Mike Carson

Your local Sunshine Coast Realtor

Cell 604-740-1841

Office (24 hour pager) (888) 385-3295

Email: mikecarson604@gmail.com


The cost of affordable housing prompts many people to consider renting out a suite in their basement to help with mortgage payments.  In some cases these are legal suites and in many cases they are not.  If the tenant is a family member that is not a problem but if it is a complete stranger you may be violating local by-laws.  If it is a legal suite then the lending institutions will take that into account when calculating the cost of your monthly income and how much of a mortgage they will give you.  


For a good article on this subject see



I have listed a new property at 9815 WESCAN RD in Halfmoon Bay.
Sunny and secluded, backing onto Crown Land, Smuggler Cove marine park. Septic approved, all services at lot, ready to build. Great location with easy water access 1/2 block away for kayaking etc. Lots of great walking trails, wildlife, excellent neighbourhood.

The Bank of Canada held its overnight rate target steady at ½% this morning, quelling rumours that it might go even lower.   This is the rate at which banks borrow their money from the Bank of Canada, and usually has a trickle-down effect on mortgage rates.   However, as of late banks have been acting independently of the Bank of Canada and all the major players have raised rates incrementally recently, although not enough to dampen the market.  The reasons given, if any, include loss of revenue due to extremely low margins, and the ever more stringent legislation, rules and regulations designed to keep our banking system safe.  Rates are still at historical lows, however, and economists warn that home buyers should be aware that they will rise eventually and to make sure they can afford slightly higher payments if/when rates do go up.  Lower variable rates may seem tempting but locking in now for as long as possible is still a good strategy for the risk averse.

The Bank of Canada cited several factors for maintaining the current rate:

  • Inflation in Canada is evolving broadly as expected;
  • The dynamics of the global economy are broadly as anticipated;
  • Prices for oil and other commodities have declined further and this represents a setback for the Canadian economy;
  • National employment remains resilient despite job losses in the resource sector and household spending continues to expand. 

The Bank projects Canada’s economy will grow by about 1 1/2 per cent in 2016 and 2 1/2 per cent in 2017.
Read the full Bank of Canada announcement here:    Bank of Canada Press Release


Access the Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report for January 2016 here:  Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report - January 2016



I have listed a new property at 203 5711 MERMAID ST in Sechelt.
Fully remodeled unit featuring new carpet, vinyl, paint, countertops, everything as new! Ready to move into tomorrow. This bright & airy second floor unit boasts the morning sun & mountain view, elevator, storage, parking (1), all weather covered deck, & cozy gas fireplace. Call for immediate showing!

The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast (Q4) was released to media yesteday.  These surveys are shared with the public in an attempt to share information about house price trends.  Check out the links to various media reports that used the information in their stories:



Buying and owning a home, while a good investment, can be an expensive proposition.  Luckily there is lots of help out there in the form of grants, rebates and refunds.  The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has updated their list of 27 Top Grants and Rebates for Property Buyers and Sellers.  If you would like the PDF version of this list let me know and I will email it to you.

1.  Home Buyers’ Plan

Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time.Canada Revenue Agency. Learn more or to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan or call 1.800.959.8287

2.  GST Rebate on New Homes

New home buyers can apply for a rebate for the 5% GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing $350,000 - $450,000. There is no rebate for homes priced at $450,000 and above. Canada Revenue Agency. Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287

3.  BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program

Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil. Learn more. 1.250.387.0604

4.  First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

A federal non-refundable income tax credit for qualifying buyers of detached and attached homes, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2014) x $5,000. For the 2015 tax year, the maximum credit is $750.Learn more. 1.800.959.8281

5.  BC Home Owner Grant

Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,100,000. The basic grant gives home owners:

  • a maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts;
  • an additional grant of $200 to rural home owners elsewhere in the province; and
  • an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.

Learn more or contact your municipal tax office.

6.  BC Property Tax Deferment Programs:

  • Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.
  • Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.
  • Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children.Qualifying home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.

Learn more. 1-888-355-2700

7.  Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)

A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer. Learn more. 604.433.2218 or toll-free 1.800.257.7756

8. BC Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit

Assists eligible seniors 65+ with the cost of certain permanent home renovations to a principal residence to improve accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home. The maximum amount of the refundable credit is $1,000 per tax year and is calculated as 10% of the qualifying renovation expense (maximum $10,000 in expenses). Learn moreCanada Revenue Agency or toll-free 1.800.959.8281

9.  CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund

Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations. Learn more. 604.731.5733

10.  Energy Saving Mortgages

Financial institutions offer a variety of mortgages to home buyers and owners making their homes energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. Learn more. 1.800.769.2511

11.  Low Interest Renovation Loans

Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity Home Energy Loan  personal loan offers home owners up to $50,000 at prime + 1% for up to 15 years for energy efficient renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution.

