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Guide To Vancouver Real Estate Market With Aaron Wong

Guide To Vancouver Real Estate Market With Aaron Wong

The Vancouver real estate market has been popular among overseas real estate investors for quite some time. If you are interested but don’t know how to get started, check out this video with Aaron to learn more about the Vancouver real estate market and what to be aware of.

Aaron Wong and is a real estate agent at Regent Park Realty. The firm is located in Vancouver West- Kerrisdale neighbourhood and it has agents who specialize in all areas of Greater Vancouver. Their goal is to provide insightful advice to ensure that the clients are well-informed in making any buying or selling decision. Aaron mainly works with residential clients both on the buying and selling side and specializes in the Metro Vancouver area.

  • Different characteristics of the Vancouver neighbourhoods
  • The potentiality of different types of investments in Vancouver
  • Which areas do overseas investors tend to invest in?
  • What to be aware of?
  • Tax and mortgages policy.

As it can be difficult to catch some minor errors, transcripts may contain a few typos or inaccuracies.

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Alright, let’s get back to the transcript of the show. Enjoy!



Darren: Hey, Aaron, so welcome to the show.

Aaron: Hey Darren!

Darren: Yeah, so like this is exciting because I used to live in Vancouver and I went to high school in Vancouver so that’s like a one and a half decade by now and then. So I know you through Jerry, my ex-colleague from Vancouver. So this is good because I want to kind of be nostalgic a little bit about Vancouver, what’s going on because Vancouver has been a very hot market and a lot of people here I know in Hong Kong are also from Vancouver as well. And I want to share with them what’s going on. And then maybe for them they’ll think about Vancouver a little bit, miss home a little bit. So I’m really happy to have you here today.

Aaron: Thank you.

Darren: So before that, right, would you mind telling the audience a little bit about yourself and your work?

Aaron: Yeah, so my name is Aaron Wong. I was actually born in Vancouver, so I’m very familiar with the city. I’ve Pretty much lived here for my whole entire life and in terms of real estate, I started doing it actually straight out of university. So I’ve been working on it for almost a fifth year now, actually. So five years in the business and working in a medium sized brokerage where mostly residential focused and we’re located in Kerrisdale. So we specialize with a lot of ties in the area. But in a brokerage, we also have agents who specialize in the tri-cities and other parts of Vancouver as well.

Darren: Hmm. I see. So for some audiences that may not know much about the different neighbourhoods in the greater Vancouver area, which obviously would be great if you can describe a little bit about the greater Vancouver area. Would you mind telling them about how is the neighbourhood like and then where like the overseas investors tend to invest?

Aaron: Yeah, for sure. So Vancouver how you would think about it  is that we’re actually in a Greater Vancouver area, what they usually call it. And within the greater Vancouver area, you actually have different cities. So one of them, of course, being the city of Vancouver. So that’s the main city center of Greater Vancouver. And then it branches out into other cities such as Burnaby to the east, Richmond to the south. And then you also have the tri-cities, which is further to the east and that’s around Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and also Port Moody. So usually I find that overseas investors, they tend to focus in Metro Vancouver a lot. So that would be in the city of Vancouver, Burnaby, as well as the Richmond areas, just because, you know, those are the areas with the most density in the redevelopment right now.

Darren: I see. So a few topics, a few people around my circle, there’s always tea talking about Vancouver real estate. And then what’s the reason behind this trend that is booming recently and how do you think it will evolve in the next couple of years?

Aaron: Well, right now, I think a lot of people see Vancouver as very attractive because first of all, you know, you’ve been a Democrat before. You know, the lifestyle here is very healthy, relaxed. You know, we have air and water, a lot of cultural diversity. And also I find that we have quite a few good schools here. And a lot of people, when they move here, it doesn’t have any parts of the world they can kind of feel at home in certain neighbourhoods one way or another. So from the trend, I think, especially this past year, we had a lot of investors, especially from Asia, Hong Kong, and they’re just looking to relocate here just could be as they just like the city.

