This summer, the City of White Rock and the White Rock Business Improvement Association have partnered to bring a free trolley service to White Rock! You can hop-on and hop-off on weekends, holidays and during select special events* from June 24 to September 4.
There are stops located throughout the City, so check the schedule below to find the closest one to you and begin exploring our beautiful City by the Sea!
*Some special event days have different schedules and/or routes. The alternate routes and times will be posted on this webpage.
Latest numbers from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) revealed that B.C.’s southwestern region has experienced significant home price growth in February, indicating a possible companion to the red-hot Vancouver market in the near future. Last week, the Board revealed that the benchmark price for a single-family property in the Valley increased by 20.4 per cent year-over-year and 0.4 per cent compared to January, hitting $859,300.
“This is the kind of February we like to see. Last year at this time, the incredible demand created a market that was difficult for consumers,”
according to FVREB president Gopal Sahota, as quoted by CBC News.
“Now, we have sales moving upward from the winter months at a typical, healthy pace and a growing inventory to support it,” Sahota stated, adding that the numbers are so far showing a “return to normal historical sales numbers.” Apartment prices also rose sharply by 26 per cent compared to February 2016 and 1.8 per cent month-over-month, up to $267,000. Meanwhile, average townhome costs grew by 25 per cent year-over-year and 0.5 per cent since January, reaching $422,400. Recently, Finance Minister Bill Morneau assured that the federal government is still closely monitoring the Canadian housing market, amid seemingly inexorable price growth in Vancouver and Toronto.
“We continue to be very focused on thinking about how we can manage what is peoples’ most significant investment. And we do watch the level of indebtedness, in particular around housing,” Morneau stated, adding that “strong underlying markets” continue to drive the two cities’ outsized performance. “So in Toronto and Vancouver, unemployment is lower in those two places than it is in some other places. Incomes are higher. The economy is doing better. So there are underlying reasons for the housing markets to do better and we’ll continue to monitor, to work with provinces and municipalities who have an important role to play here to manage what we see [as] a challenge, but not one that isn’t manageable.”
Join the City and Translink at our White Rock open house to talk about Phase One of the 10-Year Vision, which will reduce road congestion and add new transit services in every community, starting in early 2017.
Date: October 25, 2016
Time: 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: White Rock Community Centre, Gallery
Public consultation on the Phase One plan runs from October 11-31, 2016. Your input will inform the final Investment Plan that's presented to the Mayors' Council and TransLink Board for consideration in November 2016.
Foreign buyer tax has resulted in “policy shock,” but market will quickly recover to see prices higher than they are now, predicts Central 1 Credit Union chief economist
Courtesy of Joannah Connolly REW.ca September 20, 2016
Left to right: Tom Davidoff of UBC, Helmut Pastrick of Central 1 Credit Union and Tsur Sommerville of UBC listen to Arnon Dachner of Dentons at the UDI's September16 lunch panel on the Foreign Buyer Tax — Ryan Broda Photography
The “policy shock” of the new foreign buyer tax has created a “temporary market disruption” that will play out over the next three to six months, after which “market fundamentals” will mean the market recovers, according to a leading economist.
Speaking to a sold-out audience at the Urban Development Institute’s Foreign Buyer Tax luncheon and panel debate September 16, Helmut Pastrick, chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union, said that he expects house prices to recover so that they are higher this time next year than they are today.
Pastrick said, “I fully expect September’s sales to be down again, year-over-year, probably by 30 or 35 per cent compared with last September. The average price will probably fall again, relative to August, and this will play out over the next three to six months – it’s a temporary market disruption.
“After the market has absorbed this new tax regime, we will begin to see other market fundamentals come into effect. Prices will then continue to rise, and they will be higher this time next year.”
Pastrick’s fellow panellist at the UDI lunch, Tsur Sommerville, associate professor at UBC’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, added, “In other markets where a foreign buyer tax was introduced, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, in both those markets, prices continued to rise.”
Pastrick said later in the discussion, “I think home prices will begin to increase again, but at a slower rate. I expect to see higher prices until this economic cycle comes to an end, as all cycles do… But recessions only last a short while, and the cycle begins again. And in the long term, I would expect that over the next two or three decades, [Vancouver real estate] prices will double again, if not more than double. But there will be more economic cycles between now and then.”
He added, “Right now we don’t see any signs of an economic recession due to a shock event – we’re in a strong economic cycle.”
Sommerville added, “In terms of the demand side, you’ve got the combination of the strong economic cycle, low interest rates, and a demographic profile where you’ve got a large number of young people ramping up into home ownership. There are more Millennials than any other group, so you’re going to have a huge increase in housing demand, in a market where the ability to respond on the supply side is securely constrained.”
