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Current Market Outpacing Historical Averages

Home buyer and seller activity outpaces historical averages in February

Conditions within the Metro Vancouver* housing market continued to strengthen in February as home sale and listing totals came in well above the region’s ten-year average for the month.



The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 3,061 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February 2015. This represents a 21 per cent increase compared to the 2,530 sales recorded in February 2014, and a 60 per cent increase compared to the 1,913 sales in January 2015.

Last month’s sales were 20.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“It’s an active and competitive marketplace today. Buyers are motivated and homes that are priced competitively are selling at a brisk pace right now,” Ray Harris, REBGV president, said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,425 in February. This represents a 15.4 per cent increase compared to the 4,700 new listings reported in February 2014.

Last month’s new listing count was 11.8 per cent higher than the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the REBGV MLS® is 11,898, an 11.3 per cent decline compared to February 2014 and a 10.1 per cent increase compared to January 2015.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $649,700. This represents a 6.4 per cent increase compared to February 2014.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in February was 25.7 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since March 2011.

“We’re seeing more multiple offer situations and generally more traffic at open houses today,” Harris said. “In a market such as this, it’s important to do your homework and work with your local REALTOR® before embarking on your home buying and selling journey.”

Sales of detached properties in February 2015 reached 1,296, an increase of 25.6 per cent from the 1,032 detached sales recorded in February 2014, and an 84.1 per cent increase from the 704 units sold in February 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 9.7 per cent from February 2014 to $1,026,300.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,244 in February 2015, an increase of 20.5 per cent compared to the 1,032 sales in February 2014, and an increase of 63.7 per cent compared to the 760 sales in February 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3 per cent from February 2014 to $386,500.

Attached property sales in February 2015 totalled 521, an increase of 11.8 per cent compared to the 466 sales in February 2014, and a 56.5 per cent increase from the 333 attached properties sold in February 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.6 per cent between February 2014 and 2015 to $481,500.


Thanks to Kim Spencer, REBGV's

It is so nice to know that our Board supports us!
2015 02 23 105147
Kim Spencer "The Ethics Guy" from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver attended our Monday sales meeting this morning and provided us with great information. Among the many topics was a discussion about "Commission Advances" from pre-sales. After listening to what Kim had to say he re-confirmed what we had always thought to be true. The fact is that "Commission Advances" are nothing more than a LOAN. The agent has not earned commission until the deal completes. Which could cause a liability for the Agent as well as the Brokerage.  
Further discussions were held on the new "Paragon" system coming into effect in August which will replace mlxchange and fusion. Also coming soon is a new portal "REALTOR®" replacing REALTORLINK.ORG. This new portal is apparently much more user friendly. 
We also of course discussed ethics, professional conduct and staying out of "REALTOR® JAIL"
We want to thank Kim for his participation and support.

"5 things to know about interest rates right now"

 Global News 

Bank of Canada Governor likely wants to curb consumer borrowing via higher rates but a lacklustre economic picture is forcing him to maintain rock-bottom interest rates. Higher rates would pinch everything from consumer spending to the real estate market.


With banks cutting mortgage rates again and the Bank of Canada walking a fine line between curbing household borrowing while fighting low inflation, much is being made of borrowing rates and where they may be headed. Below are five questions that try to make sense of the noise:

Why are interest rates in focus at the moment?

Borrowing rates are garnering a lot of attention right now because there’s much uncertainty about everything from the housing market to what direction the Canadian economy is headed in. Big banks have begun lower mortgage rates again as sales activity has slowed and competition for fewer borrowers has picked up.

The Bank of Canada meanwhile ismaintaining its trend-setting benchmark interest rate at 1.0 per cent. That rate is what influences lending rates among the banks and there has been speculationthat the BoC could actually cut rates in a bid to juice a sluggish economy. But with Canadian households already highly indebted, officials are hesitant to create more borrowing room.

How does the Bank of Canada rate affect borrowing rates from the bank?

