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Vancouver West

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Vancouver, BC V6H 1C1


The Squamish lifestyle awaits at Jumar


Located in the mecca of outdoor adventures, the new project from Wave Developments is just steps from the downtown core

ROBIN BRUNET
The Vancouver Sun

Of all the natural wonders B.C. is famous for, the greatest concentration of world-class vistas is located in Squamish – as people who have taken the Sea to Sky Highway to that town of 20,000 will attest.

In fact, Squamish, located at the northern tip of a glacially etched fjord and surrounded by a spectacular mountain backdrop, has become synonymous with rugged beauty – and is a mecca for those craving the outdoor lifestyle. But despite its desirability as a weekend retreat, many people don’t realize how accessible Squamish is as a permanent residence, in terms of affordability as well as proximity to Vancouver.

Jumar from Wave Developments is changing all that. The two-building complex, whose shape is inspired by the iconic Squamish Chief mountain, has a total of 101 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, with sizes ranging from 672 to 1,622 square feet – and a starting price of just $444,900.

Jumar is situated steps away from Squamish’s downtown core, meaning residents have instant access to markets and shops, the library, cafés, award-winning restaurants, and breweries, as well as plenty of open spaces. One can just as easily take a sunset stroll down to the beach as attend an outdoor concert at O’Siyam Pavilion – or enjoy quiet time at an espresso bar.

Jumar residents with young families are also just a quick walk away from a 6,000-square-foot onsite daycare, elementary and high schools; and for those pondering education opportunities when their children get older, Quest University Canada is nearby, as is Capilano University’s Squamish Campus.

All of this would be next to impossible to obtain elsewhere in Metro Vancouver at the prices Jumar homes are selling for, but when the splendour of the region is also taken into account, Jumar becomes the elusive lifestyle residence that so many home buyers seek in B.C. but rarely get.

Squamish is recognized internationally for its recreational activities thanks to world-class bike trails (over 200 kilometres of them), rock climbing parks, and the wilderness that attracts everyone from backpackers to bird watchers. Its myriad lakes, along with Howe Sound, are a lure for swimmers, kayakers, and wind surfers. And for skiers, the four-season mountain resort of Whistler is only a 35-minute drive north.

Unsurprisingly, Squamish’s natural beauty doesn’t only attract the athletically minded. The town is also home to a great many photographers, artists, musicians and filmmakers, resulting in a community that is culturally rich (helped along by numerous yearround events and festivals).

Completing Squamish’s desirability is that downtown Vancouver is only 45 minutes away. “It’s ironic that people who work in Vancouver think nothing of commuting an hour or more to their homes in Surrey or Langley, yet for some reason Squamish has traditionally been viewed as too remote a place to live in and commute to and from,” says Carla Bury, director of marketing for MLA Canada.

Bury adds, “Fortunately, more and more professionals and young families are finding the exact opposite to be true, and Jumar has been developed with them in mind.” In turn, these people are making Squamish one of the most exciting communities anywhere, with its historic downtown bursting at the seams with new businesses and boutiques.

Geared towards this demographic, Jumar’s two beautifully designed buildings sit on a massive podium consisting of ground level retail and three levels of parking. Because the homes begin on the fourth level, all residents are assured of great views. “Plus, each home looks onto a central courtyard, which promotes a sense of community and security,” says Bury.

Given the huge demand for housing in Squamish, Jumar is also a great investment opportunity. “You’re paying far less for a home with the quality of that found in Vancouver, but you can earn the same rental income,” says Bury. Indeed, Wave Developments has earned a reputation for delivering design-forward spaces in architecturally pleasing buildings that strengthen cityscapes.

Pre-sales of Jumar are underway, and Bury says the interest in the development is intense. She says, “People are making a lifestyle choice in Jumar, and it’s one that cannot be matched anywhere else.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.



