BC Home Sales to Rise in 2020
BCREA 2019 Second Quarter Housing Forecast


Vancouver, BC – June 18, 2019. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2019 Second Quarter Housing Forecast today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 9 per cent to 71,400 units this year, after recording 78,346 residential sales in 2018. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase 14 per cent to 81,700 units in 2020. The 10-year average for MLS® residential sales in the province is 84,300 units.


“The shock to affordability from restrictive mortgage policies, especially the B20 stress test, will continue to limit housing demand in the province this year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, a relatively strong economy and favourable demographics are likely creating pent-up demand in the housing market,”


The inventory of homes for sale has climbed out of a cyclical low, leading to balanced market conditions in many areas and buyer’s market conditions in some communities and across some products types. Current market conditions are expected to provide little upward pressure on home prices this year, with the average annual residential price forecast to remain essentially unchanged, albeit down 2 per cent to $697,000. Modest improvement in consumer demand is expected to unfold though 2020, pushing the average residential price up 4 per cent to $726,000.

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Vancouver, BC – March 20, 2019.


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) is pleased with the measures announced in Budget 2019 that will help address housing affordability in British Columbia. REALTORS® in BC recognize that home ownership is a difficult goal to achieve for many British Columbians, and the policies announced in this budget provide meaningful assistance with this complex challenge.
 
BCREA supports the newly announced First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program, which introduces shared equity mortgages that will help to directly foster affordability. The budget also proposes increasing the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, further supporting first-time buyers.

“British Columbians who aspire to home ownership need to be able to achieve this goal to assure a sustainable future for our province,” says Darlene Hyde, BCREA CEO. “REALTORS® have advocated for modernization of the HBP for a long time and we’re pleased to see it addressed in Budget 2019.”

The BC real estate sector makes important direct contributions to economic growth in the province, ultimately accounting for close to ten per cent of real GDP in the province through new home construction and residential and commercial real estate transactions. Home sales also generate significant spin-off expenditures. According to a 2017 study from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), each home sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC between 2014 and 2016 generated $67,800 in related expenditures, such as moving costs, renovations and legal fees following the sale. Each transaction also generated an average of $7,000 in Property Transfer Tax.

BCREA also welcomes the following measures announced in Budget 2019:

  • making the National Housing Strategy a permanent program,
  • the announcement of an additional $10 billion and an extension of the Rental Construction Financing Initiative until 2027-28—a strong policy direction that will assist with assuring market sustainability,
  • increased sharing of financial data among federal and provincial governments and their agencies as part of anti-money laundering/anti-terrorist financing efforts; this issue can be best addressed with close collaboration among the federal and provincial governments, along with industry,    
  • the announcement of an Expert Panel on Housing Supply and Affordability. These are significant issues in British Columbia, and a well-chosen panel can bring collective expertise and forward-thinking strategy to the issue. In the near future, BCREA will provide the federal and provincial governments with recommendations for strong potential appointees. 

While we welcome the incentives for first-time home buyers, the announced measures fail to address the damage done by the mortgage stress test. BCREA is particularly encouraged that the federal government is carefully monitoring the effects of the B-20 mortgage regulations, as we recently voiced concern regarding the overreaching impact this policy is having in the Lower Mainland. We assert the federal government needs to review the policy against interest rate changes since its introduction and re-institute 30-year mortgages to further help Canadians achieve their goals of homeownership. 

Click here for the PDF.
 

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Vancouver, BC – January 15, 2019.


TThe British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 78,345 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2018, a decline of 24.5 per cent from the 103,758 units sold in 2017.


The annual average MLS® residential price in BC was $712,508, an increase of 0.4 per cent from $709,601 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume was $55.8 billion, a 24.2 per cent decline from 2017.


“BC home sales fell below the 10-year average of 84,800 units in 2018,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The sharp decline in affordability caused by the B20 mortgage stress test is largely to blame for decline in consumer demand last year.”


A total of 3,497 MLS® residential unit sales were recorded across the province in December, down 39.1 per cent from December 2017. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $695,647, a decline of 5.2 per cent from December 2017.


Total sales dollar volume was $2.4 billion, a 42.3 per cent decline during the same period.


