Record High Activity in August

A total of 979 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, 48.1 per cent more than the 661 properties sold in August 2019 and exactly the same total as the previous month of July 2020. Sales of condominiums were up 29.1 per cent from August 2019 with 262 units sold. Sales of single family homes were up 45 per cent from August 2019 with 509 sold.

“Once again we saw a very active month in terms of property transactions,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Sandi-Jo Ayers. “And once again I will note that this is not a trend, but that this is our market at this moment in time during a unique situation. It is a challenging time to define what is happening in the market given so many factors that don’t exist in a normal year. We have been surprised by the pace of the summer market and are grappling with the evolving socio-economic effects of the pandemic and how these underlying factors will influence our fall real estate market.”

There were 2,584 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2020, 8.9 per cent fewer properties than the total available at the end of August 2019 and a 2.6 per cent decrease from the 2,653 active listings for sale at the end of July 2020.  

“What I do know is that our business has changed a lot in recent months,” adds Ayers. “REALTORS® have adapted to health and safety requirements and much more technology is being leveraged to facilitate all aspects of the housing transaction. We can also see that though demand is up, there are fewer listings on the market, which increases demand on desirable properties even more. This is why we saw a lot of competition and multiple offers over the summer. Will this continue into fall? That will depend on how much new inventory comes into the market and how our community continues to manage the impact of COVID-19. This is an evolving and nuanced market. As always, it is a good time to connect with your Realtor if you’re considering selling or buying. If you need us, we are here.” 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August 2019 was $849,500. The benchmark value for the same home in August 2020 increased by 4.7 per cent to $889,200, 2.3 per cent less than July’s value of $909,700. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core in August 2019 was $518,000, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in August 2020 decreased by 0.8 per cent to $513,900, 3.2 per cent less than the July value of $530,800.

View the complete stats package here.

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Northern Junk project by Reliance gets rejected by council yet again

A plan to redevelop the long-vacant Northern Junk buildings near the Johnson Street Bridge has been sent back to the drawing board — again.

Reliance president Jon Stovell, who has been trying to develop the site for 10 years, expressed surprise and frustration at yet another rejection.

“It’s just unbearable,” he said. “I just don’t understand how anybody can think that it’s a good outcome to have buildings sitting vacant for 40 years on the waterfront of downtown Victoria. It’s just really almost beyond comprehension.”

Mayor Lisa Helps objected to yet another delay as well, and warned that council’s perpetual foot dragging is costing developers “hundreds of thousands of dollars” that will translate into higher rents down the road.

“The more time we tack on, the more money it costs,” she said.

Stovell said Reliance tried five or six times to get approval for a big project that involved buying land and building a large development.

“And that never got support, either, from anybody,” he said. “So it just seems like with that site, there’s just nothing good enough.”

In the end, only Helps, Marianne Alto and Sarah Potts voted to send the project to a public hearing. Councillors Young, Ben Isitt, Jeremy Loveday, Sharmarke Dubow and Charlayne Thornton-Joe were all opposed.

The Site – Northern ‘Junk’ Lands

Owner: Reliance Properties, Vancouver BC
Address: 1314 & 1318 Wharf Street, Victoria BC
Zone: IHH (Inner Harbour Heritage District)

1314/18 Wharf Street
Lot size: 15,042 sqft
PID: 001-005-723

Purchased: $1,550,000 in January 2010. (Asking price $1.975M)

The Proposal for redevelopment

Reliance Properties has been trying to redevelop this site for over 10 years now.

The current version of the proposal is to enhance the existing heritage buildings and construct a mixed commercial / residential building with 5 storeys and 6548.45m2 of floor area. A green roof, and rooftop patios will be incorporated into the rental units.

