Diane Birk

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

I have sold a property at 306 688 12th AVE W in Vancouver.
Welcome to Connaught Gardens. Highly desirable in every way. The location second to none situated on the Canada Line and steps from all the amenities at City Square and Cambie St. The fully remediated building is impeccably maintained and managed. The south facing big bright two bedroom suite is beautifully renovated with newer...
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I have sold a property at 311 1445 MARPOLE AVE in Vancouver.
This home is an absolute gem in the heart of Vancouver– 582 sq. ft, 1 bedroom at The Hycroft Towers. Open concept Original hardwood. Freshly painted. Treed outlook. Entertainment sized rooftop deck presents panoramic views of Vancouver. No dogs. 1 cat is allowed. No Rentals. Can’t beat this location. Central to...
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I have sold a property at 113 211 3RD ST W in North Vancouver.
Attention first time buyers or investors! Great value 1 bedroom apartment in a rental friendly Lower Lonsdale building. Offering a over 700 sq/ft suite with a galley kitchen, dining room/eating area, and a bright, spacious living room with sliders to a balcony. Featuring an updated bathroom and a house sized 14’ x...
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I have sold a property at 315 3777 8TH AVE W in Vancouver.
Welcome to The CUMBERLAND, designed for living! Luxurious space allows you to bring your treasured house-sized furnishings. The massive living room features hardwood flooring & gas fireplace, with views to the lush courtyard gardens. Walk onto the balcony from the separate dining room or kitchen nook. The eat-in kitchen features...
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When you find the condo or house of your dreams and want to make an offer, do you need a financing condition? Unless you can pay cash for the home, then yes you do. That little phrase – “conditional on financing” – is an important protection for buyers.


When an offer to purchase is made “conditional on financing”, we gain the time needed i.e. 3 to 5 days to...

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Housing affordability in Vancouver has been occupying the headlines for well over a year.  While many young families are priced out and therefore leaving Vancouver for smaller cities, our condominium and townhouse market is seeing an explosion in selling prices.  With very few listings in the market, multiple offers are common, and competition is fierce, however, never in history have we seen...

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An anomaly in the current market is the reliance by buyers on the myth of "price per square foot" as representing real market value.  It is perpetrated by reality television, market gossip and inexperienced advice.


The concept of price per square foot is used by developers in their pro-forma to cost out a development, and to estimate profit.  At the same time, developers will add a...

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As widely predicted, the Bank of Canada announced today that it is holding the key rate steady. While noting that “economic growth has been faster than expected”, the bank said it’s too early to determine if the economy is on a “sustainable growth path”, citing weakness in export growth, business investment and employment. The Bank’s three measures of core inflation,...

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For the 70% of Canadians who own a home, it is a place to live, raise a family, and connects them to their community.

Due to Canada’s tax system’s Principal Residence Exemption, when we sell our homes, any increased value or “capital gains” are not taxed.


This tax break matters to Canadian homeowners. Collectively, we have about $3 trillion in home equity and our homes...

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(Article by Invis -  Canada's Mortgage Experts™)


This is why mortgage rates are suddenly way more complicated.


 If you’ve been shopping for a mortgage lately, you’ll have figured out that rates can be all over the map. That’s because you’re not comparing apples to apples anymore. Thanks to new mortgage rules, the mortgage pricing matrix is much more complicated, and quick online mortgage quotes are less reliable. That’s why it’s important to have a basic understanding of the mechanics behind mortgage rates. Here’s a quick guide: 


Variable mortgages and lines of credit hinge on the Bank of Canada’s “overnight rate”. Eight times a year the Bank of Canada determines if they are changing this rate. While they may hold the rate, they will increase it when the economy strengthens and inflation is a concern, and decrease it if they need to get the economy moving. It’s a careful balance. The chartered banks base their prime lending rate on this overnight rate because it influences their own borrowing. So if the central bank changes the overnight rate, it’s sending a signal to the banks to change their prime rate, which in most cases they will, passing on some or all of the change to their variable/line of credit clients.


Fixed-rate mortgages are different. Lenders use Government of Canada bonds to establish pricing for fixed-rate mortgages so you need to watch bond yields to determine where fixed mortgage rates are heading.


Whether it’s a fixed or variable-rate mortgage, the new mortgage rules mean lenders now have different rules and rates for insurable vs. uninsurable mortgages. If a mortgage is insurable, it will qualify for the best rates. Most homebuyers know that if they have less than 20% downpayment, they need to pay for mortgage insurance as a way to protect the lender. In order to obtain the lowest cost of funds, some lenders use this insurance to insure mortgages with more than 20% equity.

Mortgages that are “uninsurable” can include rental properties and second homes, switch mortgages that move to another lender, 30-year amortizations, refinance mortgages, mortgages over $1 million, and even some conventional 5-year mortgages. These mortgages are charged a rate premium and some lenders no longer offer them. Additionally, interest rate surcharges are often charged if it’s difficult to prove your income or you have bad credit, the property is in a rural location, you want a long rate hold, you want the best pre-payment privileges and porting flexibility, and you don’t want refinance restrictions. As a result, be wary of rates you see online, because you might not qualify for them.


