Ms. Wyant’s statement is found in the REBGV’s monthly report detailing sales statistics for October, 2012.

Since reaching a peak of $625,100 in May, the MLS Home Price Index® (MLS HPI®) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver declined 3.4 per cent to $603,800 in October. This represents a 0.8 per cent decline compared to last year.

MC² at Marine and Cambie and the nearly one day sell-out

Steven Threndyle
Nov 1st, 2012

Artist's Rendering of MC2 in South Vancouver

Aside from the words “sold for $100,000 over asking”, nothing makes the real estate junky salivate quite like the term “one day sell-out” – a term that’s thrown around when pre-sale marketing leads to people lining up around the block like West Side families trying to get their kids into French immersion. (Urban legend has it that many of these people risking nerve damage from standing on their feet for hours on end are not, in fact, actual condo purchasers, but are paid by investors who then take their place in line when it’s time to enter the building and sign the contract to purchase).

Well, Intracorp’s pre-sale of their new property at Cambie and Marine didn’t quite sell out; but it far exceeded expectations according to real estate marketer Bob Rennie.

347 out of a total of 443 homes sold on opening weekend, which is certainly respectable given the high amount of inventory on the resale market. Similar to projects around transit nodes like Brentwood and Metrotown, Intracorp MC² project seeks to capitalize on its location close to the Canada Line SkyTrain station.

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