Video Blog | The BC Elite Real Estate Group | Solomon Yasin, PREC* | Real Estate News From Vancouver

 

April 8, 2020

Just Listed 410-12460 191 St Pitt Meadows

Welcome to the Orion.  We e are super excited to showcasing our brand new listing here in beautiful Pitt Meadows British Columbia.  This one is at 12460 191 St , It Is a 2 Bedroom and 2 Baths, top floor penthouse with amazing views Of the Golden Ears Mountains.  This one has all the amenities like shopping,  Westcoast Express, its got access to Golden Ears Bridge & Rentals are allowed and so if you are in the market for a home In Pitt Meadows then you need to check this out! 

Posted in Listings
March 28, 2020

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plane

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled the $82-billion aid package on March 18, 2020.

Employment Insurance (El) • Up to $573/ week • Up to maximum of 45 weeks • Job loss due to sickness/injury or shortage of work • Worked 420-700 of hours • ROE required •

 

El —Sick Benefit • Up to $573/ week • Up to maximum of 15 weeks • One week waiting period waive • No medical certificate required during quarantine • Medical cert required if tested positive and beyond the quarantine period • Quarantine or sick due to Covid-19, • Lost 40. of the pay • Worked min of 600 hours •

 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (Emergency Care Benefit + Emergency Support Benefit) • $2000 per month • Up to max of 4 months • Sick, quarantined, care for someone that is sick or care for children because of school/daycare closures, no paid leave or other income support, or not being paid by employer, self- employed or contract workers who do not eligible for El • Application opens in April through web portal or toll-free number

 

Canada Child Benefit • Extra $300 per child • Families with children • Payment scheduled with CCB in May

 

GST Credit • Up to $400 per individual and $600 for a couple • Low-modest income families • 2018 tax filed • Special payment in May

 

BC Emergency Benefit • One-time payment of $1000 • El or Canada Emergency Response Benefit qualifiers • Payment in May • Application process to be announced

 

BC Climate Action Tax Credit • Up to $218.00 per adult and $64 per child • Low-modest income families • Payment in July

 

BC Hydro • Up to $600 grant • bill payment deferral • Financial hardship due to job loss or illness • Effective now

 

BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program (BC- TRS) • Up to $500/month towards rent & paid directly to the landlord • Low-moderate income families • Financial hardship due to COVID-19 • Early April on BC Housing website

 

Mortgage & Car Loan • 6 months payment deferral • Case by case basis with the associated lenders • Effective now

 

Student Loan • Payment not required for 6 months • No interest accrued for 6 months • Student loan borrowers • Effective March 30, 2020

 

Personal Income tax • Filing deadline - June 1., 2020 • Tax payment — Aug 31., 2020 • Tax payers

 

Kids and Seniors: (Kids Helpline Funding $7.5 Million) + Seniors ($9 million through United Way Canada to help the country's older population get groceries, medication and other critical items)

 

Business loan: Access to necessary Credit.  $40,000 emergency business loans.  Interest free for up to one year.  Called Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

 

The situation is very fluid and more updates are happening daily.  For Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Chilliwack residence.  This is great news during a very stressful and unprecedented time in Canadian history.

Posted in Community News
March 15, 2020

Canadians: Is Now A Wonderful Time To Buy A Home?

Canadians: Is Now A Wonderful Time To Buy A Home?

It has been a wild whirlwind couple of weeks across the entire globe. Unless you've been living on the moon since last month, you've undoubtedly heard about COVID-19 and its impact on society. Across the world, countries are gearing up for social distancing, isolation, and a potentially weak economic outlook. Our own Toronto Stock Exchange tumbled from 17,843 on February 21, 2020 (doesn't that feel like a long time ago!) down to 13,716 at the time of this writing.

As a real estate agent, people often ask me, "is now a good time to buy?" In uncertain times, buyers might be hesitant to sign on the dotted line for what will arguably be the biggest purchase of their life. However, to answer the question: yes, it is. Here are three reasons you should still consider buying a home in beautiful Vancouver, even if the effects of COVID-19 might seem spooky.

Strong, Swift Interest Rate Support For The Markets

The Bank of Canada has done two rate cuts. Mortgage rates now sit at 0.75% which, given the fact that the economic outlook for Vancouver was quite rosy at the beginning of the year. Economists across the board were noting how business investments within this region were substantial. These investments would create quality jobs and bring prosperity to BC.

Typically, when economies are doing well, interest rates go up, which makes housing more expensive. With COVID-19, you have the exact opposite scenario happening. Assuming everything doesn't grind to a halt for months and months on end, you have a unique once-in-a-lifetime situation where the massive interest rate reductions don't match the robustness of the economy. In short, these low rates mean that the cost of a mortgage right now is far less than it would otherwise be!

There's No Evidence That COVID-19 Has Slowed Housing Yet

While we don't have official numbers on how COVID-19 is impacting housing yet, we also have no evidence to suggest that it is forcing prices to go down or that it is changing the number of buyers. Home prices are still up 8.9% as a yearly change and have gone up significantly over the past month. Additionally, when compared year over year, homes are sitting on the market for far fewer days than last year.

With property prices rising and interest rates being so low, this could be a fantastic opportunity to snag a home at a cheap rate while still taking advantage of robust price appreciation!

There Is One Disappointing Result, However

Unfortunately, all is not good news with the Canadian housing market. The government scrapped long-awaited changes to the mortgage stress test due to the coronavirus. These changes would have lowered the interest rate used for the stress test to something more reflective of the actual interest rates a borrower might have to pay. Instead, banks will still be using the current 5.19% rate instead of 4.89% that they would have used if this rule went into effect.

