Commercial real estate sizzling in Greater Vancouver: report

Plus, what’s up with the property transfer tax and into the wilds of B.C. with Google Maps

Commercial success
Unlike the rest of Western Canada where commercial real estate sales have been affected by lower oil prices, in Greater Vancouver commercial property sales increased in the first half of 2015, according to the latest commercial investor report from Remax of Western Canada. In the first half of 2015, sales rose 14 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2014, and the second quarter of 2015 was the busiest in the past five years, with 591 sales. Land is the hottest property, especially for local companies looking at long-term investments. Many smaller developers are buying raw land in the suburbs that they see as safe investments over the long term due to low interest rates. 

Taxing issues
Last winter Premier Christy Clark floated the possibility of lowering or even eliminating the property transfer tax. Now Finance Minister Mike De Jong, who has been considering increasing the tax on high-end properties, says using part of the extra funds could provide incentives to build more rental housing. He made the comments at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver this week following a discussion that touched on whether relief should be focused on first-time home buyers and go toward the purchase of any housing or to increase the supply of new housing. NDP leader John Horgan, who also attended the convention, said a B.C. NDP government would reduce the cost of new housing by providing provincial Crown land to communities instead of selling it to developers. (via Surrey Leader)

Out there
Google Street View is coming to the wilds of Northern B.C.
Google Street View Trekker, a sphere containing multiple cameras and attached to a backpack that can be carried into remote locations only accessible on foot. Google lends it free to tourism boards, nonprofits, universities, research organizations or pretty much anyone who can gain access to and help collect imagery of hard-to-reach places. The Northern B.C. Tourism Association will borrow it from June through August 2016, adding Northern B.C. to the Grand Canyon, the Galapagos and the Pyramids of Giza, also captured via the Trekker. (via Alaska Highway News)