Tips for Taking a Virtual House Tour in Burnaby

virtual tours in burnaby real estate

Take a look at the Real Estate Board of Vancouver’s home buying statistics and you will see that despite this new normal keeping us all indoors, home buying is peaking pre-pandemic levels. First-time homebuyers in Burnaby have cited several factors that made looking for a new place enticing in these times: record-low mortgage rates, a desire for more space after the fatigue of lockdown, a sense that they have a competitive advantage while the market was quiet, and the freedom, given remote work, to move further away from their offices in Vancouver.

But keeping safe should always be a priority, especially when you’re making that life-changing home purchase in Burnaby. If you’re thinking of looking for a house now, virtual house tours are the way to go. It may not be the same as going to an open house, but it is definitely helpful and way safer. Here are some tips in checking out new spaces while staying in your own home.

Make your dream house bucket list

If you’re looking for a house in Burnaby, you most probably have an idea of what you want to get. A real estate bucket list, so to speak. How many bedrooms? Is having a backyard and a front lawn important? What’s your budget? These details would also be helpful for your HofVan real estate agent, so we can prepare their own list of houses that would fit your criteria. Contact us today to get the process started. 

Review the property listings before the tour

Think of it as reviewing for a major exam – you have to be prepared! It helps to know all the nooks and crannies beforehand so that you can check up on them on the actual virtual house tour. At HofVan, our listings can include photos, videos, and even floor plans of the space for you to study. Feel free to take a look around!

Prepare for the virtual tour

So you’ve made your list, checked it twice, and even did a pre-tour before your real tour. Now, you prep for your call. We’ve all had hundreds by now, but it never hurts to take at least 30 minutes before your schedule to manage potential technical interruptions. Make sure to be in a quiet space where you can easily hear each other, or set up your headset, to make sure that you’re not disturbing anyone. Then, check your internet connection if it’s stable and fast. It won’t hurt to restart the router to ensure the best possible connection.

Take notes and ask questions

Now that you’re on the tour, make sure you give the agent your full attention. Writing things down not only can help you remember them better, but it can also help you focus on the task at hand and not the million other things that might be happening in your house. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, too. This is your potential new home, after all. Every detail is important! Imagine you were there in person, what kind of details are you missing out on due to being behind a screen? I know that I always check the shower pressure whenever I view a new home, you’re more than welcome to ask the real estate agent to do the same! 

Take your time

As well-prepared as you are, it will help to take multiple tours of the space, especially if you’re having a hard time deciding. Seeing things the second or third time around gives you more perspective, and you might discover parts you might have missed. Take as much time as you can, and be patient with yourself and your agent. If you rush into decisions, you might end up regretting your choices in the long run.

Chatting with the Owner of Burnaby Modo Yoga

modo yoga burnaby

Operating for almost a decade, Modo Yoga in Burnaby Willingdon Heights is a community favourite, especially during these stressful times. This location is part of an international chain of yoga studios that has locations all across Canada, the US, and even in Paris, France! Although each location remains unique and dedicated to its local community, they are all guided by the same six pillars or principles: Be healthy. Be accessible. Be green. Be community. Be peace. And live to learn.

Modo Yoga Burnaby operates in much the same way. The people that visit come here for its welcoming, warm, and inviting environment for yoga enthusiasts, experts and beginners alike. Thanks to the talented and highly trained teachers, the yoga classes at Burnaby Modo Yoga are well paced and easily accessible. This makes it easy to start your yoga journey and see results! With any location, it’s the people that make the experience. Here, both the teachers and the staff guarantee a positive experience that will relax and nourish the mind, body, and soul. They truly care about the community they work in.

We reached out to co-owner and teacher, Julia Cowan, to tell us a little bit more about Modo Yoga and why she loves the neighbourhood. It’s clear from what she tells us that Burnaby Modo Yoga is so much more than just a yoga studio: it’s your home away from home. 

Can you tell us a little bit about Modo Yoga?

We have been in The Heights since 2011! That means we’re now in our 10th year of offering hot yoga, fitness classes, and community to people from Burnaby and the surrounding areas. A great part of our location is that we’re easily accessible on Hastings and Beta by car, transit, foot, or bike. We have been named Best Yoga Studio every year since 2012 which is probably why people call us their home away from home.

