Canada's latest effort in keeping the residential housing market in control leads to the foreign buyer ban that starts Jan 1, 2023.  Here are what to know

- The temporary ban is for a period of 2 year period to make sure that the housing is used to house Canadians instead of speculative investments by Foreign entity.

- The ban does not prohibits Recreational Properties, i.e. Cottages

- The ban does not prohibits Commercial Properties, including multi-residential properties

- The ban only applies to major municipalities with 10,000 and more population

- The ban applies to Non- Canadians individuals as well as corporation

-  The law does not prohibit the Purchase of larger buildings with Multiple units

- The act has a $10,000 fine for any non- Canadian or anyone who knowingly assists a non-Canadian and is convicted of violating the act.  If the court finds that a non- Canadian has done this, they may order the sale of the house.


Banks and Credit Unions are changing Canada's Real Estate Industry

Excerpt from REM:

Canadian banks and credit unions have always nurtured a close partnership with real estate brokers who refer mortgage clients to their branches. That partnership has worked well, so there was no reason to disrupt the status quo. Ask a banker today if they intend to enter the real estate brokerage business, however, and there will be an awkward pause.

The new challenge to the traditional bank/real estate partnership is the disruption brought on by the emerging proptech companies. Most of the large Canadian banks have a U.S. presence so they are seeing how this story is playing out in the U.S., which is likely causing concern.

Insightt now predicts that in the next five years, most major banks and credit unions will own their own real estate brokerage company. Here are some of the reasons we think that will happen.

1. Precedent set:

Desjardins Group acquired DuProprio/Purplebricks for $60.5M in July 2020, which was duly noted by their competitors. That acquisition provided an opportunity to assess potential industry fall-out or other issues that might come from a bank acquisition of a real estate company.

Desjardins’ ownership of Purplebricks appears to be a “win-win” in the market and appears to be progressing favourably for all parties. Desjardins continues to show their innovative ways with a recent announcement of a majority ownership in Reno-Assistance, a company that pairs clients with reliable contractors who can execute large-scale residential or commercial renovation projects.

2. A lucrative revenue source up for grabs:

Residential real estate brokerage drives annual revenues in excess of $14.5 billion. This new and material revenue stream can be leveraged to provide customers with cash rebates, mortgage interest rate buy-downs, pay legal closing costs and other value-added solutions that benefit the end consumer.

Referral fees and cash rebates are long-standing and popular practices in the relocation management and affinity group industries. New proptech leaders such as Nobul have already tapped into this lucrative and successful practice.

In addition to this new revenue stream, bank ownership of real estate brokerage companies expands a list of servicing opportunities in the corporate, government and affinity group markets, where banks already play.

3. Access to the real estate data:

Perhaps the best reason for banks to become directly involved in the real estate industry is the access to property data available to real estate brokers. The benefits of this data to Canadian Banks include:

  • Showcasing customer real estate listings on bank websites to keep existing customers engaged and to attract new customer buyers
  • A better understanding of housing market trends and risks
  • The ability to create internal valuation models to help the bank and its customers better understand current market value

4. Canadian banks are already dabbling in real estate:

RBC Ventures is already the front- runner, launching new and exciting solutions that are challenging the status quo within the real estate industry. That includes:

  • Real Estate Search Project: RBC Ventures has partnered with OJO Labs to launch a better way to search for real estate properties. They are now in beta testing in the Greater Toronto Area. By playing a role in the house search, RBC gets early access to customers for mortgage and other concierge services required in the real estate transaction.
  • MoveSnap: RBC acquired MoveSnap, a personal moving concierge that leverages technology to help real estate clients manage address changes, transfer of services and more.
  • Smart Reno: Smart Reno connects consumers to qualified renovation professionals while supporting contractors and trades to grow their businesses.

CIBC announced a partnership with proptech start-up Properly in 2020 and all banks are actively trying to stay ahead of the curve by participating in these communities in some way, shape or form.

While most Realtors see Zillow as the biggest potential real estate industry disruptor, we see a more significant change to the real estate industry potentially coming from Canadian banks acquiring proptech real estate companies or building their own real estate brokerages.

Canadian banks and credit unions guard client relationships closely. The ability to service clients earlier in the real estate transaction, help them with their mortgage and make the remainder of the real estate process seamless are all valid reasons for banks and credit unions to own a real estate brokerage.

As proptechs continue to disrupt the real estate industry, Canadian banks are going to continue supporting these new innovators and they may even to come out of the real estate closet by acquiring one of these proptech real estate companies in the not-so-distant future.



