Lowering Gov't Bond Yield can lead to lower interest rates - March 2019
What's bad news for some is good news for others, and Canadian mortgage-holders are the unexpected beneficiaries of some of the gloom that's hovering over Canada's economy.
Fixed mortgage rates have been falling precipitously in recent weeks, as the cost of financing those loans has gotten cheaper. Banks and other lenders get the money that they loan out in mortgages by borrowing it themselves on the bond market, and the yields on five-year bonds have been falling since late 2018.
A five-year Government of Canada bond was yielding just 1.45 per cent on Monday. That's the first time the figure has been below 1.5 per cent since the summer of 2017.
Canadian mortgage rates are falling as bond yields slide lower. Yield on 5-year government debt has dipped below 1.5%, lowest since 2017.
Put simply, bond yields are heading lower largely because investors think the prospects for the economy are looking dim, so they expect interest rates to start moving lower
Provided by Tessa Green Mortgages
February 1st, 2019
Victoria real estate market awaits a spring thaw
A total of 421 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this February, 22.8 per cent fewer than the 545 properties sold in February 2018 but a 28 per cent increase from January 2019. Sales of condominiums were down 25.9 per cent from February 2018 with 129 units sold but were up from January 2019 by 16.2 per cent. Sales of single family homes were down 15.8 per cent from February 2018 with 219 sold.
"Buyers and sellers appear to be looking at the current real estate market from different perspectives," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. "Buyers are hoping to see reductions in prices because governments have told the public that policies like the mortgage stress test and the speculation tax will improve affordability. However, the actual result of some of these policies seems to have softened the higher priced end of the market and increased competition for properties at the lower priced end. Conversely, sellers may be holding out to see if prices increase in the spring, and those hoping to up-size may be unable to qualify for the funds needed to move up because of the stress test."
There were 2,131 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of February 2019, an increase of 3.6 per cent compared to the month of January and a 37.9 per cent increase from the 1,545 active listings for sale at the end of February 2018.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in February 2018 was $848,600. The benchmark value for the same home in February 2019 decreased by 0.3 per cent to $845,900, lower than January's value of $847,800. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in February 2018 was $483,700 while the benchmark value for the same condominium in February 2019 increased by 3.9 per cent to $502,800, slightly higher than January's value of $499,700.
"Local REALTORS® continue to be very busy showing listings, so demand is evident in the greater Victoria area," adds President Woolley. "Currently, we still have very low inventory compared to the long-term average with little having come into the market this past month. As the spring thaw comes, there's a good chance more listings will come onto the market which will create more options for prospective buyers. Homes in sought-after areas and those that are lower priced remain in high demand. Now is a good time to connect with your Realtor to discuss your goals and how to navigate the current market."
Jan 1st, 2019
Victoria Real Estate Market responds as expected to the changing market conditions of 2018
A total of 375 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 18.8 per cent fewer than the 462 properties sold in December 2017 and a 24.7 per cent decrease from November 2018. Sales of condominiums were down 24.3 per cent from 2017 in December with 103 units sold. Sales of single family homes were down 26.6 per cent from December 2017 with 174 sold.
A grand total of 7,150 properties sold over the course of 2018, 20 per cent fewer than the 8,994 sold in 2017. 2018 sales came in very close to the ten-year average of 7,351 properties sold. Condominium sales totalled 2,162 in 2018, compared to 2,783 in 2017. Single family home sales were down from 4,069 in 2017 to 3,187 in 2018.
"The story arc in real estate this year has been the impact of government influence on a market which was showing signs of levelling out through the latter part of 2017," says outgoing Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "All levels of government turned their focus to try to make housing more affordable and attainable across the property spectrum. The federal government's change to mortgage lending qualification rules this year meant many consumers lost 20 per cent of their purchasing power, which contributed to slowing down the pace of the market. On a municipal level, we saw many councils activating how they can influence affordable housing by leveraging current land assets, acquiring new land and creating partnerships to bring new affordable units to market - and that's a very exciting thing for our market in the long term. The provincial government has also promised huge investments into new affordable developments. These developments are important to the long-term growth of our community, because the only way to make more affordable housing in our area is to build it."
There were 1,988 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2018, a decrease of 15.2 per cent compared to the month of November but 43.6 per cent more than the 1,384 active listings for sale at the end of December 2017.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2017 was $832,000. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2018 increased by 3.2 per cent to $858,600, lower than November's value of $865,200. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in December 2017 was $464,300, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in December 2018 increased by 8.2 per cent to $502,400, slightly more than November's value of $500,500.
"The market in 2019 will continue to be quieter than in previous years, as buyers and sellers adjust to new market conditions and government policies," adds President Kerr. "Inventory is still quite low when you look at a longer range, which will continue to put pressure on pricing. Our overall economy is predicted to slow slightly, and that will likely mean a slower increase in interest rates but also slower growth. The good news is that savvy buyers will have more time to find their new homes, and that sellers will be under less pressure if they are planning to move within our market. Remember in evolving markets like ours, it's important to enlist the services of a REALTOR® to help you navigate what may be your largest transaction ever."
Nov 1st, 2018
The Victoria real estate market's return to balance not linear, but also not unexpected
A total of 598 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, 9.9 per cent fewer than the 664 properties sold in October of last year, but a 12.2 per cent increase from September 2018. Sales of condominiums were down 15.5 per cent from last year in October with 180 units sold, but up 20.8 per cent when compared to September 2018. Sales of single family homes were down 14.7 per cent from 2017 with 289 sold this October, 1.4 per cent more than the previous month.
"We continue to see the housing market shift into a more balanced state, though the trajectory is not smooth," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "This month had slower sales compared to last year and a slightly lower level of inventory coming into the market, but it also had an increase in sales from last month, which may surprise some people. The moderating changes over last year have been punctuated with some competition and price pressure on lower and mid-priced homes while the upper end of the market has softened slightly. Right now pricing is key across all segments as we transition to a more balanced market."
There were a total of 2,510 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October 2018, an increase of 31.8 per cent compared to October 2017 but 5.1 per cent fewer than the month previous.
"The market is definitely reacting to the changes in mortgage lending requirements," adds President Kerr. "Lending was made tougher to dampen the market and these measures have certainly had an impact on purchasing power. The threat of the looming Speculation and Vacancy tax has also cooled development in our area, which is unfortunate because the only way to create affordable homes in our area is to build them. We hope that moving forward the municipal, provincial and federal governments will work collaboratively to enable more supply at all levels of housing by funding public / private partnerships to support the increase of home stock in our area. We hope that aside from taxation and mortgage rules, governments will work together to ensure a future supply in our area to stabilize prices in the long term."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in October 2017 was $830,100, while the benchmark value for the same home in October 2018 increased by 6.1 per cent to $881,000, slightly lower than September's value of $883,700. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in October 2017 was $457,500, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in October 2018 increased by 9.86 per cent to $502,600, slightly less than September's value of $503,000.
