It was this day in 1958 that the "Italian Centennial Fountain" was unveiled in downtown Nanaimo. 

Colour photo of Nanaimo's Italian Centennial Fountain from a 1958 postcard

A lot of people are underwhelmed by this sculpture - probably because of its location, which does nothing whatsoever to highlight the fountain's beauty. Moreover, the fountain has been fenced off with ugly temporary fencing in recent years, presumably because of vandalization and sanitary concerns related to people without homes.

But really, especially when you consider that this was done on a small budget, mostly by volunteers, and that the granite blocks were mined from a boulder that was left in Yellow Point by a glacier - it's a pretty cool installation. Its story involves a local couple who came back from a vacation in Italy - they…

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The City of Nanaimo has approved a development for 77 Chapel St, the site currently occupied by a parking garage behind the Nanaimo courthouse. There will be 3 buildings; one will be an apartment building that is rented out, and there will be two separate condo/townhome buildings connected by a breezeway, echoing somewhat the atrium style of the 91 Chapel building built next door a couple years ago.

  • Underground parking
  • 154 units total
  • 6 storeys each, plus parking levels

A few years ago, there was a development called "Marcielo" that was approved for this location; the developer even had their building permits from the City. I'm not sure what happened to that project.

I'll be watching for updates about this development, especially for…

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In my last market report (Nov 11, 2022) I outlined how the market had peaked in March and declined through 2022. My post ended with "Will be interesting to see what spring 2023 will look like."

It is now April 17th, 2023 and I can say that there is nothing very "interesting" (dramatic) to report - the price decline has certainly SLOWED, and has even started to reverse in some of the markets on the Island. "This could indicate that they’re bottoming out, and when the market shifts – and it always does – it usually happens without much of a warning," said Kelly O'Dwyer, chair of our real estate board.

The optimism seems well-founded. Sales volume of (detached) homes on the Island increased by 73% in March compared to the previous month. People are…

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(Written in November 2022)
Real estate values in Nanaimo were on a consistent incline from at least 2014, building momentum at the end of the decade and continuing with intensity into the first months of 2022. There was at least a 3% price increase from the final months of 2021 into Feb 2022.

Then suddenly in March, people stopped asking to view the listings. I remember it well because I had just listed a house and there was very limited response, and my seller clients were disappointed to say the least! But, it wasn’t my fault – agents across town were saying “Suddenly it’s crickets out there…”

Explanations usually focus on the war in Ukraine, continued supply chain issues, and the aggressive interest rate hikes that characterized 2022. There is…

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This post was written RIGHT before the market turned downward in March 2022. It was relevant to the seller's market of the time, which had very limited inventory relative to buyer demand.

“I can sell my home easily – but where will I live?”

I hear this from homeowners all the time. They see lineups of buyers with subject-free offers in hand, offering the highest prices we've ever seen. But what's the use of selling your home if you aren't certain you'll find a new home?

It's a very real concern. I've worked with a lot of buyers who took many, many months before being successful with getting an offer accepted. It wasn't because they were doing anything wrong; they made competitive offers, above the asking price and usually without conditions. But…

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When looking at houses, my clients will often ask me, “Would we be allowed to build a carriage house on this property?”

A “carriage house” is a detached garage with a dwelling unit above it, but the term is also used more loosely to refer to any secondary suite in an accessory building (a building that is DETACHED from the main dwelling).

In this article, I will go over the BASIC requirements needed for adding a carriage house in Nanaimo. This should obviously not be used as a definitive source for evaluating how the regulations will apply in any specific case!

General

No secondary suites (detached or not) are permitted to have more than 2 bedrooms or more than one kitchen. A manufactured/mobile home may not be used as a suite.

Suites in…

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It was announced in 2009, and it seemed far-fetched to me at the time. But now that a new push has been announced (on the City's "What's Building" resource), this master development feels like it could happen anytime.

The Sandstone lands will span from the Nanaimo River Estuary to Cinnabar Valley, with the RDN landfill roughly in the center. (The landfill is expected to be converted to parkland some day, according to the currently published development application materials. I confess I am curious about how the smell of the landfill will be mitigated for residents nearest to the landfill, but I'm confident that there is premium long-term potential here.)

Satellite photo showing outline of future Sandstone development lands in the south of Nanaimo.

The "Cedar Rd North" precinct will be close to the estuary and I would expect it to be the…

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You may have noticed the old Northfield Mines site being re-developed in recent years - especially the mountains they've moved behind the Christ Community Church (see below). Well, there is an effort underway to develop a mixed-use complex in the location shown below. 

Satellite image showing proposed Mid-Town Gateway Project development west of Bowen Rd and north of Northfield Rd in Nanaimo, with some landmarks identified

The complex is planned to include a grocery store in the center, with retail buildings along the perimeter. and with residential units perched above the retail builds. 

I'm sure there are still many hurdles for this development to overcome, not least the purchase of the private properties along Northfield where there are already some homes established. But I wanted to show this plan, as something of interest to people who live and work in the area!

 


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Something that comes up a LOT in my conversations with clients, is the "ASSESSED VALUE" of properties. Buyers are often concerned when the ASKING PRICE for a property is above its ASSESSED VALUE.

The concern is reasonable. If "the government" says a rancher is worth $400,000 then it seems reckless to pay $500,000 for that property. (But it's normal.)

Below, I'll talk about market value vs. assessed value - and I have pulled together some very relevant, local data to show some relationship trends between these numbers.

What is Assessed Value?

Each property in British Columbia is given an assessed value (updated every year) by the BC Assessment Authority. This system was created for property tax purposes - the local governments need a "fair"…

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This post talks about some of the taxes which can apply when you're purchasing (or holding) real estate in Nanaimo and the surrounding areas. Please note: I am not an authority; consult your accountant or tax advisor!

Jump to the sections on this page:

  • Property Taxes
  • Property Transfer Tax
  • Foreign Buyers Tax
  • Speculation & Vacancy Tax
  • Empty Homes Tax
  • GST
  • Non-resident withholding
  • The Underused Housing Tax Act

Property Taxes

Most people are already familiar with this kind of real estate tax. It is charged by your local municipality or district and is used to fund local services like schools, police, firefighting, hospitals, road construction, parks, and much more.

The rate is applied…

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