Bob Sethi, B.Comm | 604.273.2828

 

BC government to offer up to $37,500 down payment loans for first-time home buyers


Premier Christy Clark unveiled a new loan program today to help first-time home buyers come up with their down payment.


The BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program will offer qualifying home buyers loans of up to $37,500, interest and payment free, for five years.


The province will begin accepting applications on January 16, 2017.


To qualify, buyers must:

  • be buying their first home;
  • obtain a high-ratio, insured first mortgage for at least 80 per cent of the purchase price;  
  • have a combined gross household income not exceeding $150,000;
  • have saved a down payment amount at least equal to the loan amount;
  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years; and
  • have lived in BC for at least the full year preceding their application.

The loans will be due in full if the buyer defaults on a payment, ceases to use the home as a principle residence or resells the home.


Key facts:

  • The loans will match a home buyer’s contribution to a down payment up to five per cent of the home’s purchase price. 
  • The maximum purchase price to qualify for a loan is $750,000 (excluding taxes and fees).
  • After five years, buyers can either repay their loan or enter into monthly payments at current interest rates.
  • Loans through the program are due after 25 years.

“This program will boost sales to first-time home buyers. Without question, they’ll take advantage of it wherever they can,” said Helmut Pastrick, Central 1 Credit Union chief economist.


The province estimates this initiative will help at least 42,000 buyers or households province-wide over the next three years. About half of these buyers will be in the Lower Mainland, according to Pastrick.


copyright© real estate board of greater vancouver. all rights reserved.


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Will more taxes solve housing affordability challenges? History says no and so do we.

The rising cost of homes in our region is well-documented. Metro Vancouver home prices have increased nearly 80 per cent since 2005. Detached home prices have increased over 100 per cent.

We worry about how our children can afford a home and how the most vulnerable among us can find basic shelter. These concerns have led to public debate about possible solutions.

One suggestion is for government to introduce new taxes. Some believe government should tax non-Canadian investors who buy properties. Mayor Robertson believes there should be a "luxury housing" tax on the sale of the most expensive homes in Vancouver.

We believe more taxes won’t help. Taxes bring unintended consequences. There’s little to no evidence that a luxury or foreign buyer tax would make homes more affordable.

History tells us that taxes like this fail to have the desired impact and succeed in permanently adding to government coffers.

In 1987, the provincial government implemented what was advertised as a “wealth tax”. It was supposed to apply to the sale of the most expensive five per cent of homes sold in BC. It's been 28 years since that tax was introduced and the thresholds have never been adjusted for inflation.
           
Today, that tax is known as the Property Transfer Tax (PTT). It’s applied to 95 per cent of all residential property sales in the province. This tax makes housing less affordable.

The home is where many people’s financial net worth resides. It's one of the last major assets that residents can sell and not pay a tax on the revenue. A little mentioned fact is that we already have tax disincentives for foreign owners. If a foreign home owner wants to sell a property in Canada, they are unable to receive a capital gains exemption.

The picture of affordability and home ownership is changing in Metro Vancouver. Our region's affordability challenges are complicated and, unfortunately, there isn't a single action that can solve them. Economists will tell you that offshore investment is a factor in today’s market. To what extent, no one has the data to know.

What we do know is that local conditions have a much more significant impact. We live in one of the most beautiful, progressive and prosperous areas of the world. There are more people who want to live here than there are homes available. This causes prices to rise.

The natural solution would be to create more supply, but we're constrained by mountains to the north, an ocean to the west, and a border to the south.

Despite the headlines, the majority of home sales in Metro Vancouver are not $1-million and beyond. Based on our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics, nearly 70 per cent of all sales in the region last year were below $800,000.

The price of condominiums today ranges between $200,000 and $600,000 depending on size and location. Townhomes range between $300,000 and $800,000 in the region.

Detached homes in the City of Vancouver are at the high-end of our market. Recent activity has pushed homes on the Vancouver Westside above $2.5 million.
           
It’s a different story in neighbouring communities. The benchmark price of a detached home in Maple Ridge today is $499,100; in Ladner the benchmark price is $713,200; in Coquitlam the benchmark price is $845,400.

