Tidbits

Few little bits that caught my eye lately.

Firstly, seems like the number of price changes are increasing lately.   Unfortunately the Matrix database search is a little broken when searching for price changes in the past, but looking at the last few weeks the rate of price cuts has been increasing quite a bit.

Either the market’s appreciation rate is slowing, requiring some price flexibility from sellers to get properties sold, or the overpriced properties that didn’t move in the spring are being reduced to try for a summer / fall sale.  Something to watch going forward.

Rents

According to Padmapper, Victoria has the third highest rental rate in Canada at $1180/month for a 1 bedroom (up 7.3% in a year) and $1400 for 2 bedrooms (up 2.9% from last year).    Those numbers are higher than the CMHC stats mostly because CMHC only surveys purpose built rentals, and not privately rented condos that generally go for more money.

Regulations

The NDP are discussing options with respect to curbing speculation, saying that a speculation tax as proposed in their platform may not be the only option they are looking at.   The article is light on details, but David Eby has a good handle on the housing portfolio so I’m hoping for some effective changes, assuming they can actually get into power.   Meanwhile the City of Victoria is mulling more AirBnB restrictions, which has caused a bit of a storm in a teacup about the mayor’s recusal from related discussions.

Delinquency Rates

The CMHC has new data on delinquency rates, and as discussed earlier, it’s pretty clear that they don’t tell us a lot until house prices decline.

In the strong markets of Vancouver and Toronto, delinquency rates decreased to absurdly low levels.  In Victoria we saw the same thing as prices increased.

 

After all, why default on your mortgage if you can sell your house at any time for a large profit?   In the stagnant markets of Calgary and Edmonton we can see the effect of the downturn in increased delinquency rates.  It takes a while, but if house prices stay flat or decline for a couple years, people start running out of the easy options.   If Toronto undergoes a serious correction this will be an interesting stat to watch.

For now though in Victoria, we are still happily financing this runup in house prices with ever increasing mortgages.  All good until those rates rise!

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134 thoughts on “Tidbits

  1. You’re right.

    It’s not up to the Mayor of Victoria to have ethics.

    It’s perfectly okay for the Mayor of Victoria to know full well that people are not following the bylaws. It isn’t her issue as the leader of this city to set the standards for others.

    I’m going to start smoking in bus shelters.

  2. Vicbot

    Agree with what you’re saying. Some people think that makes Helps hypocritical though – because if she were to turn in her landlord, she might not benefit from her own rental being available.

    So if we follow that logic further… there’s no guarantee anything in that house would be any kind of rental if it sold to some other owner. Might be torn down, might be renoed into one big house.

    Helps turning in her landlord isn’t going to solve the housing issue in Victoria. Maybe her landlord also has a few pot plants with no license.. should she call the cops?

    If Helps owned the property, yes, clearly a hypocrite. If she owned a property and suggested the billeting idea but refused to do it herself, hypocrite. If her neighbours all were running airbnbs and she did nothing.. maybe somewhat hypocritical, but one can argue it’s not her job to police it.

    Not reporting your landlord is self preservation, not hypocrisy. Don’t shit where you eat and all that.

  3. “What if the landlord can’t afford to keep the house without that revenue, has to sell, then Helps is on the street trying to find a new rental. ”

    Agree with what you’re saying. Some people think that makes Helps hypocritical though – because if she were to turn in her landlord, she might not benefit from her own rental being available. (because the AirBnB might help pay the landlord’s bills for her suite, eg., electricity, water, property taxes)

    But as you said, being in academia or not having a business background or owning real estate, she may not recognize that issue that bothers other people.

  4. I think the whole suggestion of housing the homeless is naive and stems from the fact that Helps doesn’t own property. I don’t know anyone that owns that thought it was even a slightly sane suggestion. When I was a bleeding heart university student renting a crappy apartment, then maybe I would have thought, “Yah, that’s an idea, so many unused bedrooms! Smart!”

    Helps has spent a lot of time in academia. My experience with those sorts is they don’t think the same as you or me. They are a bit detached from reality.

    I don’t understand the focus on Helps’ landlord. To me it’s not different from it being a neighbour or some random person. Lisa has no stake in the property in question so she has no say. Could she turn in a bylaw infraction? Sure, but if it isn’t bothering her it seems like a losing proposition.
    Turning in your landlord, even anonymously is risky. What if the landlord can’t afford to keep the house without that revenue, has to sell, then Helps is on the street trying to find a new rental. Or what if the suites are converted to long term rentals, but the renters suck but aren’t actually doing anything eviction worthy?

    TL;DR If I were Helps I would not be turning in my landlord.

  5. Thanks for the link to the article, Bingo. They included the focus on luxury home building – that’s also been cited in numerous US reports about contributing to lack of inventory for the middle class.

    Anne, I got an interesting perspective about Lisa Helps when talking to a friend who’s visiting from Quebec.

    Under normal circumstances, nobody cares who has a relationship with whom. But he said it matters to him if a Mayor doesn’t want to answer questions about something that is directly related to the housing issue she herself brought up, ie., AirBnB + rental shortages + homelessness.

    (Similar to when CBC’s Carole McNeil & Exec VP Stursberg were in a relationship – well before they married – there were concerns at CBC about McNeil getting shows & favouritism because of it)

    He was also concerned with the Mayor’s personal judgement & whether “she’s lost touch with reality,” because of this statement:

    “What if there was a way to connect people living in vehicles, in motel rooms, on couches, with seniors living in large houses all alone” …

    Seniors are extremely vulnerable to scam artists, physical abuse, ie., “elder abuse”. Look at the Pieta case from Montreal:
    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/brave-and-courageous-92-year-old-escaped-from-people-she-says-controlled-her-life-with-forged-mandate

    As mayor of any city, you have a responsibility to ensure public healthy & safety. Some people are trying to promote this as “thinking outside the box” – which is total naivete & BS. I’ve volunteered to help the unfortunate, so you can be empathetic & realistic at the same time.

  6. I don’t care what relationship the Mayor has with her landlord.

    What I do care about is how the Mayor is looking into people with houses billeting homeless people when her own landlord has space in her house that she uses as an AirBnB when it could be used to house local, working people who are having a hard time finding a place to live. This is what bothers me.

  7. Pretty shocking the amount of mortgage broker fraud showing up. Sam Cooper did another great expose in Part 2 on the scum who will crash the market.

    “Canadian housing analysts Hilliard MacBeth, Ben Rabidoux and Vancouver short-seller David LePoidevin say mortgage fraud cases they are seeing in B.C. are similar to the dodgy loans that were exposed after the U.S. subprime meltdown of 2008. All three analysts said they expect B.C.’s fraud problems will be exposed when prices correct and the real estate collateral that backs loans is reduced in value, which could trigger a domino-like drop in the market.

    “I’m selling my home in West Vancouver,” LePoidevin said. “I think we could see a disaster in B.C.”

    http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/regulator-tracks-rise-in-mortgage-fraud-complaints-in-b-c-as-house-prices-jump

  8. Oak Bay looks to be at a year high in listings. Why does everyone want to escape the only place in the world to be ? Over rated maybe?

    I went the first year Luke, it was unique, but extremely packed shoulder to shoulder at some points so defeated the purpose IMO. I didn’t get people bringing their dogs down there either as most seemed freaked out at the tight crowds and a couple of near dog fights. I heard from friends the no grass(walkable kind) and too many food trucks killed the previous atmosphere.