Right now, we’re facing the hardest moment of our time as a studio community because we were closed for several months due to COVID. Currently, we have to operate at less than 50% capacity to ensure we maintain the very important physical distancing.

What is your favourite thing about Burnaby Willingdon Heights? 

Burnaby Heights is such a wonderful, established community with many generations of families living and working here.

We’ve watched the community change since we first opened our doors back in 2011. There’s a strong tight-knit feel here, and many buildings have been updated by local contractors who care about their neighbourhood. In addition to that, there are parks and amenities all within walking distance. The Heights is also so close to downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver. It’s just 20 minutes from our door to the mountains, snowboards on!

However, we couldn’t just nail it to one favourite thing about our neighbourhood. We love it here because of the: 

  • local independent businesses 
  • tight-knit family community
  • amenities like parks, swimming pool (Eileen Daily), library, and grocery stores that are all easily accessible
  • a nice mix of residential and commercial buildings that make it convenient to work and live
  • Hat’s Off Day, a yearly street festival bringing everyone out to socialize!

Our favourite thing to do in The Heights is to take a yoga class and then head out to one of the amazing local restaurants. If you’re looking for some good eats, our favourites are Chez Christophe, Take Sushi, and Kamamarui.

What little known secrets can you tell us about living or doing business in this area? 


People in The Heights are so loyal to the businesses they love and local merchants are friendly and truly care about the community. 

Finally, if you could sum this neighbourhood and community up in 5 words, what would they be?  

Diverse
, Vibrant
, Accessible, 
Loyal, and 
Warm

Thank you Julia for giving us such a wonderful picture of Burnaby Willingdon Heights. Modo Yoga Burnaby is currently open for both in-person and virtual yoga classes. Build your body-mind connection in your favourite studio or from the comfort of your home! Visit their website for pricing and to book classes online. We know you’ll love it.

Do you have an interesting story to tell about your neighbourhood? Let us know!

Living in Burnaby and Memories of Greece: With Socrates in the Heights

Socrates in the Heights interview

In this local business feature, we were really lucky to have spoken to the owner of one of the most lauded restaurants in Burnaby Heights: Socrates in the Heights. Alex Zoubos, owner and experienced chef, tells us his story and that of his restaurant, while also giving us an insight into life in this great part of North Burnaby. 

If you haven’t been to Socrates just yet, be sure to head over for dinner. You might just find a free table for their Valentines Special evening! On February 13th and 14th, Alex and Socrates will be serving up a special three-course menu including a delightful kalamata olive tapenade, thalassinomakaronada (which is a staple Greek seafood pasta), and chocolate and greek yoghurt cheesecake – book us in please Alex! 

You’ll find Socrates at 4651 E Hastings St, head to their website or instagram page for more information.

Let’s get into it!

The Story of Socrates in the Heights

I was really interested to hear about how Alex came to start his business in Burnaby, what followed was a bit of a trip down memory lane and my own fond memories of Greece. “As a child, I vividly remember spending time in the Tavernas on my visits to Greece. There is something really special and really different about Greek food, I remember eating the best grilled meat of my life over there.” 

Greek cuisine is well known for the incredible flavours and colourful plates Alex told us. “Fresh flavours really bring Greek food to life. Just the simple addition of fresh lemon juice to grilled meat made me think wow, yes, this is how meat is supposed to taste.” We certainly couldn’t argue with that! 

Alex told us about so many other parts of the cuisine that are unique to Greece, such as a range of fruit beverages. “There are these really great Lemonda and Portokalada (lemonade and orangeade) that are unique to Greece, kids absolutely love them!” 

All in all, it is the combination of fresh produce and flavours, meat that comes straight from the butcher and on to the grill, and the methods of which these are combined that Alex appreciates most about Greek food. 

The student becomes the master

Alex spent a lot of his career working alongside his father in the kitchen of his restaurant for 23 years. After their really successful time together and having felt strongly that he wanted to recreate the memories of Greece, Alex set out to forge a path on his own. 

