B.C. Real Estate News

British Columbia Real Estate News Stories And Articles

MLS Residential Sales BC July 2014

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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

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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

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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

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