It's worth noting that this is solely for mortgage qualification, and all this rule means is that nothing changes from today. Nothing gets worse, but, unfortunately, this aspect of the mortgage process won't become better due to the coronavirus.

Is Now A Wonderful Time To Buy?

Yes. Naturally, you have to do what you feel is best for you and your family. However, the recent events of 2020 have created a potential buying opportunity. With falling rates and no evidence, yet, of a significant impact of COVID-19 on the housing market, we have no reason to believe that this is not still a robust market and economy, just with much cheaper mortgages coming!

Posted in Buying a Home
March 4, 2020

Cost Of Living In Surrey, BC

 

Cost Of Living Surrey, BC: The Definitive Guide For Non-Residents

Surrey, BC, is a beautiful community located approximately 30 km southeast of Vancouver. It sits across the river from New Westminster, which is a lovely community in and of itself. This city is also an incredibly family-friendly place which, as we will see, is partly attributable to the low cost of living in Surrey. There are numerous restaurants, parks, and other fun activities available for children and adults alike.

To understand how much lower the cost of living in Surrey is, we need to compare Vancouver and it across multiple categories. We've done the research and crunched the numbers across these ten categories.

·  Rental Prices

·  Housing Prices (buying to own)

·  Grocery Costs

·  Dining Costs (when you want to go out instead of eating in)

·  Utilities

·  Gas Prices

·  Median Income

·  Property Taxes

·  Commute

·  Childcare Costs

Rental Prices

If you've been following Vancouver news, you've likely heard of the housing crisis within the city. There is a shortage of affordable housing in Vancouver. As such, people are looking outside of the city limits for places to rent and call home.

Surrey is one of the prominent places for renters to consider due to its relative proximity to the downtown area. In downtown Vancouver, you can expect to pay $2,200 for an average one-bedroom apartment. That price jumps to $3,000 for a two-bedroom unit. Of course, given the median household income, this is unaffordable for most residents.

However, in Surrey, the average cost for a one-bedroom unit is $1,400 per month and the average price for a two-bedroom one is under $2,000. These figures represent a 30% "discount" from what you could expect to pay living in downtown Vancouver. It's certainly debatable how affordable $2,000 per month would be for the average family, but it's more affordable than $3,000!

Housing Prices Reduce The Cost Of Living In Surrey Significantly

The other contributing factor to the housing crisis in Vancouver is the fact that single-family homes have become so unaffordable. With the average selling price clocking in at $2.2 million, buying a detached house within the city limits is officially out of reach for most families. If you're looking at owning a condo or a townhouse, those are a little more affordable at $787,000 and $1.2 million, respectively. Still, for many families, these numbers are out of reach.

Fortunately, suburbs like Surrey are significantly more affordable when it comes to housing costs. The average detached home costs about $1.2 million, which is about 50% less than what you would pay in the city of Vancouver. Similarly, townhomes and condos cost about $603,000 and $400,000, respectively. Both of these home styles are about 50% less than what you would find in Vancouver as well.

Given that Surrey is reasonably close to Vancouver's downtown area, typically, people find that the tradeoff in affordability is well worth the extra commute time to get into the city's core!

Grocery Costs

While the data on grocery costs within Surrey is a little sparser than in other areas of the Greater Vancouver Area, the estimates on Numbeo show that people who live in Surrey should expect to pay less in groceries than in the downtown area. For staple items like eggs, milk, cheese, and water, Surrey is about 10% cheaper than Vancouver. It's not a significant saving, but the fact that your dollar goes further when it comes to food costs in Surrey is a welcome bonus!

Dining Costs

Much like with grocery costs, residents of Surrey may save a little bit dining out compared with people in Vancouver. The cost of a mid-range meal will be closer to $15 instead of $20 that the same meal might cost in Vancouver. Similarly, a meal at a fancy restaurant might cost 10% less in Surrey. One shouldn't expect the food to be significantly cheaper in Surrey

Surrey is home to quite a few well-reviewed restaurants, including Old Surrey Restaurant, Tap Restaurant, and the Afghan Kitchen. Each of these places is incredibly well-reviewed on Google Maps. If you're looking for good food at relatively affordable prices, Surrey is a fantastic choice.

Utilities

The cost of basic electricity, water, and other utilities for a 915 square foot apartment in Surrey is estimated to be about $105 per month. By contrast, the estimated cost for services for the same size apartment in Vancouver is about $80. Therefore, one should expect Surrey to have a slightly higher cost of living when it comes to core services that every home needs!

Gas Prices

The gas in Vancouver is expensive. BC frequently has some of the highest prices in the country, with costs exceeding $1.50 reasonably commonly. At the time of this writing, the average price per litre in Vancouver is $1.57.

Surrey is a little bit less expensive. Again, at the time of this writing, there are stations in Surrey where people can fill up for as low as $1.36 per litre. Saving up to 20 cents per litre is desirable, of course, and helps keep Surrey affordable for families who are more likely to need and make use of cars!

Median Income

According to the last Government of Canada census, the median household income in Vancouver was low, considering how costly rents and home prices are. The income reported as $72,662, well below the amount needed to support $2.2 million detached homes.

The median household income, according to Townfolio in Surrey, is $77,494. Given the fact that housing is quite a bit less expensive in Surrey as compared to Vancouver, this median income means that most people will find it much easier to make ends meet in Surrey. The city of Surrey is a family-friendly destination, and the median income ensures that families have a livable wage on which they can sustain themselves.

