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RE/MAX Crest Realty
1428 W 7th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V6H 1C1


Briza 10616 132 Street Surrey a 5 storey building with 61 condos and 4 townhouses by Genaris properties


Location, value drive interest in Briza

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun

Briza is a 65-unit condo and townhouse development planned for central Surrey. There’s lots to recommend it. But the most noteworthy thing,  according to both the developer and some buyers who have already signed up, is the pricing, with homes in the current inventory beginning at well below $300,000.

The company behind the project is a relatively new player on the residential development scene, but Genaris Properties is already getting plenty of things done: single-family homes, townhomes and, with Briza, condos.

“The inspiration for our name comes from sui generis, which is Latin for something that is unique and of its own kind,” said Dharam Dhillon, one of the principals of Genaris Properties. “That’s the approach we take to every single one of our developments.”

Briza is nestled between two SkyTrain stations – Surrey Central and Gateway – so residents will get the benefit of all the local amenities, and be able to tap into everything that Vancouver and the rest of the Lower Mainland has to offer.

“I have some amazing memories from growing up in Surrey,” said Dhillon. “Briza not only gives you access to all these great amenities to build your own memories, but it’s also in an area that’s transitioning and turning into something very special. If you buy into this development and work in Vancouver, you’ll have the convenience of being able to hop on a SkyTrain within walking distance and then you have everything on your doorstep when you get home.”

The website for Briza includes a map that is peppered with locations for dining, banking, recreation and shopping. Central City shopping centre is within walking distance and features 140 stores, restaurants, services, Simon Fraser University campus, and an office tower.

Genaris Properties’ five-storey, wood-frame development will include condos and five townhomes, Most homes at Briza feature outdoor spaces overlooking Surrey City Centre or green space. There is secure underground parking for residents and visitors, nine-foot ceilings in all homes and laminate flooring throughout.

Kitchens feature soft-close cabinetry, elongated chevron pattern backsplashes and engineered quartz countertops. There are undermount single-bowl sinks and black Moen faucets with flexible pull-out spray hoses. The appliance packages – fridge-freezers, ranges, dishwashers and microwaves – are by Blomberg.

Bathrooms feature walls that highlight penny-round tile with contrasting grout colour, custom vanities in a velvet matte finish and undermount porcelain sinks. There are walk-in showers in all ensuites. Other features? Custom mirrors with storage shelves in black and white, dual-flush toilets for smart water consumption and tile flooring in all bathrooms.

“It’s a perfectly sized development in my opinion – not so big that you don’t know your neighbours, but big enough to create a vibrant cultural and family atmosphere,” Dhillon said. “There’s also a great unit mix. We’ve got studios for people who are living on their own and family-sized spaces for people who are downsizing or who have kids going to the local schools.”

The project is scheduled to be completed some time in 2022, but Maria Carlos saw the benefits of getting in early and has bought a studio apartment at Briza.

“The price, the quality and the location were the things I most liked about Briza when I saw it,” she said. “It’s expensive in that neighbourhood, but this place was a very, very good deal. It’s near to where all the action is. There’s a lot of development in the area and I think as it gets built up, Briza will be part of that urban core.”

Carlos is one of many who have shown an interest in Briza, according to Dhillon, who is keen to point out the diversity of the development’s buyer demographic.

“The intention with Briza is not only to make it accessible in terms of lifestyle and location, but also financially,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that nobody is priced out. We’ve had a lot of folks from the area and that’s been really encouraging for us. We’ve put our heart and soul into this project and it’s nice that it resonates with people who already live in the neighbourhood.”

“There have also been people from South Surrey who realize that there’s nothing better than being a stone’s throw from the SkyTrain station,” Dhillon added. “They work in Vancouver and this location gives them an extra half hour in their day and you can’t put a price on time.”

There is no sales centre for Briza, but potential buyers can contact the developers by phone or online.

“It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to live here and you’re not going to be putting your entire paycheque towards a mortgage,” said Dhillon. “This development is for everyone and so is the price.”

Briza

Project location: 10616 — 132nd St., Surrey

Project size: Briza is a five-storey, wood frame condo development (including five townhouses). Homes in current inventory range from 421 to 1,243 square feet and priced from $270,900

Developer: Genaris Properties

Architect: Creekside Architects

Interior designer: BAM Interiors

Sales phone: 604-721-5460

Website: http://www.brizasurrey.com

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.