Lenders set their prime rates, or the minimum interest they charge their customers, based off the BoC’s key rate. “The big banks peg their prime rate against that rate, and that prime rate is the best rate a bank will lend their best customers,” says Kelvin Mangaroo of, a site that tracks consumer borrowing rates.

With the BoC rate at 1.0 per cent, the private lenders’ prime rate is sitting at 3.0 per cent. These rates are extraordinarily low by historical standards, after central banks slashed benchmark interest rates to near zero during the global downturn to help get credit flowing again.

One unintended consequence of the present ultra-low interest rate environment for economies like Canada’s, which is thought to have a sturdier financial system compared to others, has been a household borrowing boom that’s found an outlet in a now very pricey real estate market financed generously with debt.

If excessive borrowing is a concern, why doesn’t the BoC raise its rate?

With current rates so low, a hike of even a modest amount – say half a percentage point, or 0.5 per cent – would jack mortgage and other loan payments by a significant degree, experts say.

A rise of 0.7 per cent on a loan carrying an interest rate of 3.5 per cent, for example, would mean a hike of 20 percent on your monthly interest payment. Could you afford that? Without scaling back other spending? The one-third of Canadian mortgage holders who have variable rate mortgages would immediately feel the pinch.

Why are banks cutting their mortgage rates?

You may have noticed that the big banks, led first by Royal Bank of Canada but quickly matched by Scotia, BMO and today, TD, are once again cutting their fixed five-year rates on home loans. Mangaroo says that because their own funding rates have fallen in recent weeks they can afford to pass those lower rates onto Joe Homebuyer. The banks are also fighting with themselves and cut-rate broker lenders over a shrinking pool of borrowers as consumers hit their limit on how much they can borrow, experts say.

While the Bank of Canada overnight rate doesn’t directly influence mortgage rates, a cut today would have put even more indirect downward pressure on home lending rates. Policy-makers have expressed ongoing concern about the effect higher rates will have on homebuyers who have taken on huge mortgages at extraordinarily low lending rates.

Will interest rates rise or fall this year?

It’s looking increasingly like interest rates won’t be heading higher anytime soon, according to experts. “From a consumer perspective, it looks like low interest rates are going to be here to stay for the next little while,” Mangaroo said.

“We remain comfortable with our forecast for interest rate hikes to be a long way off on the horizon, likely in the second half of 2015,” economists at TD Bank said Wednesday.

Whether they fall further will depend on the performance of the economy. A weakening economic picture could prompt the Bank of Canada to actually cut its rate to below 1 per cent again, but it also risks continuing a borrowing spree households can likely ill afford, experts say.

June Vancouver Housing Market

BannerFans.comThe Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 2,362 in June, a 27.6 per cent decline compared to the 3,262 sales in June 2011 and a 17.2 per cent decline compared to the 2,853 sales in May 2012. 

June sales were the lowest total for the month in the region since 2000 and 32.2 per cent below the 10-year June sales average of 3,484. 

“Overall conditions have trended in favour of buyers in our marketplace in recent months,” Eugen Klein, REBGV president said. “This means buyers are facing less competition and have more selection to choose from compared to earlier in the year.” 

At 18,493, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 22 per cent from this time last year and increased 3.7 per cent compared to May 2012.

  • Sales of detached properties in June 2012 reached 921, a decrease of 37.4 per cent from the 1,471 recorded in June 2011.
  • Sales of apartment properties reached 1,026 in June 2012, a 19 per cent decrease compared to the 1,266 sales in June 2011.
  • Attached property sales in June 2012 totalled 415, a 21 per cent decrease compared to the 525 sales in June 2011.

Concern For Price Decline

The tightening of credit and new rules for lending will result in the housing market adjusting to the supply and demand for homes in the market. When home prices more than double over the past 8 years, some housing critics are calling for home prices declining in Greater Vancouver by 25% or more.

High supply coupled with buyers staying on the side-line will result in low demand for homes. A vicious cycle of buyers expecting even lower prices over a time period will cause further erosion in home prices.

