BC budget includes new
real estate taxes and spending commitments
Housing was the dominant issue in today’s
The government released a 30-point housing
strategy aimed at reducing housing demand, curbing tax
fraud, building affordable housing, and increasing
security for renters.
New tax measures include increasing property
taxes and property transfer taxes on residential
properties valued above $3 million, expanding the
foreign buyer tax, and implementing a housing
“We welcome the provincial government’s
commitment to address money laundering concerns and
increase the supply of affordable, social, and rental
housing in our province,” Jill Oudil, Board president
said. “We’re concerned, however, about the series of
tax measures announced today. The budget introduces new
taxes, hints at future taxes, and hikes existing taxes
on housing. Taxes don’t make homes more affordable.”
Below is a summary of the key real estate
measures announced today. There’s considerable
information to go through. We’re analyzing each item to
understand the implications to you and your clients and
will report back with more information and analysis in
The province is
investing $6 billion in affordable housing to
create 114,000 homes over the next 10 years.
The province will
enhance local government capacity to build and
retain affordable housing.
The province will
require developers to collect and report
comprehensive information about the assignment of
pre-sale condo purchases.
The province intends to
track beneficial ownership information.
The province will
collect additional information to increase
transparency and strengthen enforcement in real
The province will
implement a new speculation tax on residential
properties, targeting foreign and domestic
homeowners who don’t pay income tax in BC. This
includes those who leave homes vacant.
The tax will apply to
the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Capital, and
Nanaimo Regional districts and in the
municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.
In 2018, the tax rate
will be $5 per $1,000 of assessed value. In 2019,
the tax rate will rise to $20 per $1,000 of
The province will
administer the tax and will collect data to enforce
it including, social insurance numbers, household
information, and world-wide income information.
Foreign buyer tax
Effective Feb. 21,
2018, the foreign buyer tax will increase to 20 per
cent from 15 per cent and will be extended to the
Fraser Valley, Capital, Nanaimo, and Central
Okanagan Regional Districts.
If the property is
located in the Capital Regional District, Fraser
Valley Regional District, Regional District of
Central Okanagan, or Nanaimo Regional District, and
the property transfer is registered on or after
February 21, 2018, there are transitional rules
Property Transfer Tax
Effective Feb. 21, 2018, the Property Transfer
Tax on residential properties above $3 million will
increase to five per cent from three per cent.
Provincial School Tax
Beginning in 2019, the provincial school tax
will increase on most residential properties in excess
of $3 million.
Database on pre-sale condo assignments
The province will require developers to
collect and report comprehensive information about the
assignment of pre-sale condo purchases. The information
will be reported to a designated government office and
shared with federal and provincial tax authorities to
ensure taxes are paid.
Online accommodation PST and MRDT
Online accommodation platforms are enabled to
collect and remit the Provincial Sales Tax and
Municipal and Regional District Tax (Hotel Room Tax).
Property tax treatment for ALR land
As part of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)
review, the province is examining residential land in
the ALR to ensure land is used for farming.
Clarity of property ownership
Compelling access to MLS®
The province plans to enable tax
administrators to compel access to information relevant
to property transfers, such as information held in a
MLS® database. (We’re asking government for
Beneficial land ownership registry
The province will require additional
information about beneficial ownership on the PTT form.
Administered by the LTSA, the information will
be publicly available and shared with federal and
provincial tax and law enforcement authorities.
Legislation will be introduced to require BC
corporations to hold accurate and up to date
information on beneficial owners in their own record
offices available to law enforcement, tax and other
Task force on money laundering and tax
The province will work with the federal
government to formalize a multi-agency working group on
tax evasion, money laundering and housing.
Residential Tenancy Branch
Increased funding to the Residential Tenancy
Branch to reduce wait time, improve service and deal
with disputes more quickly, as well as strengthening
the Residential Tenancy Act and the penalties for those
who repeatedly break the law.
Jan 18, 2018
Canada's biggest lenders have raised their prime lending rates on
the same day the country's central bank moved its benchmark
interest rate a quarter percentage point higher.
The Bank of Canada raised its key lending rate by a quarter point
to 1.25 per cent Wednesday morning, the third time it has moved
its benchmark rate from once-record lows last summer.
The bank rate has an impact what Canadians pay lenders for things
like mortgages and personal loans. While the move means borrowers
can expect to pay more, savers can expect to earn more, too, on
savings accounts and guaranteed investment certificates.
That's exactly what happened later on Wednesday afternoon, when
Canada's five biggest banks — Royal, TD, CIBC, BMO and
Scotiabank — all hiked their own prime lending rates by a quarter
percentage point, effective tomorrow.
As of Thursday, Jan. 18, all five now have the same prime lending
rate of 3.45 per cent. Prior to the Bank of Canada's move, their
rates were all 3.2 per cent.
In the MPR, the bank nudged up its expectations for how the
economy will perform this year and next. The bank now expects
Canada's economy to expand by 2.2 per cent this year and 1.6 per
cent in 2019. Previously the bank was anticipating 2.1 and 1.5 per
15th, 2018 new rules for BC’s real estate licensees
will come into effect. The Real Estate Council, as the
regulator of licensed real estate, is committed to
helping you understand how these rules will impact
you. The rules, announced in November by the
Superintendent of Real Estate, will protect consumers
by prohibiting limited dual agency in almost all
cases, and by requiring new disclosures about
commissions, services to expect from a licensee, and
the risks of being an unrepresented party in a real
estate transaction. These rules will significantly
change the way that BC’s real estate licensees conduct
Nov 29, 2017
CMHC says 47% decrease in mortgage loan insurance
business is the 'new normal'
Canada's national housing agency says the 47 per cent
decline in the country's insured mortgage market
year-over-year in the third quarter is the "new normal
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says in its
latest financial report that it provided mortgage loan
insurance to 67,915 units for the three-month period
ended Sept. 30 compared to 127,991 units during the
same period a year ago.
Steve Mennill, CMHC's senior vice-president of
insurance, says decreased volumes have been steady
throughout the year as a result of the new regulations
announced by the federal government in the fourth
quarter of 2016.
The mortgage rules require all home buyers with less
than a 20 per cent down payment to undergo a stress
test to ensure the borrower can still service their
loan should interest rates rise, or their personal
finances fall. This cut into the purchasing power of
some first-time homebuyers.
Mennill says CMHC is confident that the volume of
insured mortgages the country is seeing now is the new
CMHC also says that it has seen an improvement in the
quality of its mortgage loan insurance portfolio.
The agency says its overall arrears rate was 0.30 per
cent in the third quarter, which is down from 0.32 per
cent a year ago.
Implementation of the New Stress Test for Uninsured
Last month the
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
(OSFI) confirmed the implementation of a new minimum
qualifying stress test for uninsured
B-20 now requires borrowers who have a
down payment of 20% or more to qualify for a mortgage
at a higher rate. Borrowers will have to be approved
at either the five-year mortgage rate published by the
Bank of Canada (currently 4.99%) OR the mortgage rate
the federally-regulated financial institution offers
plus 2%, whichever is higher.
The revised Guideline B-20
comes into effect on January 1, 2018. However, if a
borrower has put down a deposit and received a
mortgage eligibility assessment or pre-approval from a
federally-regulated lender prior to
January 1, 2018, the lender has the discretion to
offer the loan based on the pre-existing guideline
(including the prior qualification rate).
We encourage REALTORS® to
remind their clients who have put down a deposit on a
home but don't need a mortgage for some time or are
uncertain about access to mortgage financing as a
result of the revisions to Guideline B-20 to contact
their federally-regulated lender directly.
The new mortgage rules for the uninsured
Canada's top banking regulator has published the final
version of its new mortgage rules, which include a
requirement to "stress test" borrowers with uninsured
loans to ensure they could withstand higher interest
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial
guidelines for the mortgage industryon
Tuesday. The regulator floated a similar version of
these rules earlier this summer in draft form, but
Tuesday's release makes them official as of Jan. 1.
Among the major new rules is a requirement to stress
test uninsured borrowers. Previously, only insured
borrowers had to undergo such a test.
By law, borrowers with a down payment of under 20 per
cent of a home must purchase mortgage insurance.
Borrowers pay an insurance premium, but the
beneficiary is actually the lender, because the
insurance protects the loan giver in the event the
borrower defaults on the loan.
Real Estate agents
in B.C. will soon be banned from acting for both a
buyer and a seller, also known as ‘Dual Agency’.
A set of draft
rules by the Office of the Superintendent of Real
Estate aims to tighten the rules.
“Some realtors can
sort of referee themselves, but then you have a lot of
people that can cross the line, and there are legal
issues that come out about it.”
“There’s a bit of
a conflict of interest there, because how do you
represent both parties completely neutral, I think
that’s where we were seeing a lot of issues.”
There are still
loopholes, one of which is called ‘double-ending.’
“If you want to
walk in to an open house and you want to make an offer
and you have no realtor, The listing realtor [could]
still write it up for you.”
“The realtor is
still going to get both commissions, but he has no
legal obligation to that buyer, zero legal obligation.
You can’t advise the buyer in any which direction.”
There is one
exemption to the ban on dual agency, where the deal
happens in a remote area with limited access to
The new rules would
go into effect in the middle of January 2018, under
the Real Estate Services Act.
August 6, 2017
The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark
interest rate by a quarter of a point to one per cent
It's the second time this year that the central bank
has upped the rate, after hiking it for the first time
in seven years in July.
The central bank's rate has an impact on lending rates
that consumers and savers get from banks on mortgages,
lines of credits, savings accounts and other financial
The bank's rate — officially known as the target for
the overnight rate — is now back to where it was at
the start of 2015, when the central bank started
slashing rates to stimulate a Canadian economythat
had been waylaid by the oil price crash.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Finance Minister Bill
Morneau said the bank is "responding to what is a very
positive set of economic indicators."
"We've had the fastest growth over the last year that
we've had in a decade. We've had more job growth than
was expected. These are all very positive indicators
... and the Bank of Canada's saying that when that
happens, they had the opportunity to slightly raise
rates," Morneau said.
July 12, 2017
Bank of Canada raises interest
rate for 1st time in 7 years to 0.75%
Economy is now expected to
grow by 2.8% in 2017, up from April forecast of 2.6%
Bank of Canada governor
Stephen Poloz will speak to reporters Wednesday
morning to discuss the central bank's interest rate
decision and its latest outlook for the Canadian
The Bank of Canada has
raised its key interest rate as expected to 0.75 per
cent — the central bank's first move upward in the
cost of borrowing in seven years.
The bank's target for the
overnight rate — at which major financial institutions
make one-day loans to each other — moved up by
one-quarter of a percentage point from 0.50 per cent.
In a statement accompanying
the rate decision, the central bank said the Canadian
economy has been robust, fuelled by household
"As a result, a significant
amount of economic slack has been absorbed," the bank
said, adding that the remaining slack is expected to
be gone around the end of this year, which is earlier
than the bank anticipated in its April Monetary
The move means consumers
will likely pay more for borrowing such as
variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit.
The interest rate increase had been widely
expected after senior Bank of Canada officials
signalled in speeches and interviews over the past
weeks that lower rates had done their job, and the
Canadian economy was performing well
April 20, 2017
TORONTO -- Ontario plans to help cool a hot housing
market by bringing in a 15-per-cent foreign buyer tax,
expanding rent control, allowing Toronto to impose a
tax on vacant homes and using surplus lands for
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Thursday that a
non-resident speculation tax will be imposed on buyers
in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area -- from the
Niagara region to Peterborough, Ont.-- who are not
citizens, permanent residents or Canadian
corporations. Once legislation passes, the tax would
be effective retroactively to April 21.
The tax is not about targeting immigrants, Wynne said,
and a rebate would be available to people who
subsequently get citizenship or permanent resident
status, as well as foreign nationals working in
Ontario and international students.
