B.C. Real Estate News

British Columbia Real Estate News Stories And Articles

BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the October 2014 statistics.

Year-to-Date Home Sales Eclipse 2013 Annual Total

Vancouver, BC – November 14, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,648 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October, up 14.6 per cent from October 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $4.4 billion, an increase of 22 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $575,504, up 7.1 per cent from the same month last year.

“Consumer demand for housing continues at an elevated level,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “There were more homes purchased during the first ten months of the year than during all of 2013”. To the end of October, 73,001 homes have traded hands in the province compared to 72,936 for all of last year.

“Strong year-over-year increases in housing demand were experienced in Chilliwack (up 31 per cent), Victoria (up 21.9 per cent) and the Kootenay (up 19.4 per cent) market areas. Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and Okanagan Mainline also posted a marked increase in sales activity last month.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 23 per cent to $41.4 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 15.8 per cent to 73,001 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 6.2 per cent at $566,687.

This article appeared on News 1130 on November 16th, 2014 by Richard Dettman.

BC Home Sales in 2014 Have Already Topped Last Year’s Total: BCREAProvince-wide average price last month rose 7.1 per cent.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Home sales in BC have topped last year’s total in just 10 months.

An industry group reports 73,000 homes were sold across BC to the end of October, beating the 12-month total for 2013.

In October, more than 7,600 residential unit sales were made through the Multiple Listing Service, up 14.6 per cent from a year earlier. The province-wide average price of a home rose 7.1 per cent to $575,000.

BC Real Estate Association chief economist Cameron Muir says “Strong year-over-year increases in housing demand were experienced in Chilliwack (up 31 per cent), Victoria (21.9 per cent), and the Kootenay (19.4 per cent).”

B.C. Housing Minister Moves to Shore Up Standards for Home Inspections, Globe and Mail. This article appeared on the Globe and Mail online on September 19th, 2014 and was written by Dene Moore.

By the end of next year, home inspectors will have to meet a standard set of professional criteria to be licenced in British Columbia.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman said Friday the improved requirements will help safeguard home buyers who rely on the inspections for making what is likely the largest investment of their lives.

Consumer Protection BC will set the education and training requirements and be responsible for testing and licensing home inspectors.

“At the end of the day, buying a home is one of the biggest purchases somebody ever makes, and we’ve always been very supportive of any move toward consumer protection in this area,” said Tayt Winnitoy, vice-president of operations for Consumer Protection BC.

In 2009, B.C. became the first jurisdiction in Canada to require licences and insurance for home inspectors, and there are now about 440 licensed in the province.

A few months later, a North Vancouver couple won an unprecedented award in the civil lawsuit they brought against their home inspector.

Three years earlier, Manuel Salgado and Nora Calcaneo bought a home for $1.095 million.

They paid $450 for an inspection, which found a number of structural deficiencies. The inspector, Imre Toth, estimated the repairs would cost them $15,000 to $20,000. They closed the deal.

When the bill came in, it totalled $213,000.

They filed suit against Toth, the sellers and the real estate agents, but settled with the previous owners and dropped their claim against the agents. Justice Grant Burnyeat said Toth’s estimate was “woefully inadequate.”

The purpose of the inspection is to provide a homebuyer with expert advice about any significant deficiencies, the judge wrote. “I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the plaintiffs relied upon the report received by Mr. Toth to decide whether they would purchase the property,” he wrote.

“Plainly, if prospective home purchasers did not believe that they could secure meaningful and reliable advice about the home they were considering purchasing, there would be no reason for them to retain an inspector to inspect that home.”

Currently, inspectors must pass regular examinations to obtain and keep their license but there are four different associations that can licence, each with its own evaluation process.

In a survey by the provincial Office of Housing and Construction Standards, 78 per cent of home inspectors felt the requirements for a licence are too lax. “It is clear … that action is needed to increase consumer protection and to address the challenges in the current model,” the report said.