“I wanted to be different from the other Greek places in and around Vancouver. I felt strongly that there were standards that needed to be elevated in Vancouver and I wanted to try to bring the quality of Greece here to share with our neighbours. I’d been learning from my father for 23 years, who had been cooking traditional Greek food for 25 years before that! It was time for me to start something on my own.” 

The stories of Socrates’ success 

Alex has a passion for sharing what he loves with locals and tourists alike. It is a testament to the quality of their food and service that they have managed well during these really difficult times. “I just love to see and hear people enjoying themselves, the most important thing for me is that people are enjoying what they are eating and they see it as really good value.” 

The modest prices position Socrates in favour of most budgets, Alex and his team can also offer larger scale catering to weddings and functions (when it is safe to do them again of course!). Locals often describe the value for money as a real winning factor to Socrates. Added to this are consistently fresh food, great portions, and a wholesome, family atmosphere that have really put Socrates on the map.

When asked about the amazing reviews that keep on rolling in, Alex commented “I’m really overjoyed with all of the great feedback we’ve been getting so far, it is really humbling. At the end of the day, this feedback is the only thing we care about, it lets us know that people are happy and appreciating the things that we are doing.”

“It encourages you to keep pushing the standards. We want to be known for Burnaby’s freshest Greek food.”

The community of Burnaby Heights

We love Burnaby Heights, it really is one of the great neighbourhoods in Vancouver. Not only is it really diverse and home to amazing restaurants such as Socrates, but it has a real community feel which can be lacking in other areas of Vancouver. 

We asked Alex what his favourite things about the neighbourhood are. “I’ve actually only been in this neighbourhood for two years, so I’m still quite new here, but it has been a really great two years. I’ve found it to be a really friendly neighbourhood, you know it is busy, but it feels almost like a city of people within a city. There is such a vibrancy, people around are really friendly and all of the local businesses support each other.”

“In five words? Friendly, supportive, lively, diverse, bright.”

We want to thank Alex for his time and opening up his world to us during his busy schedule. Just can’t wait to head down there soon and tuck into the Souvlaki! 

We love sharing stories of our communities. If you’d like to share one with us reach out to us! For more information on Burnaby and support working through the real estate market, contact us today.

Until next time!

5 Best Things To Do In Burnaby Willingdon Heights

5 best things to do in Burnaby Heights

A Day in Burnaby-Willingdon Heights

There’s more to the Lower Mainland than Vancouver, after all! If you’re ready for a break from the city bustle, retreat to the Heights…Burnaby-Willingdon Heights that is. With prime outdoor, retail, and restaurant destinations, you won’t regret your visit. In fact, you might decide you want to stay!

Throw a frisbee in Confederation Park

Confederation Park is a great place to start your day, with fantastic views of the North Shore and the downtown Vancouver skyline. The fields here are always alive with activity, including soccer games and family picnics. Check out the miniature train, too!

Shop The Heights

Ready for a little retail therapy? With over 350 shops, services, and restaurants, the Heights shopping district truly has something for everyone. Don’t miss everyone’s favourite neon sign, the Swinging Girl!

Grab lunch

Getting hungry? It’s probably time for lunch. Visit one of our top recommendations for restaurants in Burnaby-Willingdon Heights. Don’t fill up too much, though—your day’s not over yet!

Head up the mountain

Go east until you hit Simon Fraser University at the top of Burnaby Mountain. This stunning example of Arthur Erickson’s brutalist architecture might look familiar as the backdrop for many sci-fi TV shows (Battlestar Galactica, for one), but it’s a concrete marvel in its own right. BC is known for its natural beauty, but this campus is a tribute to the wonders of manmade elegance.

Catch the sunset at the Playground of the Gods

Leave SFU, and you’ll find yourself in Burnaby Mountain Park. From here, make your way to the Playground of the Gods, an art installation by Ainu woodcarver Toko Nuburi. That’s right—while this large wooden sculpture may resemble First Nations totem poles, they’re actually an example of indigenous art from Japan. If you time it right, the sunset viewed from here is spectacular.

Home Trends and Living in Burnaby: With Dekora Home Staging

Home staging with Dekora

Ron Sowden, long time home staging professional, sheds light on what challenges the industry has faced, how our behaviours are changing and shaping the way that we find comfort at home, as well as a great perspective on what it is like to live and do business in the Vancouver/ Burnaby Heights neighbourhood. 

