Archive for the ‘Canadian Interest Rates’ Category

Vancouver and Toronto house prices set for rise, says CIBC

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

The housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver could resume their previous upward trajectories amid conditions of tight supply and burgeoning demand, according to a new report from CIBC World Markets.

The Canadian housing market, in general, is in an important transition period — especially Vancouver and Toronto, economist Benjamin Tal said in the report, which was released Tuesday.

He said activity is likely to stabilize and perhaps soften in the coming quarters as markets adjust to recent and upcoming regulatory changes, including tougher rules for getting a mortgage.

“But when the fog clears it will become evident that the long-term trajectory of the market will show even tighter conditions,” Tal said. “The supply issues facing centres such as Toronto and Vancouver will worsen and demand is routinely understated.”

“Short of a significant change in housing policies and preferences, there is nothing in the pipeline to alleviate the pressure,’ he wrote.

As prices shot up dramatically in the Vancouver and Toronto areas, governments took steps to try to cool the markets.

Vancouver real estate

Vancouver saw the August 2016 introduction of a 15 per cent tax on purchases by foreign buyers. Tal pointed that following a period of adjustment, a recovery in the Vancouver market is now underway.

Toronto real estate

In Toronto, the market is already showing a rebound following a slowdown in the wake of the introduction of the Ontario government’s Fair Housing Plan. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, 7,118 homes were sold in the area in October, up 12 per cent from September, but still down down 27 per cent from the same month last year.

In his report, Tal said the recently introduced tighter lending rules will only slow demand by five to seven per cent this year, owing to a combination of the “creative imagination” of borrowers, some exceptions to the rule and increased activity among alternative lenders.

At the same time, Tal said that actual demand in the housing market is stronger than official estimates. He pointed out that Canada’s annual immigration quota is slated to rise from 250,000 to 300,000, and eventually 450,000. That comes amid a current tight land supply based on rules that don’t capture the changes in the market, he said.

Also, official estimates of household formation in the Greater Toronto Area tend be 10,000 below the mark if adjustments are not made for immigrants and non-permanent residents, who Tal said tend to be younger than the general adult population.

“Actual demand is much stronger than official numbers often used to determine the extent to which we overbuild relative to household formation,” Tal said.

Finally, the growing percentage of young adults living at home translates into pent-up demand of roughly 9,000 household, including about 6,500 in the Greater Toronto Area.

“That army of potential buyers can be seen as an insurance against long-lasting significant price decline,” said Tal.

Source: CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/housing-prices-cibc-tal-1.4401743

Increase in new home prices reaches 7-year high in Metro Vancouver

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Despite efforts by government and regulators to curb Metro Vancouver’s hot housing market, new home prices have continued to climb in the past year.

Recently released data from Statistics Canada shows the overall price of brand new houses and townhomes in the region has soared 6.2 per cent in the 12 months since June 2016.

“Last time [the new house price index] grew larger than 6.2 per cent was in June of 2010,” said analyst Rohit Verma, adding prices rose 6.7 per cent.

The agency has numbers dating back to 1981.

Verma says the information is gathered through a monthly survey of home builders and their contractors, excluding new condominiums.

Across the country in the month of June, Metro Vancouver saw the greatest gain at 1.5 per cent overall. Ottawa-Gatineau, Ont. followed at 0.9 per cent.

Verma says the main reason cited for the increase was “improving market conditions.”

It’s more evidence of the resiliency of the region’s real estate market, despite government efforts at all levels to temper prices.

Last August, the previous Liberal government introduced a 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers in Metro Vancouver.

Two months later, mortgage rules were tightened across Canada.

Home buyers applying for mortgages with less than a 20 per cent downpayment had to undergo a “stress test” to determine if they could afford to pay back a loan if interest rates rose.

And rates did rise.

Last month, the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate by 0.25 percentage points — the first time it had increased it since 2010.

All of that hasn’t stopped the market from climbing or put affordable homes within the reach of most people.

Sales in July were 0.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month, according to the BC. Real Estate Association.

The Multiple Listing Service Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is $1,019,400 — an 8.7 per cent increase compared to July 2016.

Source: Lien Yeung, CBC News

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/increase-in-new-home-prices-reaches-7-year-high-in-metro-vancouver-1.4244437

Vancouver home price gains still among world’s highest despite slowdown

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Metro Vancouver’s residential real estate story was a tale of two halves in 2016.

