Robert Valeriote 604.880.1300

Robert's Blog

Canadian home prices to stay flat through spring market: Royal LePage
Apr 04, 2019

Canada’s housing market will remain slow for the rest of the year, with home prices expected to remain relatively flat through the typically-busy spring market, according to a new report from Royal LePage.

“We are expecting this to be a sluggish year overall in Canada’s residential real estate market, with the hangover from the 2018 market correction and weaker economic growth acting as a drag on home price appreciation, balanced by lower for longer interest rates,” Royal LePage President and CEO Phil Soper said in a survey released Thursday.

The forecast, which sees the national aggregate price of a home rising 1.0 per cent over the next three months, comes on the heels of new data from two of the country’s most closely-watched housing markets. The Toronto Real Estate Board reported flat sales for the month of March on Tuesday, while Vancouver’s real estate board painted a different picture when it reported sales in the region sank 31.4 per cent year-over-year for the month on Monday.  

The market pegged to have the strongest price growth in the second quarter is the nation’s capital, with Royal LePage anticipating 2.8 per cent price appreciation in Ottawa. The report noted that prices in the city rose 7.7 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter, on the back of strong tech and government employment, placing the region’s home prices above Calgary’s for the first time ever.

Despite calls from the Toronto board to revisit some of the government’s mortgage policies – like the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions’ B-20 stress tests – home prices remain high, Soper said. He added that this year’s slowdown will benefit buyers.

“There is a silver lining here,” he said. “This slowdown gives buyers, and first-time buyers in particular, an opportunity to buy real estate in our country’s largest cities.”  

Royal LePage added that the federal government’s recent initiatives to help first-time homebuyers is a “welcome and necessary” development despite concerns from critics that the measures will overstimulate already-expensive markets.

“Without a healthy influx of first-time buyers, the entire cycle of real estate activity can stall,” Soper said. “There is the chance, however, that activity levels in the spring of 2019 will be reduced as some delay purchases, waiting for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive to kick-in.”

Source: Nicole Gibillini: BNN Bloomberg

March Stats
Apr 02, 2019

Prospective home buyers remain on the sidelines in March

Metro Vancouver home sales dipped to the lowest levels seen in March in more than three decades.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,727 in March 2019, a 31.4 per cent decrease from the 2,517 sales recorded in March 2018, and a 16.4 per cent increase from the 1,484 homes sold in February 2019.

Last month’s sales were 46.3 per cent below the 10-year March sales average and was the lowest total for the month since 1986.

“Housing demand today isn’t aligning with our growing economy and low unemployment rates. The market trends we’re seeing are largely policy induced,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “For three years, governments at all levels have imposed new taxes and borrowing requirements on to the housing market.”

“What policymakers are failing to recognize is that demand-side measures don’t eliminate demand, they sideline potential home buyers in the short term. That demand is ultimately satisfied down the line because shelter needs don’t go away. Using public policy to delay local demand in the housing market just feeds disruptive cycles that have been so well-documented in our region.”

There were 4,949 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in March 2019. This represents an 11.2 per cent increase compared to the 4,450 homes listed in March 2018 and a 27.2 per cent increase compared to February 2019 when 3,892 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,774, a 52.4 per cent increase compared to March 2018 (8,380) and a 10.2 per cent increase compared to February 2019 (11,590).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for March 2019 is 13.5 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 9.4 per cent for detached homes, 15.9 per cent for townhomes, and 17.2 per cent for apartments.

Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,011,200. This represents a 7.7 per cent decrease from March 2018, and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to February 2019.

Sales of detached homes in March 2019 reached 529, a 26.7 per cent decrease from the 722 sales in March 2018. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,437,100. This represents a 10.5 per cent decrease from March 2018, and a 0.4 per cent decrease compared to February 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 873 in March 2019, a 35.3 per cent decrease compared to the 1,349 sales in March 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $656,900. This represents a 5.9 per cent decrease from March 2018, and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to February 2019.

Attached home sales in March 2019 totalled 325, a 27.1 per cent decrease compared to the 446 sales in March 2018. The benchmark price of an attached home is $783,600. This represents a six per cent decrease from March 2018, and a 0.7 per cent decrease compared to February 2019.