Luxia at Yorkson 7947 209 Street Langley 138 three bedroom townhomes by Isle of Mann and Pollyco Group


Luxia at Yorkson a fit for its Langley neighbourhood

Kathleen Freimond
The Vancouver Sun

Luxia at Yorkson

Project address: 7947 209th Street

Project city: Langley

Developer: Isle of Mann and Pollyco Group

Architect: Barnett Dembek

Interior designer: Portico Design Group

Project size: 138 three-bedroom townhouses

Unit size: 1,443 to 1,897 square feet

Price: from $639,900

Construction: Construction is underway, with the first homes are estimated to be completed this fall

Sales centre: 180 — 20780 Willoughby Town Centre Drive, Langley

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

Phone: 604-318-0328

Website: luxialiving.ca

As Langley’s Willoughby Town Centre continues to grow, Luxia at Yorkson, a new townhouse development in the area, will relate to those surroundings and contribute to the identity of the emerging neighborhood, says project architect Maciej Dembek of Barnett Dembek Architects.

“The townhouse units along the perimeter [of the site] are designed to create a pedestrian streetscape and relate to their surroundings. We want to be part of the new town centre and help create the identity of the area,” Dembek.

The 138 three-bedroom townhouse development will be built on a 5.44-acre site at 7947 – 209 Street. Situated at the top of a gradual crest, Luxia at Yorkson will allow residents to enjoy views of the North Shore mountains, Dembek adds.

The architectural style of the development is modern with West Coast-inspired building materials including wood features and soffits, plus red, blue and sage-green cementitious panels.

“The panels give a colour punch against the more neutral walls,” he adds.

Inside, Natalia Kwasnicki, interior designer at Portico Design Group, has created a warm, sophisticated look.

 “The design is contemporary with smooth finishes and bold woods, but also maintains [some] traditional influences like the tiling in the kitchen and main bathroom, keeping in tune with the location. It’s welcoming and inviting, but also very polished and clean,” she says.

Homebuyers can choose from two colour palettes, Elm and Urban. At the sales centre at 180 — 20780 Willoughby Town Centre Drive, the lighter finishes of the Urban scheme can be seen in the two spaces – a kitchen and ensuite bathroom – built to showcase the interiors.

On the back wall of the kitchen, the stainless-steel slide-in 30-inch five-burner convection gas range and the refrigerator with french doors are by KitchenAid. The two-tone kitchen cabinetry has flat-panel wood-laminate lower cabinets and white matte uppers, while the elongated hexagon-shaped ceramic tile backsplash and the white quartz countertops enhance the roomy ambience of the space.

The backsplash is Kwasnicki’s favourite design element in the interiors.

 “The tile work is a lovely contemporary twist on a traditional style of backsplash, different [to] what you typically see, both in shape and orientation, which makes it feel modern and fresh,” she says.

At the sales centre, the kitchen island’s 36-inch wide quartz countertop includes an 11-inch overhang, providing plenty of space to comfortably accommodate four kitchen stools. The island also hosts an undermount stainless steel double sink with a pull-down Grohe faucet and the dishwasher and microwave in addition to storage space. The size of the islands in the development will vary according to floor plans, but most are between six and seven feet long.

Laminate floors (Nordic Oak Forged Iron or Nordic Oak Solitaire) throughout the kitchen, dining and living areas visually connect the spaces that will also benefit from great natural light through windows and sliding glass doors to the outside patio.

Neutral-coloured carpeting is soft underfoot on the upper floor and in the bedrooms.

In the ensuite bathroom at the presentation centre, a floating vanity with double sinks in a white quartz countertop and the frameless shower enclosure gives the space an airy quality. The chrome Grohe faucets and shower fixtures add a little sparkle while two full-height nine-inch-wide vertical strips of penny tile in the corner of the shower adds a custom touch.

At Luxia at Yorkson, all floor plans include a powder room on the ground floor. While the powder rooms feature quartz countertops and Grohe faucets, the floor tiles are laid in a herringbone pattern, another custom detail designed to enhance the overall interior design of the homes that range in size from 1,443 to 1,897 square feet.

Each townhouse has a patio off the main floor and master bedroom and a front yard. Most homes also have a backyard. The homes that don’t include a second ground-level outdoor space have another sought-after feature instead: a large rooftop patio.

Dembek acknowledges these rooftop spaces are among his favourite features in the development.

“The rooftop gardens will be delightful. They have open and covered areas and have two-by-two [foot] pavers,” he says, adding that homeowners can add planters, outdoor furniture and other accessories to suit their lifestyle.

The development has a central pedestrian spine with children’s play area and outdoor seating, plus the two-storey amenities building that comprises a fitness centre and billiards and games room.