Property Taxes

Property tax rates in Surrey, BC, are quite a bit pricier than in Vancouver. The tax rate within Vancouver is $2.56 per $1,000 of the value at which the city assesses your home. So, if the municipality believes your home is worth $1,000,000, then your property tax bill will be $2,560 for the year. Since the average home value in Vancouver is $2.2 million, the average property tax bill comes out to $5,632. That's a steep price to pay to live in your home every single year!

In Surrey, residents pay $3.19 per $1,000 of assessed home value. While this is more, in effect, residents of Surrey pay less overall. The average detached house is only $1.2 million, so those residents will pay $3,828 annually on average. However, the average cost of a condo is just $400,000. Those residents will pay a mere $1,276 per year in property taxes.

The lower housing prices make the cost of living in Surrey much more affordable than other places in the Greater Vancouver Area!

Commute

Assuming you live close enough to the Expo Line extension of the SkyTrain, you can take that into work if you work downtown. Otherwise, you will have to plan on taking your car.

If you do keep a car, then you'll need to plan on paying for gas, insurance, registration, and so on. If you decide to take the SkyTrain instead, then you should expect to pay an average of $5 to commute each way. You can save some additional money by purchasing a monthly pass (Compass Card) from Translink.

Childcare Costs

For families with very young children, the childcare costs of Vancouver have quickly become unaffordable. It now costs an average of $1,400 per month to put an infant in childcare within the Vancouver city limits.

By contrast, the estimated childcare expenses of Surrey are about $1,000 a month, although some places will go as low as $800 or $900. While $1,000 a month is still pricey, it's a much better deal than putting your child in the Vancouver childcare facilities.

The Lower Cost Of Living In Surrey Makes It A Viable Alternative

The fact that Surrey is still reasonably close to downtown Vancouver (it's closer than Langley, and you only need to cross one bridge), it's an attractive option for any family. In particular, people seeking to avoid the high costs associated with Vancouver city life will appreciate how inexpensive most things are in Surrey. Home prices are half of what they are in Vancouver. Gas is cheaper. Of course, renters will also like Surrey because it is a lower-cost place to live, allowing people to keep more money in their pockets! The lower cost of living in Surrey is attractive for people who want to be close to Vancouver without paying multi-millions to do so.

If you're willing to do the drive that it takes from Surrey to work downtown, then you may also wish to consider Langley or Pitt Meadows. These places have similar affordability characteristics in terms of drive and housing affordability and are quiet, family-friendly communities.

If you're looking for a lower cost of living place than Vancouver, speak with me today so we can see if Surrey might be a good fit for you!

Posted in Community News
Feb. 15, 2020

Cost Of Living In Vancouver British Columbia For 2020

 

Cost Of Living In Vancouver British Columbia For 2020

 

If you've been looking at moving to Vancouver, you've undoubtedly heard about the cost of living here. People almost religiously discuss how expensive everything is in Vancouver - from housing to gas. Sadly, this has an effect of turning people away from this great city, even though the reality is a lot more complicated than that. Vancouver's reputation for high prices is at least partly unfair because much of it depends on what you are looking for in terms of housing and lifestyle.

 

To better understand the cost of living in Vancouver, let's take a look at some key metrics and see how they stack up against similar word-class cities (specifically, Toronto, Seattle, and San Francisco). In particular, we'll be looking at ten metrics:

 

·       Rental Prices

·       Housing Prices (buying to own)

·       Grocery Costs

·       Dining Costs (when you want to go out instead of eating in)

·       Utilities

·       Gas Prices

·       Median Income

·       Property Taxes

·       Sales Taxes

·       Childcare Costs

 

Rental Prices

 

Despite Vancouver's reputation for elevated housing prices, Vancouver rental prices are more affordable than some comparable markets. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $2,200 per month. For a two-bedroom apartment, that figure rises to $3,000 a month.

 

In the closest city by proximity, Seattle, a one-bedroom runs $1,900 US whereas a two-bedroom goes for about $2,500 US. In Toronto, those numbers are $2,300 and $2,850, respectively. And, of course, when compared with San Francisco, Vancouver looks cheap. There, rents are $3,690 US for a one-bedroom apartment and over $4,500 US for a two-bedroom unit.

 

So, while Vancouver is pricier than cheaper cities, it's certainly not the most expensive. Rent here is slightly less costly than in Toronto. When accounting for currency conversion, Vancouverites pay about the same as Seattleites. Vancouver looks like an absolute bargain to anyone in the Bay Area!

 

To summarize, when it comes to rents, we have high rents, but many, if not all, major metro areas have high rents. Our prices are not too bad in the big picture.

 

Housing Prices

 

There's no doubt that Vancouver has elevated housing prices. An infographic using late 2018 data showed that Vancouver had the second-highest home price in North America. San Francisco was the highest, Vancouver second, Seattle eighth, and Toronto took the eleventh spot.

 

However, this infographic is somewhat misleading. Vancouver has a significant price disparity between condos and houses. There's a relatively consistent supply of condominiums, which keeps prices slightly in check. According to Zolo, a Vancouver condo sells for $811,000, whereas a Toronto one sells for $655,000. More expensive, yes, but the average detached home in Toronto is $1.3 million, whereas a Vancouver one clocks in at almost double at $2.5 million.

 

Vancouver is more expensive, but if you're in the market for a condo, it's not that much pricier than Toronto. Additionally, if you're willing to commute, the prices drop substantially in the suburbs like Maple Ridge or Delta. And it's still more affordable than a place like San Francisco.

