Cory Raven | 604-220-9399

This is a MUST READ 2 page PDF dealing with reflections on 2009 and the Vancouver Real Estate Market.  Will Mortgage rates rise?  Should I lock in my mortgage? Should I buy presale?
Cory Raven
Managing Broker
TAC Real Estate Corp.
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Here is a copy of my July 2009 Informed Home Buyer Newsletter
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Market conditions drive strong June housing sales

VANCOUVER, B.C. – July 3, 2009 – The combination of low interest rates and more affordable pricing helped propel Greater Vancouver home sale numbers to the second all-time highest total for the month of June.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that sales of detached, attached and apartment properties increased 75.6 per cent in June 2009 to 4,259, from the 2,425 sales recorded in June 2008. The figure is just short of the record-breaking 4,333 sales which occurred in June 2005.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 17.9 per cent to 5,372 in June 2009 compared to June 2008, when 6,546 new units were listed. However, new listings increased 13.5 per cent from May to June of this year. Total active listings in Greater Vancouver currently sit at 13,252, down 27 per cent from June 2008 and 2.9 per cent below the active listings count at the end of May 2009.

“Price reductions and low interest rates have created an improvement in affordability, which is causing the number of sales to rise to levels comparable to 2003 to 2007,” Scott Russell, REBGV president said.
“Many people who were reluctant to purchase a home last fall and earlier this year are returning to the market because they see conditions that appeal to their personal and financial needs,” Russell said. “However, the current marketplace is such that buyers are more inclined to walk if they don’t like the terms of an offer.”

Residential benchmark prices, as calculated by the MLSLink® Housing Price Index, declined 8.2 per cent to $518,855 in June 2009 compared to June 2008.

The number of sales of detached properties increased 81.6 per cent to 1,667 from the 918 detached sales recorded during the same period in 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties declined 8.4 per cent to $701,384 in June 2009 compared to June 2008.

The number of sales of apartment properties in June 2009 increased 69.3 per cent to 1,790, compared to 1,057 sales in June 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 8.2 per cent from June 2008 to $356,880.

The number of attached property sales in June 2009 increased 78.2 per cent to 802, compared with the 450 sales in June 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit declined 7.3 per cent between June 2009 and 2008 to $441,620.

Bright spots in Greater Vancouver in June 2009 compared to June 2008:


Burnaby up 109.7 per cent (151 units sold from 72)

Coquitlam up 122.2 per cent (160 units sold from 72)

Delta - South up 107.7 per cent (56 units sold from 27)

Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows up 54.3 per cent (162 units sold from 105)

New Westminster up 104.8 per cent (43 units sold from 21)

North Vancouver up 96.2 per cent (153 units sold from 78)

Port Moody/ Belcarra up 120 per cent (33 units sold from 15)

Richmond up 77.4 per cent (204 units sold from 115)

Squamish up 107.7 per cent (27 units sold from 13)

Sunshine Coast up 33.9 per cent (75 units sold from 56)

Vancouver East up 71.2 per cent (238 units sold from 139)

Vancouver West up 85.2 per cent (200 units sold from 108)

West Vancouver/Howe Sound up 117.8 per cent (98 units sold from 45)


Burnaby up 81.8 per cent (140 units sold from 77)

Coquitlam up 80 per cent (54 units sold from 30)

Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows up 48.6 per cent (55 units sold from 37)

North Vancouver up 121.2 per cent (73 units sold from 33)

Port Coquitlam up 82.6 per cent (42 units sold from 23)

Port Moody/ Belcarra up 77.3 per cent (39 units sold from 22)

Richmond up 84.5 per cent (155 units sold from 84)

Vancouver East up 118.5 per cent (59 units sold from 27)

Vancouver West up 121.8 per cent (122 units sold from 55)


Burnaby up 60.4 per cent (239 units sold from 149)

Coquitlam up 93.9 per cent (95 units sold from 49)

New Westminster up 57.1 per cent (121 units sold from 77)

North Vancouver up 71.4 per cent (120 units sold from 70)

Port Coquitlam up 58.1 per cent (49 units sold from 31)

Port Moody/Belcarra up 128.6 per cent (48 units sold from 21)

Richmond up 54.1 per cent (225 units sold from 146)

Vancouver East up 58.7 per cent (165 units sold from 104)

Vancouver West up 87.2 per cent (627 units sold from 335)

