Category Archives: supply

Steady low sales continue

Here’s a round up of last months housing market by the GVREB.

The GVREB posts a monthly market summary similar to the REBGV, but the spin is in the opposite direction.

Here’s what they say about themselves:

“GVREB is a not for profit real estate bulletin prepared by industry analysts and market participants. Comments, information and questions can be sent to the general e-mail box at gvreb1@gmail.com”

And here’s what they say about September 2012:

Steady and low sales volumes continue through September
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON VCI
VANCOUVER, B.C. –October 3, 2012 – Sales volumes in the Greater Vancouver real estate market flattened in September 2012 yet showed typical seasonal correlations compared to August 2012. September 2012 had the lowest monthly sales volumes for the month of September in more than 20 years as the impact of the new mortgage regulations were fully reflected in market activity. Sales volumes increased compared to August 2012 with daily sales volumes increasing to 77 sales per market day in the first half of the month and then to 84 sales per market day in the second half of the month. These volumes are at seasonally historical low levels and when combined with high inventory levels, active sellers are seeing few active buyers and must price their properties accordingly in order to complete their sale.

GVREB reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties fell to 1,522 in September 2012, the lowest total for the month of September in more than 20 years. This total represents a 32 per cent decrease compared to the 2,246 sales in September 2011. Although September 2012 had the lowest monthly sales for more than two decades, it had 2 fewer market days than 2008. Adjusting for the number of sales days, September 2008 had lower sales volume than September 2012 as the number of daily sales per market day was 80 for September 2012 while September 2008 had 75.

September 2012 also brought a shift in property sales mix consistent with the changes in credit conditions. Properties typically purchased by first-time buyers have had sales volume decreases at a higher rate with apartments in all areas and homes in lower priced sub-markets slowing at a higher rate. This has had the impact of placing upward pressure on the average selling price of detached properties even while the Reference Price is decreasing. Discussions with industry experts have noted that buyers are currently financially defensive and are being cautious, making aggressive low-ball offers and waiting for sellers to reduce prices. Several properties sold for more than 20 per cent below asking prices during September 2012 while only 5 per cent sold for over the asking price. GVREB also notes that sales volumes of detached properties in historically middle-class sub-markets were the lowest in over 20 years with sales continuing to languish further in Richmond, North Vancouver and Burnaby. These 3 sub-markets had the lowest September sales volume for detached properties since the 1970’s. Low sales volumes combined with high inventory levels have increased the overall Months of Inventory (MOI) to 12. At MOI in excess of 10, there is typically a downward movement in property values.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,199 in September 2012. This is slightly above the average listing rate for the past 12 years. In addition, the sales to new listing ratio of 29.3% was the second lowest of the past 12 years. Continued market weakness has also resulted in a higher rate of listing cancellations and thus, inventory levels have failed to exceed the highs previously noted in June 2012. Based on current sales volumes, sellers who continue to list their property without a price reduction are unlikely to complete their sale before next spring.

Active listings at the end of September 2012 were 18,350, an increase of 4 per cent from August 2012. MOI continued its increase for the seventh straight month reaching an average of 12.1 for all property types. MOI for detached increased to 13.7 months at September 2012 from 12.6 months at the end of August 2012. Attached and apartment inventory increased more significantly to 11.0 months from 9.3 months. In some sub-segments the limited number of buyers has increased MOI to even higher levels with Richmond detached properties only having only a single buyer for every 52 properties listed.

The Residential Reference Price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months decreased by 0.6 per cent to $605,000 in September 2012 from $611,000 in September 2011.

Sales of detached properties in September slowed to 602 units, a decrease of 37 per cent from the 957 detached sales recorded in September 2011, and a 30 per cent decrease from the 866 units sold in September 2010. September 2012 was the second lowest sales volume of detached in the past 12 years. The reference price for detached properties fell marginally to $938,000 compared to $939,500 in September 2011.

Sales of apartment properties fell to the lowest level for the month of September in the past 2 decades to 675 units in September 2012, a 27 per cent decrease compared to the 922 sales in September 2011, and a decrease of 30 per cent compared to the 971 sales in September 2010. The reference price of an apartment property decreased marginally to $368,700 from $371,100 in September 2011.

Attached property sales in September 2012 totalled 245, a 33 per cent decrease compared to the 367 sales in September 2011, and a 36 per cent decrease from the 383 attached properties sold in September 2011. The reference price of an attached unit decreased 2.7 per cent from September 2011 to $459,000.

Less than a hundred reasons RE is collapsing

There are 3 sales day left in September 2012.

That’s 3 more chances to have a day when we see sales over 100.

Do you know how many days we’ve seen sales go over 100 so far this month?

ONE.

There has only been one day this month where sales went over 100.