The applicant proposes the creation of forty-seven new residential units which would increase the overall supply of housing in the area. A Housing Agreement is proposed to secure all forty-seven units as rental in perpetuity. Units range in size from approximately 410 to 1100 square
feet (38 – 102m2 ) and include:
• Four studio units
• Thirty one-bedroom units
• Nine two-bedroom units
• Four three-bedroom units

The proposed amenities associated with this Application comprise of:
• an internal alleyway and elevator to provide access between the waterfront and Wharf
Street, accessible to the public in perpetuity and secured via a Statutory Right-of-Way
during daylight hours
• construction of a section of the Harbour Pathway fronting the subject property to City
standards, accessible to the public in perpetuity and secured via a Statutory Right-ofWay
• a mural art feature on the north building wall
• tree replacement at a four to one ratio
• the rehabilitation and seismic upgrading of the two heritage properties on 1314 and 1318
Wharf Street.

Site / Land Area: 1,218 square metres
Density FSR 3.39
Total Floor Area 4,128 square metres
Height 19.1 metres / 5 storeys
Parking 0

The no parking requirement is in recognition of site access and construction constraints common in the Old Town District, as well as the form and character context where vehicle parking is not a planning priority.

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Northern Junk project by Reliance gets rejected by council yet again

A plan to redevelop the long-vacant Northern Junk buildings near the Johnson Street Bridge has been sent back to the drawing board — again.

Reliance president Jon Stovell, who has been trying to develop the site for 10 years, expressed surprise and frustration at yet another rejection.

“It’s just unbearable,” he said. “I just don’t understand how anybody can think that it’s a good outcome to have buildings sitting vacant for 40 years on the waterfront of downtown Victoria. It’s just really almost beyond comprehension.”

Mayor Lisa Helps objected to yet another delay as well, and warned that council’s perpetual foot dragging is costing developers “hundreds of thousands of dollars” that will translate into higher rents down the road.

“The more time we tack on, the more money it costs,” she said.

Stovell said Reliance tried five or six times to get approval for a big project that involved buying land and building a large development.

“And that never got support, either, from anybody,” he said. “So it just seems like with that site, there’s just nothing good enough.”

In the end, only Helps, Marianne Alto and Sarah Potts voted to send the project to a public hearing. Councillors Young, Ben Isitt, Jeremy Loveday, Sharmarke Dubow and Charlayne Thornton-Joe were all opposed.

The Site – Northern ‘Junk’ Lands

Owner: Reliance Properties, Vancouver BC
Address: 1314 & 1318 Wharf Street, Victoria BC
Zone: IHH (Inner Harbour Heritage District)

1314/18 Wharf Street
Lot size: 15,042 sqft
PID: 001-005-723

Purchased: $1,550,000 in January 2010. (Asking price $1.975M)

The Proposal for redevelopment

Reliance Properties has been trying to redevelop this site for over 10 years now.

The current version of the proposal is to enhance the existing heritage buildings and construct a mixed commercial / residential building with 5 storeys and 6548.45m2 of floor area. A green roof, and rooftop patios will be incorporated into the rental units.

The applicant proposes the creation of forty-seven new residential units which would increase the overall supply of housing in the area. A Housing Agreement is proposed to secure all forty-seven units as rental in perpetuity. Units range in size from approximately 410 to 1100 square
feet (38 – 102m2 ) and include:
• Four studio units
• Thirty one-bedroom units
• Nine two-bedroom units
• Four three-bedroom units

The proposed amenities associated with this Application comprise of:
• an internal alleyway and elevator to provide access between the waterfront and Wharf
Street, accessible to the public in perpetuity and secured via a Statutory Right-of-Way
during daylight hours
• construction of a section of the Harbour Pathway fronting the subject property to City
standards, accessible to the public in perpetuity and secured via a Statutory Right-ofWay
• a mural art feature on the north building wall
• tree replacement at a four to one ratio
• the rehabilitation and seismic upgrading of the two heritage properties on 1314 and 1318
Wharf Street.

