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Pacific Heights by Foxridge Homes 16752 18th Avenue Surrey 28 single-family homes

Customizable luxury at South Surrey’s Pacific Heights

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun

Pacific Heights by Foxridge Homes

Project location: 16752 — 18 Ave., Surrey

Project size: 28 single-family homes with four or five bedrooms, starting at 3,082 square feet and priced from $1,479,900.

Developer: Foxridge Homes

Interior designer: First Impression Design

Sales centre: 16752 — 18 Ave., Surrey

Hours: open daily, noon —  5 p.m. 

Telephone: 604-427-1803

Website: www.foxridgehomesbc.com

Pacific Heights by Foxridge Homes is a development of 28 luxury single-family homes with four or five bedrooms. And with units starting at more than 3,000 square feet, it may be surprising to think that many of the buyers at this emerging South Surrey neighbourhood will, in fact, be downsizers.

“We’ve had young families and move-up buyers, as well as downsizers moving out of acreages with absolutely enormous houses on them,” said Diane Zarola, Foxridge Homes’ director of sales and marketing. “Those people are still looking for single-family homes, but smaller ones where they don’t have acres of land to look after.”

Carolyn Young is a perfect example of what Zarola is talking about. She and her husband, who live in the Elgin Chantrell neighbourhood of South Surrey, have bought a home at Pacific Heights and expect to take possession in the spring.

“Our current place is about 5,000 square feet on a half-acre lot,” Young said. “I realize we’re moving to a smaller lot and a smaller home, but we’re at a point in our lives where my eldest son is in college and my younger son is in Grade 10, so we really don’t need this much space. I’m tired of housework and my husband is tired of yard work.”

Along with all the benefits of moving into a home that involves far less upkeep, Zarola says many downsizers are attracted by the thought of having all new kitchens and bathrooms, rather than having to go through the stress of renovations.

“The construction techniques have become so much more advanced since those old acreage homes were built,” she said. “All of the new technology makes a big difference — better materials, more efficient furnaces and water tanks, state-of-the-art appliances, better insulation, higher quality windows, longer-lasting roofs and the list goes on and on.”

“The building standards have improved so much over the years,” Zarola added. “Everything’s brand new and it’s all under warranty. On top of that, you get all the latest designs and colours in terms of sinks and countertops and fittings. Those things weren’t so available 20-odd years ago.”

There are two different styles of homes on offer at Pacific Heights by Foxridge – some with a full walk-out basement and others that have a much larger ground floor and a ground level that leads straight out to the back yard, with an underground basement.

Homes feature 10-foot-high ceilings and oversized windows throughout the main floors. There are contemporary designer-selected light fixture packages, hardwood flooring throughout the main levels (including the powder rooms) and linear gas fireplaces in the great rooms.

The kitchens have open-concept layouts with oversized centre islands, abundant storage and large pantries. There are high Shaker-style maple cabinets with soft-close doors and drawers. Buyers will also get quartz or granite countertops and full-height backsplashes, undermount stainless steel double bowl sinks and premium Bosch stainless steel appliance packages that include built-in microwaves, wall ovens and five-burner gas cooktops. Ensuite bathrooms feature Mirolin freestanding soaker tubs, separate frameless glass shower and double vanities. There are granite or quartz countertops and ceramic tile floors.

While Pacific Heights by Foxridge Homes benefits from a quiet location, Zarola is keen to stress that all the shopping in South Surrey at Morgan Crossing is within a few minutes drive, as is the aquatic centre.

“All the amenities you could think of are right there – everything from Canadian Tire to Aldo shoes,” she added. “Everything is so close, but not in your face. It’s a lovely location and some of the homes will also have views of Semiahmoo Bay and the Strait of Georgia.”

Young said she stumbled upon the subdivision and decided to find out which builders were going to be building homes there.

“Foxridge was one of them and I really liked their floor plans,” she said. “The other thing that really made a difference for me was that other developers offer you three or four set colour schemes, but with Foxridge you can pick anything you want. I loved the fact that we could personalize our home.”

The show home at Pacific Heights by Foxridge Homes includes the company’s famous design centre, where buyers can choose from a wide range of colours, materials, finishes and upgrades.

“We’re the only builder in the Lower Mainland that encourages our buyers to make their own decisions for their home when it comes to the colours and the finishes,” said Zarola. “It gives them the opportunity to customize their home in almost every way, both inside and out. Those are choices that nobody else provides and it definitely sets Foxridge Homes apart. No fixed colour schemes – our buyers can choose exactly what they want.”