"The non-resident speculation tax has nothing to do
with new Canadians and people who want to make Ontario
their home," she said. "With this tax, we are
targeting people who aren't looking for a place to
raise a family -- they're looking only for a quick
profit or a safe place to park their money."
The average price of detached houses in the Greater
Toronto Area rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4
per cent from a year ago.
Skyrocketing demand and rising cost of housing is the
"unwanted consequence" of a growing economy, but the
province's new measures will make the process of
finding a place to live a little easier, a little less
frantic and a lot fairer, Wynne said.
"When young people can't afford their own apartment or
can't imagine ever owning their own home, we know we
have a problem," she said. "And when the rising cost
of housing is making more and more people insecure
about their future, and about their quality of life in
Ontario, we know we have to act."
The province will also expand rent control, which
currently only applies to units built before November
1991, after tenants in newer units complained of
dramatic spikes in rent. New rules would see all
private rental units fall under annual rent increase
guidelines. Those have averaged two per cent in the
last 10 years and this year it is 1.5 per cent.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has been calling for a tax on
vacant homes, and Wynne says Ontario will give Toronto
and other interested municipalities the power to
impose such a tax to encourage owners to sell or rent
"My goal as Mayor is to ensure housing is affordable
in Toronto for all age groups and for all income
levels," Tory said in a statement Thursday. "I am
pleased that the government will activate surplus
provincial land like the West Don Lands to create new
affordable housing, something I have been urging the
Premier to do for some time. I'm also gratified that
the provincial government will allow the City to move
forward with a vacant homes tax, subject to the
results of our examination, and other measures to
curtail speculation and add new supply into the
marketplace right away."
The provincial Liberal government's housing plan
contains 16 measures in total. It also includes
rebating a portion of development charges to encourage
rental construction under a five-year, $125-million
Rules for real estate agents will also be reviewed, in
particular practices such as double ending, where the
agent represents both the buyer and the seller.
Ontario will also establish a program to identify
provincially owned surplus lands for affordable and
rental housing, with an eye to using a few specific
sites such as the West Don Lands in Toronto for pilot
New CMHC Mortgage Premiums
March 17, 2017
Premiums on mortgage insurance from Canada Mortgage
Housing Corp. went up across the country on Friday.
CMHC says its average client will pay about $5 more
Mortgage insurance is required for homebuyers making a
down payment of less than 20 per cent. The price of
that insurance is based on the price of the
home, which varies across Canada as calculations by
mortgage-comparison website Ratehub.ca show.
For example, a homebuyer in Halifax, where the average
home price is $279,362, would pay $4.71 more per month
under CMHC's new premiums. That's an increase of
$1,413 over the life of a 25-year mortgage.
In Vancouver, however, where the average price of a
home has ballooned to $995,583, the new mortgage
insurance premiums would cost $16.35 more each month —
or $4,904 over 25 years.
In both examples, Ratehub assumes buyers are making
the minimum down payment required on a five-year,
fixed-rate mortgage of 2.42 per cent amortized over 25
years. Mortgage insurance payments can also be made as
a lump sum, rather than monthly payments.
Premium hikes follow new capital requirements
CMHC announced the premium increase in January, after
the Office of the Superintendent of Financial
Institutions (OSFI) implemented new rules requiring
mortgage insurers to have more capital on hand as a
hedge against potential losses. CMHC is a crown
corporation, but OSFI's new rules also apply to
mortgage insurance companies, like Canada Guaranty and
"We do not expect the higher premiums to have a
significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy
a home," said CMHC senior vice-president Steven
Mennill in January.
According to CMHC, the average insured mortgage was
worth about $245,000 in the first nine months of 2016,
with an average down payment of about eight per cent.
The average gross debt service ratio (also known as
the gross debt-to-income ratio, which measures the
monthly cost of housing against monthly income)
was 25.6 per cent.
monthly housing costs be no more than 32 per cent of
average gross monthly income.
December 15, 2016
BC Introduces Innovative New
Program to Help First-Time Homebuyers
a move to help BC citizens and residents buy their
first home, the BC government announced today that it
is launching a new program to augment down payments
for first-time buyers. The B.C. Home Owner Mortgage
and Equity Partnership program contributes to the
amount first-time homebuyers have already saved for
their down payment, providing up to $37,500, or up to
5% of the purchase price, with a 25-year loan that is
interest-free and payment-free for the first five
years. Through the program, the Province is investing
about $703 million over the next three years to help
an estimated 42,000 B.C. households enter the market
for the first time.
During the first five
years, no monthly interest or principal payments are
required as long as the home remains the homebuyer’s
principal residence. After the first five years,
homebuyers begin making monthly payments at current
interest rates. Homebuyers will repay the loan over
the remaining 20 years, but may make extra payments or
repay it in full at any time without penalty. The loan
must be repaid in full when the home is sold or
transferred to another owner.
To be eligible, buyers must
be preapproved for an insured high-ratio first
mortgage (mortgage down payment is less than 20% of
the home price). On completion of the sale, program
funds will be advanced and the loan will be registered
as a second mortgage on the property’s title.1?
Applications will be
accepted starting January 16, 2017. This will be a
three-year program with loans advanced from February
15, 2017 until March 31, 2020.
All individuals with a
registered interest on title must reside in the home
Be a first-time homebuyer
Have been a Canadian citizen or
permanent resident for at least five years
Have resided in BC for at least
Have a combined gross income of
$150,000 or less
Have saved at least half of the
minimum down payment they will require
Must be pre-approved for the
first mortgage before applying
The first mortgage must be
high-ratio insured from an NHA approved lender for
more than 80% of the purchase price.
Any legal, self-contained,
mortgageable residence located in BC
Must be used as a principal
residence for the first 5 years
Rental properties and seasonal
or recreational properties are not eligible
The purchase price cannot
Home Partnership Loans
Up to 25-year term, registered
as a second mortgage
No interest or principal
payments for the first 5 years
Monthly principal and interest
payments begin in year 6, amortized over remaining 20
Interest rate for years 6 to 10
set near first mortgage rate at time mortgage is
Interest rate reset to near
first mortgage rate at years 10, 15, and 20
Homeowner may repay in full or
part at any time without penalty.
The loan is due and payable
in full upon
The home ceasing to be the
primary resident in the first 5 years
Default on the first mortgage
Sale of home or change of
Any other default on the Home
Partnership second mortgage
Bottom Line: This is a
bold and innovative step to help potential new buyers
to meet the greatest hurdle of first-time
homeownership—the down payment. The
Federal Government's new mortgage regulations released
in October hit first-time homebuyers hard, so this
program will be welcome relief for B.C. residents. The
B.C. government estimates that it will make more than
42,000 new loans over the three-year life of this
program, amounting to $703 million in new funding
available for qualified first-time homebuyers to come
up with their down payments. This is particularly
important for BC, which has the highest home prices in
Canadian Mortgage Rules Effective Oct 17th, 2016
The Minister of Finance
announced today new Canadian mortgage rules effective
Oct 17th,2016.Â The new rules will impact high
ratio buyers with less than 20% down payment.Â
Other rule changes are expected to follow.Â Stay
tuned for details as they unfold.
Currently a home buyer with
less than 20% (high ratio) requires mortgage insurance
through CMHC or one of the private insurers. The
financing rules for this purchase differ from those
buying a home with 20% or more down payment.
However, both types of buyers have one rule in common
– to access short term fixed rates (1-4 years) or a
variable rate mortgage they must qualify at the
benchmark rate (currently 4.64%). They don’t pay
that rate but it is a metric used to qualify for
access to the variable or short term rate products.
Effective October 17th
all high ratio buyers will have to qualify at the
benchmark rate for all terms.
For example a home buyer
currently qualified to purchase with 10% down for a
mortgage of $527,000 after October 17th would qualify
for a $420,000 mortgage. This equates to a 20% drop in
buying power. (All things being equal in terms
of property taxes, income, debts, etc).
Buyers in this situation
would have the option to make up the shortfall with
more money down or add another person to the mortgage
to help qualify or purchase a lower priced property.
For detached homes with a suite the use of rental
income could help the buyer make up some or all of
that difference in qualifying.
Any buyers with an accepted
offer in place will have till October 16th to have a
firm financing approval in place. Buyers who secure an
accepted offer who do not have a firm agreement from
their lender (and the respective mortgage insurer) in
place by October 16th will be subject to the rule
change October 17th.
This is crucial timing
so talk with your realtor and mortgage broker in
detail if you are ready to make an offer or have an
accepted offer with no current financing in place.
There are no specific
deadlines in place by the Minister of Finance
regarding pre-sale purchases set to close in 2017.
So discuss a strategy with your mortgage broker and
realtor if you are a buyer in this situation.
The announcement also
indicated a change later this year to mortgages for
conventional borrowers with financing that is
bulk-insured. This represents a number of banks and
other lenders who choose this as a strategy for their
portfolio. This could effect all borrowers
(those buying or refinancing). We will gain more
details on this specific outcome within our industry
channels and provide an update as soon as possible.
close housing tax loophole
Ottawa took a step towards
closing a tax loophole that impacts all
Canadians earlier this morning, when Finance Minister
Bill Morneau clearly told the world: You need to live
here, in Canada, in order to benefit from our tax
Up until now, anyone who
sold their principal residence in Canada did not have
to report that sale to the Canada Revenue Agency, or
the profit earned on that sale. The reason was that
the CRA provides a tax exemption on property that is
used as your primary home.
As of today, however, the
federal government will now require all Canadians
tax-filers to report the sale of each and every
property sold in the country. As with all assets,
taxes are owed, however, if the property is a
principal residence it’s still exempt.
“The CRA will audit tax
forms,” says Morneau, “to verify that the beneficial
owner lives here in Canada and is living in the home
in order to claim and receive the Principal Residence
tax Exemption (PRE).”
This move by the Trudeau
Liberals is an effort to tackle the apparent abuse
by non-residents that buy homes in Canada and then
later claim the PRE on the sale of those properties.
“Tax filers will have to
prove the principal residence exemption on their tax
return,” says Morneau. “This exemption is for people
who legitimately own a house and live in Canada and we
feel this is an appropriate way to manage this risk.
It ensures that everyone is playing by the rules.”
This announcement is one
way the federal government hopes to help cool the hot
real estate markets of Vancouver and Toronto without
harming other regional markets.
“We recognize that there
are different housing markets in different parts of
the country and multiple factors that impact these
markets,” says Morneau. “We believe these
measures ensures tax fairness.”
B.C. may see the
biggest impact of this new federal regulation change.
By the last count, foreign investment accounted for
nearly 6% of the approximately 48,000 residential real
estate transactions in British Columbia between June
10 and Aug. 31, 2016. These transactions made up about
8.8% of the $31 billion in residential property that
changed hands, according to the latest
real estate transaction datareleased by the
More tax loopholes require
However other tax loopholes
remain—available for use by anyone with the money to
For instance, wealthy
foreign property buyers can continue to avoid paying
taxes on property bought and sold in Canada using a
type of trust known as a bare or basic trust.
Under this type of legal
arrangement, a property can become the asset under a
bare trust set up by one person, who then names
a beneficiary, say, a family member, who has the legal
right to the capital and/or assets held within this
trust. In many cases, this can be a residential home
within Canada. The beneficiary then becomes the
rightful owner of all income or profits generated from
the asset, including the appreciation of property
values. While income generated from a bare trust’s
assets can be taken in the form of interest, dividends
or rent, there are no tax implications for the person
who sets up the bare trust.
One way foreign buyers have
used bare trusts to avoid paying Canadian tax is to
create a company that owns the bare trust, where the
property is held as an asset. The ownership of the
company can then be sold and resold, but the company
will continue to own the property and no change of
ownership on that property is recorded—which avoids
Death to the single family home for a more livable
Vancouver says UBC professor
A UBC sociology professor says single family homes are
overrated and harmful to health of the city
Aug 14, 2016 7:00 AM PTLast
Updated: Aug 14, 2016 7:00 AM PT
A neighbourhood full of single family homes near
Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver.