 

Grocery Costs

 

Groceries are a mixed-bag for Vancouverites. Residents of this city pay more for some groceries and less for others. For example, according to Numbeo, when compared with Toronto, Vancouverites save on milk and cheese but spend more on bread and rice. According to the same site, people living in Vancouver pay a similar grocery cost to those living in Seattle, except that while a Vancouver person might pay $0.83 for a banana, someone from Seattle will pay $0.83 US for that same banana. It can sometimes be cheaper to buy groceries in Vancouver as compared with US cities, after considering the currency differences. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Vancouver is pretty much always on par or less expensive than San Francisco.

 

Dining Costs

 

Dining out in Vancouver is not incredibly expensive when compared with other cities. According to Numbeo, for an inexpensive restaurant, a person here can expect to pay about $16. For mid-range place for two-people, that number rises to $80. These figures seem reasonable.

 

In Toronto, those numbers are $20 and $80, respectively. So while Toronto is a little more expensive, Vancouver's pretty much on par. For Seattle, Vancouverites pay about what Seattleites pay, just in Canadian dollars instead of US dollars. A person in Seattle will pay $15 US, but a person in Vancouver will pay $16 Canadian. Of course, continuing with the trend, San Franciscans pay more in US dollars than Vancouverites pay in Canadian.

 

Utilities

 

When it comes to utility costs, Vancouver's residents enjoy a break when compared with other large metro areas. Numbeo ranks utilities based off of how much a 915 square foot apartment should expect to pay. They estimate Vancouver residents would pay $90 per month versus Torontonians who would be looking at $138. Both of these figures are less than San Franciscans who pay $140 and Seattleites who pay $162 US per month.

 

Vancouver also enjoys relatively inexpensive electricity. A report by the Business Council of British Columbia showed that Vancouver's electricity costs were the lowest of all four metro areas at 11.42 cents/kWh on average. Toronto clocked in at 13.24 cents, Seattle at 15.02 cents, and San Francisco was a whopping 28 cents on average!

 

Gas Prices

 

Another thing that people love to discuss is the cost of gas here in BC. At approximately $1.50 per litre, Vancouverites have the highest price of gas in Canada. However, at $1.15 per litre, Toronto is not too far behind. At approximately $3.00 per gallon ($1.03 Canadian per litre) in Seattle, Washingtonians have the least high price overall. At roughly $4.00 per gallon ($1.37 Canadian per litre), people in San Francisco have it bad stateside.

 

While there is no doubt that gas prices are higher in Vancouver than in other places, they are not insanely high. If you're driving to and from work every day, gas prices out here won't break your bank too much more than living in other world-class cities like Toronto or San Francisco.

 

Median Income

 

Unfortunately, when it comes to median incomes, this is one area where Vancouver has some catching up. According to Statistics Canada, the median income for this city was $72,662 back in 2015, the latest year available. In Toronto, the average was $78,373.

 

For Seattle, the average income is $93,481 US, and for San Francisco, that number unsurprisingly rises to $112,376 US.

 

Of course, our southern friends need to deduct extra expenses like health insurance from those salaries. Still, there's no doubt that Vancouver and other Canadian cities have some work to do to catch up to wages in other large metropolitan areas.

 

Property Taxes

 

Vancouverites pay $2.56 per $1000 in value for property taxes. On the other hand, Torontonians pay approximately $4.50 per $1000 of property value. The US has very high property taxes by comparison as both San Franciscans and Seattleites frequently pay $10-20 or more per $1000 of property value.

 

Sales Taxes

 

Despite its reputation for being expensive, Vancouver has decent tax rates. Sales tax in BC is 12%, and there are many classes of products that are exempt from PST (like restaurant meals). Torontonians pay 13% HST. Seattleites pay 10%, and San Franciscans pay 8.5%, the lowest of all the cities.

 

Childcare Costs

 

Despite Vancouver having very high childcare costs relative to other cities in Canada, it's still the cheapest of the three other cities to which we're making the comparison. In Vancouver, childcare costs $1,400 a month per infant, which is less than Toronto. There, the average monthly cost is $1,685. Both of those numbers are less expensive than both Seattle and San Francisco, where people will pay $1,680 US and $1,955 US, respectively. While Vancouver daycare is pricey when compared to Winnipeg, for example, it's not as pricey as other large metropolitan areas.

 

Overall Cost of Living Assessment

 

There is zero question that Vancouver is not the cheapest place to live in Canada. However, when compared with three other world-class cities, it is not the most expensive, and it's not the most affordable. On average, Vancouver tends to be about the same or have a slightly lower cost of living than Toronto. When compared with Seattle, Vancouver is often less expensive when factoring in currency conversion. However, unfortunately, Vancouver salaries don't match Seattle's. Finally, Vancouver is almost always significantly less costly than San Francisco, which is not surprising considering that San Francisco is consistently rated as one of the most expensive cities to live in the world!

 

One of the fantastic things about British Columbia is that there are ways to make it very affordable. For example, picking a condo will give you a reasonably-priced place to live with lower property taxes. You'll then be able to take advantage of the lower electricity costs and lower grocery costs to save for your dream home (which, if you're willing to look at a suburb of Vancouver like Maple Ridge or Coquitlam, isn't as pricey).

 

If you're looking to move to Vancouver and are wondering about the cost of living, speak with your real estate agent today. There's a good chance that there's a way to move to this beautiful city without breaking the bank!

 

 

Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 29, 2020

Cost of Living In Maple Ridge British Columbia

Cost Of Living In Maple Ridge, BC

Anyone who has ever been to Maple Ridge knows that it is a beautiful little town. With a population of fewer than 100,000 people and nestled up against the Golden Ears, Maple Ridge is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. There are many outdoorsy things to do, and you're only a 35km drive from downtown Vancouver. It's a perfect family-friendly destination for people who are looking to move to the city. The good news is that it also has a smaller cost of living as compared to Vancouver proper.