Affordability challenges exist. But there are also more options and aspects to the story than is typically discussed in the media. Certainly more than the mayor is putting forward.

Sincerely, 

J. Darcy McLeod
President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

 

copyright© real estate board of greater vancouver. all rights reserved.

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RE/MAX Quest for Excellence

 

 

 

What is RE/MAX Quest for Excellence?

The Quest for Excellence Program is a bursary program for grade 12 students in Western Canada.  It was established by RE/MAX of Western Canada to recognize the success and ongoing pursuits of Western Canadian students in regards to leadership and community contribution initiatives.

 

What is awarded?

RE/MAX of Western Canada will award 16 bursaries of $1,000 each to qualifying Grade 12 students.  In addition, the 16 bursary winners will be entered into a draw and one lucky recipient will receive a RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon ride for two. Bursary winners will be notified and all winners will be posted in April 2015.

 

Who Can Participate?

The Quest for Excellence is open to all Grade 12 students attending high school from September, 2014 - March, 2015. Grade 12 students may not have participated in graduation commencement ceremonies in the past. Applicants must be a resident of one of the following provinces/territories.

    British Columbia
    Alberta
    Saskatchewan
    Manitoba
    Yukon Territory

 

What is Required?

Students are to convey the contributions they have made to their communities in a short online essay, maximum 1,250 words. Key qualities students should demonstrate are leadership, motivation and communication skills.  Other attributes may include volunteering, participation in charitable events or fundraising, and contributions that enrich the lives of others and their communities.

Note: All entries become the property of RE/MAX of Western Canada and photos and names of winners may be used in print publications and media.

 

Submission Instructions

Complete the following on-line application form.
Deadline for entry is March 9th, 2015.
A maximum of one on-line essay per student.

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

To print a Quest for Excellence information flyer, click here 

 

If you have any questions regarding this program, please email Kelsey Woodliffe, kwoodliffe@remax.netat RE/MAX of Western Canada.

 

Note: All entries become the property of RE/MAX of Western Canada and photos and names of winners may be used in print publications and media.






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Metro Vancouver home sales above average in October

Metro Vancouver experiences above average October home sales. Come see your next home at Jade in Richmond's amenity rich McLennan North neighbourhood.


November 4, 2014.


Home sales in the Metro Vancouver* housing market continue to outpace long-term averages for this time of year.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 3,057 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2014. This represents a 14.9 per cent increase compared to the 2,661 sales in October 2013, and a 4.6 per cent increase over the 2,922 sales in September 2014.
 
Last month’s sales were 16.6 per cent above the 10-year sales average for October.

“We’ve seen strong and consistent demand from home buyers in Metro Vancouver throughout this year. This has led to steady increases in home prices of between four and eight per cent depending on the property,” said REBGV president Ray Harris.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,487 in October. This represents a four per cent increase compared to the 4,315 new listings in October 2013 and a 14.7 per cent decline from the 5,259 new listings in September.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 13,851, a 9.2 per cent decline compared to October 2013 and a 6.6 per cent decrease compared to September 2014.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $637,000. This represents a six per cent increase compared to October 2013.

“Detached homes continue to increase in price more than condominium and townhome properties. This is largely a function of supply and demand as the supply of condominium and townhome properties are more abundant than detached homes in our region,” Harris said. 

Sales of detached properties in October 2014 reached 1,271, an increase of 19.1 per cent from the 1,067 detached sales recorded in October 2013, and a 60.9 per cent increase from the 790 units sold in October 2012. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 7.9 per cent from October 2013 to $995,100.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,268 in October 2014, an increase of 15.5 per cent compared to the 1,098 sales in October 2013, and a 57.9 per cent increase compared to the 803 sales in October 2012. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased four per cent from October 2013 to $380,200.

Attached property sales in October 2014 totalled 518, a 4.4 per cent increase compared to the 496 sales in October 2013, and an 53.3 per cent increase over the 338 attached properties sold in October 2012. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.7 per cent between October 2013 and 2014 to $479,500.

* Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.


As printed in 'Newsflash' by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, November 4th, 2014.


