October 30, 2019
The Botto Team
After almost three decades, a program to remove thousands of toxic oil tanks from North Shore properties has had marginal success, leaving homeowners -- and the environment -- at serious risk.
Residential underground storage tanks, large metal containers that were once used to hold heating oil, are buried next to thousands of houses in North and West Vancouver. The tanks, many of which were designed to last only 25 years, are inclined to leak toxic oil products into the surrounding soil.
Municipalities have been encouraging their removal since 1989 when the province included their disposal in the fire code. But after nearly 30 years, only a small number of the containers have been taken out. That means the ground around many North Vancouver properties is growing more toxic every year, and the costs are now being felt by the environment and by homeowners. The oil, a carcinogen, sits on top of water, eventually coming to the surface. It can contaminate households by being tracked in on shoes; and it can migrate into neighboring properties and into watercourses.
A corroded tank, usually buried eight feet deep, can also become a dangerous sinkhole. Most tanks were installed between the 1920s and 1960s. When people switched to natural gas, most doing so by the 1970s, many simply abandoned the old tanks. In the absence of proper installation records some property owners do not even know they are there.
Prospective Buyers will no longer take on the responsibility of a potential buried tank - yet everyone continues to feel the sting of the public's inaction. Removal of the tanks is now required at the time homes are sold and when insurance is renewed. Straight forward removal of a tank that has not leaked costs around $3,000 to $5,000, including an environmental assessment, typically required in most Municipalities. But for a leaking tank, the cost can be much higher. Cleanup jobs range from $15,000 to $30,000 - to, well, "the sky's the limit".
For more information on the consequences of unremdiated oil tanks, click here.
If you think you have an oil tank on your property, please contact a qualified
August 2, 2019
The Botto Team
Home buyer demand picked up across Metro Vancouver* last month, making July, a traditionally quieter month in real estate, the second highest selling month so far this year. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,557 in July 2019, a 23.5 per cent increase from the 2,070 sales recorded in July 2018, and a 23.1 per cent increase from the 2,077 homes sold in June 2019. Last month’s sales were 7.8 per cent below the 10-year July sales average.
“While home sale activity remains below long-term averages, we saw an increase in sales in July compared to the less active spring we experienced,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “Those looking to buy today continue to benefit from low interest rates, increased selection, and reduced prices compared to the heated market a few years ago.”
You can read the entire report here: http://members.rebgv.org/news/REBGV-Stats-Pkg-July-2019.pdf
July 16, 2019
Grant & Jasmine Botto
We are thrilled to be involved as Sponsors in this very special 'gathering of community' event since its beginning in 2015!
Dinner on the Pier celebrates the special community of North Vancouver on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019. Enjoy a beautiful evening of music, amazing food, drinks, and sunset dancing with collaboration and support from local businesses.
#DOTP2019 guests are welcomed to Dinner on the Pier on a warm August evening, with cocktails and entertainment at the historical Pipe Shop venue. After announcements, introductions to the night’s contributions, and time to mingle; guests make their way to dinner by Chef Joel Green, under the lights at the Burrard Dry Dock Pier - Rain or Shine!
This year, we are happy to share that the goal this year is to raise $5000 for WISH Drop-In Centre Society. Get your tickets HERE - before they sell out!
February 21, 2016
The Botto Team
We, like most North Vancouverites, consider our pets “family”. And fortunately in our fair city – many buildings permit pets. Frankly, we are such a pet-friendly city that it can be detrimental to your Apartment or Townhome’s market value should pets not be allowed! That no-pets-no-rentals-no-BBQ’s rule really reads, “No fun here” ! While most of the time ‘pets’ means dogs or cats, most buildings allow fish & birds, but not snakes or reptiles …
Here are 5 buildings that welcome your four legged friends, and have other benefits, too:
One Park Lane (170 West 1st Street)
One of the most elegant and best-selling concrete buildings in Lower Lonsdale – in fact won a 2005 Georgie Award for “Best Residential Building in BC”. Lucky 13 floors, and 117 apartments & townhomes. Has a swanky foyer, Conceirge, Gym, Lounge, Theatre, Video Security, secure resident & guest parking, bike lockers. Adjacent to Jack Loucks Park (where, funny enough, dogs are prohibited??!)
Small dogs and/or cats to a maximum of two (2) with a weight restriction.
Vista East & Vista West at Hamersley Park (333-365 East 1st Street)
A collection of 140 apartments, built in 2 phases; in Craftsman Tudor style, AND with rain screen exterior by reputable and still-in-business, Ledingham McAllister. This is a super quiet location, and indeed across from Hamersley Park, and just steps to the waterfront & cool places like historic Hamersley House, Finch & Barley, and the Juicery. Two pets permitted here, too – dogs, cats or one of each. No weight restriction.