We are so lucky to have been given a really unique perspective by Ron, learning about his business Dekora and taking a look through the inspiring work they have put up throughout 2020. We love working with Ron as he stages our beautiful listings. It is especially insightful to learn from somebody who sees the winds of change and adapts their business approach to it, particularly when sometimes we are riding these winds ourselves and not necessarily looking around to notice how far we have come and why. 

We asked Ron a series of questions about Dekora, home staging, industry trends and life in Burnaby, so let’s get right to it! 

Meet Ron Sowden.

Ron has been in the home staging world since it started in Canada, around 18 years now. His business Dekora Home Staging and Interior Design is right on the edges of the Burnaby/ Vancouver heights neighbourhoods at Bridgeway and Skeena Street. 

“Having worked here for decades, this North Burnaby neighbourhood has become somewhat of a second home for me,” Ron tells us.  

Dekora Home Staging and Interior Design.

Dekora has been in business since 2003 and is now one of the leading home staging businesses in Western Canada. 

“We introduced home staging to the Metro Vancouver market, our success led to the opening of a second branch in Calgary in 2008,” Ron notes. Today, Dekora’s main business remains home staging, but having developed strong eyes for detail and an understanding of what styles people gravitate towards, Dekora now offers interior design and furniture/ decor sales to both consumers (homeowners) and businesses (builders/ developers). 

“As well as private homeowners, we work extensively with home builders and developers furnishing show homes, display suites and custom spec homes.” One such project, described in Dekora’s blog “A Year in Review: Looking Back at 2020,” involved staging the Heritage on West 16th Avenue transformation project. Dekora were a pivotal part of the process in which three heritage homes were transformed into 12 new townhomes and infill coach house units. This required a unique balance between historic architecture and contemporary tastes and needs, a balance that Dekora struck perfectly as seen in the image below. For the full article, click here

We asked Ron which were his favourite projects over the recent years. “Favorite projects? Well, they number in the thousands! Recent local ones to point out could be the presentation centre and show suites for Belford Properties Sun Towers at Metrotown, and the charming Smith + Norfolk townhomes in Burnaby.”  

The impact of COVID on homeowner needs and tastes.

Dramatic effects were felt across multiple industries, for Ron and Dekora, they saw behavioural patterns emerge as a direct result of changing needs which puts them in a unique position.

“Since COVID landed on us all, there was an initial drastic slowdown, but that was followed by a lot of activity in home sales, driven by changing needs of people now working from home and seeing opportunities to initiate change to their lifestyles and living accommodation,” Ron tells us. 

“We witnessed first hand the movement of populations from core-area condos to larger homes or townhomes away from downtown – like Burnaby for instance.” 

Where does home staging fit in the real estate industry?

With so many people now working remotely, Dekora are staging home offices and work spaces at every opportunity to show home buyers the live/work potential, particularly in condos.  

Statistics have for many years demonstrated that well-staged and presented homes sell faster and for more money, than non-staged homes. We work directly with Dekora as they showcase our beautiful listings – and with great results. Builders and developers also recognize the value and upside potential of an investment in staging. 

Ron argues the return on investment can be compelling, and it is easy to see why when looking through their portfolio.

“Our tagline is “Love at first sight,” and that is exactly what we aim to achieve for potential buyers.  We really focus on envisioning the target buyer for each home we stage, and styling an environment to appeal to them – and ideally a home that they can fall in love with.” 

Ron continued to tell us there is a nice range and variety of homes in the Heights – from lowrise to highrise condos, townhomes, beautiful heritage homes and lots of great new homes.  Something for everyone, which contributes to the rich, diverse community known across this area, and Burnaby as a whole.  

New trends in the ways in which we design our home spaces.

The months of COVID have impacted all of our lives, Ron notes that many more people are focussing more on their homes now, considering that they spend so much more time at home, and have had to integrate things like work, fitness, recreation into the home. 

More space has been at the top of many wish lists, and that has driven a lot of activity in the Burnaby real estate market.  Ron has also seen a really interesting increase in our focus and investment in comfort and style.

“When we spend so much more of our time at home, we value it more.”

