This page is filtered to show my posts about the Nanaimo real estate market, going back a few years. Also some info about real estate taxes, and commentary on themes in the real estate world such as the role of agents, how to work within certain types of markets, local rules, etc. 

“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 the reality is that there are many other buyers able to do the same.

Renting may seem like a good interim option, but the rental market is similarly squeezed. You will see similar lineups…

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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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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

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 against the "assessed value" of your property, as calculated each…

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Are Realtors Contributing to Rising Costs?

Someone was ranting about rising housing costs and blaming it on realtors. Here are a few digestible points which indicate my view on this matter (spoiler: realtors are incentivized to keep prices lower).

First, let's look at WHY a person might accuse realtors of over-inflating prices. Why would an agent want to do that? There are two reasons:
1) We have done a good job for our seller client if we can get a higher price for them - we look good!
2) Since commission is usually a percentage of the sale price, a higher price will produce a higher commission to the agent.

The first point shouldn't have to be defended; and as I'll explain below, it's a force that is balanced by having another agent representing…

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The mid-Island region (and Nanaimo in particular) has seen considerable growth since the early 2000s. This was predictable in light of several local characteristics within the larger regional context:

  1. Changes to the labour pool
  2. Physical geography
  3. Vancouver's influence

A lot of resource extraction jobs vacated Nanaimo in the final decades of the 20th century. The blue-collar areas of the city decayed. Meanwhile "the suits" moved investment away from the old city, opening shopping malls and clearing large ridgetop lots north and west of Departure Bay. Many residents commented that things were too dispersed. By the 1990s, the city was spread thinly and had a clear north/south divide.

But all Nanaimo needed was more people to fill it out,…

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