While a lot of speculation still looms around the proposed Vacancy Tax that Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson first pitched back in the Spring, the goal is clear: open new rental spaces. Hand-in-hand with the recent Foreign Buyer Tax, the proposed Vacancy Tax aims to make Vancouver a more feasible place to live again. Affordable? Not so much.

The Details

Current Vancouver homeowners and future home buyers should be aware that the tax could be up to 2% of the property’s assessed value; a measure hoped to encourage speculators to rent out instead of leaving a home empty. Based on a recent BC Hydro study (with addresses blacked-out for privacy), there are 10,800 homes and condos in the Metro Vancouver area that are sitting empty. The flip side of that is our city’s vacancy rate of less than half a percentage point. Could this new tax help the rental market? Time will tell.


It is still unclear how the city will proceed with enforcing the tax, other than on good faith. Robertson has cited random audits and complaints to catch tax evaders, while others contest how this will affect privacy issues and the sense of community in Vancouver when everyone is expected to keep an eye on their neighbour’s whereabouts--and how long they’re home for.

What If You’re Away?

Homeowners whose Vancouver properties are not their primary residence and short-term rentals such as AirBNB may fall into the realm of taxation. Reasonable occupancy is still to be determined, and Robertson claims he will ask for public feedback before implementing rules surrounding secondary residences and vacation homes.

Counter Propositions

Regional mayors suggested a non-resident tax in lieu of Robertson’s proposal, but it appears this measure is on hold for the time being. Robertson himself has also proposed a new municipal business tax on investment properties as a way to bypass provincial government authority. Enforcement issues are key in the success of either of these programs, and have yet to shown without being at great cost to the city.

The bottom line: whichever direction the new tax takes, housing prices are unlikely to drop as a result. As real estate professor Tsur Somerville from UBC’s Sauder School of Business states, “It’s a good first step that would help renters, but ultimately, it is not going to make Vancouver more affordable.”

What are your thoughts on the proposed vacancy tax? Share with us on Facebook!

Photo: John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail


Please visit our Open House at 1918 WATERLOO ST in Vancouver.
Open House on Saturday, October 1, 2016 2:00PM - 4:00PM
Beautifully renovated Art & Crafts home with 4 separate suites. Prime location in Kitsilano, with ocean in sight, the Kits and Jericho beach at your doorstep and a short walk to 4th Ave shops, restaurants and amenities. 4 Rental Units, total rental income approximately $8300/month. School Catchment: Bayview Elementary, Kitsilano Secondary. First showing on Sep 29,Thursday 4pm-5pm. Open house on Oct 1st, Saturday 2pm-4pm.

While Fall is already upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite decorating ideas. Whether you’ll be celebrating the holiday in your new home, or staging it for potential Vancouver home buyers, we’ve got some simple yet stunning ways to add fall flair, courtesy of the experts.

Pumpkin Power

Cluster small pumpkins and gourds of various colour for impact: in the kitchen, on the front hall table or as Thanksgiving table centerpiece spilling out of a traditional cornucopia. For a twist, slice off the top and hollow out flat-bottomed, small pumpkins as vases. Place a block of wet floral foam in the bottom, then arrange fall blooms and berries into it. You can even add a battery-operated votive to the center for an illuminated touch. Another option is to cluster candleholders of varying heights and place small pumpkins or gourds on top in lieu of candles, perfect for your:

Harvest Mantel

If you’re in the selling phase, replacing those family pictures with a gorgeous fall display will easily take the ‘home out of your house’ and inspire a stylish welcome. Add vintage blackboards with inspirational Thanksgiving quotes among an arrangement of pumpkins and bouquets of dried wheat. “We’re thankful for this fabulous house…”

Go Seasonal

Layer corn kernels, nuts, green dried hops, and brown oak leaves in glass vases or clear candle holders. These ingredients are indicative of the season, and add a pop of colour to an arrangement of the traditional orange, gold and brown. Top off the layers with a rust or berry-coloured candle, and you’ve got a warm

