This Week in BC Real Estate – We’ve Got You Covered!

Fallout from the Provincial decision to make the 15% additional foreign buyer tax retroactive to include all the sales already contracted before August 2nd continues. And…will continue as local Lower Mainland sellers struggle through the legal mess they are in through no fault of their own. As Vancouver real estate lawyer, Richard Bell (Bell Alliance) said during a CBC interview, it is “shocking” that the Government did not grandfather these sales. We think it is even more shocking that there has been not a word from the Province since, with regard to rectifying this situation for ordinary Canadians caught in the middle. The one thing we did hear was that on a recent visit to China, provincial ministers did not mention the tax! Like all real estate storms, this too will blow over, but will take longer because of the legal impact on so many people.
Our economy is driven by real estate as Alberta’s is by oil, so the provincial government must watch the economic results carefully moving forward.
Right now is a great market for buyers who have been frustrated with low inventory, little choice and competing in multiple offer situations. We are seeing sellers agreeing to contracts with subjects, not relying on multiple offers to sell their home over list price AND interest rates are still at an all time low. Balance is always good in the real estate market – the frenetic pace is over for now – choose a home because you love it not just because it’s available.
Enjoy the heatwave – no need to go to Hawaii or Mexico – just step outside! And, remember, whatever the temperature, we have you covered. Have a wonderful weekend.
Sheila & Michelle

Miracle Treat Day! Sweet treats in support of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

We hope there were record sales for ‘Blizzards’ at all the Dairy Queens yesterday! The proceeds from these treats went to Children’s Miracle Network, which in turn goes directly to our Vancouver Children’s Hospital. Our team enjoyed our Blizzards (melting fast!) in the new Lions Park in Port Coquitlam – a quickly discovered spot being enjoyed by many local families.

CMN is a cause very close to our heart and a donation goes there from every home Francis & Hawthorne Team sells. We are proud of being able to contribute in a small way to the amazing work being accomplished at the hospital by their wonderful, dedicated staff. For many years, Re/max as an organization, has been & remains a major donor to CMN across the country.

Have a fabulous weekend in the sunshine. We shan’t need our umbrellas – but, as always, we have you covered for all things real estate.

This Week’s News on the 15% Property Transfer Tax for Foreign Buyers – We’ve Got You Covered

What a blessing to live in a safe country! Vancouver’s tourism is up substantially this year contributing an estimated $1billion + to our local economy. Aside from our low dollar, safety is part of the 2016 tourist decision – with justification. As if the devastating results of mass refugee migration, terrorist attacks and the Brexit vote were not enough, Europe will now have to contend with much lower tourism income. Staying safe has to be a prime objective at every level.

There has been lots of talk this week about the provincial government’s additional 15% property transfer tax for foreign property buyers. The aspect given the least media attention & no government attention is what happens to the innocent local sellers who have a binding sale contract with an offshore buyer who refuses to pay the additional tax and causes the sellers to be unable to complete a purchase they have made in good faith. This hurts the very people this government has pledged to support – the little person & the working middle class. Please take time to write to your MLA and let her / him know that there will be hundreds of local people who will suffer both financially & emotionally as a result of this legislation not grandfathering existing contracts. The government managed to look after the big guys – the developers! Most of us support taxing those buyers simply “parking” their money – the devil lies in the details.

We are watching the market carefully as this unfolds in order to ensure that we always have you covered.

Have a great weekend – Sheila & Michelle

Congratulations Dads and Grads! This is your weekend to celebrate!

Treasure the time with your Dads – whether that’s in person or, if they are further away, via all those other means at our disposal these days. Somehow, we only value Dad’s wisdom when we have more life experience than this weekend’s grads!
For our grads, it’s stepping out into the unknown, unfamiliar territory with family and teachers’ blessing. Know that your community, small and large, will still be here to support you – don’t be lonely! It is good to remember all your new fellow college / university students, apprenticeship beginners & new workplace colleagues are all in the same boat – feeling apprehensive. A confident smile & word of encouragement can change the atmosphere and make new friends.
We wish all the new grads great opportunities and experiences! And Dads – enjoy your day in the spotlight!
Has real estate ever featured so largely in the media of every type? Not in the past 40 years I don’t believe! No time has ever been better than now to hire a full time professional, experienced realtor. With the current changes in real estate contracts and with a cooling of the hottest market on record, pricing right is imperative for SELLERS now to maximize their investment. And BUYERS – don’t go to new projects without your realtor. The salespeople there can be licensed or unlicensed and, either way, they are representing the builder / developer wanting the best deal possible for their employer. We are happy to go with you even if you’re just checking it out. Buyers make assumptions about projects which are not always correct or helpful.
So…as ever the Francis & Hawthorne Team has you covered. Enjoy the long days – summer begins on Tuesday.
Your partners in real estate – Sheila and Michelle.