Total active residential listings were up 33.3 per cent to 27,615 units in December, the highest December inventory since 2014 when 33,995 active residential listings were recorded.

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The British Columbia government has introduced legislation to tackle speculation in B.C.'s housing market and help turn empty properties into homes for people.

“We believe the people who live and work in B.C. should be able to afford a place to call home.


Right now, British Columbians are faced with some of the highest housing prices in the world and there is widespread support for government’s plan to moderate the housing market,” Carole James, Minister of Finance, said. “We’re tackling this housing crisis head-on and the speculation and vacancy tax is an essential piece in our plan.”


The speculation and vacancy tax is the first legislation of its kind to be introduced in the country. This groundbreaking legislation means that British Columbia will have the strongest protections in Canada against people looking to use the housing market as a resting place for both foreign capital and other speculative investments. It will also ensure satellite families and people who use local services without paying B.C. income taxes contribute their fair share.


The speculation and vacancy tax is already moderating the housing market by curbing foreign investment and discouraging the incentive to hold homes as vacant investment properties in B.C.’s major urban markets. According to experts including RBC, the Canadian Real Estate Association and Sotheby's, the speculation and vacancy tax and other measures introduced by the Province are responsible for helping cool the B.C. market.


October 2018 


All revenue raised from the speculation and vacancy tax will be used to fund affordable housing for people who live in B.C. Further, the tax will help boost the province’s rental supply by introducing incentives to make vacant homes available for rent.

The majority of revenue raised by the tax will come from non-residents of British Columbia, including foreign owners and satellite families. Over 99% of all British Columbians will be exempt from the tax.


The tax includes exemptions for British Columbians’ principal residences, rented properties, and special circumstances including major home renovations and difficult life events such as divorce. The legislation also has exemptions in place to broadly protect the development of land to support the province’s growing housing supply.

The speculation and vacancy tax is a part of the B.C. government’s 30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability to address the housing crisis and help make life more affordable for people.


Learn More:

For more information on the speculation and vacancy tax: gov.bc.ca/spectaxinfo


30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability: http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf


To ask questions about how the speculation and vacancy tax applies to you, call 1 833 554-2323 (toll-free in Canada and the U.S.) or 604 660-2421 (international).

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Courtesy BCREA 


BC Housing Starts - October 9, 2018



It was a volatile month for new home construction in BC. Total housing starts fell 43 per cent on a monthly basis to 25,611 units SAAR and were down 31 per cent year-over-year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were down more than half from August to just 16,980 units SAAR while single detached fell 3 per cent to 8,631 units SAAR. Compared to September 2017, multiple units starts were down 37 per cent while single detached starts were 20 per cent lower.
 
Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were down 42 per cent on a monthly basis to 14,390 units SAAR as multiple units starts dropped 50 per cent from August. Compared to this time last year, total starts in Vancouver were 21 per cent lower. September new home construction in Metro Vancouver was concentrated in Surrey which accounted for a quarter of all starts.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts fell 56 per cent after a surge of new starts in August. Total housing starts were still on a 3,000 annual pace in September. That is well below the torrid pace of new home construction seen in Victoria over the past year, but still relatively strong.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction slowed substantially in September, falling to just 750 units SAAR from August's near 4,000 unit annual pace. On a year-over-year basis, total starts were down 84 per cent to just 67 total units.  Housing starts in Kelowna have fallen off of the record pace of 2017, but remain above the 10-year average for the city.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA rose 23 per cent on a monthly basis, driven by a 44 per cent increase in multiple unit projects and strong single-detached starts. However, total housing starts were down 80 per cent compared to last September, which saw very strong multiple unit starts.
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October 4, 2018

Courtesy REBGV


The supply of homes for sale continued to increase across the Metro Vancouver* housing market in September while home buyer demand remained below typical levels for this time of year.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 1,595 in September 2018, a 43.5 per cent decrease from the 2,821 sales recorded in September 2017, and a 17.3 per cent decrease compared to August 2018 when 1,929 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 36.1 per cent below the 10-year September sales average.

“Fewer home sales are allowing listings to accumulate and prices to ease across the Metro Vancouver housing market,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president-elect said. “There’s more selection for home buyers to choose from today. Since spring, home listing totals have risen to levels we haven’t seen in our market in four years.”