Corn Husks

Who knew these veggie cast-off could be so pretty? Fashion rustic floral napkin rings by first cutting a spiral out of a soaked corn husk so that it has at least four rings. Roll it up, outside first, then let dry to form the rose shape. Secure with gel glue, then glue an additional circle to the base. This will attach to the ‘ring’: cut a rectangle out of another soaked corn husk and hot glue the ends together. Voila! Alternatively, for a tutorial on corn husk votive holders, see

Vintage Appeal

Repurposing the old is one way to be thankful for everything we have. Turn unused china into display trays by layering plates of descending size onto overturned tea cups. Wooden bowls make amazing centerpieces when filled with seasonal bounty such as pumpkins, pinecones, and flowering branches.

Feeling inspired? is always a good place to start when searching out inventive new ideas to spruce up the home.

Photo from

Getting your house ready to list doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. A few simple things can go a long way to making it more desirable to potential Vancouver home buyers--and getting you top dollar on the sale!


We know this #1 tip sounds self-serving, but the rewards to home sellers is unbeatable. Hiring Vancouver’s top realtor ensures you have someone who will champion your best interests throughout the process. An informed real estate agent will keep on top of MLS, know your home’s comparables, and embrace technology to get your house sold. They’ll also help you to:

Price It Right

A good realtor will help you determine where your house fits into the Vancouver real estate market, and help you price it accordingly. Consider pricing it a little lower than what it’s worth, and you’ll encourage a multiple-offer situation which often means home sellers walk away with a selling price over asking!

Make A Good First Impression

We live in a digital age, so when your potential buyers are searching for a new home, chances are online is the first place they’ll see it. This means that taking high quality pictures [no cell phones allowed!] or having professional photos of your place done is worth it.

Stage Your Home

Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. Light it up! Proper lighting, no burnt-out lightbulbs, and even the occasional candle illuminate the possibilities for walk-through buyers. Adding spa scents to bathrooms and fresh flowers does a lot for the ambience as well. Half-empty closets will give the illusion of spacious storage, while areas under the sinks and in cupboards should be tidied because let’s face it, buyers are snoopers! Lastly, taking the ‘home out of the house’ will depersonalize the space so your buyers can imagine it as theirs from the moment they walk in.

Make Quick Fixes

Quickies are the best way to maximize the pay-off. Don’t expect to put exhaustive time and money into a makeover, because chances are you won’t get your money back. If you have to choose between projects, focus your energy and funds on the kitchen. Make sure this is a place you’d want to enjoy a meal in! Even a quick spruce-up of the laundry area/room, a fresh coat of paint, and clean clear shower curtains in the bathroom to give the illusion of more space are just a few of the ways to accomplish satisfying first impressions.  

Inspect Your Home

Consider getting your home inspected or the status certificate on your condo prior to listing. This can save unforeseen issues cropping up during the negotiation stage with your potential buyers, ensuring you get the most money from the sale.

These are just a few of the ways you can prep your home for a successful run on the Vancouver market. We are always available for a consultation as well!



No doubt you have heard that our real estate market has slowed down. It will be probably a good 6 months before we know if the new 15% non resident tax was the catalyst that caused our marker to cool off. The Real Estate Market was cooling before the tax was implemented so we need a few months at least before we can know what the implications of the tax are.


For those of you looking to buy or sell this Fall there is still opportunity out there.

For home buyers the timing to make a purchase seems and probably makes a lot more sense now. If you have found a home you are interested in there’s a good chance there will not be multiple offers. You now have the chance to take your time and make a conditional offer allowing you time to perform due diligence. With interest rates remaining at rock bottom and the real estate market temporarily out of favour this is a great time to go home shopping.


For those of you looking to sell, don’t be too discouraged. Home prices shot up almost 30% in 2014-2015 and have climbed another 30% plus this year. If prices fall 10-15% over the next 6 months you are still way ahead of the game. There is no indication home prices have fallen at all since the tax and it's too soon to measure as there are just not enough sales out there to get a definitive read. What I can tell you is that so far we have not seen a spike in new listings and with that we are still in a fairly balanced market which is ideal for price stability.