  9. Great to see you again at the car free day yesterday Hawk! You do a great job as a mannequin 😉
    Forgot to ask you if you got to ‘dunk’ Lisa Helps earlier…

    I wanted to puke reading his post about car free day

    That was just meant to prove a point about how being too persnickety around apostrophe usage or grammar can get tiring. Esp. during the era of ‘autocorrect.’ I apologize if you felt sick yesterday – ‘Lurking’. Hopefully those numbers from the updates make you feel better soon… it’s tough out there as a buyer still.

    Dropped by car free YYJ in the afternoon. Enjoyed it a lot last year and the year before but gotta say I wasn’t impressed this time.

    I wasn’t impressed by the over-commercialization of car free day either – but what isn’t these days? However, I do like how events like that at least have the function to bring the community together. The rain was barely a mist and probably nicer than being on the asphalt in the hot sun. I wonder what it will be like on Douglas when all the vehicles get much quieter in the future. Perhaps a bit like car free day without the music?

  10. LeoS, how many of the 40 over asks were SFH’s in the core versus condos?

    13 were SF in the core. However if you back out the 5 lots on Atkins, then there are 8. Versus 10 condos in the core over ask.

  11. Point of comparison:
    2017:
    33% over ask, 31% at ask, 35% under

    2016 same days:
    22% over ask, 33% at ask, 44% under ask

    2015 same days: (roughly balanced market)
    6% over ask, 26% at ask, 68% under ask

    2013 same days (dead slow market):
    7% over ask, 17% at ask, 76% under ask

  12. Is that a normal distribution or out of the ordinary for the Times of late?

    I can’t say precisely as I don’t usually look at this distribution. 1/3 selling over ask is still a lot in my opinion. We can see that in the Sales / original ask ratio which is still as high as ever.
    What we need on that front is consistent data which can be tracked over time, which I expect to have a bit later in the summer.

  13. “I should point out that a new Chevrolet Volt is under $30,000.00 after the government grants.”

    Yes, thanks to all participants in this blog for their contribution to the purchase of my Chevy Volts.

  14. @ Leo S

    “The brand new Prius is rated 4.4/4.6 L / 100km so it will consume 3.375 litres to get to Sooke and back or about twice the energy than the Volt will use.”

    Yes, that’s correct.

    “From a carbon emissions perspective, the electricity generation in BC is about as close to zero CO2 emissions”

    Not really because BC sells surplus power where otherwise additional power would have been generated thermally. Therefore, what is used here by an electric car means more thermal power generated elsewhere. So in terms of CO2 emissions, it’s close to a wash. And that’s not counting the difference between a Prius and a Volt in embodied energy (Prius weight: 1325 kg, Volt weight: 1721 kg).

    “so the Prius will generate about 127 times as much CO2 per km as the Volt.”

    Correct on the calculation but I contend that the power you use will result in increased thermal generation wherever BC would otherwise have sold the surplus power. So adjusting for

    “so the Prius will generate about 127 times as much CO2 per km as the Volt.”

    I think there should have been a dot after the 1 in 127!

  15. Is that a normal distribution or out of the ordinary for the Times of late?

  16. On a per square foot price, the highest paid was $1000/sqft for a microcondo at the Janion.
    The lowest paid (outside of manufactured homes) was $195/sqft for a house in Sooke.

  17. Of the 119 sales in the last 3 days:

    40 sold over ask (more than 1% over asking price). Highest was 15% over ask for a townhouse on Crossandra Cres.
    37 sold at asking price (within 1% of asking price)
    42 sold under ask. Lowest was 17% under ask for a house in Mill Bay.

  18. I should point out that a new Chevrolet Volt is under $30,000.00 after the government grants.
    Unless you are one of those people who need all the bells and whistles and have “sucker” written on their forehead:)
    Our Hydro in BC is generally half of what everyone else in the world pays for electricity. And yes….when people convert to electric cars, we will likely be wishing that we had built the site C dam.
    It’s funny how so many of our politicians have little ability to look to the future.
    As someone said on this forum…the car dealers are having trouble supplying the demand for electric cars. The switch has started in earnest as people understand them better and how cheap they are to run. I don’t even use the brakes on my Volt. I brake with the paddle on the steering column which uses the engine instead. I am on the electric 99% of the time….so the little generator rarely get’s any use. (No wear and tear on that generator …… so no muffler being stressed all the time…etc etc.) Not to mention the fact that electricity is so cheap with no road taxes etc. Plus our electricity in BC is produced by Hydro. Super clean. In fact the envy of the world.

  19. You nailed it hawk. I wanted to puke reading his post about car free day.

    Anyway. Looking forward to update tommorow and the continued increase in listings and cancelled listings.

  20. I agree with leo that a “Pure” electric makes the most sense in the long run.
    Having said that though, one important fact is each persons needs.
    The Volt does have the added mechanical parts of the little on board back up generator and that will be obsolete one day as batteries become much better.
    But for me and my driving habits, I feel more comfortable knowing that I can drive anywhere and never be stuck. It’s peace of mind for me for when I drive up to places like Quesnel or Calgary, I’ll never have to make a stop to recharge the batteries. I also like to be able to plug into the regular outlets when I stop at an Air BnB and recharge my battery overnight.
    The exciting thing is that we now have many options that are practical for everyone’s needs. We do not need to rely on the gas companies or even the electric companies anymore. (If Hydro puts the electric rates up I can make it myself with solar panels on my roof)
    The government is offering $12,000.00 if you buy an electric car. You don’t pay any road tax. It doesn’t get better than that. The Volt qualifies as a full electric and the get’s the full grant.

  21. Dropped by car free YYJ in the afternoon. Enjoyed it a lot last year and the year before but gotta say I wasn’t impressed this time. No grass, no skate/bmx park set up like last year, no kids activities. Just endless booths trying to sell everything under the sun (or rain as it were). Probably won’t go next year.

  22. I agree a new Volt today makes no purely economic sense, but your math is a little off CS.

    75km to Sooke return, using 14kWh. So 5.35km/kWh (as a point of reference, I drove the Leaf up to Duncan and back, then downtown and back today and averaged 7.9km/kWh).

    14kWh + 10% for charging losses is 15.5kWh.
    A litre of gas is equivalent to 8.8kWh. So to drive the Volt to Sooke and back is 1.75 litres of gas.

    The brand new Prius is rated 4.4/4.6 L / 100km so it will consume 3.375 litres to get to Sooke and back or about twice the energy than the Volt will use.

    From a cost perspective, the electricity for the Volt will cost you $1.90. The gas for the Prius $4.11.

    From a carbon emissions perspective, the electricity generation in BC is about as close to zero CO2 emissions as you can get (9 tons/GWh), so the Prius will generate about 127 times as much CO2 per km as the Volt.

    Eventually the pure electrics make more sense than the Volt though just due to simplicity. A handful of moving parts instead of hundreds.

  23. The Chevy Volt is a good concept. Quiet electric drive around town, speedy acceleration (some American mag said it would outrun a Tesla S up to 50 kph), plus another 450 to 500 km in the tank if you’re going out of town. And a big hatch, which I find will take at least six contractor bags of hedge clippings etc., with another bag or two up front in the passenger seat.

