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September 2019 – Vancouver Real Estate Statistics

Increased demand helps housing market reach balanced territory

Home buyer demand has returned to more historically typical levels in Metro Vancouver over the last three months.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,333 in September 2019, a 46.3 per cent increase from the 1,595 sales recorded in September 2018, and a 4.6 per cent increase from the 2,231 homes sold in August 2019.

Last month’s sales were 1.7 per cent below the 10-year September sales average.

“We’re seeing more balanced housing market conditions over the last three months compared to what we saw at this time last year,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “Home buyers are more willing to make offers today, particularly in the townhome and apartment markets.”

There were 4,866 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in September 2019. This represents a 7.8 per cent decrease compared to the 5,279 homes listed in September 2018 and a 29.9 per cent increase compared to August 2019 when 3,747 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 13,439, a 2.7 per cent increase compared to September 2018 (13,084) and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to August 2019 (13,396).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2019 is 17.4 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 12.7 per cent for detached homes, 18.9 per cent for townhomes, and 21.9 per cent for apartments.

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

“This is a more comfortable market for people on both sides of a real estate transaction,” said Smith. “Home sale and listing activity were both at typical levels for our region in September.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $990,600. This represents a 7.3 per cent decrease over September 2018 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to August 2019.

Sales of detached homes in September 2019 reached 745, a 46.7 per cent increase from the 508 detached sales recorded in September 2018. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,406,200. This represents an 8.6 per cent decrease from September 2018 and is virtually unchanged compared to August 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,166 in September 2019, a 43.6 per cent increase compared to the 812 sales in September 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $651,500. This represents a 6.5 per cent decrease from September 2018 and a 0.4 per cent decrease compared to August 2019.

Attached home sales in September 2019 totalled 422, a 53.5 per cent increase compared to the 275 sales in September 2018. The benchmark price of an attached home is $767,500. This represents a 7.2 per cent decrease from September 2018 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to August 2019.

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August 2019 Real Estate Statistics – Vancouver MLS®

Metro Vancouver housing market sees summer uptick in sales

Home buyer activity increased to more typical levels in Metro Vancouver throughout the summer months.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,231 in August 2019, a 15.7 per cent increase from the 1,929 sales recorded in August 2018, and a 12.7 per cent decrease from the 2,557 homes sold in July 2019.

Last month’s sales were 9.2 per cent below the 10-year August sales average.

“Home sales returned to more historically normal levels in July and August compared to what we saw in the first six months of the year,” said REBGV President Ashley Smith. 

There were 3,747 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2019. This represents a 3.5 per cent decrease compared to the 3,881 homes listed in August 2018 and an 18.8 per cent decrease compared to July 2019 when 4,613 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 13,396, a 13.3 per cent increase compared to August 2018 (11,824) and a 5.9 per cent decrease compared to July 2019 (14,240).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2019 is 16.7 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 12 per cent for detached homes, 18.4 per cent for townhomes, and 21.2 per cent for apartments.

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

“With more demand from home buyers, the supply of homes listed for sale isn’t accumulating like earlier in the year. These changes are creating more balanced market conditions,” Smith said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $993,300. This represents an 8.3 per cent decrease over August 2018 and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to July 2019.

Sales of detached homes in August 2019 reached 706, a 24.5 per cent increase from the 567 detached sales recorded in August 2018. The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,406,700. This represents a 9.8 per cent decrease from August 2018 and a 0.7 per cent decrease compared to July 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,116 in August 2019, an 8.9 per cent increase compared to the 1,025 sales in August 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $771,000. This represents a 7.4 per cent decrease from August 2018 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to July 2019.

Attached home sales in August 2019 totalled 409, a 21.4 per cent increase compared to the 337 sales in August 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $654,000. This represents a 7.8 per cent decrease from August 2018, a 0.2 per cent increase compared to July 2019.

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Greater Vancouver Real Estate Statistics – July 2019

Home sales increase in July

Home buyer demand picked up across Metro Vancouver last month, making July, a traditionally quieter month in real estate, the second highest selling month so far this year.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,557 in July 2019, a 23.5 per cent increase from the 2,070 sales recorded in July 2018, and a 23.1 per cent increase from the 2,077 homes sold in June 2019.

Last month’s sales were 7.8 per cent below the 10-year July sales average.

“While home sale activity remains below long-term averages, we saw an increase in sales in July compared to the less active spring we experienced,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “Those looking to buy today continue to benefit from low interest rates, increased selection, and reduced prices compared to the heated market a few years ago.”

There were 4,613 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in July 2019. This represents a 3.3 per cent decrease compared to the 4,770 homes listed in July 2018 and a 2.9 per cent decrease compared to June 2019 when 4,751 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 14,240, a 17.3 per cent increase compared to July 2018 (12,137) and a 4.9 per cent decrease compared to June 2019 (14,968).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for July 2019 is 18 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 13.5 per cent for detached homes, 20 per cent for townhomes, and 22 per cent for apartments.