If you sell your home, only the portion you’ve been living in is exempt from significant federal taxation – which could disincentivize rentals.

The federal government of Canada has begun cracking down on capital gains taxes, which home owners are only exempt from on the sale of their principal residence.

Laneway homes and rental suites on a property are not exempt from capital gains tax upon the sale of the home, Western Investor editor Frank O’Brien explained to last week’s Real Estate Therapistshow on Roundhouse Radio 98.3FM.

The federal government has introduced a new rule that for the first time requires home owners to declare the sale of their principal residence in their annual income tax return, as of the 2017 tax year. As has been the case for many years, income from rental units – including laneway homes and suites on the property – must also be declared.

This new combination of information will allow the Canada Revenue Agency to see where home sellers are selling a principal residence that has been operating rental suites, leaving the portion of the home that was rented out liable for capital gains tax.

“People have been playing pretty fast and loose with the principal residence exemption on your home… It’s not just foreign buyers, it’s Canadians themselves who have been doing this for years,” said O’Brien.

“The problem now is that there has been rapid price appreciation in places like Metro Vancouver, and increasingly more homes are being allowed on individual lots [and they are required to be rented out or face Empty Homes taxation.]

“If you have a single-family home with two rental suites in the basement and a laneway house, all rented out. Only a third of the house could be said to be the principal residence and the rest is income-producing property and subject to capital gains tax.

“The bottom line is, say you sell the house and it’s worth $3 million. The government says ‘Aha, but $1 million of that property value is not exempt from capital gains.’ … The tax on $1 million, if you’re in the higher tax bracket – which you probably are in this scenario – is $238,500. If you’ve made a $200,000 capital gain, you pay $47,000.”

He added, “So now you have to start thinking, is it worth doing the rentals, because you may lose at the end, if it’s going to be subject to capital gains tax? It could remove these units from the rental pool.”

When asked if this is at odds with the City of Vancouver’s mandate to increase the numbers of basement suites and laneway homes being added to the rental pool, O’Brien agreed.

He said, “This is an indication of how the different levels of government don’t co-operate together on the housing file, with the federal government doing one thing and the province and municipalities doing something else – and the poor homeowner is just trying to follow the rules. But they’re the ones who get blindsided. It’s a great idea to have low-density rentals to help with the mortgages in the most expensive places in Canada – not so great if the homeowner is going to get nailed with huge capital gains tax. And a lot of these are older homeowners who are going to get nailed.”



I came up with this article and just thought to share.. Enjoy!

Decorating Ideas Inspired by 6 of the World’s Most Stylish Countries

Ready to let your design style take flight? Here are 6 recommendations I really love from around the world. 

1. Sweden: Monochrome. Graphic in Black & White

Decorating Ideas Inspired by the World’s Most Stylish Countries
Photo Credit: Sachin Mahajan and Maggi SamirSource:

Is your living room a tad chaotic? Steal a page from Sweden's propensity for pale interiors and you'll be en route to serenity now. A tight black and white colour palette, including typographical art (very Swedish!), pulls the look together. For a relaxed vibe, leaning artwork, a low-slung sofa and a sloppy pouf rounds out the aesthetic.

Decorating Ideas Inspired by the World’s Most Stylish Countries
Photo Credit: Stephan JulliardSource:

Dramatic ceilings, architectural detail, herringbone floors and an ornate mirror — usually gilded gold, but in this case white — are the ingredients for a Parisian interior (a Serge Mouille chandelier is also a staple). This Haussmannian stunner was designed by Paris-based Studio Razavi, and can be emulated much more modestly. Pick up a Beni Ourain area rug, gold mirror, Mouille-inspired fixture, add panelling and you're well on your way.

Decorating Ideas Inspired by the World’s Most Stylish Countries
Photo Credit: Kyle Smith BornSource:

Do you have a good relationship with the proprietor of a plant shop? No? Well, forge one stat because you'll need an armload of hanging plants and a big fat cactus to start your journey to Palm Springs nirvana. Created as part of the One Room Challenge by Philadelphia interior designer Michelle Gage and stylist Natalie Jacob (this is her pad), this boho living room is one of our favourites. It's so inviting! We're crushing on the pink sofa, happy wallpaper, leather pouf and cross-hatched chairs. Find out more here. Note: Most of the pieces are from affordable retailers.