    As an economic proposition, however, there has to be some doubt as to whether this represents the future. Full price, a top-end Volt plus tax costs $57,775.00, which is nearly twice the average price paid for a new car. What’s more, the Volt is not that efficient in electric mode. Victoria to Sooke and back will pretty well drain the battery, i.e., 14 kwh plus several kwh due to resistance losses while charging, which in energetic terms is equivalent to about two litres of gas, which happens to be enough to drive a Prius to Sooke and back.

    But then generation of the electricity to drive the Volt will result in increased demand for thermal power (either in BC or where surplus BC hydro power would otherwise have been sold) produced with an efficiency of, at best, 60%. So Overall, the Volt, a heavy car — though lighter than a Tesla — may thus generate greater carbon emissions per mile than future, light-weight, gas-powered cars. Sure Hydro is cheaper than gas, but only because we pay non-market rates for power and no excise taxes.

    Meantime, improvements in gas engines continues. Mazda has increased efficiency with their high compression ratio engines and it is claimed that digital valve activation will make gas engines as efficient as diesel, but without the toxic emissions.

    Incorporate a highly efficient gas engine into a hybrid drive train and you have something much lighter in weight, much lower in cost and at least as efficient as a Volt. In places like India and China, where the car population is exploding, most people will go for the cheaper option if it is available.

    My bet is that the electric Smart Car, however dumb the actual design, is a better indicator of the way things will go. Compact electric cars, with small batteries and limited range (possibly with inductive pick-up of charge from cables embedded in the the road bed) are the future of urban transportation, with many autonomous (c0in-operated?) vehicles or small electric buses available for hire.

  24. Luke, you may have given Introvert an aneurysm 🙂

    Glad to see more electric vehicles out there. I also think autonomous vehicles will benefit both city & suburbs.

    The reason people congregate around a city core or suburban core is because they’re social animals, and need to go to university, college, or work. They like minimizing the time wasted getting there – no matter if it’s Skytrain, or a taxi, or an autonomous car, they just don’t want to be trapped inside a moving object for too long because it takes time away from their more essential activities.

    There’ll definitely be “town centres” like Vancouver developed, but it doesn’t seem to take away from the appeal of the already-developed coastal areas with long-established educational, shopping, and outdoor activities.

  25. 1676 Chandler Ave – 2007 build, listed for $1.775k sold for $1,900k. Quality home, but lots of 50’s duplexes right next to it and across the street. Not the best view for that price.

    Seems the demand for the rare, newer quality homes is still alive and kicking, for now…

  26. Happy father’s day folks.

    Its time for everyone to have fun downtown today with no electric or motorized cars for YYJ car free day!

    Its fun to walk up/down Douglas St, w/ your kid or dog and it’s ice cream. Its best not to forget to make sure your happy yellow dog wears it’s bandana!

    Its no coincidence that the rain stopped as well, just in time for YYJ Day in all it’s glory. Its a little cold for June, someone called its ‘Juneuary’ this year. But that so often happens, after all, its BC!

    Its even apparent, they’ve got grass set up on our fair main street – its going to be wonderful to see that, its a fun time for one and all. Its time today, to bring your friends family and outside visitors and show them how great its is when all of them can see BC, it’s Capital – Victoria in all it’s glory! Maybe the sun will shine and make it’s better. Its a wonderful time to be alive 😉 Its a wonderful city to live in 🙂

    Its time to head on out one and all, its so much fun! Its a Wonderful Life! Just call it’s what its is….

  27. Electric autonomous cars will also benefit those in the city equally since there will be less need for parking and roads everywhere. This will create more pedestrian only spaces with the bones already in place for that to work. Less noise and less pollution will also make city cores more desirable. I think autonomous cars won’t make rural crap shacks worth more than urban crap shacks in our lifetime….

  28. I see the house on 1580 dropped its price again to 2.040 million. I went through an open house last weekend and I still think that they are wildly over priced. I might be totally off base but I think they would be lucky to get 1.6 mil.

  29. Well, I would definitely consider an electric car to replace our older second car when it finally gives up the ghost. Its a 2002 but I might be able to keep it going for another five years or so with a bit of luck.
    Other than my first few cars which started out as ten years old, I generally always tried to keep a car for at least ten years.

  30. Electric cars are here now and I find it fascinating. How does this relate to a real estate blog you might ask? Well…. the next step for electric cars is fully “Autonomous” cars and they are going to arrive much sooner than people think. Still not see the connection to a real estate blog:)
    Think about it for a minute.
    Take away the cost and the huge inconvenience of the commute and my bet is that people will start to flee the inner cities where it costs over half a million dollars for a shoe box, stuffy apartment. I predict that cities are going to shrink. I know this is counter to what we see happening right now and most people would disagree with me. But I am convinced.
    In Sooke you can still buy an almost brand new, four bedroom house with a legal one bedroom suite in it for $550,000.00. (The suite rents for $900.00 giving you extra income.) The city taxes in Sooke are at least 25% cheaper. Take away the cost of the commute (electric is only $1.75 return) and add the convenience of getting your work done or having a nap while you zip along “autonomously” and try to convince me that people will not feel tempted to think about the idea. It would not be for everyone. But one thing we know is that nothing stays the same. People left the inner cities before and I believe they are about to do it again once fully autonomous cars arrive in the next ten years. It’s something to think about anyway:)

  31. Volt is a very good option. Enough electric range for 95% of the trips most people take without any range issues for longer trips. We have a Leaf and it works great for us. Enough range for around town, Vancouver, and mid island which is 99% of the driving we do.
    For longer distance we borrow the mother in law’s RAV.

  32. We bought our Chevrolet Volt a few months ago and just love it. We have also noticed more of the electric vehicles around us as we drive around town. Not at all surprised. Once you have one you realize just how amazing they are and how cheap they are to run. For example: We drive out to Sooke and all the way back into Victoria at a cost of $1.75 in electricity. (You can’t take a bus out to Sooke for that little.)
    We like the Volt because we can charge it up using a regular, “normal” outlet plug in our home. It charges overnight and we are ready for the next day. The beauty of the “Volt” is that it is considered a Full electric and so it qualifies for the full grant from the government. (Total of $12,000.00 these days)
    It also has an onboard gasoline generator if you have to drive on long distances…say….to Calgary. It then operates as a “Hybrid”. The main thing to keep in mind though is that you rarely have to use the Hybrid mode. (And it all operates seamlessly without having to be aware of what the engine is doing.)
    The government is not going to be giving out $12,000.00 grants for ever! So if you are ready for a new car…..think electric. We drive for weeks without burning any gasoline because the 85 km battery range is all we ever need….and that is what the average driver only needs. Chevrolet could have placed more batteries in the car to give you more range but they chose not to because it didn’t make any sense to add more weight to drag around if you aren’t likely going to use it anyway.
    I would rather have the Chevrolet “Volt” instead of their Chevrolet “Bolt”. (The Bolt does not have the gas back up engine and so can;t operate as a Hybrid ….and I would not feel comfortable with that option for longer trips.

  33. Can a buyer who bought a home on no conditions ask the seller to patch a hole on a wall? To be more precise, if the buyer requested that something that was affixed to the wall be removed, and of course, there will be holes from the screws. Does the buyer have the right to ask the seller to patch the holes and paint the wall?

    No. I mean he can ask of course, but don’t expect any success.

    If the holes are very large (say they significantly damaged the wall when removing the fixture) then you may have a case as it would violate section 8 of the standard CPS

  34. Kalvin:

    If the buyer asked for the fixture to be removed but did not specify repairs my guess is that he is out of luck. Houses are generally bought as is in terms of condition. There were holes in the wall when you bought it.