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

“To better understand conditions in your property type or neighbourhood of choice, it’s important to work with your local REALTOR®. They can help you develop a strategy to reach your long-term real estate goals,“ Smith said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $995,200. This represents a 9.4 per cent decrease over July 2018 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to June 2019.

Sales of detached homes in July 2019 reached 841, a 32 per cent increase from the 637 detached sales recorded in July 2018. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,417,000. This represents a 10.5 per cent decrease from July 2018, and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to June 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,243 in July 2019, a 15.2 per cent increase compared to the 1,079 sales in July 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $653,200. This represents an 8.8 per cent decrease from July 2018, and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to June 2019.

Attached home sales in July 2019 totalled 473, a 33.6 per cent increase compared to the 354 sales in July 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $770,000. This represents a nine per cent decrease from July 2018, and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to June 2019.

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June 2019 – Vancouver Real Estate Statistics

June Vancouver MLS Real Estate Statistics

Housing supply up, home sales and prices down in June

With home buyer demand below long-term historical averages in June, the supply of homes for sale continued to accumulate in Metro Vancouver.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,077 in June 2019, a 14.4 per cent decrease from the 2,425 sales recorded in June 2018 and a 21.3 per cent decrease from the 2,638 homes sold in May 2019.

Last month’s sales were 34.7 per cent below the 10-year June sales average. This is the lowest total for the month since 2000.

“We’re continuing to see an expectation gap between home buyers and sellers in Metro Vancouver,” said Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “Sellers are often trying to get yesterday’s values for their homes while buyers are taking a cautious, wait-and-see approach.”

On the supply side, there were 4,751 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in June 2019. This represents a 10 per cent decrease compared to the 5,279 homes listed in June 2018 and an 18.9 per cent decrease compared to May 2019 when 5,861 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 14,968, a 25.3 per cent increase compared to June 2018 (11,947) and a 1.9 per cent increase compared to May 2019 (14,685).

“Home buyers haven’t had this much selection to choose from in five years,” Smith said. “For sellers to be successful in today’s market, it’s important to work with your local REALTOR® to make sure you’re pricing your home for these conditions.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2019 is 13.9 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 11.4 per cent for detached homes, 15.8 per cent for townhomes, and 15.7 per cent for apartments.

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

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $998,700. This represents a 9.6 per cent decrease over June 2018 and a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to May 2019.

This is the first time the composite benchmark has been below $1 million since May 2017.

Sales of detached homes in June 2019 reached 746, a 2.6 per cent decrease from the 766 detached sales recorded in June 2018. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,423,500. This represents a 10.9 per cent decrease from June 2018 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to May 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 941 in June 2019, a 24.1 per cent decrease compared to the 1,240 sales in June 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $654,700. This represents an 8.9 per cent decrease from June 2018 and a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to May 2019.

Attached home sales in June 2019 totalled 390, a 6.9 per cent decrease compared to the 419 sales in June 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $774,700. This represents an 8.6 per cent decrease from June 2018 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to May 2019.

Source – REBGV – Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

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FORECAST: Real Estate – A Case of the ‘Yeah But’s’ Again – Ozzie Jurock

Ozzie Jurock Market Predictions

It is wildly unpopular to be positive in British Columbia these days. We are down, we feel down, we want to be down and down we are. Particularly in the real estate market, we like to wallow in our self-imposed misery. No matter what the positive news, no matter what the uplifting statement, it is always countered with a frown followed by a seemingly knowledgeable: Yeah, but … (Put in your favourite: NDP, Taxes, housing crash).

I find this amazing. In 1960, the average Vancouver home sold for $13,105. Thirty-eight years later (1998), the average sale price stood at $346,540. Assuming long-ago you had plunked down ten per cent or $1,310 as down payment and hung in there; you would now be gloating over a 26,455-per-cent return on that original down payment. And you have a roof over your noggin to boot. Amazing! Today that average SF house is $1,800,000! Exercise in fantasy but if this lift kept right on trucking for the next 25 years, by the year 2023 that $13,000 home will be commanding over $6 million dollars. And you will still have a roof over your gray hairs.

But at various times in our history, the Yeah, buts scare people out of their wits. In 2003, 2008, 2011 and now 2019 they are out. The naysayers with fur.

We are told that real estate’s day is gone; that this is a New World and that this or that factor will sink real estate investment. Of course, the Chinese have disproved that theory for 2,000 years; the Europeans and North Americans have founded their empires on real estate. In fact, ownership of even the humblest real estate has been the greatest wealth builder bar none for the average person. It has made the average North American wealthier than his counterpart in any other part of the world. In fact, it is the defining difference between rich and poor nations. But no matter to the naysayer this time it is somehow different.