There were scorching sales leading into summer, a cooling off, and then a marked retreat after the province imposed a 15 per cent foreign buyers tax in August.

Many big-picture pundits say it will take another six months or more to fairly assess the impact of the tax. Others point to falling sales, and in some cases prices, as a small number of deals eke on.

Despite this, in 2016, Vancouver residential prices moved up 18 per cent, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s composite benchmark price report released on Wednesday. Most of the gains were notched in the first half of the year, with the index moving back 2.2 per cent in the second half, according to the board’s report.

The number of sales — including detached houses, condos and townhomes — came in as the third-highest on record for Vancouver in 2016, falling 5.6 per cent from a record year in 2015.

Digging into the latest report, there are early signs of a bounce if you look at median prices. With so few listings, and as such, sales, some prefer to use this gauge, which means the “in the middle price” where half the homes sold went for above this mark and half for below as opposed to taking the average of only a handful of sales, where the result could be easily skewed by one very expensive or slumped sale.

For example, the median price for detached homes is steadying because it has been sitting in the $1.275 million to $1.3 million range for the last four months. Meanwhile, the median price for town homes, at $659,000, is now nearly at its June peak median price of $666,000. Condo median prices show an even stronger stride, hitting a new high of $495,000.

To put the slowdown into perspective, consider Knight Frank’s latest Prime Global Cities Index, which tracks the prices of the top five per cent of homes in metro areas of 35 cities around the world. Vancouver outstripped all other contenders in 2015 and in September 2016 it was still at the top, posting a 32 per cent change year-on-year.

Knight Frank’s Global Residential Cities Index — which more widely tracks “city house prices” in 150 locations — showed Vancouver was the highest ranking city outside of mainland China.

“Urbanization and rising household wealth are behind the surge in Chinese prices,” wrote Knight Frank researcher Kate Everett-Allen. “Vancouver, a longtime front-runner, slid down the rankings this quarter, from fifth to ninth position. This shift is not as a result of slowing prices, annual growth is much the same as in June, close to 24%, but due to the phenomenal ascent of the Chinese cities which have supplanted it.”

Overall, house prices increased in more than 75 per cent of the 150 cities surveyed, year-on-year, but only in 13 of them did the increase in prices exceed 20 per cent. Victoria, B.C. just missed being one of those cities on the list, coming in 15th on the list with an 18 per cent gain.

It’s an “interesting report. I really like the global comparison that it facilitates,” said Andrey Pavlov, who specializes in real estate finance at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. However, he cautioned that: “First, the data is as of end of September, 2016. This was still very close to the peak, which occurred around June or July. Second, the report uses year-over-year increases, and all of the Vancouver increases occurred earlier in 2016, and some in 2015. With this in mind, the report captures historical trends, but does not really address the recent developments in our market.”

Source: Joanne Lee-Young at Postmedia
http://www.theprovince.com/business/real-estate/vancouver+home+price+gains+still+among+world+highest/12645598/story.html

Canadian real estate prices forecast to see largest annual increase this century

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Housing price appreciation across the country will be more than it has been in the last 16 years, according to a new forecast from one of the country’s largest real estate companies.

Royal LePage, in a report out Wednesday, says economic uncertainty around the globe and low interest rates continue to fuel the Canadian existing-home market, adding that prices will rise by 12.4 per cent in 2016 from 2015 to an average of $563,000.

The real estate company predicts greater Vancouver will lead the way with prices rising 27 per cent this year to an average of $1.206 million, while greater Toronto prices will rise 14.9 per cent to and average of $718,000 during the period.

LePage says its previous forecasts didn’t account for an extended period of low mortgage rates which continue to fuel the housing market. Ratesupermarket.ca says the best fixed rate on a five-year mortgage is now 2.18 per cent, close to a record low.

“Our forecasting models, which pointed to a slowing housing market as the year progressed, included a modest increase in the cost of borrowing,” said Phil Soper, chief executive of LePage. “Economic and social disruptions have rocked the world once again, introducing new risks and making it very likely that the Bank of Canada will leave interest rates as-is for now. Few industries are as rate sensitive as real estate. We don’t see even a mild correction for either the Toronto or pistol-hot Vancouver markets in 2016.”

Despite citing the Brexit vote as increasing uncertainty in the market, LePage says foreign money tied to Europe will flow into Canadian commercial real estate as opposed to the residential market.

LePage’s own internal surveys do say foreign markets are impacting Toronto and Vancouver real estate, but the money is coming from beyond the European Union.

