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Home Ownership


Home Ownership

Whether you are buying a new house or contemplating downsizing because your kids have moved out, there is a range of issues to consider. This site can help with budgeting, tax issues, forms of ownership, etc.



Making $ense of Vancouver Real Estate prices…?

House Sold
House Sold

The most expensive housing market in North America?  Because we’ve heard it so often, most Vancouverites are well aware that the answer is our own city.  Others however, may not find the question so simple.

We know that by traditional measures, such as comparing our incomes to what we pay for housing, the Vancouver market is deemed to be 20-30% “over-valued” … but as James Surowiecki wrote recently in The New Yorker magazine, it seems the Vancouver market may now be priced according to more global parameters.  Our real estate market has been the beneficiary of an inflow of foreign money from China of course, but also from other countries including Korea, India and Russia.  In the first six months of 2013, nearly half of the twelve hundred luxury homes purchased in Vancouver were bought by foreign buyers.

Apparently, Vancouver may now not only be a “superstar” city (where high earners tend to cluster), but also a “hedge” city: one where social and political stability make wealthy people feel comfortable placing large portions of their cash.  Our accessibility to the Pacific Rim, and our large existing Asian population, make our city an attractive destination, particularly for Chinese investors looking to shift assets from a more uncertain environment at home.

This globalization of our real estate market means local fundamentals have less influence.  So perhaps our real estate professionals are right.  Maybe the Vancouver market isn’t in “bubble” territory.  Some very smart investors have decided our city is a good bet, or at least, is a better bet than many of their other options.

James Surowiecki: Real Estate Goes Global



Introducing Our New PM Platform

We are excited to announce that all three of the advisors on our team - Michael Holden, Rob Parrish and Andrew Chowne - have been elevated to the status of Portfolio Manager, the highest level of industry accreditation for an Investment Advisor in Canada. 

Fewer than 3% of Canadian financial advisors have attained the proficiency requirements to become a Portfolio Manager, and for good reason. Applicants must meet or exceed education and work experience hurdles. We also needed to submit full documentation - a business plan, the proposed security selection process, our investment philosophy, benchmarks, a sample Investment Policy Statement (IPS) and our service model - to a review committee of senior managers. The whole process is rigorous and well beyond the industry norm. 

We believe upgrading to this new platform is the most significant improvement we have made to our business in the past 20 years. 

Being Portfolio Managers allows us to employ a discretionary approach to managing investments, meaning that if we need to change an investment in our client portfolios, we can now adjust all discretionary accounts on the same day. In the past, we had to contact each client directly in order to attain the required authorization for the change. Our new designation enables us to be more proactive and nimbler. It also offers our clients a wider range of investment choices. 

Our investment philosophy has not changed – this is simply a better way to manage money. 

Of course, we do more than managing your investment portfolios. We spend a significant amount of time ascertaining your priorities; helping you to incorporate insurance to protect your families; making the most of your mortgage options; accumulating for your children's education; reducing your tax bill; coordinating your retirement income; and exploring estate planning issues for you and your extended family. Now that we can make portfolio adjustments faster, we have more time to spend on those other aspects of our practice to create even more value for our clients. 

But at the end of the day, you want your portfolios to go up in value - and you want to have some downside protection in these uncertain times. Our new discretionary platform will give us significantly better options for achieving this! 

We look forward to meeting with you to outline the benefits in more detail and address your questions. We are very excited about the direction our business is heading and we believe you will be as well!



A Wealth Of Information Just A Few Clicks Away

One of the most powerful sections of our new website is the “key concepts” section listed on the resource page. Each concept links to a much more thorough discussion of the key points to consider for each concept and further resources/tools that might help clarify your options. There is a wide range of topics and I’d be amazed if there wasn’t something of interest there for everyone. Have a look…

Key Planning Concepts

Have you ever wondered about the following:

  • What are my options when dealing with an ailing parent?
  • How do I keep the family cottage in the family?
  • What do I need to think about as I approach retirement?
  • How do I start a small business?
  • What do I do when a loved one dies?
  • What do I need to consider when buying my first home?
  • And more

Take a look at our resource page - and take that extra step by clicking on one of the concepts to see the depth of information available to you!



The 10-year versus the 5-year mortgage - Which is better?

The debate used to be about whether to go for a variable or fixed rate mortgage. It used to be that the variable rates were significantly lower and one could reduce the interest they paid if they were willing to take on the additional risk of a variable rate mortgage. But these days the rates are about the same and the financial rationale for choosing a variable rate mortgage is quickly disappearing. Click here to see our current mortgage rates: Our best rates

Most variable rate mortgages are almost 3% now. The rate that we offer for a 5 year fixed mortgage rate is currently 3.04% and for a 10 year fixed rate is 3.89%. Any interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada would likely put the variable rate above the current 5 year fixed rate. So why would anyone choose a variable rate mortgage now and take on the added risk?

Rates are near historic lows and could jump significantly depending on how the world’s debt crisis plays out. Now is probably a good time to consider using a longer term fixed rate mortgage.

Here is an excellent article which discusses why it might even make sense to lock in for 10 years!

DundeeWealth mortgages provided by Invis.