It is your ast chance to get up to $10,000 back when purchasing a brand new home! This government incentive ends March 31st 2013.

If you are currently in the market for a new home and qualify as a first-time new home buyer, you may be eligible to receive a significant bonus of up to $10,000 from the BC government. The First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus is a non-taxable one-time payment to the purchaser and we’ve seen many happy homeowners benefit from this limited time government offer. With interest rates at historic lows, and a great selection of brand new homes on the market, this truly is a great opportunity to own your first home.

E L I G I B L E  N E W  H O M E

An eligible new home includes new homes (i.e., newly constructed and substantially renovated homes) that are purchased from a builder and that are owner-built. The bonus will be available in respect of new homes purchased from a builder where:


  • A written agreement of purchase and sale is entered into on or after February 21, 2012; 
  • HST is payable on the home (e.g., HST will generally be payable if ownership or possession of the home transfers before April 1, 2013)
  • No one else has claimed a bonus in respect of the home.

If you are interested in more information, please contact me for more details!




If you're thinking of making a move within the next few months, there are two important things you need to know.

The first is the market value of your current property. That's the amount your home will likely sell for on today's market. When you know its market value, you'll have a better idea of how much money will be available to invest in a new home.


The second is an overview of what's available on the market. Which of the homes currently available for sale meet your criteria with respect to type of home, special features (such as a big kitchen or pool), neighbourhood, etc? How much are these homes selling for?


With those two pieces of information, you'll be able to make a better decision.


A good REALTOR® can get that information for you. Call today.



One of the things I hear most often is that people want to buy their own homes because renting is just flushing money down the toilet. Hey, if you have the "will" to move from renter to home-owner, that's the first step. The second step: having the "means."


Wanting to own isn't just about the money; perhaps you want to know you can stay where you are with no fear you'll be told to move just when you've got the place perfect. Or perhaps you're looking for a neighbourhood with good schools and a strong community and there aren't a lot of rental options. But buying a home is a big decision, and without some careful planning, it can end in disaster. Here are some things you must be sure you have in place before you make the leap from renter to owner.


Enough income: Seems obvious right? Yet loads of people move into their first home and then discover that their latest acquisition is eating so much of their money they have to use credit to cover the gap. Lenders will want to see a solid work history-minimum 1 year at your latest job-so if you've been quilting together an income, you may have difficulty being approved for a mortgage.


A downpayment: Again, obvious? Except that there are still people offering new buyers ways to get into homes without any money down. Whether it's through a cash-back program, or through alternative lenders, it's a bad idea. Don't think that the bare minimum of 5% down means you're ready. Having less than 20% down means that on a $375,000 home you'll have to fork over nearly $10,000 in mortgage insurance premium, and pay more than $55,000 in interest in the first five years, assuming a mortgage of just 3.25%. That means you'll be paying about $917 a month in interest. Pretty comparable to rent, don’t you think?


No consumer debt: Having no consumer debt means you're in a better place to qualify for a mortgage. Having no consumer debt also means you've got your spending in line with your income so you're less likely to hit the wall once you close and start paying all those new bills. If you carry consumer debt into the home-purchase phase of your life, it's because you think you can have it all at the same time. You can't. You'll see.



BCREA Mortgage Rate Forecast

Mortgage rates to stay flat until next year

Canadian mortgage rates have held steady since the end of the second quarter, and we anticipate they will continue to do so over the next year. The yield on five-year Government of Canada bonds, a common benchmark for five-year fixed rate mortgages, remains very low and is forecast to rise gradually over the next year.




The last increase in the five-year fixed-rate came when the five-year bond yield was roughly 30 basis points higher than it is today. Given our forecast for bond-yields over the next year, the five-year mortgage rate is unlikely to rise from its current level of 5.24 per cent until early-to-mid 2013.

Moreover, banks and other lenders will likely be in no hurry to raise rates as moderation in the national housing market further intensifies competitive pressures.


The one-year and variable mortgage rates are also likely to stay flat over the next six months while the Bank of Canada remains on the sidelines. We are forecasting that the current one-year rate of 3.1 per cent will prevail until mid-2013 while the variable rate will hold steady at the current Prime lending rate of three per cent.


Economic Outlook

The Canadian economy stumbled in the third quarter of 2012, growing just 0.6 per cent at an annualized rate.


The economy is clearly feeling the effects of still sluggish US economic growth as well as a wider slowdown in the global economy. Canadian exports fell by two per cent last quarter, the largest decline since the 2009 recession. Exports may not fare much better next year as the global economy faces ongoing uncertainty. The US economy is at a fiscal crossroads and will likely see sluggish growth for another year. Much of Europe is mired in either recession or near zero growth and even the Chinese economy appears to be slowing down.


