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Sea-to-Sky development exempt from B.C. speculation tax expansion

Phase 2 of Britannia Beach is forging ahead with million-dollar-range townhomes and a retail village just south of Squamish
Rendering shows future of historic Britannia Beach on B.C.’s Sea-to-Sky highway. | Adera Development Corp.

Rendering shows future of historic Britannia Beach on B.C.’s Sea-to-Sky highway. | Adera Development Corp.
More than 70 townhomes are included in the second phase of Britannia Beach community. | Adera Development Corp.
More than 70 townhomes are included in the second phase of Britannia Beach community. | Adera Development Corp.
A mixed-use residential project at Britannia Beach, where 73 townhomes priced in the million-dollar range are now selling in the second phase, will be exempt from this week’s expansion of the B.C. speculation tax to the Sea-to-Sky highway. The speculation tax was expanded July 20 to include Squamish and Lions Bay on the Sea-to-Sky highway, but the historic village and mining mill site that is roughly half-way between these two towns is exempt, according to the BC Minister of Finance office. Starting in January 2023, British Columbia is expanding the speculation tax on homeowners who keep their properties vacant to six more municipalities. Any homeowner with a vacant residence pays 0.5 per cent of their property’s assessed value under the tax, with the tax jumping to 2 per cent for foreign homeowners. The tax already applies to most municipalities in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island, as well as Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo and the District of Lantzville. It will expand to some four Vancouver Island communities, plus Lions Bay and Squamish. The ministry provided no specific reason why Britannia Beach, 12.5 kilometres south of Squamish, is not exposed to the tax.
Adera Development Corp. and Macdonald Communities Ltd. began marketing Phase 2 of the Britannia Beach community in mid-July. In total, 20 two- and three-bedroom plus den townhomes, ranging from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet, are currently selling. There will be 73 townhomes in all, according to Eric Andreasen, vice-president, marketing, for Adera, who noted the average pre-sale prices “are one million dollars, plus or minus.” Andreasen said no consideration of the speculation tax was included in the pro-forma for project. He expects most buyers will be owner-occupiers in any case.

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Nanaimo riding a building wave as permits surge to a record high

Builders took out $319 million in building permits in the first half of this year, quickest pace ever for the fast-growing Island city
Nanaimo is among the fastest-growing cities in Canada, according to the 2021 census, tied for third place with Kamloops, B.C. | City of Nanaimo Nanaimo is among the fastest-growing cities in Canada, according to the 2021 census, tied for third place with Kamloops, B.C. | City of NanaimoExpand
A building permit has been approved for this B.C. Housing-financed development with 213 units in three buildings in the south end of Nanaimo. | City of Nanaimo A building permit has been approved for this B.C. Housing-financed development with 213 units in three buildings in the south end of Nanaimo. | City of NanaimoExpand
Building permit has been approved for this residential development at 6030 Linley Valley Dr. in Nanaimo. | WA Architects Building permit has been approved for this residential development at 6030 Linley Valley Dr. in Nanaimo. | WA ArchitectsExpand
Demand for all types of housing has propelled the value of construction projects in Nanaimo, B.C. to a new record high. During the first six months of the year, builders took out $319 million in building permits in the Vancouver Island city, the highest ever for those months. The five-year average for that period is $201 million, and the previous record of $308 million for those six months was set in 2019. Projects in various stages of development run from the south end of the city to the north, and include supportive housing, B.C. Housing-funded affordable housing developments, student housing and seniors’ facilities. Also in the works are projects that will rent or sell for market rates, such as apartment-style rental buildings and condominiums and an increasing number of ground-level multi-family buildings. “I am very pleased that most of the new housing is in multi-unit buildings, providing more housing options for families,” Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said July 20.
Strong residential development shows confidence in the city, while multi-family developments show Nanaimo is growing into a “complex urban centre,” Krog said. This growing city has a population north of 100,000 and, according to the 2021 census, is among the fastest-growing cities in Canada, tied for third place with Kamloops, B.C. In 2019, the city saw its highest annual permit values at $445 million, but it remains to be seen if that record will be broken this year. Of the $319 million in permit values to date this year, residential projects account for $238 million, Jeremy Holm, Nanaimo director of development approvals, told council this week.

