Yaletown, part of the central Downtown district of Vancouver, was once a primarily industrial district and while Downtown remains at the heart of the business life of the city of Vancouver it also has one of the fastest growing residential populations.  With high quality and luxury condo developments rising as rapidly as property prices in Vancouver, Yaletown is undergoing a major urban renaissance.  Alongside condos for sale, the vibrant densely packed neighborhood also features converted warehouses, designed for those who love fast-paced city life.   Many of the best known and trendiest restaurants in Vancouver are situated in Yaletown and bars, boutiques and cafés attract a young, wealthy clientèle, while celebrity spotting in these venues is not just a must, it's unavoidable.  Growth, both upwards and in terms of population, is a feature of Yaletown and Downtown Vancouver in general, with upwards of 40,000 people moving to live in the area in just ten years.  There is a high rate of young professionals living in Yaletown -  a large proportion of the residents being in the 20-40  age range, which lends the area a distinctive character.  However, in recent years condos featuring family units have begun attracting a more diverse mix.  In addition, Yaletown penthouses are attracting the very wealthy and the neighborhood is also proving appealing to empty-nesters, looking to downsize from large family homes to convenient and low maintenance downtown condos.   


Being at the core of the city in terms of business and commerce, Yaletown is well served by all the major transport services, including SkyTrain and Translink services.  Downtown is the transport hub of the city and while all roads (and rail) may lead to it, this means that they also lead out – making it one of the most convenient locations to live and to have easy access to large parts of both Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.  

Schools and Universities

The Vancouver Schools Board provides education for the City of Vancouver and offers a wide range of schools covering all levels and a strong focus on additional educational programs including adult education opportunities.  With excellent transport facilities, access to the University of British Columbia is straightforward to Yaletown residents.   

Recreation and Facilities

Home to two of the most vibrant and busiest nightlife streets in Vancouver, Yaletown offers something for everyone in terms of bars, restaurants and clubs.  Hamilton and Mainland Street are where the majority of the action is centered and although the clubs and bars can be very busy, there are plenty of them to make bar hopping a quick and easy option!  Other attractions in the neighborhood include the BC Place, home of the Vancouver Cannuks, Vancouver Art Gallery and the Queen Elizabeth Theater.  In addition the Roundhouse Community Center is a popular venue for the arts and learning. There are also two parks in Yaletown, Cooper's and Helmcken Parks.  There are also plenty of private gyms and fitness programs in Yaletown to help you work off those nights out in Downtown!    


Buying a home is a stressful, emotional and often expensive process, facts which are true whether it's your first condo or your next home! The state of the housing market itself can add to this stress and, for those looking to buy real estate, the stress is only made worse when they encounter a “sellers' market”. While on a global level recessionary trends have created vast fluctuations in the housing markets of the world, some locations remain hot property and sellers have the edge over those looking to buy a home. Vancouver real estate is on of those markets that continues to remain buoyant and one in which sellers certainly have the upper hand. This is great news for many, unless you are searching for Vancouver real estate! In this post we'll cover the top tips to navigating your way through these troubling waters.


Call the Professionals


Vancouver real estate statistics suggest that the ratio of properties sold to those listed is around 30%, which beats the definition of a sellers' market by a full 10%. So, when it comes to the first tip for buyers searching for homes in Vancouver, the rule is find a top Realtor! While we all love hours spent taking virtual tours and viewing attractive shots of homes we could never afford, your Realtor will be able to rapidly short-list appropriate and affordable properties for you to view. Realtors have access to listings several days in advance of the general public and, perhaps more importantly, can assess the real value of homes and condos listed. In a sellers' market this is where they become truly indispensable to the buyer.


Budget, Budget, Budget


Being clear on your budget is always good – whatever the state of the housing market. It can, however, be especially important in a sellers' market. A pre-approval will help here and will also reduce the stress of your home search. It should also reduce the time spent viewing properties, removing those that you simply can't afford, however much you'd like to! Discuss your bidding strategy and budget with your Realtor, again, real estate agents are best placed to advise you when and if to make an offer and when to simply walk away.


