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Home sales down, listings up across Metro Vancouver

The Metro Vancouver housing market saw fewer home buyers and more home sellers in April.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,579 in April 2018, a 27.4 per cent decrease from the 3,553 sales recorded in April 2017, and a 2.5 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 2,517 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 22.5 per cent below the 10-year April sales average.

“Market conditions are changing. Home sales declined in our region last month to a 17-year April low and home sellers have become more active than we’ve seen in the past three years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “The mortgage requirements that the federal government implemented this year have, among other factors, diminished home buyers’ purchasing power and they’re being felt on the buyer side today.”

There were 5,820 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in April 2018. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,907 homes listed in April 2017 and a 30.8 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 4,450 homes were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,822, a 25.7 per cent increase compared to April 2017 (7,813) and a 17.2 per cent increase compared to March 2018 (8,380).

“Home buyers have more breathing room this spring. They have more selection to choose from and less demand to compete against,” Moore said.

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2018 is 26.3 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.1 per cent for detached homes, 36.1 per cent for townhomes, and 46.7 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,092,000. This represents a 14.3 per cent increase over April 2017 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to March 2018.

Sales of detached properties in April 2018 reached 807, a 33.4 per cent decrease from the 1,211 detached sales recorded in April 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,605,800. This represents a 5.1 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to March 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,308 in April 2018, a 24 per cent decrease from the 1,722 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $701,000. This represents a 23.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to March 2018.

Attached property sales in April 2018 totalled 464, a 25.2 per cent decrease compared to the 620 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $854,200. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to March 2018.

 

Source from REBGV

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The First Time Home Buyers' Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. To qualify for a full exemption, at the time the property is registered you must:


  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
  • have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time 
  • have never received a first time home buyers' exemption or refund

and the property must:

  • be located in B.C.
  • only be used as your principal residence
  • have a fair market value of:
    • $425,000 or less if registered on or before February 18, 2014, or
    • $475,000 or less if registered on or after February 19, 2014
  • be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller
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Vancouver introduces Empty Homes Tax framework as rental housing crisis persists

November 9 2016 Empty Homes Tax aims to boost long-term rentals as City faces lowest rental vacancy rate and highest rents in Canada; will be implemented for 2017 tax year if approved

"The City won’t sit on the sidelines while over 20,000 empty and under-occupied properties hold back homes for renters struggling to find an affordable and secure place to live,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. 

Empty room
 

Vancouver will have an Empty Homes Tax in place by effective January 1, 2017, with staff reporting on the Tax’s next steps to Council on Tuesday.

Targeting the known 10,800 year-round empty and roughly 10,000 more under-occupied homes in Vancouver, staff are recommending that all non-principal residences (except those qualifying for an exemption) which are unoccupied for six full months of the year or more will be subject to a 1%  Empty Homes Tax. Vacant residential land will also be subject to the Tax.

“Vancouver is in a rental housing crisis. The City won’t sit on the sidelines while over 20,000 empty and under-occupied properties hold back homes for renters struggling to find an affordable and secure place to live,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “In a rental housing crisis, it’s unacceptable for so much housing to be treated as a commodity when people are desperate for an affordable, secure place to live. Housing is for homes first, and as investments second.”

Who won't be subject to the tax

Most Vancouver homeowners, including snowbirds, will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax. Principal residences will not be charged the Empty Homes Tax, nor will properties that are rented long-term (with a tenancy agreement), or for at least 30 days in a row for a minimum of six months in aggregate over the course of a year. For example, a homeowner renting their investment property for six 30-day terms throughout the year will be exempt from the tax, even if those six 30-day terms are not consecutive. 

How the tax was determined

The 1% Empty Homes Tax rate was determined through consultation with industry experts and the public. Applying a 1% tax in addition to existing property tax aligns with current business property taxes, reinforcing the principle that housing used as a business will be taxed as such – particularly as Vancouver grapples with a housing affordability crisis.

