Luxury homes in Canada sold briskly during the first three months of this year, shattering records for first-quarter activity in nine of 13 Canadian markets, a RE/MAX report says.
The report called Upper End 2010 cites improved economic performance, increased personal wealth, immigration and foreign investment as catalysts in the sales surge.
The recovery in luxury home sales is “nothing short of remarkable,” said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of RE/MAX in Western Canada.
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Internet game, Crack Shack or Mansion?, may be the best indicator of a city’s out-of-control prices.
Petr Pospisil, a frustrated Vancouver teacher, and his girlfriend Ola Rugula have scored a viral Internet hit with their homemade game Crack Shack or Mansion? The object of the exercise is to click through a series of house photos and decide if they are North American drug dens that police have seized and shut down, or if they’re Vancouver “mansions,” which is to say a house listed this April at over $1 million. Good luck spotting the difference.
“It’s scary. I couldn’t believe what I was finding,” Pospisil, who has resigned himself to renting, told Vancouver’s Province newspaper. “I have no hope of owning anything for now.” Vancouver’s housing market has roared back. Prices are at, or above, pre-recession levels. There are any number of reasons for this: a mini post-Olympic boom, fears that low mortgage rates will soon disappear and the desire to escape cost increases July 1, when the 12-per-cent HST, the combined federal-provincial sales tax, adds to the price of new homes and real estate fees.
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Vancouver led the Canadian housing market in November existing home sales with a 252-per-cent year-to-year surge.
Victoria (+116 per cent), Toronto (+105 per cent) and Calgary (+67 per cent) followed close behind as Canada as a whole saw a 73-per-cent increase in existing home sales, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Prices were also led last month by Vancouver’s 22-per-cent year-over-year rise in existing home prices.
Nationally, the 73-per-cent jump in November from a year earlier came as the real estate market continued to recover from the economic downturn.
CREA said that 36,383 residential properties were sold last month, with Ontario and Quebec setting sales records for November.
“The current strength of housing demand stands in sharp contrast to weak activity recorded one year ago,” CREA said in its report, adding that activity was just 4/10 of a per cent below the highest level for the month recorded in November 2007.
“National home sales activity last month shows how strongly the housing market has rebounded since the beginning of the year,” said CREA president Dale Ripplinger. “As we predicted last April, the rebound in resale housing activity led the overall Canadian economy out of recession.”
The national residential average price was $337,231 in November, up 19 per cent from a year earlier.
With a will to end homelessness in Vancouver, Architecture for Humanity is holding a charrette this Saturday (April 17) where six groups of designers will compete to create a viable housing option out of shipping containers (aka Intermodal Steel Building Units).
Although this would serve as only a temporary measure to curb the growth of homelessness in the city, Linus Lam, the executive director of Architecture for Humanity and organizer of Saturday’s Quick Homes Superchallenge (being held at InterUrban Gallery at 1 East Hastings Street) explained to the Straight that the idea is a sensible one.
“Vancouver being a trading post, there are actually a lot of these shipping containers around that are vacant,” he told the Straight by phone. “They are not being used because, for shipping purposes, they have a certain lifespan.”
Of course, any endeavour with a goal as ambitious as ending homelessness is not without its challenges. The most pressing, according to Lam, is getting the public excited about the idea. Janice Abbott, the executive director of Atira, a nonprofit society dedicated to helping vulnerable women, can relate to that notion. She spoke at the charrette’s lecture Thursday about housing in an economy that lacks government funding…
Posted by Erin Steele
April 16, 2010
It’s good for you and it’s good for the national economy
If you are tucking into a meal right now, read this later. If not, picture this: A sweaty, scruffy guy is sitting on the edge of a worn sofa. He is clipping his toenails, which are flying onto a stained shag rug.
This yucky image is prominently displayed in a builder’s advertisement that was published in an American newspaper. The large type below the photo boldly inquires, “This, or a brand new home?”
I don’t know your taste or choice, but that image steered my wife’s preference towards a new home.
Shock marketing notwithstanding, the ad got me thinking about what goes into that home’s construction…
By Peter Simpson for The Vancouver Sun
April 17, 2010
Renovation contractors in attendance at the March Renovation Council meeting believe homeowners are accelerating renovation decisions in order to avoid paying the HST, which lands July 1. The contractors also believe the HST will adversely impact legitimate renovation spending, and will fuel an already burgeoning underground cash economy in home improvement.
Posted by Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association
April 19, 2010
This year, we have made a conscious effort to expand our commercial portfolio. So I ask all of you to assist us again and pass us any referrals for commercial interior design projects that you may know of. Whether if it’s for a new retail store opening, an office space, or even a restaurant, we’ve got the experience to take it on. In fact, our last two design awards was for Bblonde Salon and Azia Restaurant. Please visit our Portfolio Gallery to view some of the commercial work we’ve done.
No matter if it’s for your own business or a friend of yours, we will deliver the same design excellence along with our top-notch service that you have come to expect from VictorEricDesign Group.
Earthzone is an green conscious company based out of Vancouver, B.C.
They have designed and launched pencils that are completely made out of recycled newspaper!
Some of the special features of these cool pencils are:
* They’re made from 100% recycled newspapers. No trees were harmed in the making of these pencils!
* They last longer than regular pencils and won’t break when you sharpen them!
* You get smooth, high quality writing each time.
* The erasers are latex free!
* Sharpens really easily.
* Each pencil is made from a different newspaper and really looks cool when you sharpen them.
* No toxic chemicals!
The national economy will need to play catch-up with high house prices, economist says
Canada’s real estate markets should remain heated through the spring, fuelled by generationally low mortgage rates, before settling into “more subdued” conditions as those rates rise, says the latest forecast from Scotia Economics.
Scotia Economics senior economist Adrienne Warren said the last decade saw “the strongest decade of real price appreciation in at least 50 years,” which will require an extended period for the economy to catch up with job creation and wage increases…
Posted by: Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun
Date: March 24, 2010