 

To understand the cost of living differences between Maple Ridge and Vancouver, we'll need to look at multiple vital metrics. In particular, this post will look at the following ten measures of affordability:

 

·     Rental Prices

·     Housing Prices (buying to own)

·     Grocery Costs

·     Dining Costs (when you want to go out instead of eating in)

·     Utilities

·     Gas Prices

·     Median Income

·     Property Taxes

·     Commute

·     Childcare Costs

 

Rental Prices

 

Anyone who has looked at the Vancouver rental market knows how crazy it has become. While rentals in Vancouver used to be somewhat affordable, that has all but gone away in recent years. Rents in Vancouver are now $2,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $3,000 for a two-bedroom one. These are some of the most costly rents in the nation.

 

Fortunately, Maple Ridge is significantly less expensive. Estimates for a two-bedroom apartment in Maple Ridge are cheaper than a one-bedroom in Vancouver. These apartments run for about $1,950 per month. A one-bedroom apartment typically goes for $1,350 per month. Electing to rent in Maple Ridge as opposed to Vancouver can save you approximately 40% per month in rent costs.

 

If you're looking to rent temporarily and purchase a house later, saving this much on rent will enable you to do that much faster. If you rent a two-bedroom apartment in Maple Ridge, you'll save over $1,000 per month on average relative to Vancouver. You can take these savings and put $12,000 per year extra towards a home. Within five years, you'll have an extra $60,000 of your down payment saved!

 

Housing Costs

 

Compared with Vancouver, the housing prices of Maple Ridge are significantly cheaper. A single-family home in Vancouver runs for over $2 million, whereas a house in Maple Ridge costs approximately $860,000. One of the beautiful things about Maple Ridge, BC, is that you can get condos reasonably cheaply. A condo in Maple Ridge only costs $495,000 on average. Of course, a condo in Vancouver proper is close to $1 million.

 

Your monthly mortgage payment with an average Maple Ridge home would be $3,590, which is less than half of the mortgage payment for an average Vancouver home (both assuming 20% down).

 

If you're looking for a place to live that's close to the city with fantastic schools but doesn't have quite the same cost of living expenses, then Maple Ridge is an excellent choice.

 

Grocery Costs

 

As is often the case when looking at the cost of living differences between the suburbs and a city, housing costs are not the only place you save money. Groceries and other products are also cheaper. People who live in Maple Ridge save an estimated 14.3% on grocery expenditures per year relative to their Vancouver counterparts. If you spend $200 a week on food, that will mean you'll spend approximately $30 per week or $1,500 less per year compared to living in the Vancouver metro.

 

Dining Costs

 

People living in Maple Ridge also save on restaurant meals, albeit not to quite the same level. Restaurants cost an estimated 11% less than in Vancouver. As people who live in Maple Ridge know, you're not getting less quality. There are lots of fantastic dining choices in the region, no matter what you feel like having!

 

Utilities

 

Utilities are slightly less in Maple Ridge than in Vancouver. Electricity rates are the same in the mainland as well as Vancouver Island, so those don't change significantly. However, water, trash, and other utilities are cheaper in Maple Ridge than in Vancouver.

 

Numbeo estimates that a 915 square foot apartment would incur approximately $73 in charges per month in Maple Ridge compared with $90 per month in Vancouver. It's a small saving, but it helps a bit.

 

Gas Prices

 

Unfortunately, gas prices tend to be high pretty much anywhere in British Columbia. Maple Ridge is no exception. While gas may be a little bit cheaper there, on average, you won't be finding any fantastic deals. You're still going to be looking at the same $1.30-$1.50 that you would pay in Vancouver.

 

Median Income

 

During the last census, Vancouver had a median income of $72,662. This figure was on the rise, however, so it wouldn't be surprising if it were much better now. Maple Ridge's income, according to TownFolio, is $86,178, which is quite a bit higher than Vancouver's.

 

Property Taxes

 

Unfortunately, you will pay more as a percentage in property taxes by living in Maple Ridge even though your absolute dollar value will be less. Maple Ridge's effective property tax rate is 0.0044% for residences. By contrast, Vancouver has an incredibly low tax rate of 0.00256%.

 

On a $1,000,000 property, you'll pay $4,400 per year in taxes by living in Maple Ridge versus $2,560 in Vancouver. However, that doesn't tell the full story. Recall that the average single-family home in Vancouver costs $2 million or more. That means if you buy a home in Vancouver, you can expect to pay $5,120 in property taxes each year. However, homes in Maple Ridge run for $860,000 on average. Therefore, if you buy one of these properties, you'll pay $3,784. Since the average home price is much less, even though your property tax percentage is higher, you're still paying less overall.

 

With that said, if there were to all of a sudden be an extreme demand for Maple Ridge homes and your assessed value were to skyrocket, then, in theory, your property tax bill could become much more expensive. However, it's doubtful that Maple Ridge homes will be exceeding $2 million in value any time soon.

 

Commute

 

If you live in Maple Ridge, it's pretty hard to avoid a commute. There aren't as many public transportation options in the suburbs are there are in Vancouver. You should expect to own a car if you live in Maple Ridge. Owning a vehicle means that you'll be paying car maintenance, gas, and approximately $1,832 annually in car insurance every year. While it's not extremely expensive, it's also not cheap. You'll have to plan and budget accordingly.