Why is Burnaby such a great place to live and work?

Ron begins to circle back to comments made at the beginning. 

“There is a diverse variety of housing options, and that makes for an interesting, vibrant community.” 

“The Heights area exemplifies that diversity and Hastings Street is one the lower mainland’s great “high streets” with its wonderful mix of businesses, shops and restaurants.” 

Ron has seen a lot of change over the years with so much new development, but notes that the area has evolved along with the growth and continues to be vibrant and desirable. “In fact, Burnaby Heights was exactly the place that my close family friends  – a young newlywed couple – most wanted to make their home, and they just recently bought a charming older house across from Burnaby Heights Park on Trinity Street! A perfect example!” 

We’d like to thank Ron for introducing us to Dekora Home Staging, and shedding light on his perspective of human behaviour change and the charm of Burnaby. Be sure to check out Dekora’s website for inspiring images, or to learn more about their services. 

If you’ve been inspired to learn more about Burnaby real estate, the unique neighbourhoods in Burnaby, or the diverse community, reach out to us, we would gladly help you out. 

If you have a story you’d like to share about living or doing business in Burnaby, reach out to us!

Things To Do With Your Kids in Renfrew Collingwood

Kids in a park in Renfrew Collingwood

When you’ve been home with the kids for a while, you might find yourself running out of activities to keep them engaged and off their devices! Why not take advantage of some of the coolest local attractions in East Vancouver where your kids can find plenty of things to do and explore!

The Vancouver suburb of Renfrew-Collingwood is a large neighbourhood surrounded by nature. What used to be home to various kinds of wildlife —ducks, geese, cougars, beavers, bears—  is now a residential location for one of the most diverse communities in Vancouver.  But it’s also incredibly family-friendly, too: almost half of the population comprises families, 62% of whom have kids at home. That means that there’s plenty of stuff for you and your children to do right in your own backyard!

Thinking of taking the kids out to explore? We have some tips for you:

Walk on the wild side in Renfrew Ravine Park

Renfrew Ravine is the only park in Vancouver with a creek in a natural ravine. At six hectares (which is about 7-8 blocks), you can easily forget you’re in the middle of a residential area. Outside the city, sounds eventually fade away as you get closer to the creek, but be careful – the ravine can be steep! However, for a moment of peace and quiet among the trees, the long walk might just be well worth it.

Take a class at the Renfrew Park Community Centre

You can find the community centre at the south end of Renfrew Ravine Park. Founded in 1963 to offer a variety of programs and services for all ages, it is home to a fitness centre, an indoor swimming pool, sauna and whirlpool, and a game area, among other activities. Enroll your kids in arts and music classes or take advantage of the facilities to get some workouts in. There’s undoubtedly something for everyone in your family.

Let your dog roam free at Falaise Park

Falaise Park is an off-leash dog park just 20 minutes away from the community centre. Your family pet will definitely enjoy running around this massive grassy field, offering unobstructed views of the North Shore Mountains, Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain. At the bottom of the park is a wetlands habitat garden that you can explore, too. Further down the hill are two baseball diamonds, but make sure your dog is leashed at this point – you wouldn’t want anyone accidentally joining the team! 

Grab your skates and head to Trout Lake

Trout Lake Rink is located at the Trout Lake Community Centre, which is around a 12-minute drive from Falaise Park. It is open from September to March for public skating programs and skate lessons for all ages and abilities. The rink opened in 2009 just in time for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where it was used as a training space for 150 figure skaters from 35 countries. Who knows, maybe the ice will inspire your kid to be the next great winter Olympian! 

Experience the best of the neighbourhood at Collingwood Days

The Collingwood Days Festival, typically held in the spring, is an annual community event celebrating the diversity, history, and natural beauty of Renfrew-Collingwood. It highlights the contributions of various groups and members of the neighbourhood through music, dancing, and exhibits. It’s a great time to learn more about the community and meet your neighbours, too.

Five Day Trip Ideas Close To Burnaby

day trip ideas from Burnaby

Vacations are essential. They help us take time out of our busy lives, recharge our energy, and avoid burnout. But some of us have less free time than most, so we make do with short trips where we can escape just for a day or two. Burnaby is a fantastic location for day-trippers, as it is close to many sites that literally provide a breath of fresh air. 

