Lee's Donuts is opening a location in North Vancouver

Lee’s Donuts is always up to something delicious.

In addition to its new donut warehouse in Vancouver, which is celebrating a one-day public opening tomorrow with freebies, the brand has a new location in the works in North Vancouver.

Lee’s tells Dished it’s opening at a development on the North Shore called Innova

Set to open in 2024/25, this location is a ways away from pumping out Lee’s delicious signature bites, but it’s certainly something for North Vancouver residents to be excited about for the future.

While we’re waiting for this one, check out our huge list of new Vancouver restaurants set to open soon.

Lee’s Donuts — North Vancouver


Mortgage Trends to Watch for in 2023

It’s looking like we’re going to be seeing similar real estate trends in 2023 compared to last year.

Following a year defined by market highs and lows, experts are forecasting a gradual return to a more balanced market towards the end of 2023. However, with inflation remaining more or less unchanged at the tail-end of 2022, last year’s trend of diminished purchasing power seems likely to persist.

As for what that means for mortgage lending, Shaun Cathcart, Senior Economist at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), predicts primary-based mortgage payments will continue to rise dramatically until the Bank of Canada (BoC) reaches its terminal rate. 

Variable rate mortgages will hit their ‘trigger rate’

“The ‘terminal rate’ as it’s called, meaning where they’re expected to stop, has gone from 3.5% (they’re at 3.25% now) on the overnight rate back in the spring to closer to 4.5% now,” writes Cathcart. As such, those carrying variable rate mortgages are now facing their “trigger rates,” meaning those borrowers will face higher monthly payments if interest rates remain high.

In December 2022, Canada’s inflation rate fell 0.6% from the previous month to 6.3% which will certainly inform the BoC’s next interest rate decision scheduled for January 25, 2023. If more hikes happen this year, variable rate mortgage carriers will not only find themselves with high monthly payments to cope with, but those payments are likely to cover more interest and less of the loan’s principal amount, translating to a longer payback period overall.

Meanwhile, data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) forecasts the average Canadian variable mortgage rate will rise to 6.35% in the first half of 2023, decreasing “only slightly” to 6.1% in Q3 2023 and 5.85% in Q4 2023.

Fixed rate mortgages ‘not safe for the next five years’

At present, variable rate mortgages have higher monthly payments than fixed rate mortgage payments. However, Cathcart cautions “those with fixed rate mortgages are not safe for the next five years.”

He continues, “[fixed rate mortgages] come up for renewal every day. People paying attention are rightfully worried. People who have not been paying attention could be in for some serious sticker shock.”

According to data from Ratehub, the five-year fixed rate in 2018 was 2.94%. At the end of 2022, it had increased to 4.54%. For a $400,000 mortgage on a 25-year term, this would mean monthly payments increased from $1,881 to $2,223.

Predicting where rates are heading in 2023 will continue to be a challenge given the uncertainty of the economy and real estate market, which will leave fixed-rate carriers to speculate where the market might be headed and whether it’s more prudent to lock in a short- or long-term fixed rate.

Mortgage Trends: The Guide for 2023

New borrowers may bite the bullet… or find themselves priced out

Substantial rate hikes are most likely behind Canadians, and consumers have had some time to adjust their spending and home buying budgets accordingly. If prospective buyers return to the market, things could heat up once again as low inventory continues to be an issue across Canada. 

Of course, depending on the Bank of Canada’s next moves, things could go another way. The high cost of borrowing could also keep prospective buyers on the sidelines, which could serve to lower demand, curb competition, and soften Canadian housing markets. It’s truly too soon to tell.

In any case, Canada’s population is rapidly growing and housing demand isn’t going anywhere. Instead, demand will likely be absorbed in the rental market, according to Cathcart.

“In that sense, this is a continuation of the same story—those who got into the market early are unlikely to be affected by rapidly rising rates and are also unlikely to see the value of their properties decline all that much from the peak. Meanwhile, those who bought recently at elevated prices, and those in the rental market, may be in for a tougher ride over the next few years.”

If you’re thinking of buying or selling this year, be sure to work with a local REALTOR® to get their professional expertise on what’s going on in the market where you live (or might like to), and what your best options are. 

Read the full article here.


District of North Van approves Capilano University staff and student housing

Read the full North Shore News article here.

The District of North Vancouver has approved 315 rental homes, just off campus from Capilano University, half of which will be exclusively for students, faculty and staff.

The project by Darwin Properties at 1310 Monashee Dr., which is occupied by dog kennels today, will include two six-storey buildings centred around a courtyard, with 8,570 square feet of commercial/restaurant space at ground level.

Of the 315 units, 32 will be offered at below-market rates for CapU students. Another 126 will be leased at market rates exclusively for Cap’s students, faculty and staff. The remaining 157 will be open to the general public at market rates.

When it came time to debate the merits and faults of the project, council members kept their comments short and sweet.

Mayor Mike Little acknowledged that students would have liked to have seen more affordable rentals for them, but he said that wouldn’t be feasible without the province or Capilano University buying the land and developing it on a non-profit basis.

“Everything that we could get out of it was going to happen through a voluntary negotiation between the parties,” he said. “Would I like a higher ratio? Of course. But I happen to think that this is going to dramatically improve the flexibility of the university in terms of delivering a quality education, with proper supportive services, including housing for staff, students and faculty.” 

Coun. Herman Mah noted that the project has the support of Capilano University’s leadership, despite being off-campus, and added that it would complement CapU’s own student housing project going in just across Monashee Drive.

“I also want to commend the staff for doing a good job of negotiating a strong housing agreement,” he said.

Even without more affordable homes, the project still addresses a district need, Coun. Jordan Back highlighted.

“I think will be a great evolution for everyone up in that area of the community and it’s going to deliver 315 rental homes, which we surely need badly in our community,” he said.

The vote to rezone the property passed 5-2, with Couns. Lisa Muri and Coun. Betty Forbes opposed.

The bulk of council’s debate time however centred around whether the district’s process for vetting the geotechnical safety of the site, which is atop a steep slope over the Seymour River and north end of Seymour Boulevard, was adequate.

Engineers have already signed off on the proposal, but several members of council insisted that the district seek out an independent, peer review of the work, given the history of landslides in the area.

District staff do get second opinions whenever they feel it may be necessary, said Dan Milburn, general manager of planning and permits, which will happen again as Darwin’s proposal goes into detailed designs and permitting.

“The matter is, from staff’s perspective, sufficiently dealt with in the existing powers, and staff’s indication from the chief building official is that that will be a requirement of the subsequent permit stages,” he said.

Still, this particular property shouldn’t be left to staff’s discretion, the majority on council felt, passing a motion from Muri and Coun. Jim Hanson recommending that the approving officer commission an independent peer review, even though it would not have any bearing on council’s decision to rezone the lot.

The new housing is expected to come online in 2027.

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