Not intended to solicit properties currently listed for sale. E. & O.E.

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What does no change to borrowing rates mean for you? Whether you're buying or selling, locking in your rate is the first and best step you can make towards keeping your payments low. Ready to get started? Call or email me today for a list of the best mortgage professionals in the area.

 

Read more below.


Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - September 3, 2014

The Bank of Canada once again opted to leave its target for the overnight rate unchanged at 1 per cent. In the statement accompanying today's announcement, the Bank noted that though inflation is close to its 2 per cent target, the recent pick-up in inflation was largely due to temporary factors as the Bank anticipated. In spite of stronger global and domestic economic growth last quarter, the Bank still expects excess capacity in the economy to be absorbed over the next 2 years and judges risks to its outlook to be balanced between higher inflation and still elevated household debt. Therefore, the Bank remains neutral with respect to timing and direction of its next change to the policy rate.


As the Bank noted, economic growth exceeded expectations in the second quarter. However, the economy looks far more pedestrian if averaged over the entire first half of 2014.  Employment growth has been uneven and the Canadian unemployment rate remains stubbornly high. Therefore, the Bank is unlikely to be moved from its current stance after just one strong quarter of economic growth. We expect that the Bank will continue to take a cautious approach to monetary policy until it sees concrete signs that the economy is growing above trend. That means at least one more quarter of solid GDP growth paired with more steady employment gains, as well as similarly strong data in the United States. While the Bank left the door open to lower interest rates given its "neutral" stance, we still anticipate that the next move for interest rates will be upward, though not until 2015. 

 

Article credit: Cameron Muir, Chief Economist and Brendon Ogmundson, Economist, BCREA.

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Rent or Buy? Here's a Calculator to Help You Decide.

Thu, August 21, 2014


Rent or Buy?


Wondering if you should buy a home or keep renting? You’re not alone.

Millions of people are faced with this decision every day, and your move is dependent on a variety of factors: your income, ability to manage maintenance costs/upkeep, how much you’ve saved for a down payment, job stability, the housing market, rental vacancies, monthly payments, interest rates, proximity to work and school – the list goes on.

If you’re stuck trying to choose which option is best for you and your family, the New York Times has a cool tool worth checking out: a rent vs. buy calculator. Input items such as home price, income, the number of years you plan to stay in a place, taxes, fees, etc.. Once you’re done, the calculator computes the equivalent monthly rent. Give it a try!


For a complete picture of what the rent vs. buy prospects are like in your area, give me a call or email

 

Source: The RE/MAX Housing Blog

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Thinking of buying a home soon? Read this! 



New homes in Richmond, BC


5 Financial Missteps to Avoid When Buying a Home


You might have pulled off a great feat, like saving up for that down payment, but there are several financial missteps that can complicate your prospects of buying a home. Avoid these five blunders by managing your spending and bills long before you look for a new home.

1. Letting Your Credit Score Drop


Your credit score directly impacts your ability to get a home loan, the type of loan you qualify for and the interest rate. If you have borderline credit – a score in the low- to mid-600s – further credit mishaps can prevent approval. If you have credit challenges such as bankruptcy or late payments, start your house search several months earlier. Re-establish your credit by paying down credit cards to 30 percent or less of the limit and correcting errors on your report. And avoid checking your credit score too much; constantly checking it counts against you.

2. Languishing in Debt


Consumer debt accounts for 35 percent of your credit score. A late payment's effect depends on the strength of your score, but the account type and the time since the last late payment also matters. If any of your accounts are in collection, it's highly advised you pay them off before seeking loan approval.

3. Shopping Sprees


Stay far away from credit-driven shopping sprees. Even paying cash for big-ticket purchases can raise red flags with a lender. They'll check your bank statements for unusually large deposits and withdrawals and may require an explanation for them.

4. Changing Jobs


A job change may have an adverse effect on your loan approval because lenders calculate your ability to pay a home loan by averaging your past two years of income. If you can avoid interrupting stable employment during the home-buying process, that's probably best.