Decorating Ideas Inspired by the World’s Most Stylish Countries
Photo Credit: Tayor HowesSource:

Comfort meets elegance in this lovely Victorian farmhouse in Wiltshire, England, designed by London-based interior design firm Taylor Howes. Soft mauves, wide wingbacks, a leather coffee table and sumptuous gathered drapery are key elements to the look. It feels almost wrong to use a smartphone in this room — settle down with a book, instead. We love how the designers wove in purples and blues throughout the traditional-meets-today design, seen here.

Decorating Ideas Inspired by the World’s Most Stylish Countries
Photo Credit: Hoshinoya KyotoSource:

Japanese design is centred around tranquility, so put the tchotchkes away and follow hotel Hoshinoya Kyoto's lead. The riverside resort features perfectly preserved scenery and architecture that has been defined by silence, beauty and luxury for centuries. While your own living room may not have a view of lush greenery, you can adopt the country's decorating principles. Start with one basic rule: Kill the clutter. Next, create a monochromatic palette, add wooden elements, low seating and glass-panelled sliding screens.

Decorating Ideas Inspired by the World’s Most Stylish Countries
Photo Credit: MorosoSource:


CONDOS and TOWNHOMES are what’s hot!
Vancouver’s real estate market is going through reverse cycle with attached home (condos and townhomes) prices rising faster than detached homes. This is largely due to empty nesters downsizing and the affordability these homes offer to new home buyers. Across the Lower Mainland, the areas that reflect the biggest rates of increase are Coquitlam with 10.1 percent, followed by Vancouver East with 9.5 percent and Richmond with a 9 percent increase.
In its April release, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver states that so far this year, sales for condos and townhomes have accounted for 68.5 percent of residential sales. This trend is up from last year which accounted for only 58.2 percent.

We all know that it isnt easy for most millenials to buy a home these days in Metro Vancouver.  But these 4 local homeowners born in the 1980's and 1990's showed that nothing is impossible if one wants to make some signicant sacrifices to their lifestyle to attain their impossible dream.

Tej Kainth expressed her relief that she made the decision to plunge into the market, as an executive of Tourism New Westminster, she had seen the transformation of the Royal City's downtown core in the past few years, so when an opportunity in 2012 for her to buy a 2-bedroom condo unit where completion is not till 2015, she knew she had plenty of time to prepare before she moved in.  She already had a 10-percent down payment; to get to 15-percent, she borrowed from her mom and dad.  Kainth began repaying her parents in regular increments while still lives at their home. Although she made sacrifices to cover strata fees and other expenses for her New West condo by not eating out as much and having close attention to her budget, but that's offset by the joy that comes from hosting her friends at her own home.  She also walk to and from work, she rarely uses her car so it saves her money for gas and parking.

Samson Tam is one of those young Millennials homeowners with easy access to Skytrain.  At 27, he's unto his 2nd home after buying a pre-sale unit on Main Street - Science World Station.  Raised in Coquitlam, Tam moved to Ontario to earn his Engineering degree.  During his coop terms in university, he saved as much as he could with the goal of buying a home in mind.  Soon after we found a job in Toronto, he bought a small place after his parents provided a loan as a downpayment, he recalls "for the first 2 years of mortgage, it was really, really tough.  My chequing account was never over $1000".  After gaining more experience, he was hired as an engineer back here in Vancouver, his parents adviced him to get a small 660 sf unit near Science World.  His adviced to young people without liabilities to save money if they're living rent-free with their parents.  "People are blowing money on expensive dinners, partying, weekend things" Tam said.

Another Young Homeowner, 31 year old Samantha Stewart, said that she originally wanted to buy a place in downtown Vancouver but after market research, she pulled the trigger on a two bedroom resale in the Fraserhood area for under $400,000.  She noted that the extra room will come in handy if she decides to get married one day and have a child.  Stewart also acknowledged that she cant just fly away for a three-month vacation nowadays.  Like other millennials, she also received help from her family for the downpayment of her unit which has kept her monthly mortgage of $1400 which is slightly higher rate than if she rents a basement suite.

25 year old Commerce Specialist Rita Lee, is moving with her 25-year old boyfriend into their first condo this October, her parents instilled in her the importance of putting her name on the title and own a property.  They bought a small place in Gastown area, "we could have gotten a bigger place in Kingsway area but location is very important to us" says Rita.

The recent mortgage rules have upped the ante for first time home buyers.  This month, the federal government declared that anyone with a downpayment of less than 20 percent of purchase price will only obtain government-backed mortgage insurance under this condition:they must qualify at whichever is higher, their contracted rate or at the Bank of Canada's 5 year fixed rate.  Also, all homebuyers will face a "mortgage stress test" before getting qualify for a mortgage insurance.  More info to come on the New Mortgage Rule.