Canadian home sales slipped in December


New data from CREA shows a 0.9% drop in sales nationally

Steve Randall
Mortgage Broker News

There was a split among major Canadian housing markets in December according to new data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The stats show that sales were down 0.9% nationwide compared to November, following a wave of gains since March while, actual (not seasonal) activity gained 22.7% year-over-year and was up 18% from the 6-year-low of February 2019.

There was increased activity in around half of Canadian markets including BC’s Lower Mainland, Calgary, and Montreal, while the rest saw declines including the GTA and Ottawa. Year-over-year though, all major urban centres gained.

Meanwhile, the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 0.8%, its seventh consecutive monthly gain taking it to 4.7% above 2019’s lowest point reached in May.

“The momentum for home price gains picked up as last year came to a close,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “If the recent past is prelude, then price trends in British Columbia, the GTA, Ottawa and Montreal look set to lift the national result this year, despite the continuation of a weak pricing environment among housing markets across the Prairie region.”

Compared to a year earlier, price declines were focused in the Lower Mainland and major Prairie markets with gains in central and eastern Canada.

Supply issues
New listings are failing to keep up with sales and declined 1.8% in December and the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 66.9%, the highest reading in more than 15 years.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, just over half of all local markets were in balanced market territory in December including Greater Vancouver (GVA) but not the GTA, where market balance favours sellers in purchase negotiations.

Inventory-challenged markets are increasing although the GTA and Ottawa accounted for the largest share of the decline in new listings in December.

There were 4.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of December 2019 – the lowest level recorded since the summer of 2007.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media



Canadian vacancy rate declines for third straight year


The national vacancy rate for rental apartment units declined in 2019

Kimberly Greene
Mortgage Broker News

The national vacancy rate for rental apartment units declined in 2019 for a third consecutive year to 2.2%, its lowest level since 2002, according to the latest Rental Market Survey report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“The national vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartments declined for a third consecutive year in 2019, as strong rental demand continued to outpace growth in supply,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Low vacancy rates in major centres underscore the need for increased rental supply to ensure access to affordable housing.”

The Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) reached a 15-year low of 1.5%, driving the decline. Demand remains elevated in Vancouver and Toronto, where the vacancy rates are 1.1% and 1.5%, respectively. Halifax also saw a decline to 1.0%. Vacancy rates in most other CMAs remained stable, including the major prairie markets of Calgary (3.9%), Regina (7.8%), and Winnipeg (3.1%). The national vacancy rate in 2018 was 2.4% for purpose-build rental units.

Even though the overall vacancy rate in Toronto is 1.5%, that is up from the 2018 levels of 1.2%. Despite the increase, high homeownership costs coupled with tightened mortgage regulations have encouraged individuals in the GTA to continue to seek or remain in rental housing.

“House prices continue to recover following unprecedented levels back in 2017, but remain elevated relative to previous years. Furthermore, prices of multiple-family dwellings (such as condominium apartments and townhouses), which are typically more popular among first-time homebuyers, have showed stronger price growth than other housing types over the past 12 months, thus pushing demand towards the rental market,” the report reads.

Rental apartment starts and completions have increased over the past five years in the GTA, but continue to lag that of condominium apartments. Conversions and units that have been added back into the “rental universe” after renovations have heled the total purpose-built market to increase by nearly 1% in 2019. The Halton Region has recorded the highest growth (4%) with about 590 units being.

“Strong transportation . . . [that] provides easy access to downtown Toronto has made this region an attractive market for young renters,” the report reads.

Nationally, tighter rental markets were accompanied by strong rent growth, with average rents increasing by 3.9% for a two-bedroom apartment between October 2018 and October 2019. This is the fastest pace of same-sample rent growth since October 2001. The average two-bedroom apartment rent was highest in Vancouver ($1,748) and Toronto ($1,562), Calgary ($1,305) and Halifax ($1,202) also remained above the national average, while Montreal ($855) “continued to exemplify the relatively lower rent levels” generally seen in Quebec.

For comparison, the average scheduled monthly payment for new mortgage loans was $1,936 in Vancouver, $1,826 in Toronto, $1,531 in Calgary, $1,133 in Halifax, and $ 1,098 in Montreal, based on Q4 2016 data from CMHC.

Demand for rental apartments last year also continued to be influenced by a probable decrease in the movement to homeownership among Montreal households aged under 35. While the proportion of renters within this group of households had shown a steady decrease between 2001 and 2011, the data from the 2016 Census indicate that this proportion increased. This situation has apparently continued since then, given the pronounced rise in house prices on the Montreal market in recent years.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media



Options available to repay annual deficits


There are several options to repay an annual deficit

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata corporation recently approved a special levy at our annual meeting to pay for a deficit of $37,000 from 2019 overruns. The resolution required three equal payments: March, April and May. 

