Percentage of single-family homes in Metro Vancouver worth more than $1 million in 2016 widens from 28% to 43%: Andy Yan

BY JOANNE LEE-YOUNG

In his latest snapshot of housing unaffordability, researcher Andy Yan shows the percentage of Metro Vancouver homes valued over $1 million rose from 28 per cent to 43 per cent in 2016.

Marked in red are homes over $1 million for 2016 and 2015.

For the past five years, Yan’s so-called “million dollar line” looking at home values based on data from B.C. Assessment has been a visual way to capture the geographical divide in housing prices.

At first, the symbolic measure sat around Main Street between Vancouver’s west and east sides before drifting eastward beyond Fraser Street. Last year, for the first time, it fanned out as Yan accessed data to include rising prices for homes across Metro Vancouver.

For 2016, which is based on assessments at July 2015, Richmond, Burnaby, Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver all had over 60 per cent of homes worth 1 million or more — with West Vancouver at the highest with 97 per cent.

Said Yan: “I’m guessing this rise is probably not due to increases in local wages and incomes. I think it’s likely a convergence and combination of constrained supply for single family detached housing, low interest loans, property speculation, and global capital with a sprinkle of trying to secure adequate family-oriented housing for many households with children.”

There doesn’t seem to be an abating of this trend in close sight despite softening real estate prices for some parts and categories of Metro Vancouver in 2016.

B.C. Assessment has warned that single detached homes in Metro Vancouver will be assessed 30 to 50 per cent higher for 2017 taxes than in 2016. It said that these properties went up the most in Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, the North Shore, Squamish and in the Tri-Cities from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016, which is the date on which yearly assessments for 2017 taxes are set.

Yan, who is director at Simon Fraser University’s City Program, also looked at the impact of transportation costs on housing affordability.

In the City of Vancouver the average cost of transportation over 25 years — assuming two per cent inflation per year and that nothing changes to improve the current situation — works out to be $298,459, according to Yan.

By comparison, if you live in the Township of Langley, the 25-year cost of transportation would be $563,755.

Across the Metro Vancouver region, if you add in amortized 25 year average annual transportation cost estimates, the percentage of homes with a cost of over $1 million rises significantly from 43 per cent to 92 per cent.

In areas such as Vancouver, the North Shore, Burnaby and Richmond, adding in such transportation costs increases the percentage of home values, but it’s in Coquitlam, New Westminster, Surrey, Delta, Port Coquitlam and the township and city of Langley where the contrast is most pronounced. In Coquitlam, the percentage of home valued over $1 million goes from 22.4 per cent to 97 per cent if you account for estimated amortized transportation costs. In the township of Langley, the percentage rises from 4.8 per cent to 90 per cent.

“This is only looking at the (straight) cost of transportation, not even the time,” said Yan.

He continued: “There is ‘phantom affordability’ too, if you will. This idea that you can drive (further from the city) until you qualify (to buy a home) doesn’t take into consideration that as home mortgages (cost less) transportation mortgages (in some areas) go up.”

Yan said this is precisely the direction seen in some U.S. cities, where the areas hardest hit by affordability woes have been the outskirts and suburbs rather than the city centres even when they have seen some of the highest home prices.

Real estate cheating scandal claims mortgage broker

Man who allegedly wrote licensing exam for Ryan Rana revealed; Rana on leave as ‘special constable’

By Jason Proctor, CBC News

A bizarre B.C. real estate scandal has widened with the suspension of the mortgage broker who allegedly posed as Langley realtor Ryan Rana for his licensing exam.

And the CBC has also learned that as a result of the allegations, Rana has been placed on administrative leave from his other job — as a provincial special constable at B.C.’s Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

Ted Aulak aka Ryan Rana?

B.C.’s registrar of mortgage brokers suspended the registration of Indeep Singh Aulak after being contacted about the situation by the real estate council. Aulak’s professional name is Ted.

The council claims Rana admitted to sending someone else to write the Real Estate Trading Services exam in his place last December.

Ryan Rana was licensed as a realtor in February after an imposter passed his licensing exam with a score of 90 per cent. (Twitter)

According to an order posted on the Financial Institutions Commission website, investigators matched Aulak to photographs of the person who purported to be Rana for the purposes of writing the test.