Against this backdrop, the Canadian economy should continue to produce consistent, if underwhelming, growth near two per cent in 2013, before accelerating in 2014.


Interest Rate Outlook

The biggest news out of the Bank of Canada this year had nothing to do with changes in monetary policy, but rather changes in personnel as it was announced that Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney would be departing to helm the Bank of England. Some have compared the loss of Carney to the tragic memory of Canada losing Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in the 1980s.


However, like the powerful Edmonton Oiler teams of that decade, the Bank of Canada and the wider population of Canadian economists is rich in talent and replacing Carney with someone equally qualified should not be a problem.


Moreover, monetary policy in Canada is rules based, guided by a legislated inflation control mandate. Therefore, even the loss of a talented policy maker like Carney will likely have little impact on the path of Canadian interest rates.


The outlook for growth and inflation over the next eight quarters suggests that interest rates should start to tick higher around the middle of 2013. However, the Bank has been careful to note that a withdrawal of monetary stimulus will be contingent on a stable global economy as well as the state of household debt burdens. The Bank will likely be cautious in unwinding monetary stimulus if Canadian household debt, which has been growing at a more sustainable rate in the past few quarters, changes direction. We are forecasting that the Bank will leave its overnight rate unchanged through most of 2013 before raising rates by 25 basis points late next year.


Source: British Columbia Real Estate Association



January 2013



Market Update January 2013

2012 was a transition year for real estate in many areas of the Province, as many hot markets cooled and took an inevitable 'breather' while others look poised to turn positive. The rapid run-up in prices in a core set of markets (Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, and West Vancouver) over the past few years has actually overshadowed the fact that many other areas of the province have experienced slow to average markets since 2008. Looking forward, it appears as though 2013 will see a continuation of 2012, with flatter market in some of the traditionally hotter areas and a stronger market in areas that have recently performed relatively poorly.


In December, Macdonald Realty surveyed its managers around the province to debrief the year that was, and forecast the year to come. As a comparison, last year's forecast was a mixed bag, as our forecasts for prices were largely correct but our forecast for the number of sales was off slightly.


Greater Vancouver

Prices for single family homes are already off 10%+ from their peak in 2009. This decline has been most pronounced in Richmond, West Vancouver, and the West Side of Vancouver. More affordable asset classes and areas of the city have seen relative price stability and are expected to remain that way.


For 2013, it is expected that the prices for all areas and all asset classes will remain flat. Volume is expected to remain low until February, when we expect a spring market to commence. Chinese New Year occurs on February 10 and this along with some pent up demand will likely result in an increase in demand for residential properties. While prices will remain flat in 2013, we forecast that the number of sales will increase over 2013.


Fraser Valley

The Fraser Valley has not benefited from the same rapid price increases as in Greater Vancouver. Because of this, the downward pressures being exerted in more expensive areas of the lower mainland are less prominent in the Fraser Valley. The main reason for this is that while the population continues to grow rapidly, there is still a lot of developable land, which has allowed developers to keep pace with demand.

For 2013, the forecast is therefore similar to Greater Vancouver, although slightly more positive. Prices will remain relatively flat depending on your specific area, with some areas experiencing slight gains through the year. Sales volumes are expected to increase over 2012 levels.



The 2012 year started strong for sales in greater Victoria, but dropped off markedly the second half of the year. According to the CMHC Housing Outlook, the last quarter of 2012 is the bottom of the market for Victoria and they predict there to be a slight increase in number of sales going into 2013 due to pent-up demand.


Much like the lower mainland, we expect prices to stabilize in 2013 as pent-up demand offsets the larger inventory that has accumulated through the past year.


Okanagan and Recreational Properties

The Okanagan has seen a slow, but stable market through 2012, which seems to have become the new normal ever since the US real estate collapse in 2007. This is because of the dramatic shift in buying patterns as people who previously bought recreational properties in the Okanagan shifted their focus to decimated real estate markets down south. This trend has also been seen in other recreational markets like Whistler and the Gulf Islands.


However, with the US real estate market seeing signs of life, expect to see these Canadian markets to rebound as well. The Okanagan has already seen inventory levels drop from their peak to 5200 to the current levels in the low 4000s, so expect both sales and prices to begin a long, albeit slow, rise in 2013 as the US housing market recovers.