Site / Land Area: 1,218 square metres
Density FSR 3.39
Total Floor Area 4,128 square metres
Height 19.1 metres / 5 storeys
Parking 0

The no parking requirement is in recognition of site access and construction constraints common in the Old Town District, as well as the form and character context where vehicle parking is not a planning priority.

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Abstract gets approval for 49 units at Cook & Hillside

Victoria City Council has approved a rezoning and development permit application to develop a new six-storey, multi-unit residential building with ground floor live-work units. 

FOR (7): Mayor Helps, Councillor Alto, Councillor Dubow, Councillor Loveday, Councillor Potts,

Councillor Thornton-Joe, and Councillor Young

OPPOSED (1): Councillor Isitt

The strata ownership units will be a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedrooms. As always, Victoria City Council seeks to add an affordability component to all new projects. However, it is important to note this application pre-dates the Affordable Housing Strategy and the Inclusionary Housing Policy that was adopted by council in July 2019. To give omen to council’s appetite for affordable housing, Abstract opted to voluntarily utilize BC Housings Affordable Home Ownership Program (AHOP) for 18% of the units (7-studio, 1-one bed, 1-two bed).

Under the AHOP program a qualified buyer must have a household income that does not exceed the 75th income percentile as determined by BC Housing. According to the applicant, the target incomes under this program would be within the following ranges:

• studios: $35,000- $54,999
• one-bedroom and two-bedroom: $55,000- $84,999
• two and three-bedroom: > $85,000

As part of the program, the City of Victoria would retain the value of the below market discount such that should the below market units be resold at market rates, the City would be provided with a Community Amenity Contribution to the Victoria Housing Reserve Fund to support future
affordable housing development.

The Site – 1301 Hillside Ave

PID 001-009-303
Registered Owner 13*
Legal Description LOT A, PLAN VIP38000, SECTION 4, VICTORIA LAND DISTRICT
Zoning C-SS, Special Service Station District
Community Plan(s) Urban Residential, Neighbourhood Plan: Oaklands, DPA: Corridors, not in ALR
Structure MULTI-FAMILY (VACANT)
Lot Size: 13392 SQUARE FEET

The site was historically a gas station, and is zoned as such. In 2008 it was demolished and remediated by the previous owner UCANCO GENERAL PARTNERS INC., a USA foreign entity operating in St Louis, MO. This group acquired the site in a portfolio sale of Shell Gas stations across the country. The transaction enabled Shell the ability to divest non-core, contaminated real estate, transfer the environmental liabilities to a third party, and guarantee clean-up of the environmental conditions. For more information on the sale read the case study. 

Due to its gas station history, underground parking is not permitted due to provincial environmental regulations. As such, the Certificate of Compliance issued by the Ministry of Environment prohibits subsurface structures as well as at grade residential uses.

An on-site modo vehicle, BC transit eco-pass, bike wash area, e-bike parking, and 14 parking stalls beyond the bylaw requirements.

Sparrow Condo Development

Site Area 1,243 square metres
FSR 2.25: 1
Total Floor Area 2,793 square metres
Storeys 6
Parking 19 residential + 4 visitor

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Abstract gets approval for 49 units at Cook & Hillside

Victoria City Council has approved a rezoning and development permit application to develop a new six-storey, multi-unit residential building with ground floor live-work units. 

FOR (7): Mayor Helps, Councillor Alto, Councillor Dubow, Councillor Loveday, Councillor Potts,

Councillor Thornton-Joe, and Councillor Young

OPPOSED (1): Councillor Isitt

The strata ownership units will be a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedrooms. As always, Victoria City Council seeks to add an affordability component to all new projects. However, it is important to note this application pre-dates the Affordable Housing Strategy and the Inclusionary Housing Policy that was adopted by council in July 2019. To give omen to council’s appetite for affordable housing, Abstract opted to voluntarily utilize BC Housings Affordable Home Ownership Program (AHOP) for 18% of the units (7-studio, 1-one bed, 1-two bed).