At the meeting, several owners objected to the resolution as the payments were due in a short period of time and the fee of $10 to collect the levy was added to each payment. When questioned, the property manager admitted to writing the resolution and advising council the act required the deficit had to be repaid in the next fiscal year and this was the only option. 

The owners at the meeting agreed to amend the resolution and spread the payments out over six months.

We have now received notice of a new schedule of payments with a $10 addition to each of the six payments. Are there other options to paying for a deficit that does not impose additional collection fees on the owners?

Claire Lesley, Burnaby

Dear Claire:

When a strata corporation is left with a deficit at the end of its fiscal year, the Strata Property Act permits three options to repay that amount. A special levy is not the only option, but it is the option that permits the management company to charge an additional fee. 

The first option is to add a line item to the agenda of the next year’s budget to repay the deficit. This does not incur any fees for special levies; it is paid over 12 months, and requires only a majority vote for approval. While this does increase the strata fees for the next year, it is the best payment method because of the least cost and approval requirements.

The other two options require a three-quarters vote resolution approval. The strata corporation may approve a special levy, and depending on your service agreement with your management company, there may be charges for the collection of the special levies. This is charge paid by the strata corporation, not by each individual owner and is a common expense based on unit entitlement the same as the deficit amount being levied.

The management company does not have the authority to charge owners directly for their fees or services for collections of special levies. This additional amount is included in the special levy to pay the deficit. The special levy schedule must be reissued and is based only on the total amount approved by the owners at the meeting.

A third option is for the strata corporation to approve a one-time payment from the contingency reserve account to cover the deficit. While there is no immediate impact on the owners, it will result in the depletion of valuable savings for future renewals or emergencies.  

While deficits occur for strata corporations due to insurance deductibles or emergencies, the cause of the expense is also important to identify. In Lesley’s strata corporation, over $40,000 of emergency expenses for a deck leak and repair were allocated to their operating fund, while they have over $250,000 in their contingency fund. 

Emergency expenses may be allocated from either the operating fund or the contingency reserve fund.  How the funds are allocated is a decision of the strata council.

If you are an active strata council member, take a direct interest in your monthly operations and expenses.  While it is not mandatory, an emergency expense can be replenished to the contingency fund simply by approving by majority vote a higher contribution in the following year’s budget, eliminating the need for special levies. 

People who are not licensed legal professionals, such as strata managers and consultants, and who are compensated for their services, are not permitted to write resolutions or bylaws for strata corporations as this is defined as a practice of law under the Legal Professions Act in B.C.

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.



Parker 13929 105A Avenue Surrey 218 homes in a 4 storey low rise by Mosaic Homes


Parker to rise in Surrey City Centre

Mary Beth Roberts
The Province

At Parker, Mosaic Homes’ new development of apartments and townhomes in Surrey City Centre, residents will enjoy easy access to both nature and city life with a parkside setting at the edge of a growing metropolitan hub.

Parker consists of three four-storey buildings featuring one-, two-, and three-bedroom townhomes and condos at 105 A Avenue and 139th Street. In the first phase of development, with 218 units on the market, buyers can choose from four plans.

The development is set adjacent to seven and a half acres of green space at Forsyth Park, and an easy stroll or bike ride from Hawthorne Rotary Park.

While Parker’s location offers plenty of green space, it also promises the convenience of urban amenities. Parker is walking distance to Surrey Central SkyTrain Station and a wide range of shopping centres, restaurants and services.

“People are very excited about what is happening (at) Surrey City Centre in terms of the economic development and the jobs that are being added there,” says Mosaic’s senior vice-president of marketing, Geoff Duyker. “We’ve seen a lot of young people from the neighbourhood who have decided that they are ready to buy their first home. Parker’s been a great fit for them based on it being in a part of the city where they want to live and at a price point that they can afford.”

On the outside, Mosaic’s signature Georgian-style architectural elements are back – and better than ever. “We took the best and further refined it for Parker,” says Duyker. “It is an evolution of this style with even more rich details – like brick entries and colourful red doors on the ground-level townhomes.”

One of the distinguishing features of these new homes is the 10-foot-high ceilings. “This does two things,” says Duyker. “It gives it a lot of volume and storage space in the homes and it also allows for really big windows that will let in a lot of light.”