There is little to suggest the decline in home prices will only last for a couple of years. There is a high possibility that the price decline could be a multi-year decline like what happened in 1994. It took 7 years for the market to reach a bottom.

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RBC's Housing Affordability Report, March, 2012

Below is a report by RBC on Canada's housing affordability using the cost of owning a detached bungalow as a benchmark to measure affordability. The percentage for the various cities represents the portion of pre-tax household income required to cover ownership expenses.

 The results for some key cities across Canada (change from previous quarter in brackets) are as follows:

  • Vancouver: 86 % (-4.6 % points)
  • Toronto: 52.2 % (-0.1 % points)
  • Montreal: 40.1 % (-0.7 % points)
  • Ottawa: 40.9 % (-0.1 % points)
  • Calgary: 36.7 % (-0.7 % points)
  • Edmonton: 32.8 % (-0.3 % points)
  • Halifax: 32.6 % (-0.3 % points)

By far, Vancouver remained the least affordable city in Canada to own a home. The estimated home ownership costs in Vancouver required 86% of a typical household's monthly income.

Home owneship in Vancouver will continue to deter prospective home buyers due to affordability problem.

Alberta enjoyed one of the more affordable housing markets in Canada. Both Calgary at below 37% and Edmonton at 33% are moderately affordable. With good employment prospects in Alberta, and low interest rates the housing markets there are expected to encourage buyers entering the market.

There was some hesitation from home buyers in Calgry in the fourth quarter of 2011 resulting in a relatively flat market in spite of 31,000 new jobs being created in Calgary in 2011.

Saskatchewan saw a surge in home resales, with affordability improving across most types of housing.

Manitoba experienced a slight deterioration in affordability in the fourth quarter of 2011. High demand and lower supply of homes resulted in home prices gaining in values, particularly for two-storey homes and condominiums.

Ontario's market continued to favour sellers as home buying interest was strong. At over 52% household income to afford a home in the province, housing in the province is considered unafforable, but not as bad as in Vancouver. 

Homebuying in the province reamained active in the fourth quater of 2011 and tight supply of homes fueled sellers confidence in holding their prices and in many instances asked for higher prices than previous sales of comparable homes. 

Quebec's housing market remained stable and affordable in the fourth quarter of 2011. In Atlantic Canada improvinng affordibility had resulted in an increase in resale activity in the second half of 2011.

The markets in Atlantic Canada region were generally balanced. A surge in demand in St. John towards the end of 2011, along with Halifax coulld have been attributed to a successful $25 billion bid for a major shipping contract.

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HST/PST Transitional Rules

Newsflesh - February, 17, 2011.

Government announces new HST/PST housing transitional rules

The government today announced the HST/PST transitional rules on new homes.

As the province transitions back to the PST, which will replace the HST effective April 1, 2013, measures to ease the HST burden on new home buyers include:

  • The BC New Housing Rebate threshold will increase to $850,000 from $525,000, so that more than 90% of newly built homes will now be eligible for a provincial HST rebate effective April 1, 2012.
  • The maximum rebate will increase to $42,500 from $26,250 effective April 1, 2012.
  • Buyers of new secondary vacation or recreational homes outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts priced up to $850,000 will now be eligible to claim a provincial grant of up to $42,500 effective April 1, 2012.
  • For newly built homes where construction begins before April 1, 2013, but ownership and possession occur after, purchasers will not pay the 7% provincial portion of the HST. Instead, purchasers will pay a temporary, transitional provincial tax of 2% on the full house price. 

HST/PST transition rules will help ensure that whenever purchasers buy a new home they will all pay a consistent and equitable amount of tax, whether the home is built:

  • entirely under the HST;
  • entirely under the PST; or
  • partly under HST and partly under the PST.

The temporary housing transition measures will be in place until March 31, 2015. The tax only applies to homes where construction begins before the transition date and ownership and possession occur after.

REBGV successfully advocated for the following:

  • An increase in the threshold value of homes to be covered by the rebate;
  • An increase in the rebate amount;
  • An announcement of the transition rules for new homes as early as possible.