Under the AHOP program a qualified buyer must have a household income that does not exceed the 75th income percentile as determined by BC Housing. According to the applicant, the target incomes under this program would be within the following ranges:

• studios: $35,000- $54,999
• one-bedroom and two-bedroom: $55,000- $84,999
• two and three-bedroom: > $85,000

As part of the program, the City of Victoria would retain the value of the below market discount such that should the below market units be resold at market rates, the City would be provided with a Community Amenity Contribution to the Victoria Housing Reserve Fund to support future
affordable housing development.

The Site – 1301 Hillside Ave

PID 001-009-303
Registered Owner 13*
Legal Description LOT A, PLAN VIP38000, SECTION 4, VICTORIA LAND DISTRICT
Zoning C-SS, Special Service Station District
Community Plan(s) Urban Residential, Neighbourhood Plan: Oaklands, DPA: Corridors, not in ALR
Structure MULTI-FAMILY (VACANT)
Lot Size: 13392 SQUARE FEET

The site was historically a gas station, and is zoned as such. In 2008 it was demolished and remediated by the previous owner UCANCO GENERAL PARTNERS INC., a USA foreign entity operating in St Louis, MO. This group acquired the site in a portfolio sale of Shell Gas stations across the country. The transaction enabled Shell the ability to divest non-core, contaminated real estate, transfer the environmental liabilities to a third party, and guarantee clean-up of the environmental conditions. For more information on the sale read the case study. 

Due to its gas station history, underground parking is not permitted due to provincial environmental regulations. As such, the Certificate of Compliance issued by the Ministry of Environment prohibits subsurface structures as well as at grade residential uses.

An on-site modo vehicle, BC transit eco-pass, bike wash area, e-bike parking, and 14 parking stalls beyond the bylaw requirements.

Sparrow Condo Development

Site Area 1,243 square metres
FSR 2.25: 1
Total Floor Area 2,793 square metres
Storeys 6
Parking 19 residential + 4 visitor

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CMHC Qualification Metrics change effective July 1, 2020

The modifications have to do with debt service ratios and credit score requirements

• Gross debt service (GDS) ratios must be under 35, down from 39

• Total debt service (TDS) ratios must be under 42, down from 44

• Borrower’s credit score must be at least 680, up from 620

• Borrowed down payments will no longer be allowed The changes will go into effect from July 1st, 2020.

Using the current mortgage qualifying rate of 4.94% and GDS limit of 39, a family with an annual income of $100,000 and a 10% down payment would have qualified for a home valued at $524,980.

Under the new GDS limit of 35, the same household can now only afford a home of $462,860. This is a decrease in buying power of almost 12%, all due to the change in the GDS limit.

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CMHC Qualification Metrics change effective July 1, 2020

The modifications have to do with debt service ratios and credit score requirements

• Gross debt service (GDS) ratios must be under 35, down from 39

• Total debt service (TDS) ratios must be under 42, down from 44

• Borrower’s credit score must be at least 680, up from 620

• Borrowed down payments will no longer be allowed The changes will go into effect from July 1st, 2020.

Using the current mortgage qualifying rate of 4.94% and GDS limit of 39, a family with an annual income of $100,000 and a 10% down payment would have qualified for a home valued at $524,980.

Under the new GDS limit of 35, the same household can now only afford a home of $462,860. This is a decrease in buying power of almost 12%, all due to the change in the GDS limit.

The post CMHC Qualification Metrics change effective July 1, 2020 appeared first on Victoria Real Estate Agent.

Pauls Motor Inn purchased by province for $15M – to house homeless

The province of B.C. has bought the 75-room Paul’s Motor Inn on Douglas Street for approximately $15 million to add to its stock of temporary supportive housing for people without homes in Victoria.