  35. Sorry this is off topic. I’m wondering if any of you folks here know the answer to this question. Can a buyer who bought a home on no conditions ask the seller to patch a hole on a wall? To be more precise, if the buyer requested that something that was affixed to the wall be removed, and of course, there will be holes from the screws. Does the buyer have the right to ask the seller to patch the holes and paint the wall?

  36. The real story will come out when she sues. I have my own accusation to make. Isn’t Victoria Buzz, Victoria BC Today, I heart downtown Victoria, Vibrant Victoria, Citified all connected via the same two people?

    It is interesting how the alternative media is just as consolidated as the mainstream media.
    But there is no point in suing, probably just better to let this be forgotten. I suspect most people don’t care that much.

  37. Dasmo ,does make you wonder if those industry hoes are running into roadblocks on their developments. All that supposed foreign money maybe ?

    Why does the BOC want to keep secret how bad this money laundering might be ? They created this shit pile.

    “The Bank of Canada will not reveal the number of high-ratio loans issued in Metro Vancouver, but says they are concerned with the rapid growth in these loans.”

  38. The real story will come out when she sues. I have my own accusation to make. Isn’t Victoria Buzz, Victoria BC Today, I heart downtown Victoria, Vibrant Victoria, Citified all connected via the same two people? Posting news stories as if unrelated. All she needs to do is prove malicious intent. If she can show they run multiple media outlets that get their revenue from the real estate industry (which is negatively affected by these AirbnB Restrictions) AND that they are colluding to publish false statements to discredit her. Then collect their derogatory comments about her on Vibrant Victoria and she has a solid case.

  39. I’m seeing so many Nissan Leafs (and a handful of Teslas) around Victoria these days

    Both the Nissan dealer and Motorize can’t bring them in fast enough.

  40. Hurrah! YouTube links!

    All that measured and reasoned discourse was getting tiresome.

    If Just Jack spent on work just half the time he spends on YouTube, he’d have a down payment on a house by now.

    …along with it’s attempt at being B.C’s capital…

    Same error as before, Luke. You really don’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s.” But don’t worry, it’s just a blog!

    …each city stands on it’s own…

    Deryk Houston, not you too! Ignorance is a virus! Good thing this is just a blog.

    wonder if the discount for living on a busier road will decrease when the majority of cars are electric in a decade or so. no pollution, less noise.

    Interesting thought, Leo. I guess there would still be “visual pollution,” but your point is valid.

    I’m seeing so many Nissan Leafs (and a handful of Teslas) around Victoria these days. Great to see.

  41. First, the “common law” argument has been put to rest. But in that CTV article “she won’t elaborate on her relationship with the homeowner” (separate from common law)

    That’s not the point though. It’s not 1 fact in isolation. It’s a confluence of factors that contribute to whether voters or employees have confidence in a leader.

    The city is on the verge of regulating STVRs. There’s a rental shortage. Helps suggested homeowners should take in the homeless without a defined screening policy in place.

    Then she’s renting a place that LeoM said isn’t zoned duplex, and has a STVR.

    Personally, if I was campaigning to some of the biggest issues Victoria faces – housing shortages, rental shortages, STVR controversies – I just wouldn’t live in that duplex, because to me, it would seem hypocritical.

    As a leader you need to be concerned about what voters see as hypocritical, whether or not you are following the letter of the law.

  42. At the risk of going on too long about this:

    However, when contacted by Victoria Buzz, Helps disputed the claims. “[Unger and I] run a composting business together called The Backyard Project. That is what that [Village Vibe] article is about,” Helps stated. “I live at 1619 1/2 Camosun Street, it’s the upper portion of the duplex. Sometimes I write it simply as 1619 for ease. It is a completely separate dwelling unit from 1619.”

    “[Unger and I] are not common law partners. We do not share a dwelling. We do not share finances and I do not benefit financially or otherwise from the AirBnb,” Helps stated. “I can confirm that Marianne Unger did not make a cash contribution to either of my campaigns but that she is a graphic designer and did contribute in kind services to both my 2011 and 2014 campaigns for graphic design and website. [sic] Elections BC requires that all in kind contributions are given a dollar value based on their value in professional services.”

    Helps added that she would like the post removed and an apology from Victoria BC Today for the assumptions that they made. She confirmed that if such actions are not taken, she will be considering legal action.

    http://victoriabuzz.com/2017/06/mayor-lisa-helps-accuses-victoria-bc-today-fake-news/

  43. In that news article you linked, she didn’t say that she wasn’t in a relationship with the owner.

    “She said ‘I do not have a common-law partner,'” and “She said she won’t elaborate on her relationship with the homeowner”

    Voters can figure out when someone is being evasive (one can be in a relationship and not be common law). That is the crux of this.

    As I’ve said, I’ve been encouraged by some of her other policies, but I don’t think this is being handled well. Especially when LeoM can find the physical address questions with her & her landlord.

  44. Does the mayor actually live in one address exclusively and alone, or do they both live together in the upper floor at 1619?

    Not sure why people feel the need to keep questioning someone’s personal relationship when she has released public statements and confirmed she is not in a relationship with her landlord and that she rents a room in the upper unit and does not share finances and maintains separate living space. She has specifically confirmed no financial benefit from the suites or property and is not on title. Plus she recused herself from the discussions.

    I’ve reviewed numerous statements by the Mayor now. She has been transparent in her communications as far as I can tell, to a fault. I’m more inclined to vote for her now than before this furor arose and I did not know as much about her how and she has conducted herself in the past.

    You really could not get a better advocate for those who need the most help in our City, nor for environmental issues. Her idea to share space with the homeless is not well thought out imo, but it was done with good intentions and I guess the focus group will provide some options.

    http://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/victoria-mayor-says-website-s-claims-she-operates-airbnb-are-false-1.3459969

  45. Agree that New West more comparable to Esquimalt due to its more industrial background being converted to new homes & condos.

    Also from that Vancouver article – thanks for posting it:

    “the Richmond banker told the couple that RBC would provide mortgage financing to customers who provided certificates of deposit issued by banks in China showing they had “assets of equal value” to secure an asset-backed mortgage in B.C. They allege the banker told the couple if they didn’t have assets, they could ask family or friends in China to provide certificates of deposit, and the names on the documents could be changed.

    The banker “confirmed that he had ‘helped’ some of (the realtor’s) previous clients obtain mortgages from RBC in this manner,” the civil claim alleged.

    Zhao and Hao also alleged they were told that “proof from China is the easiest to get and they could download forms from the Internet to fake proof of assets in China.”

    http://vancouversun.com/storyline/risky-mortgages-shadow-bankers-threaten-vancouver-housing-markets-stability

  46. This is good for her politically. All it does is give her lots of exposure and thus brand recognition. It let’s those that already dislike her for other reasons have a seemingly righteous subject to spout off about. The louder they do this the more brand recognition she gets. It will have no effect on changing anyone’s opinion….

  47. The situation with Helps is happening because leadership is more than about legal arguments. Leadership is about winning the confidence and trust of the voting public (or with my business background, in your employees). Businesses books like Good to Great explain this well – but I’ll try here.

    As a political or business leader, you’re held to a higher standard (at least in the non-US world right now 🙂 ) of honesty, or at least the appearance of forthrightness.

    At a time when city council is going to regulate STVRs, it’s critical from a PR standpoint that she not appear personally hypocritical, no matter whether she’s legally recusing herself or not.

