Meet your area specialist:
HomeLife Benchm
103 - 5830 176A Street
Surrey, BC V3S 4H5

Vancouver House condos starting at $620,000 for 400 square feet or $1,550 a square foot

Want a piece of this? $620k to start

The Province

Vancouver House, a twisted building at the north end of the Granville Street Bridge, is still at least a year from being built, and if you want in, be prepared to shell out a minimum of $620,000.

And that’s for a 400-square-foot one-bedroom/flex suite, which works out to $1,550 a square foot. The average cost per square foot of Vancouver condos in August was just over $1,000 a square foot, but $1,250 a square foot in Yaletown, according to realtor Steve Saretzky’s website, the Vancity Condo Guide.

The 49-storey building sold out within weeks of marketing years ago.

But some suites are being offered for reassignment online. (Pre-sale condominiums are exempt from a law passed last year to restrict the sale of assignments, to prevent flipping realtors from double-dipping on commission fees.)

The 400-sq.-ft. suite, which also has a 126-sq.-ft. balcony, is on the third floor of the building at 1480 Howe St., in what’s called the “Beach District.”

Another condo — almost 2,100sq. ft., three bedrooms and four bathrooms, on the 36th floor and with a wraparound balcony — recently sold for $3.2 million, or about $1,470 per sq. ft.

Vancouver House, which includes 375 condo suites ranging from studios to four-bedrooms, 105 rental suites, a retail area, a library, fitness centre, 25-metre heated pool on a living roof visible from the Granville Street Bridge and a fleet of BMWs for residents to share, is 151 metres tall.

That makes it the city’s fifth tallest building after Living Shangri-La (201 m), the Trump International Hotel and Tower (188 m), Telus Garden Residential Tower (167 m), and the Private Residences at Hotel Georgia (158 m), according to skyscrapercenter. com.

The building is unique in that it sits on a 6,500-sq.-ft. triangular shaped base and increases in square footage incrementally starting at the 12th storey to end up being double that in size and rectangular-shaped by the top floor, said Carl MacDonald, senior project manager at Bjarke Ingels Group, the Danish architectural firm that designed it.

It is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2019.

The project is to eventually include two other buildings, one on either side of the bridge, housing commercial and office space.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

It’s better to find solutions before a costly crisis occurs

Condo Smarts: Better to find solutions before a crisis occurs

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony

Our strata discovered that a pipe in a wall between my unit and a neighbour’ s unit had developed a leak.

They hired a plumber who came out and had to cut a three-by-three-foot hole in both of our walls to replace the pipe. The cause was obvious: the pipe had been angled around a cable and stressed to the point of failure. 

When the plumber was gone, he gave us a card to call to have our walls repaired. We both arranged for a drywall company to come in and fix our walls.

At no time did the strata or anyone else indicate we would have to pay for the repairs. Each of us had to pay $1,500, which is horrendous.

The strata argued it was a repair to our strata lot and the strata was not responsible, but it was not a claim under the insurance deductible and it was damage caused by the strata corporation’s contractor to actually repair common property. Is this common? 

Agnes W., White Rock

Dear Agnes:

Under the Strata Property Act in B.C., strata corporations must maintain and repair common property.

Under the definitions of the act, pipes, wires, ducts and cables that are in walls, ceilings and floors that are between two strata lots, or between a strata lot and common property, are deemed to be common property.

The strata corporation was correct that it had to repair the pipe as it was common property; however,  in order to repair the common property, the strata corporation was required to enter your strata lot and remove a section of wall to repair the common property.  

While we have no definitive court decisions on this process, it is logical to assume that a party who causes the damages will be responsible for the repairs in the same manner as an owner who hammers a nail into a wall to hang a picture and causes a leak would be responsible for the cost of the repairs. 

Allyson Baker, a lawyer at Clark Wilson LLP in Vancouver, advises strata corporations to also consider bylaws that address these types of issues. According to Allyson: “Strata corporations are frequently required to access strata lots and conduct repairs. It may be a simple repair, or a complete re-piping of the building due to age, but the strata corporation would generally maintain the responsibility to replace the existing standard finishing with the same repairs.