Ok, what about now in 2019? The US tried QT … for 5 months resulting in a stock market crash. QE is back in Europe – will come back in US. All hard assets will be higher. But a new world is upon us … learn to love it … get involved … buy hard new hard assets. So many new opportunities.

Our future is shifting – learn about this. It’s here already…

• Cashless society,
• Paperless world,
• 4-day work week,
• Driverless cars,
• Everything online – everything next day delivery,
• Virtual and augmented reality,
• 3D printing houses (your widgets?) just starting,
• Be positive: The whole world wants to live here. YOU already do!
• Foreigners will keep coming … Canada is rated No. 3 for safety

Buy: Your own office/industrial/retail store. Always!
Buy: Strata office/strata warehouse
Buy: Inner city warehouses (next day delivery needs close-by storage)
Buy: Your house/your condo – haggle hard.

Yes, 50 developments have been put on hold. Great! That adds value to existing unsold inventory.

Understand you make the most money on the day you buy! That is when people run scared. Make stink bids. Buy that deal of a lifetime.

Buy cash flow, you can still buy hundreds of cashflow houses condos under $100,000: E.g. in May 2019: Kimberley Ski condo on the hill, fully furnished $79,500.

Luxury condos and house prices coming down … make stink bids.

Rent a luxury condo, buy a rental property where your money cashflows.

Ok, don’t buy: Timeshare, quarter share, Phase 2 condos, Hotel condos, ski resorts without golf.

A new phenomena: Lifelong tenants – rental buildings will do well.

Study, work, make offers, get the deal of a lifetime. Subscribe to the FREE Oz Buzz … live your life LARGE.

Forget the ‘Yeah buts’. We are thriving in BC. We have consumers that consume. We are in a cycle of growth. This week we had a record in job growth – 8 times the number for April expected. We need more labour. We have huge net foreign immigration (yes, still). We have a desirable high-tech industry, a roaring movie industry, exports and construction all combined to create a diverse and roaring economy. Our GDP expansion is best in Canada together with the lowest unemployment rate. We have the best stores in the world on Alberni St. The world is coming to BC. And not just the high end world: 70 per cent of Canadians over 60 want to retire in BC.

Oh, my BC. My Love. Our BC has a majestic environment, outstanding climate and spectacular vistas. There is a very crisp quality in BC. Call it the fine mountain air or ocean spray, balmy sunsets, or clear blue skies that stretch to the horizon. Part of it is that special flavour of the West – an entrepreneurial, innovative flavour, a generosity of spirit, and open arms, an embracing of life in the outdoors and life where the individual can grow to his or her own future best. People from all parts of the world come here, bringing their individuality, charm, wisdom and business acumen.

To work here is a privilege. To live here is a true blessing. To study here is a benefit. To worship here is a natural. To love and hold here – this is paradise.

Credit Union Central says: Prices will double in 20 years.

By – Ozzie Jurock

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May 2019 – Real Estate Statistics

Vancouver Real Estate Statistics March 2019

May sees modest increase in home sales while housing supply reaches five-year high

Monthly Metro Vancouver1 home sales eclipsed 2,000 for the first time this year in May, although home buyer demand remains below historical averages.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,638 in May 2019, a 6.9 per cent decrease from the 2,833 sales recorded in May 2018, and a 44.2 per cent increase from the 1,829 homes sold in April 2019.

Last month’s sales were 22.9 per cent below the 10-year May sales average and was the lowest total for the month since 2000.

“High home prices and mortgage qualification issues caused by the federal government’s B20 stress test remain significant factors behind the reduced demand that the market is experiencing today,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said.

There were 5,861 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver last month. This represents an 8.1 per cent decrease compared to the 6,375 homes listed in May 2018 and a 2.1 per cent increase compared to April 2019 when 5,742 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 14,685, a 30 per cent increase compared to May 2018 (11,292) and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to April 2019 (14,357). This is the highest number of homes listed for sale since September 2014 (14,832).

“Whether you’re a buyer looking to make an offer or a seller looking to list your home, getting your pricing right is the key in today’s market,” Smith said. “To be competitive, it’s important to work with your local REALTOR® to assess and understand the latest trends in your neighbourhood and property type of choice.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2019 is 18 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.2 per cent for detached homes, 20 per cent for townhomes, and 21.2 per cent for apartments.

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

The MLS® Home Price Index2 composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,006,400. This represents an 8.9 per cent decrease over May 2018, a 3.4 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.4 per cent decrease compared to April 2019.