Sept 1st, 2018
Victoria's Real Estate Market Simmers at the End of Summer
A total of 594 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, 19.3 per cent fewer than the 736 properties sold in August of last year, and an 8.8 per cent decrease from July 2018. Sales of condominiums were down 5.3 per cent from last year in August with 195 units sold. Sales of single family homes were down 22.1 per cent from 2017 with 304 sold this August.
"Prices in our market are quite flat right now, with a slow, long-term trend toward a more balanced market," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "Listings have remained relatively static for months after an initial increase last spring. However, this plateau has included more high value inventory and similar to last month, fewer single family homes for sale under $750,000. Thirty per cent fewer homes this year were listed for sale at $750,000 or less than in the year previous, which means there is still pressure on lower priced homes in the Core and other popular areas. We do see a levelling out of prices month-over-month which is one factor helping to slowly return us to a more balanced market."
There were a total of 2,519 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2018, a decrease of 3.4 per cent compared to the month of July but 31.4 per cent more than the 1,917 active listings for sale at the end of August 2017.
"Many demand-side measures were introduced this year - including a stress test on mortgages - which altered many buyers' purchasing power," adds President Kerr. "These new policies are having the desired effect of slowing the market, though it is likely that over time the market will normalize these changed conditions. Our strong local economy and high employment rates may bolster demand into the fall as people return to work after their summer vacations. Fall numbers will be an interesting indicator of our year to come as we continue to track low home inventory in a changing marketplace. For an up-to-the-minute understanding of your local market as fall sales unfold, connect with your local REALTOR®."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August 2017 was $830,800, while the benchmark value for the same home in August 2018 increased by 6.9 per cent to $888,300, slightly lower than July's value of $888,700. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in August 2017 was $453,900, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in August 2018 increased by 10.8 per cent to $503,000, slightly lower than July's value of $507,700.
July 1st, 2018
Victoria Housing Market Still Finding Its Balance
A total of 651 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, 17.6 per cent fewer than the 790 properties sold in July of last year, and an 8.1 per cent decrease from June 2018. Sales of condominiums were down 22.6 per cent from last year in July with 188 units sold. Sales of single family homes were down 16.5 per cent from 2017 with 340 sold this July.
"We are in a different market now than what we have seen for the past two years," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "And while we see inventory creeping up after the drought in 2017, especially in the multi-million-dollar range, across our region there are 30 per cent fewer homes listed for sale under $750,000 than this time last year. This means that if you are shopping in the $750,000-or-less bracket, you are in a fast-moving market with low inventory. For example, of the 176 single family detached properties sold in our Core and Malahat regions during the month of July, only 59 (34%) were listed for $750,000 or less. And of those, 28 (47%) sold at or over list price. This illustrates the high demand for homes at or below this price point, and the pressure that is still pushing that segment of our market. If you are looking for a home priced at $1.5 million or above, there is more selection than last year and those homes are sitting on the market longer. For the first seven months of 2017 there were 481 single family detached properties for sale listed at $1.5 million or above. For the same time period in 2018, there were 664 properties for sale in this range, an increase of 27.6 per cent."
There were a total of 2,607 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2018, an increase of 0.5 per cent compared to the month of June and 35.7 per ce
nt more than the 1,921 active listings for sale at the end of July 2017.
"Each year we tend to see a plateau in inventory over the summer months," adds President Kerr.
"It is possible that we will see more inventory come into the market through the fall when there is often a burst of activity in our market, but it's hard to predict how that inventory might be priced. Ideally, we will see more inventory come in at under the $750,000 level to help push our housing market into more balanced territory across all segments."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in July 2017 was $834,200, while the benchmark value for the same home in July 2018 increased by 5.5 per cent to $880,000, slightly lower than June's value of $889,600. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in July 2017 was $442,100, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in July 2018 increased by 12.1 per cent to $495,700, slightly higher than June's value of $496,500.
Location, location, location: Why our national housing market is a myth
Haider-Moranis Bulletin: For Canadian homebuyers, the only numbers that matter are local
Canada’s housing affordability:
For some, the real estate market is “out of its slump.” For others it is simply “stabilizing.” Others still see “no signs of cooling.”
The varying pronouncements about Canada’s housing markets in mid-July suggest that there isn’t per se a single housing market, but instead a collection of local markets where prices and sale volumes adjust to local variations in housing demand and supply, sometimes in response to institutional interventions.
The latest release of the monthly housing statistics by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) suggests that a “national” Canada-wide lens on housing markets shows a picture that is necessarily not reflective of any local housing market. Whereas the national housing market is the sum of its parts, it’s the parts that matter because consumers do not see or experience the national averages. Housing prices and sales volumes are inherently relevant only at local levels.
Whereas month-over-month comparisons are interesting, given the cyclical nature of housing markets, year-over-year comparisons are more meaningful. Hence, the 4.1 per cent increase in sales volume observed in June 2018 over May might suggest an upswing in national housing markets. Yet, it is obfuscating the larger underlying market dynamic: A comparison with June 2017 reveals a decline of 6.6 per cent in national housing sales.
But the preceding is just a version of the reality as these numbers are seasonally adjusted to present a picture of housing markets after controlling for the ever-present seasonal variations. The raw sales numbers — CREA calls them the “actual activity” — show that the national housing sale volumes were down 12 per cent in June 2018 relative to the same month last year. Housing sales in June were also 6.3 per cent lower than they were in May 2018.
Right there, even at the national level, two contrasting pictures emerge of sales, one suggesting that the sales were up (seasonally adjusted) and the other suggesting sales were down (actual sales) from May to June.
So, here’s the housing version of the glass half full riddle: were the markets up or down in June?
Barb Sukkau, CREA’s president, believes in the seasonally adjusted numbers as she reflected on the impact of stress tests, which increased the mortgage qualification threshold in January 2018, on housing markets. “The increase in June (sales) suggest that its impact may be starting to lift,” Sukkau said. But when it comes to actual housing prices, signs of a recovery are not visible at the national level where the actual average housing price in June 2018 at $496,000 was 1.3 per cent lower than the average price a year ago. And this decline is before the prices are adjusted for inflation. Compared to May 2018, average housing prices barely rose by 0.3 per cent.
Hardly a hot market, at least at the national level.
CREA also publishes a home price index (HPI) that accounts for seasonal changes over time. Also, it accounts for the difference in housing types and sizes that may be active at one point in time but not the other. CREA’s HPI thus presents the change in housing prices of similar or identical housing stock over time. The HPI for June 2018 also presents a conflicting picture where the index was modestly up by 0.9 per cent since June 2017 but down by 0.13 per cent relative to May 2018.