Disappointing Times


Be prepared to take your time and to take a few losses too – in a hot property market you'll certainly find yourself out-bidden on more than one occasion. This really can add to the stress and frustration of the home buying process but if you're prepared to face this fact the process can be less painful. As mentioned above, listening carefully to professional advice will also reduce the stress and save some wasted time. On this point it is also crucial to spread your viewing net as widely as possible. The more properties you view the more choice you will have and, importantly, the more familiar you will become with the market – getting a better overview of which properties sell within hours and which may linger long enough to make your dream achievable.


From Dream to Reality


There is no getting round the fact that home buying in Vancouver's hot property market can be stressful, time consuming and occasionally disappointing. However, with the best Realtor and a certain amount of patience, finding your dream Vancouver home will become a reality.


Living and working in any city brings some important questions, not least how do you get around that city? Commuting can be a pain and many people are turning to alternative options when it comes to the daily trip back and forth from home to work. Vancouver offers some great options for those living and working in the city and in this post we'll explore them in more detail. Perhaps one the best things about Vancouver real estate, and the city's neighborhoods, is that they all offer a good range of different types of housing to suit different needs. From condo living to single family homes, most neighborhoods will offer a good set of choices. Each neighborhood also has its own feel and character – so the options are there for just about everybody, whatever their background or lifestyle. The second best thing, is almost certainly the quality and quantity of transport links and options that the city offers.


Public Transport in Vancouver


Vancouver is an incredible city in an incredible setting and it prides itself on its links to the outdoors, with beaches and mountains easily accessible and many parks and outdoor facilities located within each neighborhood. It should be no surprise then that there is a focus on Green transport options, and the public transport network in Vancouver is definitely fit for purpose in the 21st century. The options include the Canada Line, SkyTrain, SeaBuses and rapid transit buses, further information on these can also be found on the Translink site. Services focus on ease of use and access and also use routes that attempt to link all the key areas of the city, from Vancouver International Airport to the business core of Downtown Vancouver. The network is designed to be as accessible as possible throughout the city's neighborhoods and improvements to services and extensions to networks are an ongoing priority.


Commuting by Car


Traveling around any city by car can be an exercise in anger management, today. Vancouver is no exception, particularly at rush hour, although the city does benefit from good north/south and east/west arterial routes. Rush hour is approximately 7am – 9am and 3pm – 6pm on weekdays. Downtown Vancouver is the place to avoid at these times of day, if at all possible, with traffic on West Georgia Street (in the direction of the Lions Gate Bridge) and 99 North (in the afternoon, particularly) being particularly heavy. If you commute by car check the Greater Vancouver Traffic Conditions site for real-time traffic updates.


Biking to Work


Biking is a massively popular option for many commuters – both to school and work in Vancouver. The city has encouraged the trend by creating separated bike lines in Downtown Vancouver on major routes and major bridges. Many neighborhoods in Vancouver also feature cycle routes and trails in parks and coastal areas that can be easily combined into your daily commute. Public transport (buses and light transit trains) are able to carry bikes, so combining both green travel options is easy and practical from many residents in Vancouver neighborhoods.


Vancouver Car Share Options


If biking and public transport aren't for you (or you need to commute by car occasionally) car sharing is a viable option and Vancouver residents have a number of options to explore. Whether you've an early meeting and need to arrive fresh and relaxed at work, or simply need to pick up groceries on the way home, using the services offered by car2go Vancouveer, Zipcar or Modo can be the perfect solution. Services are charged by the minute – more cost effective than standard car hire – and car2go offers on-demand availability or 24 hour advance booking.


Useful Apps & Parking Places


Apps make the world of commuting a little smoother for everyone; Translink information can be found on their own website and also via Transit App while “Go Parking” can save time and frustration when you're in a rush! Free street parking in Vancouver can be hard to find, so the latter app can be very useful indeed. Many streets will have residential only parking for those with valid permits. Parking costs in general tend to be high – meters charging an average $6 an hour in busy areas, whilst parking lots range between $2-5 per hour.


Unique, innovative, character-full, trend setting and trend bucking; all good words to describe Vancouver. The last, being best applied to the fact that despite global trends, Vancouver's economic growth continues apace, seeming unstoppable. This is particularly the case in the area of new developments and, for those searching for real estate in Vancouver, the latest news from the City government is good news. Figures reported by the City of Vancouver show that building permits issued in 2015 hit a new record for Vancouver – with a value of $3.2 billion. City Mayor, Gregor Robertson says: "Vancouver is continuing to lead Canada in economic growth, and record values for new construction investment are further validation of our work together to create jobs and build an even better city" he added that the city is leading in Canada with a “record-setting pace for new rental housing”. The report states that last year's building permits represent a 14.6% rise on 2014 and a staggering 105% since 2008.


