October 2021

All posts from October 2021

Could B.C Move to Ban Single Family Zoning?

by Bevony on October 28, 2021 Comments Off on Could B.C Move to Ban Single Family Zoning?

New Zealand has taken the move to ban single-family zoning in cities. Housing advocates think this is a move that British Columbia should consider. This would mean an end to single-family zoning. That could open up some of the housing markets to persons who previously had no hope of owning a home in some places.

Housing advocates think it is worth considering this move in the most expensive markets of British Columbia. There are those of course who think that there may be unintended consequences that come along with this move.

What the New Legislation Means

The New Zealand legislation was introduced last week. It requires the selected cities to apply “medium density residential standards” to single-family zones. the legislation needs this to be done by August of 2022. These new regulations allow homeowners the ability to build a maximum of three housing units. And they can go up as much as three storeys high. The New Zealand cities that will be affected by the change include Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch.

The idea for the changes is to urge the new construction of as many as 75,000 housing units within the first eight years. A similar change in British Columbia would have the largest impact in certain areas. These would include point Grey and Kerrisdale in Vancouver. Homeowners in these areas would have more flexibility to build larger homes and separate units that could replace single-family homes.

Does the Move Increase Costs?

Yes, the change in legislation does make single-family homes more expensive. But it also increases the availability of other housing options. This can help to make the current housing shortage in New Zealand a little better.

Lessons for British Columbia

A move like this in British Columbia could help to reform local municipal powers but with a change in the current powers, a lot of housing development could open up. But with the possible blowback, some municipalities will find this hard to do.

We have seen some steps taken towards similar measures in some municipalities. But there has been opposition from powerful constituencies. There have been attempts by Ontario and Vancouver to eliminate single-family zoning but experts note that the New Zealand move offers a lot more flexibility.

Benefits of Getting Rid of Single Family Zoning

Several reasons are getting rid of single-detached zoning could be beneficial. These include:

  • Climate
  • Affordability
  • Equity
  • Public Health
  • Infrastructure Costs
  • Public Interest
  • Increase in value of existing lots

The problem with the latter is that the land often gets re-priced before the building starts. This was the experience of Vancouver the last time they tried to relax single-family zoning. This had effects on infrastructure and transit and these have to be factored in before an all-out change.

The experts suggest starting with research to ensure that the policy is sound if and when the changes are made.

read more
BevonyCould B.C Move to Ban Single Family Zoning?

British Columbia COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

by Bevony on October 20, 2021 Comments Off on British Columbia COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

Residents of British Columbia have a lot to look forward to with the news that restrictions are being lifted. Parties, weddings, funerals, sports events, and concerts will be allowed to operate at full capacity beginning October 24, 2021. 

The lifted restrictions won’t apply everywhere though, like those places with additional COVID-19 restrictions in place.  These include parts of Fraser East, Interior Health, and Northern Health. So some events will still remain at half capacity. But in Vancouver will be allowed to operate at full capacity. For example, the Vancouver Canucks game is scheduled for October 26th. This will be allowed to operate at full capacity in Vancouver, but the Abbotsford Canucks game will have to remain at a 50% capacity. 

Restriction Impacts

The restrictions have impacted all of us overall. However, they have had a greater impact on the event and tourism & hospitality sectors. These sectors are among the happiest about the lifts in these restrictions as now they can start recovering. 

The lift in restriction comes on the same date that it becomes mandatory for all individuals over the age of 12 years old to present a vaccine card. The card must be presented in order to access many services, businesses and events. These include concerts and sporting events. While people will still be required to wear a mask indoors, they will also be allowed to mingle in pubs and restaurants as long as they remain at their seats. No dancing will be allowed in these settings. 

Why Lift the Restrictions? 

Changes in Covid-19 infection rates are the driving factors behind the lifting of the restrictions. Infection rates in different age groups have fallen. This is especially true for those in the 5 to 8 and 9 to 11 year old age group. September started with a spike in cases. But since the start of October, we are seeing declining numbers. Not only is the infection rate declining, but hospital admission rates also declining in that age group. 