While the recent returns in housing markets are not stellar, a long-term view would suggest that housing markets in Canada have performed well where the HPI has been up 46 per cent since June 2013.
Hiding under the national averages are the peaks and troughs of local housing markets. Urban markets in B.C. report strong gains in prices year-over-year, whereas markets in Saskatchewan and the greater Toronto area report declines. The HPI in greater Vancouver is up by 9.5 per cent over the past year. The strongest gains though came in the Fraser Valley, with an 18.4 per cent increase over the past 12 months. Prices in Vancouver Island followed with a 16.5 per cent increase. Meanwhile, the index was down by 4.8 per cent in Toronto, Canada’s largest housing market. Contrasting the extremes are the restrained markets in Montreal and Ottawa where the HPI has risen by 6.5 and 7.9 per cent respectively.
So, is the glass half full or half empty? It depends.
Housing markets across Canada continuously adjust to local dynamics and nationwide regulatory changes to mortgage finance. While the short-term monthly dynamics might be a bit jittery, the long-term view of housing markets reveals their resilience and suggests the regulatory blues will eventually be shaken off, and the steady upward stride will continue.Murtaza Haider is an associate professor at Ryerson University. Stephen Moranis is a real estate industry veteran.
June 1st, 2018
Price Pressure Continues on Lower-Priced Housing in the Capital Regional District
A total of 755 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this May, 25 per cent fewer than the 1,006 properties sold in May of last year, and a 2.5 per cent decrease from April 2018. The sales of condominiums were down 17.4 per cent from last year in May with 237 units sold. Sales of single family homes were down 23 per cent from 2017 with 406 sold this May.
"It's no surprise that our current market is very different than it was last year," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "Due to recent changes in mortgage qualification rules, many buyers' purchasing power has been reduced. Unfortunately, in our area we have one third fewer single family homes for sale under $750,000 when compared to last year, so we're seeing pressure from increased competition on a smaller number of homes, which is really pushing the under million dollar market. We have a much larger inventory of higher value homes this year. For listings priced at $1.5 million and above, the number of active listings is almost 50% higher than last year at this time. Arguably, many of these properties may be listed due to new and incoming taxes from the provincial government. The Foreign Buyer Property Transfer Tax, the Speculation Tax, and the increased School Tax are putting pressure on those high value home owners. Unfortunately, these taxes are not resulting in what the government said it intends - to increase the availability of affordable housing."
There were a total of 2,394 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of May 2018, an increase of 19.6 per cent compared to the month of April and 26.3 per cent more than the 1,896 active listings for sale at the end of May 2017.
"We're in an interesting time here - we are seeing different levels of price pressure and price relief in micro-climates of our area," adds President Kerr. "You may find more flexibility if you are shopping for a multi-million dollar estate in certain areas. You may be in for a competition if you're shopping for a lower priced home or condominium. If you're thinking of buying or selling, it's a good idea to meet with a local REALTOR® to understand how the current environment will affect you."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in May 2017 was $820,800, while the benchmark value for the same home in May 2018 increased by 7 per cent to $878,100, higher than April's value of $866,700. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in May 2017 was $426,900, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in May 2018 increased by 15.7 per cent to $493,900, slightly lower than April's value of $495,100.
May 1st, 2018
Slower start to spring does not signal lower prices for Victoria real estate market
A total of 774 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this April, 12.5 per cent fewer than the 885 properties sold in April last year, but a 12.5 per cent increase from the month previous. The sales of condominiums were down 21.6 per cent from last year in April with 225 units sold. Single family homes were 8.1 per cent down from the year previous with 420 sold this April.
"We're now into the spring real estate market, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year for buying and selling homes," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "Last year, the months of May and June were the busiest, so we may see this pattern again but on a slightly smaller scale than last year, since our sales for the year thus far are down about 18 per cent when compared to 2017. Although January to March was quite far behind last year's pace, we may see that margin get smaller as we progress through the spring months and people adjust to the new mortgage qualifying rules."
There were a total of 2,002 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of April 2018, an increase of 13.4 per cent compared to the month of March and 18.5 per cent more than the 1,690 active listings for sale at the end of April 2017.
"We continue to see low inventory in our market, and good homes in desirable locations are still seeing multiple bids," adds President Kerr. "One interesting development we are tracking is the increase of prices in a market of fewer sales. Part of the reason for this is that there is strong pressure on lower-priced properties. After the new mortgage rule changes this year, many consumers have seen a reduction in their buying power, so more are competing for lower-priced properties and in multiple offer situations, pricing is pushed up. Our area just doesn't have the supply or mix of homes needed to meet the demand. We are working with government at all levels to identify ways to meet this demand in the CRD."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in April 2017 was $800,100, while the benchmark value for the same home in April 2018 increased by 8.3 per cent to $866,700, higher than March's value of $859,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in April 2017 was $418,200, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in April 2018 increased by 18.4 per cent to $495,100, which is higher than March's value of $490,000.
April 2nd, 2018
Outside Influences Impact Spring Real Estate Market in Victoria
A total of 688 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this March, 25.9 per cent fewer than the 929 properties sold in March last year, but a 26.2 per cent increase from the month previous. The sales of condominiums were down 28.2 per cent from last year in March with 211 units sold. Single family homes were 30.8 per cent down from the year previous, with 337 sold this March.
"As we expected, March sales are tracking lower than in 2017," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. "This is likely due to a number of factors that have created hesitation in consumers, including recent heavy measures by the provincial government to reduce the value of home prices and the federal government's new mortgage qualification rules. Combine these factors with rising interest rates and you've got a housing market that is in transition due to outside influences. Every time there is intervention into a market, it takes a few months for the market to rebalance. With the continual changes of late from different levels of government, our market is experiencing a new cycle of ongoing uncertainty."
There were a total of 1,766 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of March 2018, an increase of 14.3 per cent compared to the month of February and 13.5 per cent more than the 1,556 active listings for sale at the end of March 2017.
"Despite all of the above, we continue to see benchmark price increases across our market and demand persists - partly due to low inventory - but also because of our highly desirable location," adds President Kerr. "Specific areas and price points are experiencing varying pressure on price and demand - which creates micro-markets. We are still seeing multiple offers and above asking price sales in some segments. Active buyers in our market may see some relief as inventory is slowly growing. This showcases why it is important to work with your local REALTOR® in this transitioning market to ensure you have the most up-to-date information to make purchasing and selling decisions."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in March 2017 was $785,600, while the benchmark value for the same home in March 2018 increased by 9.4 per cent to $859,400, higher than February's value of $840,300. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in March 2017 was $409,700, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in March 2018 increased by 19.6 per cent to $490,000, which is higher than February's value of $472,600.
8 real estate market trends to watch for in 2018
The rise of the tech-disrupter, the return of the 30-year-mortgage and a roller-coaster mortgage rate ride. These are just a few of the trends to watch for in Canada's real estate market this year
There’s an old newspaper editor joke: What do you do when you cover the same event year after year? Slap a new headline on an old story and run with it. Real estate in Canada is beginning to feel a bit like the butt-end of this joke. Every year there are pronouncements that this is the year when the market will finally… (select your verb, please). Going into 2018, it’s hard not to feel a bit of trepidation, since any pronouncement made will be partly incorrect, at best. However, there are certain real estate trends that we can watch for in 2018.
Still, we all want a little insight into this crazy roller-coaster real estate ride—we all want an idea of the market trends to prepare for in 2018. The Canadian Real Estate Association released preliminary data in December that shows almost half of the country’s property markets are now in balanced territory—meaning supply is meeting demand. As we progress through 2018, more markets within Canada are are expected to shift towards this supply-demand equilibrium.
Given these expectations—and the long-running ‘when will the market crash’ inquiries—we’d like to offer some insight. Rather than weigh in on the ‘crash or no crash’ debate, we decided to focus on the biggest real estate trends to watch for in 2018. Here are the eight real estate market trends to watch for in 2018 in Canada.
Real estate trend #1: Expect prices to regress to the mean
Canada’s housing market is the crash that never happened. Ireland hit a housing crisis in 2007, while America’s housing market virtually failed in 2008, but the long-anticipated housing market crash in Canada just never happened. And analysts still don’t see it coming in 2018. According to most reports, the majority of Canada’s real estate markets will continue to grow in 2018—but at a glacially slow pace when comparing this growth to the astronomical price increases witnessed over the last decade.
In the report released in fall 2017, Moody’s Analytics warned Canadians to prepare for “several years of retrenchment.” Why? Because for the next five years housing prices are expected to rise at an anaemic rate. In the report, author Andres Carbacho-Burgos states that national prices will actually drop by 0.1% in 2018 and will only rise a meagre 1% in 2019 before levelling off to 1.3% for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is not as optimistic as Moody’s. CREA predicts an average price reduction of 1.4% in 2018. The price decline will be tough on speculators and investors, particularly when you compare it to the 4.2% average price increase in 2017 and the 10.9% average price increase in 2016.
Real estate trend #2: Death of the single-family detached home
Aside from first-time home buyers and Millennials, there is a casualty from the last decade of solid property appreciation: The single-detached house. Housing starts—the number of single-family homes that were started by builders and not scheduled for completion for a year or two—are starting to decline, with further reductions predicted in years to come.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Fall 2017 Housing Market Outlook report predicts that low-rise starts, which had risen in 2017 in line with a surge in demand, will decline from 75,900 in 2017 to between 66,200 to 68,400 starts in 2018 and 66,100 to 68,900 in 2019.
While rising mortgage rates and new mortgage rules are certainly hampering the affordability of single-family homes, so are land constraints. According to CMHC’s principal market analyst, Dana Senagama, land constraints and labour constraints, particularly in high-value markets like Vancouver and Toronto, are nails in the single-family detached home coffin. Low-density sites are getting more and more expensive,” she explains. Low-rise housing starts—the term used for single-family detached and semi-detached homes—were well above 30,000 per year 15 years ago, but then there was “a real push towards high rise, a trend that began in 2006,” explained Senagama, in an earlier interview. As a result, low-rise starts have not surpassed the 20,000 mark since 2008. “Developers are focused on building high-density housing.”
Real estate trend #3: The year of the condo
So, what will increase? Condos. Yes, there are many, many cranes in the sky particularly in Vancouver and Toronto, but CMHC predicts there will be even more cranes in the sky, with condo starts expected to increase in 2017 (to between 128,800 and 139,400 units) before levelling off in 2018 (to between 124,400 and 136,200 units) and 2019 (to between 123,200 to 137,800). What’s significant is that these numbers are well above the historical average.
The condo’s popularity is due, in part, to demographics. “We have baby boomers that are downsizing and are liking the low-maintenance lifestyle,” explains Mustafa Abbasi, President of Zolo Realty. “We have families that have been priced-out (of the household) market, who are finding and making homes in urban condos—and millennials love the ‘live, work, play’ lifestyle.”
Abbasi adds, “the focus on condos isn’t solely in the building or the unit. The focus is shifting to include the community and neighbourhood.” Developers are listening. Rather than slapping up a building with cookie-cutter units, some developers are focusing on the amenities, the community, the lifestyle. “When you’re living in a smaller space, you care about what’s around your home. The parks, the neighbourhood, the stores, they become an extension of your home,” says Abbasi.
“The focus will be on building dense, more complete communities,” explains Kevin Lee, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association during a December interview. CMHC Chief Economist, Bob Dugan agrees. “We forecast that high price points and mortgage rates will shift demand away from the single detached home towards multi-family units.”
Real estate trend #4: Data is the new currency
The stories that dominated headlines in 2017 (and 2016) were those that dealt with the unknowns:
- How do foreign buyers impact housing prices?
- How many homes are left vacant?
- What impact does house-flipping have on neighbourhoods (and prices)?
- Are families being driven out of large urban centres due to high prices?
- Are short-term rentals hurting rental vacancy rates?
- Are we building too many high-rise condos?
Sure, there was a tonne of anecdotal information and a few people even tried to lend support to a few of the theories, with varying success. The real story, however, was the arcane and spotty methods of data collection on any matter that impacted real estate in Canada. No one could say, with certainty, how many foreign buyers were in the Metro Vancouver market or how many condos were sitting vacant. Plus, we still don’t know the precise impact house-flippers and speculators are having on major urban markets.
In 2016, the newly elected Trudeau Liberal’s pledged half a million to help the Canada Revenue Agency to tackle these data gaps. Part of this initiative meant an additional tax requirement, where all property sold in 2016 or later must now be reported in the annual income tax package. There were also new forms for foreign buyers and a concerted effort by the CRA to find house-flippers who aren’t paying income or capital gains tax on properties sold in Canada.
In 2018, we can probably expect more rules and regulations based on data. We can also expect better efforts by all policymakers to track data. What’s on the radar? Real estate speculation will get attention, as will information regarding your income (a key when creating more livable urban communities using rent-to-income geared housing projects). Also on the table will be square-footage and density data—two data sets that will inform zoning and planning decisions —as is real estate speculation (although definitions on this are still being determined).
Just don’t expect political stalling because of a lack of data. “Often you find in this realm is that the call for data and better data is used to forestall policy,” explained Simon Fraser University economist, Joshua Golden, in an earlier interview with Crosscut. “We don’t need to know how much cancer is being caused by smoking to know we want to tax smoking.” This perspective is what fuelled Vancouver’s foreign buyer tax and its empty homes tax. More will follow.
