Metro Vancouver baby boomers sitting on $163 billion of property

But an affordability crisis means it will be hard for many to stay in their neighbourhoods, predicts real estate marketer Bob Rennie




Areas such as Dunbar (pictured), which has been fighting anti-densification efforts, are creating obstacles to building affordable housing. This means that aging baby boomers that are downsizing may not be able to stay in their neighbourhoods.
Photograph by: Handout , Vancouver Sun
Baby boomers in Metro Vancouver are sitting on more than $163 billion in mortgage-free property at a time when demand is increasing for new forms of affordable housing, real estate guru Bob Rennie said Thursday.

In his annual statistics-filled address to the Urban Development Institute, the king of condo marketers said that equity will increasingly be freed up as retirees downsize.

But with some older neighbourhoods resisting change, there is a growing affordability crisis that will make it hard for many of those baby boomers to stay in their neighbourhoods, he said.

Rennie, speaking to nearly 1,000 developers, politicians and executives from the finance, media and construction industries, cited anti-densification fights in some of Vancouver’s oldest single family neighbourhoods as obstacles to building affordable housing that will allow aging in place.

“This is becoming increasingly difficult in neighbourhoods like Dunbar, as an example,” he said. “Very few will be able to age in place and/or keep their kids in the neighbourhood or live close to the great grandchildren.”

He contrasted that to what he called “energy centres” such as Marine Gateway, Brentwood and Richmond Centre, where new forms of housing — from condos to townhomes — mean people can downsize and still stay in the area, and first-time buyers can afford to buy.

Pressure will only continue to grow, he said, especially as downtown Vancouver approaches saturation and the number of condo completions continues to decline.

“With Greater Vancouver’s over-55 demographic sitting on $163.4 billion in clear title housing, what will be the impact of that equity in the hands of an aging population in our marketplace?” he asked.

The answer, he suggested, is that over the next 15 years, they will be increasingly helping their Gen-X and Gen-Y children buy into housing while looking to “move down” into a smaller footprint. Rennie said 40 per cent of first-time homebuyers already get deposit and down payment help from parents and grandparents.

“Figure it out. It’s not that difficult. If we are never going to create another single family lot in our city, where will our kids live, let alone the population increase (expected over the next 15 years)?” he said.

In a wide-ranging speech that included his statistical research of housing markets, Rennie criticized the City of Vancouver for putting too much emphasis on “green” projects, criticized the UDI and developers in the room for opposing the city’s controversial community amenity contributions (CAC) system and took a swipe at environmentalist David Suzuki for suggesting last year that Canada’s immigration policy was “disgusting”and that the country was “full.”

Rennie noted that green elements were ranked last by new homebuyers in a survey his office conducted. At the top of the list are location and price, followed by transit and building amenities.

“First-time homebuyers are not philanthropists out to save the planet. They are buying a home,” he said.

But he also defended the city’s CAC program, which is under attack from developers as being too onerous and lacking in transparency. The UDI said developers are willing to pay their fair share, but support a provincial government opinion that Vancouver’s method of calculating amenities is wrong.

Rennie said CACs help keep property taxes down and that Vancouver’s recent change to a flat-rate fee in the Cambie corridor was an improvement.

“I do not want to see us push the topic so far that we become California and end up with our version of Proposition 13,” he said, referring to a voter-approved anti-tax measure that has made it difficult for governments to raise property taxes.

Immigration, particularly from China, will continue to fuel demand for housing, but Rennie said he is also concerned about what he views as latent racism in some communities. He said views that places like Richmond are enclaves only for Chinese people are in deep contrast to research from University of B.C. geographer Dan Heibert, who showed that there can be as many as 24 different ethnic groups in small community clusters of just 650 people.

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As China’s Wealth Booms, Banks Go on a Hiring Spree

Over the past five years, the number of rich has grown twice as fast in Asia as in the rest of the world, and private banks have gone on a hiring spree to capture the opportunity. As Wei Gu writes in this week’s People’s Money column, banks are rushing to this rare bright spot for growth:

UBS has hired 130 client advisers this year, raising its private-banking head count in Asia to more than 1,100. Credit Suisse has expanded its private-banking staff by 7% over the past year. The investment may have paid off; net new assets in the first quarter jumped 88%.
Global banks are betting on private banking for two reasons. First, investment banking in Asia has become a highly saturated and largely unprofitable market. Earlier this year, WH Group, the Chinese pork producer, hired a record 28 banks to share the work and the fees on its IPO—and then scrapped the offering.
Second, private investors have become a more important source of investment-banking revenue. The superrich in Asia are more likely than their Western counterparts to do deals such as stock offerings for their companies that would benefit investment-bank units. They are also significant buyers of new stock and bond offerings.
But private wealth management isn’t immune to the profit squeeze that has dogged investment banking. Indeed, private banking is less profitable in Asia than anywhere else in the world.
Read the full column at

China April Economic Data Paints Downbeat Picture, Fresh Policies Eyed


China April Economic Data Paints Downbeat Picture, Fresh Policies Eyed
By REUTERSMAY 13, 2014, 5:47 A.M. E.D.T.

