Diane Birk

Love Where You Live.......Real Estate in Vancouver

The Bank of Canada ("BOC") announced today that it is holding its target for the overnight rate at the "effective lower bound" of 0.25%. 

Cameron Strong, CEO, Invis Mortgage Intelligence notes that "Canadian mortgage holders can expect no further rate drops, nor increases, until 2022. It is expected the Bank of Canada will keep its target rate at 0.25% until well into 2022 to aid our economic...

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The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all sectors of Canada’s economy, including housing. Job losses, business closures and a drop in immigration are adversely impacting Canada’s housing markets, and CMHC foresees a 9% to 18% decrease in house prices over the next 12 months. In order to protect future home buyers and reduce risk, CMHC is changing its underwriting policies for insured ...

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As expected, the Bank of Canada held the benchmark rate steady at .25%. So far in 2020, Canada has experienced an energy sector shock, a shutdown of its service sector industry, real capacity destruction due to the coronavirus, and there is fear of a second wave of infections. However, despite the grim Canadian data of 16% unemployment, negative GDP growth for 2020 of 8% and a TSX stock market plunge...

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As the longest spring in memory finally gives way to summer, it's nice to see people safely enjoy the sunny weather. IWehope that you and yours are in good health. There continues to be uncertainty about the shifting mortgage market. Here are the most common questions:

Should I break my fixed mortgage to get a lower rate?
If you're only partway through your term, you'll need to pay a penalty...

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It is no surprise the Bank of Canada held firm on its overnight rate of .25% (1/4 percent) and did not venture into negative interest rates that have been tried notably in Europe and Japan with no evidence that negative rates improved GDP outcomes. Generally, economists agree there will not be much of an effect from lower interest rates on new borrowing, because few firms and households will want...

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The provincial government brought a new Rental Tenancy Order (RTO) into effect yesterday, restricting rent increases and evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has been working with the BC Real Estate Association to clarify details of the RTO that are most likely to affect REALTORS® and their clients.  


Eviction moratorium...

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At the turn of the year, many buyers may have become first-time home buyers. As a result of ongoing lobbying efforts, Budget 2019 included not only an increase to the withdrawal limit for the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP), but also an expansion of eligibility criteria through a redefinition of what the federal government considers a “first-time home buyer.”

As of January 2020, buyers are...

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The Bank of Canada announced today that it is keeping its benchmark rate unchanged despite a weaker economy in the fourth quarter of last year and expectations that growth in the near term will be weaker. Should the recent slowdown in growth be more persistent than forecast, we may see a rate cut. In particular, the Bank will be watching consumer spending, the housing market and business investment....

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I have sold a property at 506 501 PACIFIC ST in Vancouver.
A great starter! This Junior One Bedroom at the "The 501" opens up to approx. 130 sq. ft. of summer living on your west facing patio. Separate den can be an eating nook or private work space. 1 Parking & 1 Locker included. Insuite laundry, gas F/P, Gas stove, laminate flooring. Superb location, walk to the Seawall, new Fresh...
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The Bank of Canada announced today that it is keeping its key rate unchanged, noting that the global economy appears to be stabilizing with growth expected to edge higher in the coming years, although uncertainty relating to ongoing trade conflicts continues to be a risk. A resilient Canadian economy, with investment spending stronger than expected, has allowed the Bank to hold rates while...

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I have sold a property at 10511 LEONARD RD in Richmond.
Flat, rectangular 6045 sf. lot, no ditches, no easements, suitable to hold or build. Large family home can be renovated. House is solid but mostly original condition - large family sized kitchen has been updated. Solid Oak Hardwood flooring under carpets is in good condition, 2 wood burning fireplaces. Great layout to create a...
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The Bank of Canada announced today that it is keeping its key rate unchanged, making Canada an outlier as many countries around the world have responded to a weakening global economy by lowering rates. The Bank noted that Canada's economy has held up well but will be tested as trade conflicts and uncertainty persist. Going forward the Bank will be closely watching our main sources of strength which...

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While persistent trade tensions are affecting global economic momentum, the Bank of Canada announced today that it is keeping its benchmark rate unchanged. While growth in Canada has been strong, the Bank expects this to be temporary with economic activity expected to slow in the remainder of the year. The Bank believes the current accommodative interest rate policy to be appropriate, although they...

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The Bank of Canada announced today that it is keeping its benchmark rate unchanged as persistent trade tensions are having a material effect on the global economy. These ongoing trade conflicts cloud the outlook for the Canadian economy, which is returning to potential growth. As a result, the Bank deems that the current accommodative interest rate policy remains appropriate.

The next rate-setting...

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I have sold a property at 16 4163 SOPHIA ST in Vancouver.
This beautiful, bright townhome in a private, quiet setting just off Main is sure to impress. Gorgeous newly renovated kitchen with gas range and office nook, large open living and dining rooms, the master bedroom fits a king size bed, and includes walk in closet with built in organizers. With separated bedrooms, each with its...
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The first-time buyer incentive, launching on September 2nd, is a shared equity program designed to reduce mortgage payments for qualifying first-time buyers who have the minimum 5% downpayment required for an insured mortgage. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will provide 5% of the cost of an existing home, or 10% of a new home. This incentive isn't payable until you sell the property and is not charged interest.