Darren: I see, you know, like I always remember the Vancouver lifestyle is Lululemon and good vibes. You know, there’s no problems, relaxing everyday is very similar. The weather in the winter is a bit gloomy sometimes, but summer is beautiful, it’s a paradise. So, you know, by being said, right, do you think there are some areas in Vancouver that are a bit overrated, overpriced at the moment?

Aaron: Well, right now, it’s kind of interesting because we just came out of a three month city lockdown and then so the real estate market has kind of started to pick up again. But in general, I mean overrated, a lot of investors tend to focus on West Vancouver and Vancouver West just because, you know, being in a more higher end and prestigious area. So even until today, when we had the market peak back in 2016-2017, some of the prices are still fairly overinflated in those areas. So, I mean, I wouldn’t say that necessarily it’s overhyped. Whether it’s just, you know, some of the pricing you have to be careful what you’re buying into, because a lot of the investors are trying to maybe liquidate some assets and then you may or may not be getting the best deal depending on what homes you’re looking for.

Darren: I see. So, you know, just now you mentioned a lot of people are coming, moving to Vancouver and moving to different places and stuff like that. So do a majority of your investors tend to be moving there or and also too right, with that, how would you suggest differently for investors applying to be either self or investment only?

Aaron: Well, I work with a couple of different groups, so some of them, they’re mainly based overseas and they’re looking for investment only properties in the Vancouver area. And so these investors, we tend to focus more on the numbers, rental return, rental stability, kind of lower vacancies, whereas there’s another group of investors where they plan to purchase a home here, whether or not their children are coming over for school or they maybe eventually plan to retire or leave and make it work part time. So it sounds like there’s a few different focuses, of course, the main element being the overall value of the property, but also it becomes a lifestyle, too, because we have so many different neighbourhoods. It really depends on what works for them as lifestyle, what kind of place they prefer, and usually this is more of an emotional purchase because they do tend to live in the property, so a little bit of mixed up with clients, little bit of a different approach, depending on whether it’s just a pure investment or investment/principle residence.

Darren: I see, I have done a lot of interviews so far, and I always want to have an episode that we can deep dive into the cities. Like in my head I was thinking about maybe having a Google maps, we share it with your screen and then you can go through, walk through the block and street with me. It’s something that we can do in the next episode in the future. But then let’s go back to this, because I think that for a lot of investors, they want to know where to start, because Vancouver obviously some investors in Hong Kong look into Toronto, Vancouver, US, Malaysia, Singapore, a lot of different places. So this episode will be focusing on very high picture, high level picture. Obviously, at the end of this episode, we can ask them to talk to you more about what’s going on in detail. So I have another question like what are some things that oversea investors should be aware of when assessing the opportunities in Vancouver? You know, it’s something that I think they’ll appreciate if you can give them some pointers for that.

Aaron: Yeah, I think one of the biggest parts that overseas investor, because, you know, Canada in general, especially B.C., we actually have a lot of different types of taxes, especially types that deal with real estate. Now, the biggest thing is that if you are an overseas investor and you’re not a citizen or a PR, there is an additional 20% foreign buyer tax. So when you think about some of the price of the property, a 20% tax is actually quite a big premium right. So then I would say first of all, it’s best to talk to ,of course, a real estate professional and then they can suggest you ways to structure your purchase in order to minimize the actual closing costs and other aspects of purchasing the investment property.

Darren: Hmm, I see. So go back to that because tax is obviously a big subject and a lot of people will always be like, “Okay, tax, how much is this?” So, like, just now you mentioned right, I heard there’s a new high-end home tax like what’s that about.

Aaron: Ok, so the high-end home tax is funny, they call it that, because whenever you’re purchasing a property in Vancouver or in the metro Vancouver area, they have what you call a property transfer tax. So then the buyer actually has to pay the government a tax to transfer the property to their name so you know this is the buyer bearing those costs. And so traditionally these taxes they’re tiered, of course, you know, just like our income taxes. And what the government decided to do and I think February 2018 was that they added another tier to the property transfer tax. So normally, let’s say you’re buying a house, two or three million dollars. You’re paying your first tier, which is the one percent on the two hundred thousand. And then you have the two percent from two hundred thousand to two million. And then usually you’re pretty much set unless you buy something even higher. So now what they have is that above three million, there is another tax that they add another two percent on there. So you end up paying more of a five percent anything above three million dollars and it could really add up to the total.

