March 2015



Macdonald Realty Luxury Homes, Spring 2015 digital edition

The latest edition of our magazine presents many of Macdonald Realty's finest listings in what is traditionally the most active season of the year.

While flipping through, watch out for the new feature pages; we are pleased to highlight local artists and designers, and also cast our spotlight on a sampling of exceptional British Columbia wines.

Please click the cover above to enjoy this edition - and feel free to call or email if you have any questions or comments.



February Market Review

Do you wondering how last month's market activity compares with this same time last year? Click the link below to our market statistic infographics where we break it down to even the neighbourhood level.

If you have questions about the status of the current market, please do not hesitate to ask me.




Bowen Island


Gulf Islands







Maple Ridge



New Westminster


North Delta

North Surrey


North Vancouver

Pitt Meadows


Port Coquitlam

Port Moody



South Surrey/White Rock






Vancouver Downtown


Vancouver East

Vancouver West


West Vancouver












Metro Vancouver real estate bidding wars spreading to suburbs

Falling interest rates and declining inventory are driving sales, say experts.

According to Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board president Ray Harris, there were 14 per cent fewer properties listed for sale across the region this past January when compared with January 2014.

"This is creating greater competition amongst buyers, particularly in the detached home market. The number of detached homes listed for sale today is the second lowest we've seen in four years," said Harris.

Read more... (CBC News)



Vancouver firm offers a one-stop real estate shop for Chinese investors in B.C.

When Vancouver-based Macdonald Realty dispatched Dan Scarrow, the agency's vice-president of corporate strategy, to China last March to investigate the feasibility of launching a branch office in Shanghai, the assignment was initially only going to be for four months.

A year later, Scarrow, a second-generation Chinese Canadian who is fluent in Mandarin, is still there. The Vancouver Sun reached Scarrow in Shanghai by phone last week to discuss his progress, objectives and challenges in building a bridge for residential and commercial real estate investment between China and British Columbia as the new managing director of Macdonald's Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai.

Read more... (MacBlog)




Market News

With deep ties, B.C., Alberta adjust to a new real estate reality (The Globe and Mail)

Is it time to sell your U.S. snowbird property? (The Globe and Mail)

Lower Mainland News

It's Cinderella time for North Vancouver as house prices shoot up (The Globe and Mail)

In Vancouver, wealthy home buyers want it all - right down to the cutlery (The Globe and Mail)

Vancouver housing prices rise, but folks keep on buying (Barbara Yaffe for The Vancouver Sun)

Victoria & Vancouver Island News

Victoria's Bay Centre sold (BIV)

Island real-estate sales slump but prices holding (Oceanside Star)

Greater Victoria's February real estate sales blossom forth (Times Colonist)

February sales reflect strong, balanced market conditions (Campbell River Mirror)

Okanagan News

Oilpatch downturn slows Okanagan real estate market (The Province)

Chinese investors target hotels, wineries, mineral water in British Columbia (South China Morning Post)



*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.

**Should you not wish to receive this communication, please reply to this email with "Please Unsubscribe" in the subject line.

©2015 Macdonald Real Estate Group



Budgeting for a new home can be tricky. Not only are there mortgage installments and the down payment to consider, there are a host of other—sometimes unexpected— expenses to add to the equation. The last thing you want is to be caught financially unprepared, blindsided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day.


As a general rule it is recommended to have approximately 2-5% of the purchase price set aside for home buying costs, in addition to your downpayment/deposit amount. If you are a first time home buyer there are some exemptions that you may qualify for to help alleviate this cost. Use the following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring your budget.


1. Purchase offer deposit


This is usually about 5% of the purchase amount and needs to be paid within 7-10 days of making an offer to purchase a home. So if you are buying a $500,000 home, you need to have $25,000 ready, via bank draft, once you sign to remove all your subject clauses on your offer to purchase. This 5% can consititue part of your larger downpayment for a home. At closing you can contribute the remainder of your downpayment to the sale. To buy a home you need a minimum of 5% downpayment, although 20% is recommended in order to save on CMHC insurance costs.


Please keep in mind that this 5% deposit amount is not part of the 2-5% that should be budgeted for closing costs. You will need to pay the minimun 5% deposit amount ON TOP of all your 2-5% closing costs, plus any additional down payment amount that you would like to put on the mortgage. See all seperate closing costs below:


2. Inspection by certified building inspector


Never buy without hiring a home inspector for an inspection! Depending on the size and type of the home, this can cost anywhere between $300 to $600.