Other Factors

Three other factors will likely affect the BC housing market in 2013. Firstly, the global economy is still on shaky ground and any big macroeconomic shifts could affect both the reality and the psychology of both buyers and sellers. Secondly, with the transition from HST back to GST/PST on April 1st, new developments will once against become more viable at the high end. In reality, the shift for most buyers will result in minimal changes, but one cannot discount the psychological effect. Finally, with a provincial election slated for May this year, the real estate market will likely turn cautious during the campaign. This has been the historic norm and there is no reason to suggest that 2013 will be any different, even if the polls suggest that the outcome of the election is predictable.

If you'd like to find out more, contact me at the address above.

  *This communication is not intended to cause or induce breach of an existing agency agreement.

*Although this information has been received from sources deemed reliable, we assume no responsibility for its accuracy, and without offering advice, make this submission to prior sale or lease, change in price or terms, and withdrawal without notice.


In early 2013, both Economical Insurance and Family Insurance Solutions will stop offering earthquake insurance to home insurance customers living in parts of Metro Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island. Over the past 18 months, several other home insurance providers, including Aviva Canada, Intact Insurance and Wawanesa Insurance, have increased earthquake insurance rates and deductibles in BC. Several factors have prompted these changes, including:


  • Earthquake risk models have been updated because of new geological mapping of earthquake fault lines and subduction zones along coastal BC;
  • Damage and loss experience was worse than expected from the earthquakes that occurred in Japan, New Zealand and Chile over the past two years;
  • More rigorous earthquake insurance guidelines, standards and requirements have been established by the Canadian regulators; and,
  • Two powerful earthquakes occurred off coastal BC on October 28 and November 7, and measured 7.7 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, respectively.

"Clearly, many insurance providers are concerned about coastal BC's high earthquake risk," says Daniel Mirkovic, President & CEO, Square One Insurance. "It's not a matter of if, but when, an earthquake will hit. One way for providers to manage their risk is to limit the amount of earthquake coverage they offer. That means it may become increasingly difficult to get this much needed protection."


About 50% of BC residents buy earthquake insurance, which is most commonly sold as an add-on to home insurance policies. A few providers, like Square One, automatically include it in their base policies. If your provider no longer offers earthquake insurance, or if your earthquake rate or deductible has increased, the best thing you can do is shop around. The top two things you should consider when buying earthquake insurance are:


  • What do you want to insure?

If you own a house, you can sometimes choose to insure just your building. While it may seem like a good way to reduce your premium, the reality is that the cost of replacing all your belongings can really add up. And if you own a condo, you should ensure you have enough protection for both your belongings and any assessment that may be made against you because of a shortfall in, or earthquake deductible for, your strata’s insurance.


  • What deductible do you want?

You can typically choose from 2 or 3 earthquake deductibles. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower the premium you pay. While you may be tempted to choose the highest option available, you should keep in mind that earthquake deductibles are significantly higher than standard policy deductibles. That's because earthquakes occur less frequently than other types of losses, but when they do, they have the potential to cause significant damage to many homes.


All BC residents should take steps to prepare for an earthquake, exploring your earthquake insurance options should be one of those steps. To learn more about your earthquake insurance options, talk with your insurance provider or


Established in 2011 and based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Square One Insurance offers the only à-la-carte home insurance policy in Canada. That means you only pay for the protection you need. Square One is also one of the few providers to automatically include earthquake and broad water protection in its policy. No paying extra. For more information about Square One, or to get an online quote, visit


For more information, please contact:


Jason Vander Zalm
Square One Insurance Services Inc.

Tel: 778.331.6933 ext 103

Cel: 604.836.7937



Why is it so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a home?


Two reasons.


First, you don't want to buy a property and then find out, only after you’ve moved in, that you can't financially maintain it. That would mean having to resell it under stressful conditions.


Second, you don't want to settle for a property that's less than ideal, when you really could have afforded the "dream home" you've always wanted.


So how do you figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next home?


The first step is to talk to a good REALTOR®. He or she will help you gain a clearer understanding of how much your current home will likely sell for in today's market. That amount, together with other financial resources you might have (such as savings), will determine your down payment.


The next thing you’ll need to figure out is your mortgage. Your REALTOR® can help you find a lender who will take a variety of factors into account – income, credit rating, debts, expected down payment, etc. – to calculate the maximum amount of mortgage for which you qualify.


Say, through the proceeds of the sale of your home combined with your savings, your expected down payment is $90,000. If the lender authorizes a mortgage of $270,000, then you can afford a $360,000 home.


Of course, that doesn't mean you'll need to spend that much. In fact, a home that meets your needs in terms of property type, features, and neighbourhood, may in fact cost you less.


One thing is for sure. A good REALTOR® can work with whatever amount you can afford and show you homes on the market that most closely meet your needs.


Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.

Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.