Here’s the last couple of Septembers for historical comparison:

2010: 11 days with triple digit sales

2011: 14 days with triple digit sales

2012: 1 day of triple digit sales (max possible 4)

Thanks to VHB for the stats and PaulB for the numbers.

The Little Mountain that Couldn’t

Apparently Vancouver has an affordable housing problem.

For buyers housing affordability is at a new low despite our problems with construction quality.

And lately we’re seeing more news stories about more families leaving BC due to the high cost of living.

So are we building more affordable housing?  Well, we’re trying I guess, but if you live in Vancouver you may have noticed a big vacant spot for homes just up Main street near Queen Elizabeth Park.

Several years ago the housing units at Little Mountain were torn down to make way for a new higher density housing development.

So why has nothing happened over those years?

According to Michael Geller it’s developer inexperience.

“The developer … doesn’t fully understand how to do business here,” Geller said in a phone interview.

Four years ago, BC Housing started moving the 224 residents of a social housing project into other subsidized homes. Now, only four residents remain in one building on the 6.2-hectare site by Queen Elizabeth Park and bounded by 37th and 33rd avenues and Main Street.

In June, a city report said there was a blueprint for Holborn Properties to redevelop the site with as many as 1,800 units in stepped towers up to 12 storeys, most buildings being four to 10 storeys in height. The province has committed to replacing all 224 social housing units plus another 10 for aboriginal residents. Most of the buildings at Little Mountain were demolished in 2009.

Geller also referred to the years of delays Holborn has faced in building a proposed 64-storey hotel and residential tower at West Georgia and Thurlow.

“If one wonders why this one is taking so long, one might also wonder why the same developer’s project on West Georgia took so long — although I see construction is finally underway,” he said.

“All of these things are symptoms of the lack of experience with high-profile, highly complex undertakings.”

So apparently we sold that land to a developer that doesn’t know how to get things done and to make matters worse, they bought it for an undisclosed sum right before the mini market crash of 2008.  If prices keep falling as they are now is anything going to get built there?

And if it does get built how much responsibility will the city end up taking for falling profit margins or ‘developer inexperience’? Are we looking at the potential for another Olympic Village scenario?

Housing market keeps on cooling

The Globe and Mail has an article about the drop off in real estate sales across the nation.

It’s got some gems in it for predictions from bankers and real estate associations, but it’s also got the standard partial information about ‘government interference’.

As evidence mounted that rock-bottom interest rates were fuelling house prices and consumer debt loads, Mr. Flaherty has changed mortgage insurance rules four times, each time making it more difficult for consumers to take on housing-related debt.

While the three previous rounds crimped both housing activity and the demand for credit, economists and real estate industry experts say this latest round, which took effect July 9, looks as if it is having a bigger impact.

And off course what’s missing is any mention of the government previous moves to make it easier for consumers to take on housing-related debt: moving amortization from 25 to 30 to 35 years, dropping down payment requirements all the way to zero down and shoveling money into mortgage buybacks via the CMHC.

So anyways, it’s getting harder to buy than it was when you could get a zero down mortgage with a longer amortization schedule.  And what sort of horrors has this wrought?

A number of economists, real estate agents, and industry observers say that many prospective first-time buyers have found themselves unable to secure a mortgage, especially in Toronto and Vancouver, and are therefore remaining renters.

Paula Roberts, a mortgage broker based in Markham, Ont., said one of her clients, a young teacher, was preapproved under the old rules, but now that she has found a home she likes, is having trouble securing the mortgage. She will likely have to get someone to co-sign the loan, or come up with a larger down payment, Ms. Roberts said.

“It’s really hindering people,” she said. “Her rent is basically the same as her mortgage payments.” In Ms. Roberts’ opinion, “it’s always better to try to buy something instead of rent.”

Of course, it’s always better to try to buy ..Says the mortgage broker.  Business slowing down Paula?

But this article ends on a bit of a down note for those hoping for a ‘plateau’

David Madani, a bearish economist at Capital Economics, reiterated his forecast Monday that house prices will fall 25 per cent in the next year or two. “The first sign of trouble at the peak of the U.S. housing bubble was that home sales began to drop in 2005, well before house prices began to fall in 2006,” he wrote in a research note.

Read the full article at the Globe and Mail.

Will this be a better week for sellers?

Good monday to you all!

As we head into another week it will be interesting to see if the current dismal sales trend holds.

VHB puts it into perspective:

If we get another week like last week, we will be on pace for sub-2008 September sales. Pause and think about that. In the middle of the biggest financial crisis in 75 years, more houses were sold than now. Wow.

Wow indeed.

So let’s look short term – what do you think?  Will this week reverse the trend that kicked off the month or are we going to see more of the same?