West Vancouver/Howe Sound up 155.6 per cent (23 units sold from 9)

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Last Thursday the Urban Development Institute held its Annual General Meeting and Bob Rennie was the guest speaker once again.
In the buildup to the talk, there was quite a bit of joking going around at the tables "I am sure that Bob will be positive even with what we have seen in this market" and things of that nature.
When Bob was officially introduced, there was even a chuckle in the room as it was said "and I am sure Bob will somehow be positive." 
Let me tell you.  Bob turned the skeptics in the room around really quickly!  Using numbers gathered from an independent source, Rennie dove right into an hour long talk on many issues, but the key to it all was really how little supply there is.
Bob was careful to separate the village of "downtown" from the suburbs, giving a hint that he, like myself, realizes that there is potential for some further downward pressure in the burbs where values must be supported by local incomes.
An amazing time was had, and Bob Rennie, who I have known for years and consider to be a friend did an excellent job.
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Dear friends and clients,

I am very pleased to announce that I have been been asked to join MAC Marketing Solutions to champion a new venture.  It is an honour to be personally selected by the owner and CEO of MAC, Cameron McNeill to spearhead this new challenge.  MAC is looking to grow their market share in resale condos with the same rapid expansion as seen over the past few years with the project marketing side of MAC.  MAC has sold billions of dollars in real estate over the past few years and is responsible for the new MACBULK concept you have likely heard about on the radio or seen on the TV.  MAC is a leading real estate marketer with extensive experience Downtown, in East Van, Burnaby, New West, North and South Surrey, Richmond, the Okanagan and out of the province.  Our resale company will focus on Metro Vancouver.

I am joining in the capacity of designing and implementing the new resale company and running it once it is off the ground as Managing Broker  This means in a month or so you will be getting another email with further details (the new name, branding, etc)


Nothing changes.  Although I will be taking part in this exciting new role, I am still working full time as YOUR Realtor.  My level of service and commitment to helping you achieve your real estate goals remain the same.  As I have mentioned in the past, I am never too busy for your questions, requests, comments, referrals etc.  My contact info stays the same with my direct line being 604-220-9399, my email and my website

You may notice a day or 2 of down timeon my websites, and as my web designer works on the re-design.  If you can't get on either to get information on listings or anything else, please pick up the phone and call me or shoot an email off to me.
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Developer Takes Unprecedented Step to Pass On Significant Construction Cost Savings to Pre-Sale Buyers in Yaletown


2009-03-18 00:04:45 -

Vancouver, B.C. - (March 17, 2009) - Prominent Vancouver-based developer Amacon has teamed up with MAC Marketing Solutions (MAC) to develop a unique, honest and first-of-its-kind construction cost savings initiative for The Beasley, a new Yaletown high-rise development. Amacon is taking unprecedented action by passing along construction cost savings to buyers, reducing the initial purchase price by a minimum of

22 per cent. The initiative will be called the 'pass it on' campaign.

The 'pass it on' campaign was made possible after Amacon spent months negotiating with their contractors, suppliers and trades. When Amacon reviewed the construction costs they could save, they decided to pass on the savings to the pre-sale buyers of The Beasley. The significant savings will also be offered to new purchasers. The brand new Yaletown condos start at $219,900 CAD ($170,200 USD). For many original home buyers, this refinancing option will deduct on average $100,000 - $250,000 from their initial purchase price.

'We are in a very different market than a year ago; when we negotiated our construction costs and realized the savings we made, we were happy to pass on that savings to our purchasers. We're putting everything out into the open as we see it's a win-win-win situation,' says Cameron McNeill, president of MAC. 'This sale will provide an unprecedented real estate opportunity for those who are interested in getting into Downtown Vancouver's real estate market at affordable prices.'

The Beasley real estate sale begins on Saturday, April 4, 2009. The sale will feature a collection of signature residences including bachelor, one-, two- and two-bedroom plus den suites ranging in size from 436 to 1,334 square feet. Soaring 33 storeys high, the sustainable condominium will introduce more than 200 homes to Yaletown and will be ready for occupancy July 2012.

'The Beasley is one of the only rare opportunities to buy a brand new home in Yaletown because there is very limited land available for high-rise development,' says Nic Jensen, manager of sales and marketing of Amacon. 'The decision to share our construction cost savings will create an exceptional buying opportunity for people who thought they could never afford to own real estate in a thriving downtown community such as Yaletown.'

