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Home renovations: here's where to get the highest value
Oct 20, 2020

I got the bright idea of expanding my backyard deck this summer. Why not? COVID-19 has made our home the centre of our universe. Besides, the addition is being partially financed by all the money we’re saving by not going out – and it should appreciate in value along with the red-hot housing market.

But when I went to my local lumber yard I was told the pressure-treated two-by-sixes I need for the project are not available for the foreseeable future due to extremely high demand and production shutdowns. Turns out I’m part of a massive wave of homeowners with the same idea; whether it’s building a deck, fencing, a home office, or a home theatre for the coming winter.    

Financing a home renovation as the supply chain resumes is a tough call considering demand keeps driving up the cost of building materials and contractors are charging top dollar. In theory, the extra costs should be recouped through a higher price for the entire home when it is sold. The promise of rock-bottom interest rates for many years ahead also makes it an opportune time to finance any home renovation project through a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Of course, any potential payback from home renovations depends on many things, including the type of renovation. The Appraisal Institute of Canada breaks down returns on renovation investments into three categories:

1. Renovations with the highest return on investment

  • Kitchen and bathroom renovations or updates result in an estimated return of 75 cents to a full dollar for every dollar spent. Much depends on the specific renovation, but adding a kitchen island, for example, returns roughly 65 cents on the dollar.
  • Repainting the interior or exterior of a home in tones with wide-ranging market appeal can also pay off. A tasteful paint job, inside or out, yields 67 cents on the dollar.
  • Energy-efficient projects return 61 cents on the dollar but have the added advantage of generating immediate savings on your energy bill. The best returns come from heating system upgrades such as furnaces, windows and insulation.
  • Returns vary but remain significant from updating décor: lighting and plumbing fixtures, counter tops, replacing worn flooring (vinyl or carpets) or refinishing hardwood floors.
  • Decluttering by removing all excess items to showcase the features of your home can be inexpensive but yield a high return.
  • The breakdown found hot tubs, swimming pools and skylights have the least impact on resale values.

2. Renovations with the highest enjoyment value

  • The enjoyment value of a renovation is hard to measure in normal times. The threat of a prolonged pandemic makes it even more difficult when you factor in the sentimental value of the concept of home as a secure environment. Regardless, the Appraisal institute finds basement finishing, garages, sun rooms, additional decks, fences and landscaping provide the most enjoyment.

3. Renovations that maintain the most worth

  • Technically, maintaining a home is maintaining its worth, but if the worth of the property is rising, maintenance can be seen as an investment. Replacing the roofing, updating the heating/cooling system, replacing windows and doors, updating electrical (panel, wiring, sockets, fixtures), and repairing structural defects top the list of maintenance projects.

The Appraisal Institute advises homeowners to hire trusted professionals with references, and points out paybacks can be higher if you do the simpler jobs yourself. 

They also caution homeowners to consider their neighbourhoods and avoid “over-improvement” when planning a renovation project. Some projects may only be partially recognized by prospective purchasers in certain areas. As an example, a $65,000 basement project will not be fully appreciated in an area where homes generally do not exceed $250,000.  

The Institute says over-improvement can be avoided by hiring a professional appraiser.

Source: Dale Jackson; BNN Bloomberg

September Stats
Oct 02, 2020

Metro Vancouver home sales and listings surge in September

Home sale and new listing activity reached record levels in Metro Vancouver in September.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,643 in September 2020, a 56.2 per cent increase from the 2,333 sales recorded in September 2019, and a 19.6 per cent increase from the 3,047 homes sold in August 2020.

Last month’s sales were 44.8 per cent above the 10-year September sales average and is the highest total on record for the month.

“We've seen robust home sale and listing activity across Metro Vancouver throughout the summer months," Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. "This increased activity can be attributed, in part, to lower interest rates and changing housing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic."

There were 6,402 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in September 2020. This represents a 31.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,866 homes listed in September 2019 and a 10.1 per cent increase compared to August 2020 when 5,813 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 13,096, a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to September 2019 (13,439) and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to August 2020 (12,803).

"While the pace of new MLS® listings entering the market is increasing, the heightened demand from home buyers is keeping overall supply levels down," Gerber said. "This is creating upward pressure on home prices, which have been edging up since the spring."

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2020 is 27.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 28.3 per cent for detached homes, 36.1 per cent for townhomes, and 24.8 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 $1,041,300. This represents a 5.8 per cent increase over September 2019, and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to August 2020.

Sales of detached homes in September 2020 reached 1,317, a 76.8 per cent increase from the 745 detached sales recorded in September 2019. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,507,500. This represents a 7.8 per cent increase from September 2019 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to August 2020.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,596 in September 2020, a 36.9 per cent increase compared to the 1,166 sales in September 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $683,500. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase from September 2019 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to August 2020.

Attached home sales in September 2020 totalled 730, a 73 per cent increase compared to the 422 sales in September 2019. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $809,900. This represents a 5.2 per cent increase from September 2019 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to August 2020.

 

Download the September 2020 stats package

August Stats
Sep 02, 2020

Home sale and listing activity continues to increase in August

Home buyers and sellers remained active across Metro Vancouver in August, with home sale and new listing activity outpacing the region’s historical averages.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,047 in August 2020, a 36.6 per cent increase from the 2,231 sales recorded in August 2019, and a 2.6 per cent decrease from the 3,128 homes sold in July 2020.

Last month’s sales were 19.9 per cent above the 10-year August sales average.

“People who put their home buying and selling plans on hold in the spring have been returning to the market throughout the summer,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “Like everything else in our lives these days, the uncertainty COVID-19 presents makes it challenging to predict what will happen this fall.”

There were 5,813 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2020. This represents a 55.1 per cent increase compared to the 3,747 homes listed in August 2019 and a 2.3 per cent decrease compared to July 2020 when 5,948 homes were listed.

This was 34.8 per cent above the 10-year August new listings average.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,803, a 4.4 per cent decrease compared to August 2019 (13,396) and a six per cent increase compared to July 2020 (12,083).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2020 is 23.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 23.7 per cent for detached homes, 30.5 per cent for townhomes, and 21.6 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.

“Low interest rates and limited overall supply of homes for sale are creating competition in today’s housing market,” Gerber said. “Your local REALTOR® can help you navigate today’s market and ensure that the latest public health requirements are followed at every step of the process. Above all, safety has to remain our top priority during this pandemic.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,038,700. This represents a 5.3 per cent increase over August 2019 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to July 2020.

Sales of detached homes in August 2020 reached 1,095, a 55.1 per cent increase from the 706 detached sales recorded in August 2019. The benchmark price of a detached home is $1,491,300. This represents a 6.6 per cent increase from August 2019 and a one per cent increase compared to July 2020.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,332 in August 2020, a 19.4 per cent increase compared to the 1,116 sales in August 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $685,800. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase from August 2019 and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to July 2020.

Attached home sales in August 2020 totalled 620, a 51.6 per cent increase compared to the 409 sales in August 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $806,400. This represents a 4.4 per cent increase from August 2019 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to July 2020.

Download the August 2020 stats package

Developers hope to reclaim Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
Aug 27, 2020

Real estate agents working the DTES zone say that conditions, already bad, have become remarkably worse since COVID-19 began

  • 52powellstreet-sub

52 Powell Street sold for $8.1 million in April, more than $1.3 million above its assessed value. Photo submitted

In April, when Toronto-based Allied Real Estate Investment Trust bought a 115-year-old office building at 375 Water Street for an estimated $225 million – nearly $100 million above its assessed value – it marked the largest sale in what has become a real estate rush into Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside (DTES).

The sale of the Landing, where the land value is assessed at $111 million, is an indication that, despite its reputation as an open drug market and a no-go neighbourhood rife with crime and poverty, real estate investors are willing to pay prices that rival values anywhere in the city.

Real estate agents working the DTES zone say that conditions, already bad, have become remarkably worse since COVID-19 began. The spread of graffiti, garbage, discarded needles and the homeless “is bleeding” from its Main and Hastings core west towards Burrard Street, east to Strathcona – where a large and apparently permanent tent encampment has set up – and north to the Railtown area on the waterfront.

“Japantown is a gong show,” said Marc Saul, of Corbel Commercial Inc. – which has sold more than $25 million worth of DTES real estate in the past 18 months –in referring to an historic neighbourhood where a large homeless camp at Oppenheimer Park was dismantled by Vancouver Police in May.

But Saul and partner Robert Tham say the DTES is attracting both large real estate developers and altruistic buyers, all aiming to fix Vancouver’s most broken neighbourhood, despite getting little help from the City of Vancouver.

“It is the worse down here now than it has ever been,” Tham said, noting that, since COVID began he often has to bribe itinerants to leave doorsteps when trying to show a listing.

Police, he said, apparently turn a blind eye to drug deals and property crime that would not be tolerated anywhere else.

Tham added that city zoning and red tape stifle new businesses and higher density that could turn the zone around.

In the city’s Downtown Eastside/Oppenheimer Park (DEOD) area, where Japantown once thrived, any new housing development is restricted by height, and requirements that one-fifth of any new apartment building must be social housing.

Saul said the city has turned down applications for new barber shops, boutique retailers and even art galleries in the DEOD as city officials claim they required a change of use that can take nine to 18 months to approve.

“It seems the city is trying to deter new businesses,” Saul said “But store owners keep the street clean in front of their building and bring life and hope to the area.”

An example of the long process to get anything built in the DTES is a mixed-use development now under construction by Westbank Corp. and BC Housing at 34 West Cordova Street near the corner of Abbot Street.

The 10-storey project will include 80 social housing units and 62 market rental apartments behind an historic façade. Approved in 2017 after a year of controversial debate, it will not open until 2022. The rear of the project will include the first new retail in Blood Alley, the focus of a city planning process that started more than 10 years ago.

But a long view of the DTES reveals the bones of a property resurgence: it is framed by waterfront and the downtown and, at Strathcona, on the border of the False Creek Flats, where the Emily Carr University of Art and Design is already built and the $1.9 billion St. Paul’s Hospital is scheduled to start construction this year.

“It is safe here, for capital,” Tham said, though he added that a number of buyers have a philanthropic rather than a financial incentive.

An example is the 26-room Shamrock Hotel, at 635 East Hastings, which Vancouver business executive Angena Kalhar bought in January for $3.5 million, a price nearly half-a-million dollars above its assessed value.

Built in 1912, it has been renovated into single-room-occupancy (SRO) accommodation and is fully rented to local workers and artists who can afford the $700 a month rents.

Kalhar, president of KTL Transport Inc., has donated the Shamrock’s downstairs floor to the Union Gospel Mission to run their services for women and children until the mission’s new premises are built in a year or so. When the mission no longer needs the space, it will continue to serve the local residents, who Kalhar described as among the most vulnerable in the city.

“Purchasing this building is an opportunity for [my family] to give back to the community,” she said.

Recently, Tham said, a retired Japanese-Canadian businessman approached him about buying an old building in Japantown to reclaim part of its history.

Rigid city development rules, however, are a boon to investors in SROs and other commercial property, Tham noted, because there is no new competition.

Real estate values reflect that.

The two-storey Abrams Block in Gastown, said to be one of Vancouver’s first commercial buildings, sold last October for $10.8 million, or nearly $1,000 per square foot. In April, Corbel also sold 52 Powell Street, a 110-year old, 10,284-square-foot office building, for $8.1 million, more than $1.3 million above its BC Assessment value.

Corbel recently listed 41 West Pender Street, a graffiti-scarred building that currently houses an old warehouse on its 6,000-square-foot lot. Rare in the area, it has a development permit in place for a 40,000-square-foot mixed-use building with commercial space and 16 units of market rentals.

At an asking price of $14.2 million, the per-square-foot buildable value is not much different than real estate prices on Vancouver’s upscale west side. Tham said investors are not blind to the future potential if they can improve Vancouver’s oldest and most challenging neighbourhood.

“At the end of the day, our buyers are looking for return.”

Frank O'Brien: BIV

July Stats
Aug 05, 2020

Metro Vancouver housing market sees steady summer activity

Home buyer and seller activity in Metro Vancouver* exceeded historical levels in July.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,128 in July 2020, a 22.3 per cent increase from the 2,557 sales recorded in July 2019, and a 28 per cent increase from the 2,443 homes sold in June 2020.

Last month’s sales were 9.4 per cent above the 10-year July sales average.

“We're seeing the results today of pent up activity, from both home buyers and sellers, that had been accumulating in our market throughout the year,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “Low interest rates and limited overall supply are also increasing competition across our market.”

There were 5,948 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in July 2020. This represents a 28.9 per cent increase compared to the 4,613 homes listed in July 2019 and a 2.8 per cent increase compared to June 2020 when 5,787 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,083, a 15.1 per cent decrease compared to July 2019 (14,240) and a 5.8 per cent increase compared to June 2020 (11,424).

“Safety remains the top priority for our REALTOR® community,” Gerber said. “We continue to limit in-person interactions with clients and employ different technology solutions to ensure home buyers and sellers can get as much information as possible in a virtual setting.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for July 2020 is 25.9 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 25.1 per cent for detached homes, 31.1 per cent for townhomes, and 24.7 per cent for apartments.

Generally, analysts say that 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 $1,031,400. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase over July 2019 and a 0.6 per cent increase compared to June 2020.

Sales of detached homes in July 2020 reached 1,121, a 33.3 per cent increase from the 841 detached sales recorded in July 2019. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,477,800. This represents a five per cent increase from July 2019 and a 0.9 per cent increase compared to June 2020.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,400 in July 2020, a 12.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,243 sales in July 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $682,500. This represents a 4.2 per cent increase from July 2019 and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to June 2020.

Attached home sales in July 2020 totalled 607, a 28.3 per cent increase compared to the 473 sales in July 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $797,700. This represents a 3.7 per cent increase from July 2019 and a 0.9 per cent increase compared to June 2020.

Download the July 2020 stats package

B.C.'s housing market remains uncertain during pandemic; new forecast predicts
Jul 10, 2020

VANCOUVER -- A new forecast says the housing market in British Columbia remains uncertain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central 1 says it expects home sales to recover marginally in 2020 and 2021 after tumbling by 55 per cent between mid-March and April.

Deputy chief economist Brian Yu says despite values plunging to levels not seen since the early 1980s, home prices have stayed firm because fewer properties were available for sale.

For Sale - special promo

 

He predicts median prices could rebound to about $710,000 before slipping to around $540,000 late this year or early in 2021.

Yu says unemployment, business and health concerns will further weaken the market, while population growth, which has traditionally propped up the sector in B.C., will slow to a trickle next year, dampening sales.

He says a second wave of COVID-19 has the potential to shave home prices by 15 per cent as more owners already hit by the pandemic's first wave are forced to sell during a second downturn.

The report released Tuesday notes positive developments as B.C. enters the third phase of its recovery plan including restarts in the accommodation, spa, film and television industries.

Vacancy rates could also climb as high as three per cent over the next year, writes Yu, “providing an opportune time for renters to negotiate rental rates before the market tightens up again.”

Housing starts are forecast to slump 33 per cent in 2020 and remain flat in 2021, which “set the stage for a housing supply shortage in coming years,” the report says.

The timing of a second wave and its impact on the economy would draw out the effect on the housing market, potentially carrying into 2022, it says.

Central 1 Credit Union operates across Canada, partnering with financial, digital banking and payment products and services to support credit unions and their clients.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.

June Stats
Jul 03, 2020

Steady increases in home sale and listing activity continue in June

Home buyers and sellers have gradually become more active in each month of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, home sale and listing activity in Metro Vancouver* returned to more historically typical levels.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,443 in June 2020, a 17.6 per cent increase from the 2,077 sales recorded in June 2019, and a 64.5 per cent increase from the 1,485 homes sold in May 2020.

Last month’s sales were 21.9 per cent below the 10-year June sales average.

“REALTORS® continue to optimize new technology tools and practices to help their clients meet their housing needs in a safe and responsible way,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said “Over the last three months, home buyers and sellers have become more comfortable operating within the physical distancing and other safety protocols in place.”

There were 5,787 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in June 2020. This represents a 21.8 per cent increase compared to the 4,751 homes listed in June 2019 and a 57.1 per cent increase compared to May 2020 when 3,684 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,424, a 23.7 per cent decrease compared to June 2019 (14,968) and a 15.1 per cent increase compared to May 2020 (9,927).

“Much more of the real estate transaction is happening virtually today. Before considering an in-person showing, REALTORS® are helping potential buyers pre-screen homes more thoroughly by taking video tours, reviewing floorplans and an increased number of high-resolution images, as well as often driving through the neighborhood.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2020 is 21.4 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 19.9 per cent for detached homes, 25.2 per cent for townhomes, and 21.3 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.