Download the March 2019 stats package.

Housing statistics yield surprises about non-resident ownereship
Mar 26, 2019

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s latest housing market insight report grabbed headlines last week thanks to the details it provided on non-resident ownership of residential real estate in Metro Vancouver and B.C. as a whole last year.

When it comes to properties owned exclusively by non--resident owners, B.C. isn’t much different from Nova Scotia, at 3.7%. However, the report indicated that Metro Vancouver leads the country when it comes to foreign ownership, with 4.9% of residential properties owned exclusively by non-resident owners. Apartments appear to be the most appealing property type for non-resident owners; in Metro Vancouver, 8.3% are owned by non-residents. The largest concentration in the region is at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where 19.6% of apartments and 16.9% of all residential properties are foreign-owned.

This is consistent with the 2016 census data that indicated 26.6% of units at UBC were not occupied by their usual residents on census day.

But diving into the latest ownership data yields some surprising revelations.

The areas with the highest proportion of foreign-owned residences after UBC include Telegraph Creek (13.5%), Greenwood (11.9%), the West Chilcotin (11.7%) and the tiny community of Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island (9.9%).

Similarly, the issue of foreign-owned condominium apartments (if an issue it is) isn’t limited to UBC or Metro Vancouver. Right up there with the double-digit rate at UBC is the area west of Greenwood to the summit of Anarchist Mountain and Big White ski resort, where 17.9% of condos have non-resident owners.

Foreign landowners

Speculation was a big issue during the public consultation on ways to revitalize the Agricultural Land Commission and the 11.6 million acres it oversees. Concerns over purchases of protected farmland in areas like Richmond for the purpose of raising houses rather than crops tied many knickers in knots.

But data from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program of Statistics Canada indicates that Richmond ranks 25th in the province when it comes to foreign ownership of vacant residential land, at just 7%. Metro Vancouver as a whole posts a rate of 2.5%.

These seem tame compared with Lions Bay, where non-resident ownership of vacant land checks in at 25%. Greenwood follows with 19.3% of vacant land in foreign hands. Central Okanagan is in third place, with 15% of properties owned by non-residents, while Alert Bay and Dease Lake both have 14.3% of their lands owned by non-residents.

Ranks of appeal

The data regarding non-resident ownership can also be read as an indication of which markets are most desirable to outside investors. In this case, Metro Vancouver wins hands down at 4.9%.

The three other metropolitan areas in B.C. on which Statistics Canada reports all have lower rates of non-resident ownership of residential properties. To no one’s surprise, the capital region comes in second with a foreign ownership rate of 3%. Kelowna, the metropolitan hub of B.C.’s Interior, reports a foreign ownership level of 2.7%. 

Source: Peter Mitham: BIV

Canadian housing slump deepens with first drop in decades
Mar 14, 2019

Canadian home values fell last year for the first time in three decades amid falling prices in some of the country's priciest markets, even as debt burdens increased.

The value of residential real estate in Canada dropped $30 billion in the fourth quarter to $5.10 trillion, from $5.13 trillion in the same quarter the previous year, Statistics Canada reported Thursday. The 1.4 per cent decline is the first decrease in country-wide home values in data going back to 1990.

Households meanwhile saw their debt burdens rise at the end of last year, with the debt to disposable income ratio hitting a record 174 per cent in the fourth quarter. The worsening reflects a sharp slowdown in economic growth at the end of last year.

Canadians are also spending a larger proportion of their income on servicing that debt. The debt service ratio -- the proportion of a household's income that goes to paying off principal and interest on debt -- rose to 14.9 per cent in the quarter, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007.

Source: Erik Hertzberg; Bloomberg News

February stats
Mar 04, 2019

Housing market conditions continue to favour home buyers

The Metro Vancouver housing market saw increased supply from home sellers and below average demand from home buyers in February.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,484 in February 2019, a 32.8 per cent decrease from the 2,207 sales recorded in February 2018, and a 34.5 per cent increase from the 1,103 homes sold in January 2019.

Last month’s sales were 42.5 per cent below the 10-year February sales average.

