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Housing market conditions continue to favour home buyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the February 2019 stats package.

Home listings increase while buyers remain in holding pattern

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Empty Home Tax and Speculation

The following  information is about  EMPTY HOMES TAX:

Each year, home owners in Vancouver are required to submit a property status declaration to determine if their property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax.

Property owners must complete their declaration by February 4, 2019.

The declaration should take five minutes to complete. You’ll need:

Most homes won’t be subject to the tax, as it doesn’t apply to principal residences or homes rented for at least six months of the year.

Properties found to be empty will be subject to a tax of one per cent of the property’s 2018 assessed taxable value.

Audits

Property status declarations will be subject to an audit process. If your property is selected for an audit, you’ll be asked to provide evidence in support of your declaration.

False declarations will result in fines of up to $10,000 per day of the continuing offence, in addition to payment of the tax.

The BC government’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax is a separate tax in addition to the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax.

Learn more about the Empty Homes Tax

If you have questions, phone 3-1-1. Outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000.

The following information is about  BC SPECULATION and VACANCY TAX  (SVT):

From January 18 to Feb. 28, 2019,residential property owners in areas subject to the BC Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT) will receive a letter with instructions on how to complete a declaration and register an exemption.

Areas subject to the SVT

  • Municipalities within the Metro Vancouver Regional District, excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lions Bay, and Electoral Area A, but including the University of British Columbia and the University Endowment Lands
  • Municipalities within the Capital Regional District excluding: Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, and the Southern Gulf Islands
  • The City of Abbotsford
  • The District of Mission
  • The City of Chilliwack
  • The City of Kelowna 
  • The City of West Kelowna
  • The City of Nanaimo
  • The District of Lantzville

Completing the declaration

All property owners living in areas subject to the tax must complete the SVT declaration and register to claim an exemption. More information is available at www.gov.bc.ca/spectax.

If a residential property has more than one owner, even if the other owner is a spouse, a separate declaration must be made by each owner.

A property owner in an area where the SVT applies who doesn’t receive a registration package by the end of February should phone the SVT contact centre at 1-833-554-2323 (toll-free Canada/U.S.) or 604-660-2421 (international).

Deadline March 31, 2019

Owners must register and complete their declaration for an exemption by March 31. 2019.

Residential property owners who don’t complete their declaration before April 1, 2019, will receive a notice of tax assessment.

Tax payable

Owners of non-exempt property have until July 2, 2019 to pay their assessed tax.

For 2018, the tax rate is:

  • 0.5% of the property’s assessed value for all properties subject to the tax

For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:

The speculation and vacancy tax apply as of December 31 each year.

The speculation and vacancy tax year is the same as the calendar year. Tax levied on December 31 is due the following July. For example, for a property owned as of December 31, 2018, the 2018 tax rate of 0.5 per cent applies and the tax is due on July 2, 2019.

Exemptions

There are exemptions to the SVT for:

The government’s rationale for the tax is:

  • It targets foreign and domestic speculators who own homes in BC but do not pay tax here,
  • It turns empty homes into housing, and
  • It raises revenue for supporting affordable housing.

All revenues raised through the SVT will support affordable housing initiatives in communities where the tax applies.

Subscribe to receive updates about the SVT.

Commercial real estate sales decline and price activity varies across the Lower Mainland

Commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland declined in the third quarter (Q3) of 2018 compared to the elevated activity experienced in recent years.

There were 565 commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2018, a 19.5 per cent decrease from 702 sales in Q3 2017, according to data from Commercial Edge, a commercial real estate system operated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The total dollar value of commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland reached $3.903 billion in Q3 2018, a 0.9 per cent decrease from $3.938 billion in Q3 2017.

“We’re seeing less demand across our commercial market compared to recent years and supply is beginning to ramp up with a number of projects expected to complete in our region over the next year,” said Phil Moore, REBGV president.

Q3 2018 activity by category

Land: There were 199 commercial land sales in Q3 2018, which is a 34.8 per cent decrease from the 305 land sales in Q3 2017. The dollar value of land sales was $2.007 billion in Q3 2018, a 14.8 per cent decrease from $2.356 billion in Q3 2017.

Office and Retail: There were 229 office and retail sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2018, which is down 4.2 per cent from the 239 sales in Q3 2017. The dollar value of office and retail sales was $1.377 billion in Q3 2018, a 45.5 per cent increase from $946 million in Q3 2017.

Industrial: There were 118 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2018, which is down 12.6 per cent from the 135 sales in Q3 2017. The dollar value of industrial sales was $290 million in Q3 2018, a 30.1 per cent decrease from $414 million in Q3 2017.