There were 5,279 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in September 2018. This represents a 1.8 per cent decrease compared to the 5,375 homes listed in September 2017 and a 36 per cent increase compared to August 2018 when 3,881 homes were listed.


The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 13,084, a 38.2 per cent increase compared to September 2017 (9,466) and a 10.7 per cent increase compared to August 2018 (11,824).


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2018 is 12.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 7.8 per cent for detached homes, 14 per cent for townhomes, and 17.6 per cent for condominiums.


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

“Metro Vancouver’s housing market has changed pace compared to the last few years. Our townhome and apartment markets are sitting in balanced market territory and our detached home market remains in a clear buyers’ market,” Smith said. “It’s important for both home buyers and sellers to work with their Realtor to understand what these trends means to them.”


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,070,600. This represents a 2.2 per cent increase over September 2017 and a 3.1 per cent decrease over the last three months.


Sales of detached properties in September 2018 reached 508, a 40.4 per cent decrease from the 852 detached sales recorded in September 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,540,900. This represents a 4.5 per cent decrease from September 2017 and a 3.4 per cent decrease over the last three months.


Sales of apartment properties reached 812 in September 2018, a 44 per cent decrease compared to the 1,451 sales in September 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $687,300. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase from September 2017 and a 3.1 per cent decrease over the last three months.


Attached property sales in September 2018 totalled 275, a 46.9 per cent decrease compared to the 518 sales in September 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $837,600. This represents a 6.4 per cent increase from September 2017 and a two per cent decrease over the last three months.


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Sept 9, 2018


Courtesy Chris Seepe, REM Online


When this law is passed, it will further grant the right to not be arrested for growing up to four plants. Again, it doesn’t mean you have the right to grow it wherever you wish. My letter specifically states you can’t grow it anywhere in or on the property without the landlord’s written permission, which we universally don’t provide because of the significant health risk from the potential growth of mould, risk of fire and the significant damage caused by the high humidity requirements for growing such plants, including hydroponics.


The right to smoke in a rental property is not enshrined in any Canadian legislation, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code. In the 1998 case, McNeil vs. Ontario, a smoker claimed their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (s.12) were infringed, that nicotine is addictive and deprivation of cigarettes resulted in physical, mental and psychological suffering. The court determined that a cigarette ban was not intended to be punishment but to improve the health of all citizens and, while withdrawal from an addiction to nicotine may be an unpleasant and difficult experience, it is nevertheless temporary, limited and does not require medical attention. Many people voluntarily overcome the addiction. The above case further cited an earlier case – Edwards v. Canada (1991): “The smoking habit is far from a legal or constitutional right to which the State must pander.”

Unlike alcohol consumption, for example, cannabis smoke doesn’t respect physical boundaries and it’s much stronger smelling than cigarette smoke.


Smokers will likely run into the fundamental tenet of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) – the right of quiet enjoyment. This phrase is a misnomer. It should state, “right of peaceful enjoyment”. A breach of this right can arise from any acts of or neglect by a tenant that results in the interference, interruption or disturbance of another tenant’s reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of their respective premises or the common areas of the property being interfered with, whether by liquids, gases, vapours, solids, odours, vibration, noise, abusive language, threats of any kind, unusual or dangerous hobbies and fires created, caused or implied by a tenant.


Two-thirds of all Canadians don’t smoke, while 14 per cent smoke daily. Children can be adversely affected by smoke and parents are likely to take very strong objection to cannabis smokers.


Ontario’s new Standard Lease Agreement (SLA) includes a section about smoking. This section empowers a landlord to use a breach of a no-smoking clause in a rental agreement as grounds for eviction.


It remains for the courts to determine if a tenant’s right to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes is greater than a neighbour’s right to not smell it, especially since there are alternative forms of medicinal marijuana including pills, capsules and oil.

My letter states that if mould develops in their rental unit, we will not remediate it and we will require a tenant to pay for any such remediation. An N8 notice for eviction could be issued for damage to property caused by an act or inaction by a tenant that is not completely and properly repaired by that tenant.