“For much of the past four years, we’ve been in a sellers’ market. Conditions have shifted over the last 12 months to favour buyers, particularly in the detached home market,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “This means that home buyers face less competition today, have more selection to choose from and more time to make their decisions.”

There were 3,892 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in February 2019. This represents a 7.8 per cent decrease compared to the 4,223 homes listed in February 2018 and a 19.7 per cent decrease compared to the 4,848 homes listed in January 2019.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,590, a 48.2 per cent increase compared to February 2018 (7,822) and a 7.2 per cent increase compared to January 2019 (10,808).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for February 2019 is 12.8 per cent.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“Homes priced well for today’s market are attracting interest, however, buyers are choosing to take a wait-and-see approach for the time being,” Moore said. “REALTORS® continue to experience more traffic at open houses. We’ll see if this trend leads to increased sales activity during the spring market.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,016,600. This represents a 6.1 per cent decrease over February 2018, a 6.2 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to January 2019.

Sales of detached homes in February 2019 reached 448, a 27.9 per decrease cent from the 621 detached sales recorded in February 2018. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,443,100. This represents a 9.7 per cent decrease from February 2018, a 7.6 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.7 per cent decrease compared to January 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 759 in February 2019, a 35.9 per cent decrease compared to the 1,185 sales in February 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $660,300. This represents a four per cent decrease from February 2018, a 5.1 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to January 2019.

Attached home sales in February 2019 totalled 277, a 30.9 per cent decrease compared to the 401 sales in February 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $789,300. This represents a 3.3 per cent decrease from February 2018, a 6.7 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to January 2019.

Download the February 2019 stats package.

Looking for a luxury home? It's 'a great time to buy", real estate company says
Feb 26, 2019

If you're looking to upgrade to a luxury house or condo in Metro Vancouver, a Canadian real estate company says it might be a good time to make the move.

A newly released report by Royal LePage forecasts a 7.1-per-cent drop in the median price of a luxury home in the region in 2019. That's a difference of about $410,000.

“Luxury properties in Greater Vancouver are softening in price, but the lower-end luxury market is faring better than the upper-end,” sales representative Brock Smeaton said in the report.

“For buyers considering the city’s most luxurious properties, it is a great time to buy in terms of price and selection.”

 

Between January 2018 and January 2019, the period studied in the report, the median price of a luxury home in Greater Vancouver fell by 1.7 per cent to about $5.75 million, the document said.

According to Royal LePage, the median price of luxury condos in the region also fell, albeit only by 0.6 per cent to about $2.68 million.

“We have a growing number of buyers sitting on the sidelines watching prices, but they are also concerned about the unpredictability of government regulation and whether right now is the best time to buy,” Smeaton said.

The most dramatic change was in the number of luxury properties changing hands. According to the report, luxury home sales declined for a second year in a row, falling 50.5 per cent during a time period student. When it came to condos, that number was 30.2 per cent, LePage said.

Source: CTV Vancouver

First-of-its-kind registry in B.C. targets under-the-radar condo flippers
Feb 25, 2019

VICTORIA -- The British Columbia government says it has launched Canada's first registry aimed at cracking down on pre-sale property flipping and tax evasion in B.C.'s real estate market.

The Ministry of Finance says the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register will improve fairness and transparency in property transactions.

Finance Minister Carol James says in a news release that the register will take "real action to moderate the condo market," and is already starting to see results in Metro Vancouver.

Condo developers will be required to securely gather and report the identity and citizenship of anyone completing a contract assignment in a project.

A contract assignment occurs when a buyer sells, or "flips," their purchase contract of a condo to another buyer, often at a higher price, before construction of the building is complete.

Currently flipping can occur without any oversight and the province says the practice has been a factor in raising real estate prices while facilitating tax evasion when capital gains and other taxes are not applied.

"For too long, speculators and tax evaders have been taking advantage of loopholes in our real estate market, driving up prices and shutting British Columbians out of the market," James says in the news release.

The finance ministry says it's unknown how many pre-sale property flips occur each year because the transactions aren't reported.

Developers are now required to collect and record assignment information and file a report each quarter, with the first due April 30, covering the period from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2019.