“Where it gets complicated is when the strata corporation finds they have a repair behind a wall of custom marble or granite that was not original, and there is now a major cost associated with reinstating the alteration. A bylaw that clearly defines the limits of the repairs undertaken by the strata corporation to original finishes and construction only informs owners they are obliged to insure their improvements for any losses and provides a great deal of clarity for the strata corporation. It is always easier to find solutions before they become a crisis.”  

Bylaws are not only about solving problems; they can provide great clarity on liability and operations before an incident occurs. Well-written bylaws that comply with the act will often resolve many problems before your strata corporation is embroiled in a conflict, and are well worth the investment.   

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Fleetwood Rise 131 townhomes 16518 Fraser Highway Surrey by Anthem Properties

Fleetwood’s style rises to the occasion

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

Fleetwood Rise

What: 131 townhomes

Where: 103 — 16433 Watson Drive, Surrey

Residence sizes and prices: two-beds, three-beds, three-beds-plus-den, and

four-beds; 1,210 — 1,644 square feet; prices range from $500,000 — mid $600,000

Developer and builder: Anthem 

Sales centre: 103 — 16433 Watson Drive

Centre hours: noon — 5 p.m, Sat — Thursday

One glance at the funky and minimalist decor, muted colours and mid-century flair in Fleetwood Rise’s Surrey display home and it’s clear Janine Wilson and The Mill Design team had more than their fair share of fun tapping into the esthetic of young families looking to make a home in Surrey.

“Buyers … are very savvy to current trends these days, thanks to the amazing design resources available on Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz,” says Wilson, a principal at The Mill and the designer of Anthem Properties’ new townhome community in Surrey.

Call it the democratization of interior design: social media platforms have given decor afficionados more freedom to curate, show off and share their fabulous decor inspirations, so it’s no wonder that as homebuyers, they come to display suites with high expectations.

While the Fleetwood Rise show home is definitely colourful and kid-friendly, The Mill’s esthetic appeal is decidedly grown-up, particularly in the living room

The Mill Design covered one wall with a faux brick effect, fashioned from wallpaper by Milton & King luxury wallpaper designers, which “helps add a lot of architectural character to the long narrow main floor you see in most townhomes,” Wilson says.

The living room shades are so muted they take on a neutral character next to the tan leather mid-century style ‘Sven’ sofa Wilson sourced from Article in Gastown. These hues inspired Wilson to incorporate navy wool drapery and black and white woven rug with charcoal side chairs.

 “I feel like colours like navy and terra cotta orange can be used almost like a neutral grey,” Wilson says. “They are the basic colours of the water and earth so they aren’t hard to look at or too bright no matter how much or where you use them.”

The black, white and brown scheme of the kitchen finishes adds contrast; the medium brown laminate mimics teak and stands apart from the more traditional styles that saturate the market, Wilson says. “We’re seeing so much of the white oak, grey oak, and walnut these days in kitchen cabinetry, so we wanted to do something slightly different here but also use a colour that was still really easy to coordinate with furniture.”

Wilson says of all the tasteful pieces used in the display home, she favours the marble and brass coffee table from CB2. “The marble veining is so subtle and the brass is a perfect darker brushed brass that doesn’t stand out too much and blends in with almost all metal and wood finishes.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

The condo project at 7615 Cambie has pre-sale buyers angry over developer?s offer for a release from the contracts

Pre-sale condo buyers at cancelled Langara West project contest developer’s offer

Joanne Lee-Young
The Province

Over a third of pre-sale condo buyers at the cancelled Langara West project in the Cambie Street corridor are challenging the developer’s offer to return their deposits, plus interest and an additional 50 per cent of their downpayment, in exchange for a release.

It is the latest in a Vancouver real estate saga with a bit of everything: a property developer in southern China, a mysteriously felled tree, City Hall defending its permitting process, and land values that have nearly tripled in just under three and a half years.

In an opening salvo, a set of buyers is preparing a so-called position statement for Vancouver-based Vivagrand, according to Timothy Peters at law firm Jenkins Marzban Logan. He has been retained by around 25 of the 71 buyers.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom condos they bought, starting two years ago, were pre-sold from as low as $700 to $900 a square foot in a hot neighbourhood where prices are now going for between $1,200 to $1,400 a square foot.