In a softer housing market, you need a professional.

If you are looking to buy and or sell it always makes sense (and more importantly in a softer market) to hire a seasoned professional to help you navigate the softer market. In a hot market any realtor can list and sell your home. I mean, in the past 2 years buyers have literally been lining up to buy houses. In a tougher market the true professionals rise to the top.


Jill and I have worked in markets good, bad and in between for the past 25 years. We know what its like to sell in a market when very few homes are selling. Call us today and lets see if we can provide you with some great market knowledge to help you achieve success with your next property purchase or sale.


We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Andrew & Jill Hasman



August saw Vancouver home buyers on a decline as sales were 3.5% below the 10-year average for the month. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s president Dan Morrison attributes the downward trend in Metro Vancouver during recent months to the new foreign buyer tax. He stated that “the record-breaking sales we saw earlier this year were replaced by more historically normal activity throughout July and August.” Residential property sales totalled 2,489 in Metro Vancouver last month; a 26% decline compared to August 2015 and a 22.8% decline to last month’s sales, while only 1% less than August 2013 sales.

It’s also important to note that while the imbalance between supply and demand continues, fewer detached sales at the high price points, and detached home sales in general, are skewing the average sale prices towards ‘decline’ while benchmark prices remain.

It’ll be some time yet before the true impact of the new tax on the Vancouver real estate market is evident, though in the meantime Morrison admitted, “It’s reducing foreign buyer activity and causing some uncertainty amongst local home buyers and sellers.”

Get the scoop on all the August numbers below:

New Listings (detached, attached, and apartment): 4,293

0.3% increase from August 2015
18.1% decrease from July 2016

Total Active listings on MLS®: 8,506
21.9% decline from August 2015
1.9% increase from July 2016

Sales-to-Active-Listings ratio: 29.3%

Benchmark price for all residential properties: $933,100
31.4% increase from August 2015

Benchmark price for a detached property is $1,577,300
35.8% increase from August 2015

Detached property sales totaled 715
44.6% decrease from August 2015

Benchmark price for an apartment property is $514,300
26.9% increase from August 2015

Apartment property sales totaled 1,343
10.1% decrease from August 2015

Benchmark price for an attached unit is $677,600
31.1% increase from August 2015

Attached property sales totaled 431
25.4% decrease from August 2015

For a complete comparison, visit Want to sell, buy, or require a consultation? Contact me today.

*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.




A few evenings ago, a good client of mine indicated that her search to buy a Vancouver home was (on advice of her friends and family) going to be put on hold until Spring 2017. She wants to wait until prices soften and then will buy in the Spring when prices bottom out! I chuckled to myself when i heard this reasoning and also of where the so called expert advice came from. I guess her friends and family know something I and the experts don't know.


I told her that no one knows which way the market is going to trend moving forward. That so-called crystal ball is something we all wish we had but instead we have to make decisions based on what our intuition tells us to do. We always say, “Buy and sell when it's right for you based on your personal circumstances. Forget trying to time the market. If you’re buying you should have a minimum 5-year horizon so short term swings in the market should not matter."


Since the recent market stats came out this week showing August sales off from July I have been inundated with calls from homeowners and potential buyers wanting my advice on what to do. I will start by a very simple analysis of general economic conditions here in the lower mainland stated in Layman terms. Nothing too complicated.


General Economic Conditions In The Lower Mainland

The overall economy here in BC and the lower mainland remains robust. We have low unemployment, and general business conditions are in great shape. You go downtown on most evenings and restaurants are busy. People are spending money. Interest rates are rock bottom and will likely stay down for quite some time. This is not 2008 when businesses were closing, banks were not lending and the economy came to a stand still.


Our real estate market has cooled and I think it has been caused by so much negative news media stating the market was either going to crash or cool down. When enough people hear this negative news the negativity feeds on itself and eventually changes the sentiment. The clincher that really cooled the market was the 15% tax to foreigners. This scared the entire market taking buyers off the streets and also causing many sellers to de-list their properties.