5. Maxing Out Your Purchasing Power


Even though your lender qualifies you for a certain amount, only you know whether you can comfortably afford the payment. Try to stick with the price range that yields your ideal monthly payment. Looking for homes at the top of your budget limits your ability to increase your offer in a multiple-offer situation.

When you've nurtured your credit and are ready to start looking for a home, contact a lender – and, of course, a RE/MAX agent who can help you find the right home at the right price for you.​


*Source: RE/MAX Mainstreet - The Real Estate Blog, Tue, July 29, 2014.

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British Columbia - CMHC points to signs of improvement

 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is forecasting growth for British Columbia's housing market in 2014. CMHC's Housing Market Outlook - Canada Edition points to a growing BC economy, expected to expand by 2.5% and putting us ahead of the national average. Additionally, our labour market is forecast to increase 1.0% with a shift to higher levels of full-time employment. Both these indicators point to an increase in homeownership demand and the number of new housing starts:

  1. Single-family starts of new homes are projected to rise to 9,200 units this year.
  2. Multiple-family starts of townhomes, condos, etc are projected to remain relatively stable, rising to 18,700 units this year.

 

So what does all this mean for you?


If you're looking to buy or sell an existing home, you'll have more selection with stable prices. And, if you're looking to buy a new home, the number of homes that will come to market will keep prices in check allowing you to choose the new home you want without fear of prices jumping up or dropping unexpectantly. 

 

Find your new home before other homebuyers even know it's for sale! Click here to get started today.

 

 

*Information based on CMHC Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition, full report available at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/esub/61500/61500_2013_Q04.pdf (BC overview found on page 7).

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February 28, 2014


Effective May 1st, 2014, CMHC mortgage loan insurance premiums will be increasing. This change will affect:

  • Owner-occupied homeowner;
  • Self-employed homeowner; and
  • 1 to 4 unit rental properties.

How much will this affect you? On average, the increased premiums will equate to an approximate $5 increase in monthly mortgage payments - so not very much at all. The premium increases are also not expected to have any material impact on the Canadian housing market.


If you'd prefer to save the extra $5 per month, get your mortgage application in before May 1st, 2014 with one of my Preferred Mortgage Specialists. Call or email today.

 

 

 

*Special thanks to Randy Chin of RBC for notifying me of this announcment.

*This post made with information referenced from today's CMHC release.

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Government reduces tax burden on first-time buyers

 



First-time home buyers received some welcome news in today’s provincial budget.

 

The Liberal Government announced, effective February 19th, 2014, qualifying first-time buyers can buy a home worth up to $475,000 under the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Exemption program. This is a significant increase where the previous threshold was $425,000.

 

In addition, homes priced $475,000 to $500,000 qualify for the continuiing partial exemption falling more in-line with B.C.'s housing prices, most notably in Metro Vancouver.

 

With this change, the government estimates 1,700 additional first-time buyers will annually be eligible to save up to $7,500 in PTT when buying their home.

 

These new exemptions are estimated to cost $8 million in lost tax revenue each year.

 

Together with BC Real Estate Association, the BC Real Estate Board has actively lobbied to make home ownership more affordable for first-time homebuyers. The increased limits in the threshold indicate these lobbying efforts on behalf of the public have paid off. Note that in 2008, as a result of industry lobbying, the provincial government increased the threshold to $425,000 from $375,000. And, in 2005, the government increased the threshold to $325,000 from $275,000.

 

The PTT is calculated at a rate of one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remaining value of the purchase price.


Find out how the new exemption limits affect you by contacting me today at bob@bobsethi.com

 

For more on the Budget, http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2014/default.htm

 

Based on reporting from the real estate board of greater vancouver.

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How to Have a Clean (Enough) Home Over the Kids' Summer Break

 

It's the kids' summer break and keeping your home clean just got alot harder. This is the time to spend outdoors with your kids - not indoors cleaning.


Click here for some easy suggestions to keep your home tidy.

 

 

Have tips to share? Post them here.

 

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HARPER'S CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT
TIGHTENING MORTGAGE RULES - AGAIN!
 
The Conservative Government is once again tightening rules for government-backed insured mortgages.  Changes which are leaving many in the industry puzzled given the positive market data concerning Canada's housing market and economy.  The effects of these new mortgage insurance rules will be watched closely by the housing industry and Canadian homebuyers.
 
