Friday, May 29, 2009

Why didn’t you tell me?

In a few years, you will look back at this time period and say to yourself “why didn’t I purchase a real estate back then”?

Today in Richmond, you could not ask for a better time to purchase your first home or sell the one you are in now and move up to a larger one. We have the makings of the “Perfect Storm” in the Real Estate world here in Richmond.

Here are the three Key Aspects that make-up this Perfect Storm:

1- PRICES the same as two and a half years ago
2- SELECTION hundreds more houses and condos to choose from
3- INTEREST RATES at an historical low

Yes, except for a few over priced unrealistic sellers, the market in Richmond has leveled off and for the average buyer the opportunity to get tremendous value in your home purchase will not get better than it is today!

Here is a quick observation for you to ponder:

If you purchased a single family home in April 2008, average price at that time, $810,158 at a 5 year rate of 5.69%, with 5% down, add CMHC and 35 year amortization, your monthly payment would be $4,387.00

Now buy that same house today, at an average price of $742,518, 5 year rate of 3.79%, with 5% down, add CMHC fees, 35 year amortization and your monthly payment would be $3,117.00

That is a savings of $1,210.00 per month or a 27.75% savings!!!($14,520.00 per year or $72,600 over 5 years)
Question- What if I have to sell, in order to move up?

Well, it works even better in your favour to do just that in today’s market.

Here’s why:

Lets say you sell your current home for $500,000 today and move up to a $650,000 home that is bigger, more bedrooms, a garage, etc.


Four years from now, when prices are up 5%, and if prices have gone up, then you can take for granted that the interest rates have also gone up. Without adjusting for the increase costs of the future interest rate and you only focused on the 5% price increase, here are the new numbers:

Your current home in 4 years, $500,000 x 5% = $525,000
If you move up now to the house you need and then look at it in 4 years you get $650,000 x 5% = $682,500

A difference of $7,500 (and remember this is without the interest change calculated in).

Some banks will waive or discount your payout penalty or blend with the new mortgage rate for your new home.

I encourage you to give me a call l at 604-276-2335 and we can help you make the right choice and answer any questions you may have for you specific situation.

Michael Cowling

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Buyer activity brings greater stability to the housing market

VANCOUVER, B.C. - May 4, 2009. With more buyers and fewer homes for sale in recent months, the Greater Vancouver housing market has entered a more moderate and balanced state.
For the sixth consecutive month, new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined in Greater Vancouver, down 33.7 per cent to 4,649 in April 2009 compared to April 2008, when 7,010 new units were listed. The total number of property listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), while slightly down compared to last month, remains unchanged compared to the same period in 2008.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,963 in April 2009, a decline of eight per cent from the 3,218 sales recorded in April 2008, and an increase of 31 per cent compared to last month.
We are seeing greater balance in the housing market, as evidenced by a strong sales to active listings ratio of over 19 per cent. The result is a relatively stable market in which homes are being realistically priced.
The bridge between buyer demand and housing supply is continuing to narrow, which, as we see, helps bring stability to home prices. The trends in our housing market over the last couple of months offer a much more comfortable, historically normal set of conditions.
Sales of detached properties declined eight per cent to 1,190 from the 1,293 detached sales recorded during the same period in 2008. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties declined 12.2per cent from April 2008 to $675,268.
Sales of apartment properties in April 2009 declined 10.5 per cent to 1,179, compared to 1,317 sales in April 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 12.6 per cent from April 2008 to $340,203.
Attached property sales in April 2009 are down 2.3 per cent to 594, compared with the 608 sales in April 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 9.7 per cent between April 2008 and 2009 to $431,759.

Bright spots in Greater Vancouver in April 2009 compared to April 2008:

Vancouver West ..........up 59.5 per cent (193 units sold from 121)

Port Coquitlam ..........up 69.6 per cent (39 units sold from 23)
Richmond ................up 17.9 per cent (132 units sold from 112)
Vancouver West ..........up 46.3 per cent (98 units sold from 67)

North Vancouver .........up 29.2 per cent (84 units sold from 65)

Source Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Vancouver

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Federal Budget 2009, released January 27, 2009, offers four key benefits for home buyers and renovators.

Benefit 1: Home Buyers’ Plan (RRSPs for downpayments)
The withdrawal limit has increased to $25,000 from $20,000.
For information and forms, go to: In the search box, type Home Buyers’ Plan. You will see Suggested links which include links to:
• Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) – includes conditions, how to participate, cancel, repay, and a Q&A.
• The Home Buyers’ Plan Guide – a 22 page guide that covers all aspects of the plan; and
• Form T1036 Home Buyers’ Plan Request to Withdraw Funds from an RRSP in pdf and text for¬mats and there is a phone number if you have more questions: 1-800-959- 8281.

Benefit 2: Home Renova¬tion Tax Credit
The new provision that lets eligible home owners qualify for an income tax credit of up to $1,350 for home improvement projects.
For information, go to In the search box type Home Renovation Tax Credit. You will be tak¬en to a Q&A that provides comprehensive information on eligible dwellings, expenditures, calculations and required documentation.
Note: there are no forms. Beginning with the 2009 personal income tax return, a new line will be incorporated to allow renovators to claim the credit.

Benefit 3: First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit provides up to $750 in income tax relief to qualifying buyers for eligible costs associated with buying their first home. We expect details soon.
For information, go to and in the search box type First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. You will be taken to a Q&A that provides comprehensive information.
Note: there are no forms. Beginning with the 2009 personal income tax return, a new line will be incor-porated to allow first-time home buyers to claim the credit.

Benefit 4: ecoENERGY Retrofit Program gives property owners grants of up to $5,000 to offset the costs of making energy-efficiency improvements.
For information, go to the Natural Resources Canada web site¬porate/retrofit-summary.cfm where there is a list of retrofit grants and incentives for residential property owners, commercial and institutional buildings and industrial facilities.

Source Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Vancouver

Down on the farm in Richmond

The 55.2 hectare Garden City lands in Richmond will remain in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) as a result of a recent ruling by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
The City of Richmond had asked for the farmland to be excluded from the ALR, reasoning that the Garden City lands are isolated from other farmland in an urban area surrounded by highways with low capability for agriculture in its current state.
The site is bordered by the following streets: Westminster Highway, Alderbridge Way, Garden City Road and No. 4 Road.
The ALC found that Richmond had made no attempts to reclaim the land, which is close to highly productive farmland, and concluded that the existing road network enhances agricultural suitability by providing a buffer from adjacent lands.
The commission also noted that Richmond did not provide an adequate assessment of the effect of removing the lands on the agricultural land base in the municipality.
The property is owned by the Canada Lands Company which holds 50 per cent in an undivided beneficial trust for the Musqueam Indian Band. There is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Canada Lands Company, the Musqueam and the City of Richmond. If the lands had been removed from the ALR, the MOU would have given Richmond 50 per cent of the property. The Canada Lands Company and the Musqueam likely would have developed the rest for high-density housing. The purchase and sales agreement has now expired. There is no expiry date to the MOU.
Many local residents wanted to keep the lands for agricultural and ecological use. This use is supported by provincial MLA Hon. Linda Reid (Richmond East), federal MP John Cummins (Delta-Richmond East), in whose ridings the lands are located.
Source Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Vancouver

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Thank you for visiting our new blog. I specialize in the purchase and sale of residential housing in Richmond, British Columbia.

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Whether you are relocating within Richmond, searching for an investment property, or leaving Richmond for another area,
my experience can help you make the right decisions. Please take some time to explore my website and make use of the
resources available to you.

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Michael Cowling
“Your Realtor for Life”