The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors — one of the four groups that licence inspectors — said non-existent standards improved with the 2009 regulations, but loopholes remain.

Winnitoy said home buyers can rest assured that the inspectors they’re dealing with now have met minimum training and education requirements.

“What we see now and what we’re looking forward to is a deepening and an improving of the framework to help ensure that there’s a level playing field for all home inspectors and a clear set of expectations for consumers to have.”

Vancouver, BC – September 12, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,341 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in August, up 7 per cent from August 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $4.1 billion, an increase of 12.4 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $560,318, up 5 per cent from the same month last year.

No Vacation for Home Buyers in August

Click to enlarge

“Consumer demand remained relatively robust in August,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The Okanagan and Chilliwack board areas posted the strongest year-over-year gain of 22 to 25 per cent in unit sales, while Victoria and Vancouver increased around 10 per cent respectively.” Home sales last month were the highest for the month of August since 2009.

“Low mortgage rates, increased net-migration and improving economic conditions continue to underpin housing demand in the province,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 22.8 per cent to $28.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 15.8 per cent to 57,715 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 6.1 per cent at $564,466.

MLS Residential Sales BC July 2014

Click to enlarge

Home Buying Heats Up Over the Summer Months, BC Real Estate Association.  Vancouver, BC – August 14, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,493 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in July, up 11 per cent from July 2013.

Total sales dollar volume was $4.65 billion, an increase of 13.8 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $547,926, up 2.5 per cent from the same month last year.

“Strong consumer confidence continues to drive a summer rally of home sales,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “While sales were up in all but one BC real estate board area, the Okanagan has posted a meteoric rise in consumer demand, with the most home sales on record for the month of July.”

“Overall market conditions remain in relative balance in BC,” added Muir, “however, relatively fewer homes for sale have created sellers’ market conditions in some communities.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 24.5 per cent to $28.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 17.2 per cent to 50,376 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 6.2 per cent at $565,031.

BC Residential Home Sales May 2014

Click to enlarge

Strongest May for Home Sales Since 2007, BC Real Estate Association. Vancouver, BC – June 13, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,729 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May, up 13.9 per cent from May 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $4.9 billion, an increase of 20.6 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $565,233, up 5.8 per cent from the same month last year.

“Consumer demand was noticeably stronger last month, with unit sales posting their highest level for the month of May since 2007,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Rock bottom mortgage rates are inducing many would-be home buyers to enter the market this spring.”

“With most BC markets now in balanced conditions, home prices are up in nine of 11 board areas,” added Muir.

During the first five months of the year, BC residential sales dollar volume was up nearly 26 per cent to $18.8 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up almost 17 per cent to 32,894 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 7.7 per cent at $571,648.

MLS Residential Home Sales February March 2014

Click to Enlarge

February Home Sales Edge Lower, BCREA. Vancouver, BC – March 14, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 5,578 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February, up 24.9 per cent from February 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $3.4 billion, an increase of 43.1 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $611,688, up 15.4 per cent from the same period last year.

“Consumer demand was much stronger in February compared to a year ago, but edged lower compared to January,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Weak employment growth in 2013 has limited home sales so far this year to long-term average levels.”

“Record low mortgage interest rates and population growth continue to underpin the housing market and most regions of the province are at or near balanced market conditions,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 10.1 per cent to $36.7 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 6 per cent to 68,510 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 3.8 per cent at $535,411.

BC Provincial Real Estate First Time Home BuyerThe BC Government recently released it’s 2014/2015 Budget and in that Budget changes were made to the First Time Home Buyers’ Program. The main change was to Property Transfer Tax and the exemption threshold which was increased to $475,000 from $425,000. This change applies to all registrations on or after February 19th, 2014. I have included information below regarding the First Time Home Buyers’ Program and how it works. It is always important to talk to your mortgage broker about this program to ensure that you do qualify for the exemption if you are a first time home buyer.

