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CMHC says housing market red flag remains

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

growing house prices clashes with a slowing of adult population growth and a decrease in disposable household income.

The agency’s early warning system report shows that evidence of overvaluation at the national level remains moderate but strong evidence is seen in Toronto, Vancouver, Hamilton and Victoria.

“We’ve maintained Canada’s overall rating at strong evidence of problematic conditions as we continue to see moderate overvaluation and price acceleration,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist.

Vancouver is now showing moderate evidence of overheating due to townhomes and apartments seeing high demand leading to multiple-offer situations and higher prices, the report warns.

Toronto continues to show strong evidence of problematic conditions.

Economic fundamentals like income and population growth cannot fully explain the rapid growth in house prices in Toronto,” said Dana Senagama, Principal Market Analyst (Toronto).

CMHC also highlights that evidence of overbuilding has increased from six centers to seven with rental apartment building in Quebec outpacing demand.

There is also moderate to strong evidence of overbuilding in markets in the Prairies.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

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When disaster strikes, who keeps paying the bills?

When disaster strikes a building, just who keeps paying the bills?

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our building was recently damaged in a fire that has required everyone to move out while the fire, water and smoke damage is repaired. We have been informed that it could be up to a year before we are allowed to return.

In the duration, all of the owners have to find other accommodation and this is doubling our costs.

Several owners have approached council and requested that strata fees be suspended until we are permitted to move back into our building.

Can we do this? It would be a substantial savings for the owners if this were possible.

Helen J.

Dear Helen:

The strata corporation continues to operate and is exposed to all of its financial obligations and liabilities even though a fire has essentially shut down occupancy of your building.

The strata council does not have the authority to suspend strata fees and must continue to enforce the bylaws.

Your strata will continue to have service agreements and utilities such as elevators, waste management, electrical and gas, water and sewer and HVAC contracts. General operations costs such as insurance, legal services, management and administration will not only continue to function but may actually have some increases due to the scope of construction.

Unless the strata corporation convenes a special general meeting and approves other financial options, likely by 3/4 vote, the approved budgets and schedule of strata fees will still be due and payable monthly as set out in your bylaws.

I would recommend legal advice to ensure your resolutions comply with the Act.

Once you reach your current fiscal year end, any surplus that remains —if there are reductions in operating costs—can be carried over to your next year as revenue and offset strata fees for the next fiscal period.  That may provide some financial relief to your owners.

It is also critical for your strata council to continue to meet monthly or more frequently if necessary during the construction and restoration to maintain direct contact with your insurance broker and insurance provider on behalf of the owners.

This will enable your council to provide updated information to owners about scheduling, matters that affect owners and when they can return to their homes.

A meeting between the council and your insurance broker is extremely valuable and will give your council the ability to find out if there are any exemptions or exclusions in the policy that may require additional funding or decision making.

The strata corporation is not responsible for the living-out costs of owners. While some strata corporation policies may cover living-out expenses for owners for a limited period of time, each owner is responsible to insure for their personal liability, living-out allowances, personal property and betterments to their strata lots.

It is beneficial during claims and construction that all communication be documented. Don’t rely on verbal conversations as they often result in misunderstandings.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Pelican Cove 1875 Tsawwassen Drive has 42 townhomes and 20 duplexes by Aquilini Developments

Pelican Cove at Tsawwassen Shores: Natural elements on display inside and out

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

Pelican Cove at Tsawwassen Shores

Where: 1875 Tsawwassen Drive

What: 42 townhomes and 20 duplexes in the final stage of the Tsawwassen Shores waterfront community

Residence sizes and prices: Two to four bedrooms from 1,270 to 1,700 sq. feet, starting at $599,900.

Developer and builder: Aquilini Development

Sales centre address: 1875 Tsawwassen Drive (last right before the ferry terminal)

Sales centre hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

When the new residents of the townhomes and duplexes at Pelican Cove move in, each will bring a unique history of home ownership.