We estimated that growing four plants a year will consume an average $600-$800/year, and electrical circuits in older buildings (87 per cent of Ontario purpose-built rental buildings were constructed before 1979) that are already under heavy loads may increase the risk of fire. My letter states that a tenant may be held accountable for any fire started due to an overloaded circuit, and that we regularly record all electricity meter readings for all units. If a landlord includes electricity in the rent, then this could become a major financial issue. Your letter might say the landlord is not be responsible for any increase in electricity cost, although you may find that this will be hard to defend in court for existing tenants.


Our smoking policy then is: “Smoking, which includes tobacco and marijuana, any electronic versions and anything smoked for medicinal, recreational or remedial purposes, and growing plants of any type or quantity that require a room temperature above 22 C or which requires any form of moisture, excluding room-temperature liquid water directly applied to the plant’s soil, which includes marijuana, cannabis and hydroponics, are not permitted to be grown or cultivated anywhere in or on the premises, including common areas and the tenant’s rented unit.”

 
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September 5, 2018

Home buyer demand stays below historical averages in August

The Metro Vancouver* housing market continues to experience reduced demand across all housing types.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,929 in August 2018, a 36.6 per cent decrease from the 3,043 sales recorded in August 2017, and a 6.8 per cent decline compared to July 2018 when 2,070 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 25.2 per cent below the 10-year August sales average.

“Home buyers have been less active in recent months and we’re beginning to see prices edge down for all housing types as a result,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “Buyers today have more listings to choose from and face less competition than we’ve seen in our market in recent years.”


There were 3,881 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2018. This represents an 8.6 per cent decrease compared to the 4,245 homes listed in August 2017 and an 18.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 when 4,770 homes were listed.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,824, a 34.3 per cent increase compared to August 2017 (8,807) and a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 (12,137).


The sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2018 is 16.3 per cent. By housing type, the ratio is 9.2 per cent for detached homes, 19.4 per cent for townhomes, and 26.6 per cent for apartments.

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


“With fewer buyers active in the market, benchmark prices across all three housing categories have declined for two consecutive months across the region,” Moore said.


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,083,400. This represents a 4.1 per cent increase over August 2017 and a 1.9 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Sales of detached properties in August 2018 reached 567, a 37.1 per cent decrease from the 901 detached sales recorded in August 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,561,000. This represents a 3.1 per cent decrease from August 2017 and a 2.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.


Sales of apartment properties reached 1,025 in August 2018, 36.5 per cent decrease compared to the 1,613 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $695,500. This represents a 10.3 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 1.6 per cent decrease since May 2018.


Attached property sales in August 2018 totalled 337, a 36.3 per cent decrease compared to the 529 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $846,100. This represents a 7.9 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 0.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.

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September 6, 2018 - Courtesy of BCREA


The total value of Canadian building permits edged 0.1 per cent lower on a monthly basis in July. The decline was the result of lower construction intentions in BC.
 
In BC, the total value of permits fell 11 per cent on a monthly basis to $1.4 billion.  Residential permits decreased 15.4 per cent from June and were down 3 per cent year-over-year, as a result of lower permit activity for multi-family units in Vancouver. Non-residential permits were up 6.7 per cent from June, but were 2 per cent lower year-over-year.
 
Construction intentions in July were down in three of BC's four census metropolitan areas (CMA):

  • Permits in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 10 per cent on a monthly basis to $28.3 million. Year-over-year, permit values were down 28 per cent.
  • In the Victoria CMA, total construction intentions were down by half on a monthly basis to just $76.7 million, a 40 per cent decline over this time last year.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, permits values increased by 13.3 per cent on a monthly basis to $113.2 million, and were up 44 per cent year-over-year.
  • The Vancouver CMA recorded permit activity valued at 796.8 million, a 13.5 per cent decline from May and down 9 per cent year-over-year.
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August 5, 2018


Courtesy BCREA


The Bank of Canada maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1.50 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is evolving in line with its projections and that real GDP growth is expected to slow in the third quarter due to fluctuations in energy production and exports.


Inflation is anticipated to come down from the 7-year high of 3 per cent rate observed in July, falling back to 2 per cent in early 2019. The Bank further noted that housing markets are beginning to stabilize following the implementation of the mortgage stress test.


Overall, the Bank's assessment is that higher interest rates will be warranted to achieve the 2 per cent inflation target, but policymakers are closely monitoring NAFTA negotiations and their impact on the inflation outlook.
   