 

The cost to commute to Vancouver depends heavily on how you get into the city. The West Coast Express train can take you from Maple Ridge to downtown for $17.75 per day round-trip or $251 monthly. While this isn't cheap, it's also not insanely expensive either, and you save quite a bit of time as you're not in traffic. For people who work in downtown Vancouver, it's a worthwhile monthly expenditure!

 

Childcare Costs

 

Vancouver's childcare costs are some of the most expensive in Canada. Putting an infant into daycare currently costs $1,400 per month on average. Very few cities in Canada top that amount.

 

Fortunately, Maple Ridge is much more affordable. You can expect to pay less than $1,000 per month in this part of British Columbia. There's even a pilot project to provide $10 per day daycare at one of the childcare facilities in Maple Ridge. By choosing Maple Ridge instead of Vancouver, you will save substantially on childcare expenditures.

 

Of course, if you can save $1,000 on your daycare expenses, that lets you set that money aside for other family expenses like a down payment on a home, your RESP, RRSP, etc. Being able to save $1,000 per month on childcare is a significant upside for living in this city.

 

Maple Ridge Is An Alternative To Downtown Vancouver Living

 

Your overall expenses in Maple Ridge will be quite a bit lower than in downtown Vancouver. For starters, in Maple Ridge, restaurants and other activities will be much less since rents are not as high. You'll be able to go out to places like The Keg without fighting the crowds of downtown Vancouver as well. Maple Ridge also has plenty of grocery stores, which helps keep the cost of living lower as well.

 

Maple Ridge has excellent public schools to which you can send your kids. These schools are free, so you also don't need to factor in the cost of tuition into your calculations.

 

It still has proximity to Vancouver, so if you want to be close but don't want all the costs, then Maple Ridge might be the answer for you. It's quite a bit cheaper than living in Vancouver city, and the West Coast Express makes it easy to get to downtown for work. The fact that restaurants, grocery stores, and other fun activities are cheaper means that you won't be spending quite as much there either.

 

If you're looking for a lower cost of living place than Vancouver, speak with me today so we can see if Maple Ridge might be a good fit for you!

Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 17, 2020

The Top Private Schools In Vancouver For Children & Teens

The Top Private Schools In Vancouver For Children & Teens

If you're looking to move to Vancouver and you have kids or teenagers, then you're going to want to buy a place near a fantastic school. If you pick a place close by, that means that your kids won't have to walk or bus far to school. Additionally, if you choose a home in an excellent school area, then your teen has a better shot of getting into top-rated universities like UBC. Fortunately, Vancouver is home to some excellent private schools.

Fraser Institute released a list of the top high schools for the 2017-2018 school year (the most recent available). Without further discussion, let's dive right into the top 10 private schools in Vancouver.

1. Little Flower Academy

Located off of King Edward and Granville, this all-girls Catholic high school ranks at the top of the list for a myriad of reasons. First, from 2014-2017 the graduation rate was 100%, only dipping to 98.9% in 2018. Second, it has an average exam mark of 86.7%.

This high school does have a yearly fee of $7,525, but the academics are worth the price of admission.  It is also an all girls school.

2. York House

York House is also an all-girls high school with excellent ratings. They have a 100% graduation rate from 2014-2018 and an average exam mark of 86.3%. This school, much like Little Flower, is also located off of King Edward and Granville. However, it is not a Catholic school.

Tuition is also significantly more expensive at $23,400 per year.

3. Crofton House

Situated in the southwestern part of Vancouver, in Kerrisdale, Crofton house ranks third on Fraser Institute's list. It boasts fantastic marks, graduation rates, and prepares students well for university. It is an all-girls school as well.

Tuition is $22,900 per year, which puts it at the higher end for private schools.

4. West Point Grey Academy

Located in the heart of affluential West Point Grey, this school has marks of 85.5% on exams and a perfect graduation rate. It is a coed school, so teens of all genders are welcome. The school is relatively new as well. It opened in 1996.  JK-Grade 12

Tuition is on the pricier side at $24,590 per year.

5. Mulgrave

Technically located on the outskirts of West Vancouver, this school is an excellent option for anyone considering living near Westmount, West Van. It boasts a perfect graduation rate and excellent exam marks.  Pre Kind to 12

Tuition for Mulgrave stands at $26,310 per year.

6. St John's

St. John's is a fantastic school choice for those living west of Granville. It has a 79.4% exam mark average and a perfect graduation rate. It's also a coed school so both girls and boys can attend  Jk-12

Tuition fees range from $21,550 per year up to $25,050.

7. St George's

Boasting a perfect graduation rate and an 81.8% exam mark, this school for boys is a fantastic option for people looking to live near Pacific Spirit Regional Park.  All boys gr 1 to 12

Tuition runs at $25,945 per year, making it also one of the more expensive options.

8. Collingwood

Located in West Vancouver in the Renfrew-Collingwood area, this coed school is a fantastic option for any teen student. It has a perfect graduation rate and an 81.9% average exam mark. JK-12

Tuition for grades 10 through 12 is $25,500. For grade nine, the cost is slightly less at $21,450.

 9. King David

A Judaic community high school, King David is a fantastic coed school that offers academics with extracurricular activities. King David has a perfect graduation rate with a 75.8% exam rate.

Tuition is a little cheaper at $20,550 per year.

10. Vancouver College

This school is the "brother" college for Little Flower Academy. The Vancouver College all-boys Catholic school ranks tenth on the list with a 75.8% exam rate and a perfect graduation rate.

Tuition costs $7,825 per year.

Vancouver Is Home To The Best High Schools

If you're looking for the best university-preparatory education for your teen, Vancouver has the best private schools you could ever want. Check out some of these schools today and find one that works for you.