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Commentary on housing start

Housing start for Greater Vancouver

According to Robyn Adamache, CMHC's senior market analyst,
"immigration drives demand in British Columbia and job growth in Vancouver has kept demand for new homes up".

Townhouse420“I think part of what’s going on is we do have a fairly balanced resale housing marking out there, so there is fairly steady demand,” Adamache said. “Part of what’s driving this is ongoing population growth, or people moving here from other countries. In Vancouver, we get 35,000 or 40,000 people moving here every year.”

Below are the housing data:

  • There were 1,686 housing starts in November in the Vancouver CMA, up from 918 in November 2010.
  • Single-family starts were at 281 for November, down 10 per cent from 2010
  • Multi-family starts, which include semi-detached, townhouses and apartments, were at 1,405 for November, up a whopping 130 per cent from November 2010.

The 2011 year-to-date figures show an overall increase in the Lower Mainland of 23 per cent compared to 2010:

  • There was a 21-per-cent decrease in single-family starts,
  • And a 44-per-cent increase in multi-family starts.

The year-to-date housing starts at 13,295 multi-family is lower thatn the peak housing starts of 16,525 in 2007.

HST effect

The drop in single-family starts could be related to the defeated HST which will only be phased out by March 2013.

Multi-family developments are not affected in the same way as it takes at least 2 years to complete, and most of these homes are below the $525,000 threshold for HST.

The hot areas

Richmond and North Vancouver were hot area for growth in 2011, each showing an 89-per-cent increase in housing starts compared to last year. North Vancouver and Richmond's housing starts at 920 and 2,355 represent a hugh jump in housing starts of 486 and 1,248 units respectively.

The vast majority of those housing starts are multi-family developments. According to Adamache, "Richmond is a big recipient of people moving here from other countries, so that could be driving the demand.”

She added that "the significant slowdown in housing starts in 2009, will keep the supply of new condos at a moderate level in the near future, preventing the market from flooded with new supply".

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November housing starts fall

Below is a press release by Canadain Press dated Dec, 09, 2011.

A slowdown in apartment and condo construction in November resulted in the biggest one-month drop in Canadian home construction since early 2009, a report found Thursday, just as the Bank of Canada warned of a "heightened risk of a correction" in the multiple-dwelling segment of the market.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., a Crown corporation, reported the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts dropped 13 per cent to 181,100 units in November, down from 208,800 in October.

It was a much larger decrease than economists expected, entirely driven by a 23 per cent drop in the multiple-unit sector, while the more stable single-family market rose 3.5 per cent.

The CMHC report was released the same day the Bank of Canada warned that the country's robust housing market -- and over-leveraged mortgage holders -- could be in for a shock if the global economy goes south.

Read the full report.

Economists and other observers have been watching for signs of a housing bust in Canada, but there has been little evidence of a bubble, apart from the multiple-dwelling segment and the general Vancouver market.

Home sales in Greater Vancouver had been on gradual declince the past 6 years. The condo market is more vulnerable to steeper sales and price decline if home buyers continue to hold off their buying for now.


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Canada's housing starts slow in November

New home building across Canada dropped by a sharp 13 per cent in November as the volatile sector that represents condos and apartments showed declines, but there was still no sign the red-hot Canadian housing market is poised for a tumble, analysts said.

New condos RichmondThe Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported Thursday the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 181,100 units in November, down from 208,800 in October.

It was a much larger decrease than economists had expected, as construction of multiple units fell after months of increases driven by a booming condo market in large cities like Toronto, and Vancouver.

Read the full report here...

Greater Vancouver home Sales for 2012

Since 2005, homes sales on average dropped about 3.5% every year. With the continuation of this same rate of decline, 2012 could end up with a home sales figure around 328,500 units. Market sentiment may turn for the worst if events in Europe caused a major set-back in the Greater Vancouver housing market.

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Not So Rosy Picture For BC Boomers

More BC boomers are expected to retired with higher debts!

