Transit-Oriented Developments: Considerations for the average buyer

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a popular urban planning concept that emphasizes the creation of mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods around transit stations. It has gained momentum in British Columbia in recent years, with several new TOD areas being announced in 2024. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what TOD is defined as in BC, as well as its benefits and potential drawbacks.

TODs are compact, walkable, mixed-use communities located around transit stations, with the goal of promoting sustainable transportation options, increasing affordability, and improving overall quality of life for residents. In BC, the new TODs will be located in key transit corridors, such as bus rapid transit routes and the SkyTrain. The designated areas will feature higher-density housing, commercial and retail spaces, and public amenities such as parks and community centers. By locating these developments near transit stations, the goal is for residents to have easy access to public transportation, reducing their reliance on cars and promoting a more sustainable lifestyle.

The new TODs will be in several areas across BC. To name a few:

-Port Moody: Inlet Centre Station, Moody Centre Station

-Port Coquitlam: Coquitlam Central Station, Lincoln Station

-Maple Ridge: Port Haney Station

-Burnaby- Brentwood Town Centre Station, Burquitlam Station, Joyce – Collingwood Station, Lougheed Town Centre Station, Metrotown Station, Patterson Station, Rupert Station, Sperling – Burnaby Lake Station

The full list can be found here:

While some of the benefits of living near a TOD include easier access to transit, proximity to great shopping and entertainment, and less reliance on your vehicles some potential drawbacks need consideration.

-Increased density and development can lead to more traffic congestion, especially during peak travel times

- Removing parking minimum requirements in TOD areas can lead to a shortage of parking spaces and increased competition for limited parking spots.

-TODs can be noisy and crowded. Being located close to public transport can mean dealing with the noise and congestion associated with buses, skytrains, Westcoast Express and other forms of transport. This can be a real problem for people who value peace and quiet. Additionally, the density of TODs can create a sense of overcrowding, which may not be desirable for some.

Overall, the new TODs in BC offer many benefits for those looking to live in a sustainable, walkable community with easy access to public transit especially when you consider the limited road infrastructure in many parts of the lower mainland and ongoing population growth. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons carefully and choose a location that aligns with your goals and values.


Artificial Intelligence vs the Human Real Estate Agent

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized numerous industries by automating repetitive tasks and accelerating decision-making processes. The real estate industry is no exception. However, despite its tremendous potential, AI still faces several challenges in replacing humans in real estate transactions.

One of the primary challenges is that real estate transactions involve numerous emotional and subjective factors that are not easy for machines to comprehend. For instance, when a buyer is looking for a property, they may have a specific vision in mind. They may have a strong emotional connection to certain features, such as a beautiful view or a specific architectural style. While an AI-powered system can analyze data and provide recommendations based on the buyer's preferences, it cannot replicate the human emotional experience.

Another challenge associated with AI in real estate transactions is the lack of transparency, which is a critical factor in the real estate industry. People want to know the reasons behind recommendations and decisions. An AI-powered system may provide recommendations, but it cannot explain the rationale behind those recommendations, making it difficult for buyers and sellers to trust the system.

Moreover, real estate transactions often require interpersonal communication and negotiation skills, which are not easy to replicate using AI. For example, when finalizing a deal, a human agent can use their negotiation skills to bring the parties to a mutually beneficial agreement. In contrast, an AI-powered system may not be able to negotiate in the same way as a human agent, leading to a breakdown in the transaction.

Another significant challenge that AI faces in replacing humans in real estate transactions is the inability to identify stigmatized properties. While AI can help identify properties with specific features, such as the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, it may not be able to identify stigmatized properties. Stigmatized properties are those that have a negative reputation due to events that occurred within the property, such as a murder, suicide, or paranormal activity. These properties are often more challenging to sell.

The reason for this is that the stigma associated with a property is often subjective and based on community perceptions and beliefs. An AI-powered system may not be able to account for these subjective factors, making it challenging to identify stigmatized properties accurately. Moreover, even if an AI-powered system can identify a stigmatized property, it may not be able to recommend the appropriate course of action. For example, if a property has a negative reputation due to a murder that occurred on the premises, an AI system may not be aware of the legal obligations around disclosure to potential buyers or the potential impact on the price of the property vs other properties in the area. This lack of knowledge could result in costly legal disputes for buyers and sellers.

 In conclusion, while AI has the potential to transform the real estate industry, it still faces several challenges in replacing humans in real estate transactions. The emotional and subjective nature of real estate transactions, the lack of transparency, the need for interpersonal communication and negotiation skills, and inability to accurately identify stigmatized properties due to the subjective nature of the stigma all present significant obstacles for AI. As such, it is crucial to have human agents involved in real estate transactions to ensure that all relevant factors involved in pricing a property and selling a property are taken into account. However, as AI technology continues to evolve, it is possible that many of these challenges can be overcome, and AI may ultimately play a more significant role in real estate transactions.


Recent Federal Government Announcement Brings Additional Funding to Canada Housing Benefit

Affordable housing is a critical issue in Canada, and the federal government has taken steps to address the issue through the Canada Housing Benefit (CHB) program. Recently, the government announced an additional $99 million in funding for the program. This funding will help more Canadians access affordable housing and improve the financial stability of low-income households.

It’s unclear how much it will increase individual payments through the rent support. The benefit was last available to applicants between Dec. 12, 2022, to March 31, 2023. It offered one-time, tax-free payments of $500.

To give you a sense if you or someone you know will qualify for the one-time payment, we’ve summarized the qualifications from the previous time the government provided this one-time benefit. We will update the blog when the formal rules are updated on the Government of Canada website.

PREVIOUS Eligibility Requirements

  1. Age Requirement: - You must be at least 15 years old
  2. Residency Requirement: - Your primary residence must have been in Canada. This could have been any abode, dwelling or other place rented. Examples of principal residence included a house, cottage, condominium, apartment in an apartment building, apartment in a duplex, college or university residence, trailer, mobile home, or houseboat.
  3. Tax Residency: - You must be a resident of Canada for tax purposes.
  4. Adjusted Family Net Income: Your adjusted family net income: Families: $35,000 or less - Individuals: $20,000 or less
  5. Eligible Rent: To qualify for the benefit, the rent you paid must meet the following conditions: -It should be equal to at least 30% of your adjusted family net income. To determine if your rent payments qualify, please verify the eligibility criteria.

For all the working kids out there, if you paid rent to a parent or another relative, this was eligible as rent ONLY if the payment was considered by the CRA as rental income for tax purposes for the parent or relative who received it.

Also, for anyone on social assistance programs or provincial or territorial rental assistance programs where payments are made directly to your landlord on your behalf was not considered eligible rent amounts. Only payments that YOU paid to a landlord as rent were eligible.

As the announcement has just been made, it will be important to verify the eligibility requirements to ensure you qualify for the one-time payment and to do so before any deadlines are put in place. 

In conclusion, the Canada Housing Benefit is an important program that helps low-income households access affordable housing. With the recent announcement of additional funding, the CHB program is set to help even more Canadians access affordable housing. If you think you might qualify, keep watch and apply for the benefit. Every little bit helps in this inflationary environment.

Stay Informed with us,

Cam and Eric

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