The Beasley's Yaletown location is its best amenity. The condominium will be situated within minutes of the seawall, Robson Square, Vancouver Art Gallery, Orpheum, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Library Square, GM Place and BC Place, as well as world-class dining and a variety of international retailers.

A tribute to urban excellence and vision, The Beasley is named after legendary Vancouver city co-director of planning, Larry Beasley. Tasteful interiors and finishings found in each home will include floor-to-ceiling windows, rich plank hardwood floors and gourmet kitchens with top-of-the-line KitchenAid Architect II Series stainless-steel appliances.

Amacon is one of Canada's premier new home builders with a reputation of building quality homes. With four decades of development and construction expertise, Amacon is recognized as one of Canada's most influential real estate development and construction firms. Laying the foundation with excellence, Amacon controls all aspects of the development process including, site acquisition, project design, development, construction, marketing and sales.

MAC Marketing Solutions Inc. is a marketing and sales organization specializing in both residential and resort real estate developments in Metro Vancouver, Interior B.C. and Calgary. Founded in 2001 by Cameron McNeill, MAC continues to be a proven leader in sales with respect to volume and dollar value. Over the past five years, the company has sold more than $4-billion worth of real estate.
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First-timers drive a rebounding market

'Vancouver detached house prices are the lowest they have been in two or three years,' say one couple convinced that the time is ripe to purchase

Globe and Mail Update

Judging from the many shoes littering the front porches at open houses in recent weekends, it's clear that people are back buying houses.

Without a doubt, the market has picked up, and we're barely into March. It's a far cry from the abysmal real estate market of last fall and January this year.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, residential housing sales were up 94 per cent last month compared with January. That translates into 1,480 sales for the month of February alone. January, on the other hand, was a record-setting sluggish month - the slowest for housing sales in 25 years.

The growth defies the sky-is-falling pronouncements that have made headlines since September last year. But there is a growing perception that it's a buyer's market. A recent RBC/Ipsos Reid poll revealed that 26 per cent of B.C. residents surveyed believed they would purchase a home in the next two years, despite the view that house prices will continue to fall over 2009.

The condo market is also feeling a surge of life, real estate marketer Bob Rennie says.

"Sales are up," he says. "We have sold 19 [units] at One Madison Avenue in Burnaby in the past six weeks, and another nine at L'Hermitage at Robson and Richards in the past 10 days.

"I do think that the market is seeing a little bit of confidence, combined with some great opportunities with great interest rates."

Armed with low interest rates and realizing a good deal when they see one, brave contrarians are defying fears.

"People can see the value - and the value is phenomenal," real estate agent Lorne Goldman says.

Mr. Goldman says he had a house for sale last year on the city's pricey west side with an asking price of $2.4-million. The sellers were offered $2.3-million, but the buyer failed to complete. The same house is now on the market for $1.85-million.

"It's also very basic Real Estate 101," he adds. "There are people who are getting married, there are people who are married having more children, people being transferred into Vancouver from other cities. There are people who have inherited money who want a bigger house.

"The market continues, despite what is out there in the general economy. The fundamentals are there. People still need to buy groceries, and they still need shelter."

Karin and Sean Whale are unfazed about talk that house prices may fall further or that it's not a good time to sell a home. They recently had a baby and are motivated by their changing lifestyle.

The couple owns a three-storey townhouse on the east side of the city near trendy Commercial Drive, and with the latest addition, they've outgrown it and are looking to trade up to a detached house. They don't worry about selling and buying into the same market.

"Buying low and selling low is not a scary proposition to us," Ms. Whale says. "We need more space at this time in our lives ...Vancouver detached house prices are the lowest they have been in two or three years."

Long-time Vancouver real estate agent David Campbell says that, unlike a year ago, it isn't the fixer-uppers and in-between houses selling. Demand is high for nice ones that don't require a lot of work, and there aren't a lot of them on the market. And the people buying, he says, are either first-time buyers or homeowners such as the Whale family who are trading up.

"We have many buyers, but we have seen the return of first-time buyers," Mr. Campbell says. "For a good part of, let's say, the last nine months, first-time buyers have been staying out of the market. They were a little scared as to what was happening last fall. But interest rates are at record lows, and prices have adjusted downward, and there are lots of first-time buyers coming back.