Picture 233INCREASING DEBT will be a retirement reality for many boomers, according to the Horizons Retirement Report, a survey commissioned by Rogers Group Financial.

Almost 40%, or four out of 10 Canadians expect to owe money when they retire, the survey found. One in six will have more than $50,000 in debt and one in 10 will hit 65 with more than $100,000 in debt. These are very large debts seniors have to deal with during their retirement.


High cost of housing

The statistics don't surprise Clay Gillespie, managing director of Rogers Group Financial, given increasing debt levels have become commoner among his clients in recent years. Many boomers rack up these debts when they take equity out of their houses so their kids can afford pricey Vancouver real estate!

Interest rates are at ultra low level at the moment, but a spike up in rates in the future by 1% or 2% will squeeze out the limited disposable incomes these boomers depend on to support their livestyles.

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Greater Vancouver August Housing Report

AugustThe real estate board of Greater Vancouver report for August confirmed further build up of inventory and lower sales, resulting in the housing market trending toward a "Buyer market"

"August marked the third consecutive month that home sale activity in Greater Vancouver was below the 10-year average for the month. In contrast, home listing activity in the region has exceeded the 10-year norm every month since the beginning of the year.

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®) reached 2,378 in August. This total represents an eight per cent increase compared to the 2,202 sales in August 2010, but also ranks as the third lowest total for August in the last 10 years. “MLS® statistics continue to indicate that we’re in a balanced market,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said. “However, with a sales-to-actives listings ratio of 15 per cent, Greater Vancouver is in the lower end of a balanced market and has been trending toward a buyers’ market over the past three months.”

Read the full report here.

Home Owenership Reaching 70%

With recent reports on high ownership level reaching 70% and high consumer date, Greater Vancouver's housing market is susceptable to a price correction. The uncertainties resulting in the abolishment of the HST, declining stock market due to the weak economies in the US and EU, home buyers are likely to adope a "wait and see" approach before commiting to buying their homes.

It will be interesting to see how the the real estata market will hold up the next few months.

You can view homes for sale in Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Chilliwack using the link below:


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Canada Home Prices

Home Prices USA vs. Canada

The Teranet - National Bank House Price Index ™ - June Report:

Canadian home prices up 1.7% in June.

"Canadian home prices in June were up 1.7% from the previous month, according to the Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index™. This rise took the index to a new high of 144.27 (June 2005 = 100). It was the third consecutive monthly increase exceeding 1% and the largest rise since August 2009. It was also the seventh consecutive monthly increase, coming after three straight monthly declines. As in April and May, prices were up in all six of the metropolitan markets surveyed. What is new is that in all six markets the June monthly rise was at least 1%, a first since April 2005. It was 2.0% in Toronto, 1.7% in Vancouver and Ottawa, 1.6% in Calgary, 1.1% in Montreal and 1.0% in Halifax. For Vancouver it was the ninth consecutive gain, the longest run of monthly rises among the markets covered. For five of the six metropolitan areas the indexes were at all-time highs. The Calgary index is still 10.9% off the all-time high of August 2007 and 3.1% off the pre-correction peak of August 2010".

In response to the above report, Dr. Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan, commented.

There were two questions posted by Dr. Mark J. Perry:

1) Are Canadian home prices in an unsustainable bubble headed for a future major correction or crash? 2) Or are the home price increases in Canada sustainable?

You can read more about Dr. Mark J. Perry's articles by following the link here.

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Too hefty to handle

Below is a Real Estate article collection by Team 3000 for your reading pleasure:

The following article was published by DEREK DeCLOET in The Globe And Mail's Report on Business dated, August 26, 2011.

Jumbo government mortgage assistance programs helped inflate, then burst, the U.S. real estate bubble. Have you looked at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. lately?