Darren: That’s pretty expensive. Jesus.

Aaron: Yeah, yeah, it’s hard to explain in a short video, but the more expensive the property, the more expensive the taxes, just like how B.C., also introduced a luxury car tax because it’s getting kind of crazy you know.

Darren: Yeah, well before that too, I actually neglected a little bit like would you mind telling the audience about the property transfer tax and then how it works?

Aaron: Yeah, so property transfer tax, so usually these costs are costs that the buyer should be aware of, because when you’re buying any kind of property in Vancouver, there is a property tax upon closing. And the only exception is if you’re buying a piece of property under seven hundred fifty thousand dollars and you’re going to plan to live in it as a personal residence then the tax is exempt. But in most cases, you do have to pay the property transfer tax, whether you’re buying a commercial property or even any kind of residential property.

Darren: I see. So I think that the tax is a big topic and I’m sure people can reach out to you more about that in detail. But I want to know more about the lockdown. How does that affect the market like where are the opportunities for investors now during this time with the pandemic?

Aaron: Oh well, it’s interesting because it’s been a long time, I think a lot of people who are just across the lot of the busier metropolitan areas, they explain to me the prices to maybe go down or soften, but with Vancouver it was actually quite resilient. I mean, there was overall less listings on the market during the few months because, of course, you don’t want people going to view during that time, right. But overall, I think there was less affect of the prices. They haven’t really dropped much. And with now the lockdown coming down, people are actually coming out in waves and buying again. And we’re seeing actually quite a lot of activity in the market from that.

Darren: I see, I see. Okay, that’s good. I want to know right, because I kind of lost touch in Vancouver for awhile. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that because I’ve always had Vancouver in my heart, are there any hip places that attract a lot of younger crowds that are willing to pay more in rent? And then in addition, What are some places that have a lot more commercial activities that people should look at?

Aaron: So I mean, in terms of the younger audience, of course, Vancouver, downtown, it’s very popular because that’s where all the nightlife and the central business district is located. So I would say Yaletown has always been very popular amongst the younger crowd and recently actually they’re developing part of East Vancouver called Main street and Kingsway, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the area still, Mount Pleasant area. And they’re building a lot more of Boutique buildings there and it seems to be attracting quite a lot of the young crowd. So that seems to be pretty popular with some of the younger investor clients or even people looking for a first home.

Darren: I see. I think I’m selfish because I kind of want to ask for myself if one day I move back so I know where to go.

Aaron: We’ll definitely do a big, a good tour of the city before you decide.

Darren: I got to browse on the Google Maps, like which street exactly, how fast they go to different bars and clubs and stuff like that. So, you know, it’s funny, right? So Vancouver has been promoting a lot right past few years about Silicon Valley and Hollywood of the North, right. There are a lot of startups in Vancouver. There are a lot of people always trying to shoot videos and movies in Vancouver now, is that still relevant? And how does that affect commercial activities regarding the residential side?

Aaron: You know, it’s definitely still relevant because right now, actually, Amazon is still working on their office in downtown. So then they bought that old Canada Post site and then now they’re developing into a really big Amazon office space. And, of course, they have the Microsoft Office that was recently set up a few years ago. Facebook is moving in here, Apple pretty much like they call the Silicon Valley of the north. You know, they’re Vancouver based. And within the film industry, it’s well, maybe not as active in these last few months, but in general, there’s actually a lot of opportunities, real estate wise, especially in a short term rental market, that a lot of these celebrities are movie stars. They would always looking for short term housing and it’s actually quite a lucrative business for some of those landlords.

