Yale Hotel up for sale


Legendary blues bar will likely get a new format from new owner

Reblogged from John Mackie, The Vancouver Sun

The Yale Hotel has billed itself as “Vancouver’s home of rhythm and blues” for three decades.

No more. The legendary blues bar at 1300 Granville Street is up for sale (asking price $4.4 million), and when it reopens, will likely have a different format.

It is also available for lease, at $45 per square foot.

The Yale has been closed since November 2012 for a heritage restoration that is being done as part of the neighbouring Rolston condo development.

The 270-seat bar is on the main floor of an historic building that was built in 1888, when the City of Vancouver was just two years old. The Yale’s red brick façade, mansard roof and neon signs make it one of Vancouver’s most distinctive buildings.

Yale owner Waide Luciak had been planning to reopen as a blues club, but live music venues don’t make the money they used to. He owns another live music venue on Granville, Vancouver Fanclub, and has decided to let somebody else run the Yale.

“We’re not going to go ahead and redo the Yale ourselves,” said Luciak, who has owned the bar since 1987.

“Whoever rents it (or buys it) will still have to put (money) into the tenant improvements, so I’m going to tell them what they have to do. They’re going to get in there and do whatever is the best economic decision today for their dollar. If I tried to limit (the format) to the blues, it’s never going to get done.”

The heritage restoration was extensive.

“Basically, everything inside (has been redone) — all the plumbing, heating, all the guts of the building have been totally replaced,” said Luciak.

“They shored up all sorts of corners in the building with concrete pillars because there was certain structural failure in places.”

The building is now a strata, with the top two floors owned by the city and the main floor and basement owned by Luciak. The city will rent out 43 renovated SRO units on the upper floors to people with low incomes.

The heritage reno was budgeted at $5 million. Luciak said whoever buys or rents the Yale will probably have to put in another $1 million in improvements — the 5,000-sq.-ft. main floor and 2,500-sq.-ft. basement are basically now just big open spaces. If someone leases the entire space, the monthly rent would be about $28,000.

Realtor Mario Negris of CBRE is marketing the property, and expects it to attract a lot of interest.

“It’s obviously a very well-known historic venue,” said Negris. “(And) it’s on a great corner.

“There are a number of entertainment groups that are out looking right now, so I think we’ll get pretty good traction on it. The visibility is outstanding. It’s a real storied venue in the city.

“The building’s been completely renovated, so it looks great, it’s all up to code. It’s easier to lease or sell now than it was before the renovation.”

The Yale was originally called The Colonial, and cost $9,000 to build in 1888. It was designed by Noble Stonestreet Hoffar, a prominent early architect who also designed the Cordova Street side of the Army and Navy department store.

When it was built, The Colonial was out in the sticks: Vancouver was centred in Gastown. The Canadian Pacific Railway was developing rail yards nearby in Yaletown, and The Colonial catered to CPR workers.

In 1907, new owners changed the name to the Yale, and two years later tacked on an addition at the back. The bar is extended over both buildings — you can tell where the buildings meet because there is a slight dip in the floor.

The blues format was introduced in 1984 by Sam Sorich, and retained when Luciak purchased the bar three years later. Over the years, a who’s who of local and international blues musicians have played there, including John Lee Hooker, Clarence (Gatemouth) Brown, Charlie Musselwhite, Otis Rush, Lowell Fulson, Pinetop Perkins, Johnny Winter, John Hammond, James Cotton, Charles Brown, Jeff Healey, Colin James, and Jim Byrnes.

“I can remember when Powder Blues would be on the stage, John Candy would come walking up with Miss Canada on his arm,” recounts Luciak. “They’d get up on stage, jamming away all night, just having a good old time at the Yale.”

But the live music scene isn’t what it was in the 1980s.

“We’ve got a great music scene here,” said Luciak. “The problem is, we don’t have an awful lot of audience.”


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Editorial: Talking Metro Vancouver real estate

Given a 2014 forecast of stable prices, what’s there to say?

Those who follow the dramatic ups and downs of Vancouver real estate will have to get used to a market in 2014 expected to go, well, sideways.

For many years, heated discussion about Vancouver property prices has been as perennial as rainfall, fuelling both casual chatter and serious policy debate about affordability.

But now comes a forecast from several local economists that the area’s housing market in the coming year will be stable, with a healthy balance between buyers and sellers.

Central 1 Credit Union’s Bryan Yu does not foresee “a big pickup in activity. I expect to see a relatively stable real estate market,” without big price jumps or dips.

That would reflect a continuation of the conditions of the past year.

“It was a year of stability for the Greater Vancouver housing market,” reports Sandra Wyant, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “Balanced conditions allowed home prices in the region to remain steady.”

For example, Metro Vancouver’s benchmark price for all types of housing stands at $603,400 — up only modestly by about two per cent from one year ago.

The price of condos — and, for affordability reasons, this increasingly is where most of the activity is — stayed flat or even cooled in 2013.

Home prices are projected to increase by less than five per cent in 2014, in part because of weak job creation, a tightening last year of mortgage rules and interest rates that could increase slightly.

But while the roller coaster ride may be over, it is hard for many to escape the feeling the roller coaster has paused at quite a high point.

Real estate board numbers show the median selling price last month of a detached home was $915,000 on Vancouver’s east side, $2.4 million on the west side, $1.1 million in Richmond and a shade under $1 million in North Vancouver.

Of course, it is exactly at this time of year when it becomes so meteorologically clear to Canadians why homes here are so expensive.

To be sure, Vancouver remains one of the world’s most desirable and least affordable cities, a place where homeowners fork over up to 84 per cent of their monthly income for the privilege of owning the roof over their heads.

Accordingly, the matter of affordability is top of mind, as is urban densification which is supposed to address it, as is foreign ownership which is believed to aggravate it.

