April 3, 2013
Lower levels of both supply and demand in recent months are holding home prices in check in the Greater Vancouver housing market.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,347 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March 2013. This represents an 18.3 per cent decrease compared to the 2,874 sales recorded in March 2012, and a 30.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,797 sales in February 2013.
Last month’s sales were the second lowest March total in the region since 2001 and 30.2 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.
“While home sales were below what’s typical for March, we are seeing more balance between the number of sales and listings on the market in the last two months, which is having a stabilizing impact on home prices,” Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 15.2 per cent in Greater Vancouver, a three per cent increase from last month. This is the first time this ratio has been above 15 per cent since May 2012.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,839 in March. This represents a 17.2 per cent decline compared to the 5,843 new listings reported in March 2012 and a 0.1 per cent increase from the 4,833 new listings in February of this year. Last month’s new listing count was 14.4 per cent below the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver is 15,460, a 1.5 per cent increase compared to March 2012 and a 4.5 per cent increase compared to February 2013.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is currently $593,100. This represents a decline of 3.9 per cent compared to this time last year and an increase of 0.9 per cent compared to January 2013.
Read more: http://www.rebgv.org/monthly-reports?month=March&year=2013
April 1, 2013
Is that crack serious? Foundation problems 101
Home foundations aren't typically a hot news topic, but an ongoing severe drought in Texas has left many homeowners there and elsewhere wondering how stable their homes really are.
The drought that some are comparing to the Dust Bowl has homes rockin' and rollin' as the parched ground beneath them cracks and settles. Homeowners are watering their foundations — to keep their abode in place — and forgetting about their grass.
But you don't have to live in the Lone Star State to have foundation issues. So how do you know if you're on solid ground? Here is a primer:
Know your foundation
Foundations crack. That's why a foundation is usually composed of steel in concrete — to hold it together when it does. The key is knowing whether that crack means anything. "A lot of people will see cracks and they'll panic a little bit," home-improvement expert Danny Lipford says. "But not all cracks are the same."
Before we talk about cracks, though, it helps to know what kind of foundation your home rests upon. It's likely one of these types:
- Homes in warm, dry climates frequently have a "slab on grade" foundation, which is a layer of concrete poured down on smoothed soil.
- Another popular home foundation is "pier and grade beam"; a perimeter concrete beam supports the outer frame of the house, and piers in a crawl space support the middle section of the house.
- Yet another type of foundation uses only piers drilled perhaps 20 feet deep, and the house rests atop them.
Read more: http://realestate.msn.com/is-that-crack-serious-foundation-issues-101
April 1, 2013
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.
In Italy, France and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other's back as a trick and shout "April fish!" in their local languages (pesce d'aprile!, poisson d'avril! and aprilvis! in Italian, French and Flemish, respectively). Such fish feature prominently on many French late 19th to early 20th century April Fools' Day postcards.
The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness is an ambiguous reference in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 by Pope Gregory XIII as New Year's Day of the Gregorian Calendar in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, sometimes questioned for earlier references.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools'_Day
March 31, 2013
History of Easter
Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, is Christianity's most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.
Read more: http://www.history.com/topics/history-of-easter
March 27, 2013
Use these pretty and easy Easter decorating ideas to dress up your home for the holiday! Pastel is the decorating choice of the season, and we've been inspired to create pretty indoor wreaths, easy table centerpieces, Easter buffet displays, decorative table runners, simple candleholders, and more. Use your Easter eggs for more than just an egg hunt -- we've put them to use in great Easter centerpieces by pairing them with beautiful flowers in a vase, gathering them in a decorative tray, piling the eggs in pails, and even using them as miniature planters for spring seedlings. And Easter decorating needn't stop indoors -- make a wreath for your door with ribbons and greenery, adding some Easter elements to give it a seasonal touch. Want decorating ideas that last beyond Easter? Pretty spring decorations can stay out all season.
Read more: http://www.bhg.com/holidays/easter/decorating/
March 25, 2013
Evergreen Line station names announced for Coquitlam and Port Moody
The Evergreen Line is three years away from opening but commuters now know what the six Tri-City stations will be called.
At a press conference Saturday morning at the Evergreen Line project office in Coquitlam, federal and provincial politicians got together to announce the new station names.
They are, from Lougheed Town Centre Station in Burnaby eastward:
• Burquitlam Station (on Clarke Road in Coquitlam);
• Moody Centre Station (next to the current PoMo West Coast Express station);
• Inlet Centre Station (at Ioco Road and Barnet Highway, near Thrifty Foods);
• Coquitlam Central Station (at the current West Coast Express station and bus loop at Barnet and Lougheed, across from Coquitlam Centre mall);
• Lincoln Station (on Pinetree Way at Lincoln Ave., in the northeast Coquitlam Centre parking lot);
• and Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station, which is the line's terminus (on Pinetree Way at Guildford Way, next to the Evergreen Cultural Centre).
Read more: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/199695761.html
March 22, 2013
Cities ranked, but one left out
Port Moody omitted from magazine's list
Port Coquitlam now has bragging rights over Vancouver - at least according to one survey.