Its surveys of agents in the second quarter found 71 per cent in the GTA and 74 per cent in Greater Vancouver reported an increase in activity from foreign investors who were defined as having lived outside Canada for the last six months. LePage said 35 per cent of agents in the GTA and 37 per cent in Greater Vancouver believe foreign ownership accounts for less than 10 per cent of sales.

Government continues to consider measures to deal with the impact of foreign owners and the federal finance minister has promised to create a working group of provincial and municipal counterparts to consider the issue in Toronto and Vancouver. On Monday, British Columbia agreed to grant Vancouver the right to tax owners of vacant property — a move seen as being at least partially aimed at foreign investors.

Soper cautioned against government getting too involved in the housing market.

“We remain convinced that heavy-handed use of tax policy in an effort to artificially influence asset values in an open-market economy like ours is fraught with peril, particularly in a cyclical industry like housing.”

Still, he left no doubt his industry has some concerns about the fast-paced nature of the market and some of the impact it has on prices. Soper even issued a warning to speculators.

“At Royal LePage, we see residential real estate as a long-term investment supporting family life. A home is ill-suited as a buy-and-flip investment. People that engage in this kind of activity are inevitably burned when a market slows and the time it takes to sell the property increases substantially,” he said.

Source: Garry Marr, Financial Post
http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/canadian-real-estate-prices-to-see-largest-annual-increase-this-century-forecast-says

Greater Vancouver home sales and prices set to soar in 2016

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Home sales in Greater Vancouver are on a hot streak, and the professional association representing all the real estate boards in the province is bumping up its forecast for 2016, predicting escalating prices and a jump in the number of homes sold.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association forecasts unit sales in the Greater Vancouver region will increase 8.9% in 2016, from 43,145 homes sold in 2015 to 47,000 this year.

For B.C. as a whole, unit sales are forecast to increase 12.3% to 115,200 units, breaking the previous record of 106,310 units sold in 2005.

“Robust employment growth and a marked increase in migration from other provinces is buoying consumer confidence and housing demand in most regions of the province,” said BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir.

“Record housing demand has depleted inventories in many urban areas, and the resulting imbalance between supply and demand has pushed home prices considerably higher.”

The average sales price for homes in Greater Vancouver is expected to reach $1.125 million this year, up 24.6% from $902,801 in 2015. Across the province, the average price is forecast to increase 20.4% this year, from $636,600 last year to $766,600 in 2016.

This latest forecast is in sharp contrast to the BCREA’s previous release, in which it had predicted an 8.2% drop in unit sales across Greater Vancouver and a 6.2% decline across the province as a whole.

The BCREA had previously said home sales would fall because of a lack of supply. It now says a jump in new home construction is set to help meet demand.

“Waning inventories of newly completed and unoccupied units are being offset by a market increase in the number of homes under construction,” the BCREA said in a news release.

“Total housing starts in the province are forecast to climb 20% to 37,800 units this year, before edging back to 34,200 units in 2017.”

Source: Emma Crawford Hampel, Business in Vancouver
https://www.biv.com/article/2016/6/greater-vancouver-home-sales-and-prices-soar-2016-/

See how Vancouver’s real estate prices have outperformed global cities

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Real estate prices in key global cities are rising at a slow, moderate pace, particularly in Europe.

According to new research published by international real estate consultant Knight Frank, 35 of the world’s most important cities saw an average price increase of 3.6% in the year to March 2016.

“Since 2014 the index has consistently seen annual growth of 3-4%, with no city recording double-digit annual price declines since the second quarter of 2015,” notes Kate Everett-Allen of Knight Frank, who carried out the study.

However, Everett-Allen found some notable differences both between regions and within them. In North America, for example, New York, Miami and Los Angeles grew by 2.3%, 3.8% and 5.1% respectively but Vancouver saw a spectacular 26% rise in real estate prices — despite a 1% increase in land transfer tax on purchases above CAD2M.

Australasia was more homogeneous, with both Sydney and Melbourne posting a 12% rise. The two African hubs were also in positive territory, albeit with some difference between the two—Cape Town went up 6.9% and Nairobi up 3.3%. Asia was rather more of a mixed bill, with excellent growth in Shanghai (to the tune of 20%) but sizeable drops in Hong Kong and Taipei (down 6.4% and 7.6% respectively.