Darren: That’s good. That’s good. It’s something that I didn’t know until I moved back away from Vancouver. I was like, oh, I didn’t know that big scene at the moment. Obviously, real estate and mortgage come hand to hand right, What are some tips you have for overseas investors when it comes to getting a mortgage?

Aaron: I will say for the mortgage, because right now the banks, they’re usually pretty open to foreign investment, they always have new investment programs for foreign investors. So I would say the most important thing is that you can talk to a mortgage broker or existing banking relationship with the Canadian bank. Definitely check with them first to just see your eligibility and then you can go shopping from then on with your budget.

Darren: I see. Okay, and then like I think there are a lot more questions in my head, but obviously I’ll save it for next time and then we can do this whole Google map browsing around, see the street going on stuff like that in the next episode. So I want to know right, what kind of tips and advice would you have for the audience when it comes to investing in Vancouver?

Aaron: I would say the biggest tip of our real estate, definitely you want to be making an informed decision no matter what you’re investing in right. And one of the things I find with overseas investors is that a lot of them, they don’t seem to be used to working with agents, because I know that, for example, in certain markets, especially with the representation, they’re worried, that they have to pay more fees and all that stuff for a buyer’s agent to take them around right. But actually how it works in Vancouver is that for you to be represented as a buying party actually doesn’t cost them anything for professional advice, which is why I always recommend, you know consult a buyer’s agent to take you around because they know what they’re doing and they can make sure you’re fully represented. And pretty much warn you of any kind of caveats or, you know, things with certain properties that you plan to invest into.

Darren: I see, I think that is good because people keep forgetting that, people keep asking around and stuff like, but maybe they should just talk to you. People should talk to you more on what’s going on. So I know I’m just curious because we have phone calls a couple of times before. Like, I just want to know, what else are you working on besides being a real estate agent or, you know, as a whole?

Aaron: Right now, actually, I have a few side projects. One of the things is that I’m also looking into small businesses, so I actually have a few clients who are looking to actually acquire businesses. So, you know, being in the network where we also work with small business owners. This is kind of something I’m working on on this side as well, on top of this residential sales and whatnot.

Darren: I think that’s awesome. I think that a lot of people in real estate keep forgetting that you know, you have these different exposures to people who have the money in the capital and then a lot of people have good ideas so I think it is a good time, especially in a recession. So a lot of good companies tend to respond when times are like this. So I think that this episode actually have a lot of good buy size information. What kind of takeaway would you like the audience to have in this whole interview so far?

Aaron: I would say takeaway points, definitely, if you haven’t been in Vancouver, visit the city, especially summertime, you know obviously winter can be a little bit cold and rainy, but most likely people who visit say they definitely fall in love with it. And, you know, in terms of real estate, it’s a very popular thing here in Vancouver. And I always encourage touring different neighbourhoods, see what you like because, you know, Vancouver, there’s lifestyle at the end of the day, right? If you’re planning to invest or move over to the city and another take away of course, you know, just to reiterate, if you plan to buy property, always have someone representing you do not walk into a random open house or call an agent, because most of the time you may not be getting the best representation for the, you know, your property purchase.

Darren: That’s good. And how would we suggest the audience to reach out to you when it comes to learning more about the Vancouver real estate market.

Aaron: You can contact me through my brokerage website, I have my email and phone number there. For the younger audience, you can also Instagram, although I should be updating that more often, but I can send you the information after the interview.

Darren: Yeah, I’ll put everything in the show notes and then I just want to say thank you because I know we never met in person, we’ve had a couple of phone calls and everything and thanks, but Jerry, if you listens to this for introducing us and then I want to do another part two in the future about really deep dive into neighbourhoods, because not only for myself, I think a lot of people would appreciate it and learn for example, Vancouver has so many different neighbourhoods within even the city itself. So thanks again for your time and I really appreciate it. And then I hope that you can join us for the next episode.

Aaron: Yeah, most definitely. Thanks for the interview.

Darren: No, thank you. Thanks a lot. Talk to you later then. Good day, bye.


Darren: 嘿,Aaron,歡迎收看節目。

Aaron:嘿,Darren !

