Home inspectors to be licensed

When you are buying a home we always recommend that you get a home inspection done. (This is the equivalent of a survey in the UK.) After all a major investment does merit having someone look over the home and point out any issues.

What may come as a surprise to many people is that the person you engage as a home inspector does not need to have any qualifications. At least until now. British Columbia is about to become the first Province to require that Home Inspectors be licensed.

To become licensed, home inspectors will need to meet the qualifications of: the B.C. branch of the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors; or the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia; or the National Certification Program for Home & Property Inspectors.

Qualifying for a licence will involve passing exams and proving experience as required by those organizations.

In addition Home Inspectors will carry insurance and have to pass criminal checks too.

As realtors we are called on to recommend Home Inspectors. So we have been very careful to vet the people we recommend. Now it will be a lot easier for all concerned.

Vancouver real estate board’s February statistics


The Vancouver Real Estate Board publishes a benchmark that tracks the price of a benchmark property across the region. There are three categories:

  • Detached
    These are houses, sometimes called single family homes
  • Attached
    This refers to townhouses and half duplexes.
  • Apartments
    This means apartments within high or low rise buildings.

I have set out the benchmark prices across the region, with the annual percentage price rises in brackets and 3 year percentage rise in square brackets.

The top percentage price rise over the year is shown in bold.

Detached homes saw prices fall pretty much across the board, with Port Moody being the exception.

Vancouver East was the exception in both apartments and attached homes, showing only a small fall.

  • Detached Greater Vancouver $659,638 (-11.2%), [3yr: 12.9%]
  • Burnaby $652,089 (-11.4%), [3yr: 10.7%]
  • Coquitlam $593,987 (-9.9%), [3yr: 14.3%]
  • South Delta $660,478 (1.7%), [3yr: 25.9%]
  • Maple Ridge $408,206 (-10.8%), [3yr: 11.6%]
  • New Westminster $538,566 (-0.3%), [3yr: 10.9%]
  • North Vancouver $783,339 (-13.3%), [3yr: 9%]
  • Pitt Meadows $473,782 (4.2%), [3yr: 23%]
  • Port Coquitlam $505,488 (-8.1%), [3yr: 21.8%]
  • Port Moody $718,962 (13.4%), [3yr: 34.2%]
  • Richmond $649,909 (-9.9%), [3yr: 12.9%]
  • Squamish $543,788 (-4.2%), [3yr: 33.8%]
  • Sunshine Coast $363,529 (-13.8%), [3yr: 1.1%]
  • Vancouver East $592,138 (-11%), [3yr: 11.9%]
  • Vancouver West $1,134,773 (-19.3%), [3yr: 13.7%]
  • West Vancouver $1,166,637 (-21.7%), [3yr: 3.5%]
  • Attached Greater Vancouver $425,309 (-8.1%), [3yr: 19.3%]
  • Burnaby $397,357 (-11.6%), [3yr: 11.8%]
  • Coquitlam $381,560 (-9.4%), [3yr: 14.4%]
  • South Delta $381,656 (-16.2%), [3yr: 16.5%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $296,543 (-5.9%), [3yr: 22.7%]
  • North Vancouver $536,610 (-9.3%), [3yr: 15.8%]
  • Port Coquitlam $371,926 (-5.1%), [3yr: 16.1%]
  • Port Moody $335,114 (-15.9%), [3yr: 9.3%]
  • Richmond $424,081 (-6.3%), [3yr: 21.6%]
  • Vancouver East $470,965 (-2.9%), [3yr: 34%]
  • Vancouver West $650,919 (-6.9%), [3yr: 25.2%]
  • Attached Greater Vancouver $425,309 (-8.1%), [3yr: 19.3%]
  • Burnaby $397,357 (-11.6%), [3yr: 11.8%]
  • Coquitlam $381,560 (-9.4%), [3yr: 14.4%]
  • South Delta $381,656 (-16.2%), [3yr: 16.5%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $296,543 (-5.9%), [3yr: 22.7%]
  • North Vancouver $536,610 (-9.3%), [3yr: 15.8%]
  • Port Coquitlam $371,926 (-5.1%), [3yr: 16.1%]
  • Port Moody $335,114 (-15.9%), [3yr: 9.3%]
  • Richmond $424,081 (-6.3%), [3yr: 21.6%]
  • Vancouver East $470,965 (-2.9%), [3yr: 34%]
  • Vancouver West $650,919 (-6.9%), [3yr: 25.2%]