“The [design of] the amenity building developed out of the linear pattern of the pedestrian space. The landscape architect laid out parallel lines of planting, and pavement and pavement patterns, and we wrapped the building with that linear pattern and incorporated the entire colour scheme – the wood, and the blue, red and green – and made the amenity building,” says Dembek.

Location is always important and Luxia at Yorkson is conveniently situated close to Willoughby Town Centre with its array of shops and services. It is also close to schools, restaurants, banks, the Colossus Cineplex and sports facilities like Redwoods Golf Course and Belmont Golf Course. The Walnut Grove Community Centre and the Langley Events Centre are also nearby.

All the townhouses have a ground-level double garage and a storage area.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.



Metro Vancouver homebuyers face unintended consequences of mortgage stress testing rules


Metro Vancouver homebuyers feeling effects of stress testing

Joanne Lee-Young
The Vancouver Sun

In Metro Vancouver, where the gap between incomes and home values makes the region an unaffordable outlier in North America, buyers are especially prone to get hit with unintended consequences of so-called mortgage stress testing.

The test was introduced earlier this year by Canada’s banking regulator to keep homebuyers from taking on risky levels of debt. But the result is reduced buying power that changes what first-time homebuyers can purchase. 

It is also affecting people hoping to use an existing mortgage when moving from one property to another.

“If you are selling a place for $750,000 and you have a mortgage of $500,000 and want to buy another place for $1.1 million, you can’t just (necessarily) ‘port’ that mortgage. It doesn’t automatically move,” says Gary Serra, a real estate agent who specializes in downtown and east Vancouver.

If “you have to re-qualify based on the stress test, you may not qualify to borrow (to that level now).”

Maybe, that person’s borrowing limit is $400,000 now. Even carrying over gains in equity, it may not be enough to get a mortgage on the higher-priced property, he says.

On the ground, there are anecdotes about deals not being completed as buyers are caught off-guard when last-minute number-crunching reveals what the new rules mean for them.

Serra says he knows of one recent deal that didn’t complete. “I didn’t represent the buyer, but the buyer was approved and backed out at the last minute because of the stress test.”

He understands there was a firm sale that was subject-free, that is, it would have to go ahead even if financing from a bank fell through. In the end, the bank didn’t approve the buyer’s loan at the amount needed. The buyer “now stands to lose the $36,000 deposit” and it could go to court.

There is about a 20 per cent drop in the amount of money buyers are qualifying to borrow with the stress test, says Justin da Rosa, managing editor at Ratehub.ca, which allows users to compare mortgages and credit cards.

To get a sense of what the change means for buyers in Metro Vancouver, da Rosa punched these numbers into Ratehub’s mortgage affordability calculator: Household income of $110,000 (based on average individual income of $55,000), a 20 per cent down payment, an amortization period of 30 years, the best available mortgage rate of 3.04 per cent, and the stress test qualifying rate of 5.34 per cent (“the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the contract mortgage rate plus two percentage points.”)

Before Jan. 1, when the stress test came into effect, a borrower with this profile was deemed able to afford a home worth  $964,704. After the stress test, ordered by the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the same borrower could afford a home worth a $735,857.

“It’s not completely dire,” says da Rosa, who spoke to Postmedia from Toronto. “If you go to Zoocasa.com, and you look at the listings in Vancouver, there are 459 listings available (at that $735,000 level) of different home types.”

He adds, however, if you look at the $964,000 range, “there are 815. … There is nearly double the amount of listings at the pre-stress test level.”

“There are ways to work around this,” says Da Rosa. Buyers can defer or buy when they have saved up more money or they can consider a smaller home. Some will rely on gifts from parents and much has been said about the passing of generational wealth from longtime homeowners to would-be ones.

The intention of the stress test was to ensure homebuyers could withstand an increase in interest rates without becoming overextended. Indeed, since it was implemented, there’s been a “triple whammy,” says da Rosa, in that interest rates have increased, but also the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate on which the stress test is based.

Agents say buyers can “get creative” with options such as combining mortgages and turning to other lenders.

But the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions says in its fine print that the major banks cannot be involved in combining mortgage and other lending products with the intention of getting around set loan-to-value limits, even though brokers are allowed to put together packages of mortgages so long as borrowers qualify for them individually.