Here are some tip top day trip destinations within an hour of Burnaby:

Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area

Burnaby Mountain is a low, forested elevation overlooking the upper arms of Burrard Inlet. Visitors can bask in the vastness of nature in this massive 576-hectare park.  You can hike or bike along the 28 trails, or just lay in the grass for a lazy holiday picnic with friends and family. Don’t forget your camera – the park offers breathtaking city, mountain, and water views, especially during the sunset. 

Deep Cove 

For those who want an escape from the fast-paced hustle and bustle of Vancouver, Deep Cove may just be the perfect destination. Around half an hour away from Burnaby, Deep Cove is a quaint, seaside town that offers good food, fun local events, and a variety of water activities. Come here during the summer for kayaking, paddle boarding, or swimming on the beach. Once you’re done with the water, you can come indoors to take in the boutiques and local art scene. A perfect combination of rural idyll and spectacular outdoor locations, Deep Cove is definitely a world away from the city. 

Centennial Beach

Located within Boundary Bay Regional Park in Delta, BC, Centennial Beach is a popular summer destination because of its warm, shallow waters. Expect large crowds to gather at Centennial, walking on the sand, exploring for shells, or just taking in some outdoor exercise. Avid bird watchers should come around the spring or fall, as Boundary Bay, located right between Siberia and South America, is part of the Pacific Flyway

Cypress Mountain 

A local favourite ski resort located 30 minutes north of downtown Vancouver, Cypress Mountain is a great winter vacation spot for avid and newbie skiers alike. And for those who are not that interested in skiing, you can join other activities like snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing. Cypress has been around since the 70s and has been part of significant historical moments, including the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. It hosted all of the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events.

 Golden Ears Provincial Park

Around an hour-long drive from Burnaby, Golden Ears is one of the largest parks in British Columbia, measuring over 62,000 hectares. Those who love the great outdoors can choose from its three campgrounds to settle in: Alouette, Gold Creek, and North Beach. Once you’ve set up camp, there are so many other activities you can choose to do, such as swimming, freshwater fishing, cycling, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, and waterskiing, to name just a few. It’s a great place to enjoy nature and beyond – some say the open beach is a great place to watch meteor showers in early August!

Where to go to Brunch in Burnaby

Brunch in Burnaby

Burnaby is BC’s third-largest city, so it’s no surprise that it boasts of a massive and diverse community and is influenced by different cultures. You can easily see the influences in the wide variety of restaurants in the area, where something as specific as brunch can refer to a range of different dishes.

From the usual diner fare with a hot twist to a Eurasian spin on breakfast and more – here are our picks of great brunch places in Burnaby. 

The Gray Olive Cafeteria

Nothing compares to your mom’s home cooking. The three brothers behind Gray Olive on Hastings developed their menu with this nostalgia in mind, serving meals that reference their childhood but with a twist. Their take on chicken and waffles, for example, comes with a side of spicy Korean ketchup for a bit more bite. Heat is a constant in their menu, with items like red pepper relish and chimichurri often sprinkled in various dishes. The only downside is that G.O. has a small space that fills up quickly, so it’s best to come early or make a reservation.

Fraser Park Restaurant

With its modest exteriors and simple décor, it can be pretty easy to overlook Fraser Park Restaurant based on aesthetics alone. But that would be a mistake because their hearty all-day breakfast menu has been pleasing locals for nearly two decades. Serving a mix of German and Filipino-style breakfast dishes in huge portions, the resto will definitely satisfy many a hungry diner. House recommendations include the German Breakfast (with meats cured in-house), Schnitzel Burger, and homemade soups. 

Hart House Restaurant

Hart House, located at a three-acre estate on Deer Lake Avenue, is a breathtaking property with Tudor Revival architecture and a stunning lakeside view. With Executive Chef Mike Genest at the helm, the menu offers local, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine featuring seafood and local produce. For three decades, the combination of the relaxing ambience and delicious fare has attracted many visitors to take the long drive downtown and spend quality time with their loved ones. If you’re looking for an elevated weekend brunch experience, Hart House is for you.