Last weekend I had a chance to spend some time and have dinner with a school mate visiting for the first time here in Vancouver from the Philippines.  Besides the beautiful city, amazing views, Stanley Park, Granville Island the clean air and water that we are blessed with, she was quite surprised with the number of Filipinos living in our city.  She asked me “Emma, why is it that many of our kababayans that I meet seems so busy. They would have full time job, with a part time job on the side.  It’s actually quite exhausting listening to their daily routine”.   I told her that is the Asian immigrant work ethic.  Parents are willing to make sacrifices for the future of their children, and others being given a chance to earn a good living.  A few years back, I knew of a couple with their boy wanting to rent a whole house.  I initially questioned how they can afford it, and why rent such a big place. Both parents worked a number of jobs, took courses to enhance their.  For additional income hosted several home stay students.  Yet with all their sacrifice, creativity and team work they made it work.   They are now proud homeowners running a franchise business.

I recently found an article from BCBusiness by Felicity Stone:

In the article it explains how an ongoing research by UBC professor Daniel Hiebert based on national household survey data shows, 53 per cent of landed immigrants who arrived between 2006 and 2011 became homeowners in that period. Chinese immigrants at 73 per cent showed the highest rate of home ownership, followed by 52 per cent of South Asians, 51 per cent of South Koreans, and 44 per cent of White and Filipino immigrants.  Hiebert told BCBusiness “Most of the stories that appear in the press on immigrants are about the difficulties they’re having getting economically integrated into Canada, and yet their rapid acquisition of home ownership suggests that there’s a piece of the puzzle we’ve been missing.  Maybe things aren’t quite so easy in the labour market, but at the same time they are managing to buy houses pretty quickly so there are more things going on.”  Though the study did not include the property values, there were about 100,000 homes purchased in Metro Vancouver in his study.  


Is it a case of supply and demand or Foreign Money that are driving unaffordability in real estate Market in Vancouver?

The BC government continue to see that the real estate industry’s rapid home price increases are due to supply and demand while 2 Vancouver-based economists specialize in real estate  say that outside capital flows are the driving forces to unaffordability right now. “These housing prices do not make sense as a live and work proposition.  They make sense as bags of cash hiding out in real estate looking for a safe return”.

The BC Budget for 2016 try to resolve and help the home ownership within reach of more people with the following added: 

-          PTT (Property Transfer Tax) exemption for buyers of new homes that are priced up to $750,000 to $800,000

-          An increase to 3% for properties more than $2M for PTT; and buyers to self-report their nationality when they register their property.

In Budget briefing documents, the province sees that the Lower Mainland has historically had high housing prices and supply constraints demand from population growth are behind the price increases.

One director of a huge Urban Development mentioned that the lack of supply was the only answer to this dizzying levels of home price increases, another UBC professor mentioned that  Vancouver's land constraints and population increases were the main factors behind price increases , another point is the lowering of the Canadian dollar and massive change in the official currency reserves in China where wealthy individuals and companies are trying to get their money out of China in response to their economic slowdown.

There is a group of academics at UBC and Simon Fraser University who developed a proposal to charge higher property tax if property owners don’t live in the property or don’t report income in Canada.  The government seems to be seriously considering the proposal.  


Developers Eyeing Old Condominiums and Townhouses

The proposed provincial Strata Property Act allows 80% of strata owners, rather than the current unanimous vote, to dissolve the strata. Under this change, B.C.'s strata owners may find it easier to dissolve their strata corporations and sell the entire building. The new legislation has passed its first reading and is projected to come into effect by the end of the year.
Benefits to Strata Owners Sellings

Strata owners could potentially benefit from the windfall of this change as developers hone in on this development option. As older strata corporations reach the end of their "life cycle", common property components begin to fail, requiring expensive repairs. Strata owners may prefer to sell the property to developers who can put it to more profitable uses.  
"Strata members living in a low-rise building on a large property may see the opportunity to have the land redeveloped into a larger building with more units," says Darren Donnelly of Clark Wilson LLP's commercial real estate group. 
Targeted Stratas
Real estate agent Lance Coulson, who specializes in multi-family property with CBRE commercial real estate, espects developers to focus on aging and smaller low-rise condominium projects where it would be easier to get most owners to agree to sell. 
The first condominiums and townhouses in B.C. were built in the mid-1960's. Some of the older complexes found close to SkyTrain stations or on major intersections may have lower density than the current municipal zoning allows. 
However, Commercial real estate specialists anticipate a rush of applications under this new scheme if the vote is right at the 80% mark and a minority of owners oppose selling. The court would only allow the sale to proceed if the real estate broker or developer could demonstrate that the opposing owners would receive the maximum value for their units and that the project would be widely marketed.