UK / Canadian Dollar news – Feb 2nd, 2009

The pound was an all round winner as the bears ran out of bad news. A probable Rate cut will weigh on sterling at least until Thursday. Canada’s economy shrank by 0.7% in November.

Sterling started off last Monday at $1.6750 close to a very long term low. It reached $1.75 on Wednesday morning and was up to $1.79 by the end of Friday. When London opened this morning it was off its peaks at $1.7550, eight cents and almost five per cent up on the week.

If only for one week, Sterling was the undisputed champion of the world. Over the seven days it gained 5% against the US dollar, 5.5% against the Swiss franc and 6% against the euro and the yen. Its performance against the antipodean dollars was even more striking, adding 8.5% against the Aussie and 9.5% against the Kiwi.

The two reasons for its success were a reaction to the trashing it had suffered earlier and a growing realisation that Britain’s is not the only economy in the firing line. UK economic data were few and far between, thus not providing too many opportunity targets for the bears. Of the figures that did come out some were even relatively benign for a change. The week got off to a good start for “risky” currencies with harmless data on all sides – not just the UK – setting a tone for greater risk appetite that would carry through most of the week.

For the rest of the week UK ecostats managed to dodge the bullets. The CBI’s retail survey was not as bad as feared. Nationwide’s house price index was in line with figures already seen elsewhere. Most of Friday’s money supply figures were positive, including a 15% increase in December’s mortgage approvals.

The Canadian dollar did not have many bullets to dodge. Apart from November’s monthly measure of GDP the only figures related to Industrial Product Prices (producer prices) and raw materials prices. Both fell, in line with similar price falls elsewhere, as a result mainly of cheaper energy and commodities.

With Friday’s GDP reading it was the same story. The United States’ economy shrank by 3.8% in the last three months of 2008. It was therefore no surprise that Canada’s economy contracted by 0.7% in one of those three months. The two countries are, after all, joined by the longest border in the world.

The last week of impressive gains will be a tough act for sterling to follow. A bounce in reaction to a long run of losses is not the same thing as a sustained rally. Moreover, the pound’s supporters will have to face their monthly test of nerve on Thursday with the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision on interest rates. The current guess is that a 50 basis point cut will take base rates down to 1%. Expectation of a cut this week already has investors looking ahead to the next moves. There is concern that sterling rates could follow Swiss, Japanese and US rates to I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-zero.

With most of the bad news already incorporated into its exchange rate the pound should not come under undue pressure but that does not mean it can replicate last week’s performance. Buyers of the Canadian dollar should hedge their exposure, buying forward around half the amount they will need.
TTT Moneycorp

More snow

Vancouver woke up to snow again. Like pretty much everyone else I was not thrilled by this. OK, the forecast was for a small amount of snow, and for it to disappear pretty quickly, but our recent snowbound experience means snow means inconvenience and shovelling.

Even with 5-10cm predicted, I took the precaution of parking my car at the top of our driveway. The drive is steep enough that ice and snow make getting up it very difficult. I noticed that my neighbours had done the same with their vehicles.

The snow did come but only for the morning. In the afternoon we saw the more familiar sight of rain. The lawn reappeared. Now we just need the sun to reappear too.

Kung Hei Fat Choy – Happy Chinese New Year

We would like to welcome in the year of the Ox. Let us hope that it lives up to its reputation as bringing wealth and success even if it is through hard work and perserverance. I suspect that wealth and success come that way in any case!

Vancouver is a great place to be at this time. Our large Chinatown, and asian population makes this event one that is well marked. Hey, I have even seen the merging of Scotland’s Burns Night with the Chinese New Year. Haggis and Fat Choy anyone?

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