    Because she “refused to answer” questions about her relationship with her landlord in the news article, this immediately raises suspicions about “what else is she hiding?”

    If I was in her position, there’s a simple solution: I would answer the question. If I was in a relationship with the landlord (even if not common law), I would apologize about the apparent conflict of interest, and describe what steps we are taking to address the STVR situation (eg., pay a fine, or change it when the new city regulations are defined)

    But to tell you the truth, I would have solved this sticky issue before running for office (or soon after taking office) in a city that has a rental shortage.

  48. Helps problem is does she practice what she preaches and that reflects on her character and credibility.

    She preaches affordable housing and then lives in a place that makes a bundle most months and doesn’t do anything for the people she was voted in to represent who wanted change to housing that she promised she would try to do. She comes off looking hypocritical.

    She put herself in the situation and could have chosen to separate herself from the “perception” she was not on the up and up. Perceptions in politics is everything and she failed in my opinion. End of story.

  49. Now that’s frightening. Maybe the new bridge steel was used as collateral and has been flipped 10 times and is now a mansion in Oak Bay.

    “One U.S. hedge fund manager, who did not want to be identified, said: “We all know that the ghost collateral is a huge deal, and we all know that the shadow banking and other Chinese influence in Vancouver is profound. The issue it that the ghost collateral ends up re-hypothecated and laundered. So by the time it shows up in Vancouver, it will likely just look like a rich Chinese cash buyer with a suitcase of money. “

  50. Still….4 ton metal objects zipping around in front of the house, now with no one behind the wheel. But yes, less noisy and less bad for health.

  51. I am finding this speculation about Ms. Helps EXACT living arrangements tiresome and irrelevant.

    As Dasmo pointed out half the city lives in bylaw breaking houses. On my little section of street 4 out of 9 houses have unauthorized suites. 6 out of 9 have had significant unpermitted modifications or additions

  52. LeoS,

    This is the clincher that could cause a major crash when the shadow bankers get nasty and force fire sales. I’m sure these guys aren’t like the NL@TB.

    It’s not brain surgery to imagine Victoria has it’s fair share of fraud mortgages.

    Banks are giving out mortgages based on shady down payments. This has catastrophic possibilities.

    “There is also evidence of growing links between shadow banks and traditional banks, according to the Bank of Canada’s June 2017 report, as people borrow large amounts from shadow lenders to use as down payments in order to qualify for lower-interest loans from federally regulated banks.”

    “A number of cases involving these lenders contain allegations with characteristics similar to the fraudulent loans exposed in the aftermath of the U.S. subprime lending crisis of 2008. Postmedia’s review of over 30 regulatory or civil court cases shows a trend of allegations that home buyers and real estate professionals are involved in deceptive mortgage applications that include exaggerating the incomes of borrowers, forged documents of home ownership used by multiple borrowers to obtain mortgages, phoney claims of offshore assets used to back home loans, falsely inflated collateral accepted by subprime lenders to fund real estate development loans, and falsified CRA tax return documents.”

  53. It’s Saturday, but I doubt if Lisa Helps’ week from hell is over yet.

    The mayor might be playing with semantics. She said she lives alone in a duplex on the upper floor. The building she lives in is not zoned ‘duplex’ but is zoned single family, yet it has two addresses 1619 and 1621 which implies it has one legal suite. The mayor asserted that she lives alone in the upper one-half of the duplex; her address on public documents City Hall website state she lives at 1619, coincidentally Marianne Unger, the landlord, also states her address as 1619-Upper according to her website.

    Does the mayor actually live in one address exclusively and alone, or do they both live together in the upper floor at 1619?

  54. I wonder if the discount for living on a busier road will decrease when the majority of cars are electric in a decade or so. no pollution, less noise.

  55. I don’t agree with John Dollar at all on New Westminster versus oak Bay.
    I’ve had this discussion several times now on house hunt for several years now and it’s clear people have different views.
    I still believe that each city stands on it’s own. A city has assets such as theatres, commerce, symphonies, universities, law firms, hospitals etc etc. How close you are to those helps determine what people are willing to pay for a house. New Westminster obviously has a lot going for it. I’m not saying New Westminster is not worth the money. People are quite willing to pay over one million for a broken down home there. My point is that when you also look at what Victoria has going for it, then we are very fortunate that our houses are still very reasonably priced. (We shouldn’t be running around like our hair is on fire ….shouting that prices are stupidly crazy. Instead…we should recognize a great opportunity staring us in the face and act as best as we can on that idea.)
    My kids have been able to buy a house within a fifteen minute walk to Uptown for less than $450,000.00. I find that astonishingly good value. (They bought it privately…..which eliminated the bidding wars encountered by those who would only consider regular listings as a choice to purchase a house.)

  56. So basically just enforce existing laws. Perfect. Now that houses and condos can’t be sold as low tax hotels what will be the price impact I wonder?

    So basically, on our little rocky ‘hankerchief’ of land (as Ms. Helps likes to call it )
    No impact… about the same as it is now 😉

    New West is a suburb of Van Pop: 71,000 that has historical context housing in common with Oak Bay, along with it’s attempt at being B.C’s capital it once tried to take that away from Victoria!

    I feel it’s it’s kind of like View Royal/Esquimalt is to Vic as New West is in relation to Van. need I say more?

  57. Exactly caveat. It’s completely transparent that it was an attack against her from someone with an axe to grind. It’s finding the tiniest shred of something to try to blow up into a controversy with here at the centre. The laws passed do NOT benefit her, she excused herself from voting, Half the city lives in bylaw breaking dwellings. The attack is also coming from those that are against AirBnB regulations. So they are reaching…. They think they got something when the controversy is mostly that they are attacking her. It gets those that are already against her all in arms but that’s it. It’s Trumpian and unethical use of mass media. It’s the world we live in now….

  58. Whether the Mayor likes the law is irrelevant, it is her duty to enforce the laws as the chief executive.

    It is assuredly not her “duty” to enforce bylaws. Whether she should have reported it is really a matter of opinion. Had she “reported” it there still would not have been enforcement. I doubt bylaw officer would act unless there was an actual complaint.

    “i’d like to report my landlord for an illegal short term rental.”

    “Is it bothering you?”

    “Not in the slightest.”

    End of story

  59. So bylaws are not enforced unless there are complaints?

    Tear your house down without a permit or overpark downtown and you will realize that statement needs qualification. Lots of bylaws on the books. Life would be intolerable if the city aggressively enforced all of them, but they do protect us from egregious behaviour.

  60. New Westminster is a forty five minute drive to the main core of Vancouver.
    Oak Bay on the other hand is a short bike ride to the main core of Victoria.

    New Westminster is fairly close to the same size as Victoria in population and density.

    As for Oak Bay being a short bike ride to Victoria an apples to apples comparison would be how far Oak Bay is from Vancouver just as how far New Westminster is from Vancouver.

    And now for something completely different

    https://youtu.be/gWJ8_B9BVxo

  61. My point is that Victoria is still relatively inexpensive when compared to the Vancouver area.

    A statement that applies to every city in Canada.

  62. The mayor is not the CEO of the City. The role of the mayor is as spokesperson on Council matters and chair of Council. The CEO, a paid position, is spokesperson on operational matters such as bylaw enforcement.

    The job of Council and the mayor is not to enforce bylaws, nor to report on their neighbors, but to represent their electorate on Council. They are not charged with enforcement nor do they give out tickets so your police officer scenario is not similar fact.