If you've already bought, or are thinking of buying, you still have time to qualify on the existing rules.  Mortgage insurance applications received before June 21st, 2012 for binding purchase and sale agreements will be under the 'old' rules.  Applications received between June 21st, 2012 but before July 9th, 2012 that do not conform to the new rules must be funded by December 31st, 2012.  For full clarification I recommend you talk to a mortgage lending representative.  If you don't have one please let me know and I will recommend one for you.
 
Interested in reading the Government's official announcements?  See the following links:

Official press release made this morning @ http://www.fin.gc.ca/n12/12-070-eng.asp; and

FAQ’s regarding the specifics of the rule changes @ http://www.fin.gc.ca/n12/data/12-070_2-eng.asp.
 
I'll be posting more information as it becomes available.  Should you or anyone you know have any questions please feel free to contact me directly.
 
- Bob
 
 
 
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Bubble? What Bubble?

Alberta homebuyers eyeing B.C. again

British Columbians love talking about their real estate.
 
And nowhere is that topic hotter than in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver, where average housing prices upward of $700,000 are not uncommon.

Yet in the wake of recent news reports about a housing market swoon on the West Coast due to price plunge headlines, the talk of a housing bubble has popped up yet again.
 
The average residential price in B.C. dropped 10.9 per cent in April compared to a year ago to $532,855, but B.C. Real Estate Association Cameron Muir says that decline was offset by a 14 per cent increase in the rest of the province.

He says Kamloops, the Okanagan and the North all posted double-digit increases in home sales compared to levels one year ago.
 
In Kamloops, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of the Central Interior executive officer Patsy Bourassa says she has noticed a definite pick-up in the market compared to the same time a year ago.
“With this spring, things have started moving again,” she says.
 
Bourassa credits a few things for spurring the current increase, which she describes as slow but steady, such as the First Time Homebuyers’ tax credit and HST transition measures announced by the provincial government earlier this year, as well as a generally robust resource economy – she notes there are five mines in the Central Interior – and homebuyers from Alberta.

UBC Sauder School of Business real estate economist Tsur Somerville also notes the Interior and the North are doing better than the Lower Mainland lately.
 
“A lot of that is being driven by the second home purchase market in Alberta,” he says.
 
Those areas are popular for Albertans who purchase vacation properties and with that province’s economy recovering, more consumers are thinking about buying in B.C., Somerville said.
 
He points out the B.C. market now is very different form one or two years ago, as high-end market sales and the foreign source of wealth market have both slowed down.
 

Somerville doesn’t think British Columbians needs to worry about a housing market bubble.

“I never thought there was a bubble to begin with,” he says.
 
While there’s a lot of inventory in the new-home market, there are locations with a lot of starts happening, he notes.
 
Despite a lot of inventory – depending on where you live in the province – Somerville doesn’t go so far as to say B.C. is experiencing a buyer’s market.
 
“When average prices are in excess of $700,000, I don’t think you can really say it’s a buyer’s market,” he says.
 
He advises potential homebuyers not to base big decisions on what the market may or may not be doing.
 
“If you’re buying real estate for yourself to live in, I think you need to do that based on your life cycle and not try to time it with the market.”
 
When you get listings to sales ratios rising, consumers don’t have to approach the market with as much anxiety and can take their time to choose a product they really love, he says.

In the Central Interior, “Everybody’s cautiously optimistic” the housing market will continue to move, Bourassa said.
 
 
Excerpted from BCHomesmag.com.  Article written by Tricia Leslie. 
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THE $10,000 B.C. FIRST-TIME NEW HOME BUYERS’ BONUS
 

 

Subject to approval by the legislature, the B.C. government intends to implement a temporary BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus. Effective February 21, 2012, to March 31, 2013, the bonus is a one-time refundable personal income tax credit worth up to $10,000.