Whether they’re downsizers, first-time buyers, or young families, every one is marking a new phase of life with one of the most important purchases of their lives. But as diverse as their backgrounds may be, they’re united by the desire to live in a home made of materials and finishes that reflect the natural beauty of the waterfront steps from their front doors.
“Geography and location definitely play an integral role in our planning and conceptual design,” says Shannon Haerdi, principal of First Impressions Design, which completed the interiors on the three display homes for Aquilini Development.
“Our first stage of design is visualizing who the potential buyer would be and how would they like to actively live in these beautiful homes. The natural elements in this community made our job easier to conceptualize and put into fruition.”
Pelican Cove is Aquilini Development’s fifth project in the master-planned community of Tsawwassen Shores, a 270-acre site within walking distance of the ocean, nature trails, and a two-kilometre boardwalk.
In one living area, First Impressions Design introduces darker earthy tones in the rug, flooring and stairs, a bold touch at a time designers often go for an all-white palette to offer home hunters a blank canvas. Again, the natural surroundings of Tsawwassen inspired the warmer shades in the display. In fact, Haerdi looked to the environment for nearly every decision she made in her colour schemes.

 “We love the colour scheme in this living room as it works well with the natural exterior elements that are so prevalent in the Tsawwassen area. The grey, ‘greige’ [a combination of grey and beige] and turquoise colours in this space are reminiscent of the sand and water’s edge just outside the doorstep of this beautiful master planned community.”

A kitchen and a bathroom show Haerdi’s preference for blending light and dark hues to accompany stainless steel, a combination of materials that also reminded the First Impressions Design team of the sandy beach just footsteps away, she adds.
The suites have laminate wood flooring and nine-foot-high ceilings. Complemented by oversized windows, the ceilings add to the feeling of openness and space in the homes. Setting darker hues against natural light was essential to Haerdi’s design decisions.
“Some of the qualities we love from this project are all the large and beautiful windows that shed natural light into each room, and that the floor plans utilized generous use of space.

“These elements made our design decisions easier because there were several furniture layouts that could be made possible in these rooms.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Vancouver wants more modular housing built to help homeless

City wants 600 more modular housing units built for homeless

Cheryl Chan
The Province

The City of Vancouver wants to see 600 modular units built at a cost of $45 million to shelter the city’s homeless by this winter. 

The proposal builds on the success of a pilot project at 220 Terminal Ave., which was completed in February at a cost of $3 million for 40 units. 

“We learned a lot from the project on Main and Terminal,” said Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, general manager of community services. “We believe that if we have the funding and the sites, we could get 600 units built before the snow falls.” 

The 600 units, which would be accompanied by necessary supports for tenants, would be scattered across the city at up to 15 under-used or vacant sites pending development. Each building would be made up of 40 units, with each site housing a maximum of two buildings. 

The modular units are estimated to cost $75,000 each and take two months to build.

Llewellyn-Thomas said the city is in talks with the province to help fund the project. 

The Main and Terminal project was funded by the federal government, Vancity and a private donation, with the land donated by the city.  

On Wednesday, Vancouver council is expected to decide whether to refer a motion to fast-track the rezoning process for developments where at least 70 per cent are for low-cost housing to a public hearing.

Vancouver had announced new interim housing targets Tuesday to address the city’s housing affordability crisis. 

It plans to add 72,000 new housing units over the next 10 years, including 12,000 supportive and social housing units — a 50 per cent increase from previous targets.

The city also wants to open 315 extra year-round shelter beds to help ease the seasonal spikes in street homelessness.

Jean Swanson, of the Carnegie Community Action Project, said studies have shown that housing people costs less than leaving them on the streets, yet the numbers of homeless people continue to swell. 

“It’s a crisis,” said Swanson. “We desperately need more housing for people, not shelters.” 

She welcomed the proposed modular housing units, but questioned whether 600 was enough. The latest homeless count pegged Vancouver’s homeless population at around 2,100, with 600 living on the street and the rest in shelters, she noted. “The targets should match the need. Asking for 600 is masking the crisis.”

Swanson also pointed out that for all the talk about targets, there’s no commitment of funding on the table right now. 

“There’s no talk about where they’re going to get the dough. They’re hoping the province would come through. I’m hoping too — we have to put a lot of pressure on them.” 

Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city can’t do the work on its own.

“The city will keep doing everything we can to put forward innovative ideas like modular housing, offering city land for affordable housing, building co-ops and expanding inclusionary zoning but we can’t meet the need without help from the B.C. or federal governments,” he said.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc