Category Archives: BC

West side a fragmented market

I think this comment from zrh2yvr is worth highlighting, so I’m pasting it into the submission page!

OK – Some more interesting data – Again just the facts.

Van-West Detached, a market which seems to be suffering, can be described as three markets. One where there are over 350 units for sale in excess of 3.2 million with MOI of over 18 months, 185 units for sale at 1.9M or less with a MOI of 3.8 months and approx 340 units for sale between 1.9M and 3.2M with MOI at 6.7 months.

For units priced at under 1.9M, there is a severe lack of inventory which could be a reason for lower sales volumes. One has to wonder however, what will become of this high-end with properties for sale over $3.2 million? They are selling only at a slow pace but at 18 months, I would say many sellers would be happy to just wait for thay buyer.

Meanwhile, inventory is creeping up. Just like Richmond however, it is creeping up only in the low-mid range of the properties. The number of properties for sale with an age of up to 10 years has not changed since January (approx 230 units). However, in the range of 10-115 years old, overall, inventory is up by 80 units or 17%. In the tear-down category (those with age of 999), there are 9 more units or 11% so this could also be seen to have increased.

What is this saying? I would say that until the top starts to fall, there is not much down side in the Van-West market. Not much upside either as on the higher-prices, there are many many choices.

When looking at MOI, Given that sales of the higher-end properties have been picking up, we are seeing MOI for the new inventory decrease where now there is only 13 months for homes up to 5 years compared to approx 17 months in January. This is not a great level and is truly one to put downward pressure on prices. One has to wonder how many of these properties are held by speculators or builders who need to sell.

Finally, what areas are we seeing with deterioration in MOI?

Oak – Now at 10 compared to 5
Kerrisdale – Now at 10 compared to 7
South Granville – Now at 14 compared to 12
Cambie – Now at 9 compared to 6
McKenzie Heights – 8 compared to 6

Shaugnessy has highest MOI still but has improved to 16 from 18.

The most important ares with low inventory and tight MOI are:
Kits – 3.7 months now compared with 3.4 previous
Dunbar – 4.4 months now compared with 6.2 previous
Point Grey – 5 months of inventory same as previous


So overall, we are seeing the market change. The foreign buyer and the top-end buyer are not in the marketplace in sufficient numbers to acquire the high-priced inventory that is for sale. Limited numbers of units for sale under 1.9M are creating tight supply, but also low sales volume. However, ALL inventory increases have occurred in the lower priced ranges and are not evenly distributed throughout the entire market. It is not clear what we will see next. Perhaps it will be recent low-priced land plays coming back on the market as they realize there is too much competition on the new-build market. Perhaps we will see some high-end builders having to reduce to clear their inventory.

Either way – it is going to play out slowly until there is a change in the credit markets that changes the access to credit for all buyers.

Real estate isn’t really a race issue

Nice response from Sandy Garossino to last weeks Allen Garr column “Blaming Chinese For High House Prices in Vancouver Is Racist”.

When I raised concerns over the impact of international transactions during the civic election campaign, the response was overwhelming and full-spectrum from across our entire community, because the problem is universal.

It was notable how concerned Canadian Chinese Vancouverites are about this difficult issue, and how optimistic and imaginative some of their solutions are. Many in this community, such as Susie Joe Dooner, expressed grave concern about the exodus of gifted young people they have seen—their own friends and family leaving their home city and province in despair of having a future here.

And it was this community which also expressed concern that our local real estate and development industry bears some responsibility for its aggressive marketing to foreign investors. Some cautioned that the scale of the potential market poses real hazards to a small city like Vancouver.

It is profoundly inaccurate to represent the public reservation about unregulated international capital in our housing market as having a racial bias, when the concern is universal.

Read the full letter over at the Courier.

I wonder why we don’t have a foreign owner property tax structure like Florida and other places that charge a premium to non-resident owners (regardless of what their race or country of residence is).  It would raise more money to pay for city expenses, take some of the tax burden off residents and best of all the only people who would complain about it can’t vote!

Can’t save a dime?

The Vancouver Sun has some good tips for people who are completely unable to save up for the largest purchase of their life.  People who either spend too much on entertainment and shopping or simply don’t earn enough to save.  Buy a house.

Yes. Because the people that should be buying real estate are people who are unable to save up a few thousand dollars.

Their advice ranges from the ridiculous (reign in spending habits) to the sublime (ask mommy and daddy for a down payment).

Saving money for a down payment, especially in British Columbia’s high-priced housing markets, is one of the biggest challenges that homeowners face, but mortgage experts say, it’s not impossible.

The minimum down payment new homeowners need is five per cent of a home’s purchase price, which can be particularly difficult to accumulate for those in the most need: young people, often with student debt and lifestyles that involve a lot of restaurant meals and going to movies once or twice a week.

Yeah, that’s 5 percent goal is super-tough, but it just might be achievable according to ‘mortgage experts’.  You can always tap into your RRSPs, and don’t forget that you can get yourself a zero-down loan (we call them ‘cash-back’ mortgages).

…some lenders have a cashback option that can be used against a down payment. “The clients have to take posted rates [not discounted] and some lenders will give you five per cent of the mortgage amount as cash back. On $400,000 that would be $20,000, the five-per-cent down payment that is required.”