Canadian House Prices Rise is Third Highest in the World

The Canadian house price rise is the third highest in the developed world, after Ireland, Sweden, and Australia according to a Scotiabank report.


The report shows Canada’s 8.3% year-over-year rise in the second quarter of 2015, compared to 13.3% in Ireland and 10.1% in Sweden. Canadian real estate exceeds the typically popular markets for foreign buyers in the U.S. (5.4%) and U.K. (5.6%) due to low interest rates and the low Canadian dollar.


Increased Demand

Economist Adrienne Warren attributes this to currency exchange considerations, particularly impacting Canadian luxury real estate.


“Foreign exchange considerations are taking on a bigger role, increasing the attractiveness of properties in countries whose currencies have weakened at the expense of relatively stronger currency markets in the U.S. and the U.K.”


Warren believes this is due to a limited supply of single-family homes in Vancouver and Toronto. “People want to live closer to where jobs are and they don’t want to take on long commutes”.


Other Markets

Australia is undergoing the same affordability crisis that Vancouver is having, with the median house price over $1 million Australian dollars. Goldman Sachs estimates Sydney prices as overvalued by 20%, reminiscent of talk about a housing bubble in Vancouver and Toronto.


In Ireland, housing prices were soaring in 2007 when the financial crisis left the nation near bankruptcy, but it seems to have recovered in 2013 and has been growing since.


Despite the shrink in Canada’s economy earlier this year, housing prices are expected to continue to rise. A Reuters survey of over 20 analysts predicted that Canadian home prices are expected to rise 5.2% this year, a higher forecast than 3.4% in June’s survey. This revision raised expectations for 2016 from 1.3 to 2.0% and for 2017 from 1.7 to 2.3%. Chief economist at HSBC, David Watt, along with the majority of analysts, predicts that home purchases will slow down due to these price increases, despite two rate reductions by the Bank of Canada this year.

Fear of Correction

The Canadian housing market remained resilient throughout the global financial crisis and US market crash. While home prices in the US are beginning to recover, Canada’s home prices seem to be unaffected. Some analysts warn of potential correction in the market, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver, once the US Federal Reserve begins to tighten policy, which will increase Canadian mortgage rates. The Bank of Canada estimates the housing market is about 30% overvalued, posing a significant risk to consumers overexposed to mortgage debt.



Although home prices are considered to have remained affordable on a national basis, the prices in Toronto and Vancouver have surpassed affordability limits of the average Canadian homebuyer, outside the condominium sector. The Bank of Canada’s rate cut in July brought its benchmark interest down to 0.50% to dull the impact of crashing oil prices, but this likely fueled further rise in house prices in urban markets. 


Detached Houses for Under $1-million are Becoming Rare


In the first 6 months of 2015, 288 out of 2, 285 sales (12.6%) of detached houses were sold for under $1-million according to the Multiple Listing Service. In comparison, the first half of 2014 there were 543 out of 1,931 sales (28.1%) of detached houses for under $1-million.


Median Prices Compared to Last Year


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver shows that the median price for detached homes in the east side has surged to $1.28-million last month—up 32.3% over July 2014. The median price for detached homes in the west side has jumped to $2.9-million—up 21.8% over last year. In Greater Vancouver, the median price for detached homes in the suburbs rose to $1.4-million—up 17.6% over last year.


HPI Benchmarks


Real estate board president Darcy McLeod attributes the sellers’ market to “strong consumer confidence, low interest rates and a reduced supply of homes for sale”. The board uses their Home Price Index (HPI) to represent the typical sale price for houses because it provides a better barometer than averages prices, which skew the picture because the most expensive properties are included. According the HPI, Vancouver’s east side reached $1.12-million—up 19.9% over last July, the west side hit $2.65-million—up 16.6%, and Great Vancouver’s detached homes reached a record high of $1.14-million last month—up 16.2% over last year.


Purchasers Must Consider a Range of Options


However, there are still lots of options in condos and townhouses or in the suburbs. In the east side there is still a range of condo and townhouse options under $1-million. There has been an increase in transaction for all types of properties. Greater Vancouver saw 3,978 sales last month—up 30% from last year. The Fraser Valley HPI rose to $621,100—up 9.3% over last year. Fraser Valley Board president Jorda Maisey states, “We have amongst the most affordable homes in the region”.

The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), 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 REBGV, 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 REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.