“Home prices have remained steady with minimal fluctuation over the last few months,” Gerber said. “With increasing demand, REALTORS® have begun seeing multiple offers for homes priced competitively for today’s market.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,025,300. This represents a 3.5 per cent increase over June 2019 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to May 2020.

Sales of detached homes in June 2020 reached 866, a 16.1 per cent increase from the 746 detached sales recorded in June 2019. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,464,200. This represents a 3.6 per cent increase from June 2019 and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to May 2020.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,105 in June 2020, a 17.4 per cent increase compared to the 941 sales in June 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $680,800. This represents a 3.6 per cent increase from June 2019 and a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to May 2020.

Attached home sales in June 2020 totalled 472, a 21 per cent increase compared to the 390 sales in June 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $790,800.

This represents a 2.3 per cent increase from June 2019 and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to May 2020.

Download the June 2020 stats package

 
Home sales rebound from record lows; B.C. sees several "signs of recovery"
Jun 18, 2020

Sales of residential properties in Canada last month climbed from a record low in April, but remained nearly 40 per cent lower than the same month in 2019.

The real-estate sector is in recovery mode, with some bright spots in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The big picture is things are moving in the right direction but still have a long way to go,” Shaun Cathcart, senior economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association, said in a statement Monday.

Sales and new listings declined, then both moved up again. As overall supply is falling, “prices appear to be holding firm at this point,” Cathcart said.

Data released by the association shows the actual number (not seasonally adjusted) of national sales fell by 39.8 per cent from May of last year.

From April to May this year, sales jumped by 56.9 per cent, the association said — noting, however, that April sales were the lowest on record. May sales numbers were at their lowest since the mid-1990s.

The national average price for homes sold last month was $494,500, a drop of 2.6 per cent from the same month the previous year.

The national average price is heavily influenced by sales in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts almost $94,000 from the national average price, trimming it to about $401,000, the association said.

Within B.C. alone, a total of 4,518 residential sales took place in May, down by 45.2 per cent from the same month last year, the B.C. Real Estate Association said Monday.

The number of sales in May was an increase from 3,284 in April. B.C. started to reopen parts of its economy and the real estate sector has adopted new procedures to protect buyers and sellers.

Declining year-over-year sales meant the overall dollar value of homes sold in B.C. slid in May to $3.3 billion, down 43.5 per cent from 2019, the association said.

Some price gains were seen. The average price for a home sold through the Multiple Listing Service in May was $728,898, up 3.2 per cent from the previous year, as most real estate boards in B.C. saw prices rise.

“There were encouraging signs of recovery in May,” said association chief economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While activity is still far below normal, both sales and listings are up significantly from April’s lows.”

New listings began picking up early in May, the association said. Even so, the total number of listings remains 24 per cent below May of 2019.

Year to date, the dollar volume of sales in B.C. was down by six per cent to $18.6 billion, compared with the same months in 2019.

In Greater Victoria, housing prices stand a good chance of remaining fairly stable in the wake of the pandemic, said Douglas Porter, chief economist and managing director at BMO Financial Group.

Victoria and Vancouver experienced small price gains in April after the economic downturn hit in March, Porter said in an online presentation to the capital region branch of the Urban Development Institute.

Benchmark prices for both single-family homes and condominiums in the Victoria core rose in April and May compared with the same months 2019, according to the Victoria Real Estate Board.

Porter does not expect to see significant changes in housing prices nationally. He predicted that even if there is a drop, it would likely not be more than five per cent within Canada and it would be unlikely for that kind of decrease to happen in Victoria.

Prior to the pandemic, Porter figured the biggest risk to the real estate market was overheating.

Now, he said, “The froth has been knocked out of the market and we are probably looking at a better balanced market when the dust settles.”

Porter anticipates Canadians will continue to see low interest rates, which will be reflected in mortgage rates. “We think we are still looking at relatively tight [housing] supply situations in a number of key markets and we are still probably going to see relatively strong population growth.”

There’s not a huge difference among forecasters examining the overall effect of the virus, but Porter said he is on the less-pessimistic end of the spectrum.

“Our official call is for a six per cent decline in the Canadian economy and about a five and half per cent decline in the U.S. economy.”