"We're getting a lot of move-up buyers as well taking advantage of the low interest rates who say, 'Now I can afford that spread up to the next one.' "

And unlike last fall, when the bottom fell out of the market, they aren't making low-ball offers - the prices have firmed up, he says.

"Last Sunday I had the busiest open house since April," Mr. Campbell says. "I had three offers on a house in 24 hours and it sold over asking."

But not just any house is selling, he adds. Buyers are being selective in this uncertain market.

"They want a good home, so they are picking the better ones," Mr. Campbell says. "That's where we get multiple offers."

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Threat of global recession to hinder home sales

 in major Canadian housing markets


Recovery linked to economic stability next year


Global economic uncertainty weighed heavily on residential real estate activity in most major Canadian centres during the latter half of 2008.  Although the forecast for 2009 promises more of the same, most markets are expected to weather the storm, says RE/MAX. 


Housing market performance will clearly be contingent on economic performance at a local, provincial, and national level in 2009.  Issues affecting the overall economy are impacting housing markets across the country and the situation is not expected to be remedied until consumer confidence is restored.   If inventory levels remain stable, pent-up demand kicks into gear, and lower interest rates stimulate home-buying activity, we could see a bounce back as early as spring.


The RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook for 2009 examined residential real estate trends in 22 markets across the country and found that average price held up remarkably well in 2008, despite 13 centres reporting double-digit declines in home sales. Solid gains earlier in the year likely served to prop-up housing values at year-end.  The prognosis for housing activity in the first six to nine months of 2009 is somewhat static, given continued volatility in financial markets and the threat of recession, but as stability returns, housing markets are expected to recover. 


Nationally, 440,000 homes are expected to change hands in 2008, down 15 per cent from record 2007 levels. Canadian housing values are expected to hover at $300,000, a nominal three per cent decline from last year’s historic peak.  By year-end 2009, unit sales should match 2008 levels, while average price is forecast to fall another two per cent to $293,000.


Major markets are evenly split in terms of housing performance in 2009, with 11 centres forecast to match or exceed 2008 home sales and 11 expected to slide from 2008 levels.  The highest percentage increase in unit sales is anticipated in Saskatoon, where the number of homes sold is forecast to climb three per cent in 2009.  Housing values are expected to hold the line in 2009, with St. John’s, Montreal, Kingston, London, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Regina posting modest gains in average price in 2009. 


-          more –


                                                                        RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook 2009…2


Canada’s real estate environment is considerably more complex than it has been in recent years.  The landscape is definitely changing -- with most markets shifting into either balanced or buyer’s territory. The shut out is over.  Sellers no longer rule the roost.  Opportunities exist for purchasers like never before, including lower interest rates, greater inventory levels, the luxury of time to make decisions, and the upper-hand at the negotiating table.  Motivated vendors will need to take note of the new mindset and set their prices accordingly.


Canadian sellers are slowly adjusting to new realities. For most markets, 2008 started in balanced territory and moved into buyer’s market conditions during the latter half of 2008.  The year ahead will prove challenging, especially for vendors.


While the economy will dictate real estate performance next year, it’s important to remember that demand still exists in the marketplace.  In the midst of stock market turmoil, sold signs continue to appear on lawns across the country.  With affordable lending rates and increased selection, first-time and move-up buyers with good credit may choose to play their investment strategy safe and purchase a home. The comfort of a tangible investment like real estate goes a long way in tough times.




RE/MAX of Western Canada (1998) Inc. Housing Market Outlook 2009 Report, issued

December 3, 2008.





Residential Unit Sales by Market 2004-2009






















British Columbia







































































































































London-St. Thomas




































Barrie and District









St. Catharines




































New Brunswick









Saint John









Nova Scotia




































Newfoundland and Labrador









St. John's



























* Estimate    **Forecast    ***Total MLS




Source: CREA, OMREB, TREB, WREB,Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ottawa Real Estate Board, RE/MAX




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I have prepared some sales stats for a client looking at buildings that are 5 years old or older in the Westend, sold between October 1st, 2007 and October 31st, 2008 and is in a woodframe, freehold building where rentals are allowed
Click the link below to see. 
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No money for Quattro buyers: developer

Courtesy of


Thanks to a clause in their contracts, the people who have already paid to live in a huge Surrey condominium that was engulfed by fire won't be getting their money back, the developer said Sunday.