There are also other lenders who are partly regulated, but fall outside of OSFI’s reach with the new rules. These include credit unions, but also a descending chain of “A-lenders (major banks) to B-lenders (such as Equitable Bank and Home Capital) to private lending,” says Serra, adding that “B-lending is booming.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.



Canadian Real Estate Sales Drop Over 11%, BC Home To Biggest Declines


Canadian real estate sales are slowing in the country?s biggest markets

Daniel Wong
other

Canadian real estate sales are slowing in the country’s biggest markets. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) numbers show June 2018 saw large declines compared to last year. Most of Canada’s major markets faced declines, but British Columbia bared the brunt of them.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Drop Over 11%

Canadian real estate sales are still down bigly from last year. CREA reported 47,413 sales in June, down 6.37% from the month before. This represents an 11.12% decline compared to the same month last year. The monthly drop is fairly normal, but the decline from last year isn’t. Over the past five years, the annual numbers have only dropped twice – this year, and last year.

Canadian Real Estate Sales

 

Quebec and Toronto Real Estate Lead With Minor Gains

The markets making the biggest gains were in Quebec and Ontario. Quebec City came in at 546 sales in June, up 3.61% from last year. Toronto reported 8,082 sales in June, up 1.35% compared to last year (which is half what TREB reported themselves). Montreal reported 4,081 sales, up just a teensy 0.64%. Yup, those are the country’s leaders rights now.

Canadian Real Estate Sales By Market

 

British Columbia’s Real Estate Markets Lead For Sales Declines

British Columbia is home to the biggest declines in sales across Canada. Fraser Valley reported 1,380 sales in June, a 44.11% decline from last year. Vancouver came in at 2,467 sales, a 37.59% decline from last year. Victoria reported 678 sales, a 29.52% decline from last year. The industry is blaming a policy measure that cracks down on second homes, but seriously? We thought the industry was saying there’s no empty homes in BC? Strange that it would be so impactful.

Canadian Real Estate Sales By Market – June 2018

 

Canadian real estate sales are showing minor improvements on a national level. The declines are getting smaller, but they’re still declines. Rising interest rates, policy measures, and availability of credit aren’t short-term issues. They’ll likely persist until a change in the macro environment – good or bad.



CMHC makes announcement regarding self-employed borrowers


Lenders get more guidance and flexibility for the self-employed

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is making changes intended to make it easier for the self-employed to qualify for a mortgage.

The national housing agency says it’s giving lenders more guidance and flexibility to help self-employed borrowers.

Self-employed Canadians may have a harder time qualifying for a mortgage as their incomes may vary or be less predictable.

CMHC is providing examples of factors that can be used to support the lender’s decision to lend to borrowers who have been operating their business for less than 24 months, or in the same line of work for less than 24 months.

It is also providing a broader range of documentation options to increase flexibility for satisfying income and employment requirements.

The changes, which apply to both transactional and portfolio insurance, will take effect Oct. 1.

CMHC chief commercial officer Romy Bowers said self-employed Canadians represent a significant part of the workforce.

“These policy changes respond to that reality by making it easier for self-employed borrowers to obtain CMHC mortgage loan insurance and benefit from competitive interest rates,” Bowers said in as statement. 

The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd



Everything You Need to Know for Perfect Meta Tag SEO


Jennifer Yesbeck
other

You spend time carefully crafting content for your readers and customers. But you must do the same for search engines. Meta tag SEO is one way to help search engine crawlers absorb, understand, and index your content .

What Is Meta Tag SEO?

Meta tag SEO is the process of adding hidden information – or meta tags – to the code of a webpage to help search engines better recognize what the page is about. If search engines clearly recognize what a page is about, and determine it to be highly valuable to readers it is more likely to rank well in search..

A meta tag is a snippet of code that describes a page’s content. Each meta tag description explains a different element on the page and helps crawlers learn about the content.

Most meta tag information is invisible to users and only readable by search engine crawlers, as it is added to the code of the page and not the visible content. Although, some meta information is visible on search engine results pages such as title tags and meta descriptions.

What Are the Most Useful Meta Tags?

Because meta tags provide information about page content, they have a significant impact on SEO. However, not all meta tags are created equal. Some tags that were popular a few years ago are nearly irrelevant today .