Real estate trend #5: Tech-disrupters will have their day
After years of battling it out in the courts, the Competition Bureau was vindicated when the Federal Court of Appeal denied the Toronto Real Estate Board’s appeal on December 1, 2017.
At the heart of the debate is whether or not TREB can or should protect information about home sales by denying brokers and other tech-disrupters from making this information in public.
The competition argued that TREB’s practice of keeping information about home sale prices and real estate agent commissions secret is anti-competitive and bad for consumers. TREB countered with concerns over privacy as a justification as to why it should be the gatekeeper for such information.
While TREB already filed an application to the Supreme Court of Canada—their decision on whether or not hear the case won’t come until sometime in 2018—it appears that TREB is fighting an uphill battle. Should the Supreme Court uphold the lower court’s decision (or even refuse to hear the case), the ruling could open the door to businesses and websites who can offer much more detailed information about home sales to the public, without the need to sign a contractual form. It’s how Zillow got its foothold in the U.S. MLS market back in 2006, before becoming the real estate behemoth it is today.
Even as the TREB appeal sits in legal limbo, there are tech-disrupters already looking to modernize and streamline aspects of the real estate business. For instance, business law firm Aird & Berlis LLP started to use artificial intelligence to help create efficiencies in its mergers and acquisitions department, when it comes to real estate business. Aaron Baer, a lawyer with Aird & Berlis, stated, in an interview with Canadian Lawyer magazine, that due diligence in M&A is an “incredibly important process that can be document-heavy and painstaking.” By investing in AI, the firm hopes to cut down on costs and time and provide more efficient service to its clients.
Real estate trend #6: Roller-coaster mortgage rate ride
After seven years of historically low-interest rates, the Bank of Canada finally increased its overnight rate in 2017. The two quarter-point increases were incremental, but signalled a shift—Canadians would now start to see rate rise, as predicted for the last 10 years.
But this doesn’t mean buyers should only expect rate increases. In a typical market cycle, lenders will drop their mortgage rates in the spring and the fall in an effort to attract the bulk of the new mortgage business. Towards the end of the year, as lenders start to near their fiscal year-end, rates will start to go up, particularly with lenders who have met their mortgage business targets for the year.
So, what does all this mean to those shopping for a mortgage in 2018? It means you can expect a certain amount of rate volatility. If you can time your mortgage rate ride, consider shopping or renewing or refinancing in the spring or fall and avoid renegotiating later in the year, if possible.
Real estate trend #7: Return of 30-year mortgages
This real estate trend is aimed at new home buyers and those looking to refinance. Most buyers and homeowners who must renegotiate their mortgages this year are going to be hit with a double-whammy: The implementation of the new mortgage stress-test and the threat of higher mortgage rates. The combination of these two factors will have a dramatic impact on how much a person will qualify for when applying for a mortgage loan; it will also mean buyers and mortgage brokers will need to colour very close to the lines to find creative ways to make the homeownership dream a reality.
One solution is to opt for a 30-year mortgage. Thirty-year amortizations are still available to any buyer with at least 20% equity in the home. Yes, you have to pay CMHC fees, but tacking on a fee of $10,000 or $20,000 may be worth it if it means avoiding a budget-busting monthly mortgage payment or being denied outright.
“The percentage of homes being written at 30 years [amortization] has gone up materially in the last six months,” explained Mark Aldridge, President and CEO of MCAP, during last year’s Mortgage Professionals Canada’s annual National Mortgage Conference.
Aldridge believes the new regulations don’t just impact new buyers, but those renewing their mortgages—the homeowners who won’t be able to re-qualify based on the new mortgage stress-test. He’s worried this will also prompt a lack of competition. “You’re stuck at that bank. And believe me, the banks have the data, so they can charge 20 or 30 bps more for customers who have nowhere to go.”
Real estate trend #8: Mobility is the key
The golden formula in real estate is “Location, location, location.” Going into 2018, you can expect to add mobility to our list of real estate trends. While real property, itself, is immovable, the factors impacting the business of real estate are increasingly mobile.
Mobility is the biggest emerging trend in the real estate market according to PwC Canada and the Urban Land Institute, as stated in their 2018 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report.
According to the report analysts, real estate investors, owners and developers are increasingly optimistic about opportunities in the Canadian real estate sector. This certainly makes sense given that prices and market activity is returning to balanced territory in most market segments. It means that there will be an increased push from institutional and trust investors to find strategic and innovative portfolio opportunities, as they hunt for better and stronger yields. It also means that “capital is no longer an advantage,” as one report interviewee explained. “The advantage comes from being able to move quickly, deal with more complexity and leverage strategic partners.”
This need to pivot and act quickly will require an ability to move where the opportunities exist. That will mean from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and from city to city. As the report points out, “real estate development is expected to grow stronger in  and in years to come,” with an emphasis on areas where money is being invested to improve transit and commuter resources.
Mobility will also dictate how real estate information is consumed and deals are finalized. Real estate companies will need to invest in and employ all their technological advancements in order to “mitigate risk…and open up new profitable possibilities.” Faster access to information, better access to more data and the ability to contextualize all this information will be key to identifying profitable opportunities throughout the year.
*provided by Ramone King
January 1st, 2018
Victoria Real Estate Market Strong to the End of 2017
A total of 462 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 1.9 per cent fewer than the 471 properties sold in December last year.
A grand total of 8,944 properties sold over the course of 2017, 15.8 percent fewer than the record breaking 10,622 that sold in 2016. 2017 sales came in at 21.7 per cent over the ten year average of 7,349 properties sold.
"Early in 2017 we discussed how the Victoria area housing market would be different than the record breaking year we had in 2016 and that over the course of the year we'd probably see a gradual return to a more balanced market. We did see evidence of this change come early in the year, as multiple offers and rapid price increases leveled out," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. "However, the ongoing low inventory of properties for sale meant that buyers continued to experience competitive situations in high demand areas, and multiple offers were still a common occurrence as buyers negotiated in a tighter market. What we couldn't anticipate were outside factors such as changes to mortgage qualifying rules that may have pushed people into the market early. The pending mortgage stress test in particular is likely to have caused much of the increased activity we've seen in November and December."
There were 1,384 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2017, a decrease of 21.5 per cent compared to the month of November and 7.3 per cent fewer than the 1,493 active listings for sale at the end of December 2016. This is the lowest level of inventory for the area in the month of December since the statistic was tracked in 1996.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2016 was $753,900. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2017 has increased by 9.3 per cent to $823,800, and is slightly lower than November's value of $824,600.
