New Listing: Beautiful 2 level 2 bdrm 2 bath town home in Burnby
Maple Wood Terrace. Beautiful well kept 2 level town home, corner unit facing courtyard. 2 bedroom, 1.5 baths, main bath up, Cheater Style Ensuite. Open Concept, living room with fireplace. Dining room and kitchen with breakfast bar, 2 pc ensuite on main. Laminate flooring on the main. Upper level with Master Bedroom and 2nd bedroom and landing/den style with room for computer desk. Insuite Laundry. Secured Underground parking. Walking distance to elementary and secondary school, bus transit, Edmonds skytrain, close to Highgate and Metrotown shopping, easy access to Highways. Super central location,
Derek Corrigan recalls that moving from Vancouver to the city he would years later serve as mayor was a “big change.” It was 1977, and he had just finished law school and married his wife, Kathy, the previous December.
“In those days, being an East Van boy, you believed that the world ended at the Joyce loop,” said Corrigan. “Once the trollies stopped, you figured, well, that was the end of the world!”
Burnaby then seemed to be Vancouver’s overshadowed sibling. Today it’s B.C.’s third-largest city, with a growing hi-tech industry, a rising skyline, a new downtown being planned, and condos that young buyers line up overnight—in the rain—to buy.
Over 223,200 people live in the city. Another 122,000 are expected by 2040, according to Metro Vancouver projections. And while many Canadian cities are diverse, Burnaby has been called “super-diverse”: it’s where you’re most likely to bump into someone of a different ethnicity, the Vancouver Sun found.
Yet as dense as some areas are, many quieter neighbourhoods of single-family homes remain. A quarter of Burnaby’s land has also been dedicated to green space.
A century ago, Burnaby was farmland. How did it evolve? Two key factors both created Burnaby, and are pushing its growth today: transit and development.
The Edmonds and Kingsway intersection in 1912. The area is now one of Burnaby’s four town centres. Photo City of Burnaby Archives.
Rural, suburban, urban
In 1891, an electric rail system was completed connecting the downtowns of Vancouver and New Westminster. In between were farms. A group of realtors conceived the idea of establishing a municipal government in the unincorporated space, and in 1892 Burnaby was born.
Its identity quickly became tied to its surrounding municipalities. Even its location gave it little breathing room: to the west was Vancouver, south were Richmond and New Westminster, east were Port Moody and Port Coquitlam, and across the inlet was the North Shore. It was, geographically, Metro Vancouver’s middle-child.
Then in the 1960s Burnaby planners planted the idea that would guide the city’s future growth. Town centres would cluster residential and commercial density near community amenities. That would keep intense development away from single-family homes and green spaces.
Subsequent community plans maintained the town centre strategy, further supported when the SkyTrain line built in 1985 encouraged development along its route.
Burnaby boom town
Fast forward to today.
Forests of condo towers have erupted from Burnaby’s four town centres: Brentwood in the northwest, Lougheed in the northeast, Metrotown in the southwest, Edmonds in the southeast. And they continue to sprout: some 100 new residential towers are under construction or proposed, eventually to add more than 30,000 households to the city.
The developing Brentwood town centre has been compared to Vancouver’s Yaletown. Photo Ivan Chung.
There are currently 29 developments outside Canon Wong’s apartment, most of them residential high-rises. With family help, Vancouver-born Wong, 24, paid $450,000 for the two-bedroom in a Brentwood tower completed just last year. He moved in this April.
“It has a little bit of a community feel, but community might be too strong a word; Brentwood’s still developing,” said Wong. “But there lots of new residents. Lots of young people.”
Indeed, the attraction of Wong’s new neighbourhood brought dozens out in the rain earlier this year for a chance to buy developer Concord Pacific’s Brentwood condos at a discount. Once complete, the Concord complex will feature no fewer than 10 towers, most between 40 and 45 storeys tall, with a huge indoor-outdoor shopping centre. Mock-ups resemble a B.C. Beverly Hills.
Thanks to height allowances, Burnaby’s towers are catching up to those in downtown Vancouver in scale. One even has the potential to become the tallest building in the province, with up to 70 storeys permitted.
“It’s really important to increase density in self-contained little communities where you don’t have to travel much,” said Sav Dhaliwal, vice-chair of the city’s transportation committee. “The less dependent we are on automobiles, the better we are on the long run.”
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has been in office since 2002. Prior that, he served as a councillor for 15 years. Photo Christopher Cheung.
Now Mayor of the city he moved to in 1977, Derek Corrigan says Burnaby has to make do with what land it’s got.
“I model a lot of what we do on cities like London and New York,” said Corrigan. “That may sound like a little bit of hubris, but geographically, we are so constrained with the ocean and the mountains and agricultural land.
“Our situation is unlike places like Calgary. We can’t keep building ring roads that take people further out into the suburbs. We don’t have that option. All our [regional] growth is on the end of a peninsula, and we’re in a situation where we’re forced to make big city choices in a city that isn’t that big.”