With the threat of significant trade disruption looming from NAFTA negotiations, the Bank chose to pause its rate tightening cycle. However, strong economic growth over the past year has pushed the Canadian economy beyond its full-employment level, creating upward pressure on inflation.


Rising inflation and an economy operating at capacity means that the Bank of Canada will continue on its rate tightening path, likely at it next meeting in October with an ultimate goal of the overnight rate returning to between 3 and 3.5 per cent over the next two years.

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Vancouver, BC – August 30, 2018.


The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) recovered in the second quarter following a rare first quarter decline. The index rose 1.9 points to an index level of 135.4. That increase represents a 1.4 per cent rise from the first quarter of 2018. The index is 2.7 per cent higher than this time one year ago.


“The CLI was propelled higher by strong manufacturing sales and employment growth,” says BCREA Deputy Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “This suggests strong performance in the industrial sector through the balance of the year.”


The trend in the CLI has flattened somewhat over the past six months, which signals continued positive, if somewhat slower, growth in commercial real estate activity.

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Growth in the Canadian economy rebounded in the second quarter of 2018, with output expanding 2.9 per cent following just 1.4 per cent growth in the first quarter. Rising exports, an increase in household spending and a renovation spending driven rebound in housing investment were all major contributors to growth in the second quarter.

Very strong economic growth over the past year has pushed the Canadian economy beyond its full-employment level, creating upward pressure on inflation.


Consumer prices rose at a 3 per cent rate in July, the first time inflation has reached that level since 2011. Rising inflation and an economy operating beyond its capacity means that he Bank of Canada will continue on its rate tightening path.


The next rate hike could come as early as September though more likely in October once current NAFTA negotiations have concluded.


Courtesy BCREA

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Vancouver, BC – August 20, 2018.


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2018 Third Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 21 per cent to 82,000 units this year, after recording 103,768 residential sales in 2017. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase 8 per cent to 88,700 units in 2019. The 10-year average for MLS® residential sales in the province is 84,800 units.


“The BC housing market is grappling with a sharp decline in affordability caused by tough B20 stress test rules for conventional mortgages,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “While these rules have had a negative effect on housing demand across the country, the impact has been especially severe in BC’s large urban centres because of already strained housing affordability.”


In spite of the policy-driven downturn in housing demand, strong fundamentals continue to underpin the market. Demographics are highly favourable, especially the millennial generation who are now entering their household-forming years. In addition, low unemployment is leading to significant upward pressure on wages and, by extension, household wealth and confidence.


The pullback in BC home sales is helping alleviate a chronic shortage of supply. After trending at decade lows, active listings in the province were up nearly 20 per cent in July. The combination of slower housing demand and an increase in the inventory of homes for sale has trended most markets toward balanced conditions. This means more selection for home buyers, fewer multiple offer situations and less upward pressure on home prices.

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Vancouver, BC – June 15, 2018.


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,837 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in May, a 28.7 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $739,783, down 1.7 per cent from May 2017. Total sales dollar volume was $6.54 billion, a 30 per cent decline from May 2017.


“BC home sales continued to slow in May because of more stringent qualifications for conventional borrowers,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The changes in mortgage policy are taking their toll on housing demand, not only in British Columbia, but across the country by reducing household purchasing power and housing affordability.”


While the decline in consumer demand has lifted the inventory of homes for sale, total active residential listings in the province are still relatively low by historical comparison.


Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 13.8 per cent to $26.4 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 16.6 per cent to 35,976 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 3.4 per cent to $733,616.

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Vancouver, BC – June 7, 2018.


The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) declined for the first time in three years, falling 1.5 points in the first quarter of 2018 to an index level of 134.2. That decrease represents a 1.1 per cent dip over the fourth quarter of 2017. The index is still 3.4 per cent higher than this time one year ago.

“The BC economy appears to be slowing following four years of remarkable growth,” says BCREA Deputy Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “That slowdown likely means a slight drop-off in commercial real estate activity on the horizon.”


The underlying CLI trend, which smooths often noisy economic data, remains positive, reflecting several quarters of strong economic activity and employment growth. A still moderately rising trend signals continued, albeit slower, growth in commercial real estate activity.