The Tri-Cities city beat out Vancouver and almost every other municipality in the province on MoneySense magazine's annual rankings of Canada's Best Places to Live.
The hometown of Terry Fox finished 33rd overall on the list, 23 places higher than Coquitlam and 19 spots ahead of Vancouver.
In total, 200 cities were on the list.
Only North Vancouver finished higher than PoCo in B.C., ranking at 21.
PoCo Mayor Greg Moore said he was pleased with the recognition.
"Everybody that lives in Port Coquitlam knows that we're the best place to live, so when a third party validates what we work hard towards . it's the validation that we're working on," he told The NOW.
Read more: http://www.thenownews.com/news/Cities+ranked+left/8136513/story.html#ixzz2OHdRmW7F
March 20, 2013
The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining -- all signs that the season of spring is finally here. And with all of that beauty outside, your decor inside should get a lift, too. Jumping into spring is easy when you use our seasonal decorating ideas and tips. Whether you need to decorate for a festive Easter celebration or you just want to bring a touch of springtime color into your home, we have the best quick and easy do-it-yourself projects that will add seasonal appeal to any space in your home. Check out our favorite spring centerpiece ideas to see how easy it is to transform an ordinary tablescape or mantel display into something perfectly suited for springtime entertaining. Take a tour through our favorite seasonal room makeovers and fresh-air rooms to see how you can effortlessly transition your home into spring. We'll teach you how to use colors, patterns, and lively springtime motifs to transform your home into a springtime oasis. Finally, sign up for our Storage Newsletter, filled with all of our best tips and tricks that will help take the headache out of your spring cleaning routine.
Read more: http://www.bhg.com/decorating/seasonal/spring/
March 18, 2013
New house prices rose in January
OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says its price index for new homes rose 0.1 per cent in January, following a 0.2 per cent increase in December.
The agency says the metropolitan region of Toronto and Oshawa, as well as the Calgary region, were the top contributors to the increase.
Builders cited market conditions as the primary reason for higher prices in Toronto and Oshawa, while increased material and labour costs contributed to higher prices in Calgary.
Read more: http://money.ca.msn.com/savings-debt/yourmoney/new-house-prices-rose-in-january
March 8, 2013
Canadian luxury real estate set for a boost from the newly rich
Dramatically growing numbers of mobile, wealthy individuals around the world promise to push up demand for luxury real estate, making high-end properties in Canada’s biggest cities increasingly valuable.
In 10 years, there will be 50 per cent more people on the planet with more than $30-million (U.S.) in net assets – or about 286,000 – according to a new report from British-based real estate consultancy Knight Frank. Emerging markets in Asia and Latin America will see the most dramatic growth, with China’s wealthy population expected to more than double by 2022.
In Canada, the numbers in that category will rise by about 35 per cent over the decade to roughly 6,640, the study says. The largest concentration in Canada will be in Toronto, which currently ranks 20th among global cities for the number of high-net-worth individuals.
One of the consequences of the growing number of wealthy people is that there will be an increasing demand for high-end real estate, even though the supply of luxury properties will remain virtually static, the report suggests. That means the most popular cities for the wealthy – New York and London are at the top of the list – will see increasing upward pressure on prices.
Read more: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/canadian-luxury-real-estate-set-for-a-boost-from-the-newly-rich/article9360442/
March 7, 2013
International Women's Day March 8
International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result.
Read more: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp
March 4, 2013
REBGV Stats February 2013
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 1,797 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February 2013. This represents a 29.4 per cent decrease compared to the 2,545 sales recorded in February 2012, and a 33 per cent increase compared to the 1,351 sales in January 2012.
Last month’s sales were the second lowest February total in the region since 2001 and 30.9 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.
“Sales in February followed recent trends and were below seasonal averages, though our members tell us they saw more traffic at open houses last month compared to the previous six to eight months, said Eugen Klein, REBGV president.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 12.2 per cent in Greater Vancouver, a two per cent increase from last month. This is the first time this ratio has been above 11 per cent since June 2012.
“With a two-point increase in our sales to active listings ratio and a reduction in the average number of days it’s taking to sell a home, February showed some subtle indications of a changing sentiment in the marketplace compared to recent months,” Klein said.
Read more: http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/home-sales-continue-below-average-pace
March 4, 2013
BMO lowers rate for five year fixed mortgage
TORONTO - The Bank of Montreal is lowering its rate for a five year fixed mortgage amid concerns about a cooling housing market.
Effective immediately the rate will drop to 2.99 per cent from the current 3.09 per cent.
The other big banks could follow suit.
Read more: http://money.ca.msn.com/investing/news/business-news/bmo-lowers-rate-for-five-year-fixed-mortgage-2
March 1, 2013
Martisor is an old Romanian celebration at the beginning of spring.
Martisor is a welcome celebration offered to the spring season on 1stMarch. The people of Romania and Moldova celebrate the rebirth of life after the hard winter. On this day, men offer to their beloved women flowers and Martisors (the symbol of serenity and happiness).