Information about Property Transfer Tax and the First Time Home Buyers’ Program (from BC Government Website)

The First Time Home Buyers’ Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption from the tax.

If one or more of the purchasers don’t qualify, only the percentage of interest that the first time home buyer(s) have in the property is eligible.

For example, if you qualify and purchase a property with a fair market value (see below) of $400,000 with a person that doesn’t qualify you would still qualify. If you owned a 60% interest in the property, 60% of the tax amount would be eligible for the exemption.

Qualifying for the Exemption

To qualify for a full exemption (PDF), at the time the property is registered you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
  • have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
  • you have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund

and the property must:

  • be located in B.C.
  • only be used as your principal residence
  • have a fair market value (see below) of:
    • $475,000 or less if registered on or after February 19, 2014
  • be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller

You may qualify for a partial exemption (PDF) from the tax if the property:

  • has a fair market value less than:
    • $500,000 if registered on or after February 19, 2014
  • is larger than 0.5 hectares
  • has another building on the property other than the principal residence

If you don’t qualify because you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you become one within 12 months of when the property is registered, you may apply for a refund of the tax. To apply for a refund call (250) 387-0604.

Fair Market Value

Fair market value is the price that would be paid by a willing purchaser to a willing seller for a property (land and improvements) in the open market on the date of registration.

Open Market Transfers

A property transfer is considered to be in the open market when anyone likely to be interested in purchasing the property can make an offer. For example, the seller lists the property with a realtor or advertises it for sale.

The purchase price is considered the fair market value in most cases as long as you register the property within a few months of signing the sales contract. Otherwise, you will need to verify that the purchase price is fair market value if:

  • there was a significant change in value
  • the condition of the property changed
  • you didn’t purchase the property in the open market

Non-Open Market Transfers

When a property transfer doesn’t take place in the open market, fair market value may be determined using other means such as:

  • a recent independent appraisal, or
  • the property valuation provided by BC Assessment

Generally, the property valuation provided by BC Assessment reflects your property’s fair market value as of July 1 of the previous year. For example, the 2013 roll value reflects market conditions at July 1, 2012. This means that the assessed value may not reflect the current fair market value of your property.

The current property valuation provided by BC Assessment can’t be used in certain cases, such as when:

  • changes have been made to the property (e.g. rezoning) since the assessment
  • market conditions in the area of the property have changed since the assessment
  • the land is classified as farm land (class 9)
  • new or additional construction has been completed

BCREA: BC Real Estate Statistics and Housing Market Update for February 2014. I have included the BC Real Estate Association’s report for this month. BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir discuss the January 2014 statistics and how the cancellation of the Federal Immigrant Investor Program will impact the housing market. See video below and full article from BCREA is included below the video.

Strongest January Residential Sales Since 2010
Muted Impact Expected From Cancelled Investor Immigrant Program

Vancouver, BC – February 14, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 4,244 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January, up 24.5 per cent from January 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $2.4 billion, an increase of 36.8 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $565,036, up 9.9 per cent from the same period last year.

MLS Residential Sales BC January 2014 Real Estate

Click to Enlarge

“Residential sales activity in the province posted the strongest January since 2010,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Consumer demand has recovered from last year’s lower levels and is now trending at the long-term average.” The ten-year average for January is 4,276 unit sales.

“Stronger economic conditions are expected to underpin a modest uptick in home sales later this year,” added Muir.

The demise of the federal Immigrant Investor Program is expected to have little impact on the Metro Vancouver housing market. “The only impact we foresee is less pressure on the inventory of detached homes in Vancouver’s West Side, Richmond and West Vancouver,” said Muir.

The number of investor immigrant landings peaked at 5,876 in 2008 before declining to just 2,644 in 2012, with a similar number expected for 2013. These numbers include spouses and dependents. The total number of added households is estimated to be between 900 and 1,000 per year since 2011.

