West Coast Housing Market Fundamentals Remain Strong

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					West Coast Housing Market Fundamentals Remain Strong

VICTORIA – The proverbial “sky is falling” does not apply to well-located, sea view housing
projects such as Aquattro on the West Shore and Dockside Green on Victoria’s upper harbour, and
the outlook for these projects remains strong.

While there appears to be a change underway in the Canadian housing cycle with fewer starts and
some prices leveling off, the Victoria market is not about to plunge over the edge, economists and
real estate observers say.

David Wolf, an economist at Merrill Lynch Canada, says the risk of a housing market crash is small.
He adds it would take an “outright bust in commodity prices to create a more serious threat” and
that doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

In fact, the demand for waterfront and sea view housing is expected to remain strong domestically.
Unlike other parts of the country, Southern Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland will perhaps
only see a leveling off in price increases and only a slight lessening in buyer demand.

Peter Daniel, of Woodburn Management and developer of Aquattro, a residential development in a
natural setting in Colwood outside Victoria, is well aware of the cyclical nature of the residential real
estate market.

“Of course we always look at the economy and market conditions before committing to any major
project. But there are some that defy any market condition and stand out for their location, quality
and environmental balance. Aquattro with its fantastic foreshore setting, amazing views and detail to
planning in harmony with nature clearly falls into this category,” he says.

“When you look around the world, you seldom find a development that is in such a natural setting
yet so close to a major urban area as this project,” he adds. “And, in a global sense, this development
provides incredible value for money. We know the International Monetary Fund and other financial
organizations are continuing to single out Southwestern B.C. properties as those with exceptional
value. Simply put, it offers a very unique residential lifestyle that is difficult to match.”

Victoria’s Dockside Green is a community setting new standards of sustainability, lifestyle and
location in an urban setting.

“This development is really unlike anything ever done here before,” says Joe Van Bellehgem of
Windmill West, owner and partner of Dockside Green with Vancity Credit Union. “It is getting
attention from around the world for its ideal waterfront location adjacent to Victoria’s downtown
and record-setting sustainable building practices. It’s rare to find a waterfront community
incorporating beautiful homes, commercial spaces and retail services. It offers a unique lifestyle for
residents to live in an urban oasis.”

Apart from its detailed attention to urban living harmony and sustainability, it is simply a very
attractive place to live in a great city, Van Belleghem says.

Home sales have slowed to a level not seen since the beginning of the decade, but there is no need
for panic says Cameron Muir, BC Real Estate Association Chief Economist.
Higher fuel prices and other inflationary pressures are felt in certain areas as B.C. households become
more cautious about spending money, he says.

However, he points out the Victoria market remains in balance and the longer-term outlook remains
positive.

“While a weak U.S. economy is negatively impacting the forest industry and tourism, the B.C.
economy is forecast to grow 2.5 per cent this year and 2.7 per cent in 2009, a higher rate of growth
than most other provinces. Consumer spending, employment growth and net migration in the
province are expected to remain robust and will continue to underpin housing demand through
2009,” he predicts.

The Urban Futures Institute (UDI), an independent Vancouver-based group that closely monitors
population, economic and housing trends across Canada has noted that the long-term prospects for
B.C., especially Victoria and Greater Vancouver remain very positive.

Institute director Andrew Ramlo also says there is no need to panic. “While there will be a slowing
and even modest downwards trend over possibly the next three years, the long term outlook for the
southwestern B.C. region remains positive.”

Aquattro is located on 50 beachside acres of rolling green space where famed Canadian artist Emily Carr once
painted. It has stunning ocean views of the Olympic Mountains and Victoria. When construction is complete it will
feature a mix of 563 residential units including townhouses, highrise and luxury condominiums. Only 20 minutes from
downtown Victoria, the name Aquattro celebrates the four types of water view - ocean, lagoon, creek and pond - visible
from the development. To maintain the pristine nature of the site developer Peter Daniel is preserving 20-acres – a third
of the site - in perpetuity as natural parkland, which already includes an established bird sanctuary. Three premier golf
courses - Royal Colwood, Bear Mountain and Olympic View - are nearby. The 660-acre Royal Roads University
campus abuts the property and wide hiking trails connect Aquattro to an extraordinary old growth forest. Construction
of the first phase is well underway.

Dockside Green is being hailed as a showpiece of sustainable community design. It is a mixed-use harbourfront
community in the heart of the city located on 15-acres of former industrial land. When complete its 26 buildings will
total 1.3 million square feet and house about 2,500 people in three neighbourhoods – Dockside Wharf, Dockside
Commons and Dockside Village. The community will include residential, live/work, retail, office, light industrial uses
and extensive public amenities such as play areas and cultural centres. Dockside Green has committed to target all
buildings to be LEED platinum, a North American first. Dockside Green’s Residential Phase has already achieved
a platinum rating, the highest possible under the LEED standard.

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Media Contacts:
Sara Holland, Tartan Group
604-880-1494 (cell)
sara@tartangroup.ca

Melinda Jolley, Tartan Group
250.592.3838
Melinda@tartangroup.ca

				
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