Multi-Family: There were 19 multi-family land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2018, which is down 17.4 per cent from 23 sales in Q3 2017. The dollar value of multi-family sales was $230 million in Q3 2018, a 3.9 per cent increase from $221 million in Q3 2017.

The above are reported by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver on December 7, 2018. Contact Eva Li for real estate related questions or report. Let Eva’s expertise work for you.

Home listings at four-year October high as sales remain below typical levels

Home sale activity across Metro Vancouver* remained below long-term historical averages in October.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,966 in October 2018, a 34.9 per cent decrease from the 3,022 sales recorded in October 2017, and a 23.3 per cent increase compared to September 2018 when 1,595 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 26.8 per cent below the 10-year October sales average.

“The supply of homes for sale today is beginning to return to levels that we haven’t seen in our market in about four years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “For home buyers, this means you have more selection to choose from. For sellers, it means your home may face more competition, from other listings, in the marketplace.”

There were 4,873 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in October 2018. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase compared to the 4,539 homes listed in October 2017 and a 7.7 per cent decrease compared to September 2018 when 5,279 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,984, a 42.1 per cent increase compared to October 2017 (9,137) and a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to September 2018 (13,084).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2018 is 15.1 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 10.3 per cent for detached homes, 17.3 per cent for townhomes, and 20.6 per cent for condominiums.

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

“Home prices have edged down between three and five per cent, depending on housing type, in our region since June,” said Moore. “This is providing a little relief for those looking to buy compared to the all-time highs we’ve experienced over the last year.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,062,100. This represents a one per cent increase over October 2017 and a 3.3 per cent decrease over the last three months.

Sales of detached homes in October 2018 reached 637, a 32.2 per cent decrease from the 940 detached sales recorded in October 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,524,000. This represents a 5.1 per cent decrease from October 2017 and a 3.9 per cent decrease over the last three months.

Sales of apartments reached 985 in October 2018, a 35.7 per cent decrease compared to the 1,532 sales in October 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $683,500. This represents a 5.8 per cent increase from October 2017 and a 3.1 per cent decrease over the last three months.

Attached homes sales in October 2018 totalled 344, a 37.5 per cent decrease compared to the 550 sales in October 2017. The benchmark price of an attached home is $829,200. This represents a 4.4 per cent increase from October 2017 and a 2.8 per cent decrease over the last three months.

Click here to download the full package.

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Everything You Need to Know About Buying Your First Home

If you’re anything like me, you’re growing rather tired of spending the majority of your hard-earned pay each month on rent. You find yourself thinking that rent is expensive. Paying rent really does nothing to advance your own financials, so really, why bother? If this sounds like your train of thought lately than maybe you’re ready to buy your own home.

It sounds absolutely terrifying, I know. It certainly can be, especially if you lack the information and the “how to’s” of buying a home.

However, when you break it down, buying a home is not actually that scary or overwhelming. Just take it slow and know that you can’t move on to the next step before dealing with the one before.

Can you afford to purchase a home?

Take a good hard look at where you spend your money. Calculate all your bills and debts and see if adding mortgage payments to the mix would be doable for you. Your monthly housing costs shouldn’t be higher than 32% of your gross monthly income and your monthly debt load should be less than 40% of your gross monthly income.

There are even government initiatives that are set in place to encourage first-time buyers such as the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. This credit, which works out to a rebate of $750 for all first-time buyers, will help with some of the extra costs of buying a home, including legal fees, disbursements, and land transfer taxes.

Even with this credit, first-time buyers must still save for a down payment. The minimum deposit required in Canada is at least 5% of the purchase price of the home. CMHC insurance is needed in order to protect the lender in case you default on your payments, but it can be avoided if you put down a down payment of 20% or more.

Qualifying and getting a mortgage

Getting a pre-approved mortgage is step two. It’s one of the best ways to determine what your shopping budget will be. Also, look for the best mortgage rates to get an idea of what rates are. A lender will analyze all of your finances and debts and determine how much money it could potentially allow you to borrow.

Before calling a lender, you should know some of these basics to help you feel more comfortable:

  • Lenders like consistency — they prefer loaning money to people who worked for at least two years
  • Explain every detail about all of your income to help your loan officer or mortgage broker give you the correct information
  • Have all of your financial documents at hand so you can give your loan officer or mortgage broker exact numbers
  • Be ready to have your credit checked, so be sure to close any open claims with collections before this is done; in fact, check your credit reports from either Equifax or TransUnion

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