How to deal with Canada’s different housing markets

October 15th, 2014

Canadian housing ‘dual market’ poses difficult policymaker challenge

Canada’s housing market has cooled off slightly from this summer, but regional disparities make one-size-fits-all approaches to controlling it difficult.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported Oct. 15 that September’s national home sales fell 1.4 percent from the August level — the first monthly decline since January.

In addition, house prices only rose 0.3 percent in September after a rise of 0.8 percent in August, according to the Teranet–National Bank House Price Index (HPI) measure released the same day. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 5.4 percent.

CREA notes that year-over-year price growth has been in the range of about 5.0 to 5.5 percent since the start of the year, based on the Multiple Listing Service HPI measure.

Canada’s housing market would be characterized very differently if it were not for Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. By both Teranet–National Bank HPI and MLS HPI measures, these three cities topped the national level notably.

Based on the Teranet–National Bank HPI, Calgary has had the strongest price growth at 9.5 percent, followed by Toronto at 7.4 percent, and Vancouver at 6.5 percent. Without these three cities, the other eight cities in the index saw an average price increase of about 1.8 percent.

Housing starts climbed slightly from August to September, but remain below the year’s high point of 203K in July. This suggests, according to BMO’s Oct. 8 housing starts analysis report, that “overall building activity in Canada remains within the range required to satisfy demographic demand.”

Only Alberta’s September housing starts were significantly over the province’s 12-month average and level from a year ago, according to the analysis from BMO. “Alberta simply needs the homes, with the population expanding close to 3 percent year-over-year and rent growth now running at a five-year high,” BMO stated in its report.

Housing starts are weak in most parts of the country, notably Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Even Toronto condo starts hit a 4.5-year low in the third quarter.

Canadian finance minister Joe Oliver gave a press conference on Oct. 14, after his meeting with private sector economists in Toronto. He reiterated that he doesn’t believe there is a housing bubble, a view that echoes that of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), the Bank of Canada, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Scotiabank CEO Brian Porter.

Oliver touched on the “dual market” in Canadian real estate in that Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver are seeing price increases while the rest of the country isn’t.

What do these three cities have going for them that others in Canada do not? Young populations, immigration growth, and good employment prospects are a few reasons. Vancouver also benefits more than other regions from Chinese foreign investment.

Regarding concerns on an overheating housing market, Oliver listed measures that his predecessor, the late Jim Flaherty, took to cool the housing market. “[We've] taken the froth, we believe, out of the market,” Oliver said. “[We] don’t see the need for dramatic changes.”

The effects of lower mortgage rates through much of 2014 has spurred home sales and price increases and likely played a role in household debt-to-disposable income ticking up in the second quarter, a more worrisome sign. The Bank of Canada did note at its last rate-setting meeting on Sept. 3 that “activity in the housing market has been stronger than anticipated.” It has since moderated slightly, but regional disparities are more pronounced.

And as the global economy takes a turn for the worse with disinflationary concerns and weakness most notably emanating out of Europe and China, bond yields are reaching their lowest levels in over a year.

Canada’s five-year bond yield is at its lowest level since May 2013. This creates the potential for lower fixed-rate mortgages and potentially another wave of home price increases and sales as houses are seen as more affordable. Canadian borrowers could get more in debt as well.

In the last couple of weeks, three of Canada’s big banks have lowered significantly their five-year fixed mortgage rates. The average five-year fixed mortgage rate from the six big Canadian banks was 3.53 percent on Oct. 15, down from 4.08 percent a week earlier.

Macroeconomic policy and monetary policy are very blunt tools as they are applied across the whole economy. What might be appropriate in Vancouver would clearly not be in Quebec City, for example.

Source: Rahul Vaidyanath, Epoch Times

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

Canada’s real estate market is on track for a hot start to Fall

October 5th, 2014

Real estate market on pace for hot start to autumn

There are early indications that September appears to have been another strong month for Canadian home sales.

That is based on data that some local real estate boards have released in recent days about how their housing markets fared last month. The number of existing homes that changed hands in Toronto was up 10.9 per cent from a year earlier, in Calgary it was up almost 12 per cent, and in Vancouver 17.7 per cent. And that’s in comparison to a reasonably strong month where sales in September, 2013, were slightly above the 10-year average for that month.

A comprehensive picture won’t be available until the Canadian Real Estate Board, which represents realtors, compiles all of the local statistics and releases national September data on Oct. 15. Many cities have not released their numbers publicly yet, and the ones that have tend to be in some of the country’s stronger housing markets. Quebec and the Atlantic region, where more markets are struggling, are not represented below.

But the strength of Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver’s housing markets tends to pull up the national averages, and so the numbers here suggest that the national figures will point to a market that still has momentum.

CALGARY

Sales were up almost 12 per cent in September from a year ago. The local real estate board says the unexpected strength came from a surge in condo and townhouse sales.

Condo sales so far this year are 21 per cent higher than during the same period last year, while the number of sales of detached homes has risen by just 7 per cent. Affordability is driving the shift. Two years ago, 44 per cent of the detached houses that sold from January through to the end of September went for less than $400,000, according to the real estate board. So far this year only one quarter of the houses have sold for less than that.

The average price of a detached house in the city was $567,653 in September, up 10.81 per cent from a year earlier. The average price of a condo was $326,264, up 9.21 per cent. For townhouses it was $352,813, up 4.21 per cent.

The average length of time it takes to sell a home continues to tick downwards. Year-to-date the average number of days a home is on the market before it sells (for all types of homes) is 34, down from 42 in the same period last year.

EDMONTON

Sales were up 9.19 per cent from a year earlier.

The average selling price of a detached home was $435,584, up 6.92 per cent, and the median price of a detached home was $405,000, up 6.91 per cent. The average price of a condo was $254,494, up 4.85 per cent, and the median price was $232,000, up 2.65 per cent.

The average selling price of all types of properties was $372,673, up 6.37 per cent.

The average number of days that homes were on the market before selling was 49, the same as in August but down from 54 days a year ago. The sales-to-listings ratio was 72 per cent, up from 67 per cent in August.

TORONTO

Sales were up 10.9 per cent from a year earlier. So far this year sales in the city are 6.9 per cent higher than during the same period last year.

The average selling price was $573,676, up 7.7 per cent from a year earlier. The average selling price year-to-date is $563,813, up 8.5 per cent from last year.

“If the current pace of sales growth remains in place, we could be flirting with a new record for residential sales reported by (Toronto Real Estate Board) members this year,” TREB’s director of market analysis, Jason Mercer, stated in a press release.

The average selling price of detached homes in the downtown area covered by the 416 area code was $951,792, up 11.5 per cent from a year earlier. For condos in the same area it was $395,505, up 9.2 per cent.

VANCOUVER

Sales were up 17.7 per cent from a year earlier, and 5.4 per cent from the prior month. September’s sales level was 16.1 per cent above the 10-year average for that month, making it the third-highest September in that period.

The benchmark price of all types of properties in Metro Vancouver was $633,500, up 5.3 per cent from a year earlier. For detached homes it was $990,300, up 7.3 per cent, townhomes were $477,700, up 4.2 per cent, and apartments or condos were $378,700, up 3.3 per cent. Similar to the Toronto market, detached home prices are rising more quickly due to a shortage of land to build new ones on.

Sales of detached homes were up 24.1 per cent, sales of apartments or condos were up 16.7 per cent, and sales of attached properties were up 5 per cent.

“September was an active period for our housing market when we compare it against typical activity for the month,” Ray Harris, the president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, stated in a press release.

VICTORIA

Sales were up 16 per cent from a year ago. “We haven’t seen sales like this in September since 2009,” Victoria Real Estate Board president Tim Ayres stated in a press release.

The local real estate board surmises that buyers and sellers are feeling more comfortable about doing deals because prices are more stable and predictable now.

The benchmark price of a house (the benchmark seeks to be a more apples-to-apples gauge than the average price) in central Victoria was $556,200, up from $550,900 a year earlier. For the entire Greater Victoria area it was $492,200, up from $484,800. The benchmark price of a condo in the Greater area was $287,100, up from $283,900. For a townhouse it was $401,500, up from $400,000.

Source: Tara Perkins, The Globe and Mail

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

Does Canada have a housing bubble? No, says finance minister

October 2nd, 2014

Finance Minister Joe Oliver says Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver are distorting housing numbers

Joe Oliver, the federal finance minister, downplayed fears of a housing bubble and emphasized three of Canada’s largest markets continue to distort national housing numbers.

“There are three urban centres, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, where the prices continue to go up and there are affordability issues,” the finance minister said following a conference in Toronto hosted by the Investment Funds Institute of Canada. “I don’t see a housing bubble, neither does the governor of the Bank of Canada or the CMHC or the OECD.”

September housing results could be more of the same for those cities. The Calgary Real Estate Board said Wednesday sales were up 12% in September from a year ago while the price of single family home in the city rose 10.6% from a year ago to $512,800 in September. Condo prices were up 9.5% from a year ago to $330,200. Toronto and Vancouver results are due out this week.

His comments reflect what others have suggested about those cities driving overall housing comments. Some economists have suggested the housing market is mediocre at best in a majority of Canadian cities outside of the big three. Those cities are responsible for a third of all sales this year while contributing to almost 50% of the dollar value.

Mr. Oliver said it would be difficult for him as finance minister to cool off just three Canadian cities and leave the rest of the country unscathed if he was to further tighten the lending environment. “That’s one of the challenges. There are some markets flat and some are experiencing some decline,” said Mr. Oliver. “We are examining all the issues and we are keeping it very much in mind.”

He reiterated that while he is not ready do anything immediately, the long-term goal is to reduce the government’s involvement in the mortgage market.

The finance minister wouldn’t directly address a published report Wednesday quoting the Canadian managing director of Pacific Investment Management Co. who stated the market here may be 10% to 20% overvalued and could get to 30% if the Bank of Canada doesn’t start talking up rising rates.

Mr. Oliver did say he was in New York the last couple of days talking to money managers and hedge fund managers and real estate came up in those conversation.

“Our situation was totally different from the U.S. situation before the recession and it’s quite a bit different now. For one thing, their mortgages are non-recourse and ours are not, with the exception of Alberta. They also have mortgage deductibility. There are some differences,” he said.

He said Americans are “sophisticated” but they come from an U.S. perspective. “Something happened to them so it will happen to someone else,” said Mr. Oliver, adding any talk of the Bank of Canada raising rates is outside of his mandate.

The finance minister did say people understand that interest rates cannot stay this low forever but it might be difficult for them to act on that knowledge. “People can know intellectually what the history of interest rates have been, psychologically they aren’t perhaps prepared. I think it’s important for people to understand.”

Source: Garry Marr, Financial Post

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

Which country has the most overvalued real estate in the world?

September 17th, 2014

Norway homes ‘most overvalued in world’, says study

The most overvalued residential property in the world is in Norway, a new study reveals.

Australian home prices have risen the next highest since 1970, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Quarterly Review, with Asian prices rising the highest in the last year.

The UK, Sweden and France make up the rest of the top five highest valued markets, according to the newly-published BIS study.

But rising real estate prices in overvalued markets increase the risk of future declines, especially where wages are not growing strongly, the report warns.

“This might lead to a reversal or moderation of recent growth or a further sliding of prices. This argument would be more compelling for markets where prices have grown rapidly in the recent past, and where income growth is projected to be rather moderate.”

Norway has a reading of around 220 and Australia 200, indicating that the difference between home prices and disposable income are up to 120% higher when compared to the historical average of 100.

Out of the 14 advanced economies examined by the BIS, only the UK has house prices that come close to matching them for inflation adjusted growth over that period.

The study says current price growth was highest in the Asia and the United States with the European markets performing worst.

“Year-on-year residential property prices, deflated by CPI, rose by 9.5% in the United States and 6% in the United Kingdom. Real house prices also grew by 7% in Canada, 7.7% in Australia and 2.2% in Switzerland, three countries that were less affected by the crisis, as well as in some countries that were severely affected by the crisis, such as Ireland (+7.2%) and Iceland (+6.4%).

“Real price growth remained in negative territory in Japan (–2.6%) and was generally weak or negative in continental Europe. Prices rose in Germany (+1.2%) and the Nordic countries (+1.7% in Denmark and +4.8% in Sweden), but continued to fall in the euro area’s southern periphery (Italy, -5%; Spain, -3.8%; Portugal, -1.2%; and Greece, -6%). House prices generally grew in emerging regions outside Europe.”

In Asia, year-on-year growth rates remained high in a number of countries in the first quarter of 2014. “Prices increased in real terms in China (+13%), the Philippines (+13%) and Malaysia (+5%).”

In Latin American countries, the increase in real residential property prices was more moderate. “Prices in Brazil increased by 3.9% in the first quarter of 2014, whereas in Mexico real prices were mostly stable compared with one year ago.

“Price developments were mostly negative among central and eastern European countries, but prices in the Baltic countries rebounded sharply.”

“While for most countries the current ratio implies that price movements are not diverging from rental values in ways that imply unsustainability, for a number of other countries current property prices are much higher than those implied by the historical relationship to rents. A priori, this could be a reason to expect a price correction in the future. Interestingly, some of these countries have experienced only moderate price growth recently (eg Canada, Norway and Sweden), or even price declines (eg Australia, Belgium and France).”

BIS collects data on house prices for 55 countries. For 18 of these countries, series are available that go back as far as the 1970s.

Source: Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

Average Canadian house price rises 5.3% to $398,618

September 15th, 2014

Canadian Real Estate Association raises home sales forecast as August sales move up

The Canadian Real Estate Association raised its home sales forecast Monday on the back of stronger than expected sales in recent months after a slow start to the year.

The association said sales through its Multiple Listing Service are now expected to total 475,000 homes for 2014, up from a June prediction of 463,400.

The new forecast would mean sales would be up 3.8 per cent compared with 2013.

The association said the frigid winter delayed the start to the spring home buying season and helped boost sales in May and June.

“Although this boost was and still is expected to be transitory, sales have yet to show signs of cooling as activity strengthened slightly further over the summer,” CREA said in its updated forecast.

“The increase reflects continuing strength in home sales among large urban markets that initially drove the spring rebound together with gains in markets where activity had previously struggled to gain traction. Lowered mortgage interest rates supported this trend.”

The higher forecast came as CREA said that sales through its MLS system in August were up 2.1 per cent compared with a year ago as sales were up in just over half of all local markets, led by Vancouver and Calgary.

Compared with July, sales were up 1.8 per cent.

The national average price for homes sold in August was $398,618, up 5.3 per cent from a year ago. Excluding Vancouver and Toronto, the average price was $324,738, up 3.9 per cent from a year ago.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 55.5 per cent in August, up from 53.9 per cent in July, within the 40 and 60 per cent band that CREA uses to mark a balanced market.

The number of months of inventory stood at 5.8 months at the end of August, down from six months in May, June and July.

Source: The Canadian Press

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

Which areas had the biggest home price increase in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal?

September 12th, 2014

Neighbourhoods where home prices have gained most in Canadian cities.

When Canada’s national housing numbers are released Monday by the Canadian Real Estate Association, they’ll likely show some notable discrepancies between markets. Prices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver have been hot lately, but not so much in other areas.

But that’s not the whole story. Even within cities, the variations in how different neighbourhoods have fared can be significant.

So Brookfield RPS pored through its data for some of Canada’s major centres for The Globe and Mail and determined which areas (it breaks them down by the first three digits of their postal code) have had the strongest price appreciation over the last five years. Top bragging rights go to those people who bought detached houses in Vancouver’s Dunbar neighbourhood in 2009, where the average price has more than doubled.

Vancouver

The best performing neighbourhoods for five-year price appreciation of detached homes in Vancouver are Dunbar, North Dunbar and the Queen Elizabeth Park area, which collectively saw prices rise a whopping 96 per cent. For condos, the top spots were the West End, Davie Village and New Westminster, which collectively saw prices rise 45 per cent. In comparison, the city-wide average price for all types of homes rose by 29 per cent.

Vancouver’s market has rebounded from its slump, and prices of detached homes have hit new records. The benchmark price of houses was up 6.6 per cent year-over-year in August, to $984,300, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The benchmark price of condo apartments rose 3.6 per cent to $379,200.

Montreal

When it comes to detached houses in Montreal, the neighbourhoods whose prices have performed the best over the past five years are Westmount, Saint Laurent and Verdun. They collectively saw prices grow by 59 per cent. As for condos, the top locations for price growth were Saint-Lambert, Bois Chomedey and Nouveau-Rosemont, which collectively saw condo prices rise 69 per cent. In comparison, the average price of all types of homes city-wide increased 18 per cent.

Montreal’s housing market is currently showing signs of struggling, with the number of homes that changed hands during August coming in 6per cent lower than a year earlier, according to the local real estate board. Each of the main areas that the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board tracks – the North Shore, Laval, the South Shore, Vaudreuil-Soulanges and the Island of Montreal – saw sales fall last month. Sales fell by only 4 per cent in Vaudreuil-Soulanges and on the Island, making those the best performing neighbourhoods. The median price of a home in Montreal is currently $285,000, unchanged from a year ago.

Toronto

The top neighbourhoods for price growth of detached houses in Canada’s most populous city were Willowdale, Agincourt and Newtonbrook. Average prices in all of these neighbourhoods combined rose by 75 per cent over five years. The top areas for condo price growth were the Fairview Mall neighbourhood, Cabbagetown and the area around Church and Wellesley Streets. Collectively their condo prices rose by 47 per cent. That compares to average price growth of 43 per cent for all types of properties throughout the city.

At the moment, prices of detached homes in Toronto’s downtown core are outperforming those in the surrounding areas. The average price of a detached home in the central 416-area-code was up 14.7 per cent year-over-year in August, while the average price of a detached home in the suburban 905-area-code rose by 9.3 per cent, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. The same trend does not hold true for condos, because the plethora of new towers under construction in the downtown core has been constraining prices. The average resale price of existing condos downtown rose by 4.1 per cent in August, while those in the 905 area rose by 5.4 per cent.

Calgary

The best areas to have bought a house in 2009, from a price appreciation point of view, would have been Killarney, South Calgary and Hillhurst, where average prices collectively rose 36 per cent in the period since. For condos, the places to have bought were the Beltline, Elboya, and Edgemont and the Hamptons. Those areas collectively saw condo prices rise by 24 per cent. The average price of all types of homes across the city rose 22 per cent.

Detached homes have become less affordable in Calgary in recent years, causing a significant rise in condo sales. Sales of existing condos rose 14 per cent year-over-year in August, while sales of single-family homes fell 2.4 per cent, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. The benchmark price of a single-family home is now $512,300, up 10.24 per cent from a year ago. The benchmark price of a condo is $298,200, up 10.2 per cent.

Source: Tara Perkins, The Globe and Mail

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

How long will house prices in Canada keep rising?

September 8th, 2014

House prices in Canada continue to climb

Home prices in Canada’s major cities are running at a rate many economists just don’t think is sustainable.

We won’t get a complete picture of sales and prices in August for a couple of weeks, but preliminary figures from local real estate boards suggest there’s plenty of momentum. And that has some economists wondering about how long this will last.

“Existing-home sales remained strong in a number of major cities in August and prices continued to outrun income,” Bank of Montreal economist Sal Guatieri wrote in a research note. “How long prices can continue to outpace family income in these major cities is unknown, but it can’t go on forever. The longer it does, the greater the risk of a correction when interest rates rise.”

Falling mortgage rates helped make homes more affordable heading into the summer, according to Royal Bank of Canada. And a recent survey by real estate consulting and research firm Altus Group found home buying intentions everywhere except B.C. were up this summer compared with a year ago. “While first-time buyer intentions are down slightly, homeowners with mortgages are showing more interest,” Altus Group said.

Policy-makers probably won’t do anything to cool prices now, since many smaller housing markets aren’t running as hot as Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Here’s a look at how some markets across the country performed in August, according to data released this week by their local real estate boards.

TORONTO

– 7,600 homes sold on the MLS, up 2.8 per cent from a year earlier, and well above the 10-year average sales level of 7,059 for August.

– the average selling price of all types of homes in Greater Toronto was $546,303, up 8.9 per cent from a year earlier.

– the average price of detached homes in the downtown area covered by the 416 area code was $902,428, up 14.7 per cent; for condos it was $370,899, up 4.1 per cent; for townhouses it was $463,798, up 11.7 per cent.

CALGARY

– 2,267 homes sold on the MLS, up 3.4 per cent from a year earlier; condo sales were up 14 per cent and townhouse sales up 20 per cent, sales of single-family homes fell 2.4 per cent.