BEIJING — China’s economic activity showed across-the-board weakness in April, with data from output to investment and consumption all missing market expectations, sparking new calls for Beijing to ease policies to shore up growth.

Months of lacklustre performance and growing signs of weakness in the housing market have led some analysts and investors to question whether more stimulus is needed lest economic expansion this year fall short of the official target of around 7.5 percent.

China’s central bank asked commercial banks on Monday to speed up the granting of home loans and to set mortgage rates at reasonable levels, sources told Reuters, underscoring concerns that any sharp deterioration in the property market could further strain the world’s second-largest economy.

The most concerning data is fixed-asset investment, which grew 17.3 percent in the first four months from a year ago, the weakest pace since the government started a new statistics method in 2011. April industrial output data also disappointed the market, growing 8.7 percent from a year earlier versus market consensus of a rise of 8.9 percent, while retail sales also missed forecasts by rising 11.9 percent during the same period, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. “If the government still views that achieving a 7.5% growth target is important for its credibility, China’s monetary policy will have to play its necessary role by easing further in order to help pull the economy out of a state of lethargy,” said Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao, economists at ANZ, in a note to clients. Beijing has unveiled a slew of targeted measures so far this year to help shore up the economy, which dipped to 18-month low in the first quarter and is seen on track to post the weakest showing for 2014 in 24 years. Such measures include faster investment in railway and shanty town constructions, easing reserve requirements for rural banks and tax breaks for smaller firms. But economists said such steps are not dramatic enough to arrest a persistent slowdown in the economy, especially at a time when the slowing property market adds a significant new risk to the economy and the banking system.

“The number (fixed-assest investment) basically tells us the housing downturn has more than offset the investment push from the government so far,” said Wei Yao, China economist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong. Revenues from property sales fell 7.8 percent in the first four of months of the year compared with the same period last year, Tuesday’s data also showed. Real estate directly affects about 40 other industries in China and is considered a crucial pillar of the economy.

“April’s transactions in Shanghai were around 20 percent lower than March; looking at the momentum now, April may not be the bottom yet, May and June could still be on a downtrend,” said Clement Luk, chief executive of east China for Hong Kong-based Centaline Property.GOVERNMENT TOLERANCE Analysts’ calls for an easier monetary stance seem run counter to the recent comments by policymakers, who have ruled out massive policy loosening, such as a universal cut in banks’ reserve requirement. Central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on Saturday that the government would not use any large-scale stimulus to boost its economy in response to speculation that authorities might lower reserve requirements for banks to spur growth.

Separately, an academic advisor to the monetary policy committee repeated on Tuesday that there would be no big adjustment in monetary policy as Beijing needs to wait for more data in the coming months to decide on policy settings. Chinese top leaders has flagged on many occasions that they would be more tolerant of slower economic growth while they push ahead with structural reform to pursue a more sustainable growth model. In the latest indication of Beijing’s determination to push reforms, Chinese President Xi Jinping had said last week the country must adapt to a “new norm” of economic growth and keep “cool-minded” amid a slowing economy. He also pledged to continue to coordinate the efforts of stabilising growth, promoting reforms, adjusting structure, improving people’s livelihood and preventing risks so as to ensure sound economic growth and social stability. “Today’s output and spending data from China paint a more downbeat picture about the economy than the consensus had expected, amid a continued slowdown of credit growth and weakness in real estate,” said economists at Capital Economists in a note to clients. “But there are still enough positives for policymakers to remain ‘cool-minded’,” they added.

Recent factory surveys, though still weak, have hinted at some signs of stabilisation, while April trade data showed both exports and imports returned to slight growth as orders to the United States and European Union surged.