Prices start at $1.47 million and the show home at 16752-18 Avenue is open from noon to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Heather and Seventeenth 717 West 17th Avenue 16 homes in a 4 storey building by Terra Blanka

Sublime Luxury Homes at Heather and Seventeenth


West Side Vancouver is one of most sought-after and coveted neighbourhoods; home to gorgeous tree-lined streets, stately homes and is within close proximity to Cambie’s charming village – with great shopping and dining. This is where Heather and Seventeenth – Terra Blanca Development’s newest and exclusive condominium project calls home.

Heather and Seventeenth is a luxury boutique-style, four-storey concrete building showcasing an exquisite collection of 16 residences, featuring two and three bedroom and den condominiums. This newest addition to the neighbourhood embodies the evolution of the sophisticated transitional style fused with a nod to the neighbourhood.

“The quiet Westside location and only 16 residences makes Heather and Seventeenth pretty unique in this coveted neighbourhood,” says Dave Bauman, director sales and marketing, Magnum Projects. “We have sold out of our first release and we are now releasing the final six homes, starting at $1,720,900.”

Bauman went on to say that this latest condominium project is attracting those empty-nesters who want to downsize from their large Westside homes but don’t want to leave their coveted enclaves.

“It’s a boutique-style condo building for people who really want to have a more intimate lifestyle and want to be able to lock their door and go on vacation,” he notes.

The impressive overheight New York-style lobby welcomes you home in style, with its porcelain slab on the walls and wood accents throughout, while the homes’ spacious and inviting interiors, ranging from 1,184 to 1,441 square feet, are full of light and exceptional finishes.

Designed by award-winning Cristina Oberti Interior Design, the open-concept residences feature everything you’d expect from a quality-built home, including wide plank engineered hardwood flooring throughout main living area, airy nine-foot-four-inch ceilings, large Masonite heritage series doors, and air-conditioning.

The Arclinea kitchens, designed by the renowned Italian architect Antonio Citterio, are showcased with  Sub Zero and Wolf appliances, three-quarter-inch square-edged quartz countertops with full-height porcelain slab tile backsplash, wine cooler, plus an island with seating for four.

The elegance doesn’t stop there. The bathrooms are equally impressive. They feature contemporary soaker tubs, NuHeat in-floor heating in the ensuites, floating Arclinea vanities, polished porcelain tiles on the walls with complimentary mosaic accent tiles in the main and ensuite bathrooms. 

Outside, the private enclosed balconies offer cityscape and mountain vistas, making them an extension of your new home and a great place to enjoy your morning coffee.

As one of the most distinguished and walkable neighbourhoods in Vancouver, you will find plenty of amenities and recreational opportunities, such as Heather and Douglas parks, all within easy walking or driving distance. Independent boutique shops, cafes and restaurants and easy access to transit are just a few of the reasons why you want to live at Heather and Seventeenth.

The uncommon elegance and high-end features make these truly beautiful homes.

Heather and Seventeenth Sales Centre and display vignette, located at 3246 Cambie Street, is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. (closed Friday).

© 2017 REW.ca

How to Avoid the New Mortgage “Stress Test”

Joannah Connolly

Home buyers in BC and across Canada are bracing themselves for strict new qualification rules coming into force in January for mortgage applicants who have more than 20% as a down payment.

Those buyers will have to undergo the same “stress test” that was introduced a year ago for buyers who have less than 20% down.

The stress test will now require all new applicants for mortgages at federally regulated financial institutions – such as banks and monoline lenders – to income-qualify at the Bank of Canada posted interest rate, which tends to be notably higher than the rate mortgage-holders will actually pay.

The new policy is said by mortgage professionals to reduce Canadians’ home-purchasing power by around 20%, as the higher interest rate will reduce the maximum mortgage that buyers will be able to borrow.

The move was put in place by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), which is the federal agency in charge of maintaining the stability of the Canadian banking system, and is intended to prevent consumers taking on too much mortgage debt.

However, some mortgage lenders – including credit unions such as Vancity, Coast Capital and Prospera – do not come under OSFI’s jurisdiction, as they are provincially regulated by the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM). Credit unions in BC are not required to “stress test” their mortgage applicants in the way banks are.

Therefore, a buyer can get a mortgage with a credit union and income-qualify at the rate they will be paying, which may give them more purchasing power.

When asked by REW whether FICOM BC intends to follow OSFI’s lead in implementing a “stress test,” Frank Chong, acting superintendent of financial institutions at FICOM, confirmed that there were no plans to do so. He issued the following statement to REW:

“FICOM has reviewed the new requirements from the federal bank regulator (OSFI) regarding requirements for residential mortgage qualification. These changes come into effect in January 2018 for federally regulated financial institutions but will not apply to provincially regulated institutions like credit unions now regulated by FICOM. Because some borrowers will not be able to qualify for mortgages with banks, they may migrate to credit unions or private lenders where qualifying is less stringent. FICOM has a residential mortgage guideline in place for credit unions and regularly reviews that directive to determine if credit unions are managing risks effectively. In the coming months, we will be consulting with credit unions and monitoring developments in residential mortgage lending to protect the interests of consumers and credit union members.