The coveted single family home is becoming less
attainable for the average home buyer in
Vancouver, but a UBC sociology professor says such
homes are overrated and harmful to the health of
Nathan Lauster is making the case that single
family homes are bad for the environment, urban
vitality and people's health in his forthcoming
Death and Life of the Single-Family House: Lessons
from Vancouver on Building a Livable City.
Lauster says the negative impact on the
environment comes from the large amount of land
that is taken up to house a single family, which
is not energy efficient and encourages residents
to drive rather than walk, bike or take public
transit to get around.
"It's bad for our health, in terms of not allowing
us to walk to places that are interesting near
by," Lauster toldOn
"And in many respects it's bad for democracy, in
terms of actually encouraging us to get out and
see people who are different from ourselves, which
is something we should be encouraging in a
multicultural society like Canada."
expansion of Vancouver in the late 19th Century
posed the challenge of restricting where
industrial developments could build so that they
didn't pop up directly next to residential areas,
"So a new solution presented itself with the
rising profession of planning across North America
and that was zoning legislation," he said.
"These [neighbourhoods] don't tend to go away, and
that's in part because [they] were put in place
through these bylaws and they're very difficult to
really gather the political will to overturn … and
write new bylaws."
Cultural expectations keep single family homes
"It came in with the idea that we
should, in particular, separate off the single
family houses, which [was where] the middle class
assumed everyone should be living," he said.
Those cultural priorities have the most impact
over the preservation of these neighbourhoods,
according to Lauster, but many residents can't
meet those expectations in today's market.
"We really have this idea that if you want to
consider yourself a success in life, you should be
living in a single family house," Lauster said.
"So you have a lot of people feeling really bad
that they can't afford that for their children, or
for their families, they feel like they're failing
at the job of being a good person or a good
Development projects along the Cambie Corridor are
an example of the direction the city is moving in
terms of densification and the replacement of
these old neighbourhoods, he said.
"I think Vancouver has been moving that way for a
while and it's moved that way, if you look at
history, faster and further than most other cities
in North America. The Cambie Corridor, the
densification of arterials in that sense, is part
of that broader process," Lauster said.
Although the process up until this point has been
slow, the increase in recent years is a move in
the right direction, in the professor's opinion,
for the livability and vitality of Vancouver
Aug 03, 2016
Home sales move off of record-breaking pace in
Metro Vancouver* homes sales resembled more typical
levels in July.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)
reports that residential property sales in the region
totalled 3,226 in July 2016, a decrease of 18.9 per cent
from the 3,978 sales recorded in July 2015 and a decrease of
26.7 per cent compared to June 2016 when 4,400 homes sold.
This is the first time since January that home
sales in the region have registered below 4,000 in a month.
“After several months of record-breaking sales
activity, home buyer demand returned to more historically
normal levels in July,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said.
Last month’s sales were 6.5 per cent above the
10-year sales average for the month.
“Home sale activity showed some moderating signs in
late June and this carried into July,” Morrison said. “We’ll
wait and watch over the next few months to see if this marks
the return of more normal market trends.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment
properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,241 in July 2016.
This represents a 2.5 per cent increase compared to the
5,112 units listed in July 2015 and a 10.8 per cent decrease
compared to June 2016 when 5,875 properties were listed.
The total number of properties currently listed for
sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,351, a 27.4
per cent decline compared to July 2015 (11,505) and a 6.9
per cent increase compared to June 2016 (7,812).
The sales-to-active listings ratio for July 2016 is
38.6 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward
pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the
12 per cent mark, while home prices experience upward
pressure when it reaches the 20 to 22 per cent range in a
particular community for a sustained period of time.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price
for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is
currently $930,400. This represents a 32.6 per cent increase
compared to July 2015.
Sales of detached properties in July 2016 reached
1,077, a decrease of 30.9 per cent from the 1,559 detached
sales recorded in July 2015. The benchmark price for
detached properties increased 38 per cent from July 2015 to
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,602 in July
2016, a decrease of 7.3 per cent compared to the 1,729 sales
in July 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property
increased 27.4 per cent from July 2015 to $510,600.
Attached property sales in July 2016 totalled 547,
a decrease of 20.7 per cent compared to the 690 sales in
July 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased
29.4 per cent from July 2015 to $669,000.
Province to tax foreign buyers of Metro Vancouver homes
The B.C. government introduced legislation Monday that
would add a 15 per cent property transfer tax on foreign
nationals buying real estate in Metro Vancouver.
The new rules would take effect Aug. 2 and apply to purchases of
homes in Metro Vancouver, excluding the treaty lands of
the Tsawwassen First Nation.
Provincial Finance Minister Mike de Jong unveiled the tax as
part of legislation aimed at addressing low vacancy rates and
high real estate prices in southern B.C.
"For example, the additional tax on the purchase of a
home selling for $2 million to a foreign national will amount to
an additional $300,000," de Jong told members of the
Tax money to fund housing
All B.C. residents currently pay a one per cent tax on the
first $200,000 of their purchase, two per cent on the remaining
value up to $2 million and three per cent on any portion above
"The amendments include anti-avoidance rules designed to
capture transactions that are structured specifically to avoid
the additional tax," de Jong said.
The revenue from the additional tax would be used to fund
housing, rental and support programs, the minister said.
De Jong said recent government housing data indicate
foreign nationals spent more than $1 billion on B.C. property
between June 10 and July 14, with 86 per cent on purchases in
the Lower Mainland area.
July 7, 2016
Government data shows foreign buyers make up
five per cent of Metro Vancouver market
Foreign nationals make up 5.1 per cent of
home buyers in Metro Vancouver, according to
the first set of real estate transaction
data released by the provincial government
“We wrote the Minister of Finance earlier
this year asking him to again track the
residency of home buyers in BC and we
applaud the government for taking action on
this issue,” Dan Morrison, Board president
said. “The housing affordability challenge
we face is of critical importance to all of
us in the region and it’s important that
this debate be based on facts. We look
forward to the province releasing larger
data sets in the future to further inform
The government will continue to release this
data each month. The current set covers
transactions between June 10 and June 29,
The data is collected when owners register
their property at the Land Title Office and
the Property Transfer Tax is paid.
Individuals must disclose if they’re a
Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or
if their citizenship if not Canadian.
Corporations must disclose their directors’
10,148 residential real estate
transactions in BC, totalling more than $7.6
337 transactions (3.3 per cent)
involved foreign nationals, worth $390
million (5.1 per cent).
In Metro Vancouver, there were 5,118
transactions worth nearly $5.4 billion, of
which 260 involved foreign nationals (5.1
per cent), worth $351 million (6.5 per cent)
In the City of Vancouver, there were
1,139 transactions, totalling more than $1.6
billion. 47 of these involved foreign
nationals (4.1 per cent), worth $64 million
(3.9 per cent).
Sales volumes are starting to slacken in two of Canada's hottest
real estate markets.
And that could be bad news for anyone hoping to jump in and buy
Home sales in Vancouver have not grown in two months — the city
saw 4,769 transactions in May, a decline of 0.3 per cent from
the previous month, according to theReal
Estate Board of Greater Vancouver(REBGV).
Monthly home sales had also dropped by 7.6 per cent in April —
from an all-time record of 5,173 in March.
It's 'tax freedom day': now start working for yourself
Fraser Institute says June 7 is the day, but it varies,
depending on where you live
The average Canadian family had to work until June 6 of this
year before earning any money for themselves after taxes are
paid, according to the Fraser Institute.
Canadians feeling taxed to the max can at least take comfort in
this being tax freedom day.
June 7 this year as the day the average Canadian family has
worked long enough to pay its total tax bill.
It's a hypothetical day, meaning if you had to pay all your
taxes up front to different levels of government, you would now
be in the clear to keep the rest of your earnings until a new
In 2016, the average Canadian family (with two or more people)
pay $45,167 in total taxes. That's 42.9 per cent of its annual
On the calendar, those numbers represent more than five months
of income — from Jan. 1 to June 6. Therefore, it's only
onJune 7 when
families start working for themselves, not the government.
The Vancouver-based think-tank calculates the tax burden to
include income taxes, payroll taxes, taxes on health and
property, as well as what is levied on sales and fuel.
Earlier than 2015
While tax freedom day comes two days earlier than in 2015, "it's
not because of any major tax reductions," the institute says. It
notes that 2016 is a leap year, which helped the day arrive
is 'tax freedom day' 2015, Fraser Institute says
And because the day is calculated based on federal and
provincial tax revenue forecasts, overly conservative revenue
estimates by governments moved the date earlier up the calendar.
When governments provide actual revenue estimates at the end of
the year, tax freedom day calculations are revised.
Before all Canadians mark the day, however, the Fraser Institute
says they need to remember there are different tax freedom
days, depending on where you live.
Albertans would have seen their tax burden lifted by May 17,
while taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador won't have their
day of tax freedom until June 14.
Provincial tax freedom days (earliest to latest)
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
More than three decades ago, in 1981, tax freedom day fell on
May 30. In 2000, it was June 25.
Central bank cut rate twice in
2015 in an attempt to boost the economy
January 20, 2016
The Bank of Canada today
maintained its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 per
The bank's rate is officially
called the "target for the overnight rate."
Technically, it only governs the rate that retail
banks charge each other for short-term loans, but
has a strong impact on the rates that Canadians get
from their lending institutions when they save or
The central bank cut its rate
twice last year in an attempt to stimulate the
Home sales reached
near record levels in November even as home listings
began the traditional year-end decline.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
(REBGV) reports that residential property sales in
Metro Vancouver reached 3,524 on the Multiple
Listing Service® (MLS®) in November 2015. This
represents a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the
2,516 sales recorded in November 2014, and a 3.3 per
cent decrease compared to the 3,646 sales in October
sales were 46.2 per cent above the 10-year sales
average for the month and rank as the second highest
November on record for residential property sales.
typically one of the quietest months of the year in
our housing market, but not this year,” Darcy
McLeod, REBGV president said. “The ratio of sales to
home’s available for sale reached 44 per cent in
November, which is the highest it’s been in our
market in nine years.”
New listings for detached, attached and
apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled
3,392 in November. This represents a 12.5 per cent
increase compared to the 3,016 new listings reported
in November 2014.
The total number of properties listed for
sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 8,096, a 35
per cent decline compared to November 2014 and a
15.4 per cent decline compared to October 2015.
“Demand remains strong and there are
housing options at different price points throughout
the region,” McLeod said. “It’s important to work
with your REALTOR® to understand your options before
you embark on your home buying journey.”
The MLS® Home Price Index composite
benchmark price for all residential properties in
Metro Vancouver is currently $752,500. This
represents a 17.8 per cent increase compared to
The sales-to-active-listings ratio in
November was 43.5 per cent. Generally, analysts say
that downward pressure on home prices occurs when
the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while
home prices often experience upward pressure when it
reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular
community for a sustained period of time.
Sales of detached properties in November
2015 reached 1,335, an increase of 31.9 per cent
from the 1,012 detached sales recorded in November
2014, and a 44.2 per cent increase from the 926
units sold in November 2013. The benchmark price for
a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased
22.6 per cent from November 2014 to $1,226,300.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,553
in November 2015, an increase of 47.6 per cent
compared to the 1,052 sales in November 2014, and an
increase of 60.3 per cent compared to the 969 sales
in November 2013. The benchmark price of an
apartment property increased 14 per cent from
November 2014 to $435,000.
Attached property sales in November 2015
totalled 636, an increase of 40.7 per cent compared
to the 452 sales in November 2014, and a 49.3 per
cent increase from the 426 attached properties sold
in November 2013. The benchmark price of an attached
unit increased 11.3 per cent between November 2014
and 2015 to $536,600.
Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater
Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast,
Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver,
Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port
Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster,
Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.
cheapest day of the year to buy a house
Thinking about buying a house? Is there a
perfect day to pull the trigger? How about
A Toronto real estate company says its
analysis of five years of data from the
region says the best day to buy a home is
“The savings amounts to a lot for the
buyer calculates the discount at about
$20,000 on a Toronto home compared to the
second cheapest month, July.
Of course, it also happens to be the
worst point of the year to sell a home a
firm looked at five years of transactions
and found January was the cheapest month for
average price going back to 2010.
Conversely, May is the most expensive
Jan 03, 2015
Metro Vancouver homeowners have
grown accustomed to healthy increases on their
annual B.C. Assessment notices, which are now
landing in mailboxes.
What’s new this year is that condo values are
also rising in the region, after a few flat years
that saw condo construction outpace homebuyer
“Condominiums, that’s apartments and townhouses,
up until 2014 had been relatively flat over three
years,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist of the
B.C. Real Estate Association.
Over 2014, however, Muir said condo sale prices
have risen in step with inflation. Condo prices in
Vancouver and its nearer suburbs were up about two
per cent as of July, when B.C. Assessment sets its
values for the next year’s assessment roll.
Single-family home values were up a more
substantial 6.5 per cent, Muir said, but some of the
condo valuations were a departure from the previous
“We’re probably looking, in Vancouver, at sales
(increases) of 16 to 17 per cent in 2014,” Muir
said, “so, there’s much stronger demand, and we’re
also seeing inventory levels steadily decline.”
B.C. Assessment doesn’t produce average
assessment values for property types in Lower
Mainland markets but does highlight representative
In Vancouver, a typical east-side two-bedroom
apartment increased 4.7 per cent to $381,000, from
$364,000 a year earlier.
On Vancouver’s west side, values for a typical
two-bedroom apartment rose 7.5 per cent (to
$616,000), in line with the growth in value of a
detached home on a 33-foot lot (up 7.5 per cent to
In its real estate assessments a year ago, B.C.
Assessment had highlighted decreasing condominium
values in the range of four to five per cent — the
second consecutive year that condo prices declined
or offered minimal increases.
“Changes within a plus or minus five per cent
range, that’s what we categorize as stable,” said
Dharmesh Sisodraker, B.C. Assessment’s deputy
assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky region, which
takes in Vancouver and the North Shore all the way
Assessments, which are used
by municipalities to set property taxes, tend to lag
the overall market by the time they are released.
In east Vancouver, a typical detached house on a
33-foot lot saw an increase of 11.3 per cent, to
In Vancouver Heights, typical detached home
prices rose five per cent to $955,000.
“(Condominium) prices are still under pressure
versus detached homes, mostly because there is so
much (condominium) product on the market,” explained
Ray Harris, president of the Real Estate Board of
Greater Vancouver, and the increases in condo prices
In Metro Vancouver, demand for new condos has
been in high-growth areas linked to rapid transit,
such as the Marine Gateway development at Cambie and
Marine in Vancouver or the Metrotown and Brentwood
town centres in Burnaby.
“If a complex is in demand and there are not a
lot of units in the market, you can get more of a
lift,” Harris said.
Suburbs such as Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody
— communities either on SkyTrain, or where SkyTrain
is being built — are among those that have seen
modest increases in the range of two to three per
However, the gains weren’t
shared equally and some spots still showed
decreasing assessment values. B.C. Assessment cited
an example at Simon Fraser University’s UniverCity
development, where the assessed value of a
two-bedroom highrise unit declined 2.5 per cent from
“There are a few pockets where values decreased
slightly,” said Zina Weston, a deputy assessor for
B.C. Assessment in its North Fraser region, which
takes in the eastern suburbs closest to Vancouver.
“If there is a lot of building that comes on in a
short period of time in a finite area, there might
be some (downward) pressure on pricing,” Weston
Harris added that condo owners trying to re-sell
are having a tougher time because developers are
selling new units at lower prices than they would be
if the market were stronger.
Condo values also declined in Fraser Valley
suburbs from Langley to Chilliwack, where
single-family home prices are in the reach of more
Dan Scarrow, a vice-president at Macdonald Realty
in Vancouver, added that some municipalities are
more encouraging to condo developers and “as a
result of that, maybe some areas tend to get
“Then, in some municipalities, say Vancouver, it
is more difficult to get a project off the ground,
but demand is actually quite high,” Scarrow added.
Markets that rely on recreational property sales
— such as Whistler, the Okanagan and Kootenays,
where sales collapsed and values declined following
the 2008 recession — also took part in some of the
rebound in 2015 assessments.
B.C. Assessment cited examples in Kelowna where
assessments were up from four to seven per cent. In
Whistler, a typical home in the White Gold area
increased in value 7.4 per cent, to $1.06 million.
Rising condo prices start
The future price of condominiums,
even in suburban Metro Vancouver markets, can be
expected to increase because of escalating prices
being paid for land, according to a LandShare survey
compiled by Colliers International in Vancouver.
The study found that land values
have driven up the price-per-buildable square foot
of new condo projects downtown, in Vancouver
neighbourhoods and into the suburbs.
In downtown Vancouver, the
average high-rise apartment condominium being built
or planned will carry a cost of from $190 to $250
per square foot due to land values.
This means that these costs must
be recovered before any construction; finishing or
marketing costs are factored. For example, a
1,000-square-foot downtown condominium would have a
land component value of from $90,000 to $250,000.
In the Chinatown area, the same
type of new condo building would have a land
component equal to $90 to $175 per square foot.
On the West Side of Vancouver,
developers of high-rise concrete condos must factor
in an average land value of from $175 to $250 per
In East Vancouver, where Cressy
Developments recently paid nearly $10 million for a
19,820 square foot lot – $167 per buildable square
foot – on Joyce Avenue, the average land component
of new high-rise condo apartment is now from $100 to
$170 per square foot.
In Richmond, the land value
component of a new high-rise concrete apartment is
from $65 to $100 per square foot, while it averages
around $90 in most of Burnaby. Recent land sales
show these prices may also increase, however.
Intergulf Development Group, for example, paid $20.7
million this year for a 49,397-square foot lot on
Nelson Avenue, or about $123 per buildable square
New Westminster is among the most
affordable markets, with a land component equal to
from $30 to $75 per square foot for a high-rise
In central Surrey, where Tien
Sher Investment Group plans a further 1,200 new
high-rise condominiums, the buildable-per-square
foot value, based on land prices, is from $18 to $25
per square foot.
Site C dam approved by B.C.
B.C. has approved the $9 billion Site C dam
— a massive hydroelectric project that would flood a
large area of the Peace River Valley in
In making the announcement, Premier Christy Clark
said the Site C Clean Energy Project will provide
B.C. residents with a reliable source of power for
the next 100 years for the least cost to the
“Affordable, reliable, clean electricity is
the backbone of British Columbia’s economy,” said
Clark. “Site C will support our quality of life for
decades to come and will enable continued investment
and a growing economy.”
Energy Minister Bill Bennett said B.C.’s
electricity rates are the third lowest in North
America and the fourth lowest for commercial and
But he said B.C.’s population is expected
to increase by more than a million people and the
province's electricity demand to grow by 40 per cent
over the next 20 years
An artist's rendering shows how the Peace
River's Site C dam would appear after
completion. (BC Hydro)
Even though Site C itself will only generate
eight per cent of B.C.’s total electricity needs,
Bennett said it is a vital part of the
overall electricity plan.
He said no one knows what the cost of coal or
natural gas will be over the next 20 years, and
hydroelectric power has the advantage of being
controversial issue of foreign ownership
of condominiums in Canada finally has
some hard data to go by.Canada Mortgage
and Housing Corp. says the highest
percentage of foreign investment in
condos across the country is in Toronto,
at 2.4 per cent.
In some select city
areas, notably in Vancouver and Toronto,
the rates are higher, according to the
statistics released Tuesday.
Peninsula, for instance, has a rate of
5.8 per cent while Toronto’s core is at
4.3 per cent, according to the numbers
unveiled for the first time by CMHC, in
its latest report on rental apartment
The percentage of
foreign condo ownership for Vancouver is
2.3 per cent, while it stands at 1.5 per
cent for Montreal and 0.2 per cent for
Calgary. The report covers the period up
to the end of October.
Critics say that
condos have become a handy place to park
money, particularly for wealthy
investors from China, and that the units
end up staying empty or only briefly
One study last year
said that nearly one-quarter of condos
in some Vancouver areas were empty or
occupied by non-residents.
The possibility that
such a large number of foreign owners
will flood the market in a huge selloff
if the market turns bad has been raised
by some observers.
Others say the use of
condos as holding units for offshore
investors ends up driving up the cost of
“CMHC recognizes that
there is demand to fill information gaps
with respect to Canada’s housing
markets,” CMHC said in a news release.
“To address this need
CMHC has, for the first time, asked
property managers to provide information
on the total number of condominium
apartment units owned by people whose
permanent residence is outside of Canada
as part of its survey.”
CMHC also said in its
fall rental market survey that the
average rental apartment vacancy rate
for Canada increased slightly to 2.8 per
cent from 2.7 per cent in October of
The lowest vacancy
rates were in Vancouver and Kelowna (1.0
per cent), Guelph, Ont. (1.2 per cent),
Calgary (1.4 per cent) and Victoria (1.5
"The predictions are for
a million more people in the lower mainland in 25
That spike in demand could move Vancouver closer
to the wildly expensive housing markets in the
world's largest cities like London, New York and
Real estate experts recently combed through
housing markets in the world's largest cities to see
what kind of home is available on a $500,000 budget.
They found that $479,000 in Toronto could buy an
807 square-foot condo with two bedrooms, a bathroom,
and a balcony.
But the best apartment they found for that price
was only 322 square feet in Paris.
And in London, $525,000 was enough for a 100
square-foot studio flat on the ground floor of a
building in a decent neighbourhood.
Towers approved for Lower
DNV council votes 5-2 for Larco highrises at CapWest
Towers are going up in Lower
In their last action before standing for
reelection, District of North Vancouver council voted 5-2 to
bring Larco's 451-unit development to the former CapWest
Athletic Club site, located west of Capilano Road between
Fullerton Avenue and Curling Road.
The phased development includes 18-and
12-storey towers, a new community centre, four low-rise
buildings and 20 townhouse units to be built by a numbered
company owned by Larco.
Bringing the project to an area described
as a "blight" and a "garbage dump" constitutes a longawaited
turning point for the neighbourhood, according to Coun. Alan
"The community of Lower Cap will see the
light at the end of a long tunnel," he said, describing his
relief at approving the project with two weeks left in his
12-year tenure on council.
The revised agreement will penalize Larco
if the company fails to build the community centre within
The community centre's shell must be
built by Nov. 17, 2022. If Larco misses that deadline the
district can buy back the land for $1. Larco is also on the
hook for an $8.5 million letter of credit that has to be in
the bank before anyone moves into the phased development and
a $2.5 million community amenity contribution.
Couns. Lisa Muri and Doug MacKay-Dunn
opposed the project.
Muri previously talked about "playing
hardball" with Larco to get the developer to agree to an
$8.5-million letter of credit. "I remain concerned. I remain
disappointed in how we've gotten here," she said, explaining
that she's never been through a public negotiation like this
With the neighbourhood set to absorb
growth, the community centre might not meet the
neighbourhood's needs, according to Muri. "It probably will
not be sufficient given the density that is coming to that
area," she said.
Concentrating growth in town centres such
as Lower Capilano is an expedient way of handling the
inevitable, according to Coun. Robin Hicks. "I'd like North
Van to remain a sleepy little village forever but we all
know that cannot happen," he said. "Everybody wants to
deposit their spare cash here. .. so we've got to
Coun. Mike Little, who is also at the end
of his stint on council, expressed worries about concrete
and glass dominating the site's plaza. The "neighbourhood
living room" concept needs to be preserved, according to
"It has to be a warm space and some of
the drawings that I saw at the later stages still looked
fairly bleak," he said.
The district also faces "significant
hurdles" in managing traffic around the site during a
lengthy construction period, according to Little.
After having explored a Lower Capilano
community centre for 18 years, the community finally has
certainty, according to Coun. Roger Bassam. "It would've
been nice to have it a little quicker, but we now have a
timeline, we know when this will be delivered," he said.
Development on the 4.4-acre site is
scheduled for four phases over approximately 10 years, with
construction beginning at the site's south end, close to
The project includes a 45-unit,
four-storey seniors building as well as a six storey,
74-unit market rental building.
Larco's development also includes a
125,000-squarefoot underground storage business.
The project is set for adoption Nov. 17.
Population growth takes off
In the Lower Mainland, our population
is forecast to grow by 30,000 new residents each year or 1.2
million residents by 2041 for a total population of 3.4 million,
according to Metro Vancouver’s Metro 2040 Residential Growth
Where will new residents find
homes? Metro Vancouver estimates
new residents will require 574,000 additional housing units to
be built from now until 2041.
Newly developing and planned urban areas have
capacity for about 250,000 residents, or about 20% of the
region’s total projected growth to 2040, according to Metro
The vast majority – 80% – of Metro growth
will occur through strategic infill and intensification of
established urban areas. This will include secondary suites and
accessory units with single detached housing, ground oriented
duplex/multi-unit structures, row housing and apartment
Metro 2040 targets about 68% of future
residential growth within designated Urban Centres and along
transit corridors – in areas like Richmond, Burnaby, New
Westminster, the Tri-Cities and Surrey.
From 2011 to 2013, an average of 51,000 BC
residents left our province for greener pastures each year.
The lure of high-paying jobs made Alberta a key destination.
“The flow of interprovincial migration seems
to be reversing course and population is trending higher,” said
Cameron Muir, chief economist.
Muir forecasts growth in the BC economy will
pick up speed for this year and next, helping our labour market
compete with Alberta and convincing BC residents to stay home.
It will also be a magnet pulling other Canadians westward.
“As population growth in BC accelerates,
housing demand is expected to follow,” said Muir.
BC Real Estate Association
Building permits take a downturn in Metro
Posted on October 7th, 2014
In Metro Vancouver in August, the total
dollar value of building permits declined 17% to $497.8 million
from $598.2 million in August 2013.
Non-residential Permits Non-residential permits
declined 48% to $84.1 million from $162.1 million in August
Commercial permits dropped 47%.
Industrial permits dropped 32%.
Institutional-government permits dropped
62% than last year.
Building permits declined all sectors in the Metro Vancouver
area in August.
This is unusual given that typically one or
more sectors offset gains or losses in other sectors.
What is the cause?
July was a strong month where most sectors
rose. In contrast, the residential sector in August had a
significant downswing, and combined with the large decline in
all non-residential sectors, total permits dropped by about
But it’s not all bad news. August’s level is
only slightly below the monthly average in 2014.
Building permits in August also dropped in
other Canadian Metro areas including Toronto (44%), Montreal
(62%) and Edmonton (13%). In contrast Calgary building permits
584 acres of forested lands on Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain up for sale
The provincial government is selling a massive swath of its crown properties on the slopes of Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain in an attempt to balance its budget.
Burke Mountain to account for 25% of Coquitlam’s growth by 2046
On behalf of the province, Colliers International has taken charge of the sale of 584 acres of mountainside, coniferous forested lands at Pinecone Lake Burke Mountain Park in northeast Coquitlam.
The sites for sale have been split up into 21 small parcels and “represents one of the largest long-term single and multifamily residential development opportunities anywhere in Metro Vancouver.”
According to the City of Coquitlam, the parcels lie within the municipality’s Smiling Creek and Partington Creek neighbourhoods and can accommodate between 7,000 to 8,000 residents combined once fully developed. Zoning will allow for single family homes and townhouses, similar to the type of development on the Westwood Plateau.
By 2046, Coquitlam is expected to see up to 95,000 additional residents which will increase the suburban city’s population to 225,000 from the current 132,000. This will include 23,000 new residents on Burke Mountain and another 40,000 residents along the SkyTrain Evergreen Line.
The issue of mountainside sprawl
It is certainly encouraging that Coquitlam city officials are taking advantage and making best use of the new SkyTrain infrastructure investment by centring much of the city’s future growth around it. However, the same cannot be said for the inevitable additional sprawl that will be coming to the slopes of Burke Mountain.
This type of growth completely goes against the principles of what comprises sustainable development and healthy communities which includes refitting existing developed land – to make the best use of the land we have at hand.
Density within the existing urban area and at around major transportation nodes needs to be the region’s growth strategy.
Nevertheless, mountainside sprawling growth and intrusion into forests has been common for decades in the Tri-Cities and at UBC within Pacific Spirit Park, but it is particularly visually evident on the Upper Lands of West Vancouver with development replacing forests – as homes gradually spread uphill towards Cypress Provincial Park and mountaintop ski areas.
Such policies and decisions implemented by our public officials that allow for these developments are largely at fault, but the uncompromising, neighbourhood-focused Not In My Backyard (NIIMBY) and Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything (BANANA) crowds are also accountable for pushing growth away from their centralized, urbanized communities into offensive sprawl elsewhere in the Lower Mainland.
We can argue for restricting density and height limits to protect ‘precious’ mountain sight-lines (among many reasons NIMBY/BANANA groups might have). The alternative to this is the occurrence of growth taking place in the form of highly unsustainable low density sprawl in the far corners and edges of the region like along mountain slopes.
At least everyone will have uninterrupted sight-lines of permanently scarred mountains.
Prices for detached homes hit record
high in Greater Vancouver
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Prices for single-family detached
homes in Greater Vancouver have climbed
to a record high.
The Real Estate Board of Greater
Vancouver’s home price index for
detached properties hit $976,700 in
June, up 6.2 per cent from the same
month in 2013.
The index price is calculated by
using a formula that strips out the most
expensive resale properties on the
Multiple Listing Service. The board
cautions that average prices give a
skewed picture of the market because
sales of many high-end homes boost the
figures to well above other transactions
that are considered more typical.
There were four areas in the region
where index prices for detached homes
exceeded $1-million in June: Vancouver’s
west side ($2,257,100), West Vancouver
($2,053,300), Burnaby South ($1,015,200)
and North Vancouver ($1,010,000).
Greater Vancouver sales of detached
homes, townhouses and condos totalled
3,406 in June, up 28.9 per cent from
June, 2013, but only 0.6 per cent higher
than the 10-year sales average for June,
board president Ray Harris said
Thursday. The composite price index for
all three types of resale properties
rose 4.4 per cent over the past year to
$628,200 – also a record high.
Bryan Yu, the Vancouver-based
economist at Central 1 Credit Union,
said in a new report that price gains
for detached homes are ascending faster
than increases in townhouses and condos.
“Rising detached home prices reflects
a scarcity of developable land in
Greater Vancouver as the geographically
constrained land base remains under
pressure from a rising population,” said
Mr. Yu, who added that income-generating
suites inside detached homes have
contributed to hikes in real estate
The detached index price on
Vancouver’s west side has jumped 9 per
cent in the past year. Other notable
year-over-year gains include: Port Moody
(up 8.5 per cent to $895,400),
Vancouver’s east side (up 8.6 per cent
to $918,900) and Burnaby North (up 9 per
cent to $996,300).
By contrast, prices for townhouses
and condos have increased modestly
across the region over the past year,
and even slipped in some neighbourhoods
over the last three years. Tighter
mortgage lending rules and a flurry of
high-rise projects have combined to
dampen the condo market, Mr. Yu said.
In Coquitlam, for instance, June’s
index price for condos grew 2.6 per cent
to $255,000 over the past year, but is
down 3.3 per cent from June, 2011.
Mr. Yu said British Columbia’s
economy has benefited from new
immigrants, but there has been an exodus
of many residents who headed east in the
last couple of years to other provinces.
“Strengthening economic growth and more
job opportunities should keep residents
within B.C. borders and attract
Canadians from other parts of the
country in 2015 onwards,” he said.
In the Fraser Valley, which includes
the sprawling suburb of Surrey, June’s
index price for detached homes reached a
record-high $568,600, up 3 per cent from
a year earlier. Total residential,
commercial and retail sales last month
in the Fraser Valley advanced to 1,668
transactions, up 25.7 per cent from
There has been a surge in demand for
detached homes and townhouses in the
less-expensive Fraser Valley. “Parts of
the Fraser Valley have increasingly
become bedroom communities for the
Greater Vancouver area, given the
attractiveness of lower home prices,
particularly for those commuting to
Surrey and Langley,” Mr. Yu said.
Central 1 Credit Union noted that
housing markets in northern British
Columbia already have received a lift
from preliminary work on liquefied
natural gas projects and drilling
insurance ends for $1 million+ homes
If a home buyer has less than a
20% downpayment, they’re required to buy
mortgage loan insurance by
Bank Act (sec. 418).
A home buyer with more than a 20%
downpayment is not required to buy
mortgage loan insurance. Yet lenders may
ask them to buy this insurance anyway as
a condition of approving a mortgage.
As of July 31, 2014,
Canada Mortgage and Housing
Canada’s largest provider of mortgage
insurance will stop providing mortgage
insurance for homes that cost $1 million
or more, no matter what the size of the
In the REBGV area, 5,377 homes sold
at a $1 million or more in 2013. Will
CMHC’s actions affect home buyers?
“This is because
companies which also provide mortgage
loan insurance, will continue to provide
June 3, 2014
An increase in
Vancouver in the
upper reaches of
a balanced real
estate market in
The Real Estate
Board of Greater
reached 3,286 on
(MLS®) in May
represents a 14
compared to the
recorded in May
2013, and a 7.7
compared to the
3,050 sales in
sales were 6.5
per cent below
for May of
sits at 20.4 per
cent in Greater
is the first
time that this
measure has been
above 20 per
cent since June
us that there’s
more home buyer
than at any
point over the
3,000 mark in
May and our
20 per cent,
this is the most
we’ve seen since
the spring of
New listings for
in May. This
represents a 5
compared to the
listings in May
2013 and a 0.2
per cent decline
from the 5,950
new listings in
was 2 per cent
average for the
The total number
for sale on the
MLS® system in
16,072, a 6.7
per cent decline
compared to May
2013 and a 3.6
The MLS® Home
represents a 4.3
compared to May
in our region
May 2014 reached
increase of 19.9
per cent from
recorded in May
2013, and a 23.1
the 1,180 units
sold in May
per cent from
May 2013 to
reached 1,286 in
May 2014, an
increase of 13.2
compared to the
1,136 sales in
May 2013, and an
11.2 per cent
compared to the
1,156 sales in
May 2012. The
of an apartment
per cent from
May 2013 to
in May 2014
totalled 547, a
2.4 per cent
compared to the
534 sales in May
2013, and a 5.8
the 517 attached
in May 2012. The
of an attached
3.1 per cent
between May 2013
and 2014 to
demand for homes in Metro Vancouver
Posted on May 25th, 2014
Metro Vancouver will see more housing
starts in 2014 as a result of a pickup
in economic and job growth.
Canada Mortgage and Housing forecasts
housing starts will reach 18,400 in
Metro Vancouver in 2014 compared to
18,200 units in 2013.
Of these starts, row/townhouse starts
will rise 4.5% to 2,300 units, while
apartments will rise 3% to 12,000 units.
The average price of a detached home
is forecast to rise to $1,430,000. The
MLS® average price will increase 1.2% to
MLS® sales are forecast to increase
by 8.2% to 29,000 sales.
Government reduces tax burden on
First-time home buyers received welcome
news in today’s provincial budget. Any
REALTORS® currently working with
first-time buyers will want to share
this news with them as soon as possible.
