Sometimes a little R & R is in order, even if a big vacation abroad isn’t. Being in the midst of buying or selling can be an especially stressful time, or simply long days at work with little time at home can put one over the top. Why not treat yourself to a Staycation? Doing something just for you once in awhile can clear the cobwebs and rejuvenate for a higher quality of life and better productivity. Here are a few of our favourite staycations in the lower mainland:
1. Enjoy a leisurely a bike ride around Stanley Park. Pack a picnic, stop in at the aquarium, and take in the magnificent views. The 11km seawall winds around the park, giving you 360 degree views of the harbour, mountains, downtown and west and north shores. Getting in touch with nature combined with exercise will boost those endorphins and have you refreshed in no time. Bike rentals available.
2. Continue the tourist in your own town adventure with a Geocaching adventure. Using your GPS, you’ll go on a “treasure hunt” for hidden ‘cashes’ all around the Greater Vancouver Area. The idea is to get to know your city while looking for these hidden stashes, of which there are reportedly over 4,000 of in Vancouver! We recommend stopping in at La Casa Gelato as your reward. With over 218 flavours of gelato made on site, you could spend an entire afternoon sampling alone.
3. If you’re in the mood for something a little more low-key, why not re-discover Granville Island. Indulge in a night at the recently-renovated Granville Island Hotel. Featuring plush accommodations and the delectable Dockside Restaurant, you’re free to roam the island’s wealth of artisanal offerings from and even take in a yoga class with views of False Creek before settling in for the night.
4. Discover Deep Cove. From lush parks and trails to kayaking and cultural events, this little oasis is a short, twenty-minute drive from North Van. Known as “The Cove” to locals, this hidden gem at the foot of Mt. Seymour feels a million miles away from the city; perfect for a day trip away from reality.
5. For an extensive day trip worth the ferry ride, Salt Spring Island boasts being one of the warmest places in Canada during these long winter months. With a plethora of artists’ studios, spa options, and restaurants, this tiny island will enchant you to come back again and again.
Any hidden gem getaways we missed? Share in the comments below!
If you ask a dozen so-called real estate experts and financial planners on whether it's the right time or how to invest in real estate, you’ll receive a dozen different opinions. It’s all about your personal needs and how you invest. If you play your cards the smart way, investing in real estate can lead to a nice, passive income stream for your retirement. It's also an ideal way to leverage and borrow against when values rise so you can buy more property.
Three ways to owning real estate are a) sole purchase and ownership of property, b) form a limited partnership to pool resources and enable the purchase of more expensive property, as well as share risks and returns, and c) indirect ownership of property by investing in REITs where you own shares. Today, I'm focusing on direct ownership of real estate and what options you have. Whether you're a seasoned investor or a novice, there's never really a better time to begin long-term investing because the market always shifts.
Before setting off down this path, speak with your bank or a trusted mortgage broker. Rules for down payments on investment properties differ from if you're buying a principal residence. In Vancouver, a minimum 50% down payment is required to generate a break-even monthly cash flow. With property prices so high in the lower mainland, the idea of buying a property and generating cash flow is a challenging feat unless you have a sizeable down payment. The biggest question to consider is: if I buy this property today, do I need an immediate income stream or am I fine with a break-even or possibly a negative cash flow for the first few years? If you do generate a rental loss, this can be used as a tax write-off at year’s end.
In the current financial climate, a lot of real estate investors in the lower mainland are buying with the expectation that property values will continue to rise, and not for current cash flow. This mind-set makes them more “real estate speculators”. If you’ve bought property in the lower mainland over the past 15 years, you've most likely seen a sizeable increase in its market value. Speculators, for the most part, have done very well. It's all about timing. If you bought a property in Vancouver in mid \-2007 and then sold it when the market fell by 20% in 2008/2009, you may have taken a loss. Buying real estate with a longer time horizon is a safer bet, allowing you to ride any market downturns. Short term investing is a lot riskier.
Buying property in Vancouver right now will typically generate a 2-4% Cap Rate depending on a number of factors. Many investors say this return is too low considering the risks and aggravation of owning a rental property. Other investors are just fine with these returns as they’re more focused on the expectation of rising market values. In the end, it’s your perspective that matters and is a personal decision.
If real estate is an attractive addition to your investment portfolio, we’re always available to offer professional perspective and tailored advice to your needs. Contact us to schedule a personal consultation and let's see how, together, we can create wealth and passive income for you and your family.
Here’s to a healthy and prosperous Spring 2016!
Andrew & Jill Hasman
(Photo: Alex Costin)
January 2016 is the second highest start to the year on record with sales 46% above the 10-year average for the month. Low supply and record-breaking buyer demand is still the driving force in the real estate market.
The total number of residential sales in the Greater Vancouver area totalled 2,519 for the month; a 31.7% increase from the 1,913 sales in January 2015. It was only a slight, 10.9% decline from the 2,827 sales in December 2015.
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s president Darcy McLeod touts the importance of listing your home with MLS® to ensure maximum exposure. For home buyers, MLS® is the second greatest tool next to an excellent realtor. With so much competition out there, keeping a constant eye on MLS® gives buyers the best chance to snapping up the home of their dreams.
2016 Opening Numbers:
New Listings (detached, attached, and apartment) in January: 4,442
6.2% decline from January 2015
119.8% increase from December 2015
Total Active listings on MLS®: 6,635
38.6% decline from January 2015
10.1% increase from December 2015
Sales-to-Active-Listings ratio: 38%
Benchmark price for a detached property is $1,293,700
27.9% increase from January 2015
Detached property sales totaled 1,047
34.1% increase from January 2015
Benchmark price for an apartment property is $456,600
19.4% increase from January 2015
Apartment property sales totaled 1,096
35.5% increase from January 2015
Benchmark price for an attached unit is $563,700
16.4% increase from January 2015
Attached property sales totaled 376
16.4% increase from January 2015
*REBGV Editor’s Note: Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.
Family Day isn’t necessarily just for families. It’s a much-needed stat holiday during the bleak days of winter that turns an ordinary Monday in February into your best chance to relax and recharge. Here are the top five ways to stretch the most amount of fun out of your three-day weekend.
1. Both Whistler and Grouse Mountain are offering 50% off for BC residents. Head up the Sea-to-Sky for some of North America’s best skiing, the Fire and Ice Show, tubing, and luxury accommodations. Stick closer to home but still get the best in winter activities--from boarding and snowshoeing, to sliding and skating--at Grouse Mountain. For the full schedule of special Family Day events happening, visit Whistlerblackcomb.com and Grousemountain.com.
2. Sip your way to decadence at the 6th annual Hot Chocolate Festival, happening through February 15th. 25 participants showcasing 59 crazy flavours are taking part to support the downtown eastside’s Women’s Job Training Program. Get your walking map here, and let the indulgence begin!
3. Have littles? Community centers around the lower mainland are hosting various Family Day activities. With everything from arts and crafts to bouncy castles and more, there’ll be something for every tyke. Check with your neighbourhood centres for a schedule of events.
4. The Bloedel Conservatory is one of the city’s best, little known gems. Tropical forests and flowers, over 200 free-flying birds, and the healing gardens designed to engage your senses for total well-being beckon from the top of Queen Elizabeth Park.
5. Unplug and Unwind. Put aside your smartphones, tablets, and power down those computers for one day of true R & R. Business can wait out one stat holiday, your family is hopefully with you anyway, and friends are just an old-fashioned phone call away. Make screentime a dirty word for the day and reconnect with true facetime.
Wishing you all a very Happy Family Day from the Andrew Hasman team.
(Photo: Mark Burge)
The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.