December 2021

All posts from December 2021

Laneway Homes Decreasing Real Estate Value in Affluent Neighborhoods

by Bevony on December 30, 2021 No comments

A new study done in Vancouver’s west side now shows that residents are more interested in privacy. Privacy is more important to them than even the gentlest density. The study data was published in the Journal of Urban Economics. The data shows how having laneway homes next door in affluent areas can decrease property value by 3.8%. 

Back in 2019, we saw an increase in laneway homes, and we even have a blog post of their emergence. Now in 2021 and into 2022, we are seeing that homeowners want to avoid density. We are not seeing a negative effect on lower and median valued home. But neighborhoods with higher value properties are taking the hit. The effects are seen mainly on Vancouver’s west side. Here we are seeing a decrease of 5% to 7%, but when we go to the East, we are not seeing this effect. 

The data used in the study was extracted from Vancouver real estate sales recorded from 2009 to 2017. Data on sales prices of properties neighboring laneway homes was analyzed. The data shows a negative spillover of building new laneway homes that increase density. The data suggests privacy loss is the main factor.

What are Laneway Homes Anyway?

Laneway homes are similar in structure to garages. But instead of housing cars, they house people. You can read our post on Laneway Homes to find out more about them. That post talks about their history, and why they started being built and used. So it is easy to see how one may feel like you have less privacy if your neighbor has a laneway home. The data suggests 75% of homeowners are not bothered by small density increases around them. But the 25% that are bothered, have pricier homes and are not OK with the loss of privacy. 

What the Numbers Look Like 

There is opposition to increasing density, though it is beneficial to social good to have more particular types of housing units. The study shows that houses within 100 meters of a property with laneway homes on the West Side saw a 2.8% lower sale price. Houses immediately beside a property with a Laneway house saw a 3.8% decrease compared to houses beside those that had a garage but no Laneway home. Houses with the highest values, with a laneway home next door, saw a 4.7% decrease in value.  

Since 2009, developers and homeowners in Vancouver have added some 3000 laneway homes to properties. This, along with rezoning 95% of single family properties, has been a key component of the house strategy to allow 1.5 story homes. 

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BevonyLaneway Homes Decreasing Real Estate Value in Affluent Neighborhoods

Enjoy Spring Flowers on Your Windowsill This January

by Bevony on December 18, 2021 No comments

Due to the very wet fall of 2021, many garden stores still have a big selection of bulbs available. We have been through a difficult season that has forced us to seek comfort, stability and tradition. So many British Columbians have suffered hardships and losses due to extreme weather events and COVID-19 related issues. For many of us the simple plant on the windowsill could do a world of wealth in lifting our spirits. 

Find yourself some specially prepared heat treated bulbs such as Paperwhite narcissus which is a common choice for the holidays. These are great for your own home or even to be used as gifts for your family and friends that need a bit of cheer. 

Caring for Your Bulbs 

You can have them in soil in pots or for a more aesthetically pleasing presentation you can have them set on stones in a glass container creating a display out of their roots. For optimal performance you want to start them off cool. You will need to get them early enough so they can spend 10 days in outdoor temperatures running from 5 to 10 degrees C. This ensures root development. When the roots are established you will start seeing green leaves. When you keep the bulbs cool their flower stems will remain compact as they emerge. Then you can bring your plants inside to watch them bloom. The cooler you keep them, the more compact they will be which will mean they will be more attractive. When the flowers open, you will not only be enjoying their beautiful bloom but also their unique perfume.  

Other Flower Options

Prepared Hyacinths are another option. They are more compact and have a more powerful fragrance. Keep them cool to ensure their beauty will last long. 

Amaryllis flowers are a stunning visual option but they do not have a scent. Their striking color and the way their petals unfold always make a big statement. You can find these pre-started, in bud or ready to bloom in pots but you can still purchase bulbs and follow the instructions above. The bigger the bulbs, the larger the flower. Pot these bulbs so the top third is above ground. This will create a unique look that is full of character. Keep these beside a cool window so they can develop at a slow pace for the best results. 

Get to Planting!

It is the perfect time to start potting your bulbs for enjoyment next year indoors. These flowers in bloom will be a stunning addition to your home or can be great for gifts to friends and family members. If you are choosing non-prepared bulbs you will have a wide variety to consider choosing from. Just remember that not all bulbs are suitable for early forcing. Some of the easiest and best options to choose are Hyacinths, Crocuses and Tete-a-tete daffodils. 

Get smaller pots running 4 to 6 inches in size. Many potting soil is very lightweight so you can add some sand to the mix. Push the bulbs deep into the soil and cover with sand. This will prevent them from lifting out of the pot. 

Europeans on Top Planting Bulbs

Europeans have a different approach. Instead of burying the bulbs, they place them on top of the soil. This way the bulbs themselves offer some beauty before they bloom. Using more decorative pots also helps to improve the overall aesthetic look and feel of the plant on display. These top planted bulbs can be covered with some sand to keep them stable. 

These top planted bulbs will need 4 to 6 weeks to cool so their roots can develop. This time will also allow the flower stems to push out of the bulbs. Find a cool place that is above freezing to place these bulbs. This is a very crucial point for their development. You can place them outside in a southern or western spot and cover them with bark or sawdust so they don’t freeze while their roots are growing. 