Sommerville’s colleague Tom Davidoff, associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, who was also on the luncheon panel, said that despite the strength of the economy and demand, there was still a significant risk of a sharp correction in home prices due to the foreign buyer tax.
He said, “A potential collapse in foreign buyer demand… could result in a less-bad version of what happened in the United States [in the sub-prime crisis of 2008]. There is a significant risk of an over-correction in prices – but I wouldn’t say that is the most likely outcome.”
The fourth member of the panel was lawyer Arnon Dachner, a partner at Dentons LLP, who warned delegates that tactics to avoid paying the foreign buyer tax – even seemingly legal approaches, such as contract reassignment – could be defined as an “avoidance transaction” that could leave the party still liable for the payable tax or other monies lost to the BC government.
The panel debate was moderated by Neil Chrystal, president and CEO of Polygon Homes, who recently told REW.ca that that he thought the overseas buyers’ tax was “morally and ethically wrong” and added, “I wouldn't be surprised if it was challenged legally.”
Joannah Connolly is the editor and content manager of REW.ca and Real Estate Weekly newspaper, and editor-in-chief of Western Investor and West Coast Condominium. She also moonlights as the host of the Real Estate Therapist call-in show on Roundhouse Radio 98.3FM every Saturday, 9-10am. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 20 years of media experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture and business media. Like many of the residents of her newly adopted town, Joannah has a decidedly unhealthy passion for Vancouver real estate and is often to be found scouring property listings well above her pay grade.
WHERE: Sandpiper Pub, White Rock WHEN: September 11 5 – 8 WHAT: Live music, door prizes, toonie toss, raffle and 50/50 HOW MUCH: $20 / ticket ( $10 directly to Semi Rugby) – You get a Burger, Fries and a Beverage (Beer or Pop) Kids Welcome – Bring the whole family
Agents, experts say Chinese buyers alone account for much more than 3% of B.C. homebuyers
Asia Real Estate Association of America, Vancouver chapter representatives say the government's data sample is too low to be accurate.
A provincial government statement that only 3% of B.C. residential sales are made to foreign buyers and that Chinese nationals represent just 2.5% of Metro Vancouver home buyers drew rolling eyeballs and laughter at the packed July 7 Asia Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) conference in downtown Vancouver.
“No. Absolutely not,” said an incredulous Byron Burley, Shanghai-based vice-president of Chinese-language juwaii.com, China’s largest foreign residential real estate search engine. “It is way, way higher than that.” Burley noted that millions of Chinese nationals use his site, which has from 3,000 to 5,000 residential listings from B.C. at any time.
“My intuition says it has to be much higher [than 3%]” said Michael North of the Asia Pacific Network Foundation, “just based on the number of people and the number of deals being done at this conference.”
North, COO of Hawaii-based Pacific Royalties, which specializes in linking North American real estate with Asian buyers, had just finished telling the conference that “a next wave of Chinese buyers” was about to crash into the Vancouver market.
“The rollout is accelerating,” North said, citing the recent expansion of China’s Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor program that encourages wealthy residents of China to invest in foreign real estate and stock markets.
“I would like to know where the B.C. government is getting their statistics,” said North, who estimated “at least 10%” of Metro Vancouver home buyers are foreign nationals.
Finance Minister Mike De Jong said the information was based on residential sales during a near three-week period in June, which began as the province began tracking the addresses of all buyers for the first time.
According to De Jong, there were 10,148 transactions between June 10 and 29 throughout B.C., half of which were in the Lower Mainland. Only 337 of those sales – 3.3% – involved foreign nationals.
“That is a very small sample,” said Tina Mak, a Vancouver real estate agent and president of AREAA Vancouver. “That is the problem. No one has hard data.”
Mak said she suspects that foreign buyers, particularly from Asia, represent a higher percentage in Metro Vancouver than the government data suggests. “But no one really knows.”
Vancouver real estate agents were less cautious in their response to the government data. “I would say 50% of house buyers, maybe 60% [are foreigners],” said Eve Chuang of Macdonald Realty.
Chuang and other agents at the AREAA conference said it is not the nationality of the buyer but the source of the capital that is important. Money from China, the real estate agents said, can be transferred to a relative with an address in Vancouver, who then acts as the buyer.
North added that, on larger transactions such as multi-family buildings, a Chinese national can open a Vancouver office.
“Name the company Maple Leaf Enterprise and hire Joan Smith to head it. Suddenly you’re a Canadian investor. Actually, that would be a good way to go if you’re a long-term investor.”
Burley agreed that is common for Chinese nationals to use local residents or companies as proxies when purchasing foreign real estate. But how many? “I have no idea,” Burley said, “I don’t think anyone does.”