12.  Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant (Pilot Program)

Grants of up to $3,000 per household to assist with energy retrofits for Vancouver homes built before 1940 and homes listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register. This pilot runs to August 31, 2016. It is sponsored by Vancouver Heritage Foundation and the City of Vancouver Sustainability Group with assistance from City Green Solutions. Qualifying retrofits include insulation, air sealing, window repairs and storm windows, and high efficiency forms of heating and hot water. Learn moreTerms/Conditions Grant application

13.  Energy Conservation and Assistance Program

BC Hydro and FortisBC offer free energy assessments and energy saving products to income-qualifying households. Qualified contractors will install upgrades ranging in value from $300 to $5,000 depending on the need of the home.

14.  Fortis New Home Energy Rebate Offer

Fortis and BC Hydro customers can receive rebates when building ENERGY STAR new homes of when installing high-efficiency natural gas fireplaces. Learn more.

15. Smart Thermostat Pilot Program

City of Vancouver and Vancity are offering a $125 rebate for a home owner purchasing 1 of 3 smart thermostats which automatically controls the climate in your home. This pilot program runs to December 2016. Learn more.smartthermostats@vancouver.ca

16.  Home Energy Rebate Offer

BC Hydro and FortisBC offer home owners rebates for upgrades and improvements, including insulation, space and water heating systems and ventilation to reduce the average customer’s energy bill by 30%. There is a bonus offer for completing three or more of certain upgrades. Total value of available rebates: $5,300 per household. Learnmore.

17.  Energy Savings Kit Program

BC Hydro and FortisBC offer income-qualifying customers a free energy saving kit containing products to help save energy and money. Learn more.

18.  ENERGY STAR Appliances

BC Hydro Power Smart and various municipalities are offering $100 mail-in rebates to home owners buying ENERGY STAR® clothes dryers and refrigerators. Coquitlam, New Westminster, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, Richmond, Vancouver and West Vancouver are participating.  Learn more.

19.  FortisBC Rebate Program for Homes

Rebates for home owners including a $300 rebate for purchasing an EnerChoice fireplace, or up to $1,800 off an ENERGY STAR water heater, or a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system.  Total value of available rebates: $5,300 per household. Learn more. 1.800.663.8400

20.  Fortis Rebate for Rental apartment buildings

In October 2015, FortisBC launched the Rental Apartment Efficiency Program for owners and managers of rental apartment buildings nine units and larger. The program includes a water-efficient shower head and a kitchen and bathroom faucet aerator directly installed in each unit, a building energy assessment and ongoing professional assistance. Learn more and FAQ’s.

21.  Rain Barrel Subsidy Programs

Many Metro Vancouver municipalities offer rain barrels for sale, often at a discount for residents. Richmond sells them for $30. Burnaby sells them for $70. Coquitlam sells them for $72. West Vancouver sells them for $55. Other municipalities have similar offers.

22.  Water Wise Kits

Many Metro Vancouver municipalities offer water wise kits and other tools for reducing home water consumption including BurnabyCoquitlamDelta,

23.  Local Government Water Conservation Incentives

Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water.

Toilets: North Vancouver CityNorth Vancouver District, and the District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Richmond offers a $100 utility rebate. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.

Clothes washers: replace your old clothes washer with a new, high efficiency ENERGY STAR clothes washer and receive a $100 or $200 rebate from Richmond.

24.  Local Government Water Meter Programs

Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Burnaby (scroll down), DeltaRichmond and West Vancouver have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.

25.  BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program for Businesses

Partners BC Hydro with BC’s largest commercial, government and institutional customers (who spend $200,000 or more/year on Hydro). Customers gain access to energy management programs, tools and incentives. Learnmore. 1.866.522.4713

26.  BC Hydro Power Smart Express Program for Businesses

Provides financial incentives to organizations that replace inefficient technologies with energy efficient technologies. Learn more.1.866.522.4713

27.  FortisBC Rebate Program for Businesses

For commercial buildings, provides a rebate of up to $45,000 for the purchase of an energy efficient boiler, up to $15,000 for the purchase of a high-efficiency water heater and receive funding towards a new construction energy study. Learn more. 1.800.663.8400


Happy New Year!


It’s a brand new year, and I think it is going to be a good one for real estate.  Interest rates remain stable, the economy is on track, the Sunshine Coast is finally on the map, and it appears confidence has been restored in the markets.  Across the board we have just had the best November in almost 10 years , and personally December was a very busy month, with no let-up in sight.   Inventory is way down, as many properties sold in November and December but few new properties have been listed; this is a good scenario for sellers.  Prices have not yet risen, nor have interest rates, so it is also a good time for buyers. 


Thinking of buying or selling?  Give me a call and let’s talk real estate.

The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.