Posted in Community News
Jan. 16, 2020

Cost of living in Yaletown Vancouver BC

Cost of living in Yaletown Vancouver BC

Canada is a country that has natural beauty but also have economic growth opportunities. Many people from all over the world migrate from their countries to the different cities of Canada. Almost all the Canadian cities have individual specialties but today, we are going to discuss about Yaletown Vancouver BC.

The history of the city was very old but it has been changed into one of the city's chicest neighborhoods, occupied with high rises and luxury condos, walkway bistros, cool eateries, remarkable shopping, and verdant parks. Sitting along the south side of the midtown Vancouver landmass, Yaletown condos for sale is flanked by Homer Street, Robson Street and False Creek.

Yaletown condos for sale:

Condos is the luxurious residential area or houses and flats that are owned by sole owner or a family. In short, condos and townhomes are very pricy in this part of the Vancouver. Yaletown condos for sale are readily available on MLS or through your Realtor. If you are interested, you can reach out to our team as well or search on this site here. The living cost of Yaletown is higher as compare to other residential areas of the city.

The living cost is also depending on the number of people and their monthly cost, so if you are living with a family that means you need around $5000 minimum for food and many other arrangements of a four membered family. Let’s check out what would you can enjoy in this city with less money.

General view:

The waterfront parks are a major attraction in Yaletown. The city's seawall runs directly along the water, interfacing two of the greatest green spaces: David Lam Park and George Wainborn Park. Walk, run, bicycle or inline skate along the Seawall and you'll discover a lot of local people doing likewise and getting a charge out of the brilliant open craftsmanship sprinkled along the waterfront. The area's authentic roots are likewise clear as Engine 374, pulled the primary cross-country traveler train into the city in 1887, in plain view at the Roundhouse Community Center.

Eating and Drinking

Yaletown's old redbrick stockrooms were worked to incorporate outside stages to take into account simple stacking of materials onto trains to be sent back east. Those equivalent stages are currently repurposed as bright, urban yards for the ideal early lunch, evening beverages and midyear meals. Yaletown is an incredible spot for a celebratory fish lunch, a casual bistro dinner, or a family-accommodating dining experience; there are a bunch of feasting alternatives making it simple to walk the region first before picking a café.

Shopping and Souvenirs:

Yaletown offers vital nearby shopping alternatives, and even window shoppers will cherish the cool boutiques, inviting assistance and novel things that the generally privately claimed stores offer. From style to originator homewards, the stores in this area are peculiar, sharp and a great deal of fun – think creator hound dress, present day baths, and notable caps.

Moreover, the living cost of the city also depending on the live style of the family. If you have a small family, you can save money by moving in a smaller one bedroom and den condo in Yaletown. If you can afford a bit more then Yaletown offers many amazing condos for sale for you.

Find your dream home in Yaletown

Posted in Community News
Jan. 15, 2020

Pros and Cons of Living In Vancouver VS Toronto

 

If you are looking to move to Canada from another country or you are looking to move within Canada, you've undoubtedly looked at two of the most popular destinations, Vancouver and Toronto. They're both big cities that are continuing to experience sizable growth due to their expansive economy, fun activities, and fantastic scenery.

 

It is often a hard choice to pick between these two cities, mostly because they are different. Toronto has an east coast feel, and many people think of it as a Canadian New York. Vancouver, on the other hand, has a distinctive west coast feel. It feels more like San Francisco or Seattle (which is only three hours south).

 

Let's take a look at how these two cities stack up and which one you should make your new home within the country!


Since there are so many topics we can compare about Vancouver vs Toronto. This video will focus on the economy, weather, nightlife, outdoors activity and finally housing.

 

Economy: A Pro For Vancouver And, To A Lesser Extent, Toronto

 

If you are looking for employment, British Columbia is the place to be. With Canada's current lowest unemployment rate, the BC economy is generally diverse and robust. In Vancouver, people work as software developers, accountants, marketers, advertisers, and across a wide variety of jobs in various industries. Outside the city limits, there are many outdoor jobs for people of all skill sets. This trend is not new. BC generally has one of the most robust and diverse economies within the country.

 

Toronto's economy is also good, but not quite as excellent as Vancouver's. A lot of this is due to diversification. Banks and financial institutions have a strong presence in Toronto. The Toronto Stock Exchange is within the downtown area. While this means that Toronto has a strong banking sector, it also means that Toronto's primary industries tend to be related to finance. If you are in banking, this is fantastic. However, if you want to work in other sectors, then Vancouver is often the better choice.

 

Weather: Pro For Vancouver, Con For Toronto

 

The Pacific Northwest gets a bad reputation for raining steadily. Because of this reputation, people all over North America tend to question why people want to move here. The reality is that, while it does rain in Vancouver, the overall climate is excellent - especially when compared with the rest of Canada. Winters are mild, and summers are warm and sunny. There isn't anywhere near the level of humidity that exists on the east coast. Vancouver also doesn't get much snow, although we do frequently get a week or two of it, which is just enough time for the kids to have fun!

 

Usually, people who move out to BC from Toronto find that much of the doom-and-gloom stories of weather are greatly exaggerated. Vancouver is milder than most places and still gets more sunlight than other world-class cities, like London, UK, for example!

 

By contrast, Toronto summers are frequently muggy, and the temperatures reach well-below freezing in the winter. While Toronto might get less snow than some other big cities like Montreal, it still gets hit pretty hard. The Toronto climate is not as envious as Vancouver's and typically is a con for most people.