Ambit Café 

Only about a year old, Ambit Café is a trendy spot that caters to a younger clientele. With a menu filled with sandwiches, wraps, and salad bowls, Ambit is perfect for the busy commuter who doesn’t have time to craft their own healthy meal. But for those who want to stay, their small, functional space aims to be a place to lounge with friends and maybe even meet new ones. Over the summer, they held a live painting night where interested guests can come in to showcase their inner artist, all while sipping a good cup of coffee.  

Cozmos Cafe + Bistro

Cozmos, a Burnaby mainstay for almost 20 years, serves a mix of popular breakfast items and Greek dishes.  Their many regulars, which come in often and treat the staff like family, rave about the great customer service and, of course, the delicious food. Cozmos wants to make everyone feel at home – they say even if you’re not hungry, you’re welcome too! They serve a wide variety of wine, cocktails, beers, and other drinks that can help take the edge off after a long day.  

We love hearing your feedback! If you have a list of great places to go or you know of a business owner who has a fascinating story to share, we’d love to hear your suggestions.

5 Reasons to Invest in Burnaby Real Estate

Why invest in burnaby real estate

If you are looking for a great place to live, learn, work, and play, set your sights on Burnaby. 

As the third-largest city in British Columbia, Burnaby has developed into a thriving urban centre. The once-rural town evolved into a diverse, multicultural hub with a large chunk of its population originating from Africa, China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.

Its cultural, economic, and social diversity is a significant reason why people flock to buy real estate in the city. Burnaby is the perfect place for people of all genders, ages, occupations, and interests. Whether you’re single, starting a family, or an empty-nester, investing in Burnaby real estate would be an excellent move.

Hailed as the “Best Run City” by Maclean’s Magazine in 2009, Burnaby remains a fantastic place to live in. If you are looking to invest in real estate property, you may seriously consider this sustainable and vibrant community.

Here are other reasons why:  

Robust Economy and Quality of Life 

Burnaby is a great place to live in because of its low crime rate, outstanding health care system, and good quality of life.

While Information Technology (IT) is its primary economic driver, commercial firms, industrial corporations, and oil refineries also contribute to the local economy. Film production studios have also set up shop in the city.

The cost of living in Burnaby is also relatively low compared to Vancouver. 

Excellent Educational System

Burnaby also presents fantastic learning opportunities. It has 41 elementary and eight secondary schools that offer a comprehensive educational program from kindergarten to Grade 12. These programs include both English and French immersion and over 200 locally and provincially developed educational programs and services.

Burnaby is also home to two major post-secondary educational institutions — Simon Fraser University (SFU) and The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). A lot of international students also come over to pursue academic and experiential courses in Burnaby.

Amazing Commuting Networks 

Getting around Burnaby is comfortable with its remarkable commuting networks and transportation services. Its commitment to public transportation innovation was recognized by being a recipient of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Project Award in 2011.

Located in the geographical centre of Greater Vancouver, it only takes 25 minutes to drive into downtown Vancouver. Skytrain stations are strategically spread across the city to make it easier for residents and guests to commute within Burnaby or cross to Coquitlam, downtown Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond, or Surrey.

Numerous Shopping and Recreational Facilities 

Investing in Burnaby real estate property is made even more appealing with all retail and recreational facilities around. Its multicultural demography makes it a perfect place for experiencing global cuisine, as evidenced by various cafes and restaurants in the city.

Shoppers will undoubtedly revel in Burnaby’s shopping malls, including British Columbia’s largest mall (and Canada’s second-largest) – the Metropolis at Metrotown. Art, cultural, and sports centres are also scattered around the area, such as the Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby Village Museum, Kensington Complex, National Nikkei Cultural Centre, and Shadbolt Centre, to name a few.

Those aged 55 and above can also take advantage of the four senior centres in Burnaby.

Loads of Greenspace and Parks 

With 25% of the land designated as parks and open spaces, Burnaby is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Outdoor activities abound, such as boating, biking, golf, and other health and fitness activities. Picnics and concerts in the park can also be enjoyed, especially during summer.

Popular outdoor areas are Deer Park Lake, Burnaby’s Farmer’s Market, Burnaby Mountain Golf Course, Metro Skate Park, and Swanguard Stadium. For young families, Burnaby offers the best of both worlds, with outdoor activities and world-class metropolitan amenities in abundance. 