3. Appraisal fee


Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property.  This is where your lender sends in a professional property appraiser to justify the amount of the mortgage loan that you are asking for. This appraisal cost is your responsibility. This can cost you anywhere from $150 to $250.


4. Survey certificate


If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your lending institution may request an updated property survey. A survey accurately depicts the location of the house and outer buildings in relation to the property lines. Your lender will require an up-to-date survey and if  the Seller does not have one, you will have to pay to have one done. This can be approximately $150-$350. This does not apply to condominiums or townhomes.


5. 5% GST


This fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations. If you are buying a previously owned home, this tax is not applicable to you.


6. Legal fees


A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork. Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire. Lawyers review the Offer to Purchase, search the title, draw up mortgage documents and tend to the closing details. The fee will be approximately $800-$1500. This amount varies between Provinces depending on the complexity of the sale and the type of property.


7. Homeowner’s insurance


Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution. You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan for detatched homes. If you are buying a condominium or townhouse, part of your strata fees goes towards building insurance. In this case you may just want to purhase content insurance to protect the contents of your home.


8. Property Tax Adjustment

Based on the "adjustment date", you may have to reimburse the Seller for his/her portion of the prepaid property taxes. For example, if the Seller has already paid an annual property tax amount of $2,000 for the year, you will need to reimburse the Seller from your adjustment date (usually the day you possess the home) until the end of the year. If you take possession in May, for example, this re-imbursement amount for annual taxes of $2,000 would be $1,333.

9. Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price. Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default, and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% — with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment.


To obtain mortgage loan insurance, lenders pay an insurance premium. Typically, your lender will pass this cost on to you. The premium payable is based on a percentage of the home’s purchase price that is financed by a mortgage. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum or it can be added to your mortgage and included in your monthly payments.


Mortgage loan insurance is not to be confused with mortgage life insurance which guarantees that your remaining mortgage at the time of your death will not be a burden to your estate.


10. Property Transfer Tax


The difference between Property Tax and Property Transfer Tax is that PTT is a one-time provincial tax which comes into effect upon transfer of property and Property Tax is paid annually to the local taxation authorities. The amount of the Property Transfer Tax is 1% on the first $200,000.00 of the property’s fair market value and 2% on the remaining fair market value.

For example, if the fair market value of the property is $200,000.00, the tax payable would be $2,000.00 ($1% of $200,000.00). If the fair market value of the property is $450,000.00, the tax payable would be $7,000.00 (1% on the first $200,000.00 = $2,000.00 and 2% on the remaining $250,000.00 = $5,000.00).

If you are a first time home buyer you may qualify for a full or partial exemption from this tax. Click here to view the exemption criteria: PTT Exemption Criteria



Home buyer and seller activity outpaces historical averages in February

Conditions within the Metro Vancouver* housing market continued to strengthen in February as home sale and listing totals came in well above the region’s ten-year average for the month. 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 3,061 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February 2015. This represents a 21 per cent increase compared to the 2,530 sales recorded in February 2014, and a 60 per cent increase compared to the 1,913 sales in January 2015.

Last month’s sales were 20.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“It’s an active and competitive marketplace today. Buyers are motivated and homes that are priced competitively are selling at a brisk pace right now,” Ray Harris, REBGV president, said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,425 in February. This represents a 15.4 per cent increase compared to the 4,700 new listings reported in February 2014.

Last month’s new listing count was 11.8 per cent higher than the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the REBGV MLS® is 11,898, an 11.3 per cent decline compared to February 2014 and a 10.1 per cent increase compared to January 2015.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $649,700. This represents a 6.4 per cent increase compared to February 2014.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in February was 25.7 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since March 2011.

“We’re seeing more multiple offer situations and generally more traffic at open houses today,” Harris said. “In a market such as this, it’s important to do your homework and work with your local REALTOR® before embarking on your home buying and selling journey.”

Sales of detached properties in February 2015 reached 1,296, an increase of 25.6 per cent from the 1,032 detached sales recorded in February 2014, and an 84.1 per cent increase from the 704 units sold in February 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 9.7 per cent from February 2014 to $1,026,300.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,244 in February 2015, an increase of 20.5 per cent compared to the 1,032 sales in February 2014, and an increase of 63.7 per cent compared to the 760 sales in February 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3 per cent from February 2014 to $386,500.

Attached property sales in February 2015 totalled 521, an increase of 11.8 per cent compared to the 466 sales in February 2014, and a 56.5 per cent increase from the 333 attached properties sold in February 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.6 per cent between February 2014 and 2015 to $481,500.

*Editor’s Note:  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.

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.