Darren :是的,這樣很興奮,因為我以前住在溫哥華讀高中,所以現在好像有15年半。所以我是通過Jerry認識你的,我以前從溫哥華來的同事。所以這是很好,因為我想對溫哥華懷舊一點,因為溫哥華一直是一個非常流行的市場和很多人我知道香港也有來自溫哥華的人。我想和他們分享發生了什麼。也許他們會考慮一下溫哥華,有點想念家。所以我很高興你今天能來。


Darren :在那之前,你介意告訴觀眾一些關於你自己和你的作品嗎?

Aaron:是的,所以我叫Aaron Wong。我實際上出生在溫哥華,所以我很熟悉都市。我在這裡住了一輩子,在房地產方面,我從大學畢業就開始在這行業工作。所以我一直致力於實際上是第五年了。囙此,我們在一家中型經紀公司工作了五年,主要集中在住宅區,而且我們所在的位置克裏斯代爾。所以我們在這一地區專門經營很多關聯。但在經紀公司,我們也有專門在三城和溫哥華其他地區的代理商。

Darren :嗯,我明白了。囙此,對於一些可能不太瞭解大溫哥華地區不同街區的觀眾來說,這顯然會是如果你能描述一下大溫哥華地區,那就太好了。你介意告訴他們這個社區怎麼樣,然後告訴他們海外投資者傾向於在哪裡投資嗎?


Darren :我明白了。所以一些話題,我圈子裏的一些人,總是有人在談論溫哥華的房地產。那麼,這一趨勢的背後原因是什麼你認為未來幾年它會怎樣發展?


Darren :我明白了,你知道,就像我一直一樣,記住溫哥華的生活方式是露露蒙和良好的氛圍。你知道,沒有問題,每天放鬆都很相似。冬天的天氣不好有時候很陰沉,但是夏天很美,是個天堂。所以,你知道嗎,你認為溫哥華有些地方現在定價過高了嗎?


Darren :我明白了。所以,你知道,剛才你提到很多人要來,搬到溫哥華搬去不同的地方和諸如此類的事情。那麼,你的大多數投資者是否傾向於轉移到那裡,或者也太正確了,對此,你有何建議對於申請自我或僅投資的投資者來說,情况不同?


Darren :我明白了,到目前為止,我已經做了很多採訪,我總想有一集,我們可以深入都市。就像在我的腦海裏,我想也許有一個穀歌地圖,我們分享給你荧幕,然後你可以穿過,和我一起穿過街區和街道。這是我們在下一集裏可以做的事情。但我們還是回到這個問題上來吧,因為我認為對於很多投資者來說,他們想知道從哪裡開始,因為溫哥華顯然有一些香港投資者關注多倫多、溫哥華、美國、馬來西亞,新加坡,很多不同的地方。所以這一集將聚焦於高階,高層次的層面。很明顯,在這一集的結尾,我們可以讓他們和你詳細談談發生了什麼。所以我還有一個問題,比如海外投資者在評估溫哥華的機會時應該注意哪些事項?你知道,這是件大事如果你能給他們一些建議,他們會很感激的。


Darren :嗯,我明白了。所以回到這個話題上來,因為稅收顯然是一個大課題,很多人總是會說,“好吧,稅收,這是多少錢?“所以,就像剛才你說的對,我聽說有一項新的高端房產稅,比如說什麼。


Darren :這很貴。上帝啊。


Darren :是的,在那之前,我實際上忽略了有點像你介意告訴聽眾關於財產轉讓稅的事,然後它是如何運作的嗎?


Darren :我明白了。所以我認為稅是一個大話題,我相信人們可以就這一點與你取得更多聯系。但我想知道更多關於封鎖。這會對市場產生怎樣的影響,比如在現時這場流感大流行期間,投資者的機會在哪裡?

