Andreas Nystrom


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Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada, despite our high housing costs Vancouver has not ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world. In fact, Vancouver is way down the list at #119 rubbing shoulders with Kuwait City and Cairo, Egypt.


The survey run by The Mercer 2015 Cost of Living Survey, is meant to provide a guideline for international workforce compensation - but many are simply curious to see how far their dollar goes. Using the U.S. Dollar and New York City as a base, the cost of over 200 goods and services in 360 cities have been analyzed.

In terms of Canada, Vancouver is the most expensive while Toronto came in at #126, Montreal at #140, Calgary at #146 and the cheapest city being Ottawa at #162.  The survey does bring good news: Vancouver is getting less expensive compared to the rest of the world - in the 2014 survey we placed #96.

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The Fraser Institute released a new report today indicating both developers and home builders have more difficulty building in the North Shore area due various factors such as: regulation costs, approval times and rezoning prevalence.


The district of North Vancouver has the highest regulatory compliance costs at $40,000, compared to the lowest costs at $14,357 in Abbotsford. The study shows this is a direct result of less affordable housing, capital gains and increasing property taxes.


Approvals in West Vancouver take the longest, averaging at 17.7 months, while North Vancouver is at 16.1 months and the shortest waiting time is in Pitt Meadows at 5 weeks.


The report goes on to conclude that there is no evidence for higher infrastructure costs of accommodating low­ density growth. 43 developers and home builders responded to the Fraser Institute survey that was conducted in Fall 2014.

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There was no summer lull in the Vancouver housing market this year. Between June and August home sales were 25% above the 10 year sales average. In August there were 3,362 homes sold which is up 21.3% from last year.


On the listing side we continue to see a smaller supply of homes for sale. There were 4,281 homes listed on the regions MLS in August. All totalled there were 10,897 homes for sale on the MLS. This is down 26.2% from last year and is the lowest total we have since August 2005.


The benchmark price for all residential prices has risen to $708,500 which is up 12% over last year. The current sales-to-active listing ratio is 30.9% which indicates a strong sellers market across the GVRD.


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Remand Centre, a former jail in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has been converted into a rental housing complex for low ­income adults and Aboriginal youth.


The facility closed in 2002 and sat unused until 2011 when a local firm, Henriquez Partners Architects was contracted to convert the building.


A total of 96 units have been converted from jail cells ranging between 320­560 ft and rent ranging from $375­$850 per month. 38 units are available for youth (specifically in the BladeRunners’ Construction Program), 42 units for people who currently live in the Downtown Eastside and 16 units for women transitioning from emergency housing.


The buildings renovations include modern units, large new windows, a new shared amenity space, a convenience kitchen, and a community garden with vegetables and flower beds.


Approximately $18 million has been spent on the renovation, with $16 million contributed by the Provincial government, $2 from the Municipal Government. Renovations began in early 2014, the first tenants will be able to move in August 2015.


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