 

 
Contact me to see how this program can benefit you - bob@bobsethi.com
 
 
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Threshold being raised to $850,000 effective April 1, 2012

 

Government announces the transition rules for the HST early

 

BURNABY, BC (February 17, 2012) - The Honourable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Finance held a press conference today in Victoria to announce transition rules for the harmonized sales tax and the affect it will have on the home building industry. Effective April 1, 2012 the threshold for new housing rebates will be increased from $525,000 to $850,000, including secondary homes.

 

"We are elated the Provincial Ministry of Finance and the Federal Finance Department asked for our input and that our provincial government listened to the lobbying efforts of CHBA BC," said CEO, M.J. Whitemarsh. "We had the confidence the Government would take our concerns to heart and implement the best solution for our industry, the news today was worth the wait and is even better than we could have anticipated."  

 

Since the referendum results to rescind the tax, the Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC (CHBA BC) has worked diligently providing information from members to the government requesting the implementation of the transition rules be done as simply and quickly as possible to prevent any further stalling of the residential housing industry.  

 

"The out-of-box forward thinking from the Government has created a stable situation for all CHBA BC members who build secondary homes," Whitemarsh said. "Houses purchased as of April 1st will ultimately be receiving a $42,500 discount, now that the threshold has been raised."

 

Releasing the transition rules on housing early was a wise and bold move on government's part, one that is mutually beneficial. CHBA BC lobbied for a tax rebate to be created for consumers on new home purchases and renovations, so the industry could move forward and gain momentum once again.

 

"Raising the threshold is a brilliant decision that is fair and equitable, a huge benefit to all consumers that will spur the market," said Doug Wittal, President of CHBA BC. "Including the second home market outside the GVRD and CRD will create a huge boom, creating jobs and pushing the industry forward in very innovative ways."  

 

The 2012 budget will be announced Tuesday, February 21, 2012.
 
 
For more on how the transition rules affect your new home purchase contact me at bob@bobsethi.com.

 

 

Taken from CHBA BC.  The Canadian Home Builders' Association of British Columbia is the voice of the residential construction industry in BC fostering a housing environment in which the industry operates effectively and professionally.

 

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Grade 12 Bursary Program Now Accepting Applications

RE/MAX Quest for Excellence

What is the RE/MAX Quest for Excellence?
The Quest for Excellence Program is a bursary program for grade 12 students in Western Canada. It was established by RE/MAX of Western Canada to recognize the success and ongoing pursuits of Western Canadian students in regards to leadership and community contribution initiatives. Scroll down to enter.
  
What is Awarded?
RE/MAX of Western Canada will award 16 bursaries of $1,000 each to qualifying Grade 12 students. In addition, the 16 bursary winners will be entered into a draw and one lucky recipient will receive a RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon ride for two. Bursary winners will be notified in May, 2012.
All Winners will be posted in May 2012.
  
Who Can Participate?
The Quest for Excellence is open to all Grade 12 students attending high school from September, 2011 – June, 2012. Grade 12 students may not have participated in graduation commencement ceremonies in the past. Applicants must be a resident of one of the following provinces/territories.
• British Columbia
• Alberta
• Saskatchewan
• Manitoba
• Yukon Territory
  
What is Required?
Students are to convey the contributions they have made to their communities in a short online essay, maximum 1,250 words. Key qualities students should demonstrate are leadership, motivation and communication skills. Other attributes may include volunteering, participation in charitable events or fundraising, and contributions that enrich the lives of others and their communities.
Note: All entries become the property of RE/MAX of Western Canada and photos and names of winners may be used in print publications and media.
  
Submission Instructions
Complete the following on-line application form.
Deadline for entry is March 12th, 2012.
A maximum of one on-line essay per student.

TO ENTER VISIT
http://www.remax-western.ca/quest-excellence-application

RE/MAX Quest for Excellence $1,000 bursury for Grade 12 Students

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Important information on the HST referendum

The Provincial Government has received the results of the HST referendum. The outcome was decisive, with just under 55% of voters choosing to extinguish the HST and return the province to a system of taxation using both the PST and GST.
 
The government says no changes will occur until at least May 2013. There is no information yet on what the details of the tax system will look like at that time.
 