– the average price of a single-family home was $545,238, up 5.42 per cent, and the benchmark price of a single-family home was $512,300, up 10.24 per cent; the average price of a condo apartment was $332,006, up 11.48 per cent, and the benchmark price of a condo apartment was $298,200, up 10.2 per cent.

– the average number of days a home spent on the market before selling dropped to 39, from 45 a year earlier.

VANCOUVER

– 2,771 homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service, up 10.2 per cent from a year earlier and 4.3 per cent above the 10-year average for August.

– the benchmark price of all types of homes in Metro Vancouver rose 5 per cent to $631,600 (the benchmark seeks to create a more apples-to-apples comparison than the average price, which can be distorted by changes in the size or location of homes that are selling.)

– the benchmark price of detached properties rose 6.6 per cent to $984,300; the benchmark price of apartment properties rose 3.6 per cent to $379,200; the benchmark price of attached properties rose 3.9 per cent to $474,900.

OTTAWA

– 1,203 homes sold on the MLS, down 1.1 per cent from a year earlier, but a tiny bit above the five-year average of 1,199.

– the average sale price for all types of homes was $360,214, up 3.4 per cent.

– the average price for a condo was $263,996, up 2.7 per cent, while the average price of other types of homes was $381,628, up 1.9 per cent.

EDMONTON

– 1,552 homes sold over the MLS, down 6 per cent from a year earlier.

– the average selling price of all types of homes was up 5 per cent to $368,597, the median selling price was up 5.7 per cent to $348,900.

– the median price of a single-family home rose 5.8 per cent to $402,750, while the median price of a condo fell by 0.6 per cent to $228,500.

REGINA

– 348 homes sold over the MLS in the Regina area, down 8 per cent from a year ago. That was below the five-year average of 365 but above the ten-year average of 336.

– inventory levels are the highest they’ve been in more than 20 years. The number of properties for sale at the end of August was 223 per cent higher than two years earlier.

– the benchmark price was $299,600, down 2.4 per cent from $307,000 a year earlier and homes sat on the market for an average of 48 days before selling, compared with 32 days a year earlier.

Source: Tara Perkins, The Globe and Mail

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

Vancouver single-family detached homes hit record high prices

September 5th, 2014

Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley home buyers have pushed up prices for single-family detached houses to record highs.

The benchmark home price index hit $984,300 last month for detached properties sold in Greater Vancouver, up 6.6 per cent from August, 2013.

In the Fraser Valley, which includes the sprawling and and less-expensive Vancouver suburb of Surrey, the detached price index climbed 3.4 per cent to $569,800 over the past year.

The record-high prices for detached houses will prompt more consumers, especially first-time home buyers, to shop for townhouses and condos, said Shaadi Faris, vice-president at Vancouver-based Intergulf Development Group.

Some baby boomers are selling their large detached homes and moving into condos while helping their children with down payments, fuelling the rally in housing prices in Greater Vancouver, Mr. Faris said in an interview Wednesday. “Locals have built up equity and are downsizing,” he said.

A variety of factors have led to property prices reaching new highs, including low interest rates, a stable economy and an influx of residents from other provinces and countries, real estate experts say.

Intergulf has been getting interest on its various projects primarily from prospective buyers who will live in their units. While there are many inquiries from long-time Vancouverites and people with recent ties to China, there are a small number of outright foreign investors, Mr. Faris added.

Intergulf began construction in early 2014 on its Empire at QE Park condo and townhouse project near Queen Elizabeth Park on Vancouver’s west side.

The index price for existing detached homes on Vancouver’s west side rose 9.7 per cent over the past year to $2,282,400, while increasing 10.3 per cent to $936,500 on the east side.

By contrast, the index price for condos on the west side reached $495,900 in August, up 5.7 per cent from the same month last year. Condo prices on the east side posted a 3.1-per-cent increase year-over-year to $313,400.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said the region’s housing sales rose to 2,771 in August, up 10.2 per cent from a year earlier and 4.3 per cent higher than the 10-year average for the month.

“Activity this summer has been strong but not unusual for our region,” Greater Vancouver board president Ray Harris said in a statement.

In the Fraser Valley, townhouse prices nudged up 0.1 per cent to $298,500 over the past year, but condo prices fell 3.5 per cent to $196,700.