Sales of detached homes in May 2019 reached 913, a 1.4 per cent decrease from the 926 detached sales recorded in May 2018. The benchmark price for a detached home in the region is $1,421,900. This represents an 11.5 per cent decrease from May 2018, a 5.4 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to April 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,246 in May 2019, a 12.9 per cent decrease compared to the 1,431 sales in May 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $664,200. This represents a 7.3 per cent decrease from May 2018, a two per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to April 2019.

Attached home sales in May 2019 totalled 479, a 0.6 per cent increase compared to the 476 sales in May 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $779,400. This represents a 7.6 per cent decrease from May 2018, a 3.5 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.6 per cent increase compared to April 2019.

Download the May 2019 stats package.

Editor’s Notes

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

2. MLS® Home Price Index 2019 update

In line with best statistical practices, the national MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) underwent an annual review in May.

MLS® HPI coverage was extended in neighbourhoods where sales volumes increased enough to support benchmark price tracking and was discontinued for neighbourhoods where sales became too sparse to support benchmark price calculations. REBGV also updated sub-areas in Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Ladner to better reflect changes in these communities over time.

To ensure MLS® HPI coverage is comparable, historical aggregate and composite data was recalculated to reflect these updates to the model.

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March 2019 – Real Estate Statistics

March 2019 Real Estate Statistics

Prospective home buyers remain on the sidelines in March

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BCREA Pleased With Housing Focus in Federal Budget 2019

Federal Budget 2019 Vancouver Real Estate

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.

Source – BCREA

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B-20 Stress Test Needs Revision to Improve Housing Affordability

BCREA Stress Test

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) is calling on the federal government to revisit the B-20 stress test so that more BC families can achieve their dream of homeownership. Mortgage lending rules, known as the B-20 stress test, have eroded housing affordability by reducing the purchasing power of families by as much as 20 per cent. Introduced last year, the stress test forces even the most credit-worthy borrowers with large down payments to qualify at an interest rate that is two percentage points above the rate they negotiate with their bank.

“We would like to see a review and reconsideration of the current mortgage underwriting ‘stress test,’ as well as a return to 30-year amortizations for federally insured mortgages,” says BCREA chief executive officer Darlene Hyde. “These rules must be changed now before BC families are left further behind.”

The stress test has caused a sharp decline in the attainability of homeownership in Canada. Since its implementation, home sales have declined 18 per cent across the country. Canada’s largest urban centres, where lack of affordability was especially acute before the new rules came into effect, have been hardest hit.

Home sales have declined nearly 25 per cent in Toronto and more than 45 per cent in Vancouver over the same period.

Stress Test Home Sales

“The B-20 stress test is also having a negative impact on homeowner equity, family spending and the housing stock itself,” adds Hyde. “There’s a knock-on effect to the overall economy as families who are worried about declining home equity cut back on retail spending, home renovations and other products and services.”

A sharp decline in housing demand also causes home builders to pull back on production, arguably when it’s needed most, leading to slower growth of the housing stock and yet another supply crunch coupled with upward pressure on home prices down the road. Accordingly, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association has expressed similar concerns regarding the B-20 stress test, and the Canadian Real Estate Association and Toronto Real Estate Board have recently made similar appeals.

When families are locked out of the housing market by the strictest of mortgage rules, even the BC government treasury is affected. The sharp decline in home sales caused by the B-20 stress test has cost the government $400 million in lost Property Transfer Tax revenues alone, money that could have been used for health care, education and affordable housing.

BCREA – Vancouver, BC – March 12, 2019.

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Canadian Housing Starts – August 9, 2018

Canadian Housing Starts - August 9, 2018

Canadian housing starts declined 16 per cent on a monthly basis in July to 206,300 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The six-month trend in Canadian housing starts has been on a steady decline in the past few months and is now at 220,000 units SAAR.

In BC, total housing starts increased 24 per cent on a monthly basis to 42,500 units SAAR but were down 7 per cent year-over-year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were up 35 per cent to an annual rate of 33,200 units while single detached fell 4 per cent. Compared to July 2017, multiple units starts were down 5 per cent while single detached starts were 11 per cent lower.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC:

Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were down 10 per cent year-over-year but jumped 48 per cent on a monthly basis from June due to a surge in multiple unit starts.

In the Victoria CMA, housing starts fell 18 per cent from June to 4,880 unit SAAR and were down 40 per cent year-over-year. Total housing starts in the Victoria CMA are up 14 per cent in the first seven months of 2018 as builders respond to strong housing demand in the area, particularly in West Shore municipalities like Langford and Colwood.

In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction increased 23 per cent year-over-year as a result of new multiple unit projects getting underway. However, on a monthly basis, total starts were down 47 per cent from a very strong June to a rate of just under 2,000 units SAAR.
Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 15 per cent on a year-over-year basis, with the decline entirely due to lower levels of new construction in multiple unit housing. However, starts in July were more than triple those recorded in June, coming it at a rate of 1,750 units SAAR.

Source – BCREA