In terms of what this means to you, the HST is still in place and will be until at least May 2013. I will be updated this blog as we learn more. If you're interested in learning how this affects your plans to buy or sell real estate please contact me at:
 
Bob Sethi, RE/MAX Westcoast 
604-273-2828
 
 
With information provided by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
 
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Changes to Canadian Immigration Rules

On June 24, the federal government instituted rule changes related to new applications under the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) and the Federal Entrepreneur Program. The changes are as follows:
  • Federal Entrepreneur Program: A temporary moratorium on new applications.
  • Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP): A cap of 700 new IIP applications will be considered for processing each year.
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW): A cap of 10,000 new FSW applications, without an offer of arranged employment, will be considered for processing each year. Within the 10,000 cap, a maximum of 500 new applications per occupation will be considered each year.

BC, and Vancouver in particular, has been one of the primary recipients of immigrants under the IIP, accounting for half of total Canadian investor class immigration. From 2005 to 2010, over 30,000 investor class immigrants have located in BC, an average of about 5,000 per year. This number relates to roughly 2,000 households per year.

Implications

The Government's stated reason for instituting the application cap is to reduce a backlog in applications and to shorten wait times. In 2010 there were 3,223 applications approved under the IIP and the government has indicated that it has received applications well in excess of that number in recent years, creating a large backlog of applications. It has not indicated that it wishes to lower the number of immigrants processed under the IIP, but simply to reduce the current backlog.
 
Therefore, as old applications are still being processed, the implementation of the new rules may not have an impact on the number of immigrants entering under the IIP and therefore may not have a material impact on BC housing markets.
 
To view Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) press release, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2011/2011-06-24a.asp.
 
For more information about the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/investors/index.asp.
 
For more information about the Federal Entrepreneur Program, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/entrepreneurs/index.asp.
 
For more information about the Skilled Worker Program, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/index.asp.
 
To view CIC's Frequently Asked Questions, visit:
www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/faq/immigrate/business/index.asp.
 
 
All information subject to verification by independent legal advice.
 
 
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Think housing in Vancouver is too expensive?  That Metro Vancouver is becoming a market only for the rich or foreign investors?  Seems local housing experts don't think so and they've got the numbers to back it up.

 

Tuesday's Globe and Mail interviewed Vancouver multi-family real estate marketer Bob Rennie and housing consultant Dale McClanaghan regarding Rennie's argument that Vancouver real estate is not expensive.  Rather, as the stats prove, its prices in Richmond and Vancouver west side that are skewing market perceptions.  With 30-year old single-family homes in Richmond selling between $800k-$1.3m and similar homes in Vancouver's west side selling for more adding those sales into the local stats is creating the perception that all of Metro Vancouver is expensive.  Blaming foreign investors for driving the prices up is also not accurate.  Rather, the buyers are new immigrants looking for the best homes for their families.  With safe streets, plenty of schools, government supported medical system plus all the other reasons you and I choose to live here, who wouldn't want to live here?

 

Both Rennie and McClanaghan do agree that Metro Vancouver does need to do more to ensure a supply of mid-priced housing.  This goal is the same shared by other large cities except Metro Vancouver's policies are not allowing for room to grow or a supply of land for housing.

 

Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy (MV RGS) has met heavy resistance from housing affordability experts and the housing industry.  The MV RGS is designating where and what type of housing can be built.  In most cases that means high-density multi-family apartments or townhomes with little allowance for new single-family homes.  The MV RGS also locks away buildable land for the next 30 years continuing to drive up the cost of land and the (multi-family) homes built on it.  The majority of these lands include ALR properties - lands that are not viable for farming due to small size, poor soil conditions or proximity to residential/industrial properties but more than suitable for housing.  While these policies may win Metro Vancouver politicians points with special interest groups they are failing to address the current or future needs of homebuyers by limiting the supply of land to build single-family homes.  After all, if buying a house is just attainable for current homebuyers how will future generations buy a home?  

 

Read more of the interview at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/busting-the-myths-of-vancouver-real-estate/article2033738/  (The Globe and Mail, May 24, 2011)

 

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me directly.

 

 

 

Curious where home values in your neighborhood are going?  Click here to find out.