The “Q” – 124 West 1st Street
Popular & very well kept concrete building, built in 2001 when a one bedroom, 610 sq ft home here cost between $129,900 & $155,900 – and a 2B 2B suite of almost 900 sq ft set you back $200 - $250K. 73 really great suites here, no rentals permitted, but up to three pets. Many of these homes have spectacular views, large patios / terraces and spacious floor plans. Steps to Buddha-full Juice Bar & eatery, Waves coffee, Obsession Bikes, and some really great Pizza.
“Burham Court” – 222 East 5th Street
One of Noort Developments’ very first projects in North Vancouver (1998). 19 beautiful townhomes, measuring about 1500 sq ft each. This complex is a shining example of good maintenance, and has always sold well. Most recent sale was $891,000 in Dec ‘15. Lovely generous floor plans, good outdoor space, well landscaped, well built, and this part of 5th Street is really pretty. “Standard” Bylaws apply here in regard to pets, so that is 1 cat or 1 dog. A great favorite of ours; ticks all the boxes, but people move in & stay – so very few come up for sale.
15 West – 150 West 15th Street
OK, so technically “Central” Lonsdale, but WOW – so good we couldn’t resist. A Citimark / Grosvenor project. Gorgeous views from many suites in this all concrete building. 18 stories, lots of glass, party room, gym, meeting room, tons of visitor parking (thank goodness – have you tried to park middle of Lonsdale these days ?), a beautiful lobby with soaring ceilings (so nice to come home to), some MASSIVE patios and HUGE storage lockers and private garages for the PH suites. Delicious. 2 pets permitted in this very urban – super high quality building. Take your pet one block North to Fur-Doos grooming!
January 15, 2016
The Botto Team
The public is invited to attend a drop-in open house on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, to learn more about the $36-million Mountain Highway Interchange project designed to improve traffic flow and safety on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) north of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.
The new Mountain Highway Interchange project is the first phase of the $150-million Lower Lynn Improvements project, which is slated for completion in spring 2021.
This open house session is an opportunity for people to learn about the upcoming Mountain Highway project and provide feedback. Staff from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and other members of the project team will be at the open house to go over the information, answer questions and provide details on this important three-phased project.
If you’re unable to attend, the information presented will be posted online after the start of the open house and an online feedback form may be filled out at:http://gov.bc.ca/lowerlynninterchanges
You may also send comments or questions to the project team by phoning 604 527-3105 or sending an e-mail to senior project manager Jay Porter at: Lowerlynn@gov.bc.ca
Public Information Session:
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016
Time: 4 to 8 p.m.
Media invited at 3:30 p.m.
Public invited from 4 to 8 p.m.
Holiday Inn & Suites
700 Old Lillooet Rd.
Highway 1 – Lower Lynn Improvements Project website:
Follow the work of the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure online: www.tranbc.ca
January 13, 2016
The Botto Team
So it was a slow news week last week. Combine that with the media’s ravenous appetite for real estate gossip, and the increase on your 2016 Property Assessment is once again an exciting topic.
Yes, there have been continued increases in prices in the Lower Mainland, and particularly the North Shore month over month for many years running, but this is all readily available public information, so not really a surprise that 2016 Assessments are considerably higher than they were in 2015.
The thing is, Property Assessments do NOT necessarily equal market value (that’s actually good news, because if 2016 Taxes were actually based on end of year 2015 values, they’d be considerably higher – see below).
And, just because your Assessment went up, doesn’t mean your taxes will increase by the same amount (or even at all). And, if your taxes increase, besides a change in assessed value, there could be changes in the City’s Tax rate, or in other tax authorities’ tax rate, so it’s not all about the real estate.
The municipal portion of the property tax bill (property tax + utilities) represents roughly 65% of your entire tax bill in the City if North Vancouver. Additional property tax charges are levied by Metro Vancouver regional district, TransLink, the Province of BC (school taxes), the BC Assessment Authority and others. Year-over-year changes in these charges may vary significantly from the change in the municipal property tax.
As a brilliant example, The City of Richmond (different municipality, but the concept is the same) was fed up with the confusion, and has a terrific YouTube video on how Property Taxes are calculated, and you can view it here:
Here are the price increases of a Benchmark North Vancouver home in the Assessment Period (you may find similar increases over last year on your Assessment Notice):
July 2014 - July 2015 Dec 2014 – Dec 2015
(assessment period) (Year over year data)
Detached 16.5% ↑ + 26.6% ↑
Attached 3% ↑ + 16.6% ↑
Apartments 2% ↑ + 9.9% ↑
Off the cuff, we can’t recall a year when an individual tax bill has decreased, regardless of what happens to property values. However, at some point economies of scale must come into play. Increased tax base, more people, higher property values … We look forward to the year when the Municipalities do a better job with what they’ve got and are able to deliver some good news in the mail the first week in January.
Here is a service that you may find helpful – available each New Year until March, where you can view details on a single property, compare neighbouring properties, and compare sales information.
HERE is a link to the BC Assessment News Release for 2016.
We are happy to help you with more stats – we have LOADS of them, for every neighborhood. You can take a peek here.
November 16, 2015
The Botto Team
Everyone is talking about the now imminent development in the Lynn Valley Town Centre. The great news is that Floor-plans & Pricing are now available!