Hot Properties of the Future


The city also provides a list of the top developments that have contributed to the increase in the value of permits in 2015, which include a wide range of new housing opportunities for those searching for Vancouver real estate.


Vancouver House: Located at 1480 Howe Street in downtown Vancouver the innovative and iconic 52 story block offers a mixed range of residential and commercial units from smaller condos to luxury penthouses, via luxurious family home units.


Northwest: Located on Cambie Street, the two towered development offers a total of 349 units is due to be completed in 2017 when it will provide condos ranging from 440 sq ft to 750 sq ft.


Strathcona Village: this mixed use development offering 350 units has already sold out and construction is due to begin shortly. Located on East Hastings Street the development has direct and rapid access to Gastown and Vancouver's Downtown.


The fact that the majority of units – both residential and commercial – in this sample of new condo buildings in Vancouver demonstrates that the city's popularity and designation as a property hot-spot seem likely to remain intact for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen if 2016's building permit values will beat 2015's record but, you probably won't need a crystal ball to make an accurate prediction!





Browsing MLS listings in Vancouver and British Columbia you'll find plenty of homes described as “heritage” homes. If you're searching for a family home with real character then these houses for sale may well be the first to catch your eye. However, heritage homes come with more than a little history – so what do you need to know before you take on the responsibility of caring for an older house?


What is a Heritage Home?


“Heritage” can be used to describe any home over 60 years old – and certainly buildings constructed before the 1930s will be considered by most to be heritage properties. However, heritage should also be understood to mean the inside of a property as well its external appearance. Heritage homes for sale in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland which retain extensive original features inside and out can be considered to be true heritage properties and will often offer the best investment. Important architectural styles may also be considered a reason to consider a building a heritage home and these buildings may be relatively recent.


Official Heritage Homes and Neighborhoods


Official designation as a heritage property is the responsibility of the municipalities. The majority of Lower Mainland authorities will keep an official “Heritage Register”. In addition, the authorities may designate a whole area or neighborhood as a heritage zone and they may also have an inventory of other properties that have been noted as having a historic or architectural value but have not, as yet, been formally designated.


Heritage Protection


The municipalities have different names for the levels of classification but there are normally three levels of protection. The highest level will normally preclude the owner from making alternations to the property without permission and also protect the building from demolition. Homes in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland that fall into the lower levels of protection in their area can normally be altered but this will require discussion with the local Heritage Planner to agree a way to preserve the important features of the property. Owners who wish to have their home added to the Heritage Register can apply to do so via the municipality's Heritage Planning Officer – doing so may well increase the potential resale value of the property. At the same time it should be remembered that it may decrease the number of potential buyers, should you choose to put the property on the market. Once a designation is placed on a property it imposes restrictions (depending on the level of designation) on the owners and will appear on the title.


What Lies Beneath?


Archaeological sites on private land are protected by the BC Heritage Conservation Act, regardless of whether the site has any formal designation. This means that owners who find evidence of possible archaeological significance may be required to pay for further archaeological investigation. Evidence of past activity can include remains of ancient buildings, campsites, carvings or middens. The current owners may be unaware of an archaeological features but it's worth asking them if they have any suspicions! Also research the history of the local area yourself and, if in doubt consider employing a specialist surveyor.


Research, Research, Research


In total there are over 21,000 sites or objects recorded in the provincial heritage register – though the majority of these are outside of the Lower Mainland. However, older homes can still be legitimately considered “heritage”, especially if they retain the majority of their original features and have had limited alterations. If you are searching for a heritage home it's best to learn as much as possible about the period or architectural style that particularly appeals to you before viewing homes for sale in Vancouver.


Heritage homes have character, charm and are often highly sought after, attracting premium prices on the market. However, they come with a significant amount of additional restrictions and responsibility. For real enthusiasts they make a perfect home (and good investment) but be sure you are aware of exactly what you are taking on!


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