The seven day average case count is declining slowly and active hospitalizations and cases are remaining stable. The statistics at the time of putting this post together for vaccinated British Columbians over the age of 12 showed 83.5% of that population fully vaccinated. 

We look forward to business slowly going back to pre-pandemic viability but we know it will likely be a slow process. Here in the building market we are available to customers and potential customers looking to build their dream home. 

If you are ready to build your home, we are ready to help you make that step. Give us a call or send us a message through our contact us page. We want to hear from you.

read more
BevonyBritish Columbia COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

It’s the Perfect Time for Harvesting our Gardens

by Bevony on October 14, 2021 Comments Off on It’s the Perfect Time for Harvesting our Gardens

It’s the perfect time for harvesting from your garden, as a matter of fact you should have done some of your harvesting by now depending on what you planted. If you had potatoes in the ground they should be right about ready to be dug up. It is time to pull, to pick, to cut and to cook and savor the produce you were able to grow yourself. 

This time of year is always the perfect time to harvest that bounty of food that your land was able to give to you. It’s one of the benefits of being a homeowner and having space outdoors to garden.  

Your salad crops should be in their best shape now as well. What do you have? Whether it be Red Express leaf lettuce, Buttercrunch or Romaine they should be ripe and ready for the cutting. The last cucumbers should be all harvested by now. If you haven’t started yet you should get going if you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

While late tomatoes may still be green you should be able to harvest some cherry tomatoes. Your herb garden should be ready with cilantro, chives, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley great for flavoring all your dishes for the remainder of the year. 

Main Course Vegetables

Main course vegetables become ready this time of the year as well. If you have carrots, broccoli, or broccoli, these can be gathered. Red and green cabbages, as well as white, purple and orange cauliflowers, are also ready to add color to your meals for the next couple weeks if harvested in time.  

Leave turnips until after the frost for a more intense flavor and a more unique and rich taste. Beets are another one that can stay much longer in the garden. They will be fine if left out for the most of the winter. This goes for cylindrical beets, golden beets, the Bull’s Blood heirloom variety or the Chioggia beet heirloom variety. 

If you still have zucchinis, summer squash or scallopinis these won’t be as soft and supple as earlier in the season but they can still be enjoyed at the family table. Some vegetable spaghetti squash could be a great choice for impressing your guests with its unique flesh. It’s a nice surprise dish when baked and topped with a bit of tomato sauce. 

If you have winter squash these are great and will make a great mashed dish. You can use a multi colored variety or pure white acorn squash. If you have the Buttercup and Butternut varieties these are ideal for smaller servings. If you have grown the smaller Sweet Dumpling or Delicatas these are about ready for harvesting. 

Onions 

Your onions should have been stored by now except for white bunching onions and leeks. If you haven’t, then at least you know better for next year. Walla Walla onions, while very popular, do not hold up very well, so they may not be the best choice for your next crop. Try to get some Giant Kelsae onions or red onions. Riverside sweet Spanish onion is also a great option and it is ideal for use in a number of Christmas dishes. 

Berries 

If you have fresh cranberries these can be harvested and used for making tart sauces. You can also leave them and you will find they sweeten up after experiencing a couple of frosts. At that time they will be nice to eat fresh. 

Lingonberries will make for great garnishes as will Gaultheria Procumbens with their spearmint flavor. 

What About Dessert?

It’s the season for traditional pumpkin pie and for this most varieties work even though it is the smaller sugar pumpkins that are the original pumpkins used for pies. You can also bake up a sweet bread with some baking squash. 

An apple dessert is always well appreciated and apples still on the tree this late tend to be larger in size as well as full of flavor.  Depending on where you live you may have a different variety of apples available now. No matter what type of apple you have you will enjoy them fresh or in pies and salads. 

Late pears are also great for eating fresh or made into tasty desserts. 

