Category Archives: supply

Is the end of the bubble near?

The latest spurt of ‘bubble is bursting‘ news is showing up in the local media.

Despite ever increasing sales prices, we’re also seeing a dropping sales to listing ratio month after month.

UBC’s Tom Davidoff, an associate professor at the Sauder School of Business and a real estate analyst, says the first signs of a bubble bursting might be sales volume slowing down and inventory rising. A rising rental vacancy rate could also be indicative of the market slowing down as well as lenders becoming more cautious about issuing and underwriting mortgages.

In the last few months, all of these red flags have been appearing in the Vancouver market, aside from a growing rental vacancy rate.

At the end of May, the CEO of Scotiabank, Brian Porter, said they were “a little concerned” with housing prices in Vancouver and had been easing off their mortgage lending business because of too much risk.

Read the full article over at Global News.

An empty home tax for Vancouver

Mayor Gregor Robertson has announced that Vancouver will move ahead with a tax on empty or under-occupied homes with our without the support of the provincial government.

The city’s report states the preferred option is for the provincial government to create and administer a new class of “residential vacant” property through BC Assessment. The designation would trigger the city to charge extra taxes on empty or under-occupied investment properties.

The second option is for the city to establish a new business tax for empty and under-occupied homes held as investment properties.

Premier Clark responded on twitter saying “We are reviewing your report and will respond quickly.”

Read the full article over at the CBC.

Ten thousand empty homes

Bubble tea pointed out that back in March a study claimed that 10,800 homes were empty for more than a year in 2014.

They reached this conclusion by studying electricity usage, if it remained flat for 25 days the home was deemed to be vacant.

Of course many of these homes could have been occupied by paleo-humans who eschew electricity in favor of a simpler lifestyle.  How many condos in Kerrisdale are filled with families huddled under blanket, burning their own waste to keep warm?

The majority of the empty homes in 2014 were apartments — 9,747 — and vacancy rates were highest on the West Side of the city, with 9.4 per cent in the area that stretches from Kitsilano to Point Grey and 8.6 per cent in neighbourhoods that include Kerrisdale, Dunbar and Southlands.

Suggested reasons for the vacancies included a home was bought for investment, was under renovation, the owners were on vacation, the home was caught up in an estate sell-off, or it was being flipped. A home was deemed empty in a given month if the hydro data showed a flat consistent use of electricity for 25 or more days in that month for a year. The findings were not specific to neighbourhoods but separated into five large geographic areas. Basement suites were not included in the study.

Are 10,800 empty homes a negative thing for a city, and If you had unlimited power what would you do to change this situation?  Would you opt for incentives for owners to rent out empty homes or a some sort of system to try to prevent them from remaining empty?

Government complicit in fueling housing crisis

A recent report out of SFUs school of public policy is generating headlines that are rather extreme:

Foreign buyers crushing Vancouver home dreams as governments do little.

“People recognize what’s going on, and they’re willing to call a spade a spade,” he said, stressing that such views are based on reality, not racism.

His report compiles a number of other studies, including data on home-buying trends, population density, the cancelled immigrant investor program, and American research on the same issue.

Gordon said his report blames Vancouver’s housing crisis on foreign buyers, particularly from China, because “this is where the evidence points, not because of some anti-Chinese animus.”

Chinese investors have also spiked home prices in the Toronto region, but Vancouver has seen the highest rise in real estate due to the influx of foreign money reaching an unprecedented level in the last year, he said.

Gordon noted that other countries, including Australia and Singapore, have created policies for foreign homebuyers to protect their own citizens but that hasn’t happened in Canada.

Read the full article over at the CBC.