Here is what I am telling everyone and its just my opinion: 


If You're A Home Buyer In The Lower Mainland

If you are a Buyer and looking to step into the market this is a great time to buy. Buy now! This is the first time in maybe two years where you may not end up in a bidding war forced to make a subject free offer! This is finally a sane time to buy. Why would you wait on advice of your friends and parents to buy in the Spring! By Spring 2017 we may see market conditions swing again in the direction of a Seller’s market. When the market is out of favour its time to buy. Be a contrarian. With interest rates at record lows this is a real opportunity.


If You're A Home Seller In The Lower Mainland

If you are a Seller, I am advising those homeowners that have to sell to list in mid September. The rest should wait until the market stabilizes and market sentiment becomes more positive. It does not make sense to list your home when buyers are negative. A seller should stay on the sidelines until possibly late October or maybe even early 2017. Now, if you’re selling and then buying in the same market and location then its probably fine to go ahead and move forward sooner rather than later.


If you consider the big picture in Vancouver you like so many will feel that long term prices should stay at or near current levels. Vancouver is consistently regarded as of the most desirable cities to live in globally. Vancouver has one of the easiest climates to live in. Never too hot or too cold. Vancouver has limited land so we cannot have urban sprawl. The city is so called, landlocked. As more people migrate here the population increase will continue to put upward pressure on price. This new 15% tax to foreigners will cause some to buy elsewhere but for the super wealthy and there are many, this added cost will simply be the price to pay if you want to live in a great city. Safe, clean and far removed from the chaos of what is going on in so many other regions of the globe.


Just my opinion so we’ll see how this all plays out.


The Lower Mainland has no shortage of delicious spots to enjoy a meal. And when it comes to the city’s fine dining, our chefs offer up nothing less than world-class fare. From Vancouver’s top realtor, here’s some advice on where your next top meal in the city should be at.

Hawksworth Restaurant

There’s a reason Chef David Hawksworth’s restaurant in the heart of downtown Vancouver is a five-time winner of Best Upscale Restaurant in Vancouver Magazine’s Restaurant Awards. Nestled in the the legendary Rosewood Hotel Georgia on the corner of Howe and Georgia streets, Hawksworth welcomes patrons for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each dish is ingredient-led, masterfully put together for an unforgettable meal of quality and wow-factor. Don’t let the glamour fool you, the service is warm and attentive.


Part of the Aburi restaurant family, Miku’s popularity is as much due to its breathtaking location in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour as for its mouthwatering list of creative rolls. Specializing in aburi sushi which entails flame-searing the fish, Miku offers exceptional service and tasteful dishes for sushi aficionados. Enjoy the north shore mountainscapes from their waterfront patio while indulging in a unique culinary experience.

Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar

It’s all about understated style to enhance the West Coast fare served at Boulevard. From the champagne and oyster bars to the quintessential Euro-style dining room and wrap-around outdoor patio, there’s a little something for every Vancouverite to settle in and enjoy a meal from early morning to late at night. Adjacent to the Sutton Hotel in the bustling heart of the city, Boulevard doesn’t disappoint in the breezy atmosphere and delicious eats department.

Le Crocodile

If the same staff is still serving up the establishment’s not-to-be-missed French fare after 30 years, that says something about the restaurant’s culture as much as it does about the food. Le Crocodile fuses traditional French cooking with Vancouver’s beloved West Coast style. Named after the three star Michelin restaurant Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, Michel Jacob opened Le Crocodile and Chef/Owner Michel Jacob continues to serve some of the finest food in the city as he’s done for generations to locals and celebrities such as Pacino and Spielberg, alike.


This recent addition to the Robson shopping district is a Parisian jewel in the middle of the city. With its trademark mint awning belying the pastel wonderland inside, Ladurée’s to-die-for pastries make this the spot for afternoon tea, or dessert post-dining at one of Vancouver’s finest restaurants. Their speciality, the macaron, is the single best two-bite dessert in the Lower Mainland.

Bon appetit!

Photo courtesy of Hawksworth Restaurant
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