Category Archives: supply

Vacancy Rates almost double 2001

After that irritating interruption from a hack attack, we’re back.

Meanwhile a lot of other people have gone to live somewhere else while they leave houses here empty.  According to this article over at BNN the number of vacant homes in Vancouver has nearly doubled since 2001:

Mayor Gregor Robertson, who has criticized some of Mr. Yan’s tracking of foreign home ownership in his city, said this latest study reinforces his government’s commitment to penalizing those who leave properties vacant.

“Seeing data that demonstrates there may be even more underutilized homes than BC Hydro suggests gives us more reason to aggressively move on the empty homes tax,” Mr. Robertson told The Globe and Mail Tuesday.

“We certainly hear, anecdotally, concerns about empty homes in various neighbourhoods, and now the body of evidence is building, so that helps.”

The B.C. government passed legislation in the summer allowing Vancouver to impose a tax on empty homes, which the city argues are taking up housing that could be rented out.

The province has said it will consider similar requests from other cities.

Read the full article here.

Cautiously optimistic

There seems to be a shift if then Vancouver real estate market lately and that has some people excited about a potential return to sanity, but we’ve  seen versions of this story before.  BearVancouverite shares some thoughts on why they remain ‘cautiously optimistic’ and a question about the future:

Some posters here are counting their chickens before they hatch. I’m with Ulsterman in being cautiously optimistic.

We all need some perspective here:

1) Total inventory is still below 10k. In previous years even 15k+ inventory saw a mostly sellers market.
2) The superb chart that Brian Ripley posted shows that the purple dots are leveling off, at an absorption level ABOVE 2015 and 2014 still. I hope this continues to drop.
3) News reports show that condos are still selling at a decent pace
4) Even a 50% drop in Summer 2016 listing prices only resets prices to maybe 2013 levels. Most houses I see listed in Killarney for instance are as of yesterday listing for $2.2-2.8M. Going down from there to $1.1-1.4M is still above what almost every bear here was willing to pay in 2010.

Here’s my question, and I honestly want to know because I’m trying to figure out at what point I should seriously consider buying. If there’s a 50% drop, and a Killarney 120 year old near teardown is selling for $1.2M, how many of the prominent bears here (including vangrl, yvr, Hamster, BPOM, LS in Arbutus, and UBC in crisis) would recommend a friend to buy at that point?

Btw as a counterpoint to my above caution, here’s my personal observations:

1) I’m seeing a lot of Killarney listings SFH come up now. Far more than I noticed throughout summer.
2) In general I’m seeing more 3BR+ listings per day than during summer, although there’s still very little coming up.
3) I’m seeing a lot of higher quality SFH being listed. Eg not just teardowns
4) Some of the listings I see have descriptions which include the realtor saying “lived in by long term owner” or “for sale by original owner” or “owner of 40 years” etc. So just observationally some of the inventory coming online is from locals finally willing to sell.

$500 Million for Affordable housing

The BC government has announced that they will fund $500 million of affordable housing projects in the province using money brought in via property transfer taxes and the new foreign buyer tax.

Real estate related taxes are now the single largest revenue generator for the BC government, surpassing the 1.2 billion from gambling and all individual resource industry taxes.  In fact, when you combine all resource industry taxes the cumulative figure only exceeds real estate tax income by a few decimal points.

The BC real estate economy is possibly the finest example of a perpetual motion machine in existence. Taxes raised via real estate goes into buying and building more real estate. Win-win!

Realtors waiting to see impact of foreign buyer tax

There are more anecdotes of a market slowdown caused by the new foreign buyer tax in Vancouver.  This latest batch from the North Shore News:

Local real estate agents say they know of several multi-million-dollar real estate deals collapsing and predict the hot North Shore housing market will cool slightly in the wake of a new 15-per cent provincial tax on property purchased by foreign buyers.

“It’s one of the most shocking events that’s ever arrived in our industry,” said Brent Eilers, a longtime West Vancouver Realtor with Re/Max. “Nobody really knows how it will unfold.”

Eilers said the new foreign buyers’ tax is bound to have an impact, particularly in markets like West Vancouver and North Vancouver, which have been “incredibly dependent on offshore money or new money” that’s come from sales to foreign buyers in other areas of the Lower Mainland.

Read the full article here. So far it looks like sales are dropping and listings rising over the last few months. According to zolo, the average sales price in Vancouver has dropped by a few hundred thousand dollars since March.