“We will continue to assess the situation, but no changes are contemplated in provincial requirements at this time.”

Alisa Aragon, mortgage expert at Bridgestone Financing Pros with DLC Mountain View Ltd., confirmed that credit unions do not qualify applicants at the higher rate, but offered a warning to buyers before they rush out to apply for credit union mortgages.

“Credit unions could be an alternative to other lenders if you don’t qualify with the stress test, but in certain cases the rates might be higher at credit unions, or the income ratios might be tighter. While you might qualify at a credit union, our job as mortgage experts is to get the best mortgage with the best rates and terms, whether that is at a credit union, banks, monoline lender or private lender.”

© 2017 REW.ca

Second + Main 180 East 2nd Avenue 233 homes in a 12-storey building by Create Properties

Second + Main reflects the comforts of home

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

There’s the rigor of work, there’s the comfort of home and there’s the good fortune of Lucas van den Berg, who recognized the warmth and familiar features of his own home while at work as development manager at Second + Main, a residential community planned for Mount Pleasant.

Van den Berg and his family enjoy many of the features in the interiors, chosen by False Creek Design, in his own home, he says.

“The esthetic and design elements False Creek Design brought to the project are both very refined and very comfortable — the same features my family loves about our own home,” says van den Berg, a developer with Create Properties, which works with Northchild Developments on the project. “I have a lot of the same elements in my own home, from the Liebherr fridges and wall-hung European styled toilets, to the hot-rolled steel feature elements found in the common areas.”

The plan for the site includes commercial space, affordable housing and artists’ space, which reflects the needs of the population of Mount Pleasant, and which steered the developers’ and designers’ creativity in space planning, says van den Berg. They knew buyers would be keen to use mobile and space-saving features, such as a kitchen island with a pull-out table and mobile storage space, to suit their needs.

Van den Berg points to the customizable closet units with adjustable shelves and hanging space that can be moved where the homeowner needs. These mobile closets effectively change the layout of the rooms, “something that is impossible to do with fixed closets,” he says. “You can use the wardrobe units for a variety of storage without having to spend a lot of money.”

Though the design ideas are out of the ordinary, the overall finishes in the Second + Main units are simple. Embracing this no-frills simplicity was key to False Creek Design’s vision — specifically in the white kitchen food prep area that hugs the wall in an L-shape, fronted by an island with a built-in extendable dining table. “Together [with False Creek Design] we felt a European minimalist esthetic would help to achieve the space efficiency we were after,” van den Berg says.

Second + Main will offer the option of either of linear galley or L-shaped kitchen, and include European kitchen cabinetry in two colour schemes. The kitchen island was custom-designed and made locally by False Creek Design, and it’s as popular among sales centre visitors as the mobile pieces, he says.

Van den Berg says these options give the homeowners the liberty to live the way they want, unconstrained and free of fixed structures that limit their movement and decor and design choices.

“At the end of the day, we did not want to push any big personality on the homeowner, rather, provide them with a highly functional and sophisticated canvas they can make their own.”

Second + Main

Where: 180 East 2nd Ave., Vancouver

What: 233 homes

Residence sizes and prices: Studios, one-bedrooms, Micro 2 suites, two-bedrooms, two-bedroom-plus-den and three-bedroom suites, 479 to 999 square feet, from $579,000s to $1.5 million

Developer and builder: Create Properties

Sales centre: 180 East 2nd Ave.

Telephone: 604-877-3222

Hours: Sat — Thurs from noon — 5 p.m. Doors open at noon on Saturday for the grand opening of the “reserve collection” of suites

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Be sure to review depreciation reports every year

Check depreciation reports every year

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our council recently put two items on our agenda at our annual general meeting to approve contingency funds for repairs and upgrades. One was the roofing on our eight townhouses and the other was a scheduled upgrade to our fire safety systems in our highrise.

The roofing was for $135,000 and the fire safety upgrade was for $22,000. Both these items were in our depreciation report and recommended for 2018, so were passed by majority vote. However, an owner raised a very good question at the meeting: The report was last updated in 2015, so how do we know these amounts are accurate?

This raised a number of other questions and proposed amendments at the meeting that related to the process for purchasing these products and services and, of course, what happens if there isn’t enough money approved? 

Our council wants to proceed with these projects, but the owners have raised some valid questions and amendments. Our property manager told us we could only approve the amount in the depreciation report. How do we proceed? 