These figures would represent the lowest numbers seen in the post-war economy, but, Porter predicted, “It is probably going also to be the shortest recession that we’ve ever seen, either.”

The downturn in March and April has been followed by an increase in jobs in Canada, a rise in home sales and improved housing-start figures. “We are actually seeing activity starting to come off the bottom.”

In coming months, Porter anticipates Canada will see more jobs, more gains in spending and a stronger housing market.

Source: Carla Wilson: Times Colonist

Why have Vancouver's housing prices remained stable during the pandemic?
Jun 08, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced activity in Metro Vancouver’s housing market since mid-March, but home prices have remained steady throughout the last 12 months.

Let’s take a closer look at recent home price trends. 

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver today is $1,028,400. This is virtually unchanged from April 2020, a 1.4 per cent increase over the last three months, and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to May 2019.

By property type, the HPI benchmark is $1,456,700 for detached homes (0.3 per cent increase from April 2020), $792,700 for townhomes (a 0.2 per cent increase from April 2020), and $686,500 (a 0.3 per cent decrease from April 2020). 

So why have home prices remained steady over the last year?

Beginning late last year, home buyer activity was increasing and the number of sellers listing their homes for sale wasn’t keeping pace. This was putting upward pressure on home prices.

This trend continued through to mid-March when the province declared a state of emergency and provincial health officials put physical distancing restrictions into place.

 

While these restrictions caused demand for homes to decline significantly in the short term, the number of homes listed for sale also saw similar declines.

 

Supply and demand drive home prices. If the supply of homes for sale declines at a similar rate as the demand, prices will remain stable because home buyers will still need to compete for fewer listings.

For more information on the housing market, check out our Monthly Market Report.

Source: REBGV

May Stats
Jun 02, 2020

Home prices remain steady, buyers and sellers become more comfortable operating in today’s market

 

Metro Vancouver home prices have remained steady since provincial health officials implemented physical distancing requirements in March.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that the MLS® Home Price Index1 composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver today is $1,028,400. This is virtually unchanged from April 2020, a 1.4 per cent increase over the last three months, and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to May 2019.

"Home prices have been stable during the COVID-19 period," Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. "While we’re seeing a variety of long-term projections for the market, it's critical to understand the facts and trends as they emerge."

Residential home sales in the region totalled 1,485 in May 2020, a 43.7 per cent decrease from the 2,638 sales recorded in May 2019 and a 33.9 per cent increase from the 1,109 homes sold in April 2020.

Last month’s sales were 54.4 per cent below the 10-year May sales average.

"Home sale and listing activity is down compared to typical, long-term levels and up compared to the activity we saw in April 2020," Gerber said. "Home buyers and sellers are adapting today, becoming more comfortable operating with the physical distancing requirements that are in place in the market." 

There were 3,684 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in May 2020. This represents a 37.1 per cent decrease compared to the 5,861 homes listed in May 2019 and a 59.3 per cent increase compared to April 2020 when 2,313 homes were listed. 

"Home buyers and sellers are working with their REALTORS® to use new tools to complete different stages of the real estate transaction virtually," Gerber said. “When in-person interactions are necessary, we’re working with our clients to follow the physical distancing requirements set out by WorkSafeBC and the provincial health officer." 

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,927, a 32.4 per cent decrease compared to May 2019 (14,685) and a 5.7 per cent increase compared to April 2020 (9,389).

For all housing types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2020 is 15 per cent. By housing type, the ratio is 13.5 per cent for detached homes, 18.9 per cent for townhomes, and 14.8 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.

Sales and benchmark prices by property type

Sales of detached homes in May 2020 reached 534, a 41.5 per cent decrease from the 913 detached sales recorded in May 2019. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,456,700. This is a 0.3 per cent increase from April 2020, a 2.2 per cent increase over the past three months, and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to May 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 653 in May 2020, a 47.6 per cent decrease compared to the 1,246 sales in May 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $686,500. This is a 0.3 per cent decrease from April 2020, a 0.9 per cent increase over the past three months, and a three per cent increase compared to May 2019.

Attached home sales in May 2020 totalled 298, a 37.8 per cent decrease compared to the 479 sales in May 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $792,700. This is a 0.2 per cent increase from April 2020, a 1.2 per cent increase over the past three months, and a 1.8 per cent increase compared to May 2019.

 

Download the May 2020 stats package

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