The government has announced, effective
February 19, 2014, under the Property
Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home
Buyers’ Exemption program, qualifying
first-time buyers can buy a home worth
up to $475,000. The previous threshold
The partial exemption continues and will
apply to homes valued between $475,000
With this change, the government
estimates 1,700 additional first-time
buyers will annually be eligible to save
up to $7,500 in PTT when they buy their
The government estimates this measure
will cost $8 million in lost tax revenue
The Real Estate Board, together with BC
Real Estate Association, has actively
lobbied to make home ownership more
affordable for first-time home buyers.
This increase in the threshold clearly
signals our efforts have paid off as in
In 2008, as a result of industry
lobbying, the provincial government
increased the threshold to $425,000 from
In 2005, the government increased the
threshold to $325,000 from $275,000.
The PTT is calculated at a rate of one
per cent on the first $200,000 and two
per cent on the remaining value of the
CMHC cap on
mortgage-backed securities to raise home costs, cool
With huge chunk of allocated
yearly maximum already used, restrictions to program
will soon be in place
The CMHC has
authority to guarantee up to $85
billion under the National Housing
Act Mortgage-Backed Securities
program but by the end of July, $66
billion had been committed. To deal
with the unexpected increase in
issuance volumes, CMHC will
introduce a formal allocation
process in late August, which will
likely lead to a small bump in the
cost of new home mortgages.
Mortgages for Metro Vancouver’s
prospective homebuyers could become more
expensive to obtain as Canada’s national
housing agency moves to limit the amount of
mortgage-backed financing it is prepared to
guarantee for mortgage lenders.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has
notified mortgage lenders, including banks
and credit unions, it will restrict each of
them to a maximum of $350 million of new
guarantees in August under its National
Housing Act Mortgage-Backed Securities
For lenders who package their mortgage
loans and sell them as securities to
investors, the CMHC program takes out the
risk by guaranteeing payments on the
investments, and allows the lenders to use
the proceeds as capital for new loans and
offer them more cheaply.
The federal Crown corporation has given
authority to guarantee up to $85 billion
under the program, but by the end of July,
$66 billion had been committed.
“As a result of this unexpected increase
in issuance volumes and to better manage
volumes, CMHC will be introducing a formal
allocation process in late August,” CMHC
said in an Aug. 1 note to lenders.
Analysts say the cap will make it harder
and more expensive for banks to obtain funds
to lend to their customers, which would
likely be passed on by way of a bump in
“The combination of steps the government
has taken in the last year, coupled with the
beginnings of a selloff in the bond market
will put a bit of upward pressure on
mortgage rates,” said CIBC chief economist
“Over-all, the days of very cheap
mortgages are going to be replaced by cheap
TD economist Diana Petramala, who
specializes in the housing market, estimated
rates could rise from 20 to 65 basis points,
the equivalent of 0.2 to 0.65 of a
She noted that historically, this is a
“Affordability will still remain in the
housing market,” she said.
At the very least, the restriction takes
away banks’ leverage to lower mortgage
rates, according to Bryan Yu, an economist
with Central 1 Credit Union in Vancouver.
“Essentially, if they are limiting the
amount (of guarantees) available, I suspect
it will be a little bit more costly in terms
of (raising) capital,” Yu said.
“The question for consumers is if they
will be able to get low or lower mortgage
rates. It seems this would be a constraint
Analysts said Canadian banks should have
no difficulties securing international
markets for funding, but it will come at a
higher cost. CMHC-backed securities are
attractive for both banks and investors
since they are largely default-proof.
Fearing an over-heated housing market
could infect the larger economy and result
in defaults the government must bear,
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has taken a
number of steps in recent years to stem the
flow of mortgage credit.
He introduced tighter rules last summer
for mortgage lenders and borrowers, a change
the real estate and lending industries say
was the main reason for a slowdown in
residential property sales that began in
August 2012 and continued through the first
part of 2013.
As well, the finance minister acted to
limit taxpayer exposure to a housing crash
by setting limits on banks’ ability to buy
bulk insurance from CMHC.
Still, Flaherty has been frustrated that
banks were priming the house mortgage pump
too aggressively, oblivious to the fact
Canadian household debt continued to climb.
At 165 per cent of annual income this
spring, household debt reached heights
similar to the peak in the United States
before the 2007 crash that literally broke
Flaherty went so far this spring as to
publicly chastise some banks for dropping
mortgage rates too low.
The moves worked for a while, but in the
past few months, housing has been on an
upswing, with starts again reaching
unsustainable levels near 200,000 annually,
sales increasing and prices continuing to
record new highs.
“We are starting to see the impact of the
changes wearing off. Prices in most markets
are now rising faster than income,”
Petramala said. “So it makes sense the
federal government, CMHC, may want to limit
some of the risk-taking in the housing
In July’s monetary policy report, the
Bank of Canada cited the recent developments
in the housing market as the top
made-in-Canada risk to the economy.
“This renewed momentum would produce a
temporary boost to economic activity and
inflation, but more important, it would
exacerbate existing imbalances and therefore
increase the probability of a more severe
correction later on. Such a correction could
have sizable spillover effects to other
parts of the economy,” the central bank
With files from Derrick Penner, Vancouver
July 2013 was also a hot month in real
July's record sunshine didn't hurt home sales in the Real
Estate Board of Greater Vancouver's region. In fact July was the
hottest real estate month of the year so far, the board says.
Sales reached 2,946 in July, the board reports. That's a 40.4
per cent increase compared to the 2,098 sales recorded in July
2012, and an 11.5 per cent increase compared to the 2,642 sales
in June 2013.
Those numbers make July 2013 the highest selling July since
2009, the board says.
REBGV president Sandra Wyant said in a news release this
morning: "Demand has strengthened in our market in the last few
months, which can, in part, be attributed to pent-up demand from
the slowdown in sales activity we saw at the end of last year."
The benchmark price for all homes in the board's region is
currently $601,900. That's down 2.3 per cent from this time last
year, but an increase of 2.3 per cent over the last six months.
"Home prices continue to experience considerable stability
with minimal fluctuation throughout much of this year," Wyant
said. "This stability in price brings greater certainty to the
home buying and selling process."
Building Permits for Metro Vancouver –
here’s what they’re telling us
Posted on June 6th, 2013
Building Permits – here’s what they’re telling us?
Building permits are typically a bellwether or indicator of
If we look at the Metro Vancouver area, the total dollar
value of April 2013 building permits rose 16% higher to $648.1
million from $558.6 million compared to April 201q.
Non-residential permits dropped 55% to $106.6 million from
$239.2 million in 2012.
Commercial permits were 48% lower.
Institutional-government permits were 74% below 2012.
Industrial permits were down 60%.
Residential Permits – the good news
Permit values were 70% higher to $541.6 million from $319.4
million last year.
“While it’s true that building permits have declined in the
past nine months, this decline follows the mid-2012 surge,”
explains Andrew Peck, vice-president and general manager of
Royal Pacific Realty Group.
The outlook for regional commercial and industrial investment
is modestly favourable. We expect market conditions to improve
because our economy and population base will continue to
increase. As well there continue to be major projects in the
Metro Vancouver area.
Total Office Area
Old Stock Exchange, 475
745 Thurlow Street (Bentall
MNP Tower, 1121 West
980 Howe Street
Source: Statistics Canada
New Family Law Act – major changes to
division of property and debt
Family Law Act
came into force on March 18, 2013, replacing the
Family Relations Act
(1979). The legislation was developed after consultation with
more than 500 organizations, community groups, the legal
community and other stakeholders.
It aims to meet the changing needs of families, including
common-law families, which are growing at a rate four times
faster than married couples, according to the BC Ministry of
Under the old
Family Relations Act,
when a married couple separated, assets including property owned
by one spouse before
the marriage were subject to presumptively equal division unless
the court found grounds to “reapportion” property and bring
about an unequal division (for example to take into account then
length of the marriage or an inheritance).
Family Relations Act
did not apply to unmarried couples. While unmarried couples
could apply to court for a division of property pursuant to the
common law principle of 'unjust enrichment', this provided less
certainty due to the absence of
statutory provisions guiding the division of assets for those
Under the new
Family Law Act,
unmarried couples who have lived together in a marriage-like
relationship (common law) for at least two years are considered
to be spouses and are treated the same as married couples for
the purposes of property division.
Now if a couple separates, the general rule is that all couples,
whether married or common law, will share equally the family
property and debt that accrues during the course of their
What is family property?
Family property is all property that either spouse owns at
separation, regardless of whose name it is in, including the
family home, RRSPs, investments such as shares, income tax
refunds, bank accounts, and insurance policies and pensions,
unless the property is excluded.
What is excluded property?
Excluded property includes property acquired by a spouse or held
in trust before the relationship, gifts or inheritances,
settlements or awards of damages, and money paid under an
insurance policy, other than a policy respecting property. The
exclusion does not include increases in value during the
relationship, however. The value of this property as of the
later of the date of the start of the relationship, or the date
it was acquired generally will not be shared upon separation.
For example, if one spouse owned a home valued at $600,000 at
the beginning of the relationship and in three years the home
increased in value to $750,000, providing title to the house
remained in that first spouse’s name, he or she would
premumptively be entitled to retain the original value –
$600,000 and one-half of the increase in value that accrued
the relationship – $75,000. The other spouse would also
prenumptively be entitled to $75,000.
Debt accrued during the relationship is also presumptively
equally shared. This includes mortgages, loans, bank lines of
credit or overdrafts, credit cards, income tax, repair costs.
Written and co-habitation agreements
Common law couples who do not want the property division rules
to apply to them, can opt-out by preparing a written agreement
and divide their property and debt as they see fit. Couples can
also enter into a co-habitation agreement. The court will have
less ability to overturn these agreements than in the past
providing that certain conditions such as full financial
disclosure are met.
March 19, 2013
Lenders are driving mortgage rates lower, despite Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty’s warnings of the impact that low rates
could have on consumer debt levels and the housing market.
Manulife Bank has just begun promoting a new five-year fixed
mortgage rate of 2.89 per cent, down from 3.09 per cent, about
two weeks after Bank of Montreal drew public comment from
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty by lowering its advertised
five-year rate to 2.99 per cent from 3.09 per cent.
Now, Manulife’s move risks again drawing the ire of Ottawa.
BMO’s rate cut earlier this month prompted Mr. Flaherty to warn
the nation’s lenders against the dangers of engaging in a
mortgage price war, and to take the highly unusual step of
praising other banks for not matching BMO’s rate.
A spokeswoman for
Manulife Financial Corp. said the rate was effective as
of Monday for personal Manulife One and Manulife Bank Select
“We understand some of our competitors offer lower rates,”
spokeswoman Laurie Lupton said in an e-mail.
“Manulife Bank agrees with the government that Canadians
shouldn’t take on more debt than they can handle. However, part
of the value proposition we offer to clients is to offer
competitive rates,” the spokeswoman added.
Banks routinely allow customers and brokers to haggle for
prices below their posted or advertised rates, and lower prices
than these are available in the market. A number of lenders had
been selling five-year fixed mortgages at or below 2.99 per cent
when BMO dropped its posted rate. Even posted rates aren’t
always comparable because the details or fine print on mortgages
can differ materially, such as prepayment penalties or the
required length of the mortgage or down payment. But, as Mr.
Flaherty told reporters earlier this month, “it’s also
A spokeswoman for the Finance Minister said Monday that his
recent comments still stand, and he hopes that banks will
“engage in prudent lending.”
Mr. Flaherty has long been concerned about overvalued house
prices and rising consumer debt levels, worries that caused him
to take steps last summer to make it slightly more difficult for
borrowers to obtain mortgages. Home sales have dropped
significantly since then, but Mr. Flaherty said this month that
he continues to be concerned about the residential real estate
market. And, while the growth in consumer debt levels appears to
be softening, the amount of debt that the average household owes
remains at a record high when compared to their after-tax
disposable income. In this environment, there are fears that
lenders could spur too much borrowing and cause the housing
market to rebound too quickly by promoting ultra-low mortgage
Drew Donaldson, a vice-president at mortgage brokerage
Safebridge Financial, said he’s been able to get his clients
2.89 per cent on a five-year fixed mortgage for about a month,
and the same rate from Toronto-Dominion Bank for about two
weeks. “They just don’t like to over-advertise it because the
government kind of slaps their hand,” he said.