In Europe, real estate growth was modest and fairly consistent across the majority of cities, with prices either remaining flat or recording small rises of less than 3%. Only Moscow, Paris, Milan and Monaco bucked the trend. The first three saw dips (of 5.9%, 2.7% and 1.2% respectively) while Monaco recorded a 4.9% rise.

However, says Everett-Allen, some of these numbers need to be analysed in the context of past performance. Prices in London, for example, only grew by 0.8% in the year to March, the lowest figure since October 2009
 — but the British capital had experienced a period of exceptional growth in earlier years so a slowdown was natural.

Interestingly, the Knight Frank study also showed that, across the world, the impact of new transparency rules, new taxes or fees for foreign buyers—all of which are seeing a surge in global hubs—varies hugely depending on the pre-existing fundamentals and market cycles.

Thus, the land transfer tax rise had no depressive effect in Vancouver, nor did new transparency rules for cash buyers affect the New York and Miami markets. In London, by contrast, a series of changes to stamp duty land tax and to purchases by non-domiciled residents, have amplified the market cycle and helped slow down price growth.

Source: Carla Passino, Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/carlapassino/2016/05/19/slow-and-steady-real-estate-growth-in-world-cities-is-an-exercise-in-moderation/#108e2b7349c6

Vancouver area benchmark house price up 30% in 1 year

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The insanity, it seems, is not over.

Despite ongoing warnings from the CMHC that the Vancouver housing prices are overvalued and have outpaced the economic fundamentals in the city, they keep climbing.

In the past year, the benchmark price for a detached home in the region — not just the City of Vancouver itself — has climbed 30.1 per cent, to $1.4-million, according to new numbers from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

The “benchmark” price is a measure used by the board to describe what it calls a “typical property” in the market, taking into account bedrooms, lot size, and other factors, and is not an average or median price.

To put that in context, the median family income in the Vancouver metropolitan area is $73,390 — lower than the Canadian average, according to the latest census numbers available.

The highest benchmark price for a detached home is still Vancouver’s west side, at $3.2-million, which is up 172 per cent over ten years, and 28.4 per cent in the past year.

But the largest increases in house prices in the past year are outside Vancouver:

Tsawwassen up 41 per cent to $1.16-million.
Richmond up 36.5 per cent to $1.5-million.
Ladner up 35 per cent to $971,500.

Apartment and townhouse listings went up 20.6 and 22.1 per cent, respectively, in the past year in Greater Vancouver.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver covers Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

The benchmark detached home price in the Fraser Valley also rose 30 per cent over the last year, to $776,500, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

That area includes Surrey, White Rock, Langley, North Delta, Abbotsford and Mission.

The price increases are, not surprisingly, driven by a strong demand with not much supply.

There was a slight increase in residential listings last month, but not enough to keep up, said Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board president Dan Morrison in a release.

“While we’re seeing more homes listed for sale in recent months, supply is still chasing this unprecedented surge of demand in our marketplace,” he said.

In April 2016, sales of all properties (not just detached homes) in Metro Vancouver were 41.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

Meanwhile, the total number of properties currently listed in Metro Vancouver is down 38.3 per cent from last year.

That means the sales-to-active listings ratio — a measure analysts use take the temperature of a market — was 63 per cent in April 2016, the sign of a seller’s market.

Home prices tend to experience upward pressure when that ratio is just 20 or 22 per cent, according to the board.

Source: CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-real-estate-house-prices-1.3564528

How can you win a real estate bidding war in Metro Vancouver?

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

In a red-hot real estate market where inventory is low, prices are high and competition is fierce, the seller holds exponentially much more power than the buyer.

Multiple offers have become the new normal in the Vancouver market, with many properties selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price.

Those bidding wars have buyers going to extraordinary lengths just to get a chance at getting into a market that’s really out of control.

CTV Vancouver has compiled a list of expert tips to help you get the property you want, if you’re faced with a multiple offer situation.

1. Unconditional offer

Gone are the days where offers can be subject to financing, inspection or lengthy waiting periods. The key to winning a bid now is going in with zero conditions attached. That means having your financing in place well ahead of even going to see properties. It can also mean having a bank draft deposit in hand to present to the realtor and homeowners.

Realtor Gary Serra says it can also help to make sure that deposit is bigger than your competitor’s.

“I think in some cases people are coming in with a higher deposit because, again, if you want to stand out compared to other offers – obviously people will notice that,” he told CTV Vancouver.

2. Do your home inspection early

It used to be that you could include a home inspection in a conditional offer, but that practice all but gone by the wayside in this frantic market. Many potential homeowners are now opting to take their home inspector with them to open houses, where dozens of other buyers are doing the same thing.