To view the full BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator index, click here

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BCREA - June 6, 2018


The largest declines in permitting activity were posted in BC, which saw the total value of permits fall 22.6 per cent in April after posting a record high in March.  Year-over-year, total permits values were down only 1.9 per cent at $1.24 billion. Non-residential permits were down 31.8 per cent on a monthly basis  and were 28 per cent lower year-over-year. Residential permits fell 19.6 per cent on a monthly basis but were 10.1 per cent higher year-over-year.

 

Construction intentions in April were down in three of BC's four census metropolitan areas (CMA):

  • Permits in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 26.7 per cent on a monthly basis to $23.8 million. Year-over-year, permit values were down more than half.
  • In the Victoria CMA, total construction intentions increased 16.4 per cent to $109.1 million , a 5.6  per cent rise over this time lats year.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, permits tumbled 30.6 per cent monthly basis, and were down 37.7 per cent year-over-year to $60 million.
  • The Vancouver CMA recorded permit activity valued at $755.9 million, falling 27.3 per cent from the over $1 billion in total permits registered in March. Year-over-year, permits were up 11.9 per cent.
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Home sales down, listings up across Metro Vancouver

The Metro Vancouver* housing market saw fewer home buyers and more home sellers in April.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,579 in April 2018, a 27.4 per cent decrease from the 3,553 sales recorded in April 2017, and a 2.5 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 2,517 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 22.5 per cent below the 10-year April sales average.

“Market conditions are changing. Home sales declined in our region last month to a 17-year April low and home sellers have become more active than we’ve seen in the past three years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “The mortgage requirements that the federal government implemented this year have, among other factors, diminished home buyers’ purchasing power and they’re being felt on the buyer side today.”


There were 5,820 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in April 2018. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,907 homes listed in April 2017 and a 30.8 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 4,450 homes were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,822, a 25.7 per cent increase compared to April 2017 (7,813) and a 17.2 per cent increase compared to March 2018 (8,380).

“Home buyers have more breathing room this spring. They have more selection to choose from and less demand to compete against,” Moore said.


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2018 is 26.3 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.1 per cent for detached homes, 36.1 per cent for townhomes, and 46.7 per cent for condominiums.

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


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,092,000. This represents a 14.3 per cent increase over April 2017 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to March 2018.

Sales of detached properties in April 2018 reached 807, a 33.4 per cent decrease from the 1,211 detached sales recorded in April 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,605,800. This represents a 5.1 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to March 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,308 in April 2018, a 24 per cent decrease from the 1,722 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $701,000. This represents a 23.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to March 2018.

Attached property sales in April 2018 totalled 464, a 25.2 per cent decrease compared to the 620 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $854,200. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to March 2018.   

*Editor’s Note

Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.


The real estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2017, 35,993 homes changed ownership in the Board’s area, generating $2.4 billion in economic spin-off activity and an estimated 17,600 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transacted through the MLS® system in Greater Vancouver totalled $37 billion in 2017.

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Housing was the dominant issue in the Provincial budget released on February 20, 2018

 

The government released a 30-point housing strategy aimed at reducing housing demand, curbing tax fraud, building affordable housing, and increasing security for renters. 

New tax measures include increasing property taxes and property transfer taxes on residential properties valued above $3 million, expanding the foreign buyer tax, and implementing a housing speculation tax.

“We welcome the provincial government’s commitment to address money laundering concerns and increase the supply of affordable, social, and rental housing in our province,” Jill Oudil, Board president said. “We’re concerned, however, about the series of tax measures announced today. The budget introduces new taxes, hints at future taxes, and hikes existing taxes on housing. Taxes don’t make homes more affordable.”

Below is a summary of the key real estate measures announced today. There’s considerable information to go through. We’re analyzing each item to understand the implications to you and your clients and will report back with more information and analysis in future communications.

Affordable housing

  • The province is investing $6 billion in affordable housing to create 114,000 homes over the next 10 years.
  • The province will enhance local government capacity to build and retain affordable housing.
  • The province will require developers to collect and report comprehensive information about the assignment of pre-sale condo purchases.
  • The province intends to track beneficial ownership information.
  • The province will collect additional information to increase transparency and strengthen enforcement in real estate.