Without a doubt, insurable vs. uninsurable has made the mortgage landscape significantly more confusing. Getting good solid advice is critical, and Mortgage Brokers have never been more important in the home financing process. We have access to all the lenders we need, and the experience and knowledge to get you the best mortgage for your situation. We are here to help you!

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I have sold a property at 104 2815 YEW ST in Vancouver.
Space galore! Extra large & bright, 1 bedroom corner suite in the popular Arbutus Walk neighborhood! Featuring Brazilian hardwood floors, large outdoor patio, lots of storage, gas fireplace, updated bathroom, in suite laundry, large open kitchen, oversized windows, a great space for entertaining. Walk to your favorite Kits...
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Vancouver City Council has approved a new one percent (1%) tax on empty and under-utilized homes.  The goal of the Empty Homes Tax is to provide an incentive for property owners to rent out their homes, which will increase housing supply and help families and young people to stay in our community at a time when the rental vacancy rate is near-zero.


The majority of homeowners, including ...

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 If you’re in the market for an insured mortgage, then you might want to get that mortgage before March 17, 2017. 


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is raising premiums for insuring mortgages on Canadian homes for the third time in three years. Canadian homebuyers are required to have mortgage insurance if they have less than a 20 per cent downpayment. The insurance...

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  • Listing counts in all categories are low, low, low.
  • Most new listings coming on to the market are re-listed properties that did not sell in 2016.
  • Traffic at Open Houses increasing.
  • Multiple offers in the Condo market have made a resurgence due to low inventory. 
  • The odd multiple offer sale in the Detached market, as long as the listing price is discounted from peak prices of 2016.
  • It's too soon...
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The new BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program will begin accepting applications on January 16, 2016.


For a first-time homebuyer who has saved a down payment:

  • The program offers a down-payment loan of up to 5% of a home’s purchase price, up to $37,500, on a home with a maximum price of $750,000.
  • The loan matches a buyer’s down payment and is interest-free and...
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I have sold a property at 314 1990 6TH AVE W in Vancouver.
Not your cookie cutter condo, this 2 level top floor suite offers a roof deck with peek-a-boo views - enjoy alfresco dining & gardening. Skylights add extra brightness to this south facing home. Kitchen opened up & renovated for maximum storage & efficiency, features quartz counters, stainless steel appliances & induction cooking....
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I have sold a property at 1202 9188 HEMLOCK DR in Richmond.
Great high-rise concrete building near Hampton Park in the heart of Richmond by Cressey. Excellent layout with spacious bedroom and living room; a gym room with professional exercise equipment, an indoor swimming pool with a steam room, a sauna room and a hot tub. Walking distance to the park, Canada Line, also close by the...
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I have sold a property at 1805 9133 HEMLOCK DR in Richmond.
A precious gem - CORNER PENTHOUSE at Hampton's Park by award winning Cressey! High vaulted ceiling, cozy fireplace with spacious living & bedrooms space. Functional floor plan with updated luxurious and modern interior finishes throughout. The unit comes with 2 PARKING SPOTS & 2 LOCKERS! Situated on a park-like setting...
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(Source:  Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver)

The federal government announced regulation changes for new government-backed insured mortgages on October 3, 2016. Effective October 17, 2016, insured homebuyers will have to qualify at the posted five-year qualifying rate. Previously, only variable rate mortgages and mortgages with terms less than five years were subject to a higher qualifying rate.

To qualify for mortgage insurance, a homebuyer's debt servicing ratio must be no higher than: 

• Gross Debt Service – 39 per cent of household income, including mortgage payment, taxes, and heating costs.

• Total Debt Service – 44 per cent of household income, including mortgage payment, taxes, heating costs, and all other debt payments.

These changes will apply to new mortgage insurance applications received on October 17, 2016 or later. Mortgage insurance applications received after October 2, 2016 and before October 17, 2016 are also not affected by the rule change, provided that the mortgage is funded by March 1, 2017. Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages aren’t affected by this measure.

These changes also won’t apply to mortgage loans where: 

• the lender made a legally binding commitment to make the loan; 

• the borrower entered into a legally binding agreement for the property against which the loan is secured. 

The federal government is also instituting new eligibility rules for low-ratio (higher than 20 per cent down payment) mortgages backed by government insurance. As of November 30, 2016, to be eligible for government insurance, new mortgages must meet the following requirements: 

1. A loan whose purpose includes the purchase of a property or subsequent renewal of such a loan; 

2. A maximum amortization length of 25 years;

3. A maximum purchase price below $1,000,000 when the loan is approved;

4. For variable-rate loans that allow fluctuations in the amortization period, loan payments that are recalculated at least once every five years to conform to the original amortization schedule; 

5. A minimum credit score of 600 at the time the loan is approved;

6. A maximum Gross Debt Service ratio of 39 per cent and a maximum Total Debt Service ratio of 44 per cent at the time the loan is approved, calculated by applying the greater of the mortgage contract rate or the Bank of Canada conventional five-year fixed posted rate; and,

7. A property that will be owner-occupied.

These new criteria, in particular requiring a maximum purchase price below $1 million, will essentially make the majority of single family homes in Metro Vancouver ineligible for government issued insurance for low-ratio mortgages. 

The government also announced measures to ensure that the exemption from capital gains tax on the sale of a principal residence is available only in appropriate cases.


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Diane Birk
Office: 604-408-9311
Fax: 604-408-6648