If population isn’t concentrated in Burnaby’s towers?
“Growth will go into the valley, into the agricultural zones, and commuter traffic will be coming through our city,” said Corrigan.
A ‘wrong road’?
The transit-focused town-centre model isn’t without its critics.
“I personally think Burnaby and the region took a wrong road when we chose to intensify development at station areas at the expense of every other part of the city,” said Patrick Condon, chair of the urban design program at UBC’s School of Architecture, in an email.
Burnaby streets like Canada Way, Boundary, Willingdon, and Lougheed all had the potential to become vibrant, walkable, mixed-use areas, he said. Instead, they’re mostly home to car-traffic.
As for Metrotown, which has been designated to become Burnaby’s new “downtown,” Condon calls it the “old man” of Burnaby’s town centres. “Metrotown, to be fair, is never likely to be a tourist destination,” he said. “Built around enclosed malls on a great ‘superblock,’ it is the opposite of urban.”
“And yet,” Condon added, “we have to admire the fact that its shops are affordable, and that unlike other North American malls, more than half of its customers arrive on transit.” The streets around the “superblock,” meanwhile, are considered desirably walkable by many of their residents.
What Condon doesn’t dispute is Burnaby’s growth trajectory. “As the region grows to the east,” he wrote, “the population and jobs midpoint moves east too, out of Vancouver and into Burnaby.”
A place with everything
For some, Burnaby may still be the affordable second choice to Vancouver.
Sogol Arami, 30, rents a one-bedroom in Burnaby’s Brentwood for $1,600 a month while managing a cosmetics store on Vancouver’s west side. She likes to spend her evenings out in Yaletown and Gastown. Nothing in Burnaby yet compares, she says.
“But to live in the kind of home you want,” Arami says, “Vancouver’s just too expensive.”
It’s the same for born-and-raised Vancouverite Wong, who accepted the daily commute back to his former city in exchange for his more reasonably priced two-bedroom in Brentwood.
“That’s what you get for living in a nice city like Vancouver,” he added. “As much as I hate it, I recognize that’s the nature of it.” Wong says he may have to move again, further away from Vancouver and even Burnaby, to find something both more spacious and affordable.
Anthony Derrick understands why his city is an attractive alternative for Vancouverites. The 22-year-old business student has lived here his whole life.
“Burnaby pretty much has everything, from small mom-and-pop stores to malls to park space,” he said. “Burnaby Lake is a great place to go to, you can get your shopping done at Metrotown, and there are a ton of ice rinks. It just brings a great diversity between residential and urban, and lots of opportunities for people to get involved in the community.”
One spot Derrick likes is Burnaby Heights, a length of Hastings Street that’s one of those lively pedestrian strips Condon would like to see more of. Bakeries, bookstores, groceries, and restaurants give it some of the ambience of Vancouver’s West 4th and Main Street communities. Derrick was here with his father last week, visiting a funky ice cream and soda fountain shop that’s a throwback to the old days of malt shakes and sundaes.
Burnaby may have grown up into a true city, but it’s kept elements of its rural and suburban past alive.
Metrotown is being considered for designation as Burnaby’s downtown. Density has its benefits, but many affordable low-rise rental buildings are being destroyed, and their residents displaced. Planning puzzle or political problem?
January 13, 2012
2012 Property Assessment Notices
Assessment notices – a wake-up call for property owners
Property owners throughout BC received their 2012 assessment notice the first week of January from BC Assessment (BCA).
This notice is BC Assessment’s estimate of a property’s value as of July 1, 2011, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2011.
BCA is the government agency responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates for the 1,917,394 properties in its database, a 0.75% increase in the number of properties since 2011.
BC Assessment and a REALTOR® assessment. Why the difference?
BCA’s assessment and the market value determined by a REALTOR® may be different. Why?
Both BCA assessors and REALTORS® calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location – on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls.
Where every lot and every home on a street are typically the same, both BCA’s value and a REALTOR’s® value will be similar during stable market conditions.
Differences occur in neighbourhoods where lots have been rezoned or are different shapes and sizes, where architecture and views are unique, and where owners have made changes that BCA hasn’t yet taken into account.
Differences also occur during market instability when prices rise or fall during the six-month period between July 1 and January 1 the following year.
Wake-up call – how to appeal an assessment
Since July 1, 2011 home owners may have seen prices stalling in some neighbourhoods and rising in others. Assessments may reflect these changes.