Karen Featherstone

Dear Karen:

One of the significant benefits of depreciation reports and funding the contingency reserve fund is the strata corporation will only require a majority vote to approve the funds when the renewal or maintenance is recommended.

With the changes in the Strata Property Act, the intention was to provide strata corporations with the ability to plan funding, spend funds and authorize major projects, all by a majority vote. The majority vote also means the owners have the authority to make amendments to the majority vote resolutions at a general meeting. The result is the eligible voters have more authority on process, procedures and the expenses.

Major projects, regardless of the type of vote that is required, should all be treated with a high level of fiduciary responsibility. The depreciation report is an excellent planning tool for scheduling and financial planning, but time periods affect the projections due to product and material changes and availability, building code changes, contractor availability, inaccurate calculations of project and cost implications, and the delays in implementing the reports.

Review the depreciation report annually and identify those projects scheduled within the next five years. Your roof identified for renewal in 2018 is a project that should have been started in early 2017. The first funding approval, which could have been approved under consulting services in the annual budget, is for a roofing consultant/inspector to inspect the roofing condition and provide recommendations on maintenance or deficiencies and set the specifications for the planned renewal.

The consultant will provide you with current market costs and an overview of the complete scope of the project. One other aspect of the consultant’s work will be to advise you on the complete scope of work to avoid any duplication of future cost and work. This will form the framework on the amount you will proposed to the owners for the project.

The best example of this is your eight townhouse roofs, which have 16 skylights. At 21 years old, replacing skylights with the roofing will be the most economical choice for your strata and ensure the removal and installation will not affect your future maintenance and warranties. Also a good opportunity to consider an energy upgrade to the types of windows and ventilation. 

The only condition that is imposed by the act is that the report recommends the repair, renewal or maintenance. There is no such limitation in the act that limits your strata to the cost estimates established in the depreciation report. Other than estimates of when projects are due and possible costs, the depreciation report has no regulating authority over the business of the strata corporation.    

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

B.C. real estate watchdog bans controversial practice of ‘dual agency,’ despite industry objections

B.C. real estate regulator bans dual agency

Dan Fumano
The Province

Over objections from the industry, B.C.’s real estate regulator will prohibit the controversial practice of dual agency — where a single realtor represents both the seller and buyer in a transaction — saying the ban will improve transparency and protect consumers.

The dual agency ban announced Wednesday is part of the first major rules to be introduced by B.C.’s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate since the provincial government ended self-regulation of the real estate industry last year and transferred rule-making powers from the Real Estate Council of B.C. to the office of the government-appointed superintendent.

Last year’s regulatory changes, which included the appointment of a new superintendent of real estate with expanded oversight powers, were made after media scrutiny and widespread public concern over the Real Estate Council’s oversight of misconduct in the province’s red-hot housing market. B.C. adopted changes to the Real Estate Services Act, which the government said were intended “to increase oversight of the real estate industry and enhance consumer protection.”

Micheal Noseworthy, appointed in September, 2016, as B.C.’s superintendent of real estate, said in a media release Wednesday: “These rules will significantly change the way that real estate services are provided in British Columbia. … Ending dual agency removes the potential for conflict and serious problems. We want to create transparency for both consumers and licensees to ensure everyone understands in whose interest licensees must be working.”

In a September meeting with The Vancouver Sun and Province editorial board, Noseworthy said that after he took the position last year, “right away, I identified as the top priority figuring out what to do about so-called dual agency.”

“Dual agency, the way it’s allowed to be practised now, can lead to conflicts for consumers,” Noseworthy said then. “It’s a situation, a practice that’s unfortunately open to abuse, and I think it’s better for consumers if we close it, so there’s no opportunity for it to be abused.”

After his office released the proposed rule changes in September, the B.C. Real Estate Association, representing 22,000 real estate agents, opposed ending dual agency, with association CEO Robert Laing telling Postmedia: “Our biggest concern is the consumer’s right to make a choice about who they work with is being taken away from them. … The superintendent is trying to protect the consumers, but we think he is forgetting that, in a free-enterprise market, the consumer needs choice.”

Along with the dual agency ban announced Wednesday, other new rules are coming into effect next year nhance disclosure requirements for information that must be provided to clients about remuneration obtained by brokers and agents through commissions.

Ontario has also recently proposed banning dual agency, the Toronto Star reported in June, after government officials said consumers had raised concerns that financial incentives in double-ended deals could lead agents to engage in “unethical behaviour.”

Realtors can apply for an exception to the dual agency ban if a transaction occurs in a remote or underserved area of B.C. with limited access to licensed realtors.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.