"Overall, the low inventory and the continued interest in Victoria real estate meant that well-priced homes were quick to sell in 2017. Moving forward, we expect to see more inventory come into the market, which will continue to move us toward a more balanced state," adds President Balabanian. "We also expect housing prices to remain stable, without the increases we tracked in 2016, and anticipate steady slow growth. In markets like these, it's important to enlist the services of a REALTOR® to help you navigate what may be your largest transaction ever."
Victoria Real Estate Market Remains Hot Into the Summer Months
Aug 1, 2017 - "The activity level in the Victoria real estate market continues to be brisk, though we always expect a slowdown in the summer months," says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. "This July, we saw a strong focus on the lower priced end of the market, with condos and townhomes and single family homes listed for under $700,000 in high demand. Many of those properties saw multiple offer situations."
A total of 790 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, 18.7 per cent fewer than the 972 properties sold in July last year.
"The ten year average for sales in July is just over 700 properties," adds President Balabanian. "So the numbers from last month illustrate an ongoing demand for homes in Victoria. We anticipated at the beginning of the year that we would see another busy market - without the record breaking numbers we saw in 2016 - and we are seeing exactly that. The surprise has been the low inventory levels, with listings for sale consistently below 2,000. The good news is that compared to the start of the year we have 26.7 per cent more listings on the market, but that supply is still lower than we expected, which puts pressure on pricing and availability."
There were 1,921 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2017, an increase of 0.3 per cent compared to the month of June, but 11.1 per cent fewer than the 2,161 active listings for sale at the end of July 2016.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark values are unavailable at this time - the Victoria Real Estate Board website at www.vreb.org will be updated when the numbers become available.
Victoria Real Estate Market Sees Slow Increase in Inventory
June 1, 2017 - "This month we have seen an increase in inventory - which means that buyers have more choice - and it means that now in some areas sellers are competing for buyers," says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian.
There were 1,896 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of May 2017, an increase of 12.2 per cent compared to the month of April, but 21.2 per cent fewer than the 2,406 active listings for sale at the end of May 2016.
A total of 1,006 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this May, 22 per cent fewer than the 1,289 properties sold in May last year. The ten year average for sales in May is 815 properties.
"There are many different market conditions in Victoria, because we have so many different neighbourhoods and different levels of demand for those neighbourhoods," adds President Balabanian. "The market won't change immediately, but we can track a shift as more inventory enters the market to meet the demand from buyers.Overall, pressure on pricing is easing because of the increase in inventory and the rate of increase of price is normalizing. As we have predicted, we are seeing the beginning of a gradual return to a balanced market in the Victoria area. In conditions such as the ones we see now, it's more important than ever to have an expert REALTOR® on your side whether you are buying or selling a property."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in May 2016 was $706,500. The benchmark value for the same home in May 2017 has increased by 16.8 per cent to $825,500.
Victoria Real Estate Market Continues Trend of Low Inventory, High Demand
April 2, 2017 - A total of 929 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this March, 17.1 per cent fewer than the 1,121 properties sold in March last year.
"We predicted early in the year that we wouldn't see a continuation of the record sales numbers that we saw in 2016," says 2017 Board President Ara Balabanian. "However, we are still in a very active market, as evidenced by the fact that this is second highest March on record if you remove that record breaking 2016 data. We saw nearly 200 more transactions last month than March 2015, when 734 properties sold."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in March 2016 was $663,300. The benchmark value for the same home in March 2017 has increased by 19.1 per cent to $790,100.
Inventory levels edged lower, with 1,556 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of March 2017, 40.6 per cent fewer than the 2,618 active listings for sale at the end of March 2016.
"The public and REALTORS® are getting used to the new tempo of the market - with the ongoing historically low inventory levels and high consumer demand - both parties need to be tenacious and have quick reflexes. Sellers need to ensure they have assistance from an experienced local Realtor to help understand current demand and pricing. Even in this market, properties can sit unsold for months without selling because of an inappropriate price," adds President Balabanian. "We do think we will see a more balanced market in the future as more inventory becomes available. Traditionally, people prefer to list their home when gardens and outdoor areas can be shown to their best advantage. Hopefully, as our warmer weather arrives we will see more listings added into the market to offer more choice for buyers."
Victoria Real Estate Market Healthy Heading into Spring
March 1, 2017 - A total of 675 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this February, 12.6 per cent fewer than the 772 properties sold in February last year.
"Last month we discussed how 2017 won't match 2016 in terms of huge sales numbers, due to many factors including the present lack of inventory," says 2017 Board President Ara Balabanian. "In spite of the low inventory the real estate market in Victoria is robust. The ten year average for sales in February is 542, so we are well within expected numbers for this time of the year with 675 properties sold. In fact, this February's sales are the second highest in the past ten years. It is also possible that our market may have been restrained over the course of the month due to something that is completely normal in many Canadian markets - the snow fall in the Victoria area certainly cancelled many open houses and may have put a damper on sales."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in February 2016 was $638,700. The benchmark value for the same home in February 2017 has increased by 21.3 per cent to $775,000.
Inventory levels edged lower, with 1,537 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of February 2017, 40 per cent fewer than the 2,562 active listings at the end of February 2016.
"The low number of homes for sale in our marketplace can put pressure on pricing," adds President Balabanian. "The good news is we have seen an increase in new listings this month over January. January saw 753 new listings, while February's count was 880. This time last year there were 1,160 new listings, so we'll be watching the numbers in March closely to see if more sellers decide to get into the market as spring arrives."
Victoria Real Estate Market's Record Breaking 2016, Demand Likely to Continue in 2017
The December 2016 statistics:
A total of 471 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region in December of 2016, 1.3 per cent more than the 465 properties sold in December last year. That may not seem like much of an increase but you have to remember the record breaking increases in value achieved in Victoria over the course of 2016 as a whole. It was a record breaking year that moved at a break neck pace with low inventory causing values to spike sharply upwards in ways that haven't been seen here on the island in decades.
Similar to most months in 2016, inventory levels edged lower than last year for the month of December, with 1,493 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2016, 40.7 per cent fewer than the 2,517 active listings at the end of December 2015.
"As we expected, 2016 broke records in terms of the number of properties sold in our area," notes Mike Nugent, outgoing 2016 President of the Board. "10,622 properties sold, which exceeds our previous high of 9,241 sales in 1991."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2015 was $613,600. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2016 has increased by 23.6 per cent to $758,500.
"We expect sales to continue to be strong but we don't expect to see the phenomenal activity we saw in 2016 for 2017. Inventory continues to be low," adds President Nugent. "You can't sell something that isn't there. There is certainly an ongoing demand for properties. This is reflected in the fact that 25 per cent of sales this month sold over their asking price. The majority of these properties were in the up to $750,000 price point, so your average buyer will face a competitive market."