AugustIs there a bubble in real estate? Canadians have been arguing about this for years. We'll keep arguing, because asset bubbles are hard to identify until they've deflated, and this one hasn't. Besides, it depends on which of Canada's many real estate markets you're looking at. In Saint John, New Brunswick, where a detached home can be had for a monthly payment of $750, or Calgary, where prices have levelled off and the typical house sits on the market for six weeks, there's no sign of trouble. But if you're in Vancouver and must sign up for 25 years of financial servitude for the privilege of owning a small glass box in the sky, prices look very dangerous indeed.

So the bubble question is complicated, but a few points are not in dispute. On average, owning a home is now more expensive, compared to renting, than it has been in generations. Prices are growing faster than incomes; in Vancouver, the mortgage payments on an average home would consume more than half of the typical household's wages, says TD Bank's economics department. Buyers respond to high prices by borrowing heaps of money. Three years ago, just one out of every nine mortgage-holders borrowed more than 80% of the value of their homes. Today, it's one in six.

Read the full article.

Note the comments by the author:

"The Great Canadian Home-Price Inflation couldn't have occurred without CMHC. In just six years, its insurance business has doubled, and it now backs more than $500 billion worth of mortgages. Most of these are fine. But about $45 billion is with the riskiest group - buyers with less than 10% equity. These people could be wiped out if there's a sharp correction".

CMHC is backing the banks to provide financing to home owners with little equity in their homes. Let's just hope and cross our fingures that the Canadian economy stays strong and there won't be a market crash.


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The Fate of HST on New Homes

HST Up-date

About 54.73 per cent of those who cast ballots voted to overturn the HST, compared to 45.27 per cent who voted to keep it. Slightly more than 1.6 million people cast ballots between June 13 and Aug. 5. Read more:



Below is a news article collection by Team 3000 on voters returns for B.C's HST Referendome as reported by Election B.C.

Registered Voters Participate in HST Referendum

August 11, 2011

VICTORIA – Returned ballot packages reveal voter turnout for the 2011 HST Referendum.

 “Our preliminary analysis indicates that more than 1.6 million registered voters returned HST Referendum Ballot Packages by the deadline of 4:30 p.m., Friday, August 5, 2011,” said Acting Chief Electoral Officer Craig James.  

In comparison, the mail-based 2002 Treaty Negotiations Referendum saw 790,182 voting packages returned.  

Elections BC mailed an HST Referendum Voting Package to each registered voter beginning June 13, 2011. As of July 22, 2011, there were 3,063,170 registered voters.  

The Acting Chief Electoral Officer extended two key dates in the HST Referendum to compensate for a disruption in Canada Post services; the deadline to request an HST Referendum Voting Package was extended to midnight, July 22, 2011 and the close of voting deadline was extended to 4:30 p.m. Friday, August 5, 2011. James also noted “despite the extension adding approximately $500,000 to the cost of the referendum, I am pleased to report that our revised estimate as to the overall cost is $8.9 million, down from $12 million.”  

Elections BC received 87,617 telephone calls to its Contact Centre since June 13, 2011.

Referendum voting results are expected to be reported on or about August 25, 2011.

Elections BC

For further info, please contact: 

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Who are the buyers?

Picture 252Hot Vancouver housing market driven by Asian immigrants

A recent report by MAC Marketing Solutions revealed that of 500 buyers surveyed from Jan. 1 to June 1, spreading over 17 of their projects in Metro Vancouver, 330 (66%) are of Chinese descent. The survey was to learn more about the profile of the buyers and to identify trends in contracts mostly for presale highrise condominiums, lowrise condos, townhouses and detached single-family homes.

The survey confirmed that Metro Vancouver's hot real estate market is being largely driven by Chinese immigrants. The survey concluded that just three buyers, or 0.6 per cent, have their primary residences in China. The MAC survey confirmed other reports suggesting buyers are mainly Canadian citizens, immigrants or new residents in Canada.

Many of these buyers have strong links to mainland China - many reside and work in China while their families establish roots in B.C. The surge in investment is now branching out from Richmond and Vancouver's west side to other communities.

Meanwhile, a recent Market-Share report by Colliers International concluded that Metro Vancouver real estate is now in the same category as New York, London and other major cities.

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