Once rooted some bulbs will show stem growth. At this point they are ready to go indoors to start blooming. Crocuses are known to emerge first then Hyacinths and then the Tete-a-tete daffodils. Some minor bulbs will also work well. These include Grape Hyacinth, Scilla Campanulata and Chionodoxa.   

What bulbs will you be choosing this season to lift your spirits and the spirits of your loved ones? Just remember to keep them cool for the best blooms come January. 

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BevonyEnjoy Spring Flowers on Your Windowsill This January

Housing Market Pricing Canadians out of Small Towns

by Bevony on December 9, 2021 No comments

It is not only in larger cities like Vancouver and Toronto that are feeling the surge in home prices. As more people leave the big cities to find more affordable real estate, they are hit with the reality that the cost of real estate in smaller towns has also increased. What does this mean for the people who grew up in these towns and cities? 

House prices have changed dramatically and it has left a lot of people angry, upset and bewildered. A lot of people have left the big cities and a lot of those are young people. They have gone on in search of more affordable houses and as such have driven up house prices there. So now people who were born and raised in these smaller towns and cities are having to struggle to be able to afford a home due to the increase in new homeowners from outside. Not only have home prices increased but traffic has increased, people are fighting for daycare spots, access to vets, doctors etc. Everything has changed for people living in smaller towns and cities. With no change to infrastructure and more people migrating to these areas it will be tough for city dwellers. 

Housing Prices Affecting Many Aspects of Life

The price increase on houses does not only affect those searching for a home to buy. In this case we can see how it has driven up traffic congestion in smaller cities, has caused strain on the economy of these cities, causing shortages in care for children, animals and more. More vehicular traffic equals more pollution.

People born and raised in these smaller towns who had dreams of staying in their area and buying their own home are now needing to look outside. Many young people had a good life prior to the pandemic and had pictured themselves living in their city for the long haul. Many people had their down payments saved up and were working their way to making a purchase. Now rising prices may mean they can’t afford a home, even with the down payment they had saved up. 

It’s hard to keep an optimistic outlook in a situation like this. Especially for those who have taken a hit to their income. Many responsible young people now can’t see the benefits of their savings due to increased housing prices. Many saw an impending crash in the housing market and expected prices to fall. Now instead of being able to afford more houses with their budget they really can’t afford a home or simply can’t. 

Did you have your heart set on purchasing a home in a small city or town? Have the increasing prices priced you out of a home? Let us know what is happening in your small town below.

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BevonyHousing Market Pricing Canadians out of Small Towns

2021 – A Record Year for Canadian Home Sales

by Bevony on December 3, 2021 No comments

In November 2021 the Canadian Real Estate Association released national home sales statistics. The statistics showed that 2021 had set another yearly record where home prices were concerned and the year is not even done yet.  These high house prices are bringing investor capital into the market just as a number of recent reports had suggested. 

The analysis of the data indicates that more Canadians are purchasing homes as investment properties than as principal residences. Often these already have their primary residence and the phenomenon is continuing to grow. Online data from the Bank of Canada supports this reflecting mostly domestic investors. 

What is Causing This Influx of Investors into the Market?

Many of these residents are using the equity in their primary residences to purchase new vacation homes and investment properties in coveted spots. Many are making this move as they see housing as a safer way to invest their money leaving the financial markets behind. Real estate continues to attract people thanks to all the records in price gains seen since the summer of 2020. 

How the Trend Has Changed

TheToronto housing boom of 2020 was driven by end users but this is not the trend we are seeing for 2021. New investors are playing the majority role in driving up the real estate prices this year. 

In the summer, we saw where home price growth cooled off a bit. Now we see the market heating up. In October we saw the prices increase more than 23% over the prices of October 2020. The data shows an increase in activity from multi-property owners. There are borrowers with 2 or 3 active mortgages. These homeowners have their primary property in addition to one or more vacation homes. 

There are also those who have four or even more than four mortgages. These are most likely real estate investors. Homeowners in the latter group increased by 15% in 2021 for the months April to June when compared to the same period in 2019. This increase was highest in Ontario with a 21% increase and in Quebec with a 16% increase. 

How Long Can Investors Remain Optimistic?

The concern now is that these investors could cause the prices to increase at a faster rate, locking out others looking to buy a home as their primary residence. Investors are less constrained by income when considering a property for purchase. Investors are looking to turn a profit by re-selling a home at a higher price. This is why investors aren’t deterred by rental income being under the costs of the home. As long as investors are optimistic prices will continue to rise because they are usually willing to pay higher prices and have money at their disposal. This is similar to the type of investor psychology seen in 2016 to 2017 in Toronto. This was followed by the government stepping in with the mortgage stress test requirements.

What Happens if Investor Optimism Continues?

Expectations of future price gains can expose the housing market to a higher correction chance. If this happens it is not just investors that will feel the squeeze. Many households  have their wealth and access to credit tied to their home value. This could lead to a housing market crash of 2007 and 2008 in the United States. The good news is that our country’s financial system is quite resilient so we can envision a horizon with little to no calamity. 

Still, if housing prices were to drop significantly this could affect household spending and even have repercussions on employment. So there’s a lot at stake as we watch Canada’s housing market prices. 

Check out our last post on this topic and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Bevony2021 – A Record Year for Canadian Home Sales