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RBC downgrades forecast for Canadian housing market

Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria are the cities likely to suffer the most, according to the bank.
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Vancouver real estate is projected to be hit harder than other parts of the country because the bank sees the city as being pricier than other areas with residents more interest-rate sensitive.
The Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) today downgraded its forecast for Canada’s housing market, which is being battered by rising interest rates. Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria are the cities likely to suffer the most, according to the bank’s assistant chief economist Robert Hogue. The bank now sees home resales to fall nearly 23 per cent this year, and 15 per cent next year across the country. Those declines would come with the national benchmark home price falling 12 per cent from its peak by the second quarter of 2023. “We expect local outcomes to vary widely with the priciest, more interest-sensitive areas facing larger declines, and relatively affordable markets showing greater resilience,” Hogue said in a research note. Vancouver would be an area that the bank considers pricy, with buyers who are more interest-rate sensitive.
His revised outlook follows the Bank of Canada on July 13 increasing its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point, to 2.5 per cent. That prompted banks to raise prime rates on mortgages.  RBC, for example, raised its prime rate to 4.7 per cent, from 3.7 per cent. Hogue said that the raised rates “will no doubt speed up the market’s cooling phase in the near term.” He said he expects the Bank of Canada to hike its benchmark “overnight” rate another 75 basis points, to 3.25 per cent, by October. “It’s a big bite for borrowers to swallow,” he said, adding that the rise is enough to “spoil or delay homeownership plans for many buyers,” particularly those in B.C. and Ontario.

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Climate risks targeted with new $3.5 billion agriculture package

Federal-provincial programs will emphasize resilience, reduced risk
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Canada’s ranchers and farmers will be rewarded for environmental goods and services under a new $3.5 billion funding package announced by the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture on July 22.
The growing environmental risks farm properties and operations face are the target of a $3.5 billion framework that will guide federal, provincial and territorial agriculture spending over the next five years. Billed the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the new five-year deal will replace the existing Canadian Agricultural Partnership on April 1, 2023. “We are providing a solid foundation to support our producers while providing the necessary tools for the sector’s sustainability and competitiveness,” said federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in announcing the deal at the end of the annual conference of agriculture ministers in Saskatoon on July 22. The plan provides for $500 million in additional spending on strategic initiatives versus the previous five-year plan, half of which will fund a new Resilient Agriculture Landscape Program, which will compensate farmers and ranchers for environmental goods and services. While the idea of compensating farmers for environmental stewardship has long been discussed, the new funding package is the first to commit funds towards it.
The announcement was welcomed by the Canadian Cattle Association, based in Calgary, which noted that it comes at a critical time for the industry. While many government initiatives to address climate change have laid additional costs in the sector, adding to rising production costs, rewarding producers for sound land management could put money in their pockets.

“[It’s] a welcome investment for beef producers who perform these services as a by-product of raising beef,” the association said in a statement.

There is also a shift to using federal business risk management programs as a carrot to encourage farmers to make their properties and operations more resilient in the face of extreme weather and changing climate norms.

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Tinland joins business exodus from Vancouver’s crime-plagued Chinatown