Nuts

Not many people grow nuts in their gardens but if you are one of the few then your nuts should be ready for harvesting. Nuts such as Wepster, Sacajawea, Theta, or Jefferson are all blight-resistant. They are ideal for eating fresh or for use in baking. 

These are just a few of the foods you can harvest in the fall and well into winter. It’s best to plant a strategic crop so you have an abundant harvest  for your Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. If you don’t have these for harvest this year you can plan so that next year around this time you will be well able to harvest your own fresh and healthy produce. 

Don’t have that home with the yard space just yet? Give us a call and let us help you build your dream home from the ground up. We are waiting to hear from you. 

read more
BevonyIt’s the Perfect Time for Harvesting our Gardens

How Much Mortgage Do You Need?

by Bevony on October 5, 2021 Comments Off on How Much Mortgage Do You Need?

There are a lot of options out there to get a home loan, but you have to go into the market knowing that not all loans will be right for you. You really need to find the right mortgage for you and we can help you find the perfect fit. 

You may find that you qualify for a certain amount but that doesn’t mean you should take on that mortgage. It may not be the right fit for you and your family. A mortgage is a big deal and it comes with a lot of responsibility as well as will have a big impact on your current lifestyle as you know it. 

Lending Criteria

There are a broad range of factors that create the basis for lending criteria. Oftentimes these do not take into account the unique circumstances within your household. Your mortgage payments will make up the largest chunk of your housing costs but it is not the only fast. This has to be taken into consideration. 

Before diving into home ownership, you would want to take stock of all of your income and expenses. This will help you to stay within your comfort zone, knowing what you can afford and what will be off the table. 

There are a number of guidelines and policies in Canada that help home buyers to stay within a comfortable budget and I’m usually. Mortgage lenders will look carefully at your income and your debts when determining what type of mortgage you should receive. They do this to ensure that you don’t get in over your head.  

Ratios Lenders Use to Determine Your Mortgage

The two main comparisons that lenders use as ratios to determine if you can afford a mortgage are the Gross Debt Service (GDS)  or the Total Debt Service (TDS). 

The Gross Debt Service will compare your income and your mortgage expenses. The rule is that no more than 30% to 32% of your annual gross income should go to your mortgage. This includes all fees related to the mortgage to include HOA maintenance fees, property taxes, heating costs, your principal and of course your interest. 

The Total Debt Service compares all your existing debt and your gross annual income. This really takes the big picture into view. It will look at your personal loans, any car loans you may have, any leases and credit cards. The lender you choose to go with may allow your total debt payments to go as high as 40% of your gross annual income. So using this ratio could allow you to qualify for a higher mortgage with higher payments but remember that it is calculated against your gross income and not the income that you actually take home. 

If your ratio falls outside of any of the benchmarks there is no need to lose hope. You may just need to review your budget and see where you are spending money which could be going towards clearing up more of your debt. Once you can identify ways to use more money to clear up your debt, start doing that and then revisit the lender for another calculation after you have taken down your loans a bit. 

Tips to Put You In a Better Position to Qualify

Here are some more tips that can help put you in a better position for obtaining a mortgage: 

  1. Do you have any short term expenses you will be removing from your budget soon? For example, a student loan that will soon be paid off or any childcare costs that may soon change. 
  2. Can you consolidate your debt providing a lower interest rate and lower monthly payment?
  3. Have you considered a home that may allow you the opportunity to earn an income through a rental suite? This can help offset your out-of-pocket mortgage costs. 
  4. Have you considered looking at lower priced homes, homes further away from an urban center for example?
  5. Have you considered the option of building just the amount of house you need from the ground up instead of trying to buy something already on the market? 

If you have never considered building your home, you should get in touch with us. This is right up our alley, and you may be surprised at what you can do when you build. Yes, these benchmarks and rations can help you understand what home ownership can cost you. But you don’t have to overextend yourself. 

Give us a call, we are home builders with a team of experts in house as well as our partners. We can put you on to a mortgage specialist that can work with us to help you find the right numbers as we build you the perfect home. 

read more
BevonyHow Much Mortgage Do You Need?