Fraser Valley board president Ray Werger said many first-time buyers in the suburbs are able to afford townhouses or smaller detached homes, including new developments in Cloverdale and Langley.

Source: Brent Jang, Globe and Mail

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

What is forecast for Canada’s house prices?

September 2nd, 2014

Canada house prices are scheduled to climb further.

The risk of a property market crash in Canada has not ebbed, according to an increasing number of analysts polled by Reuters who said chances of a steep fall in prices have increased in the past year.

Still, the survey medians showed house prices will likely rise more than earlier expected at least until 2017, reflecting ongoing reluctance by forecasters, many of whom work for mortgage lenders, to predict negative returns on property.

This year Canadian home prices on average will appreciate by 5 per cent followed by a 2-per-cent rise in 2015 and then again in 2016 after doubling in value over the past decade.

But seven of 20 respondents in the poll conducted Aug 19-26 said the threat of a property market meltdown had intensified over the past year, especially in Toronto and Vancouver, up from five of 21 in the May poll.

“[The] risk has increased due to house price increases significantly exceeding income growth and the oversupply of condos in downtown Toronto,” said John Andrew, professor at Queen’s University.

Canadian households on average hold debt worth more than 1.5 times their income and when mortgage costs increase once the Bank of Canada begins raising benchmark interest rates, it will make that burden even heavier.

The BoC will probably raise rates in the third quarter of 2015, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday. “Lower mortgage rates in the spring and summer have enticed more marginal home buyers who ultimately won’t be able to carry heavy debt load in the future when rates rise,” said David Madani, Canada economist at Capital Economics.

Still, the medians suggest prices will not decline nationally, at least not until 2017 – the end of the polling horizon. Even in Toronto and Vancouver, two of the country’s most expensive markets, prices are not expected to fall.

Many are of the view that prices will only cool, dodging a U.S.-style nosedive where property prices fell by more than a third, leaving millions of Americans in negative equity.

Thirteen of 20 participants said Canada’s housing boom is different from other real estate booms and is therefore unlikely to end in a crash.

“The risk of a crash is negligible, based on my expectation that any sustained increase in mortgage interest rates will be minimal – at most half a point by the end of 2015,” said Canadian housing economist Will Dunning.

Source: Anu Bararia, Reuters

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.

The world’s most expensive condo – a mere $440 million!

August 22nd, 2014

$440-million penthouse comes with chauffeur, caterer and infinity pool

Even by the sky-high standards of Monaco, a penthouse at the top of the Odeon Tower is set to fetch a vertiginous price, according to developers.

Tour Odeon, which is under construction and when finished will be the principality’s first skyscraper since the Eighties, will be topped with a five-floor penthouse that would cost a potential owner 300-million euros ($440-million), making it the most expensive in the world.

The penthouse will have several swimming pools, including a large infinity pool with a slide leading from a dance floor in the rooms above.

The 35,000 square-foot apartment will also come with a private chauffeur, a caterer, three staff bedrooms, a 24-hour concierge service and access to a health centre.

Tour Odeon, which will house 36 more luxury flats, will be Monaco’s first skyscraper since Prince Rainier banned tall buildings on the shoreline to avoid overshadowing the city. Instead he encouraged the development of wider, lower buildings built on an extension into the sea. His decision was reversed in 2009 by his son and successor, Prince Albert, and plans for the 560-foot Tour Odeon were drawn up.

One in three of Monaco’s 38,000 residents is a millionaire, according to a study by Spear’s magazine and WealthInsight.
Irene Luke, of Savills, the estate agency, who moved to Monaco in 1990 from London, said it was becoming increasingly popular with wealthy Britons.

“It’s becoming more and more like London by the sea,” she said.

Tax changes in some areas of Switzerland are also “making Monaco look like a very safe, stable place,” Miss Luke added.

The penthouse is expected to go on the market next year. So far, 26 flats have been sold.

Source: The Telegraph and Financial Post

This Canadian Real Estate Blog was brought to you by BestHomesBC.com. Looking for a home to buy in Vancouver? Check out BestHomesBC.com for properties for sale throughout British Columbia. Looking for an assignment condo? Check out AssignmentsCanada.ca for pre-sale condos for sale in Canada.


Real Estate Blogs