1900 Douglas Street – The Site

Zoning M2-A, Special Light Industrial District
Community Plan(s) Core Employment, Neighbourhood Plan: Burnside, DPA: Rock Bay, not in ALR
Lot size 65,356 SQUARE FEET (1.3 acres)

It’s the second Victoria hotel B.C. has purchased this year to provide housing. Last month, it announced it had spent $18.5 million to buy the Comfort Inn and Suites at 3020 Blanshard St., which houses 93 people.

As with the Comfort Inn purchase, the long-term plan for Paul’s is to redevelop the property into affordable housing.

At Paul’s Motor Inn, 40 new residents will join 35 who moved there in April.

B.C. Housing put out a call last fall for potential operators for such facilities. Those organizations will be contacted with the aim of reaching an agreement to operate the new facility at Paul’s, said Heidi Hartman, B.C. Housing regional director of operations for Vancouver Island.

Shane Simpson, minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, said the Douglas Street location has “a great deal of potential to create a community, complete with health, mental health, addictions and social supports for people who need them most.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps welcomed the purchase, saying the city and province are working together to provide safety and security to vulnerable people in the city.

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Pauls Motor Inn purchased by province for $15M – to house homeless

The province of B.C. has bought the 75-room Paul’s Motor Inn on Douglas Street for approximately $15 million to add to its stock of temporary supportive housing for people without homes in Victoria.

1900 Douglas Street – The Site

Zoning M2-A, Special Light Industrial District
Community Plan(s) Core Employment, Neighbourhood Plan: Burnside, DPA: Rock Bay, not in ALR
Lot size 65,356 SQUARE FEET (1.3 acres)

It’s the second Victoria hotel B.C. has purchased this year to provide housing. Last month, it announced it had spent $18.5 million to buy the Comfort Inn and Suites at 3020 Blanshard St., which houses 93 people.

As with the Comfort Inn purchase, the long-term plan for Paul’s is to redevelop the property into affordable housing.

At Paul’s Motor Inn, 40 new residents will join 35 who moved there in April.

B.C. Housing put out a call last fall for potential operators for such facilities. Those organizations will be contacted with the aim of reaching an agreement to operate the new facility at Paul’s, said Heidi Hartman, B.C. Housing regional director of operations for Vancouver Island.

Shane Simpson, minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, said the Douglas Street location has “a great deal of potential to create a community, complete with health, mental health, addictions and social supports for people who need them most.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps welcomed the purchase, saying the city and province are working together to provide safety and security to vulnerable people in the city.

The post Pauls Motor Inn purchased by province for $15M – to house homeless appeared first on Victoria Real Estate Agent.

23 storey Hudson Place II residential approved by council

Townline Homes has been issued a development permit for its final phase at the Hudson District in downtown Victoria.

Hudson Place Two

The final phase of the Hudson District, a mixed-use commercial and residential tower offering 15,000 sf of retail space along Herald, Blanshard and Fisgard Street

The residential portion of the building will contain 245 residential units with a diverse mix of unit types and sizes including studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites. The style and character of this building will continue to attract a range of professional singles, couples, and families.

Townline has secured a partnership with CMHC through the CMHC Rental Construction Financing Initiative to fund the project as a rental building. This would secure a minimum of 20% of the units as Affordable Rental units for a term of 16 years. This means 49 units would be provided at a rate of 10% below market as per CMHC funding requirements.

Site Area 27,521 sqft
Density 185,717 sqft (7.43FSR)
Height 71.73 metres / 23 storeys
Parking 170 residential, 25 visitor, 113 commercial
Amenity Rooftop dog run, playground, service laneway

History of Hudson District

In 2004 Townline acquired the large downtown site once home to Hudson Bay department store. To date, Townline has completed a number of milestones of this multi-phased project. This includes the renovation of The Hudson in 2010 with 152 market condos and the completion of three purpose-built rental buildings since 2014, bringing a total of 404 market rentals to Downtown Victoria. Most recently, the Vancouver based company started construction of Hudson Place One- 176 market condo units – and is on track for completion and occupancy this summer.

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