Aaron: 哦,很有趣因為已經很長時間了,我想很多人都是在繁華的大都會區,他們向我解釋價格可能會下降或者柔化,但在溫哥華,它實際上相當有彈性。我是說,在幾個月是因為,當然,你不希望人們在這段時間內觀看,對吧。但總的來說,我認為價格的影響較小。他們真的沒有下降多少。現在,隨著禁售政策的出臺,人們開始蜂擁而至,再次出手購買。我們在市場上看到了很多活動。

Darren :我明白了,我明白了。好吧,很好。我想知道是的,因為我在溫哥華失去聯繫有一段時間了,我有點不好意思這麼說因為我一直把溫哥華放在心裡,有沒有什麼時髦的地方能吸引很多年輕人願意付更多的租金呢。另外,還有什麼有很多商業活動值得人們去看的地方?


Darren :我明白了。我覺得我很自私,因為我有點想問問自己,如果有一天我搬回去,這樣我就知道該去哪裡了。


Darren :我要在穀歌地圖上瀏覽,比如到底哪條街,他們去不同的酒吧和俱樂部之類的東西有多快。所以,你知道,這很有趣,對吧?所以溫哥華在過去的幾年裏一直在文宣矽谷和荷里活北部的歲月,對吧。溫哥華有很多創業公司。有很多人總是試圖拍攝視頻現在溫哥華的電影,還有關係嗎?這對住宅方面的商業活動有何影響?


Darren :很好。很好。這是我從溫哥華搬回來之前不知道的事情。我當時就想,哦,我當時還不知道那一幕。顯然,房地產和抵押貸款來吧,當涉及到抵押貸款時,您對海外投資者有什麼建議?


Darren :我明白了。好吧,然後像我一樣,我覺得我腦子裏還有很多問題,但很明顯我會留到下次再看,然後我們就可以在穀歌地圖上到處瀏覽,看看下一天大街上會發生這樣的事情第集。所以我想知道,當談到在溫哥華投資時,你會給觀眾什麼樣的建議和建議?

Aaron: 我想說的是我們房地產最大的一點,無論你投資的是什麼,你都想做出明智的决定。我在海外發現的一件事投資者中有很多人似乎不習慣與經紀人合作,因為我知道,例如,在某些市場,尤其是代理,他們擔心,他們必須支付更多的費用和其他的東西,買家的代理人帶他們到處轉轉。但事實上在溫哥華是如何運作的作為一個買家,他們實際上不需要為專業建議付出任何代價,這就是為什麼我總是建議,你知道,諮詢買家的代理商,帶你四處轉轉,因為他們知道自己在做什麼他們可以確保你得到充分的代表。同時也會提醒你任何注意事項,或者,你知道的,你計畫投資的某些房地產的東西。

Darren :]我明白了,我認為這很好,因為人們總是忘了這一點,人們總是四處打聽,但也許他們應該和你談談。人們應該多和你談談繼續。所以我知道我只是好奇,因為我們以前有過幾次電話。比如,我只想知道,除了做房地產經紀人之外,你還有什麼工作要做?


Darren :我覺得太棒了。我想很多房地產行業的人都忘了你知道,你對那些在首都有錢的人有不同的風險敞口,然後很多人都有好主意,所以我認為現在是個好時機,尤其是在經濟衰退時期。所以很好公司往往會在這種情況下做出反應。所以我認為這一集有很多很好的購買量資訊。什麼外賣到目前為止,你希望觀眾在整個採訪過程中?


Darren :很好。當你想瞭解更多關於溫哥華房地產市場的資訊時,我們將如何建議觀眾與你聯系。


Darren :是的,我會把一切都寫在節目單上,然後我只想說聲謝謝,因為我知道我們從未見過面,我們有過幾通電話和所有的一切,謝謝你,但是傑瑞,如果你聽了這篇介紹我們的文章,那麼我想在將來再做第二部分,深入瞭解社區,因為不僅僅是我自己,我想很多人都會欣賞它,比如溫哥華有很多不同的社區,甚至是都市本身。再次感謝你時間到了,我真的很感激。我希望你能加入我們下一集。


Darren :不,謝謝。謝謝。以後再跟你說。再見。

That’s all for today. See you later!