‘It’s so bad in all of Chinatown that everyone is afraid to come down here, and it’s not right that people have to live in fear’
After 28 years, Tinland Cookware will close its Chinatown store at the end of August. | Tinland Cookware After 28 years, Tinland Cookware will close its Chinatown store at the end of August. | Tinland Cookware
Vancouver Police Department says it has pushed governments for years to respond better to the crises of mental illness and drug addiction in Chinatown. | Chung Chow Vancouver Police Department says it has pushed governments for years to respond better to the crises of mental illness and drug addiction in Chinatown. 
In a recent 18-month period, Vancouver police statistics show that reported crimes in Chinatown included 360 assaults and 239 burglaries of businesses. | Chung Chow In a recent 18-month period, Vancouver police statistics show that reported crimes in Chinatown included 360 assaults and 239 burglaries of businesses. 
A long-standing family cookware business will join an exodus of businesses from Chinatown this summer, citing high crime rates and general street disorder. Tinland Cookware, at 260 E Pender St,  is a family business with a legacy of 70 years. Tin, the father of the Shum family, started the cookware business in Hong Kong in the 1950s and opened Tinland in 1994. However, the iconic kitchen store is bidding farewell to Vancouver’s Chinatown and moving its business to Richmond. The reason for leaving? Public safety concerns — due to a combination of the drug-fuelled street disorder and pandemic-triggered increase in anti-Asian racism that has plagued the historic community in recent years. “It’s just a bad situation over there. There is no life there now,” said Jin Li, who closed her Chinese Art Crafts store in Chinatown in 2020 after 15 years on East Pender.
Li told Glacier Media in a previous interview that before she shut down her business, thieves targeted the store many times and ran off with various items, with her boyfriend having to chase them on several occasions. Even worse, Li was once knocked to the ground after a man tried to steal a ninja sword. Family-run Ultimate 24K Gold Company Ltd. also moved its business to Richmond in July 2020 after 28 years of operation. “We’re a very traditional business, and if we have to leave, that’s a big shock to Chinatown because we’d been there for so long,” said Cici Yim, a member of the family that operated the store. During COVID, Yim saw three break-ins of their store where some of the merchandise was lost and the store’s metal gate was irreparable damaged.

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Kelowna says ‘no for now’ for three-tower downtown development

City council has turned down a proposal for a massive development on Coronation Avenue – but leaves its options open
The development from a downtown assembly would feature more than 700 residential units, an 85-room hotel and some ground floor commercial. | MON Architecture
The development from a downtown assembly would feature more than 700 residential units, an 85-room hotel and some ground floor commercial.
Land assembly of 12 properties by Safari Capital on Coronation Avenue, Kelowna. | Safari Capital Land assembly of 12 properties by Safari Capital on Coronation Avenue, Kelowna. | Safari Capital
A massive three-tower development proposal of Safari Capital that would redefine Coronation Avenue in downtown Kelowna has been turned down by city council. At least for the time being. The proposed development includes towers proposed to reach 33, 27 and 20 storeys in height situated atop one long podium stretching across a land assembly of more than a dozen properties. As it did with a proposed 46-storey tower on Bertram Street 18 months ago, planning staff brought this plan forward for “early consideration” by council before staff and the developer invest more resources and money into a project planning manager Terry Barton calls a complex file that “sits well beyond our existing policy framework. The overall development would feature more that 700 units, including two towers of market rental units and some condominium units.
It would also include an 85-room hotel and some ground floor commercial. Barton says planning staff did not support the project because of the overall height, density and negative fit within a more low-rise neighbourhood. Barton also called the project, “premature,” saying there are still so many unknowns, development-wise, in the downtown area. He said it was staff’s view the project was largely predicated on the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) tower which is “not approved, not built and not operating.

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Alberta home prices lure B.C., Ontario buyers, Century 21 says

Calgary and area a key destination for priced-out buyers from Ontario
Calgary house $789,900 png.
Calgary house of 2,800 square feet listed July 29 at $789,900, could cost more than $3 million in Vancouver or Toronto, new price survey finds. |Plintz Real Estate/ REW.ca
Reasonable pricing has made Alberta the go-to destination for homebuyers from southern Ontario, where rapid price escalation has tested buyers’ patience. “The pricing in Alberta is still pretty reasonable compared to Toronto,” said Brian Rushton, chief operating officer with Century 21 Canada, which released its latest survey of residential pricing this week. “We’ve seen a lot of investors coming in from the Greater Toronto market, especially.” Conducted each year since 2018, the survey examines pricing per square foot for a range of housing types in major markets across the country during the first six months of each year. This year’s report identified double-digit price increases across the 19 markets surveyed in Ontario with the exception of detached homes in Hamilton, Newmarket, Ottawa and Windsor, where prices increased by less than nine per cent. The increases meant that just one market – Owen Sound – reported average sale prices of less than $400 per square foot. This contrasted with Alberta, where all markets surveyed reported prices below $400 a square foot. High River, where condo prices saw the strongest growth of 27 per cent versus last year, checked in at $223 per square foot. In Okotoks, detached home prices increased 19 per cent to $338 per square foot. In the Edmonton suburb of St. Albert, condos even logged a 5 per cent decline in pricing to $238 a square foot. “Calgary is probably a shining star for someone moving out of the GTA or potentially out of Vancouver as well,” Rushton said. “When we compare that to some of the markets in B.C., it’s still pretty affordable.”
During the first six months of this year, the period Century 21’s report covers, the Calgary Real Estate Board reported a 24 per cent increase in residential sales versus last year. While investment activity was strong, the activity was also driven by relocations as the Alberta economy picked up and people left higher-priced Ontario markets because they could. “[It’s] not just investors, but people relocating as well, and I think the relocations are the result of the work-at-home programs,” Rushton said. “Some of those people were with companies that allowed them to do it on a permanent basis as opposed to just a COVID basis.” He points to Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd. In Calgary, which reported that of 15 deals one of its agents did, 10 were with owner-occupiers from the GTA. Smaller, regional markets have also seen strong appreciation in pricing, thanks in part to an influx from larger centres within the province. Buyers from Vancouver or Toronto seeking a cheaper city with good job prospects might opt for Calgary, but Calgary residents looking to move out of the city are choosing centres like Okotoks and Red Deer.

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Update: potential bargains found in B.C. waterfront listings

With prices from far less than a city condo, buyers can find waterfront property by lakes or the ocean shore
Cottage on Mabel Lake near Lumby and Vernon priced at $371.000. Royal LePage KelownaCottage on Mabel Lake near Lumby and Vernon priced at $371.000. Royal LePage KelownaExpand
Peachland lakefront with rustic cottage wired with high-speed Internet is priced at $228,000.| Re/Max Vernon
Peachland lakefront with rustic cottage wired with high-speed Internet is priced at $228,000.| Re/Max VernonExpand
The upcoming August issue of Western Investor shows that it is possible to buy a comfortable home on B.C. oceanfront or lakefront for less than the cost of a condo in the city, sometimes a lot less. As the article notes, some will likely opt to leave the big city and its million-dollar-level homes behind and move to where and what life in B.C. is all about: waterfront and the great outdoors.
After we went to press, we discovered more waterfront parcels that may represent good value. Here are two examples: Peachland lakefront: Price $228,800: A rustic cottage is situated on Headwater Lake #3 near Peachland, B.C. The cottage has been updated and comes fully furnished and features new tin roof, solar power, high-speed satellite Internet, new propane stove, fridge and outhouse. Listed by Royal Lepage, Kelowna. Mabel Lake near Vernon. Price: $371,000: A truly quintessential cabin has an open floor plan with kitchen, living room and eating area, and a full width deck overlooking the lake. Cottage is right on the lakefront with a westerly view, ample beach and docks for summer fun and boat tie-up. This property is a 10-year Crown Lease with the latest renewal completed in 2018 and an annual fee payable. Located just south of the Provincial Park and one hour from Vernon. B.C. Listed by Re/Max Vernon.    

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Foreign buyers stuck to the sidelines through surging market

First-time buyers have pulled back despite government intervention
Foreign Buyers, 2016-July 2022
The percentage of residential sales involving foreign buyers has dropped to record lows over the past 18 months.
While the province continues to take action to cool the housing market, the original target of government intervention has been quietly sticking to the sidelines. The latest round of property transfer tax data released by the BC Ministry of Finance shows that foreign buyers accounted for a record low proportion of residential transactions in June at just 1 per cent. This is consistent with a downward trend seen even before the pandemic, when international borders shut to foreign travellers and potential purchasers. The proportion of residential transactions with foreign involvement has not been above 1.5 per cent since July 2020 nor has the proportion been consistently above 2 per cent since April 2019. The low level of activity is a shift from July 2016, when the province reported that foreign nationals were involved in 9 per cent of residential transactions and began charging those buyers an additional property transfer tax of 15 per cent of transaction value.
Popularly known as the foreign buyers’ tax, it had a short-lived chilling effect on transactions. Residential transactions fell to 1.4 per cent of all residential sales in August 2016 before normalizing to a level of three to four per cent for the duration of 2017. When the new BC NDP government raised the additional tax to 20 per cent in February 2018, the rate fell below three per cent and stayed there even as sales surged as the economy reopened. Sorted by municipality, the latest figures indicate that Surrey, Richmond and Vancouver are the top municipalities for foreign buyers of residential real estate. Surrey saw 84 residential transactions involving foreign buyers in the first half of this year, followed by Richmond with 64 and Vancouver with 44.

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Metro Vancouver industrial vacancies ease as supply increases

With more than 1.7 million square feet added this year – and more on the way – the vacancy rate has eased to a still-tight 0.5 per cent, study finds
Lordco recently opened a 341,113-square-foot built-to-suit industrial project in Port Coquitlam. | Conwest
1 / 2 Lordco recently opened a 341,113-square-foot built-to-suit industrial project in Port Coquitlam. | Conwest
Industrial lease rates are rising as vacancy rate remains well below 1 per cent: Courtesy Cushman & Wakefield
2 / 2 Industrial lease rates are rising as vacancy rate remains well below 1 per cent: Courtesy Cushman & Wakefield
Metro Vancouver’s industrial vacancy rate, which hit a North American low of 0.1 per cent this year, according to Colliers, has eased to 0.5 per cent due to a huge increase in supply, a new Cushman & Wakefield market survey says. The report notes that 1.7 million square feet of industrial space was completed so far this year and another 1.8 million square feet, mostly speculative, is under construction, “The vacancy rate will likely bounce in the 0.5 per cent range for the next few quarters,” said Derrick Gonzales, a research analyst with the commercial real estate agency, who noted that this remains a historically low number.
Up to 80 per cent of the new space being built has been pre-leased or pre-sold as strata, Gonzales estimated. This is good news for developers but bad news for tenants who are facing dramatic increases in lease rates and dwindling options, according to Cresa, a Vancouver-based occupier-focused commercial real estate advisor. “The distress for warehouse users continues with region-wide vacancy falling to a crippling 0.57 per cent, down from 0.62 per cent in the fourth quarter [2021], and 2.1 per cent a year ago. Per-square-foot warehouse rents jumped by $0.63 during the first quarter to $16.78 and were up by $2.09 from year-ago levels,” its report concluded.

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New 129-room hotel pitched for Victoria International Airport

Airport authority in favour of bid from Kothari Group for the Marriott-flagged project as B.C.’s travel and hotel industry begins recovery
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There are more than 400 Marriott TownePlace Suites hotels across North America. | Marriott
Among the latest signs of a recovery in B.C.’s hotel sector, Victoria International Airport is considering a proposal for a new 129-room Marriott hotel. Proposed by Kothari Group as its first B.C. project, the hotel will be a TownePlace Suites project by Marriott. The TownePlace brand is described as “an all-suite extended stay upper midscale hotel experience.” “We see the addition of a hotel at this location as a logical fit and a great new amenity for the airport and community,” said Victoria Airport Authority’s president and CEO Geoff Dickson. “It is an opportunity for Victoria International Airport to further diversify its revenue base which has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic. We look forward to working with the Kothari Group to hopefully see this exciting proposal come to fruition.” The Kothari Group was established in Canada in 1996 with a focus in real estate related investments. Kothari’s hotel group works with international brands such as Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt to develop and manage hotels across Canada. “We are excited to work with Victoria Airport Authority and Marriott International to bring the first true extended stay hotel in this growing tourist and business market. This project is our group’s first of what we hope are many investments in British Columbia and the Greater Victoria region,” said Anupam Kothari, president of Kothari Group, in a statement.
The proposal is on federal land within the Town of Sidney’s boundaries. Sidney’s staff and council will have the opportunity to review and provide comment on the proposal. If approved, construction could begin in early 2023. It is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete the hotel with plans that call for a restaurant, 1,500 square feet of meeting space, a swimming pool, and a fitness center. There are currently more than 400 TownePlace Suites properties across the United States and Canada.

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Commercial, industrial construction takes lead in Prince George

Decline in residential permits raises fear of rising housing costs in northern B.C.’s largest city
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Housing starts are slowing as non-residential permits see highest level in two years. | Prince George Citizen
Prince George, B.C., is on pace to break 2021’s record construction year, but one city councillor is concerned that new housing isn’t keeping up with population growth. While total commercial and industrial building permits saw a remarkable 1,200 per cent increase in the first half of this year, to $69.2 million, compared to a year earlier, residential permits issued fell to 78, down from 238 in the first half of 2021. Permits for multi-family projects tallied just 12 this year, compared to 28 during the same period a year ago. Still, the City of Prince George is on pace to issue a record value of building permits in 2022, according to a report presented to city council on July 25. In the first six months of the year, the city issued 252 building permits worth a combined $130.66 million. That’s up from 269 building permits, worth a combined $127.06 million, issued between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2021. In all of 2021, the City of Prince George issued a total of 467 building permits for projects worth a record-setting $247.6 million during the first half of 2020, the city issued 231 permits worth a combined $49.77 million.
However, the numbers left one city councillor wondering if new housing starts are happening fast enough to meet the increasing demand. “In January of this year we heard that housing prices have gone up significantly in Prince George,” Coun. Garth Frizzell said. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s quarterly report says that housing starts aren’t keeping pace with population growth, Frizzell added, “and that’s what is making affordability a big challenge.” Earlier this month, the Northern Real Estate Board reported that the average sale price for a single-family home in Prince George had risen to $529,729 by the end of June. That was a $73,887 increase from June 2021 and a jump of $9,750 over the past three months.

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Opinion: Demand curve means B.C. home prices will keep rising

A lack of supply and high demand will continue to drive prices higher, chartered professional accountants say, in calling for a coordinated push to build more homes
B.C. would need another 570,000 new homes over and above the 423,000 new units expected from 2022 to 2030 to balance the market. | Darren Stone, Times Colonist
B.C. would need another 570,000 new homes over and above the 423,000 new units expected from 2022 to 2030 to balance the market
Lori Mathison, president and CEO for the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC). |Submitted
Lori Mathison, president and CEO for the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC). 
After more than a year of record-breaking real estate activity, recent data reflects a downturn in the housing market across Canada. This decline has been driven by significant interest rate increases implemented by the Bank of Canada to combat inflationary pressures, with the overnight rate rising to 2.5 per cent as of July 13 from 0.25 per cent at the start of the year. While housing prices may have cooled in recent months, they remain historically high and unaffordable for many. In June 2022, the average B.C. house sold for $947,216, up 4.1 per cent compared to June 2021 and 27.1 per cent from June 2020. The Lower Mainland had the highest prices, with the average price of a single-family home hitting $1.86 million in June 2022 compared to $1.28 million in June 2020. Longer-term, it is anticipated that any decline in housing prices will be modest in B.C., and a lack of supply and high demand will push prices up again. From 2010 to 2021, about 356,000 housing units were completed in B.C. while the province’s population increased by over 800,000. Population growth slowed during the pandemic, however, it has rebounded and the federal government is looking to boost immigration past pre-pandemic levels. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently released a report highlighting the significant supply gap expected over the next decade. To make housing affordable in B.C. by 2030, the CMHC forecasts the average price of a home in B.C. would need to decline to $679,000 compared to the average of $947,216 in June 2022 (though significant regional discrepancies exist). To achieve this, the report finds B.C. would need another 570,000 housing units over and above the approximately 423,000 new units expected from 2022 to 2030. Without a significant increase in housing investment this will not happen, and all levels of government have a role to play from a policy perspective. To that end, CPABC recently hosted a roundtable with Minister David Eby, at that time Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, and CPAs from public practice, not-for-profit, development, and finance sectors to discuss housing affordability. The discussion highlighted the need for greater coordination between levels of government and better defined processes.  In particular, the provincial government can play a leadership role in ensuring the right projects get shovels in the ground as efficiently as possible. Key recommendations focused on: •Adjusting the planning framework to encourage housing development and reduce the development timeframe;
•Providing incentives to create units that are underdeveloped such as rental, mid-sized, and subsidized units and empowering not-for-profit and other organizations to provide more affordable housing; •Coordinating government programs to ensure they are cohesive, complementary, and accessible; and •Reforming development and permitting fees to expedite developments.

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Okotoks’ under-construction shopping centre 70 per cent leased

D’Arcy Crossing will open in spring 2023 as B.C.-based developer looks to add more restaurants to ‘right’ tenant mix
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Framework takes shape in the commercial centre of the D’Arcy Ranch neighbourhood on July 22. | Brent Calver/OkotoksToday
D’Arcy Crossing, which will bring 150,000 square feet of retail and office space to the north end of Okotoks, Alberta, is starting to take shape. The commercial component of the D’Arcy development, anchored by a 47,000-square-foot Safeway and a 17,000-square-foot Shoppers Drug Mart, is expected to open next spring, according to Isaac Beall, a senior director with Vancouver-based Anthem Properties. Beall said about 70 per cent of the shopping centre has already been leased and he expects it will be very close to fully leased by its April 1, 2023 scheduled opening date. In addition to the two anchor tenants, there will also be a 10,000-square-foot Dollarama, a 6,000-square-foot Safeway liquor store as well as a Pet Valu, Starbucks and Popeyes, among others.
Beall said they’re focused on lease agreements with larger format restaurants, but he wasn’t able to make any announcements at this time. “It will be filled out with the smaller operators that come later, food service operators, doctors, dentists, hair salons, those kinds of things,” he said. After stripping and grading of the site late last year and foundations installed throughout winter, framing is now being erected for the nine buildings that will surround a central parking lot.

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CMHC confirms government costs raise new home prices

In Vancouver, fees and charges accounts for 20 per cent of the price of a new condo apartment, new federal study says
Vancouver density fees cited as the single-biggest government charge on new condominium developments. | Chung Chow
Chart courtesy CMHC and Altus Group.
Chart courtesy CMHC and Altus Group.
Verifying what home builders have been saying for years, a new report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) confirms that government costs and fees add tens of thousands of dollars to the price of a new home. According to a new joint CMHC and Altus Group Housing Market Insight report, Government Charges on Residential Development in Canada’s Largest Metropolitan Areas, released July 5, government fees impact the cost of new home construction by as much as 24 per cent. The study examined the number and cost of government fees on six different new home development scenarios, from a single-detached house to low- and-high-rise multi-family buildings, in select municipalities in Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas: Metro Vancouver, Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and Montreal. “The single-detached house tends to be the housing type subject to the lowest government fees [an average of 8.5 per cent]. This seems to run contrary to densification efforts being pursued by municipalities, which are necessary to increase housing supply within existing urban areas,” CMHC noted.
According to the report, the average government charge per square foot for municipalities in the GTA is $86; in Metro Vancouver, $70; and, in Montreal, $24. The City of Vancouver had the highest cost per-square-foot on low-rise and high-rise strata condo buildings of all cities studied, at $143 per square foot, owing entirely to density payments. Density payments relate to the amount of density permitted on a site and are designed to raise revenue for community amenities (such as swimming pools, parks, etc.).

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Calgary coffee chain splashes into Vancouver

Deville Coffee plans four downtown outlets in the city with its first major move outside of Alberta
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Calgary’s Deville Coffee will open four locations in Vancouver. The first will be at 333 Seymour Street. | Deville Coffee/Facebook
Calgary-based Deville Coffee will soon make a splashy arrival in Vancouver, marking a major expansion of the brand. Paul Brassard and Mark Nolan opened Calgary’s first Deville cafe in 2008. The chain has a major presence in Calgary, with a dozen locations around the city and a thirteenth one in the works for Calgary’s airport. Deville also has an outlet in Edmonton and one in Kelowna, B.C.
In Vancouver, Deville has announced four outposts: 745 Thurlow (at the 745 Thurlow office building); The Post (in the former Canada Post redevelopment on West Georgia Street in the downtown); Bentall 5; and Waterfront (at 333 Seymour Street). It appears the Waterfront location will be the first to open its doors this July, though a specific date has not yet been shared on Deville’s social media.

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What the Bank of Canada’s full percentage point hike means for the housing market and your mortgage

Surprise 100 basis point increase will likely put the squeeze on homeowners’ budget

Surprise 100 basis point increase will likely put the squeeze on homeowners’ budget The Bank of Canada’s surprise 100-basis-point rate hike will put more pressure on Canada’s cooling housing market. The Bank of Canada’s surprise move to hike its policy rate by a full percentage point — with no indication it will stop there — will add to the financial squeeze faced by indebted homeowners and likely push more buyers to the sidelines of already cooling real estate sector, market watchers said Wednesday.