Category Archives: BC

GVREB Market Update April 2012

Every month the GVREB releases it’s market update.  This should not be confused with the REBGV press releases.  Both use current market data and anecdotes from professionals but they spin different directions.

The GVREB is a volunteer organization.  You can help contribute knowledge and market data to their ongoing reports by emailing them at  gvreb1@gmail.com

Here’s the current market update for April 2012:

FOR EXCLUSIVE RELEASE ON VCI
Real Estate Market Sales Volumes Fall Further in Greater Vancouver

VANCOUVER, B.C. –May 1, 2012 – April saw the Greater Vancouver real estate market continue to falter as sales volumes decreased below all relevant comparative periods including a 4 per cent decline in detached sales from the previous month. Continued education of Canadian buyers on the risks of high debt levels as well as reduced expectations of future increases in real estate prices has inserted an increased level of caution in buyers.

GVREB reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 2,806 in April. This total represents a 13 per cent decrease compared to the 3,225 sales in April 2011. Looking back, sales activities were 20 per cent below the 3,512 units sold in April 2010 and also 5 per cent below the 2,963 units sold in April 2009. April’s sales volume and its sale to list ratio of 46% were both the lowest of the previous 12 years. In addition, we saw the average detached price fall a further 4% from March 2012 and is 8% below April 2011 in last year. The impact is partly been a result of a significant slowdown of properties valued over $3.0 million with months of inventory for these units are now exceeding 18 months.

Discussions with industry professionals have noted “This is the weakest spring we have seen since before 2001. Limited price increases over the past 5 years in the condo and townhouse market has resulted in a reduced pool of move up buyers. The excess of unsold newly built luxury detached properties has caused home builders to be absent as purchasers on the resale market as they focus on selling their existing completed homes. These two factors combined with changing buyer sentiment and stricter lending conditions, has resulted in significant inventory increases in the lower priced detached single family homes.” GVREB notes that previous inventory increases were concentrated in higher price categories and thus we now have a more broad market slowdown. GVREB also wishes to clarify that that major transportation and road infrastructure enhancements in more distant suburban locations have had little impact on prices with areas such as Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows only seeing insignificant price increases and many properties experiencing decreasing values.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 6,067 in April. This is approximately 12 per cent above the 10-year listing average for the month of April. Listings in April 2012 represent a 4 per cent increase compared to April 2011 when 5,847 properties were listed for sale and an 21 per cent decline compared to the 7,648 new listings reported in April 2010. The Spring listings pace increased 4 per cent from the 5,843 listings in March 2012.

We are now at decade high inventory levels for the Spring season and at 16,524, the total number of residential property listings in Greater Vancouver increased 16 per cent compared to April 2011, increased 8 per cent from the previous month and has increased 30 per cent since January 2012.

The Residential Reference Price for all residential properties in Grater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 5.1 per cent to $672,000 in April 2012 from $639,200 in April 2011. Although the market has increased in the past 12 months, gains are almost entirely a result of gains in the detached market. Price gains of detached prices in recent months however have been insignificant and we are now seeing prices fall in previously strong markets such as Richmond and Burnaby. Due to the limited gains outside of the detached market, leveraged sellers of attached properties and apartments are finding that the high transaction costs in real estate are eliminating much of their equity after selling. A significant majority of purchasers of condominiums across the Greater Vancouver region in the past two years would be unable to realize net gains by selling in current market conditions.

Sales of detached properties in April 2012 slowed to 1,130, a decrease of 19 per cent from the 1,402 detached sales recorded in April 2011, and a 18 per cent decrease from the 1,370 units sold in April 2010. On a month over month basis, sales declined 4 per cent during a period which we typically see an increasing sales trend. Sales during April of detached homes were the lowest since 2001 and were below the 1,190 sales made during April 2009 when the Greater Vancouver market started to recover from the sales reductions during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. The reference price for detached properties increased 5.9 per cent from April 2011 to $1,042,000 but fell from $1,048,000 in the previous month.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,193 in April 2012, a 1 per cent decrease compared to the 1,201 sales in April 2011, and a decrease of 22 per cent compared to the 1,526 sales in April 2010. The reference price of an apartment property increased 1.9 per cent from April 2011 to $379,000.

Attached property sales in April 2012 totalled 483, a 22 per cent decrease compared to the 622 sales in April 2011, and a 22 per cent decrease from the 616 attached properties sold in April 2010. The reference price of an attached unit decreased 1.2 per cent from April 2011 and 2012 to $470,000.


Leaving debt as a legacy

There’s an article in the Globe and Mail about the rising number of ‘Grandpa debtors‘ – people past the age of 55 who have debt problems.  There are a few reasons sited for this shift: easy credit, lack of emergency savings and relying on real estate as a retirement plan:

Real estate can also be a factor in some of these dire debt situations, Mr. Elyea said. Some older debtors head into retirement with $50,000 still left on their mortgages, and then start using their credit cards to pay them because their income has dropped and the CPP and OAS aren’t enough to cover the payments.

There’s also the trap of considering your home to be your retirement nest egg, said Mr. Elyea, which can backfire because of the unpredictability of the housing market.

“In our Tri-Cities practice [covering Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody], that’s where a lot of people bought houses at the height of the market when anybody could get financing, and now they’re all [valued] below what they paid for them,” he said.

If you do find yourself in a situation where your debt has gotten out of control, see a professional, said Mr. Eylea, whether it’s a bankruptcy trustee or a money coach who can let you know about your options.

Here’s the full article.

Shopping for deals? Vancouver Price Drop.

An Observer has started up a new Vancouver RE blog focused specifically on tracking price drops!

Right now at vancouverpricedrop you’ll find number of asking price drops by area and a ‘top eleven’ list of price drops in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley region.

These drops are all over the map, some have dropped asking price by a million and are still a million over assesment.  There are a couple that seem serious though with new asking prices several hundred thousand dollars under assessed value.

It’s fantastic to see a new addition to the Vancouver bubble blog crowd, especially one that is focused on specific data.  Looking forward to watching this one in the future!

Here’s that link again: vancouverpricedrop.wordpress.com

More racism debate in the Courier

The courier is getting lots of linkage from us as of late, but they’re playing both sides of this issue pretty well.  Is it racist to say that we should have foreign buyer restrictions or that absentee owners can kill a neighborhood?  Mark Hasiuk says NO.

Christy “Families First” Clark, a committed globalist, won’t restrict foreign ownership in B.C. Mayor Gregor Robertson, who slobbered over Beijing during a 2010 “trade mission” to China, won’t reform the tax code to accommodate the new normal. Which means foreign real estate investors pay the same rate (4.2 per cent) as local homeowners, not the business rate (18 per cent) they should.

Read the full article here.