"The B.C. government will use this information to ensure that people who assign condos are paying the appropriate income tax, capital gains and property transfer tax," the release says.

The filing fee per assignment is $195, which the government says is a small fraction of the cost of flipping a condo unit.

The register is one part of the New Democrat government's 30-Point Housing Plan to address housing affordability.

Source: The Canadian Press

Policy-induced Housing Slowdown Continues into 2019
Feb 15, 2019

Vancouver, BC – February 15, 2019. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 3,546 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January, a decline of 33.2 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $665,590, a decline of 7.7 per cent from January 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $2.36 billion, a 38.4 per cent decline from the same month last year.

“BC households continue to grapple with the policyinduced affordability shock created last year by the federal government,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The resulting pullback in consumer demand is largely responsible for January’s lacklustre performance.”

Total MLS® residential active listings increased 41.2 per cent to 29,522 units compared to the same month last year. The ratio of sales to active residential listings declined from 25.4 per cent to 12 per cent over the same period.

“Many BC regions are now exhibiting buyer’s market conditions,” added Muir. “However, BC Northern, the Kootenay, Okanagan Mainline and the Vancouver Island markets continue to reflect balance between supply and demand.”

Source: BCREA

Greater Vancouver’s real estate board calls on Ottawa to “tweak” mortgage stress test
Feb 06, 2019

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is calling on Ottawa to revisit the mortgage stress test.

The board’s president Phil Moore questions whether the mortgage stress test introduced last year is still needed.

“It disqualifies people who can afford the payments, yet can’t buy a home that their family needs because of the harshness of the stress test requirements,” Moore said.

He added the board believes in responsible lending but there is a balance and the test has caused more harm than good in Vancouver’s hot housing market.

” It’s actually forcing more buyers in the lower price range, making that price range more competitive.”

Source: Emily Lazatin: Global News

January Stats
Feb 04, 2019

Home listings increase while buyers remain in holding pattern

Home listings continue to increase across all housing categories in the Metro Vancouver housing market while home buyer activity remains below historical averages.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,103 in January 2019, a 39.3 per cent decrease from the 1,818 sales recorded in January 2018, and a 2.9 per cent increase from the 1,072 homes sold in December 2018.

Last month’s sales were 36.3 per cent below the 10-year January sales average and were the lowest January-sales total since 2009.

“REALTORS® are seeing more traffic at open houses compared to recent months, however, buyers are choosing to remain in a holding pattern for the time being,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said.

There were 4,848 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in January 2019. This represents a 27.7 per cent increase compared to the 3,796 homes listed in January 2018 and a 244.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,407 homes listed in December 2018.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 10,808, a 55.6 per cent increase compared to January 2018 (6,947) and a 5.2 per cent increase compared to December 2018 (10,275).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2019 is 10.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 6.8 per cent for detached homes, 11.9 per cent for townhomes, and 13.6 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“Home prices have edged down across all home types in the region over the last seven months,” Moore said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,019,600. This represents a 4.5 per cent decrease over January 2018, and a 7.2 per cent decrease over the past six months.

“Economic fundamentals underpinning our market for home buyers and sellers remain strong. Today’s market conditions are largely the result of the mortgage stress test that the federal government imposed at the beginning of last year,” Moore said. “This measure, coupled with an increase in mortgage rates, took away as much as 25 per cent of purchasing power from many home buyers trying to enter the market.”

Sales of detached homes in January 2019 reached 339, a 30.4 per cent decrease from the 487 detached sales recorded in January 2018. The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,453,400. This represents a 9.1 per cent decrease from January 2018, and an 8.3 per cent decrease over the past six months.

Sales of apartment homes reached 559 in January 2019, a 44.8 per cent decrease compared to the 1,012 sales in January 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $658,600. This represents a 1.7 per cent decrease from January 2018, and a 6.6 per cent decrease over the past six months.

Attached home sales in January 2019 totalled 205, a 35.7 per cent decrease compared to the 319 sales in January 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $800,600. This represents a 0.5 per cent decrease from January 2018, and a 6.2 per cent decrease over the past six months.

Download the January 2019 stats package.

Back to Top