Has densification been effective in moderating prices? Should B.C. impose a higher rate of Property Transfer Tax on foreign buyers of Vancouver homes?

Few want to cool the market; It is responsible for so much economic activity. In 2013, $22 billion worth of property sales in the Metro area generated $1.84 billion in spinoff activity and nearly 14,000 jobs.

While Vancouver’s real estate market in 2014 is expected to be balanced and stable, the debate about it is sure to be as volatile as ever.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Editorial+Talking+Metro+Vancouver+real+estate/9364974/story.html#ixzz2px4pk7Vj

Metro Vancouver housing market characterized by modest home sale and price increases in 2013 | Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver


The Greater Vancouver housing market maintained a consistent balance between demand and supply throughout 2013.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2013 reached 28,524, a 14 per cent increase from the 25,032 sales recorded in 2012, and an 11.9 per cent decrease from the 32,390 residential sales in 2011.

“Home sales quietly improved last year compared to 2012, although the volume of activity didn’t compare to some of the record-breaking years we experienced over the last decade,” Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said.

Last year’s home sale total ranks as the third lowest annual total for the region in the last ten years, according to the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver declined 6.2 per cent in 2013 to 54,742 compared to the 58,379 properties listed in 2012. Looking back further, last year’s total represents an 8.1 per cent decline compared to the 59,539 residential properties listed for sale in 2011. Last year’s listing count is on par with the 10 year average.

“It was a year of stability for the Greater Vancouver housing market,” Wyant, said. “Balanced conditions allowed home prices in the region to remain steady, with just a modest increase over the last 12 months.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $603,400. This represents a 2.1 per cent increase compared to December 2012.

December summary

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,953 in December 2013, an increase of 71 per cent from the 1,142 sales recorded in December 2012 and a 15.9 per cent decline compared to November 2013 when 2,321 home sales occurred.

December sales were 8.1 per cent above the 10-year December sales average of 1,807.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,856 in December 2013. This represents a 34.5 per cent increase compared to the 1,380 units listed in December 2012 and a 42.8 per cent decline compared to November 2013 when 3,245 properties were listed.

Sales of detached properties in December 2013 reached 762, an increase of 79.3 per cent from the 425 detached sales recorded in December 2012, and a 21 per cent increase from the 630 units sold in December 2011. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 2.5 per cent from December 2012 to $927,000.

Sales of apartment properties reached 850 in December 2013, an increase of 68.7 per cent compared to the 504 sales in December 2012, and an increase of 9.8 per cent compared to the 774 sales in December 2011.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.8 per cent from December 2012 to $367,800.

Attached property sales in December 2013 totalled 341, an increase of 60.1 per cent compared to the 213 sales in December 2012, and a 34.3 per cent increase from the 254 attached properties sold in December 2011. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 1.2 per cent between December 2012 and 2013 to $456,100.

Download the complete stats package by clicking here.

The real estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2013, 28,524 homes changed ownership in the Board’s area, generating $1.84 billion in economic spin-off activity and 13,977 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transacted through the MLS® system in Greater Vancouver totalled $22 billion in 2013. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is an association representing more than 11,000 REALTORS® and their companies. The Board provides a variety of member services, including the Multiple Listing Service®. For more information on real estate, statistics, and buying or selling a home, contact a local REALTOR® or visit http://www.rebgv.org.       

For more information please contact: 

Craig Munn

Assistant Manager, Communication

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver



Canadian housing starts climb, sparking fears market is overheating


Theresa Shaw

Reblogged from The Financial Post, Reuters

TORONTO — Canadian housing starts rose more than expected in October and September starts were revised higher, according to data released on Friday that will add to fears the property sector could be overheating.

Data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp showed the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts was 198,282 units last month, up from an upwardly revised 195,929 in September and surpassing analysts’ expectations for 190,800.

Multiple urban starts registered a slight increase of 0.9% to 115,011 units in October while the single urban starts segment saw a decrease of 1.7% to 62,423 units, the federal housing agency said.

“The trend in total housing starts has gained momentum since July, which is in line with expectations that new construction would strengthen over the second half of 2013,” Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC said.

Canada’s housing market has…

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Five things to do if you are over-extended on your mortgage

Theresa Shaw


Reblogged from Financial Post, Andrew Allentuck

Mortgage default may be rare in this country, but nearly 9% of indebted households need 40% or more of their gross income to pay their debt service charges, says the Bank of Canada Financial System Review.

If you can see problems coming, then you can take action to avoid foreclosure, which happens when lenders run out of other alternatives and borrowers can do no more to pay their debts. Here are five options to consider when you are being crushed by mortgage payments:

1. Extend amortization: If the mortgage has been paid down to 10 or 15 years, then extending it to 20 to 25 years or even to 30 years will decrease payments. In a lot of cases this will work, says Elena Jara, director of education for Credit Canada Solutions, a Toronto-based non-profit organization which offers free credit counselling.

2. Seek…

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Getting rid of risky property play will improve retirement

Theresa Shaw

Situation: Couple has retirement portfolio with high risk investments that could fizzle
Solution: Get out of speculative investments, then invest for reliable income


Reblogged from Andrew Allentuck

In Alberta, a couple we’ll call Frank, who is 57, and Ella, who is 51, emigrated to Canada decades ago to find work and build secure lives.

Starting with nothing but their will to work, Frank in a municipal civil service job, Ella in health care, they have built up about $705,000 of net worth, most of it in their $490,000 home. They worry, however, that their income from about $184,000 of financial assets plus two civil service pensions at 65 plus CPP and OAS may not be enough to sustain their retirement. The irony is that their Canadian assets would make them very wealthy in their countries of birth. In Canada, though, they worry that their liabilities could sink their retirement.


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