The Market Springs Ahead

Another week when some of the real estate happenings have occurred predictably and others have proved to be a surprise! We loved the article in the Western Investor, Vancouver Not The Foreign-Buyer Magnet Most Believe by J.Neil Hamilton, which exploded our current most popular myth that our present market conditions are brought about solely as a result of foreign investment.

We might live in a beautiful part of the world, but cannot pride ourselves in being the top choice (or even close to it!) for foreign investment or tops in property values. Vancouver is number 10 on the world real estate stage for residential cost per square foot. This should give us some comfort and pause for the thought that these market conditions will not continue on for ever. And this week we felt those winds of change in certain sectors of the market – even more “affordable” properties did not attract the same frantic rush of frenetic buyers. Why? Good old economics 101 – we have increasing supply. The age old reason for market shifts! Buyers are not all suddenly in for an easy ride, but subtle changes are evident.

Largest exception to that rule is the one affecting every aspect of Canadian life right now from the cost of health care to real estate – the bulge of baby boomers! Many of this group are looking for that perfect downsize – larger than the average 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo. Consequently the competition to buy the larger condo or suitable townhome is fierce and these buyers have the money generated from the sale of their home to outbid their competitors. Amazing that developers are not catering to this group!

SPRING FORWARD - don’t forget the change to daylight saving time happens tonight – we lose 1 hour of sleep. Drive safely this week – takes a little while to adjust. And remember – regardless of season or market, we have you covered. Sheila and Michelle.

TGIF: Boomers Making Retirement Lifestyle Choices

Baby Boomers are the first retiring generation considering lifestyle choices – often well before they retire. Remaining healthier with a greater desire to travel, this group is opting for an earlier move away from gardening & home maintenance. Often dividing their asset, they are purchasers of recreational property – Whistler, Okanagan & Arizona have all benefitted.

Lots to think about, especially if you have been living in your family home for some time. We love it when people consult with us early in the game, so we can discuss the options and help them prepare their home for the market ahead of time.

Nothing worse than falling in love with another home, only to find your present home is not market ready!

We are really aware of what buyers expect and have the resources to share – the professionals who can help you get ready – handyman, painter,stager, organiser etc. Every family is different, so we are geared to be on your program at your pace. For the homeowners who enjoy their family home & garden until they are much older, the challenge is greater. Usually, there has been a longer time to gather “stuff” of all kinds, sometimes owners less able to keep up with maintenance and an overwhelming feeling at the prospect of moving.

We work with many of these owners to make the experience more positive by getting the help they need and taking things one step at a time. We even have a couple of companies who will orchestrate all the aspects of preparing and moving. Our job satisfaction lies in seeing these owners happily installed in their new home. We are pleased to offer confidential consultations at your convenience for the downsizers of any age!

And…finally – if part of being a Boomer for you is helping your kids get a foothold in the real estate market, nothing makes us happier than guiding first home buyers to a safe, solid choice where their investment (and yours) is secure.

Enjoy your week and…. Remember – whatever your age and whatever the climate, we have you covered.
- Sheila and Michelle

#PINKSHIRTDAY FEB 24: Stand Up to Bullying!

On February 24, 2016 we encourage everyone to practice kindness, and wear a CKNW Orphans’ Fund Official Pink Shirt, button, or pin to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying. While we wish we could take credit for this idea, Pink Shirt Day has its roots in Nova Scotia, started by two incredible high school students.

Team Francis & Hawthorne RE/MAX Realtors are feeling pretty in pink: will you join in by wearing pink on February 24, 2016? Have you made an effort to practice kindness and acceptance towards both yourself and others? Do you have a story about being bullied, how you stopped a bully or about how bullying has affected a loved one?

Find out about it here: www.pinkshirtday.ca
You can donate here

Since 2008, the CKNW Orphans’ Fund and CKNW radio station have been raising funds for anti-bullying programs. 100% net proceeds raised are distributed to various organizations outlined below. The programs we fund support children’s healthy self-esteem, both with their peers and themselves. They teach empathy, compassion and kindness.

In 2015, over $350,000 in grants distributed to the following non-profits:

Francis Hawthorne, Westcoast Wine, and Eden West: GOURMET FOOD, FINE WINE, GREAT COMPANY!

A fantastic evening of fun with gourmet meal, fine paired wines and great guests. Chef Chris Beall (Eden West Fine Foods; www.edenwest.ca), John Gerum (Westcoast Wine Education; www.wcwed.com) and our Francis and Hawthorne Real Estate Team (www.francishawthorne.com) joined forces in support of The Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation (http://erhf.ca).

They offered the event as a live Auction item. A big thank you to Ken Richardson, partner with EPR Accounting, for purchasing the evening and inviting such a lively crew!