Category Archives: prices

Why you shouldn’t demand lower prices

I’ve been reading this site for a while and I see a lot of people that are hoping for lower house prices in Vancouver without fully thinking out the repercussions.

Its human nature to be greedy and want ‘something for nothing’ but we should draw a line at actively wishing ill on others so that we may benefit.

A drop in property prices would cause a lot of harm across the lower mainland, affecting not only home owners but a whole economy of construction workers, real estate agents, lawyers, lenders and architects.

Instead of selfishly wishing prices would drop, you should try to realize the benefits of home ownership:

1) A tangible solid investment that can help you retire
2) Homeowners have a lower crime rate creating safer neighborhoods
3) Pride of ownership creates more civic responsibility

Here’s a useful editorial in the Telegraph on how home ownership benefits everyone:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/3644666/Everyone-benefits-from-home-ownership.html

They make a very strong argument for why governments should come to the aid of homeowners who have suffered from a house price drop or interest rate increase and are unable to pay their bills.

But there is something more fundamental about the housing market that should inform policy. Housing markets are different from lots of other markets in that actions by individuals affect not only the actors, but neighbourhoods and even society as a whole.
Allow your personal appearance to deteriorate, and you pay the price in lost job opportunities and a reduction in the number of people willing to be seen with you. The cost is yours. Allow your house to deteriorate, and your neighbours pay the price. Innocent bystanders get hurt when things go wrong in the housing markets.
First, the value of all homes declines as the neighbourhood becomes dotted with vacant houses and takes on a less attractive appearance. Second, society pays a price.

IF you are someone who is hoping for a real estate decline I urge you to read the full article and rethink your position.

Even if you think you would be unaffected you should remember that a decline in house prices effects the whole economy:
http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Home+price+drop+could+mean+less+spending/6773895/story.html

And it doesn’t take too much of a drop to put buyers in a position where they owe more than a house is worth. With a normal 5% down a 15% drop like that predicted by TD would be a disaster.

Using the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s benchmark price – the price of a typical home – for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver of $625,000, and the minimum down payment of five per cent, a homeowner would need $43,850 including property transfer tax and legal fees to close the deal. The total mortgage amount would be $593,750 plus $17,515 for the high-ratio fee. If the market value dropped 15 per cent over three years, the value would be $531,250, while the outstanding mortgage after three years would be $574,805.64.

A decline in house and condo prices affects real people who care for the neighborhoods they live in, is it fair to wish them bad luck simply because you feel prices are too high?

TD: Toronto & Vancouver face 15% decline

It seems like one of these bank economist forecasts come out every week, but TD is calling for a 15% decline in house prices here and in Toronto over the next couple of years.

“There have been growing signs that the markets have been tilting towards excess supply of new multiples,” the bank said.

Indeed, condo prices in both cities have shown signs of slowing down much more than the price of single-family homes, the usual benchmark of a market’s overall health.

“In fact, looking at the trend in condo prices, you can see there has been essentially no increase in prices since the federal government first began tightening mortgage rules in mid-2008,” the economists said.

So if the average selling price on a Vancouver single family home is already down 12% year over year and the outlook for condos looks worse… maybe not the best time to buy a presale condo eh?

One bubble down, one to go

The Vancouver real estate slow down is making news all over and people are now wringing their hands over Toronto.

This Financial Post article talks about our bloating inventory and collapsing sales while pointing out that Toronto sales are up 11% year over year.

..and yes, there’s yet another warning from the Bank of Canada:

“Although economic growth in Canada was slightly slower than expected in the first quarter, underlying economic momentum appears largely consistent with expectations. However, the composition of growth is less balanced. In particular, housing activity has been stronger than expected, and households continue to add to their debt burden in an environment of modest income growth.”

The warning is apt. Rosenberg said if the Bank of Canada felt the need to re-establish parity between short-term rates and its inflation target it would have to raise the rate 100 basis points.

“That wouldn’t cause a recession, but it sure would be painful for many households,” leading to more loan defaults and less spending growth.

If you can’t afford a 100 basis point increase in rates you probably shouldn’t be taking on too much debt.

‘very clear signs’ of market slowdown

Is the Vancouver real estate market cooked?

Sales are plummeting and the lower mainland is choking on inventory.

Tsur Somerville decided it’s time to sound the warning bell in the Vancouver Sun:

“We’re getting this consistently now,” said Tsur Somerville, director, centre for urban economics and real estate, Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C., after a monthly report by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver showed a continued rise in listings as sales drop.

“We’re in a market that’s much slower than what we’re used to and I think that will transfer into much more sluggish prices, at best.”

According to the board’s report, released Monday, May sales were the lowest total for the month since 2001 and 21.1-per-cent lower than the 10-year average for May sales. Local home sales in April were also the lowest total for that month since 2001.

…yeah, that’s right.  Lowest since 2001.  And the remarkable thing is that the word the real estate board has chosen to describe this market is ‘balanced’.

I guess it is very important to keep your balance while you’re sliding down hill.

Vancouver Real Estate: listings up, sales down

Over at the CBC there’s an article about the ‘uncertain fate’ of Vancouver real estate.

Vancouver’s real estate market has taken another interesting turn, with listings up and sales down during what is usually a busy time of year.

In May, average prices for houses have dropped about $150,000 compared to one year ago. That 12-per-cent drop wiped out two years of price increases.

The reason appears to be that too many more sellers are trying to cash in at the same time. Listings are up by 23 per cent, but fewer are buying: sales are down 24 per cent.

“Probably, on average, about a 150 or 160 homes in Vancouver are reducing their price every day in the hope of catching, getting ahead of the train and maybe get out before they can’t,” said realtor Larry Yatkowsy.

Larry is an interesting fellow, he seems to change opinions frequently, but isn’t it in most realtors interest to get sellers to lower listing prices to make a sale?