The price cutting isn’t limited to mortgages. Royal Bank of
Canada has started advertising home equity lines of credit for
3.5 per cent, which is 0.5 percentage points below other banks.
Mr. Flaherty has said he spoke to Bank of Montreal after its
rate reduction. The bank would not comment on that conversation
or mortgage rates on Monday. BMO has been trying to boost its
mortgage sales ever since it stopped using mortgage brokers
about four years ago, but continues to lag major banking rivals.
Similarly, Manulife Bank has been fighting the large banks
for business. In 2002, it had assets of just $1.6-billion; at
the end of 2012 its assets topped $21-billion.
The decision by Manulife Bank to promote a lower rate comes
less than one year after Manulife Financial Corp. CEO Don
Guloien said the institution was looking at tightening its
lending in response to Mr. Flaherty’s concerns about the impact
that consumer indebtedness could have on the economy. Manulife
Bank is known largely for its Manulife One product that allows
consumers to run all of their banking – such as savings,
mortgages and other loans – through one account. “We’ll take a
look at the strategic plan for the bank and probably slow down
the growth of it a little bit,” Mr. Guloien told The Globe and
Mail in an interview in May 2012, reacting to concerns in Ottawa
about overextended borrowers.
“Is your mortgage renewing? Are you planning to buy a new
home this Spring?” Manulife now asks on its website. “Do you
already have a Manulife One account and want to lock in some of
your debt? Now’s the time to get this great rate of 2.89 per
BC Home Sales Remain Subdued but Stable
Vancouver, BC – February 18, 2013. TheBritish Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)
reports that a total of 3,410 residential sales were recorded by
the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during January, up
1.8 per cent from December on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis,
but down 13.6 per cent compared to January 2012.
Similarly, total sales volume increased 3.8 per cent SA, but
declined 16 per cent from the same month last year. The average
MLS® residential price in the province was $514,134, up 3.2
percent from December, however, down 2.7 per cent from a year
a modest uptick in consumer demand last month, home sales have
remained relatively stable at a noticeably lower level since
last August,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.
“Continuing low mortgage interest rates combined with an easing
back of home prices in some areas is expected to trend home
sales higher during the spring and summer months."
“The ratio of home sales to new listings is
indicative of a balanced market at 42 per cent,” added Muir.
“However, there remains a backlog of existing home listings to
either sell or be pulled off the market before supply and demand
can be considered in check.”
Dramatic swings in average price statistics
caused by a surge and subsequent pullback in luxury home sales
appear to be near an end. The year-over-year change in average
prices now more closely reflects the home price indices in
Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
BC Home Sales Continue at Moderate Pace
Vancouver, BC – November 14, 2012. TheBritish Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)
reports that the dollar volume of homes sold through the
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC declined 14.6 per cent to
$2.7 billion in October compared to the same month last year. A
total of 5,276 MLS® residential unit sales were recorded over
the same period, down 10 per cent from October 2011. The average
MLS® residential price was $508,292, down 5.1 per cent from a
consumer demand was stronger in October on a provincial basis,
home sales continue to trend below last year’s level,” said
Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Tighter mortgage credit
regulation has moderated housing demand on the South Coast."
“However, an increase in residential sales was
recorded in the Okanagan, Kootenay, Chilliwack and BC Northern
board areas,” added Muir.
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar
volume declined 18.2 per cent to $31.1 billion, compared to the
same period last year. Residential unit sales declined 10.5 per
cent to 59,946 units, while the average MLS® residential price
was 8.6 per cent lower at $518,321.
OTTAWA — The federal government is moving once
again to tighten mortgage-lending rules amid lingering concerns
about an overheated housing market and household debt levels.
In a move called for by some of the big banks,
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Thursday the federal
government is reducing the maximum amortization period for a
government-insured mortgage to 25 years from 30 years.
It's the third time the government has reduced
the maximum amortization period in the last four years, ratcheting
it back from 40 years to 35 in 2008, and then further reduced to 30
years in 2011.
Banks will still be allowed to offer 30-year
amortization periods on low-ratio mortgages that include a
downpayment of 20 per cent or more.
The changes will also see the government lower
the maximum Canadians can borrow against their home to 80 per cent
of its value, from 85 per cent, in an effort to encourage them to
keep more equity in their homes.
Moreover, the government will limit the maximum
gross debt service ratio — the amount of household income needed to
pay for home expenses such as mortgage, property taxes and heating —
at 39 per cent and maximum total debt service ratio at 44 per cent.
Flaherty also announced Ottawa will limit
government-backed insured mortgages to home purchases of less than
$1 million. A downpayment of at least 20 per cent will be required
on mortgage loans for homes priced at or above $1 million.
Reducing the amortization period will increase
monthly payments, but reduce the amount of total interest paid on a
mortgage. Ottawa expects the change from a 30-year to 25-year
amortization will, on a $350,000 mortgage loan at four per cent,
increase the monthly payment $177 but reduce total interest costs by
The government believes less than five per cent
of home buyers will be affected by the clampdown.
The new rules take effect July 9, 2012.
"We watch carefully, we monitor the market
carefully. I remain concerned about parts of the Canadian
residential real estate market, particularly in Toronto, but not
only in Toronto, so that is why we are intervening once again,"
Flaherty told reporters in Ottawa.
It's our job to try to be ahead of things and act
in a measured way, listening to the market. And I have been
listening to the market, and quite frankly, I don't like what I
hear, particularly in the condo market."
Flaherty said the government's moves are part of
an effort to "moderate behaviour" among Canadian homeowners and make
them reflect before jumping into the housing market at the high end.
Canada's largest city is seeing continuous home
building because of persistent demand, he noted, which is
accelerating prices and eroding affordability.
"This concerns me because it's distorting the
market, quite frankly," the minister added. "My judgment is that we
need to calm particularly the condo market in a few Canadian
Flaherty and some of the country's leading
economists have for months been warning they remain worried about
Canada's housing market and rising household debt.
In March, prior to delivering the federal budget,
Flaherty met with 13 private-sector economists for his traditional
pre-budget consultation to get their assessment of the Canadian
Some of the big banks suggested at the time that
the federal government consider implementing "measured actions,"
such as reducing the maximum amortization period for
government-insured mortgages back to the traditional 25 years.
On Thursday, the banks largely welcomed the
"Overall we see (Thursday's) announcement as a
much better substitute to interest rate hikes since the moves are
aimed with almost surgical precision at the margins of the mortgage
market," Benjamin Tal with CIBC World Markets said in a research
"The combined impact of the four changes will not
be large enough to derail the housing market, but are clearly
significant enough to soften activity, and at the margin will act as
a negative for house prices —mainly at the mid-range segment of the
Frank Techar, president of personal and
commercial banking at BMO Financial Group, called the changes
"prudent, measured, responsible, timely."
"Minister Flaherty has tapped the brakes at
precisely the right time and his actions should help ensure Canada's
housing market experiences a soft landing," Techar said in a
METRO VANCOUVER - North Vancouver home
prices up. Lions Bay and Squamish prices down.
Vancouver, West Vancouver way up. Whistler way
When Metro Vancouver and regional property owners
receive their 2012 assessment notices in the mail over the next few
days, they'll see a wide variation in values by region, city and
The Sea to Sky region, for example, will see
assessments generally down, with Squamish homeowners' property
values dropping up to 10 per cent in some areas and rising five per
cent in others, according to BC Assessment. The valuation date was
July 1, 2011.
In Whistler and Pemberton, some property owners
will see decreases in values up to 15 per cent.
In comparison, North Vancouver home assessments
have risen five to 15 per cent, while West Vancouver property owners
will see significant increases in the 15-to-30-per-cent range.
Vancouver's 192,000 property owners can also
expect big hikes.
"Almost all homes in [the city of Vancouver] are
increasing in value compared to last year's assessment roll," said
area assessor Jason Grant in a statement. "Most single family
homeowners in Vancouver will see significant increases, in the 10
per cent to 25 per cent range. Strata condominium owners will also
see increases, but typically less than 10 per cent."
Property owners in Richmond and Burnaby will also
see sharp increases in assessments.
Paul Borgo, deputy assessor with the Vancouver
Sea to Sky region, said in an interview that while it's not unusual
to see wide variations in value by region, city or even
neighbourhood, "the city of Vancouver has been quite robust in 2011.
However, the west side outperformed the east side in single family
terms. And West Vancouver also has a very strong market."
Rosario Setticasi, president of the Real Estate
Board of Greater Vancouver, agreed, citing Vancouver's west side,
West Vancouver and Richmond as markets that performed better than
others. "They're favoured areas for people to live in [and] there
was some influence from foreign investment."
Setticasi also noted the assessments reflect
values on July 1. "We had a surge in the beginning of , it
peaked in the summer, and came down a bit in the second half of the
year, which won't be reflected in the assessment."
Robyn Adamache, senior market analyst for Metro
Vancouver, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said she is not
surprised at the variation in assessment values given the
fundamentals of the region's real estate market in 2011. "There were
wide variations in growth in home prices in different
municipalities, so I would expect more variation than usual."
Overall, Vancouver's assessment roll increased
from $222 billion last year to $254 billion this year, while West
Vancouver's assessment roll increased from $26.4 billion last year
to more than $30.2 billion this year.
But Squamish's assessment roll declined from
$3.92 billion last year to $3.81 billion.
An example of local market trends, according to
BC Assessment, is a single family home in Squamish's Garibaldi
Highlands neighbourhood which will see its assessment drop from
$531,000 to $497,000, while another home in Whistler's Alpine
Meadows neighbourhood will see its assessed value drop from $964,000
However, a home on a 50-foot lot on Vancouver's
west side will see its value rise from $1.19 million to $1.645
million, while another east Vancouver detached home on a 33-foot lot
will rise from $816,000 to $1.03 million.
In West Vancouver's tony British Properties, an
example of the trend to higher prices is a home that will rise from
$1.53 million to $2.2 million.
In the Fraser Valley, property owners will see
little change in values this year.
"Most homes in the Fraser Valley have remained
stable in value compared to last year's assessment roll," said
deputy assessor John Green.
On a percentage basis, the total change for all
residential property types was up 7.9 per cent in Surrey, 16.4 per
cent in Vancouver, 16.5 per cent in Richmond, 5.2 per cent in New
Westminster, 12.2 per cent in Burnaby, 6.9 per cent in Coquitlam,
5.1 per cent in North Vancouver city, 7.6 per cent in North
Vancouver district, 15.9 per cent in West Vancouver, but down 1.9
per cent in Squamish, five per cent in Lions Bay, 6.2 per cent in
Whistler and 3.2 per cent in Sechelt.
Pat Kelly, owner of Whistler Real Estate Company,
said the resort municipality saw a drop in sales both before and
after the 2010 Olympics, although the market has picked up since
"There was a volatile world economic situation
[and] people were looking for value for their money, things they
need as against things they want."
He said that while activity picked up in late
2011, prices haven't reflected that because most activity is in the
under-$1 million market.
He also noted that there has been a "noticeable"
drop in buyers from the U.S.
Kelly, whose company is also involved in the
Squamish market, said Squamish prices have flatlined, partly because
there's no major employer in the town.
"Squamish hasn't had the same appeal as other
suburban markets, and I don't know why. It's very good value for an
area within 40 minutes of downtown Vancouver."
Assessments were generally stable or down in
other parts of the province, including Penticton and Kelowna, which
saw a drop of 2.7 per cent in the total value of all residential
The total number of B.C. properties on the 2012
roll is 1,917,394, a 0.75-per-cent increase from 2011.
The total value of real estate on the 2012 roll
is $1.1 trillion, a 6.42-per-cent increase from 2011.