“It’s really crazy,” said home inspector Shawn Anderson. “I was just in one recently where it was so packed it was like they were giving away free wine.”

With some people putting in bids on multiple properties before actually winning a bidding war, this can add up to thousands of dollars in extra costs during house hunting.

3. Write a personal letter

Although it’s far from a requirement to pen a magnum opus to the current owner of the home, Metro Vancouver realtors say it’s worth the effort in a bid to make a personal connection to the seller.

Serra said explaining why you want the home can give interested parties an advantage over others.

“We want to appeal to the seller and make sure our offer stands out over someone else’s,” he said.

In its tips for writing a letter, Realtor.com says homebuyers should use flattery whenever possible, and compliment the current owner on the condition or décor of their home. In a market like Vancouver, where many heritage homes are torn down to make way for newer buildings, it can help to mention if you’re planning to keep the home intact.

4. Appeal to the seller’s timeline

Your needs should come last when it comes to the real estate sale, says Serra. Home sellers don’t want to be bogged down while interested parties secure a mortgage or sell their current home, so try to make things work in the timeline they want. They may have purchased another property and don’t want to wait around to get out of their current residence.

New buyer Kyle Gould says he’ll take any advice he can get. Just moving to B.C. from Ontario, Gould says he has been hit by “sticker shock” and a big reality check about the market.

“It kind of smacked me in the face that it’s a wild game out here,” he said.

Source: CTV Vancouver
http://bc.ctvnews.ca/how-to-win-a-real-estate-bidding-war-in-metro-vancouver-1.2804164

Average Metro Vancouver home price climbs 20% in January

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Vancouver’s hot real estate market isn’t showing signs of slowing. January saw year-over-year growth of more than 20 per cent for the Metro region, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

That brings the average price of a home in Metro Vancouver to $775,300.

Thanks to hot markets in B.C. and Ontario, the national average home price grew a staggering 17 per cent to $470,297 – but without those two provinces, there would have been a decline of 0.3 per cent to $286,911.

“January 2016 picked up where 2015 left off, with single family homes in the GTA and Greater Vancouver in short supply amid strong demand standing in contrast to sidelined home buyers and ample supply in a number of Alberta housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist in a statement.

“Tighter mortgage regulations that take effect in February may shrink the pool of prospective home buyers who qualify for mortgage financing and cause national sales activity to ease in the months ahead.”

New rules for mortgage rates took effect on Tuesday. Canadians are now required to put down a minimum of 5 per cent for the first $500,000 and 10 per cent for every dollar amount after that.

Two-storey single family homes posted the largest year-over-year gains nationally of nearly 10 per cent, followed by one-storey homes at 6.9 per cent, townhouses at 6.5 per cent and apartments at 5.2 per cent.

In stark contrast to Vancouver and Toronto’s housing markets, average home prices in Calgary saw a decline of three per cent year-over-year.

Nationally, the number of newly listed homes in January fell five per cent compared to December, and Canada’s largest housing markets such as Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton were to blame.

Source: Lauren Sundstrom, Vancity Buzz

Vancouver real estate prices up an incredible 18% over 2014

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

B.C. is buoying the country’s residential real estate market, according to a forecast update from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Prices increased 11.5 per cent, significantly bolstering the national average, while sales activity increased 21.4 per cent in 2015 over 2014 – and those figures aren’t just for Vancouver. The association, however, expects increases in sale prices in B.C. to continue but to drop to a more modest two per cent next year, down from an unprecedented 11.5 per cent in 2015.

Over the last 12 months, the Lower Mainland has bucked up not just the provincial average but also the national average. Prices increased 18 per cent over the last year in Greater Vancouver and 12.3 per cent in the Fraser Valley. The benchmark price for a property in the city of Vancouver, which includes condos and townhouses, hit $930,000. Even on Vancouver Island, which hadn’t seen a full recovery since the 2009 recession, prices fluctuated at between six and eight per cent higher last month over November 2014.

The CREA, which represents the country’s realtors, also laid out its analysis of the recent changes to Canada’s mortgage rules, which affect properties sold for over $500,000. “Larger more expensive housing markets will be affected most,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, in a statement. “Unfortunately, the regulatory changes will also cause unintended collateral damage to housing markets beyond Toronto and Vancouver, including places that are facing economic headwinds from the collapse in oil prices.”

Source: Jacob Parry, BC Business


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