Sample Changes Year Over Year
||2012 Assessment Roll
||2011 Assessment Roll
|Burnaby (Capital Hill, detached)
|Coquitlam (Maillardville, detached)
|Maple Ridge (Detached)
|New Westminster (Sapperton, detached)
|North Vancouver, District (Lynn Valley, detached)
|Pemberton Village (Detached)
|Port Coquitlam (Lincoln Park, detached)
|Richmond (Steveston, detached)
|Sunshine Coast (Gibsons, detached)
|Vancouver (Downtown, 2-bed apartment)
|Vancouver (East side, detached, 33’ lot)
|Vancouver (West side, detached 50’ lot)
|West Vancouver (Ambleside, detached)
|Whistler (Village, 2-bed apartment)
The deadline to appeal is January 31, 2012
Property owners who disagree with their assessment should do their homework by visiting www.bcassessment.ca
and then e-valueBC to compare their assessment with those of their neighbours. Each year, about 1.6% of all BC property owners appeal their assessment.
Property owners should first contact their local assessment office and talk to staff who can make adjustments if there is an obvious error, for example if BCA includes a new swimming pool, when, in fact, the pool is a shallow fish pond.
Area assessors’ phone numbers
|Vancouver, the North Shore, Squamish,
Whistler, Pemberton, Sunshine Coast
|604-739-8588 Local 450|
|Richmond, South Delta
||604-241-1364 Local 254|
|Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge
||604-850-5900 Local 261|
|Anmore, Belcarra, Burnaby, Coquitlam,
New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody
|604-294-6441 Local 256 |
Property owners who decide to appeal must file a written request by January 31, 2012. For information, visit www.bcassessment.ca and select Learn more about the Notice of Complaint (Appeal) process and the Property Assessment Review Panel.
What can an appeal mean for a property owner?
While BCA determines the assessed value of property tax for tax purposes, it’s the local taxing authorities – both provincial and local governments – which set tax rates each spring according budget requirements.
The formula for calculating taxes on property is:
Tax Rate x Assessed Value / 1,000
If the tax rate is 4.000 and the property assessment is $1 million, then the taxes payable are $4,000.
Property owners who haven’t received an assessment notice by mid-January should contact the area phone numbers listed above or request their tax notice online at www.bcassessment.ca.
(See Receive your assessment notice online - right hand side).
If a property owner has concerns about their local taxes, they should contact their local government office. Taxes aren’t appealable.
New feature - save assessment data
Visit www.bcassessment.ca and select e-valueBC to view and compare the assessed value of any BC property. A new feature this year lets you download and save assessment data as a PDF or an Excel file.
January 5, 2012
Balanced real estate market prevailed through much of 2011
Balanced real estate market prevailed through much of 2011
The 2011 Greater Vancouver housing market began with heightened demand in regional hot spots and concluded with greater balance between seller supply and buyer demand.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2011 reached 32,390, a 5.9 per cent increase from the 30,595 sales recorded in 2010, and a 9.2 per cent decrease from the 35,669 residential sales in 2009. Last year’s home sale total was 6.3 per cent below the ten-year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales in the region.
The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver increased 2.7 per cent in 2011 to 59,549 compared to the 58,009 properties listed in 2010. Looking back further, last year’s total represents a 12.8 per cent increase compared to the 52,869 residential properties listed in 2009. Last year’s listing total was 11.1 per cent above the ten-year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) property listings in the region.
“It was a relatively balanced year for the real estate market in Greater Vancouver with listing totals slightly above historical norms and sale numbers slightly below,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said.
Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,658 in December 2011, a decrease of 12.7 per cent from the 1,899 sales recorded in December 2010 and a 29.7 per cent decline compared to November 2011 when 2,360 home sales occurred.
More broadly, last month’s residential sales represent a 34.1 per cent decrease over the 2,515 residential sales in December 2009, a 79.4 per cent increase compared to December 2008’s 924 sales, and a 12.6 per cent decrease compared to the 1,897 sales in December 2007.
The overall residential benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for Greater Vancouver increased 7.6 per cent to $621,674 between Decembers 2010 and 2011. However, prices have decreased 1.5 per cent since hitting a peak of $630,921 in June 2011.
“Our market remained in a balanced state for most of the year, although higher levels of demand for detached properties in the region’s largest communities caused prices in certain areas to rise higher than others,” Setticasi said. “For example, the benchmark price of a single-family detached home experienced double-digit increases in nine areas within the region over the last 12 months.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,629 in December 2011. This represents a 4.1 per cent decline compared to the 1,699 units listed in December 2010 and a 49.4 per cent decline compared to November 2011 when 3,222 properties were listed.
Sales of detached properties in December 2011 reached 630, a decrease of 18.1 per cent from the 769 detached sales recorded in December 2010, and a 30.2 per cent decrease from the 902 units sold in December 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 11.2 per cent from December 2010 to $887,471.
Sales of apartment properties reached 774 in December 2011, a decline of 4.6 per cent compared to the 811 sales in December 2010, and a decrease of 32.9 per cent compared to the 1,154 sales in December 2009.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.7 per cent from December 2010 to $401,396.
Attached property sales in December 2011 totalled 254, a decline of 20.4 per cent compared to the 319 sales in December 2010, and a 44.7 per cent decrease from the 459 attached properties sold in December 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.2 per cent between December 2010 and 2011 to $511,499.
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