Buyers can choose from two colour palettes for their home: Oak or Walnut. The Oak palette features matte white-on-taupe cabinetry combined with classic herringbone patterned luxury vinyl oak-look flooring. And the Walnut palette offers the dramatic contrast of matte white cabinets with a dark walnut finish on the flooring.

The display home is the two-bedroom Hyde plan, where buyers can get a feel for the warm Oak palette. Flat-panel upper cabinets complement Shaker-style lower cabinets. The matte black lower cabinet hardware and faucet provide an elegant contrast to the white backsplash subway tiles. The butcher block harvest table is available as an optional upgrade.

“Parker has kitchens designed around a flexible harvest table that’s great for preparing, dining or working,” explains Stephanie Da Silva, director of interior design at Mosaic Homes.

Da Silva adds that the interior design of Parker is part of Mosaic’s signature interior design collection. “It’s a look and feel that is not classic versus contemporary, or less versus more. It’s both. It is a look that is modern while infused with tradition.”

Parker

What: 218 one-, two- and three-bedroom homes

Where: 13929 105A Avenue, Surrey City Centre

Residence size and prices: 538 —1,421 square feet; homes starting from the low $400,000s

Developer: Mosaic Homes

Sales centre: 10593 139th Street, Surrey, City Centre

Sales centre hours: Open daily, noon — 6 p.m.

Phone: 604-951-4932

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.



Plaza of Nations redevelopment moving forward, including new Canucks practice rink


Waterfront plaza, Canucks rink development moving forward

Dan Fumano & Patrick Johnston
The Province

A massive waterfront Vancouver development, which will change the face of False Creek’s north shore and give the Canucks their first dedicated practice facility in more than a decade, is working its way through the development process, after years of work behind the scenes.

The vision for the Plaza of Nations, built as one of the key venues for Expo 86, is described in a plan submitted to the city as a new neighbourhood that will emerge on one of Vancouver’s last undeveloped waterfront properties.

James KM Cheng Architects, on behalf of the current owner of the site, Canadian Metropolitan Properties (CMP), has applied to develop the project that would include “terracing” buildings of up to 30 storeys combining condos and commercial space, as well as public amenities including an outdoor plaza, a daycare facility, community centre, music venue and an NHL-sized rink to be used by both the Canucks and the public.

The project has been in the works for several years, and CMP hopes to move forward and break ground by the end of 2020. The formal development application was filed last September, after Vancouver’s previous council approved the rezoning in July 2018. An open house for the development was scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed because of the weather. The open house has tentatively been rescheduled for Jan. 29, after which it’s expected the project will go to the urban-design panel for review in February and then to council for final approval in the second quarter of 2020.

The Plaza of Nations property has also been the subject of legal battles for years, between CMP and companies affiliated with the site’s former owner, Concord Pacific. A claim filed in court by Concord in 2016 pegged the value of the Plaza of Nations’ site at about $500 million, Postmedia News reported that year.

Last year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge dismissed Concord’s claim against CMP, a decision that Concord’s lawyers indicated they might appeal, Business in Vancouver reported last September.

Asked Wednesday about the lawsuit, CMP senior vice-president Daisen Gee-Wing said: “It’s been dismissed and we’re proceeding as were throughout the whole process.”

Gee-Wing said the company is “very excited” to get through the next stages of the process, and they “look forward to breaking ground very soon.”

CMP has been in talks with the Canucks for years about the creation of an NHL-sized rink in the civic centre at the Plaza of Nations development. Plans submitted to the city in 2017 described the vision for a Canucks facility. This would give the Canucks their own dedicated training facility, something the organization has not had for about a decade, and it would be located immediately beside their home ice at Rogers Arena. Currently, the Canucks use Rogers as their primary training facility, but on days where there is an event or concert, the team has used ice at the University of B.C. and Burnaby over the past decade, as their secondary facility.

If approved, it’s expected that the first phase of infrastructure work could begin by the end of 2020, but features like the rink wouldn’t be finished until at least 2023 or as late as 2025.

The Plaza of Nations’ site falls within the Northeast False Creek plan, which Vancouver council approved in February 2018. The plan includes the removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, which are near the Plaza of Nations. In 2015, when council approved a plan to replace the viaducts with a new street network, Postmedia reported at the time that it was expected that completion of the entire project would take about five years.

No one at the City of Vancouver was available for comment Wednesday.

The city currently estimates that the viaducts’ removal could begin as early as 2021 contingent upon securing funding. The Plaza of Nations’ development isn’t dependent on removal of the viaducts to move forward.

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.