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Jon – The Ombudsman of Canadian transactions in real estate

Hi Folks,

With the advent of so many issues with real estate in Canada today the average consumer is left without too many recourses. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver amongst many others like the real estate council of British Columbia simply to do offer enough support in case your purchase goes sideways.

I developed this site to showcase a few case studies of how to protect yourself. Occasionally I also post a few market information for users to also discern about the real estate market in general.

Finally, I also would like to offer some council, as any ombudsman would, to help the average consumer in case they fall victim to a predatory agency, another real estate party, lawyers, and/or tenants. In essence I have a few connections that I can also guide along with.

Why do I do this?

I have a special case. In 1997 I bought a home in Vancouver and had a tremendously tough time because the foundation of the duplex was on soft soil. Unbeknownst to me the bungalow was sinking and the realtor nor the home seller disclosed anything. When I reached out to the Real Estate Board, and the Council, a simple slap on the hand was issued to the realtor. I consequently sued the seller only to find out he passed away before I could do anything to recover my costs.

This left me with a true desire to protect those who have fallen victim and also prevent those who are currently buying.

How do I get paid?

I get my funding through the referrals that I send to my fellow lawyers and professionals in the field. I want to disclose that I DO NOT accept nor receive any real estate commission from any realtors. You are free to chose whichever professional you work with.

What I do have is a buyers guide that I sell for a nominal fee. The best way is to get in touch with me by submitting a contact form above.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me as well.

Take care out there! Buying my guide will save you a LOT of headache and provide a bias free way to get the most from your real estate venture.

Sales launch for homes in New Westminster’s Brewery District

The Westminster Brewer District is developing. The whole area has around 560,000 square feet of office space. Now, the Wesgroup, one of western Canada’s largest private real estate companies, announced the first public sales of residential units in this part of town.

new westminster
They will build a 15-storey Sapperton tower, close to the Sapperton Skytrain station, which will have 115 apartments. VIP sales have already started. At the moment, nobody can predict how many units will actually be for rent once it will be accessible for the public. The tower will be the first residential tower in the district.

It will be surrounded buy green space and there will be a roof deck. Moreover, insight of the tower will be a premium gym and party rooms in order to keep the inhabitants happy. Besides 59 one-bedroom apartments and several two and three- bedroom apartments, there will also be town homes. That is unusual for New Westminster. Town homes begin with a size of 1,350 square feet and they will have two levels.

Previously, the area was home to the Labatt brewery and the Brewery district in general is full of shops and offices. Within the last years, many new restaurants and cafes emerged in the district which is also a huge transit hub. In general, it is quite safe around here. Especially young people are moving into the area.

The environment around the Sapperton tower is home to retailers like Save-On-Foods, TD Bank, Browns Social House, and Starbucks. Moreover, a yoga studio announced its opening.

Office space has become rare in the Brewery district. Big office buildings were sold to Translink and the Health Science Association. Moreover, as the Royal Columbia Hospital is close, many doctors bought office space in the area.

A Condo developer brings housing mix to Vancouver’s DTES

A new beginning for the Canada’s oldest and poorest neighbourhoods.

condo-development-vancouver-east-sideFinding real estate buyers in this part of Vancouver is nothing less than a challenge. The reason is quite simple! The place has a long history of violent crimes, vandalism and is also notorious for the drug use and trafficking. There are many buyers who observed a scope in this housing mix project, but later withdrawn because of the cynical nature of the surrounding area. But there are few of the parties showing a keen interest in the housing project because they have a vision beyond the neighbourhood and see it as a conduit to access the real market.

Sequel 138 Development Corp., the company realizing the housing mix in the 6 storey building, anticipate the achievement of the target by the end of 2015. The Condo developer brings housing mix to Vancouver’s DTES in a remarkable way. In the building, the number of private condos will remain 79 and the number of rental units will be 18. The condo units have attained the prospective buyers and the rental units have secured by the FJL Housing Society on a sanctioned loan of $814,000 from B.C. Housing.

