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Greater Victoria Neighbourhoods: LANGFORD

In a state of explosive growth and development, the city of Langford is a very exciting place to live these days. People are flocking there due to the affordable ‘champagne’ lifestyle. Beautiful, state-of-the-art homes are being built that provide people with the lifestyle they want. With every amenity available and the natural splendour of trails, forests, beaches and lakes, Langford is quickly becoming ‘the’ place to be on south Vancouver Island.

The urban core of the West Shore, Langford is a young blossoming community with bold aspirations. It is an adventurer’s dream with three spectacular lakes – Florence, Glen and Langford -- and the magnificent Goldstream Provincial Park, famous for its fairy-tale forests, trails, bubbling creeks and spawning salmon runs. Mount Wells and Mill Hill provide an outlet for passionate climbers. A favourite destination is the ever-popular Thetis Lake.

The Isabelle Reader Theatre provides Langford residents with a live theatre venue. The Goldstream Farmers Market, where visitors savour fresh locally grown produce, locally produced culinary delights, and the skilled craftsmanship of talented community artisans.

When people want to play, they go to Langford. Bear Mountain Resort tops the list. Heaven for golfers, it boasts the only 36-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed property in Canada. At Sante Spa, the massage specialists massage skin and muscles into Zen-like bliss. City Centre Park is entertainment central with mini golf, an outdoor skating rink in the winter, and a splash park in the summer. Recently opened in the park is Sportsplex and Langford Lanes.

Recreational facilities abound. The North Langford Recreation Centre at Bear Mountain offers a hot tub, swimming pool, gyms, and fitness and yoga centres. Lawn bowling and golfing are the icing on the cake at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre. Only for the brave and fearless, Wildplay West Shore Element Park puts you up in the trees, zipping through the air over the grandeur of our natural environment.

High quality education is a top priority in Langford with many excellent schools. At the Elementary level, there are David Cameron, Millstream, Lakewood, Ruth King, Willway and many more. Secondary schools include Belmont, Spencer, and John Stubbs.

Want to be part of a flourishing community with high hopes for the future? Check out Langford!


Time to Review B.C.’s Taxes?

BC’s business community is applauding an all-party legislature committee’s recommendation that it’s time for a review of the province’s carbon tax, employer-health tax, luxury tax, sales tax, and, something the Victoria Real Estate Board wants, the speculation and vacancy tax.

Business Council of B.C. estimates the provincial taxes paid by businesses have increased by about $5 billion annually since 2013 when harmonized sales tax was killed. It says the biggest increase was a result of the return to the PST, and a return to business paying about $3 billion annually in sales tax on a range of business inputs. It remains to be seen if the Provincial government will entertain the idea.

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The Pace of Construction Slows in Greater Victoria

With every level of government implementing policies designed to slow the housing market, new construction is slowing down. From January through May of this year, more than $930 million was invested in all types of new construction, renovations, conversions and smaller permitted projects such as swimming pools and garages. It’s a slight drop in Greater Victoria, from the $977 million recorded through the same period in 2018.

Investment in residential construction dropped to $733 million through the first five months of 2019 compared with $770 million at that point last year. Investment in non-residential construction slipped down to $198 million from $207 million.



Canadians Owe Over $3.71 Billion In Reverse Mortgage Debt

The balance of reverse mortgage debt reached a new record high. Filings show reverse mortgage debt reached $3.72 billion in May. Boomers and seniors who are house rich and cash poor, or who hate the thought of downsizing are flocking to these loans to tap the equity in their home. They can elect to receive a lump sum or regular payments, drawing down equity they’ve built over the years. It’s kind of like a home equity line of credit (HELOC), but the rates are higher, and you don’t have to make a payment. While the loan can be repaid, it is normally not due until death, default, or sale. The challenge is, If you’re not making payments, the interest can rack up quickly. You may end up spending a lot more of your equity than you expected. Worse if you borrowed at peak prices and falling value of equity must be paid and the debt remains.

Before entering a Reverse Mortgage or HELOC agreement, consider calling me. It pays to thoroughly explore all your options going into your golden years.


Housing-Needs Report Due by April 2022

The Provincial government has required B.C. municipalities to prepare a housing-needs report for which they need to collect data, analyze trends and present reports that describe current and anticipated housing needs in their communities.
They will include:
  • Key areas of local need, including affordable, rental, special-needs, seniors and family housing, and shelters and housing for people at risk of homelessness.
  • The number of housing units required to meet current and anticipated housing needs for at least the next five years, by housing type (with housing type defined by number of bedrooms).
VIEW ROYAL is the first municipality to put out calls for proposals.