 

Nightlife: A Pro For Toronto, And To A Lesser Extent, Vancouver

 

If you're looking for fun and vibrant nightlife, then Toronto is the place to be. Downtown Toronto has numerous restaurants, bars, sporting events, theatre options, and clubs. You can see top-rated shows, have fantastic drinks, and eat great food in Toronto.

 

Vancouver does have a fun nightlife scene as well, but it is not quite as epic as Toronto. You can go to clubs, bars, and restaurants, but when top chefs and the like choose to open new establishments, they often choose Toronto as their first destination. A large part of that is population, however. The Greater Toronto Area has just under 6 million people, whereas the Greater Vancouver Area has around 2.5 million.

 

Outdoors Activities: An Amazing Pro For Vancouver, A Con For Toronto

 

If you are into outdoor activities, Vancouver is the spot for you. Vancouver has epic scenery. Mountains, trees, beautiful rivers, and streams, all make Vancouver stunningly gorgeous. If you take the ferry to Vancouver Island, you'll witness splendour along the journey. There are many places to hike in Vancouver. Driving up to Whistler will provide you with lots of fun outdoor activities, like skiing, in the winter. Vancouver is a great place to be outdoors.

 

Toronto doesn't have this. There aren't the same level of hiking opportunities in Toronto. Toronto also doesn't have the same mountainous terrain. Therefore, while you can go skiing outside of the city, it's not quite as impressive as Vancouver. If you love the outdoors, Toronto probably won't cut it for you.

 

Housing: A Con For Both Toronto And Vancouver

 

There's no denying it - housing costs in both Toronto and Vancouver are high. The difference between the two regions is what the governments are doing to address housing affordability.

 

Vancouver and British Columbia are actively working to keep costs within reason. BC has implemented both a vacancy tax and measures to tax foreign ownership. These moves have started to keep Vancouver property prices somewhat in check. If you're willing to commute, homes out in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Langley are all comparatively reasonably priced, given the square footage.

 

The Toronto and Ontario governments, however, have taken a more hands-off approach. As a result, 90% of earners make too little in Toronto to even afford a mortgage. If you are looking for a place to live and buy a home, Toronto may not be doable.

 

More Pros For Vancouver, But Both Are World-Class Cities

 

Vancouver is the second most livable city in North America and the sixth-ranked city in the world. Toronto comes in close at seventh place.

Both of these cities are world-class places to be. They offer robust economies, fun activities, and both cities are fantastic places for both families and single people. However, on the whole, Vancouver does have the edge. The natural beauty, economy, and weather make Vancouver a better destination, on average.

 

Thank you for watching the first part of this series on Pros and Cons of Vancouver & Toronto… stay tuned for the next one…..and if you are looking at moving to Vancouver, get in touch with me today. I can help you find the right home for your needs!

 

Posted in Real Estate News
Jan. 13, 2020

3 Reasons Why Harry & Meghan Should Move To Vancouver

3 Reasons Why Harry & Meghan Should Move To Vancouver

 

The news that rocked the Monarchy and set the internet ablaze last week was that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Prince Harry and Meghan - were looking at resigning from their positions as senior royals and looking to split their time between North America and the United Kingdom. In case you were living under a rock last week, or you were off in some faraway land with no internet service whatsoever, here are all the deets on what's happening.

 

There is immense speculation about where the Duke and Duchess will head. However, almost everyone agrees it will be somewhere within Canada. They loved their stay in North Saanich, BC, on Vancouver Island, and Meghan has a lot of familiarity with and love for Toronto, where she spent a lot of time filming Suits.

 

However, while these places are beautiful, they don't have quite the same pizazz as Vancouver. Vancouver is an incredible city, one that I would argue is fit for Royalty! So here are three reasons why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should consider this beautiful city to be their new abode.

 

It's Stunningly Gorgeous

 

Vancouver is an oasis of beauty. With beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and trees, it exudes charm everywhere you go. Whistler's a short drive away, and if they want a weekend getaway on Vancouver Island, they can still do that. There is so much to explore and do north and east of Vancouver. The former senior Royal family could have a blast with Archie in Stanley Park, go on the Capilano Suspension Bridge, or enjoy the sights in Granville Island.

 

Rumour has it that the Duke and Duchess want to go to a place where they can avoid the paparazzi and constant pressure of the Monarchy in Britain. Vancouver is a fantastic place to get out, enjoy the fresh air, and get away from all that!

 

Vancouver Is No Stranger To Wealth

 

The former senior Royal family might want to move to a more remote place, but in those places, a family of that much wealth and with that much of a security detail might find themselves out of place. The city of Vancouver is no stranger to people with wealth. There are many superbly wealthy people within the town - from billionaire Jim Pattison to Brandt C. Louie, chairman of London Drugs - that the Meghan and Harry would fit in perfectly. They would be able to enjoy impeccable dining experiences and fabulous shows, all while remaining relatively hidden compared with their life in the UK.

 

Vancouver's Weather Is Still Better Than London's

 

A lot of people complain about Vancouver's rain, but we still have it better than in London. London, like much of the UK, receives just 1,633 hours of sunlight per year. By contrast, Vancouver gets a comparatively sunny 1,937 hours!

 

Admittedly, we do get more rain than London does. However, we don't get quite the same levels of fog. So it all works out in the end.

 

Still, Vancouver would most certainly be an upgrade weather-wise from London!

 

Hopefully, Meghan And Harry Are Happy!

 

While I might think Meghan and Harry should consider Vancouver as their ultimate destination, at the end of the day, hopefully, they are happy no matter where they choose! It's an ambitious next step for the Duke and Duchess, and I wish them the very best on their journey!

 

 

Posted in Real Estate News