Many buyers feel they are now priced out of other condos in the area, either for use as homes or investments, given the appreciation in recent years. 

The developer ended the project in August, telling buyers that the land — which it bought in March 2014 for $12.5 million — will be sold.

Permitting delays by the City, exacerbated when a tree on the corner of the development was cut down without permission, plus rising costs and the loss of project financing were to blame, according to the developer.

The group of buyers intends to argue there has been a “fundamental breach of contract” that invalidates any “limitation of liability” cited in their purchase and sale contracts. They believe the developer’s offer of the deposit, plus interest and 50 per cent, is based on this clause.

“You can breach a contract in many ways: By delivering the project late, or the condo size may be different,” said Peters. “But the essence of the contract is to deliver a strata lot with common property. If you don’t do that, you are breaching it in a more fundamental way.”

If this is the case, “What is the measure of damages from the developer to the buyers? Is it the difference between what they paid and the current market value at the time of the breach of the contract?” asked Peters.

The group will also turn to consumer protection legislation set out by the province’s Real Estate Development Marketing Act. It regulates the pre-sale of condo units and sets obligations for what developers must disclose, including updates about the strata site and financing, said Peters.

“According to REDMA, a developer can’t misrepresent facts and has an ongoing obligation to amend disclosures” if material facts change, Peters said.

For example, as late as January 2017, the developer told buyers there was a firm commitment by lenders to proceed with the project. “They removed this as a condition,” said Peters.

Eight months later, however, buyers were told in termination letters that delays in the project led to banks walking away from financing the project.

“The important thing is if there were misrepresentations in disclosure statements” as required by REDMA, the developer could be liable to purchasers for damages, Peters said.

“The developer can no longer rely on the limitation of liability as provided in the contract between it and the buyers.”

He adds the buyers “remain hopeful that the developer will appreciate the position they now find themselves in through no fault of their own and understand that the current offer that’s on the table is a fraction of their anticipated losses.”

Vivagrand has offices on West Broadway and describes itself as linked to Guangzhou-based Xiang Li, a real estate firm “with 22 years experience and over 350,000 square feet of residential, mixed-use and infrastructure development in China.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Fines associated with using cell phones while driving


Effective Sep 12, 2017, BC police will take serious actions against Distracted Driving violations.

Drivers will be fined $368 & deduct 6 points, if they were found doing the following when driving:

Smoking, reading, looking at maps, hand held GPS, applying make-up, watching movies, cleaning faces, adjudting volume, searching for radio channels, maneuvering devices, using audio ear phone, listening to loud music, eating snacks etc. Drivers may only drink water when stopping for a red traffic light.

It is suggedted to place cell phone inside pockets of clothes.  Avoid physical contact with cell phone while driving.  If the cell phone is found not secured in a fixed position, driver will be fined $368 + $175 & deduct 4 points for initial offense.  The fine for repeated offense within 12 months will be $888 & $3,760 for the 5th offense.

A driver will also be fined if the cell phone is found placed at a too low position or it would block the front view of the driver. 

Before issuing a violation ticket, police will consider (1) if the cell phone has been secured in a fixed & safe position, (2) whether the driver has physical contact with or looked at the cell phone, (3) whether the screen of the cell phone would cause distraction to the driver.

✳ Cup holder next to the driver is not considered a safe position for placing cell phone. 

✳ Checking the time on the cell phone is considered illegal, and will be fined.

Canadians want green spaces to be protected says TD poll

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Protecting Canada’s green spaces is a priority for most people but a survey shows that they could be improved.

The poll by TD Bank shows that 95% of Canadians say that access to green spaces will be important for their quality of life in the future but three quarters say local green space could be made better with more picnic areas, natural playgrounds and solar lighting.

Proximity to green space is a key factor in deciding where to live, with 18% ranking it a high priority, behind proximity to close schools and public transport.

“Canadians agree, community green spaces are an integral part of our identity,” said Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer, TD Bank Group. “As the pace of life around us intensifies, Canadians value outdoor spaces in their communities where they can find common ground.”

Commercial development should not impact green space according to 40% of respondents with 24% saying that housing developments should also not mean cutting back on green space.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd