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New housing legislation to look out for in 2024

With a new year now underway, Canadians can expect to see a variety of changes coming to federal, provincial and local government housing legislation in 2024. 

From updated taxes to revised urban planning regulations, new housing laws and policies will roll out across the country in the coming months. Several of these policies promise to boost much-needed housing supply, which remains at a critical shortage in both the resale and rental segments.  

Here are the new housing policies that you should know about in 2024. 


Federal Policies

Short-term Rental Restrictions

In November, 2023, the Government of Canada unveiled its 2023 Fall Economic Statement, which details new tax, spending and inventory-boosting measures. This includes new efforts to incentivise short-term rental operators to return properties to the long-term housing market. Going forward, income tax deductions will be denied in cases where short-term rental owners are not compliant with provincial or municipal licensing, permitting or registration requirements. This applies to all expenses incurred on or after January 1st, 2024.

You can read more details from the 2023 Fall Economic Statement here

Pre-approved Home Design Catalogue

To boost construction of new home supply, the federal government intends to revive a post-Second World War housing policy of standardized, pre-approved home designs, making it easier and faster for developers to build new properties. The modern version of the catalogue will focus on creating blueprints for a variety of low-rise housing, and potentially higher-density homes and different forms of building construction, such as modular and prefabricated homes. 

Consultations for the home catalogue are expected to start in January, 2024.


British Columbia 

New Short-term Rental Housing By-laws

In late 2023, the provincial government introduced the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act which imposes stricter regulations and enforcement on short-term rental housing. As of May 1st, 2024, the Act will require short-term rental hosts to display a valid business licence number on their listing in regions where a licence is required by the local government. Short-term rentals will be limited to the host’s principal residence, plus one secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit, in select communities. 

Additionally, protections for ‘non-conforming use of property’ will no longer apply to short-term rentals. Later in the year, the British Columbia government will implement a short-term rental registry, and require rental platforms to share data with the Province. 

Expanded Speculation and Vacancy Tax

The province has expanded its existing speculation and vacancy tax laws to 13 new communities, including Penticton, Courtenay and Kamloops. Homeowners in applicable regions will be required to declare how they used their property in 2024 for the first time in January, 2025. 

Introduced in 2018, the speculation and vacancy tax is 2% for individuals who don’t pay the majority of their taxes in Canada, or 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents who pay the majority of their taxes in the country. 

Updated Zoning Rules

New zoning laws are under consideration to deliver more small-scale, multi-unit housing across British Columbia. Under the proposed legislation, one secondary suite or one laneway home will be permitted in all communities throughout the province. In most areas within municipalities of more than 5,000 people, by-laws will also be adapted to allow three to four units on lots currently zoned exclusively for single-family or duplex residential, and permit six units on larger lots close to transit stops with frequent service.

Additionally, the new zoning rules would require municipalities to update community plans and zoning by-laws on a regular basis to ensure that there is enough housing for current and future residents. Changes to zoning by-laws will roll out across 2024. 

*https://blog.royallepage.ca/new-housing-legislation-to-look-out-for-in-2024/

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Estate Planning: Are You Covered?

“New Year, new you” may be a cliché but it is for a reason! The New Year always has us thinking about where we are now, and where we want to end up. When it comes to your personal goals, a review of your finances and estate should be at the top of your list. Proper estate planning can ensure that you have a stress-free year knowing you are covered!

Is your will up-to-date?
The purpose of a will is to outline your assets and determine how they will be distributed, as well as who will be in charge of managing affairs. Some key components to include in this document are:

  • Up-to-date list of your significant assets; note the location if outside your province or outside Canada.
  • Who will inherit your assets? And which?
  • Outline of where you want assets to pass outside your estate to avoid probate fees (e.g., an insurance policy, an RRSP)? Do this via beneficiary designation.
    •  If they are minors, do you have a trust or other provisions in place?
  • Is the list of beneficiaries in your will up to date
  • Have there been recent births, deaths or marriages in your family?
  • Have you included alternates in case your named beneficiaries predecease you?
  • Do you want to give to charities or other organizations?
  • If you have children, have you indicated a guardian and spoken to them?
    • Did you include an alternate in case the guardian you chose is unable to commit?
    • Have you reviewed your choice of guardian as your child grows older?
  • Your executor who will carry out your wishes after you die. You can name one executor or two or more co-executors. Be sure to name one or more alternates as well.

Have you assigned a power of attorney?
Another important (and often overlooked!) aspect of estate planning involves naming a power of attorney. This individual is someone you trust to make decisions for you should you become unable to do so due to injury or illness, whether temporary or otherwise. Power of attorney documents are created for you by a wills and estates lawyer (or notary in Quebec) as part of your estate plan.

Do you have mortgage protection insurance?
Through Manulife Mortgage Protection Plan (MPP), you have the opportunity to add a portable insurance policy to your mortgage that helps protect your loved ones and your home should something unexpected happen to you. Unlike bank insurance, MPP is a portable life and disability product that you can take with you, from lender to lender and property to property. This gives you the utmost future flexibility and is unlike bank insurance products which tie you down exclusively to them. To ensure you get the best rate at renewal, you must have invested in an insurance product like MPP that will give you the freedom to move!
Mortgage life insurance will protect your family's future by paying out your mortgage should the mortgage holder pass away.

Manulife will also make your mortgage payments while your claim is being adjudicated, so there is no added stress for a loved one at an already difficult time. Mortgage disability insurance will take care of your mortgage payments plus property taxes if you become disabled. Disabilities from sickness and accidents are relatively common and will affect 1 in 3 borrowers throughout their mortgage amortization. Manulife provides budget-friendly payment options, the ability to top-up your coverage and so much more.

These are all important aspects to consider to ensure your estate and family will be provided for should something happen. While never a fun topic, it is an important one and the better prepared you are, the better off your loved ones will be.

*Shannon Mayhew, MBI
Mortgage Broker
778-858-9848
www.westcoastbroker.ca


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Pantone of the Year

As we enter the New Year, it's always fun to reflect on the previous twelve months and take a look at what is trending as we move forward. 

If you are unfamiliar with the Pantone of the Year, it is more than just a colour to paint your walls. 

Since 2000, the Pantone Colour Institute has been indicating a colour of the year and, for many, this is seen as a representation of the current moment in time helping us to reflect on the culture and state of the world. Think of it like a snapshot in time!

For 2024, the Pantone color of the year is “Peach Fuzz”; which is notably a warm and cozy hue to feed and nourish the soul.

During this post-pandemic period of turmoil around the economy, mortgage industry, and housing market, many of us are currently in need of more nurturing and comfort. This colour signifies the importance of caring and community even more as we enter 2024.

As the calendar turns over, take inspiration from Pantone to make the New Year one of comfort, healing, and peace for yourself and those around you. With interest rates forecasted to drop towards the latter half of 2024, housing and job markets set to stabilize and inflation slowly reducing to normal, we have some stability to look forward to.


* Information provided by Gagan Dhanjle

Mortgage Manager for 
Lifestyle Mortgage Co. 
Phone: 6004-996-2312

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Modest interest rate cuts expected to spur activity next year, leading to a rise in property prices

National aggregate home price forecast to increase 5.5% year over year in Q4 of 2024

Following several years of unprecedented ups and downs, Canada’s housing market could return to more normal levels of activity and price trends next year. The Bank of Canada is expected to lower its overnight lending rate in the second half of 2024, which will lead to an increase in demand from sidelined buyers as they adjust to today’s lending realities. New household formation and newcomers to Canada will put additional upward pressure on prices. 

“Looking ahead, we see 2024 as an important tipping point for the national economy as the majority of Canadians acknowledge that the ultra-low interest rate era is dead and gone,” said Phil Soper, President and CEO, Royal LePage. “We believe that the ‘great adjustment’ to tolerable, mid-single-digit borrowing costs will have a firm grip on our collective consciousness after only modest rate cuts by the Bank of Canada.”  

According to the Royal LePage 2024 Market Survey Forecast, the aggregate1 price of a home in Canada is set to increase 5.5% year over year to $843,684 in the fourth quarter of 2024, with the median price of a single-family detached property and condominium projected to increase 6.0% and 5.0% to $879,164 and $616,140, respectively.2 

Royal LePage’s forecast is based on the prediction that the Bank of Canada has concluded its interest rate hike campaign and that the key lending rate will hold steady at five per cent through the first half of 2024. The central bank is expected to start making modest cuts in late summer or fall of next year. Meanwhile, several major financial institutions have already begun offering discounts on fixed-rate mortgages.

“Canada’s real estate market has been on a roller coaster ride for the last four years. A global pandemic briefly brought market activity to a grinding halt in early 2020, followed by a rapid, widespread spike in demand and price appreciation as Canadians sought safety and greater living space in their homes among a world of uncertainty. By the spring of 2022, home prices had reached unprecedented highs, but when interest rates started rising quickly and steeply to combat inflation, the extended market correction began,” said Soper. “Markets take time to adjust. We see a move toward typical home sale transaction levels in 2024, and as the year progresses, appreciating house prices.”

Nationally, home prices are forecast to see modest quarterly gains in the first two quarters of 2024, with more considerable increases expected in the second half of the year, following the anticipated start of interest rate cuts by the Bank of Canada. 

Read Royal LePage’s 2024 Market Survey Forecast for national and regional insights.

Highlights from the release:

  • Calgary aggregate home price projected to see greatest gains of all major markets at 8.0%
  • Aggregate price of a home in the greater regions of Toronto and Montreal are forecast to end next year 6.0% and 5.0% respectively above the final quarter of 2023
  • Meanwhile, Greater Vancouver is expected to see a more modest increase of 3.0%
  • In other major regions, aggregate home prices are expected to rise modestly (4.5% in Ottawa, 3.0% in Halifax, Winnipeg and Regina)
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6 Things To Know About Capital Gains

6 things to know about capital gains and
taxes for people across Canada

  

So, you made some cash selling your property or stocks at a higher price than you bought them for? High five! But before you start celebrating, there's this thing called capital gains that might show up on your tax return. Here's a friendly chat about what you need to know, in simple terms.
 

1. What's Up with Taxes on Capital Gains?

Capital gains are kinda like a 50-50 deal when it comes to taxes. Only half of what you earned from selling your stuff gets taxed. But how much tax you pay depends on your yearly income. So, if you sold a building for more than you bought it, only half of that profit gets added to your income and taxed accordingly. Higher income, more tax - that's the game.

2. Capital Gains vs. Losses

Sold something for less than you paid? That's a capital loss, my friend. But it's not all bad news. You can use these losses to reduce the taxes on your gains. If your losses are more than your gains, you can even use them to lower your taxes in the past or future years.

3. Keep Your Papers in Order

When it comes to declaring capital gains, paperwork is king. Keep track of when you bought and sold things, the costs, commissions, and any other expenses. Trust me, having these documents handy will make your life easier when tax time rolls around.

4. Gifts and Sales: What's the Deal?

Gave something away or sold it for less to a family member? The tax folks will act like you sold it for its full market value. So, you might still owe taxes on a bigger gain than you expected.

5. Splitting Gains with Your Better Half

Generally, you can't just split capital gains with your spouse to save on taxes. There are some rules around this. But if you both bought something together and paid equal shares, then you can split the gains equally too.

6. Smart Planning for Your Gain

Got a feeling you'll sell something for more than you bought it? Plan ahead! Maybe sell some stuff that's not doing so well, or put more into your retirement savings to lower your taxes for the year. Timing can also be key - if your income is lower in a particular year, reporting your gain then could mean less tax.

Remember, this chat is just a friendly overview. It's super important to chat with your accountant or tax professional for advice tailored to your situation. They're the pros who can guide you through the nitty-gritty of your finances. Stay smart and stay informed!

Disclaimer: This information is for general understanding and should not be used as a substitute for seeking professional guidance from an accountant or tax professional. Laws and tax regulations can be complex and change over time, so it's always a good idea to get personalized advice from the experts. 


*Courtesy of 
SHANNON MAYHEW, MBI 
MORTGAGE BROKER
T: 778-858-9848
www.westcoastbroker.ca 

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The 29th annual REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive
✨ Join us in making a difference! The 29th annual REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive kicks off on November 14th, and we need your help to make it a success. ❄️

As you start cleaning out your closets, please consider setting aside warm clothing items like blankets, coats, toques, gloves, scarves, and more. Your donations will go a long way in keeping those in need warm this winter.

Stay tuned for more information on drop-off locations and collection details. Together, we can make a positive impact in our community. Let's spread warmth and kindness this season!
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We Canadians are no strangers to the chill of the winter season!

As we shift into the final few months of 2023, now is a great time to check your home before the cold front hits. Below I have included a few tips that could help you save on bills, prevent future repair costs, and be more comfortable all winter long.

 
  • Inspect Your Fireplace: There is no better time than now to have your fireplace inspected to ensure optimal efficiency and heat output. Whether you have a wood-burning, gas, or electrical fireplace, proper maintenance can go a long way for your heating bill!
     
  • Maintain Your Furnace: While you're having your fireplace inspected, don't forget to maintain your furnace! If your furnace is getting up there in age, you may want to also consider replacing it as typically newer furnaces are more efficient than the previous generation, which could help save on energy costs. Either way, ensuring your furnace is in working order will guarantee top output and a cozy winter!
     
  • Clean The Gutters: The last thing you want is your gutters to be clogged when the snow hits! Cleaning your gutters from Fall leaves and other debris will help ensure proper drainage for melting snow. For those who want to go the extra step, consider gutter guards which can help keep out unwanted objects from your gutters.
     
  • Examine Your Roof: While you’re prepping your gutters for the winter, it is a good idea to also examine your roof. A few things to look for include broken or missing shingles, damaged flashing, staining from water leakage, and ventilation.
     
  • Consider a Programmable Thermostat: According to experts, a degree drop in your home temperature can measure up to 1% on your heating bill. For those of us who don't like to have cold feet all season, smart thermostats are a great way to keep warm and optimize your energy savings! Ideally, you want to set your thermostat to turn on in the morning, off when you go to work, and back on in the evening to ensure a toasty welcome.
     
  • Insulate Windows: Always be sure to check your windows for any gaps or water leakage and get them resealed as soon as possible. If you live in a particularly cold location, consider swapping out your windows to double-paned glass for an added layer of insulation. Another tip to keep the cold from seeping in through your windows is swapping out your curtains for a heavier, thermal-lined set which can do wonders!
     
  • Check Your Pipes: Checking pipe joints for leaks that could cause rot and damage will save you trouble in the future. Repair any cracks you find, especially those around electrical outlets and alarm system lines. You can also consider foam pipe insulation, which is fairly easy to install and could help prevent energy loss and potential water damage from frozen pipes.
     
  • Stock Up on Supplies: There are a few things you might want to consider stocking up on ahead of time for the winter season, such as flashlights and batteries, ice melt, extra pet food and canned goods, and an emergency storm kit that includes an extra flashlight, candles, portable radio, water, and snacks.

With a little preparation, you can keep your home in good shape without needing to feel the cold bite of winter!


 
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6 tips for a seamless moving day

Moving into a new home should be an exciting time, but without proper planning and organization, the whole experience can quickly turn into an overwhelming ordeal.

To help ease the anxieties of moving day, here’s a handy to-do list to keep you organized and on track: 

1. Plan ahead

This may seem obvious, but many people find themselves rushing to hire movers and pack their belongings in the final frantic days leading up to their big move. To avoid the stress this can cause, and to ensure moving day flows smoothly, be sure to start packing at least one month in advance. Focus on one room or closet at a time, and use this as an opportunity to purge items you no longer need. Moving into a new place means starting fresh – donate, rehome, or recycle those belongings that won’t serve a purpose in your new home. Remember, the first and last days of the month are popular moving days, so don’t put off booking your professional movers in advance.

2. Optimize your packing process

For safe travels and storage, pack your belongings in durable moving boxes, ideally new or ones that have little wear and tear. There’s also the option to rent reusable moving crates that can be returned once your move is complete. You can even hire professional packers to do it for you! To avoid sensitive items getting wet or damaged, use plastic, sealable bags, and bins to protect clothing, books, and important documents. And, be sure to bubble wrap glassware and fragile items to keep them from shattering in transit.

3. Label and organize your boxes

Label each moving box with the room it belongs in (ie. kitchen, bathroom, bedroom #1). Take it a step further by numbering each box and creating a tracking document to specify which boxes should go in each room. This not only makes it easier for your movers to know where to place your items, but it also helps you to keep track of all your boxes.

4. Make those small repairs before moving in

If time allows, paint the walls, deep clean the appliances, and complete any minor repairs before moving into your new place. Unsurprisingly, it is a lot better to have a fully functioning home before you start to unpack and assemble furniture. If this is not an option for you, consider placing all your items in the garage or basement at first, or simply in the centre of a room, to allow you a few days to clean thoroughly and complete any small jobs necessary before settling into your new space.

5. Update your services and accounts

It can take time for some utilities to get up and running. Set a reminder to take your name off your current utility bills and set up accounts for services at your new place in advance of moving in. Remember to also change the mailing address on your subscriptions, delivery services, and most importantly government and banking documents.

6. Make a plan for your first night

Moving day can be a long and tiring process, so you’ll want to plan ahead for that first night. You may not have the time or energy to set up your bedroom right away, or perhaps you are having a new mattress delivered in the coming week. Book a hotel or arrange to stay with family or friends until you are ready to sleep comfortably in your new home.

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Vancouver, BC – October 25, 2023. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2023 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast today. 

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in BC are forecast to decline 4.8 per cent to 76,700 units this year. In 2024, MLS® residential sales are forecast to post a modest rebound, rising 4.8 per cent to 80,375 units. 



"Activity in the BC housing market has mirrored movements by the Bank of Canada over the past two years,“ said Brendon Ogmundson, Chief Economist. “As such, there is little reason to believe that sales will meaningfully detach from the anchor that is monetary policy over the next year. Thankfully, it appears that the Bank is at, or at least very near, the end of its tightening cycle and may begin lowering its policy rate late next year.” 
 
After trending down for most of the year, new listings activity has normalized in the second half of 2023, which, combined with slowing sales, has led to a modest uptick in total inventory. Still, at just over 30,000 listings, the supply of homes for sale falls considerably short of the roughly 45,000 active listings that are historically consistent with a healthy, balanced market. Prices saw a significant increase in the first half of the year, but that surge in prices has since given way to a flattening trend as market conditions balance out, albeit at a low level of market activity. We expect a 1.9 per cent decrease in annual prices for 2023 compared to 2022, with a slight uptick expected in 2024, driven by a projected recovery in the latter half of the year.

"Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission." BCREA makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.

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It is hard to believe it is October already!

Even though Fall has already started, there are a few things you can do still to ensure your home is well-prepared for the season.

Whatever your plans, a quick check of your home will ensure there are no surprises!

  • Examine Your Gutters: This time of year it is important to clean and inspect your gutters (replacing as needed) to ensure they are working properly as the rain and snow season hits. If they are clogged or damaged, it could result in flooding or exterior damage - so don’t wait!
     
  • Check for Drafts: In the Fall and Winter, many homeowners are spending extra money heating their homes due to drafts, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Do a check on all exterior doors and windows to confirm if they are properly sealed. To do this, simply close a door or window on a strip of paper. If the paper slides easily, you need to update your weatherstripping.
     
  • Inspect Your Furnace: In Canada, we are no strangers to chilly evenings! To ensure you are comfortable throughout the colder months, be sure to have your furnace inspected by an HVAC professional. They can check leaks, test efficiency, and change the filter. They can also conduct a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety.
     
  • Manage Your Thermostat: As tempting as it is to turn your heat all the way up in the winter, proper thermostat management will help you save costs in the long run. Using a thermostat with a timer can save you even more. Turn them on earlier so the room heats up in time for use and have it turned off 30 minutes before bed or before leaving the home. If you find you are still chilly at night, a safely positioned space heater and closed door is an inexpensive solution.
     
  • Fix Any Concrete/Asphalt Cracks: This one is easy to ignore thinking it will be fine, but it could easily turn into a bigger issue. When water gets into existing cracks during the colder months it will freeze and expand, causing the crack to become even larger.
     
  • Turn Off Outdoor Plumbing: Since your garden will not need attention until the Spring, it is a good idea to shut off and drain all outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems. Depending on where you live, you might also want to cover them to prevent freezing during the Winter months.
     
  • Change Your Batteries: For safety, it is recommended that you check that all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices are working at least a couple of times throughout the year. While doing other Fall home prep, add this one to your list!
     
  • Create a Storm Kit: A storm kit is a handy source of essential items in the event of losing power. Consider what you and your family might need, such as a flashlight with new batteries, candles, matches, a portable radio, water, and snacks. Keep your kit somewhere easy to access.


 
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One of the most common questions we get from our clients in regard to the strata corporations they are considering purchasing into is:

Does this strata have “enough” in its Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF)?

What a lot of people don’t understand is that, depending on what is being asked, this question can lead to two significantly different answers. It is therefore better to split the question in two and ask:

  1. Does this strata have enough in its CRF to meet the minimum legislated requirement?

AND

  1. Does the strata have enough in its CRF to pay for all its future capital expenditures, without having to ask the owners for additional funding via special levies.

Answering “Yes” to the first question does not guarantee a “Yes” to the second. Just because a strata has enough in its CRF to meet the minimum legislated requirement does not necessarily mean that it has enough to pay for all future capital projects, often called the “future capital expenditures”.

To best way to determine whether the strata has enough in its CRF to avoid future special levies is to:

  • Evaluate the strata’s current CRF savings
  • Determine the amount of regular contributions the strata is making towards its CRF, and
  • Review the estimated expenses, provided in a strata’s most recent depreciation report

Only by evaluating these three variables, can we determine whether the strata is likely saving enough to avoid future special levies.

To enable our clients to make more informed decisions about their purchases, we calculate the estimated amount of special levies, specific to the unit, that may occur over the next 10 years, in all of our strata document reviews. These are always based on the estimates provided in the strata’s depreciation report.

Because we have the opportunity to evaluate so many different strata corporations all across BC, we are also able to provide our clients with various market averages, which enable them to better evaluate how the strata corporations they are looking to purchase into compare with others around the province. Based on hundreds of reviews we have completed:

  • Buyers can expect, on average, to pay about $18,349 in additional special levies over 10 years, because stratas aren’t saving enough in their CRF to pay for future capital expenditures.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for general purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided, any hypertext links, or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

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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.