Reach out to us at HofVan real estate group to learn more about Burnaby! 

Vancouver Real Estate December 2020: Low Inventory

Vancouver Real Estate December 2020: Low Inventory

Vancouver Real Estate for December 2020 was 2.8 per cent below the region’s 10-year sales average. Of course, with the rise of the pandemic, many markets and economic changes took place.

“When the pandemic began in March, the housing market came to a near standstill. We knew, however, that shelter needs don’t go away in times of crisis, they intensify. The real estate community worked closely with our regulatory bodies and public health officials in the spring to ensure appropriate precautions and protocols were implemented so BC REALTORS® could help residents safely meet their housing needs.”

Colette Gerber, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Chair

In 2020, the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 54,305 home listings. Comparing the 2020 home listings total to 2019 and 2018, there is an increase from both years. A 4.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent increase, respectively. 2019 had a total of 51,918 homes listed. 2018 there were 53,614 listings.

When comparing last year’s total listings to the to region’s decade-long average, the numbers show a 2.7 per cent decline.

Even with the shift in the COVID-19 environment for real estate, both the local home buyer demand and seller supply was able to return to its steady pace for summer, fall, and winter.

“Shifting housing needs and low interest rates were key drivers of this activity in 2020. Looking ahead, the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends in 2021.”

Colette Gerber, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Chair

The year 2020 ends with a total of $1,047,400 for MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver. In comparison to December 2019, it reveals a 5.4 per cent increase. Townhomes saw a similar increase from benchmark prices compared last year; at 4.9 per cent. While apartments saw the smallest increase at 2.6 per cent, detached homes revealed the largest increase in benchmark price at an increase of 10.2 per cent.

December Summary

REBGV reports that regional residential home sales totaled 3,093, depicting a 53.4 per cent increase when compared to sales total in December 2019, which amounted to 2,016. In comparison to November 2020, where the total of homes sold was 3,064, there is an increase of 0.9 per cent.

December continues to be record high

Last month in November, the sales were 57.7 per cent above the decade long December sales average. It also happens to be the highest total for the month on record.

Gerber states that “Robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what’s traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate. This was part of an unusual seasonal pattern the market followed last year, which can be attributed in large part to the pandemic,”

MLS® in Metro Vancouver reported a total of 2,409 detached, attached, and apartment properties newly listed for sale in December 2020. This signifies a 51.7 per cent increase when compared to last year, with 1,588 homes listed in December 2019. When compared to the 4,068 listed homes in November 2020, it shows a 40.8 per cent decrease.

Home Listings

Currently, the total number of homes listed for sale through the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,538. This results in a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to December 2019, with 8,603 homes listed. This also shows a 23.2 per cent decrease compared to November 2020, with 11,118 homes listed.

The sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2020 is 36.2 per cent for all property types. When we look specifically into each property type, the detached homes ratio is 35.2 per cent, 50.4 per cent for townhomes, and 33.1 per cent for apartments.

Typically, analysts agree that a downward pressure on home prices are occurring when the ratio falls below 12 per cent for an elongated time, and upward pressure on home prices can be experienced when it reaches and surpasses 20 per cent consistently over the course of a few months.

Detached Homes

Detached home sales in December 2020 reached 1,026. This illustrates a 71.3 per cent increase from recorded sales of 599 in December 2019. $ 1,554,600 is the benchmark price for detached homes. This shows a 10.2 per cent increase when compared to December 2019. And a one per cent increase when compared to November 2020.

Apartments

In December 2020, apartment sales reached 1,474. This is a 40 per cent increase when compared to the 1,053 sales from last year. Apartment property benchmark price is $676,500. A 2.6 per cent increase is evident from December 2019, and there is no change when compared to November 2020.

Attached Homes

The attached home sales totalled 593 in December 2020. This total is a 62.9 per cent increase in contrast with the 364 sales in December 2019. Attached homes have the benchmark price of $813,900. This represents an increase of 4.9 per cent increase from December 2019 and a 0.1 per cent decrease in comparison with November 2020.

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See REBGV’s December 2020 statistics here.