The project is an exclusive one due to many reasons. The housing mix of the tenants is the key one. In addition to that, the housing mix developer has succeeded to work parallel with B.C. Housing and attained a loan of $21.8 million just for the construction purposes. In order to be eligible for the housing mix program, the buyer must not have a household earning over $85,000 annually.

The 79 condos available in the 6 storey building vary in price as per the space and amenities offered. Small size one bedroom condo is accessible for a price of $250,000, whereas, large size, two bedroom condos can easily fit a budget of $394,000.

I like this development because it is humble and goes back to the roots when Vancouver used to belong to Canadians. Now with foreign ownership we have a huge issue with the prices of properties in Vancouver just getting out of control. It’s nice to see some equilibrium.

New Westminster Housing Prices Discourage Home Ownership

new westminster residencesIn the 1970s, home ownership was part of the bargain for an average middle-class family in New Westminster. But with the sky high mortgage prices an average modern middle-class’ dream of owning a home in New Westminster may remain just that, a dream. According to a study by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), home ownership for a basic Bungalow – including New Westminster taxes, utilities and mortgage payment – may take up to 90 percent of a typical family’s gross income. This number is reached at by comparing the cost of standard house to the typical household income in the city and assuming a down payment of 25 percent and 25 year paying off period.

When home affordability is considered against an average household income, is currently the second most expensive city the world over, with a standard home costing up to ten times the typical household income. (The accepted ratio is four. A ratio of six is feasible but crushing. A ratio of ten is just impossible.) This means that New Westminster is more expensive than Paris, London and even New York. It may be hard to believe but this is the truth.

In the 1970s, the annual income of a couple aged 24-35 was the equivalent of $73,000 today. Today people in the same age bracket earn just a mere 68,000 annually. Even as more women take income earning jobs, families are earning less today, not more. At the same time, the average housing cost has risen by 149 percent. The modern family feels they have less money and time compared to the previous generations, even before factoring in the New Westminster’s relatively inflated housing prices. This inter-generational housing affordability inequity is not only disturbing but quite distressing considering most of the New Westminster downtown condos (14 percent) and 7 percent of other city homes remain vacant. Among the major causes of this is that investors are more interested in safe and productive real estate investment than the less lucrative work of managing residential units.

What is the net result of all this? Many middle-class families are now opting to live in rental houses rather than buy one of their own. It is a lot cheaper to rent an apartment than buy the same.

According to REMAX, properties in New Westminster houses are getting expensive, It’s now evident that housing affordability in New Westminster is decreasing, especially for condos, that were once affordable. This is attributed to the ever increasing demand both from the locals and foreigners. The increase in demand is due to high rank that this city enjoys. This city is said to be one of the world’s livable locations. It is also ranked 4th in terms of its quality of living as compared to other cities in the world. These factors have led to very high demand for New Westminster real estate within this city leading to sky-high house prices like these ones.

Other factors that may have resulted to high prices in this residential market is the fact that New Westminster is one of the largest city in Canada, where it is ranked 8th. New Westminster is also a coastal seaport which has also seen tourism thrive as one of the main industry. This goes without saying a good reason for the sky rocketing prices in the real estate sector.

A steady rise in job creation has also been sited as the other factor leading to the un-affordability. I know that this sounds confusing to some, but this how job creation translates to un-affordability; the more jobs out there mean more money, thus more house buyers. It’s this high demand that leads to sky-high prices.

New Westminster is ranked 13th least affordable city in the world.
Asked of my opinion as to which is the main reason for this overshooting of New Westminster property values, I would out lightly site excessive speculation which I think is happening in New Westminster today. The onslaught of foreigners in the market comes also as a catalyst to the problem. It is not just a phenomena in the high luxury areas of West Vancouver properties. For instance West Vancouver condos have actually dropped as opposed to New West: http://www.worldpropertylinks.com/west-vancouver-condos/.
This might be good to the real estate investors, but it is not doing New Westminster’s residents any good. The city should embrace cooperative housing, secondary suites, among other strategies as way to tackle this problem. Otherwise the price of houses will keep on the same trend.