Tax exemptions

Through public and stakeholder consultation, staff have confirmed exemptions for the Empty Homes Tax, including:

  • The property is undergoing major renovations, or is under construction or redevelopment (with permits).
  • The registered owner (or other occupier) is undergoing medical or supportive care.
  • The owner is deceased and grant of probate or administration is pending.
  • Ownership of the property changed during the previous year.
  • The property is subject to existing strata rental restrictions.
  • The registered owner uses the property for six months of the year for work purposes but claims principal residence elsewhere.
  • The property is under a court order prohibiting occupancy.
  • The property is limited to vehicle parking or the size, shape or inherent limitation such that a residential building cannot be constructed.

Consultation

Earlier this fall, Council approved the Empty Homes Tax framework with the goal of putting homes back into the long-term rental market. Over the last month, we have been consulting the public and stakeholders on the final details of the tax, collecting over 10,000 responses through Talk Vancouver, public open houses, and email correspondence.

Steps we have taken to tackle the housing crisis

Since 2012, we have enabled over 12,000 affordable homes. The Empty Homes Tax is the latest in a series of steps Council has taken to tackle Vancouver’s housing crisis, such as:

  • Directing staff to bring forward steps to regulate short-term rentals, like Airbnb, this fall
  • Pursuing modular housing on city-owned sites for temporary affordable housing
  • Offering 20 sites of City-owned land worth $250 million to senior governments to use for affordable housing
  • Calling for both a speculation tax and a luxury sales tax to create a more level playing field in the housing market
  • Increasing family home requirements in new housing projects to 35%
  • Providing four City-owned sites to enable Vancouver’s first Community Land Trust

 

Source from: City of Vancouver 

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Many, if not most, first-time buyers will experience a steep decline in housing affordability on October 17. New rules introduced by the Federal Government will cause the sharpest drop in the purchasing power of low equity home buyers in years. At a time when housing affordability is a critical issue, deliberately chopping millennials’ purchasing power by as much as 20 per cent will only exacerbate a well-known problem.

Under current rules, insured mortgages with variable rates and fixed terms under five years require home buyers to qualify at the five-year benchmark rate. However, if a borrower opts for a five-year or more fixed term, the borrower can qualify at his or her negotiated, discounted rate instead of the higher benchmark rate. This has long been a fixture of the Canadian mortgage market. As of October 17, 2016, ALL home buyers securing a high-ratio mortgage must qualify at the five-year benchmark rate, even if they have negotiated a lower five-year fixed term rate with their lender.

The low interest rate environment has benefited home buyers and sellers for many years, with all but the least credit-worthy borrowers negotiating a contract rate significantly lower than the benchmark rate. Now, even the most credit conscious households face a dramatic reduction in their purchasing power. For example:


  •   A family with an annual household income of $80,000 and a 5 per cent down payment will see their purchasing power fall from $505,000 to $405,000 (-$100,000).i

  •   An individual with an annual income of $60,000 and a 5 per cent down payment will experience a reduction of purchasing power from $380,000 to $305,000 (-$75,000).

  •   A household earning $120,000 per year and a 10 per cent down payment will see a reduction in purchasing power from $803,000 to $651,000 (-$152,000).

    We expect this policy to have the following impacts:

  1. Housing demand will slow as millennials, other first-time and early move-up buyers are squeezed out of the market.

  2. This reduction in demand may cause imbalances and declining prices across some product types in some communities. In addition, new home construction activity will lag along with related employment and economic growth.

  3. Pent-up demand will intensify, contributing to another cycle of rapidly rising prices in the future as financially retrenched millennials buy up an undersupplied housing stock.

Source from: Cameron Muir, Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson, Economist cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca; 604.742.2780 bogmundson@bcrea.bc.ca; 604.742.2796 

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Vancouver

In the Vancouver Westside, there were 62 sales of detached homes and 699 active listings at the end of September. The benchmark sale price was $3,624,300, with an average days on market of 31. The hottest market for sales was Dunbar with 12 sales.

In comparison, the condo market had 331 sales, 931 active listings and a benchmark sale price of $683,200 with 21 average days on market. The hottest market for sales was Downtown VW, 69 sales.

Townhome sales were 31, active listings were 113. The benchmark sale price was $1,116,300 with an average days on market of 17. Fairview VW with 10 sales was the hottest market in September.

It’s a buyer’s market for single family homes.

 

Source from Macrealty.com

 

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