    Council members contravening the bylaws directly would be an issue re. their code of conduct. Renting space from someone who is contravening a bylaw and not reporting it is, in my view, not unethical nor a breach of the code of conduct. Whether there was a cash or in kind contribution form the landlord is a moot point given that she has recused herself from the debate.

    I looked more into Ms. Helps background and I can see why she would be supportive of not actively reporting unauthorized suites and Airbnb. She comes from a community activism background which supports those on low incomes and from backgrounds of disadvantage. She set up a microloan program, for example. Coming from a background of poverty myself I know folks who are renting out space in their homes are not generally those with positions of privilege and wealth.

    The issue will be that many, like you, will see this as a breach of Council’s general duty of good conduct and like to see her suffer for this. I can see your point, I just don’t personally agree with it given her track record of good works and assistance for those with low incomes and the fact she has no personal benefit and has stated this.

    Maybe this will blow over, or maybe it will blow up. We’ll see.

  63. Not cohabiting is different than not being in a relationship.

    Who cares? Say she’s in a relationship and her landlord buys her a bottle of wine every time she rents out the Airbnb.
    What’s the correct response from Helps? Recuse herself from any AirBNB discussions. Which is exactly what she did.

    If Helps had NOT recused herself this would be worth talking about.

  64. That’s it! I’m housing chickens, international students in drawers like on Seinfeld and turning my shed into an AirBnB.

    Go for it. If no one complains you’re fine.

  65. Totoro:

    If I read the article correctly there was also a $ 10,000 cash contribution plus services. Not cohabiting is different than not being in a relationship. If policeman sees his girlfriend, or former girlfriend or any friend for that matter parked illegally and then decides not to give her a ticket how is this different.

    Whether the Mayor likes the law is irrelevant, it is her duty to enforce the laws as the chief executive.

    This is a person running a business no different than any other. Calling it a “sharing economy may sound trendy and sweet but it just puts lipstick on a pig.

  66. “My point is that Victoria is still relatively inexpensive when compared to the Vancouver area.”

    Victoria is not a major city and is being pumped for profit because Van has been sucked dry, not because it’s cheaper. That’s a media/ industry marketing line that’s being milked to justify gouging the greater fools.

  67. Among yesterday approved recommendations, one of them is to “proactively enforce current regulations so STRs cease” for suites in houses. So it should be more than complain-based enforcement from now on. Details of the methods and fines (similar like in other cities) will be out soon.

    During the city meeting, the staff also mentioned, in future, city may allow “occasional (rental) use for principle dwellings (when home owners/renters are away temperately)”, but they need to work out the rules (eg number of days allowed each year …) first, to block out possible rule abusers, before presenting for city approval.

  68. Thank you “James Soper” for illustrating my point. (He had asked: “What is the difference between New West Minister and Oak Bay”.)
    My point is that Victoria is still relatively inexpensive when compared to the Vancouver area.
    New Westminster is a forty five minute drive to the main core of Vancouver.
    Oak Bay on the other hand is a short bike ride to the main core of Victoria.
    New Westminster might better be compared to Langford, Colwood…. or even Sooke, in terms of being located within a forty minute drive of the city centre.

  69. Why stop there Anna? Put chickens in one drawer and students in another. Add spirit garden walking tours and call it business 🙂

  70. So bylaws are not enforced unless there are complaints?

    That’s it! I’m housing chickens, international students in drawers like on Seinfeld and turning my shed into an AirBnB.

    And if I hear one more time about the ‘sharing’ economy. An AirBnB is a money making business. There is nothing sharing about it.

  71. Helps floating around the grey areas like she did with the cop chief fiasco is what gets her in trouble. Just when you think she has some good ideas she pulls these bone head manoeuvres.

  72. Looks like this pig could blow up at any time with all this shady money sloshing around.

    Risky mortgages, shadow bankers threaten Vancouver housing market’s stability

    “Massive and risky home loans are increasing in number across Metro Vancouver, while mortgage fraud cases are also on the rise, connected to the growth of so-called “shadow banking,” a Postmedia investigation shows.

    The trend of increasingly risky loans underlying Metro Vancouver’s high home prices is illustrated by Bank of Canada figures that show the rapid growth since 2014 of large mortgages made to people with relatively low incomes.”

    http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/vancouver-real-estate-in-the-red?cn=bWVudGlvbg%3D%3D&cn=cmV0d2VldA%3D%3D

  73. refuses to say if she was in a relationship with her landlord

    So what. None of your business nor mine what the private past lives of individuals is.

    The article in the Colonist states she lives alone upstairs in a suite and has not benefited from the Airbnb. She also recused herself from the discussions.

    I find it troublesome that the Mayor knows that one of her big campaign contributors is breaking the bylaws and she does nothing to have the law enforced.

    I think the fact that graphic design services were donated is not a big deal and she recused herself from the issue so there is no conflict of interest.

    I don’t find it troubling that she would not report her landlord, but I believe a number of voters will feel as you do. I personally agree that these types of rules, and secondary suite rules, should be complaints based if they are causing trouble.

    My guess is that Ms. Helps agrees on a personal level with the sharing economy and disagrees with the bylaw. She is not legally required to report, but it is a known bylaw contravention and she is the Mayor. I like her for it, but many people won’t feel the same.

  74. I find it troublesome that the Mayor knows that one of her big campaign contributors is breaking the bylaws and she does nothing to have the law enforced.

    While the optics of the mayor Air BnB thing aren’t great, I don’t agree that once you are elected to Mayor or Council you are automatically responsible for reporting bylaw violations. Enforcement of many of Victoria’s bylaws are complaint based. If the neighbours don’t have an issue the city does not want to know about it.

  75. James Soper – the difference is that it’s New West. Maybe analogous to Colwood on the desirability scale (distance to downtown, presence – or lack thereof – of major cultural destinations), not Oak Bay. Teardowns in Colwood are nowhere close to 1 million bucks. 450-500k maybe, tops.

  76. Totoro:

    But, Helps also refuses to say if she was in a relationship with her landlord and, if she was when did it end. The problem is that she gave a very Bill Clinton sort of answer . Also she did not say she was not in a relationship but that she was not in a common law relationship. There is a vast difference in definition.

    I find it troublesome that the Mayor knows that one of her big campaign contributors is breaking the bylaws and she does nothing to have the law enforced.

  77. was that she was also in a relationship with her landlord

    Irresponsible for you to state that when you can google Ms. Help’s response and it is front page on the times colonist that she has stated she is not in a relationship with her landlord. Just annoying.

  78. Just came back from New Westminister where we went through an open house….. out of curiosity.
    The house was a very modest, small unkept bungalow in a very modest neighbourhood of similar homes. Small lot. Nothing special. The house was built in the thirties or forties and was ready for a bulldozer.
    It had a 1950’s worn kitchen, old plumbing. Unfinished basement. Two bedrooms. Old roof. Small electric service, musty and stuffy.
    The price: One million, two hundred thousand dollars.
    We love Victoria and feel blessed.

    What’s the difference between that and many houses in Oak Bay?

  79. I bet the landlord is wishing Helps wasn’t her renter anymore.

    I thought the controversy was that she was also in a relationship with her landlord.