For immediate release
Home Sales Climb Higher Outside Vancouver
Vancouver, BC – November 15, 2011. The British
Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple
Listing Service® (MLS®) residential unit sales in the province rose
6.5 per cent to 5,865 units in October compared to the same month
last year. The average MLS® residential price was up 2.6 per cent to
$535,695 last month compared to October 2010.
home sales rose three per cent in October compared to September on a
seasonally adjusted basis," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief
Economist. "While consumer demand in Vancouver edged lower last
month on a year-overyear basis, strong increases were recorded in
the Fraser Valley, Kamloops, Kootenay, the North and on Vancouver
"Total active residential listings in the province
declined by 3,360 units in October from September. However, active
listings were up 6.9 per cent from October 2011," added Muir.
"Market conditions remained slightly in favour of home buyers last
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume
increased 16.8 per cent to $38 billion, compared to the same period
last year. Residential unit sales increased 3.5 per cent to 66,922
units, while the average MLS® residential price rose 12.9 per cent
to $566,925 over the same period.
Housing Forecast Points to Market Stability in 2012
BCREA 2011 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast
Vancouver, BC – November 8, 2011.The
British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2011
Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast today.
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to
rise 3.2 per cent from 74,640 units in 2010 to 77,000 units this
year, increasing a further 3.9 per cent to 80,000 units in 2012.
“Low mortgage interest rates are expected to persist through 2012
keeping affordability on an even keel,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA
Chief Economist. “However, headwinds on the economic front will
constrain consumer demand over the next year to below the ten-year
average of 87,600 units.” A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales
were recorded in 2005.
“Moderate consumer demand combined with larger inventories of homes
for sale means BC housing markets will experience little upward
pressure on home prices through 2012,” added Muir. The average MLS®
residential price in the province is estimated to rise 11.8 per cent
to $564,600 this year, and is forecast to decline 2.5 per cent to
$550,500 in 2012.
- 30 -
November 2, 2011
Greater Vancouver at lower end of balanced
With a sales-to-active property listings
ratio of 15 per cent, the Greater Vancouver
housing market continues to hover at the
lower end of a balanced market and has been
trending in that direction over the past
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
(REBGV) reports that residential property
sales of detached, attached and apartment
properties on the region’s Multiple Listing
Service® (MLS®) system reached 2,317 in
October, a 1 per cent decrease compared to
the 2,337 sales in October 2010 and a 3.2
per cent increase compared to the previous
month. Those sales rank as the second lowest
total for October over the last 10 years.
“Right now, prospective home buyers have a
good selection of properties to choose from
and more time to make decisions,” Rosario
Setticasi, REBGV president said. “Home
sellers should be mindful of local market
conditions to ensure they are pricing their
New listings for detached, attached and
apartment properties in Greater Vancouver
totalled 4,374 in October, which is on par
with the 10-year average. This represents an
18.3 per cent increase compared to October
2010, when 3,698 properties were listed for
sale on the MLS®, and a 23 per cent decrease
compared to the 5,680 new listings reported
in September 2011.
The total number of properties listed for
sale on the Greater Vancouver MLS® system
currently sits at 15,377, which is 9.3 per
cent higher than the 14,075 properties
listed for sale during the same period last
year. October was the first month that the
total number of property listings showed a
decrease this year.
The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI)
benchmark price for all residential
properties in Greater Vancouver over the
last 12 months has increased 7.5 per cent to
$622,955 in October 2011 from $579,349 in
October 2010. However, since reaching a peak
in June of $630,921, the benchmark price for
all residential properties in the region has
declined 1.3 per cent.
Sales of detached properties in October
reached 974, which represents virtually no
change from the 976 detached sales recorded
in October 2010, and a 34.5 per cent
decrease from the 1,487 units sold in
October 2009. The benchmark price for
detached properties increased 11 per cent
from October 2010 to $884,778, but decreased
1.3 per cent compared to the previous month.
Sales of apartment properties reached 958 in
October, a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to
the 984 sales in October 2010, and a
decrease of 40.4 per cent compared to the
1,607 sales in October 2009. The benchmark
price of an apartment property increased 3.2
per cent from October 2010 to $402,702, but
decreased 0.7 per cent compared to the
Attached property sales in October totalled
382, a 1.3 per cent increase compared to the
377 sales in October 2010, and a 37.4 per
cent decrease from the 610 attached
properties sold in October 2009. The
benchmark price of an attached unit
increased 6.5 per cent between October 2010
and 2011 to $519,455, and increased half a
per cent compared to the previous month.
Home Sales Edge Higher in September
Vancouver, BC – September 14, 2011. TheBritish Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)
reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential unit sales
in the province rose 8.8 per cent to 5995 units in September
compared to the same month last year. The average MLS® residential
price increased 6 per cent to $523,568 last month compared to
home sales edged up 3 per cent in September compared to August on a
seasonally adjusted basis,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief
Economist. “Housing demand last month was bolstered by persistent
low mortgage interest rates and a surge in employment."
"Despite a modest gain in unit sales, total active
residential listings in the province remained elevated in
September,” added Muir. A total of 55,616 homes were listed on the
MLS® in the province at the end of September.
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume
increased 17.5 per cent to $34.8 billion, compared to the same
period last year. Residential unit sales increased 3.2 per cent to
61,127 units, while the average MLS® residential price rose 13.9 per
cent to $569,922 over the same period.
New Housing Price Index - October 13, 2010
The New Housing
Price Index (NHPI) for Canada increased 0.1 per cent in August
following a 0.1 per cent decline in July. New home prices in Canada
exhibited more stability than many analyst expectations given the
implementation of the HST in July to Ontario and BC. Compared to
August 2009, the NHPI was up 2.9 per cent across the country.
The NHPI also
increased 0.1 per cent in Vancouver during August compared to July.
Year-over-year in August the NHPI in Vancouver climbed 4.4 per
cent. Meanwhile, in Victoria, contractors reported no change in
their selling prices between July and August. Year-over-year, the
NHPI in Victoria declined by 0.4 per cent.
Statistics Canada's NHPI is calculated for Vancouver and Victoria
only in British Columbia. The survey of home builders used to derive
the index counts market selling prices less any value added taxes,
such as the HST.
October 4, 2010
Housing market factors indicate stability in
September home sales in Greater Vancouver
were consistent with activity experienced in
the preceding two months across most
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
(REBGV) reports that the number of
residential property sales in Greater
Vancouver totalled 2,220 in September 2010.
This represents a 0.8 per cent increase
compared to August 2010 and 37.6 per cent
decline from the 3,559 sales in September
In comparison, last month’s residential
sales represent a 40.1 per cent increase
over the 1,585 residential sales in
September 2008, a 20 per cent decline
compared to September 2007’s 2,776 sales,
and an 11.9 per cent decline compared to
September 2006’s 2,519 sales.
“We’ve seen fewer properties coming on to
the market over the last three months. This
trend, combined with the continued
attraction of low interest rates, is likely
having the effect of less downward pressure
on home prices,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV
Since spring, housing prices in the region
have trended slightly downward, with a
decrease of 2.7 per cent compared to the
all-time high reached in April when the
MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI)
residential benchmark price was $593,419.
The overall benchmark price for all
residential properties in Greater Vancouver
over the last 12 months has increased 5.5
per cent to $577,174 in September 2010 from
$547,092 in September 2009. The current
price remains consistent with last month,
rising just 0.1 per cent between August and
Total active property listings posted on the
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Greater
Vancouver currently sit at 15,401, basically
unchanged compared to last month and a 22
per cent increase from September 2009. Over
the last three months, active listings in
the region have declined12.3 per cent.
New residential property listings posted in
September declined 17.6 per cent to 4,731
compared to September 2009 when 5,746 new
units were listed.
“We saw signs of more stability in our
marketplace last month than we have seen
since spring based on a variety of
indicators that we look at each month,”
Moldowan said. “At 56 days, it took, on
average, three days less to sell a home in
our region compared to August. This is the
first month-over-month decline we’ve seen in
this category since April.”
Sales of detached properties in September
2010 reached 866, a decrease of 39.1 per
cent from the 1,423 detached sales recorded
in September 2009, and a 58.6 per cent
increase from the 546 units sold in
September 2008. The benchmark price for
detached properties increased 6.7 per cent
from September 2009 to $790,992.
Sales of apartment properties reached 971 in
September 2010, a decline of 34.7 per cent
compared to the 1,489 sales in September
2009, and an increase of 27.1 per cent
compared to the 764 sales in September
2008.The benchmark price of an apartment
property increased 3.7 per cent from
September 2009 to $388,373.
Attached property sales in September 2010
totalled 383, a decline of 40.1 per cent
compared to the 647 sales in September 2009,
and a 39.3 per cent increase from the 275
attached properties sold in September 2008.
The benchmark price of an attached unit
increased 5.2 per cent between September
2009 and 2010 to $490,385.
May market offers buyers greater selection
The number of properties listed for sale in Greater Vancouver
continued to rise in May, while the number of sales showed a
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that
residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 3,156 in
May 2010, a decline of 10.4 per cent compared to the 3,524 sales in
May 2009; 5.1 per cent more than the 3,002 sales in May 2008; and
27.1 per cent less than the 4,331 sales in May 2007. May 2010 sales
also represent a 10.1 per cent decline compared to last month’s
In terms of number of property listings, last month marked the third
consecutive month during which more than 7,000 homes were listed for
sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties
totalled 7,014 in May 2010, a 48.2 per cent increase compared to May
2009 when 4,733 new units were listed, and an 8.3 per cent decline
compared to April 2010 when 7,648 properties were added to the MLS®.
At 17,492, the total number of property listings on the MLS®
increased 10 per cent in May compared to last month, and is up 28.2
per cent compared to this time last year.
“Prospective home buyers in today’s market have a broad selection to
choose from in every property type. REALTORS® are telling us they’re
working with buyers who are not feeling as rushed to make a decision
as they did late last year and earlier in the year,” Jake Moldowan,
REBGV president said.
Over the last 12 months, the overall MLSLink® Housing Price Index
(HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater
Vancouver increased 16.7 per cent to $590,662 from $506,201 in May
“It’s important for those looking to buy or sell a home to remember
that real estate is local and wise real estate decisions are made by
those who understand current market conditions at the neighbourhood
level,” Moldowan said.
Sales of detached properties in May 2010 reached 1,256, a decrease
of 10.4 per cent from the 1,402 detached sales recorded in May 2009
and a 4.4 per cent increase from the 1,203 units sold in May 2008.
The benchmark price for detached properties increased 19.1 per cent
from May 2009 to $810,175.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,354 in May 2010, a decline
of 7.1 per cent compared to the 1,458 sales in May 2009 and an
increase of 8.8 per cent compared to the 1,244 sales in May 2008.The
benchmark price of an apartment property increased 13.9 per cent
from May 2009 to $398,783.
Attached property sales in May 2010 totalled 546, a decline of 17.8
per cent compared to the 664 sales in May 2009 and a 1.6 per cent
decline from the 555 attached properties sold in May 2008. The
benchmark price of an attached unit increased 14.8 per cent between
May 2009 and 2010 to $500,339.
Source: Real Estate Board of
For the complete news release, including
detailed statistics, follow this link:
For immediate release
February Home Sales Strong Despite
Vancouver, BC – March 11, 2010. TheBritish Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)
reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales
in the province climbed 63 per cent to 5,955 units in February
compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted
basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province declined 13
per cent compared to January 2010.
sales continued to moderate in February after the record pace of
the fourth quarter.” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.
“However, February’s performance was better than expected
considering many households were preoccupied with Olympic gold."
The BC residential sales dollar volume
increased 91 per cent to $2.96 billion in February compared to
the same period last year. The average MLS® residential price
climbed 17 per cent to $497,807 over the same period.
interest rates are continuing to underpin consumer demand and
fuel first-time homebuyer activity,” added Muir. “Improving
economic conditions are expected to bolster consumer confidence
over the coming months.”