For example, at one time, meta tag keywords, a series of top keywords that described a page and were placed in the code of the page, were closely tied with SEO and ranking. But meta keywords have lost most of their relevance compared to other elements of meta tag SEO.

The authorship meta tag is another example of an outdated element. Back in 2013, authorship was a hot topic in the SEO world, as bloggers scrambled to make sure their icons topped the list of search results. A few years later, the authorship program was discontinued, meaning author tags no longer hold the same significance they had five years ago.

The rest of this article will focus on meta tag examples that have staying power, so you can improve your SEO without chasing the latest and greatest trends.

Title Tag

Title tags are one of the most important meta tags to include in SEO content. The title tag tells search engines the title of the page, which may be different from the headline that appears on the page. You can change the title to simplify the phrase and make it easier for search engine crawlers to read and understand.

The title tag is included in the code of your page.

It is also visible to audiences on search engine results pages.

As you create a title tag, keep these content writing tips in mind:

  • Limit your title to 60 characters.
  • Place your keywords close to the front of the title.
  • Create unique titles for each page.
  • Don’t write just for search engines; make sure humans find value in the title.

While you can use long and colorful headlines at the top of your page, your title tag should have an SEO focus and get to the point, helping both readers and search engines understand the body of the article. A relevant, descriptive, but succinct title is more likely to convert.

A relevant, descriptive, but succinct title is more likely to convert. #SEO #tips Click To Tweet

Meta Description

A meta description is a summary of what a page is about. It’s code that consists of two to three sentences describing what the content is about. While it doesn’t have a direct impact on a page’s rankings, that doesn’t mean it lacks SEO value.

Like the title tag, SEO meta descriptions are forward-facing for your customers. The meta description is what readers see in the SERPs, so marketers should use this blurb as an opportunity to drive clicks and traffic to their page.

As you write your meta description, consider these factors.

  • Limit your meta description to less than 320 characters.
  • Provide a value proposition to the readers.
  • Include keywords, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Add a soft call to action and sell readers on your brand.

The best meta descriptions concisely summarize content to help people see the value in clicking on the search result .

Viewport

Meta tag SEO best practices also include a viewport tag. The viewport tag has become increasingly valuable with the rise of mobile phone usage.

A viewport is the area of the window where web content can be viewed. This area is often different from what the user sees, leaving audiences to pinch or scroll to read the content. The viewport tag gives developers the power to address the content’s size and scale, making websites more mobile-friendly.

Site speed and mobile friendliness are important white hat SEO best practices that make up a good website experience.

If your site loads slowly or your audience bounce because of a poor rendering, then Google notices and flags your website as being a bad experience . A bad mobile experience hurts your SEO while driving away your users. Taking time to add a viewport tag can improve your mobile view and results.

Robots Selection

A robots meta tag tells search engine crawlers how they should (or shouldn’t) crawl and index your page. It tells crawlers what items you want them to notice or ignore.

You don’t necessarily need this tag on your page if you simply want search engine crawlers to approach all of your content normally. But you may want to use limiting tags to prevent negative SEO problems if you use borrowed images or syndicated content.

Like meta tags, there are multiple robots meta tags you can use. However, there are a few common ones you are likely to turn to over others:

  • Noindex: tells search engines not to index the page
  • Noimageindex: tells search engines not to index the images
  • None: tells search engines not to do anything with the page at all
  • Nofollow: tells search engines not to follow any links on the page
  • Noarchive: tells search engines not to archive the content

These commands can boost your meta tag SEO by preventing duplicate content penalties or making your page look like it links to spammy websites. It serves as a housekeeping tool for how you want to present your brand.

Quickly Check Your Meta Tag SEO

While it may seem complicated to keep up with meta tag SEO best practices, there is a simple way to ensure you are properly tagging your page .

Use Alexa’s On-Page SEO Checker to enter a URL from a page on your website along with the page’s assigned target keyword. The tool will provide a report on meta tag errors and available optimization tactics you can implement to improve the page.

For other meta tag considerations, use Alexa’s SEO Audit Tool. The tool runs a full report on dozens of SEO factors for your site, including the status of meta tags. Enter your site to receive a report and list of tips on how to fix issues and better optimize your website.

With tools by Alexa, you can update your meta tag SEO and create an optimization plan that boosts your rankings. Sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan and see what you can learn about your SEO status, audience, competitors, and content opportunities.