CMHC Canadian Mortgage and Housing CorporationVICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Feb. 6, 2014) – According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) First Quarter Housing Market Outlook British Columbia Highlights report, housing starts in British Columbia are forecast to total 27,800 homes in 2014 and remain at that level in 2015.

“While the level of housing starts is projected to remain the same on an annual basis this year and next, expect a slight shift toward single-detached housing starts as the economy and labour market gain traction,” noted Carol Frketich, CMHC’s BC Regional Economist. “Single-detached housing starts are forecast to increase this year and next while multiple housing starts are expected to remain relatively unchanged.”

Existing home sales through the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) are forecast to total 76,000 units in 2014 and 77,300 units in 2015. The average home price is forecast at $542,500 in 2014 and $547,100 in 2015. Last year’s upward trend in the average home price is expected to lead to increased new listings in 2014. With the increased supply of existing homes for sale providing more choice to homebuyers, the average home price is forecast to grow at a pace slower than the general rate of inflation.

Click here to review the CMHC Housing Market Reports

For more information, visit CMHC.ca or call 1-800-668-2642.

MLS Residential Sales BC January 2014

Click to enlarge

Vancouver, BC – January 30, 2014. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2014 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to increase 4.8 per cent to 76,450 units this year, before increasing a further 7 per cent to 81,800 units in 2015. The five-year average is 75,400 unit sales, while the ten-year average is 84,400 unit sales. A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

“Housing demand in the province has nearly fully recovered from the 2012 downturn,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Over the next year, BC will be the beneficiary of more robust global economic growth, led by a resurgent US economy and a favourable exchange rate. The resulting boost in employment will help underpin the housing market.”

“Home prices are not expected to climb much higher than the overall inflation rate as housing starts are expected to keep pace with consumer demand, added Muir. The average MLS® residential price is forecast to increase 1.8 per cent to $547,300 this year and a further 1.7 per cent to $556,800 in 2015.

Watch BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir discuss the latest Real Estate statistics and what is expected for 2014.

MLS Residential Sales BC December 2013

Click to Enlarge

Vancouver, BC – January 13, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 72,936 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during 2013, up 7.8 per cent from 2012. The five-year average is 75,400 units, while the ten-year average is 84,800 units. Total sales dollar volume was $39.2 billion, an increase of 12.6 per cent compared to 2012. The average annual MLS® residential price in the province rose to $537,414 last year, up 4.4 per cent from 2012.

“After declining nearly 12 per cent in 2012, home sales posted steady growth through last year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Greater Vancouver, Kamloops and Okanagan Mainline board areas posted the most significant changes, with home sales rising between 12.5 and 14 per cent. Stronger consumer demand combined with fewer homes listed for sale improved market conditions in most regions last year.”

In December, BC residential unit sales rose 47 per cent to 4,426 units, compared to December 2012. Total dollar volume was 67.7 per cent higher at $2.5 billion, while the average MLS® residential price rose 14.1 per cent to $568,416.

“Large year-over-year changes in December reflect relatively weak activity the previous year rather than evidence of an accelerating market,” added Muir.

MLS Residential Sales BC October 2013

Click to enlarge

Vancouver, BC – October 15, 2013.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,498 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during September, up 43.2 per cent from September 2012. Total sales dollar volume was 55.7 per cent higher than a year ago at $3.49 billion. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $537,458, up 8.8 per cent from September 2012.

“Consumer demand for housing in September was the strongest in four years,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “After declining for most of 2012, BC home sales have increased now for seven consecutive months.”

“While a return to a more normal level of demand is good news for buyers and sellers, relatively weak economic conditions and muted provincial job growth will likely limit continued acceleration of home sales over the next few quarters,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 5.7 per cent to $30 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 3.1 per cent to 56,347 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 2.6 per cent at $532,745.

Vancouver, BC – September 16, 2013.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,863 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during August, up 28.6 per cent from August 2012. Total sales dollar volume was 39.7 per cent higher than a year ago at $3.66 billion. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $533,400, up 8.6 per cent from August 2012.