  80. @ Bingo,
    No inside conduit. That would have require even more pre-design work! Instead my plan is arranged so that most electrical and plumbing routing will be on inside walls (except for the crazy code requirement of an outlet every 12ft on all walls). Dimple board may be used in some spots to protect the membrane and wall but otherwise not really required. I’m especially not worried because I have seen the hole over the wet season and it is dry as a bone. I also have great drainage in general and a couple of clean out spots for the perimeter drains.

  81. Just came back from New Westminister where we went through an open house….. out of curiosity.
    The house was a very modest, small unkept bungalow in a very modest neighbourhood of similar homes. Small lot. Nothing special. The house was built in the thirties or forties and was ready for a bulldozer.
    It had a 1950’s worn kitchen, old plumbing. Unfinished basement. Two bedrooms. Old roof. Small electric service, musty and stuffy.
    The price: One million, two hundred thousand dollars.
    We love Victoria and feel blessed.

  82. Anna Edwards

    The Mayor’s landlord runs a separate suite AirBnB in her house which from what I’m reading goes against the bylaw and the Mayor knows of this?

    Two in fact, and one couldn’t even be a legit long term rental due to ceiling height.

    I bet the landlord is wishing Helps wasn’t her renter anymore. Most people would fly under the radar, but due to the interest in Helps now a large portion of Victoria knows about her landlords STVRs.

    It’s just a matter of time multiple people that dislike Helps report her landlord in. Once they have a complaint from someone that lives close enough (what’s the rule in Victoria? 100m?) they have to investigate.

    If they enforce bylaws they’d probably require the kitchen be removed from the hobbit hole in the basement.

  83. Nothing to fell bad for me about Gwac. I feel extremely lucky so far. I also set sail eyes wide open seeing the storm out there. It’s in part why I rushed to press the go button. Otherwise I probably would have spent more time designing and tweaking. So far it’s going very well from the build perspective.

  84. “Why are bylaws on the books if they are not enforced?”

    Good question. One possible answer is that having the bylaw at least allows enforcement if there is a problem, versus the situation if there were no bylaw. An example is fence height. The city doesn’t run around measuring fences. Most likely if my neighbour and I collectively agree that we’d like our fence to be 8 feet instead of 6 feet we would fly under the radar. But I’d be damn happy to have the bylaw if my neighbour unilaterally decided to build a 14′ high fence

    On the other hand having a lot of unenforced laws encourages contempt for the law in my opinion.

  85. Those that are operating under the Transient loop hole will be grandfathered to avoid lawsuits. That is all those condos not sure if any other dwelling has that designation.

  86. The Mayor’s landlord runs a separate suite AirBnB in her house which from what I’m reading goes against the bylaw and the Mayor knows of this?

    Why are bylaws on the books if they are not enforced? Even the Mayor knows of these infractions and does nothing to enforce the City’s own bylaws.

    Am I missing something here?

  87. So basically just enforce existing laws. Perfect. Now that houses and condos can’t be sold as low tax hotels what will be the price impact I wonder?

  88. Thanks Dasmo.

    I should probably post questions over on your blog regarding the house. Glad to see the pour went well, I was worried you didn’t post anything because the bracing failed or something else awful.

    The cost to build a house in this town blows my mind. Seems like at least 500K to build something modest but well built. Add land value on top of that and it’s no wonder slapped together new builds in GH at going for 1.3 mil.

    Will you be doing dimpled membrane over the waterproofing? I forget when that is recommended vs not needed.

    Did you run any electrical conduit in the forms or are you just cutting chases in the foam?

  89. Wow Dasmo

    I feel bad for you this build has not been easy for you guys. When is expected end date? What % over budget are you?

  90. Did anyone find out what Vic council decided to do re. airbnb’s at their council meeting yesterday?

    By city webcam record, city approved the recommendations and there will be next steps coming as well.

    [url=[/img][/url]

  91. Nice graph food as usual Leo. Bingo asked how the pour went at my build. Good. I posted a quick update to the Blog. Maybe it’s my over active imagination but it feels like I’m sailing with a major storm at my stern. What is the storm? Hyper inflation. Yet another blow to home building costs is totally under the radar. Slegg (Titan) has now absorbed Dodd’s Lumber. It affects me immediately because my builder’s line of credit just got cut in half and the bulk of his materials are single sourced now. Long term they are in a better position to up prices. With builder’s making twice as much as they made only a few years ago there is no question that will trickle all the way down to the cost of a 2X4. Meanwhile everyone is focused on Amazon buying Whole Foods….

  92. Kalvin

    I’m sure everyone has heard about impending rate hikes. I do have a family member that is a mortgage specialist in Toronto. He has told me that we may see people losing their homes because many folks took on very large mortgages and won’t be able to handle even a slight rate hike.

    Well anyone that bought after Oct 2016 should be good until the rates exceed 4.65% (posted 5 year rate they had to qualify at).

    People that bought before that might be in a tough situation as far as monthly payments, but it’ll take a significant correction to put them under water.

    The ‘average’ means half of the loans are even greater than this??!

    No, you are thinking median. Median is the middle (half equal to or less than, half equal to or greater than). With average/mean there is no guarantee how many are bigger or smaller. E.g. If you have 3x100K mortgages and one 1 million the average is 325K. Median in that case is 100K.

    With low rates I don’t see any point in putting more than 20% down (avoid the CMHC fees and figure out a balance between your investments and interest costs). I’m surprised the average isn’t higher. I wonder what the median is.

  93. gwac the “steal” quality is excellent. The “steel” not so much unfortunately

    🙂

  94. Anna – zoning bylaw has a definition of transient accommodation in Schedule A

    In section 14 of the Introduction and general regulations you’ll find wording that basically says if a use isn’t permitted it is prohibited.

    Schedule D is on home occupations. You’ll find that transient accommodation is a prohibited use except as provided in Section 11.

    Section 11 describes the narrow circumstances where transient accommodation is not prohibited.

    Subject to the following requirements, where any building is used
    as a single family dwelling, up to two bedrooms may be used for
    transient accommodation as a home occupation.
    (1) Notwithstanding Section 4, meals or food services may be
    provided to any customers but not after 12:00 noon.
    (2) No liquor shall be provided to any customers.
    (3) One parking space for each room available for transient
    accommodation shall be provided on the lot and a parking
    space may be located behind another parking space.
    (4) No sign may be erected, used, or maintained for the
    purpose of advertising transient accommodation use within
    a single family dwelling.

  95. Barrister in a nut shell instead of building something functional that the public wanted and voted for, they built something pretty to stand out. It is much more complicated and problems have arisen with the steal quality also. This will go down in the text books on how not to build a bridge.

  96. I was looking for the bylaw that this comes from:

    “currently, STVRs are allowed only in areas of downtown with transient zoning and in occupied single-family homes, but only for renting out one or two bedrooms”

    and found the zoning bylaw I linked to below and I can’t decipher where or if it mentions the above.

    Can they make it any more legal sounding?

  97. Anna:

    Which part do you want explained? Most of it has to do with building heights, set backs and minimum floor space of the units.

  98. Does anyone know how long they have been building the blue bridge? From the time they first sent it out to contract. I have been here over four years and it seems to me that they were talking about the blue bridge when I first arrived. But it cant be possible that they have taken four years to get to this point.

  99. I’m a bit shocked at the size of mortgage loans in Vic even going back a few years. Am I out to lunch on how much debt others are comfortable taking out? I guess so. The ‘average’ means half of the loans are even greater than this??! Wow!