High Demand Continues as Inventory Shrinks in the Victoria Housing Market
November 2016 statistics:
A total of 599 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 4.5 per cent more than the 573 properties sold in November last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 1,815 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2016, 38.5 per cent fewer than the 2,952 active listings at the end of November 2015.
"Our current housing market is in a strong cycle due to many factors, including our current positive economic conditions, baby boomers retiring here, millennial buying cycles, a low Canadian dollar keeping folks closer to home and our favourable living conditions," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "These factors and others, in combination with ongoing low inventory mean demand for housing is up, particularly in those areas close to the core and amenities."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2015 was $608,600. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2016 has increased by 23.9 per cent to $753,800.
"Foreign buyers are another factor that affects our local housing market. The provincial government is considering implementation of a local tax on foreign buyers to ensure pressure on pricing from that source remains mitigated," adds President Nugent. "While October data shows an increase in foreign buyers into the Capital Regional District compared to previous months, their 6.3 per cent of property transfers indicate that these buyers are one factor in the marketplace. A much larger factor affecting affordability and availability right now is the lack of inventory. An effective method to address housing affordability issues could be through efforts to increase the supply of housing, either through adjustments to zoning or density."
Competitive Housing Market in Victoria Continues as Inventory Remains Low
October 2016 statistics:
A total of 735 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, a single property more than the 734 properties sold in October last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 1,938 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October 2016, 38.9 per cent fewer than the 3,170 active listings at the end of October 2015.
"We continue to see low inventory hindering sales in the local market," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "Though our numbers are down from the record setting pace set this summer, the market is still moving quickly and is still very competitive for certain properties. High demand areas like Saanich and Oak Bay continue to see multiple offers and areas in the West Shore are also seeing sales over listed prices. In other areas, prices remain firm because of high demand and extremely limited inventory."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in October 2015 was $608,200. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2016 has increased by 24.1 per cent to $755,000.
"The federal government's change to mortgage lending rules has also impacted buyers," adds President Nugent. "Buyers that require mortgage insurance are able to qualify for significantly smaller mortgages than before the rule change and this is further limiting their options in a very restricted market. Some buyers have postponed their search in order to save up more of a down payment so they can work within these new limitations."
Victoria Housing Market Chills Out For Fall
September 2016 statistics:
A total of 781 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this September, an increase of 10.9 per cent compared to the 704 properties sold in September last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 2,061 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of September 2016, 40.7 per cent fewer than the 3,478 active listings at the end of September 2015.
"This is the lowest level of inventory on the market in September that we have on record [since 1996]," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "This continuing lack of inventory holds up sales. The market is still strong, but not moving at the pace we saw earlier in the year. This slowdown is typical with what we expect in the fall to winter season and may be more pronounced as a result of buyer fatigue, due to the lack of available inventory."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in September 2015 was $607,100. The benchmark value for the same home in September 2016 has increased by 22.8 per cent to $745,700.
"We have already exceeded the number of sales that we saw in 2015, with a full quarter remaining in the year," adds President Nugent. "And there is still strong demand, thanks to underlying fundamentals in our province - the GDP is up, employment numbers are up, retail and population growth is up. All of these contribute to current market conditions. We also see no indication that the new foreign buyer Property Transfer Tax in Metro Vancouver has pushed foreign buyers into our market in a substantial way, though we continue to track that as a possibility."
Victoria Property Sales Continue Record Breaking Pace
August 2016 statistics:
A total of 883 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, an increase of 19.2 per cent compared to the 741 properties sold in August last year.
"August is a record breaker in more than one way. For the sixth consecutive month, we have a sales record with more sales than any other month of August on record," says Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "We also have the lowest number of listings available for sale in an August than we've seen in the last twenty years. That lack of inventory will continue to put pressure on pricing. Sales would be even higher were there more inventory available for buyers to purchase. Regardless of the low inventory, it's safe to say that by mid-September we will have surpassed the number of sales for all of 2015, with four months remaining in the year."
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 2,094 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2016, 43.2 per cent fewer than the 3,688 active listings at the end of August 2015.
"As we saw last month, the expected seasonal slowdown continues as we move towards the autumn," adds Nugent. "August tends to be the slower summer month, though the year-over-year sales numbers are very strong. This shows continued consumer confidence in the Victoria real estate market. It is early to determine a trend, but we don't see any early indications that the foreign investment Property Transfer Tax implemented in Metro Vancouver has impacted sales to any extent in Victoria at this time."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August, 2015 was $603,200. The benchmark value for the same home in August 2016 has increased by 23.8 per cent to $746,900
Victoria Real Estate Market Continues to Sizzle in Summer Months
July 2016 statistics:
A total of 972 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, an increase of 22 per cent compared to the 796 properties sold in July last year.
"Though we saw the seasonal slowdown that we expect this time of year, we had another record breaking month," says Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "The last time we saw a July this busy was in 2009 when 933 properties sold."
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 2,161 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2016, 45 per cent fewer than the 3,942 active listings at the end of July 2015.
"Late last week the provincial government approved new legislation that may affect the real estate market in our area, though at this time we can only guess how a foreign investor's tax in the Metro Vancouver region will impact sales here in Victoria," adds Nugent. "Recent data released by the government shows that nearly ten per cent of property transfers in Metro Vancouver involved foreign nationals. This is part of the rationale for applying a fifteen per cent tax on transactions only in Metro Vancouver at this time. Does this mean international demand will spill over into Victoria and other areas of BC? We won't know until we see the data.The Capital Regional District saw two per cent out of country buyers in the year of 2015. Although this is a small percentage of our buyers, anecdotally foreign buyers do tend to favour the same core neighbourhoods and therefore can have an impact on those areas."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in July, 2015 was $599,800. The benchmark value for the same home in July 2016 has increased by 23.6 per cent to $741,100.
Feverish Pace of Sales Continues in Victoria Real Estate Market
June 1, 2016 Victoria, BC
A total of 1,289 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this May, an increase of 42.4 per cent compared to the 905 properties sold in the same month last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than the previous year, with 2,406 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of May, 40.5 per cent fewer than the 4,043 active listings at the end of May 2015.
"These are very interesting times in local real estate," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "The market we are experiencing has exceeded our expectations. There are influences in the marketplace that we do not fully understand yet, like the impact of out-of-town buyers and millenials moving into the market, and the seemingly sudden international attention our island city has started to receive. And some folks may be buying now because they are concerned that the market is going to continue to increase in value. Traditionally spring is the most active season for real estate, so it will be interesting to see if this feverish pace continues into the summer months."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in May, 2015 was $593,200. The benchmark value for the same home in May 2016 has increased by 19 per cent to $706,500.