Instead they'll have to hold tight while the damage is assessed and Phase Two of the Quattro buildings in Whalley is rebuilt -- or sell their stake to someone else, said developer Charan Sethi.

"If you want to assign the contract to someone else, you can do that," said Sethi at a town hall meeting for Quattro buyers. "We'll put a system in places so you can do so."

The building was fully insured, and unlike other pre-sale projects that have hit bumps, any extra costs won't be passed on to the buyer, he said.

Surrey hinged the promise of revitalizing the neighbourhood on the $625-million condominium project, the largest-ever commercial and residential development the city had ever seen.

More than 100 units had sold out within hours when the project went on the market. Some 116 buyers were planning to move into their units in the spring.

Instead, a fire broke out on Phase Two of Quattro on October 2, sending massive plumes of smoke into the sky and threatening to engulf nearby buildings as well.

The three-alarm fire knocked out power to over 4,000 people and threatened to topple a large construction crane.

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the blaze, which they're saying was suspicious.

The contract clause allows for an extension beyond the initial completion date that is equal to the time it takes to repair or rebuild the building in the case of a fire. It also allows the developer a period of 120 days if there is a fire.

Other Surrey developments have had trouble not because of the fire, but because of a global credit freeze.

The developer of the Infinity project near King George SkyTrain Station filed for bankruptcy protection after one of its financial backers, Lehman Bros., went under.

The developer, Jung Developments says it's in negotiations with three local big name developers, and says it's confident that it will find the $100 million extra needed to finish the project.

Other pre-sale condominiums have run out of money as well, leaving some buyers in the lurch.

Vancouver-based Eden group canceled two condo projects due to projected cost overruns before they reached construction. Another of its condos, The Sophia, is nearing completion in the hands of a receiver.

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With almost daily news with doom and gloom, where will things land and is it a good time to buy? A good time to sell and cash in?  Wait and hold?
With elections coming up both in Canada and South of the border, allow me to get into the spirit of things and give you a political answer.  THERE IS NO ANSWER to that question that is right for everyone.
If you are young (at the risk of offending anyone we'll arbitraily define young as under 40) and have stable income for you or your family, I see no reason to not buy a property within your means as a principal residence.  History has showed us a few things; one is that it is hard to "time the market" and buy on the exact right day, and another is that , in the long run, even if you "overpay" by 5-10% you will see great tax free gains on your invesment.
I saw many, many people in 2003 and 2004 , during amazing price increases throughout Metro Vancouver, say over and over that they were going to wait it out.  They now need double the down payment and double the monthly payment (on average) to buy that same property today.  So did you "miss" the market?  You want to sit and wait for the "drop"?  That could very well work for you, and I am not saying it is the wrong thing to do, but I can say that even if you bought at previous market "peaks" in the early 80's and mid 90's, today you would be sitting on a lot of equity.
Investment properties are another issue.  Here you really need to do your research.  How much is the down payment?  How much are your payments including taxes, maint fees, property management fees, What rent can you expect to achieve?  Do you think it would be easy to rent?  Will you get a lot fo tenant turnover? (More of an issue with studios and one bedrooms than single family homes usually) These factors will mean A LOT more and should have more bearing on your decision that price per square foot or other variables.  Really, if you are going to be paying a shortfall on this property of $500 dollars and don't foresee the price going up by a lot more than that, who cares if you are getting a "good deal"?  On the other hand, who cares if you paid $10,000 "too much" if it pays for itself every month and in 25 years you will own it outright with (hopefully) hefty monthly payments coming in from your tenants?  What better retirement plan could one have than properties owned free and clear generating positive cash flow?
So, none of us have a crystal ball?  You have salespeople and developers saying that there has never been a better time to buy.  This is obviously not true.  You have some on the other side blogging and talking about Vancouver being overvalued by 200% - This too is obviously not the case as even just a little knowledge or research will show you.  The answer is somewhere in between, it would have been great to have bought 5 years ago, heck it would have been great to buy 50 years ago.  Is it a good time to buy today? Only time will tell, but in the longterm I believe looking back that it will be proven to be under the right circumstances. 
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Please excuse the mess while I upgrade my website.  In the meantime, you may access all my blog posts by clicking here.
Please excuse the mess while I upgrade my website to provide you with even more timely and topical information on our market and the process of buying and selling.  In the meantime, you can access my blog by clicking here
Cory Raven
Cory Raven - Managing Broker
RE/MAX Select Realty
4806 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3R8