 

 

 

Bob Sethi, BComm
RE/MAX Westcoast
o.    604-273-2828
f.     604-273-0685
e.   
bob@bobsethi.com

w.   www.bobsethi.com

 


 

 

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The Best Place on Earth

INFORMATION BULLETIN

2011FIN0051-000598
May 25, 2011

Ministry of Finance

 

 

Government commits to 10 per cent HST

 

VICTORIA –The Province is committing to bold, responsive, and balanced changes to the Harmonized Sales Tax to make British Columbia families better off while ensuring government can meet its commitment to balanced budgets, Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced today.

 

The plan, which is to be confirmed by legislative motion, is to reduce the total HST rate to 10 per cent from 12 per cent in two stages. The provincial portion would be cut by one percentage point to six per cent from seven per cent on July 1, 2012. A further one percentage point reduction would take effect on July 1, 2014.

 

All British Columbia families will benefit from these changes and, on average, pay less on their routine expenditures under the 10 per cent HST than going back to the PST and GST. To help offset the costs of the HST before the rate reduction in 2012, one-time transition cheques of $175 per child would be issued to families with children under 18 years old. In addition, low- and modest-income seniors will receive a one-time transition cheque of $175. The cost of the transition cheques is expected to be $200 million, and they will be issued by the end of the year.

 

The independent panel that reviewed the HST and the PST plus GST tax systems recently estimated that families now pay an average of $350 more in sales tax under the HST than they paid with the PST plus GST system. With a 10 per cent HST rate, instead of paying $350 more tax, B.C. families will on average pay $120 less tax than under the PST.

 

The independent panel also noted that while consumers are paying more, businesses are saving money. Furthermore, the Province remains committed to balancing the budget in 2013/14 while reducing the HST burden on families and modest income seniors. To help meet this commitment, government will increase the general corporate income tax rate to 12 per cent from the current 10 per cent on Jan. 1, 2012, and postpone the reduction in the small business tax rate planned for April 1, 2012. The measures would be temporary until the fiscal situation allows for further reductions.

 

Proposed changes to the HST will only take effect should British Columbians vote to keep the HST.

 

For more information about the HST, visit: www.HSTinBC.ca

 

Contact:

David Currie

Ministry of Finance

250 387-6591


 

BACKGROUNDER

HST policy change details

 

The Province plans to reduce the total HST rate to 10 per cent from 12 per cent in two stages should British Columbians vote to keep the HST in this summer’s referendum. The provincial portion of the HST would be cut by one percentage point to six per cent from seven per cent on July 1, 2012, and cut one more percentage point to 5 per cent on July 1, 2014. The rate reduction will benefit all B.C. families. The Independent Panel estimated that, on average, harmonization costs B.C. families $350 more per year on their typical expenditures. By reducing the HST rate to 10 per cent, the $350 average cost now becomes a $120 average benefit for B.C. families.

 

10 per cent HST

 

Family Income                        Net increase (Decrease)                    Net increase (Decrease)

                                                Per Independent Panel                     With 10% HST rate (07/14)

 

$10,000 or less                        ($73)                                                    ($170)

$10,001-20,000                       $32                                                      ($159)

$20,001-40,000                       $129                                                    ($155)                         

$40,001-60,000                       $366                                                    ($81)

$60,001-80,000                       $527                                                    ($53)

$80,001-100,000                     $657                                                    ($61)

Over $100,000                                    $1,029                                                 ($45)

Average                                  $350                                                    ($120)

 

2011 Transition Payments

 

All B.C. families will receive $175 for each and every child under 18, and low and modest income seniors will also receive a cheque for $175.

 

HST Referendum Details

 

British Columbians will be voting in a mail-in referendum on the HST. Ballots will be mailed in June and must be returned to Elections B.C. or a Service B.C. office by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 22, 2011.

 

For more information about the HST, visit: www.HSTinBC.ca

You can also follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/hstinbc

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect

 

Contact:

David Currie

Ministry of Finance

250 387-6591

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Bob Sethi, B.Comm
Office:604.273.2828
Fax:604.273.0685
RE/MAX Westcoast
#110-6086 Russ Baker Way
Richmond, BC
V7B 1B4 Canada

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