We have included links to the floor plans here:
Please click here for Furnished Floor-plans
For your convenience, we have included a link to the starting prices below:
Please click here for Starting Prices
The Vancouver Sun recently ran an article on The Residences this past weekend. You can click here for the story!
Want your own VIP Tour ? Construction of The Residences Sales centre, located across from CIBC at Lynn Valley Centre, is well underway and we would love to take you through your very own tour of these homes, so CALL US TODAY and we'll set up an appointment!
CALL US AT (604) 984-7253
November 10, 2015
The Botto Team
Let’s face it – Real Estate is an incredibly hot topic, and has been for the last 10 years at least – as it has morphed from owning “somewhere to live” into an enormous industry unto itself – prompting a plethora of TV shows, trade shows, workshops, seminars, shops & services, plus daily chatter at your local coffee shop, and on every possible social media site.
Supply, Demand, Interest Rates and Income. Over history, these have not changed as the main influences in a real estate marketplace.
How do you know which report to rely on for information? – for example, on November 9th Global News reports on a “Risk of Severe Housing Slump Rising”… but if you get to the end of the article, you will read that “All told, there will be “modest unwinding” in housing activity in Ontario and B.C.”.
Today, CTV News has an article on their site quoting “no bubble burst”, with Central 1 credit union predicting that low mortgage rates through 2017 will keep sales sizzling, and prices rising. Sigh.
There is no doubt prices are the highest they have ever been in our fair city, and especially the North Shore & the West Side of Vancouver. Folks that already live here are, by all accounts, still loving it here and want to stay – making supply so slim, it’s crazy. And certainly, household income has not kept pace with the increase in median price in the Lower Mainland, and BC specifically stands out as the province that is the most costly to live in – taking the ratio of income to house prices.
Interest Rates today are still incredibly great – 2.54% for a five year term – fuelling the fire of an already what some would call, “overheated” market. But how do you define ‘overheated’ ?? People have always thought that Vancouver has been expensive. The North shore has particularly been an expensive place to live – and the reason is the same – MANY people still love it here, and want more than anything, to live here. Demand.
When we first began buying real estate, an average house in North Vancouver was just over $100,000 – and when that number became $200,000, everyone was up in arms. Breaking major price points over the last 25 years has always invoked the same response from consumers - except – gulp today, we’re talking “millions of dollars”! The price increase we have seen in the past year is approximately 20 – 25%. We have also seen similar increases in the period mid 2005 to mid 2006, when median prices jumped approximately 30%, and then again in early 2009 to early 2010, when they jumped again approximately 20%. YIKES!
There is no doubt it is tough out there, no kidding! Buyers are finding it a real challenge – and we as facilitators for buyers & sellers are also finding it a real challenge to locate a good home for our valued clients, and to provide comforting counsel to folks who are considering selling, but worried about where they will go should they sell.
So here are our thoughts & maybe a little advice on how to manage investing in and staying in one of the most desirable places to live !
(1) Start somewhere & just get into the market – the important thing is to stop paying rent. Consider purchasing an older apartment with a friend, or get a room mate. There are 235 apartments for sale in North Vancouver today (that’s 50.6% of our market) , and 109 of those are under $400,000. A $200,000 mortgage costs about $1000 per month today. Typical strata fees are about $300 per month – & add $100 - $175 a month for property taxes. It’s possible that’s less than you will pay for rent here. You’ve got to start somewhere.
(2) Not ready to buy just yet? Chat with a financial planner & a local mortgage broker and start your plan. With guided advice and your goal setting program, you’ll be further ahead when the time comes.
(3) Sit down with and ask questions of a seasoned, honest Real Estate Advisor – who should be part of your financial team, for now & into the future. Learn about today’s real market conditions from someone who is working 24/7 in the market – DON’T rely on traditional or social media to form your opinions & make your decisions – trust the experts!
(4) Set goals to save money & tuck it away for your real estate portfolio … over history, it has been one of the best investments you will ever make.
(5) Living in Vancouver is the reality of living within the Pacific Rim, but check out average composite (all property types) home prices in:
San Francisco $1,109,900 up 14.7% over year up 4.8% 2016 expected
Singapore $1,155,020. up 18% last 3 months
Hong Kong $2,047,850 for on average, 753 square feet
And, it’s not always about real estate. Here’s some advice from Warren Buffett - he has said the best investment he ever made was not a stock or a bond or even in real estate, but buying a copy of The Intelligent Investor, a book written by Benjamin Graham. Buffett read the book when it came out in 1949 and later enrolled at Columbia Business School in order to take classes with Graham. Buffett says the book still guides his investment decisions today, and he has recommended it to Bill Gates, among others. Here's what Buffett had to say about the book in his most recent letter to Berkshire shareholders: I can’t remember what I paid for that first copy of The Intelligent Investor. Whatever the cost, it would underscore the truth of Ben’s adage: Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Of all the investments I ever made, buying Ben’s book was the best (except for my purchase of two marriage licenses).