MLS Residential Sales BC September 2013

Click to enlarge

“After sitting on the sidelines for much of 2012, home buyers were out in force during the summer months,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Fear of a housing market hard landing has given way to a sense of urgency to lock-in a mortgage at a low interest rate.”

While higher mortgage interest rates are on the horizon, BCREA forecasts the five-year posted mortgage rate to be 50 basis points higher a year from now. The impact on consumer demand is expected to be largely offset by stronger economic conditions and the associated employment growth.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 1.5 per cent to $26.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were down 0.6 per cent to 49,849 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 2 per cent at $532,130.

Vancouver, BC – August 22, 2013. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2013 Third Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

MLS Residential Sales BC August 2013

Click to enlarge

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to increase 3.9 per cent to 70,300 units this year, before increasing a further 6.1 per cent to 74,600 units in 2014. The five-year average is 74,600 unit sales, while the ten-year average is 86,800 unit sales. A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

“After a marked pull back of consumer demand in 2012, the housing market is now transitioning to more elevated home buying activity,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, the effect of sluggish employment growth this year is expected to spill over into 2014, limiting housing demand to a 6 per cent increase, with total home sales matching the 5 year average.”

“The average MLS® residential price in the province has been revised from remaining unchanged to increasing 3.3 per cent to $531,700 this year. A stronger than expected decline in the inventory of homes for sale has created balanced market conditions in the Lower Mainland, causing home prices to align more closely with overall consumer price inflation,” added Muir. The average MLS® residential price in BC is forecast to increase 2.2 per cent to 543,400 in 2014.

Vancouver, BC – August 14, 2013.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,650 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC for July, up 18 per cent from July of 2012. Total sales dollar volume was 32.8 per cent higher than a year ago at $4.09 billion. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $534,360, up 12.5 per cent from July 2012.

MLS Residential Sales BC July 2013

Click to enlarge

“Home sales in the province posted their strongest July since 2009,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “After six consecutive months of rising consumer demand, it’s now clear that BC housing markets are recovering from tighter lending regulations introduced last year,” added Muir.

“Rising home sales are unlikely to put any significant upward pressure on home prices,” cautioned Muir, “as the inventory of homes for sale is expected to keep pace with demand.” Many potential home sellers that have been holding off for improved market conditions are expected to put their homes on the market to meet the swelling ranks of home buyers.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 2.8 per cent to $22.9 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were down 4 per cent to 42,986 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 1.3 per cent at $531,928.

Watch BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir discuss the March 2013 statistics:

Vancouver, BC – April 15, 2013. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 5,661 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during March, up 6.6 per cent from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, but down 17.7 per cent compared to March 2012. Total sales dollar volume was down 18.5 per cent to $3.06 billion. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $540,662, up 2 per cent from February, but down 1 per cent from a year ago.

MLS Residentail Sales Per Capita

Click to enlarge

“BC home sales in March posted the largest seasonally adjusted month-to-month increase since January 2011,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, homes sale per capita continue to remain near a cyclical low, suggesting that pent-up demand may be beginning to grow in the housing market.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume declined 22.1 per cent to $7.2 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales dipped 18.8 per cent to 13,572 units, while the average MLS® residential price was downn 4.0 per cent at $530,435. The pdf file with all of the statistics can be found here.

Vancouver, BC – February 28, 2013. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) edged lower by 1.3 points in the fourth quarter of 2012, to an index level of 111.3. On a year-over-year basis, the CLI was up 0.8 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2012.

BC Commercial Leading Indicator 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The decline in the CLI translates to a slight rolling over in the underlying index trend, signaling a potential slowing of activity for the first half of 2013.

“A modest slowing of commercial real estate activity is in general accord with 2013 being somewhat of a transition year for the economy,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Economist. “We anticipate that slower growth through the first half of 2013 will give way to a more robust economy in 2014 and therefore an increase in commercial market activity.”

Link

« Older entries