Mortgage Payments - CMHC's First-Time Buyer Incentive

No Incentive

5% Incentive

10% Incentive

Purchase Price




5% Down












Mortgage +
Mortgage Insurance




Monthly Payment




Monthly Savings



Yearly Savings



Assumes 25 yr am, 5 yrs, 2.89%

There are a few caveats. If your household income is more than $120,000, you aren't eligible for the program. And your total borrowed amount (including the incentive portion) can't be more than four times your household income. With a household income of $120,000, the maximum purchase price would be approximately $505,000 with 5% down, and about $565,000 for a 15% downpayment.

You are required to pay the incentive back after 25 years or when you sell the home, with the repayment amount based on the property's fair market value, whether it has increased or decreased in value. If you received a 5% incentive and your $500,000 home increases in value to $600,000, then you are required to repay $30,000. If the value deceases to $450,000, you'll repay $22,500. You can repay the incentive at any time without penalty.

This new incentive program has certainly added another layer of complexity to the already complicated mortgage world. Getting expert advice throughout your mortgage years is more important than ever.

Source:  Invis Financial

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How much do you need?
Not surprisingly, most Canadian homebuyers purchase a property with the absolute minimum downpayment. The thing is, the minimum can vary, so you want to be sure you know how it's calculated.

Will you live in the home? If the house will be owner-occupied, then you need 5% down for the first $500,000 of the purchase price, and 10% for any amount over $500,000 up to $999,999. If the purchase price is $1,000,000 or more, the minimum down is 20%.

Hoping to skip the cost of mortgage default insurance? Then you'll need at least 20% down. Any downpayment less than 20% of the purchase price requires this insurance, which will be added to your mortgage principal.

Buying a rental or recreational property?If it's not going to be your own principal residence, then you'll need 20% down. Genworth and CMHC have a vacation/second home program that allows you to put 5% down but mortgage default insurance will be required. Rental properties require 20% down.

Are you new to Canada? If you're a permanent resident, then you'll need the same downpayment as a Canadian citizen: 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% after that. If you are a non-permanent resident, then you may need 10% down. And if you're not a resident of Canada, then you'll need at least 35% down from your own resources (not borrowed).

Smart ways to come up with a downpayment

If you're looking to buy a second home, then your best path to a downpayment is often to refinance your existing home. A review of your situation is the best starting point.

If you're saving for your first home, here are some ways to come up with the cash:

  1. A financial gift: If you're lucky enough to have financial support from a parent or other blood relative, you'll need to get a form signed that says the funds are a gift and that you are not required to pay the money back at any time.
  2. Your RRSP: You can withdraw up to $35,000 tax-free from your RRSP or $70,000 per couple. The recent federal budget increased this from $25,000 and also announced that in 2020, this program will be available to divorced individuals. You will be required to pay the funds back over 15 years.
  3. TFSA/Investments: If you withdraw from your TFSA to boost your downpayment, you're allowed to re-contribute, so you never lose your TFSA room. If you haven't set up a TFSA, then do it today and set it up so money goes in every month.
  4. Early inheritance: Many parents and grandparents would rather help with the purchase of a home while they're alive rather than having their children wait for an inheritance.
  5. Sell assets: For instance, a vehicle, or jewelry. You need to show 3 months of bank statements to support your downpayment, and explain any large deposits.
  6. Money from outside of Canada: If you're bringing funds from outside of Canada, you'll want to have those funds in Canada for at least 30 days before closing, and you'll need to provide 3 months of financial history from the original account they came from.

Often homebuyers are actually closer than they think to buying that first or next property. 

** This information is current as of May 7, 2019, and lending practices are subject to change at any time.  

Source:  Invis Financial

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I have sold a property at 2455 PANDORA ST in Vancouver.
A rare offering, newer home with 4 bdrms up, 2 bdrm bsmt suite down and a 1 level 688 sq ft 2 bdrm Laneway house in the back. Custom built for the current owners, the main flr offers a versatile open floor plan, custom kitchen w/high end appliances and finishes. Upstairs Master bdrm w/walk-in closet & huge en-suite bthrm with ...
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The Bank of Canada announced today that it is keeping its key rate unchanged. The Bank noted that while a slowing economy was anticipated in late 2018 and early 2019, the slowdown was in fact "sharper and more broadly based" than expected. While there was growth in employment and labour income, consumer spending, the housing market, exports and business investment all fell short...

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I have sold a property at 1738 7TH AVE E in Vancouver.
Beautiful 1/2 Duplex on one of the most desired tree-lined streets near The Drive! Exceptional floor plan, great for families. 3 Beds & 2 Baths up, with a Powder on the Main. Spacious and bright open floor plan, perfect for entertaining. Large pantry next to the Kitchen, a cook's dream. French doors open to the sunny patio & yard....
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Diane Birk
Cellular: 604-760-4884
Head Office: 604-984-9711
Fax: 604-984-3350
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