Tax measures

Speculation tax

  • The province will implement a new speculation tax on residential properties, targeting foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay income tax in BC. This includes those who leave homes vacant.
  • The tax will apply to the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Capital, and Nanaimo Regional districts and in the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.
  • In 2018, the tax rate will be $5 per $1,000 of assessed value. In 2019, the tax rate will rise to $20 per $1,000 of assessed value.
  • The province will administer the tax and will collect data to enforce it including, social insurance numbers, household information, and world-wide income information.

Foreign buyer tax

  • Effective Feb. 21, 2018, the foreign buyer tax will increase to 20 per cent from 15 per cent and will be extended to the Fraser Valley, Capital, Nanaimo, and Central Okanagan Regional Districts.
  • If the property is located in the Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, Regional District of Central Okanagan, or Nanaimo Regional District, and the property transfer is registered on or after February 21, 2018, there are transitional rules available here.

Property Transfer Tax

Effective Feb. 21, 2018, the Property Transfer Tax on residential properties above $3 million will increase to five per cent from three per cent.

Provincial School Tax

Beginning in 2019, the provincial school tax will increase on most residential properties in excess of $3 million.

Database on pre-sale condo assignments

The province will require developers to collect and report comprehensive information about the assignment of pre-sale condo purchases. The information will be reported to a designated government office and shared with federal and provincial tax authorities to ensure taxes are paid.

Online accommodation PST and MRDT

Online accommodation platforms are enabled to collect and remit the Provincial Sales Tax and Municipal and Regional District Tax (Hotel Room Tax).

Property tax treatment for ALR land

As part of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) review, the province is examining residential land in the ALR to ensure land is used for farming.

Clarity of property ownership

Compelling access to MLS®

The province plans to enable tax administrators to compel access to information relevant to property transfers, such as information held in a MLS® database. (We’re asking government for clarification.)

Beneficial land ownership registry

The province will require additional information about beneficial ownership on the PTT form.

Administered by the LTSA, the information will be publicly available and shared with federal and provincial tax and law enforcement authorities. Legislation will be introduced to require BC corporations to hold accurate and up to date information on beneficial owners in their own record offices available to law enforcement, tax and other authorities.

Task force on money laundering and tax evasion

The province will work with the federal government to formalize a multi-agency working group on tax evasion, money laundering and housing.

Residential Tenancy Branch

Increased funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch to reduce wait time, improve service and deal with disputes more quickly, as well as strengthening the Residential Tenancy Act and the penalties for those who repeatedly break the law.

Read the Homes for BC 30-point plan for housing affordability

Read the Budget press release

Read the Fiscal Plan (opens a 157-page pdf)

Read the Budget 2018 Speech


Compliments of REBGV

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TheBritish Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a record 12,906 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in June, up 14.3 per cent from the same month last year.Total sales dollar volume was $8.97 billion in June, up 25.7 per cent compared to the previous year.


The average MLS® residential price in the province was up 10 per cent year-over-year, to $694,925.

“Robust housing demand in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan drove sales growth in June,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Economist. “At the same time, the inventory of homes for sale continues to slide lower, creating very tight market conditions around the province.“


“The supply of resale homes is remarkably low across BC, but particularly so in Victoria and the Fraser Valley,” added Ogmundson. The sales-to-active listings ratio has eclipsed 60 per cent in both Victoria and the Fraser Valley, corresponding to less than two months of supply given current demand.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 53.2 per cent to $49.9 billion, when compared with the same period in 2015. Residential unit sales climbed by 30.6 per cent to 67,361 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 17.3 per cent to $741,150.

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The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is holding its target for the overnight interest rate at 0.5 per cent. The Bank noted that inflation is on track to return to its target of 2 per cent by 2017, though heightened global uncertainty presents a risk to that forecast.


Economic growth in Canada appears to be slowing as expected in the second quarter.  Our tracking estimate of second quarter real GDP growth is currently at -0.5 per cent following a strong start to the year.

Most of the slowdown is due to disruptions caused by the Alberta wildfires which points to a strong rebound as oil production comes back on-line and the reconstruction effort begins


Our forecast remains that the Bank will be sidelined for the remainder of 2016 and through most if not all of 2017.




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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.