(Additional reporting by Clare Jim in HONG KONG: Editing by Kim

New Listing: 3678 RUTHERFORD CR (V1061791)

3678 RUTHERFORD CR, North Vancouver, Princess Park

List Date: 2014-05-01

List Price: $1,134,000

Perfect family neighbourhood in Princess Park! This lovely home offers 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms on a quiet street. There are 3 good sized bedrooms on main, w/ a bright 2 bedroom above ground suite! The renovated kitchen offers a great area for cooking and for the family to hang out in the attached family area. Or bbq on your covered deck, even in the rain! Bamboo/carpet flooring, 5 zone hot water heating, 9 yr roof, 2012 HWT, double garage w/ loads of storage. Vaulted ceiling in LR w/ wood burning fireplace. The back yard is very private and a great place to relax. Great home for families needing extra income from suite, growing teenagers, or in laws. Walk your kids to Carisbrooke Elem! This home is a must see on your list!

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My brand new website!

My brand new website was launched just a few weeks ago, and I am extremely pleased with the final product.  I wanted to create a website that was not  a  ’cookie cutter’ templette that is overused in our industry. My extremely talented creative team created a long term vision I had in a site that is informative, easy to use, offers visually stunning community landscape photography, and current yet unique. As a consumer, what do you look for in a Real Estate website? Your thoughts are welcome!:)


Saturday, April 12, 2014 |
published by asingh on Tue, 04/08/2014 – 17:03

The Asian mum has gone digital with over 80% of women in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia increasing their usage of the internet once they become mothers.
A survey by, Southeast Asia’s largest online parenting magazine, with a reach of over 1.2 million readers found that digital channels attract more mums than traditional channels such as newspapers, TV and magazines.
The “2014 Asian Digital Mum” survey also revealed that mothers increasingly use their phones to check email, visit parenting sites and use social media, and are the primary purchase decision-makers of their households.
The survey, with over 10,000 respondents, offers marketeers new insights into how mums in the region engage online.
When Asian mothers need an expert, they turn to the internet for parenting advice over traditional methods, such as other parents, family members or friends.
About 31% of Thai mums rely on parenting websites, 22% use online search engines and 19% tap into other methods, such as Facebook pages. Parenting websites also top the poll for Malaysian and Singaporean mums, with 32% choosing them for parenting support.
Moreover, when buying a product, major influences on mums are product reviews or other mums’ recommendations on parenting websites or social media rather than a brand’s website or social media fan page.
The survey also revealed that Thai mothers are avid social media users. Mums were asked what they would do, given an extra hour — 29% preferred “spending time on social media”, far higher than Malaysian and Singaporean mums, with only 4% and 6% respectively choosing the same option.
Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform in the number of users in Thailand with 99% of mums using the website, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms such as Google Plus.
For Thais, Line is the dominant player in online messaging, with 89% of mums using the service, followed by WhatsApp (23%). In addition, Thai mums prefer to chat with other mums on the internet instead of face-to-face. One-fourth, or 25%, of Thai mums use online services such as Facebook groups and web boards multiple times daily to keep in touch with other mums. Additionally, 48% of mums never meet face-to-face with other mums.
“New technology in the hands of the Asian digital mums makes it easier to surf the web on the go, chat with other mums via social media sites, get parenting advice and shop, meaning they are actively online from morning till night,” said Nuttaporn Chanchokpong, chief editor of Tickled Media, the publisher behind

Key findings from the survey

1. The Asian Digital Mum is the primary household decision maker.
She influences up to 89% of household purchases and is the reigning CHO (Chief Household Officer) of the modern Asian family.
2. She prioritizes online over traditional media.
Once Asian women become mums, 76% increase their Internet usage, while 58% reduce their television consumption.
3. She is “mobile-first” – actively browses the web while on-the-go on her smartphone.
While the Asian mum uses a variety of devices such as mobile phone, tablet, laptop
and PC to stay connected, 99% of them use smartphones. They most commonly use their smartphones to visit parenting sites, check email and interact on Social Media sites.
4. She relies heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations on the web from fellow mums.
91% of Asian mums read parenting tips online. When they have questions which relate to their families, they demand instant responses, and, therefore, prefer the web and social media for information, advice and recommendations. Recommendations from fellow mums are especially important for them.

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Sold: 327 E 23RD ST (V1039296)

327 E 23RD ST, North Vancouver, Central Lonsdale

Sold Date: 2014-03-25

Sold Price: $1,017,000

Loads of potential here!! 3 Level home with 4 bedrooms up in Central Lonsdale. Renovate, build a coach house, potential suite, build a garage (with lane access). This home has charm, huge 11,000 sf lot and Central location walk to Centennial Theatre, Harry Jerome Rec Centre and easy Hwy access.

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