Literally Martisor means little March: a small trinket pinned on the lapel by which winter is parted and spring is welcomed.
Martisor is actually a talisman object consisting of a small decoration tied to a white and red string, symbolizing the coming of spring. The gift is given so that the one who wears it will be healthy and powerful for the year to come.
Read more: http://translation.babylon.com/english/to-romanian/
February 27, 2013
First time home buyer bonus ends March 31, 2013!
If you’re a first-time home buyer in the market for a newly-built home, you can now get up to $10,000 back from the BC government, but you have to act fast as this ends on March 31, 2013.
The B.C. First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus is a one-time payment worth up to $10,000.
B.C. residents who are first-time home buyers and who purchase an eligible new home on or after February 21, 2012 and before April 1, 2013 may be eligible for this bonus.
A first-time home buyer is an individual who has never previously owned a primary residence anywhere in the world.
A primary residence is generally a house that you own, jointly or otherwise, and that you intend to live in on a permanent basis. You may have more than one place of residence, but you are considered to have only one primary residence.
Read More: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=0778BC0286DC4B1DAFEF090568064BB0
February 25, 2013
The 2% BC Transition Tax on new homes is coming April 1, 2013
If you have clients who will be buying a new home in the next few months or over the next two years, then you need to know about the 2% BC Transition Tax.
It is a new tax that comes into effect on April 1, 2013. It will apply to the sale of new residential homes that are 10% or more complete as of April 1, 2013. The 2% BC Transition Tax will end on March 31, 2015.
The 2% BC Transition Tax applies to the full price of a new home, which is 10% of more complete, where ownership or possession is on or after April 1, 2013, but before April 1, 2015. The 5% GST also applies to the full price of a new home, where ownership or possession is on or after April 1, 2013.
February 23, 2013
Evergreen Line agreement signed, major construction anticipated to begin in February 2013
EGRT Construction, a consortium led by SNC-Lavalin, has been awarded the contract to design, build and finance the Evergreen Line.
EGRT Construction was selected to carry out the final design and construction of the Evergreen Line after a rigorous competitive selection process.
The Evergreen Line will connect the communities of Port Moody, Coquitlam and Burnaby for the first time through rapid transit with a direct connection to the existing Millennium Line. It will support community growth and development along the route and near the stations by providing better transit connections between regional centres and downtown Vancouver.
February 16, 2013
What can you afford? New housing affordability index shows it varies across Metro Vancouver
Headlines regularly tell people that Vancouver is among the least affordable cities in the world. But often they don’t tell the full story — that while the city of Vancouver is a pricey place to be a homeowner, the suburbs still have home prices that are affordable to most families.
Today, The Vancouver Sun introduces the UDI/FortisBC Housing Affordability Index, a new way to look at housing prices that provides a clearer, more specific picture of affordability across Metro Vancouver. The index was developed by a partnership of The Sun, the Urban Development Institute and Urban Analytics Inc. over the past three months.
Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute, said she thinks it may dispel some of the “myths and hysteria” that are sometimes heard about housing.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/What+afford+housing+affordability+index+shows+varies+across+Metro+Vancouver/7967396/story.html#ixzz2L4uD0YM7
February 13, 2013
15 Tips To Decorate a Romantic Bedroom for Valentines Day
Valentine’s Day is a day of celebration of love among lovers or couples. It is celebrated on 14th February every year. This day is named after 2 early Christian martyrs named Valentine. At the time when custom of courtly love began to amplify, this day became connected to romance and love. It all happened around the time of Geoffrey Chaucer in High Middle Ages. Today, this day is celebrated in almost every corner of the world, thanks to the great marketing and advertising. Moreover, it’s good to know that there occurs a day when lovers could possibly rekindle the old flame if the candles have burned out.
If you ask most of the people, they would reply that they do not believe in Valentine’s Day as everyday can be a valentine’s day and you do not need a day to celebrate this magnificent thing called love.But, then in this busy, competitive and cynical world, who gets the time to actually love their partner. Worst than that will be when your relationship is going through a rough patch. These are the things that every human will be facing as after all, we are humans and not divine creatures. At such inevitable times, this day comes to the rescue and serves as an auspicious moment when one could re-unite with their respective partners, forgetting everything else and putting your partner at the very center of your attention. Besides, this day will sprout branches of past memories when you made a promise that you will never leave your partner till death does you both apart.
February 12, 2013
Homeowners stung by botched 'rent to own' scheme
A Calgary couple is warning home sellers to beware of real estate rent to own schemes, where unlicensed agents offer to find buyers to rent or lease to own homes.
“It sounded exactly like what we were looking for,” said homeowner Maxine Henry. “But it was awful, and you feel awful for having been duped into such a scheme.”
Several new websites have surfaced in the last year offering to put sellers and buyers together in rent or lease to own deals, similar to automobile leasing.
It appears they are increasingly attractive in tight markets across the country, for owners who have trouble selling and buyers who can't get conventional financing.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/02/08/bc-renttoown.html