    This may explain some of those higher prices (if so many of us weren’t so comfortable taking on so much debt then we’d probably have lower prices). Maybe Garth Turner is right – those who take on so much debt are the greater fools. I think esp. in Toronto this is a problem (any stat’s on TO avg. mortgages?).

    While the census mapper showed that % of people w/ mortgages was concentrated in the ‘burbs more, you do have to wonder what a large increase in interest rates would do to those who have taken on such large loans. So many younger than me have never known interest rates to be much higher than they are now. What a shock it would be to them if interest rates rose significantly. I do think, like Nan, that interest rates won’t rise a great deal in the coming 5 years or so though.

    One last tidbit – I believe HSBC is offering Canada’s lowest five year fixed rate at 2.39% (undercutting all the CDN big banks).

  100. My understanding all current 1800 STVR that are in transient buildings are grandfathered and once they are sold they can no longer do STVR. Impact to change nothing in the short term. I am not sure it the final vote happened on this proposal last night.

    This would have a major impact to these unit values.

  101. Did anyone find out what Vic council decided to do re. airbnb’s at their council meeting yesterday? While I don’t live in city of Vic myself or have an airbnb, I’m interested to find out what they plan to do about the issue.

    Agree w/ all your comments from the last post, Totoro. I stay at hotels sometimes, and have yet to try airbnb though I have tried STVR’s. I think Hotels are often boring, all they are is rooms w/ beds, whereas STVR’s can often be much more interesting, roomy, and often more affordable, plus you often get to meet locals when you’re travelling and really be left w/memories/experience/knowledge of the local area. Sometimes, hotels still work well for convenience (such as when driving through the US on interstates and just needing somewhere to ‘crash’).

    I get why people want more rental stock but it’s def. not up to private individuals to supply that. We had a lack of building much needed rentals for the last decades that led to the problem.

    If Vic council is going to regulate the problem more instead of outright banning it I guess that’s not so communistic. Canada may retain it’s name after all? I can def. see some condo buildings not wanting STVR’s, and if so it should be up to the strata councils in these buildings to implement that, much like many of these buildings have rental or age restrictions.

    Really interesting Bowker is already half sold out. I went to the open house. Thought the prices were really high, but there’s obviously a market for that. I can see the old Oak Bay Lodge being replaced with another Bowker, once the geratol crowd is moved over to Hillside.

    Yes I knew the new bridge was approved before Helps was mayor, but it’s still a huge waste of taxpayer $. I believe some cite it as the most expensive bridge per sq. ft in the entire world. Don’t forget how long we’ve all been waiting…

  102. I agree with Leo on interest rate changes, at least ones instigated by the BoC. The bond market will do what it will do but I think it is still way to early to increase rates on purpose.

    In some ways it feels like we are in a similar place the US was in 2004-2005 – ownership there was at a record high 70% and the Fed rate was at 1% when they started increasing rates. Price increases were rampant for years to that point. The pressure on lenders was too much and eventually sub primes started to default and it blew a hole in the economy that kept interest rates at virtually zero for the better part of a decade.

    Right now,
    Canada has virtually 0% interest rates
    Canada has a record ownership % (70%)
    Canada has had large price increases (+30% YoY)
    Canada has an economy dominated by real estate (currently our biggest industry in GDP terms)
    Canada has very high price to income and price to rent ratios

    What I feel is more likely than an interest rate increase is that the government and banks will continue to make it harder and harder to get a big loan for a house by pulling support for loans. We are already seeing this with CMHC insurance caps, tighter LTV’s, higher CHMC premiums, etc.

    So don’t get me wrong – I think house prices in Canada and especially BC are insane but I don’t think the government intentionally popping the bubble will happen. My bet is that the rules continue to tighten, prices moderate in real terms as money is taken off the table by lenders and interest rates stay where they for another 5-10 years.

  103. Regarding the voting rights awarded to both men & women in the military, here’s more info:
    http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/nursing-sisters/
    “In the First World War (1914–1918) 2,845 nursing sisters with officer rank – members of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) — served in Canada, England, France, Belgium, Russia, and around the Mediterranean … Fifty-three lost their lives while on active duty, victims of either enemy attack or disease contracted from patients.”

  104. According to a Canadian historian over 80% of the Canadian troops that fought in the Great War did not have the right to vote. Personally I found that surprising.

    Not entirely correct, nor is it a gender issue for men, it was a property ownership, race and age issue.

    Prior to 1915 Caucasian men over 21 who owned property and swore an oath of allegiance could vote. No women could vote.

    During WW1 many men could not initially vote was they were either under 21, you could enlist at age 18 plus about 20,000 teens lied about being 18 and were enlisted, or they did not own property.

    In 1915, the right to vote by mail was granted to military electors in active service. In 1917, Parliament passed the Wartime Elections Act and the Military Voters Act. The right to vote was extended to all British subjects, male or female, who were active or retired members of the Canadian Forces, including Indians (as defined by the Indian Act) and persons under 21.

    Some 2,000 military nurses, the “Bluebirds,” became the first Canadian women to use this right. Civilian men who were not landowners, but who had a son or grandson in the Canadian Forces, were also temporarily granted the franchise, as were women with a close relative serving, then or previously, in the Canadian Forces.

  105. I’m sure everyone has heard about impending rate hikes.

    I still think we have a ways to go before significant rate hikes. Any small increases will put such a drag on our real estate economy that it will dampen future increases.
    Our 5 year is 2.79%… when we renew next year it will likely be the same still or even a bit lower.

  106. In case anyone didn’t see the news about STVR (Short Term Vacation Rentals, eg Airbnb) on Tues TC:

    “Currently, STVRs are allowed only in areas of downtown with transient zoning and in occupied single-family homes, but only for renting out one or two bedrooms.

    STVRs are prohibited in an entire condo with no transient zoning; one- and two-bedrooms within an occupied condo; entire homes and secondary suites, including garden suites.”

    “Downtown Victoria condo owners who use their units for short-term vacation rentals, or STVRs, may soon have to take out business licences and could see their units re-classified as a business for property tax purposes.

    City staff are recommending regulations and city wide enforcement to target houses, basement suites and garden suites being used for STVRs.

    The moves are part of staff recommendations going to Victoria council this week designed to limit STVRs “ to the greatest extent possible” through mechanisms such as zoning and housing agreements. ”

  107. As one of my favourite real estate lawyers here in Victoria said:- The probability of rates going up three points in the next five years is a lot higher than of rates going down by three points.

  108. We had a dinner party last night were I showed my trivia brilliance by knowing that Canada, at least for Federal elections, got universal woman’s suffrage in 1918 two years before England. My wife then asked the question of when did men get universal suffrage in Canada. Dead silence at the dinner table.
    Turns out it was 1918. According to a Canadian historian over 80% of the Canadian troops that fought in the Great War did not have the right to vote. Personally I found that surprising.

  109. I feel we will see a rate hike by the end of the year, just before the new year.

    Probably, but this will only directly affect those on variable rates. For those on five year fixed it will depend on 5 year bond rates when they come to renewal. Likely higher than now, but who knows.

  110. I’m sure everyone has heard about impending rate hikes. I do have a family member that is a mortgage specialist in Toronto. He has told me that we may see people losing their homes because many folks took on very large mortgages and won’t be able to handle even a slight rate hike. Then there are those that may not even be able to enter the market at all.

    I feel we will see a rate hike by the end of the year, just before the new year.

  111. the mods from VibrantVictoria…….. You mean those guys who orgasm every time they see a hole in the ground with a guy in a hard hat ?

    +1

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