April 2015 B.C. Economic Fundamentals

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#2
Chinese investors turn attention to Vancouver's commercial real estate

Asian buyers have for some time been putting pressure on Vancouver’s stock of detached homes. Now China’s development industry is showing interest in the region’s commercial properties.

It is part of a cross-Canada trend, says Colliers International in a report issued earlier this month: “Canadian property owners have traditionally been the incumbent buyers of real estate assets, but a growing mix of international property investors, specifically Chinese developers, are seeking to park their capital in stable markets like Canada.”

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#3
Dubai-based DP World buying container terminal in Price Rupert for $580 million

VANCOUVER - DP World Ltd. has signed a deal to buy Maher Terminal's Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert from Deutsche Bank for $580 million.

The terminal has capacity for 850,000, 20-foot equivalent container units and has announced an expansion that will increase capacity to 1.35 million TEU.

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Premier Clark pledges $7.2 million for Okanagan recreational trail

KELOWNA - The Okanagan’s trail network will expand with a new recreational corridor between Kelowna and Coldstream, after the Government of B.C. pledged $7.2 million toward the acquisition of a discontinued CN rail line, Premier Christy Clark announced today.

“There are few places in the world that have more to offer outdoor enthusiasts than the Okanagan,” said Premier Clark. “By putting an unused rail line to better use, connecting communities as a cycling and walking trail, there will be even more reasons to get outside.”

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#5
BC's forestry industry vital, neglected economic force

VANCOUVER — B.C.’s forestry sector may not be as sexy as a potential liquefied natural gas industry in the north or all the high-tech companies that have been moving to Vancouver, but it is time the provincial government started showing it some renewed love.

A report by the Business Council of B.C. touts the sector as highly productive and a great job generator — “one of the province’s dominant economic engines”.

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#6
Global supply glut threatens British Columbia's LNG projects



Most liquefied natural gas export projects are at risk of being cancelled in North America as a result of a looming global glut of LNG, putting a damper on British Columbia’s energy dreams.

Moody’s Investors Service Inc. issued a stark outlook for the fledgling North American LNG industry, arguing it doesn’t make economic sense to invest billions of dollars on each venture especially as Asian buyers slow down their LNG orders for new LNG supplies.

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#7
March 2015 housing starts in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 10, 2015) - Housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 18,195 units in March compared to 17,462 units in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1 of housing starts.

"Single-detached home construction continued to increase in step with the trend established last spring," said Robyn Adamache, Principal, Market Analysis. "Multi-family housing starts also moved higher in March, following a brief dip in apartment and town home starts the previous month."

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#8
Surrey condo sales: Hundreds line up to buy $94,000 micro-units

The opportunity to buy a brand-new condo for under $100,000 in Metro Vancouver's sizzling real estate market brought hundreds of people to a Surrey sales centre on Saturday.

Prospective buyers stood in line for hours to buy into the 35-storey Evolve concrete tower. A big draw were the micro suites, starting at 316 sq. ft. and $93,900.

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#9
Shell-BG megamerger could decide fate of major BC LNG projects

Two major liquefied natural gas export projects on British Columbia’s coast face a more uncertain future with Royal Dutch Shell’s proposed $70-billion (U.S.) acquisition of BG Group.

A key issue if the deal, announced Wednesday, goes ahead is whether the merged company will proceed with its own B.C. LNG project as well as that of BG or cancel one or perhaps both.

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#10
A landlord's take on BC's rental crunch: Portable housing allowances could solve rental crunch



In B.C. — and Metro Vancouver in particular — the issue of rental housing supply and affordability is well documented, the bottom line being that principles of supply and demand dictate that rental housing stock needs to be substantially increased in order to boost affordability.

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#11
Moody's puts a damper on BC's LNG dreams

CALGARY — There may be fewer contenders vying to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia once Royal Dutch Shell acquires Britain’s BG Group in a deal worth $70 billion (U.S.).

Both Shell and BG have a big global presence when it comes to LNG— natural gas that is chilled into a liquid state so that it can be transported overseas by tanker.

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#12
Burnaby councillor 'over the moon' with proposed rental high rise

It isn’t just local residents who are worried about the city’s low rental housing stock – Coun. Colleen Jordan spoke about the issue at the March 30 council meeting. A recent proposal for a standalone rental building in Metrotown was the first she remembered seeing since she became a councillor in 2002, she said.

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#13
Landlords dealing with terrible tenants still have options

Renting out one's own home is never an easy decision. Homeowners often don't know much about their tenants and when things do wrong, evicting them can be a major headache.

Vancouver-based lawyer Lisa Mackie specializes in residential tenancy law and has heard her fair share of tenancy horror stories over the years.

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#14
Residents have big appetite for merging of cities in Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver residents say bigger is better when it comes to municipal government.

A commanding majority of people in the region would like to see local municipalities merge, according to a new Angus Reid Institute poll.

Seventy-four per cent of Metro adults are in favour of combining at least some local governments, the poll found.

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#15
Squeezed, and loving it: 5 kids, 2 adults in 1,000 square foot condo

Adrian Crook has discovered life is better once you abandon the accepted wisdom that you need a house and backyard to raise happy kids.

A divorced dad, Mr. Crook lives in a 1,023-sq.-ft. high-rise rental condo with his five children and partner Sarah Zaharia. He has three boys and two girls, ages 8, 7, 6, 5 and 3 – or, as some people call them, “the countdown.”

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#16
$1 billion health care campus on False Creek Flats to replace St. Paul's hospital

Providence Health Care announced plans April 3 to build a $1 billion hospital on False Creek Flats to replace the 120-year-old St. Paul’s Hospital on Burrard Street.

The move caps weeks of speculation that a renewed push to relocate the downtown Vancouver hospital was in the works.

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#17
British Columbia Premier: You can grow the economy and protect the environment

"In 2008, we put a price on carbon through a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Since then, our energy-related greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by more than 5 percent and emissions are down across the board, all while our economy has continued to grow. And we still maintain some of the lowest personal and corporate income taxes across Canada.

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#18
Shell's BC LNG project in jeopardy

British Columbia, already facing the possibility of losing BG Group Plc’s natural gas export project on the West Coast, could also see Royal Dutch Shell Plc.’s own LNG proposal slip away, as analysts examine the fallout from the two companies’ $70 billion merger.

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#19
Vancouver developers build, hoping they will come

VANCOUVER — A wave of new office towers set to open in coming months in downtown Vancouver has local real estate experts and landlords wondering whether or not the local market can grow into the space or attract enough new business to prevent the city’s office vacancy rate from skyrocketing.

By this time next year, the dust will have settled on what has been one of Vancouver’s most frenzied episodes of downtown office construction, with more than 2.2 million square feet of new office space coming online across several building projects. Local experts are predicting a vacancy rate of roughly 10 to 12 per cent by the end of this year. The average vacancy rate over the last 10 years in Vancouver’s core has been about 4.6 per cent.

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#20
Cambie corridor plan calls for higher-density housing

About one-quarter of the single-family homes in Vancouver’s Cambie corridor could eventually make way for higher-density “ground-oriented and family-friendly” housing, according to proposals contained in a report from city planning director Brian Jackson.

The report — which details the scope of work for Phase 3 of the Cambie corridor planning program — said 74 per cent of single-family zoned parcels in the area would be left unchanged as the city promotes more townhouse and row house development.

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