"We define months of inventory as the number of months it would take to sell our entire inventory of active listings at the current rate of sales if no new listings became available. In May last year we had 4.5 months of inventory and in May 2014 we saw 6.5 months. This year, May had 1.9 months of inventory. Last year in June we saw 4.4 months of inventory, so if the pattern continues we may see less inventory than in previous years. Current low inventory dictates that pressures moving prices up could well remain strong, particularly in the core region. It can be a challenging time to get into the market," adds Nugent. "As always, a local REALTOR® can help buyers with a strategy to get into a home and can help sellers to create a pricing plan to best reflect the current value of their property. Our Realtors have access to regular education on best practices, including how to navigate multiple offers, which is something many buyers encounter as they shop for houses in some of our more popular neighbourhoods. I think the key right now is to be patient, consider options like different neighbourhoods or types of housing and to prepare with your Realtor as much as possible ahead of time so that you are best positioned to make your move."
Another Busy Month in the Victoria Real Estate Market
April 1, 2016 Victoria BC - The Victoria Real Estate Board today released its report on Multiple Listing Service® real estate activity in the Victoria area for the month of March 2016.
A total of 1,121 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this March, an increase of 52.7 per cent compared to the 734 properties sold in the same month last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than the previous year, with 2,618 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of March, 30.5 per cent fewer than the 3,769 active listings at the end of March 2015.
"I think the strong uptick in the market has surprised many of us! The business cycles of real estate are affected by economic drivers and it's clear that this cycle has all possible drivers running at top speed. Many different factors may be contributing to this activity," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "Pent up demand from the slower years of 2008 to 2013, lower than historic mortgage rates, strong interest from out of town buyers, a buoyant economy that's attracting job seekers and the lifestyle and beauty that Victoria and area offers all contribute to the activity we've seen this year."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in March 2015 was $569,700. The benchmark value for the same home in March 2016 has increased by 16.4 per cent to $663,300.
"Though we represent a relatively small geographic area, there is variation in price and inventory in different neighbourhoods," adds Nugent. "Areas near the downtown core continue to see high demand for houses and condos, as do most areas in the Peninsula. The West Shore has also strengthened considerably but pricing remains lower than in the core because there has been more inventory to meet demand. Further out of town there has been less demand, but overall all areas have now strengthened in sales. More than ever I encourage buyers and sellers to connect with a local REALTOR® to develop a strategic approach in this fast moving market."
I am including a recent article written by Gary Mason at The Globe and Mail as I feel this is valid and important items of discussion in not only our BC market but now for the city of Victoria and Vancouver Island as a whole.
The various markets on the island have seen a significant boost in high powered buyer demand as Vancouver-ites and other foreign investors are starting to turn their attention to the island for better value and quality of life. This has caused an already pent up buyer demand to be heightened as inventory still remains generally low.
Prices have risen in unprecidented levels that have not been seen in Victoria for well over a decade. To boot, many within this new migration of buyers are often bringing their realtors with them instead of using a local realtor who has experience and knowledge of the local market. This is dis-heartening as this only adds to the confusion and unpredictably changing market values of properties as there are many Buyers who are unfortunately not receiving proper guidence or advice.
Read the article below that was published on March 25th, 2016. I have also kept an article that was published in the fall of 2015 as a very interesting comparison.....
"Plenty of blame to go round in real estate crisis"
By Gary Mason - The Globe and Mail - March 25th, 2016
History will not be kind to the political leadership in this country that has mostly watched, hands in pockets, as the hyperinflation we are witnessing in Metro Vancouver’s real estate market destroys the home-ownership dreams of more and more of the young and middle class.
Until recently, the British Columbia government refused to recognize there was even a problem. Any suggestion that foreign investors, mainly from China, were fuelling the unconscionable rise in house prices was dismissed as data-less hyperbole. And if you didn’t believe it, the government urged skeptics to ask the B.C. Real Estate Board, whose mantra throughout the recent head-shaking rise in house values could best be summed up as: No Story Here.
Suddenly, there has been a dramatic reversal on the issue. It’s almost as if the B.C. government, and the new federal Liberal authority in Ottawa, realize that housing affordability is no longer merely an irritant but a genuine crisis.
Greater Vancouver’s average price for single-family detached houses sold last month was more than $1.8-million. For the city of Vancouver, the average price for single-family detached houses sold recently was just under $3-million. Median annual incomes in the region are a tiny, tiny fraction of those amounts.
The B.C. government recently vowed to crack down on real estate agents involved in nefarious practices such as shadow flipping that help to drive up prices. But this is a small measure that will do absolutely nothing to improve affordability. Its primary purpose is to improve optics: Look, everyone, Premier Christy Clark is finally doing something about this mess. The Premier also asked B.C. Housing to look at the impact of foreign investment in the market.
In this week’s federal budget, meanwhile, $500,000 was set aside to help Statistics Canada determine the best way to collect data on international buyers.
It would be comical if it weren’t so sad.
Others, meanwhile, aren’t waiting. This week, two economists from the National Bank produced a study showing as many as one-third of house purchasers in Metro Vancouver last year were from China. But perhaps the most interesting numbers to be revealed lately concern the impact that the immigrant-investor program – both the one run for years by Ottawa (and terminated in 2014) and another that still exists in Quebec – has had on the real estate madness we are witnessing.
Under the program, immigrants can come to Canada in exchange for $800,000, up front, that serves as a five-year loan to the government. The report, brought to light by Ian Young of the South China Morning Post, reveals how completely porous and unaccountable the immigrant-investor system has been. Truly awful might be another way to describe it.
For example, after 10 years the average annual income tax paid by these millionaire migrant investors is $1,400. That compares with $7,500 for the average Canadian. The report notes that after five years, many of these investors have secured Canadian citizenship and returned to their home country.
Quebec accepts about 1,750 such applications annually. After handing over their $800,000, most move to Vancouver and buy real estate. The vast majority of all who have taken advantage of these programs over the years have ended up in British Columbia (by one estimate, nearly 200,000).
Those who have come to Canada acknowledged to federal researchers that their primary motivation for obtaining citizenship was as a hedge against political or economic upheaval occurring in their home country.
The federal government has known about the impact the investor pipeline was having on things such as real estate and didn’t care. It was more than pleased to sell Canadian citizenship to the wealthy. The B.C. government, meanwhile, is only too happy to take rich immigrants through the investor back door that continues to be provided by Quebec. It doesn’t care that it isn’t seeing any of the loan money that immigrant investors have to pay; it is making tens of millions from the insane escalation in real estate prices these immigrants have set off.
Canadians should be furious that their governments allowed this to happen. Now all that these same governments can do is introduce lame measures that will have no meaningful impact on housing prices, but rather are designed to show that government is on the problem!
Except they’re not. And never have been. And hopefully history will judge them harshly for that.