Victoria Neighbourhoods – Sidney BC

Take everything that you love about life on the South Island, squeeze it into a small seaside town, and you have Sidney.

Prepare to be enchanted.

Overlooking the ocean, the natural beauty of bucolic Sidney draws visitors from all over the world. It is an explorer's paradise. Bike or stroll the walkway around the sea's edge while admiring sculptures by local artists. Take an Eco-Tour, go diving off Sidney Pier, enjoy boating in the sunny harbour, or take a tiny ferry to Sidney Spit Marine Park - an island jewel with scenic beaches, salt marshes, and tidal flats. 

Art and culture abound in this picturesque town. The Mary Winspear Centre -- a state-of-the-art event, conference and theatre facility -- regularly features top international performers.
Refurbished and shiny, the Star Cinema shows Hollywood's masterpieces and Indie gems. Sidney is replete with elegant high-end art galleries, featuring world-renowned artists such as Robert Bateman. The Peninsula Gallery, The Village Gallery, Laroch Fine Art Gallery, and the New West Gallery are just a few teasers. Charming boutiques, like the Tivoli Gallery, adorn Beacon Avenue, offering traditional Native Art and unique handicrafts by local artisans.

Sidney is known as 'Book Town'. Each store has its own personal style and treasures: Tanner's Books, The Haunted Bookshop, and Galleon Books and Antiques top the list. Learn about aviation history at the BC Aviation Museum. The Sidney Museum and Archives is heaven for history buffs and features popular LEGO exhibits. Fine dining and ambrosial food are commonplace around Sidney, such as the iconic Latch Restaurant and the Sea Glass Waterfront Grill.

Family-friendly Sidney is fun for all ages. The local aquarium, The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, showcases 160 species of marine life. Search for precious gemstones at Mineral World and the Scratch Patch. Many recreation centres treat locals to exercise, life-long learning, and relaxing pools and jacuzzis. The major rec centre for Sidney is Panorama Recreation Centre, (, which also includes Greenglade Community Centre. For the 55+ crowd, the Shoal Centre has something for everyone. (

Schools near Sidney include Parkland Secondary, Sidney Elementary, and Kelset Elementary.

Relish the good life in Sidney. Small on size. Big on joyful living.


Update on the Stress Test

Effective July 22nd, the Bank of Canada recently reduced the benchmark qualifying rate to 5.19 per cent, down from 5.34 per cent.

The mortgage stress test, implemented in early 2018 by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, means that borrowers with a down payment of more than 20 per cent, who don’t require mortgage insurance, have to show they can afford a mortgage with an interest rate that’s two percentage points above the rate being offered, or the Bank of Canada’s 5-year benchmark, whichever is higher.

The new rules only apply to new mortgage loan agreements. They do not apply when renewing your existing mortgage loan.


Is the Bottom Going to Drop Out of Real Estate? Not Likely

RBC senior economist Robert Hogue, who studies Canadian housing prices, isn’t convinced the bottom’s about to fall out of the market. He says there is an affordability problem, but there isn’t going to be a big correction.

“Hedge fund people have been saying for a decade that we’re in a bubble and that there’s going to be a big correction, but that hasn’t happened,” said Hogue. “Really, the numbers are reflecting Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, and we’ve seen a bit of a cooling off in both those places already. And that’s a healthy thing. It’s better to have a gradual, small correction than a sudden one.”


Was Applying the Vacancy Tax to the Island a Reaction to the Lower Mainland Problem?

The Times Colonist reported on a survey of real estate agents on Vancouver Island which demonstrated our real estate market is focused on local buyers, with few interested in investment or recreational property which often remain vacant for extended periods of time.

91 per cent of all buyers came from B.C. and 1.87 per cent from outside Canada, and so far this year that breakdown remains the same with 90 per cent of all buyers coming from B.C. and less than 1.5 per cent from outside Canada.

It also found 59 per cent of all buyers were purchasing for retirement purposes and that only 2.5 per cent were buying homes as an investment or for recreational purposes.


Construction & Real Estate Industry Driving GDP

Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) came in at $1.97 trillion in May, up 0.23% from the month before; a seasonally adjusted $4.52 billion. The real estate and construction industries were responsible for most of May’s rise with revenues for real estate, rental, and leasing hit $250.69 billion in May, or 12.75 per cent of total GDP.

Increased construction activity across Canada represented 27.06% of growth, residential construction being over 80% of that number.