​The allegations come amidst wider concerns about regulation of the real estate industry in British Columbia. A number of scandals have emerged in recent months involving the actions of unscrupulous realtors driven by greed to cash in on the province’s white hot market.

A panel of experts is currently considering, among other things, whether or not the industry should continue to be self-regulated.

Guarding the mentally ill

An archived copy of Rana’s website describes the 25-year-old as having a “background in community law enforcement and public health care.”

It turns out that he is a special constable at the Coquitlam Forensic Psychiatric Hospital which houses people who have been declared not criminally responsible for offences because of mental disorders.

Perhaps the facility’s most notorious patient is Allan Schoenborn, a father who killed his three children in 2008. Controversy has surrounded the decision to allow him escorted outings into the community.

Special constables like Rana would be tasked with ensuring the security of patients and the public during the course of those outings.

A spokesperson with the Provincial Health Services Authority says Rana has been placed on leave with pay pending the outcome of the real estate council’s regulatory process.

Referred to lawyer or notary for identity affidavit

Aulak’s suspension order provides new details about the investigation into the impersonation.

The Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C. administers the licensing exams for both realtors and mortgage brokers. In order to take the test, candidates have to provide a form which includes a passport photo.

They also have to present other photo identification on the day of the exam.

The first time someone claiming to be Rana attempted to take the test last November, they were turned away because their appearance didn’t match a driver’s licence photograph.

The Sauder School of Business at UBC administers the licensing exams for both realtors and mortgage brokers.

“He was referred to a lawyer or a notary to get further assurance regarding his identity,” the order says.

“The person who identified as Mr. Rana then provided Sauder with an affidavit.”

A ‘Ryan Rana’ was then allowed to write the multiple choice exam in December and passed with a mark of 90 per cent.

According to the order, the passport photo submitted along with Aulak’s exam shows him with a full beard and turban. The one attached to Rana’s exam is clean shaven.

‘The two photos were a likely match’

The allegations came to light when someone contacted the real estate council to say the person pictured on Rana’s website was not the same person who wrote his licensing exam.

“The council advised that they conducted social media searches of Mr. Rana, and found that Mr. Aulak and Mr. Rana are friends on a social media website. The social media website depicted photos of Mr. Aulak,” the order says.

“The council also engaged a private investigator who compared the social media photos to the Rana affidavit using photo matching software. The investigator determined that the two photos were a likely match.”

Investigators also spoke to a Surrey photo studio proprietor who took the passport photo attached to Rana’s real estate exam ticket. He provided a matching picture — “commissioned by a person with the last name of ‘Aulakh’.”

Rana received his real estate licence in February and Aulak was licensed as a mortgage broker in early April. According to the order, Rana’s website refers to Aulak as a mortgage specialist.

Rana was also advertising a listing for a Surrey property owned by Aulak.

Both are suspended pending full disciplinary hearings of the allegations. Neither man could be reached for comment.

Calgary and Edmonton housing markets ‘hammered’ in January

Calgary and Edmonton housing markets were “hammered” in January, says the Conference Board of Canada.

A report, by senior economist Robin Wiebe, released on Thursday, said the seasonally-adjusted annual rate of sales fell by 23.9 per cent on a monthly basis in Calgary to 20,100 and by 9.8 per cent in Edmonton to 15,372. Continue reading “Calgary and Edmonton housing markets ‘hammered’ in January”

Home sales, prices were up last month in Vancouver: report

Richard Dettman

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Metro Vancouver home sales were strong in October, with an industry group saying 14.9 per cent more properties were sold than the same month a year earlier.

The total of 3,057 was 4.6 per cent higher than the previous month.

Figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show a hot market for detached houses. Even though they’re generally much more expensive that apartment-style condos, the two categories were almost tied last month as houses outsold apartments by just three units.

REBGV president Ray Harris says it’s “largely a function of supply and demand” because there are fewer houses than condos.

The group’s adjusted “benchmark” price for all properties was up six per cent to $637,000.

There was a drop of 14.7 per cent in new listings compared to September which posted a 33 per cent increase from August.

Continue reading “Home sales, prices were up last month in Vancouver: report”