Interest rates; certainly a big topic of conversation as we saw policy changes throughout the country in 2018. Ever since the benchmark interest rate was increased by the Bank Of Canada, economists, policy-makers, bankers, and realtors have been warning Canadians to expect more increases as we progressed through the year. It was forecasted that there would be as many as three more hikes by the end of 2019.
But with current market conditions, prices of oil plummeting, and talk of a recession in the states, the outlook has quickly changed. At present, there is not a single hike priced for 2019. In fact, the bank has downgraded its expectations for the Canadian economy this year. Stephen Brown at Capital Economics predicts the slump in the worlds price of oil could be enough to take the wind out of Canada’s economic sails, slowing GDP growth to just 1.5 per cent this year. This is well below the two per cent growth the Bank of Canada was forecasting as of October when it nudged its rate up to where it is now at 1.75%. If the oil and housing markets continue to drag growth, increased interest rates are very unlikely, and the odds of rate cuts will rise in the coming quarters.
The market in the Greater Vancouver area is nothing short of a roller coaster ride. As an industry professional, we have to stay on top of micro and macroeconomics to ensure we are providing our clients with the best advise possible. Be sure to follow along via our blog and subscribe to our monthly market analysis reports to ensure that you stay on top of the current market trends.
With pricing adjusting across most segments in the greater Vancouver area, housing is becoming more affordable. Although buyer stress tests decrease purchasing power, it is important to link up with an experienced and knowledgeable mortgage advisor and realtor to help you navigate this complex market. Make sure that you shop the rates and do your research!
It is now more important than ever to ensure that you have an effective sales strategy in place to ensure your property is well advertised to receive top dollar. An effective online presence that makes your property stand out amongst the competition is imperative as we head into these difficult financial times. We are now technically in a buyers market, so being a savvy seller and having someone to educate you on current market trends is critical.
2018 Real Estate Review
Firstly, Happy New Year! 2018 was certainly a year of change for the Vancouver Real Estate market. Changes with financial terms and lending restrictions to new taxes implemented, and a shift in pricing and volume, I feel as though it has left the public perplexed. In order to help make sense of the last year, here is a quarterly summary of what the 2018 real estate market looked like.
At the beginning of the year, we saw many regulations and tax changes, which greatly affected sale prices and volume. By the second quarter, sellers were still hanging onto the record prices that we saw in late 2017, not quite ready to adjust when the market changed. This led to longer days on the market and fewer sales. Properties that were priced sharply still saw multiple offers, but those priced on the high end were virtually at a standstill. Buyer mentality changed as well as inventory began to build throughout the year, with purchasers hoping to get properties at a discount. By the final quarter, sales were down about 42.5%, while the total number of homes listed were up 42.1% compared to the same time in 2017. Home sales across Metro Vancouver in 2018 were the lowest annual total in the region since 2000.
So overall, what does this mean? Well, it is a great time for buyers to move up in the market and for first-time buyers to finally get in. Although times have certainly changed, there is an incredible opportunity for investment and advancement, you just need to play the right cards. If you're thinking of selling and wondering what your home is worth in today's market, please give me a call. BC assessments were released, however, tax assessed value doesn't necessarily mean market value.
- At the beginning of the year, the government increased the foreign buyer tax to 20% from 15%
- The province also implemented a new speculation tax on residential properties, targeting foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay income tax in BC. This includes those who leave homes vacant
- The tax rate increased $5 per $1,000 of assessed value
- Property Transfer Tax on residential properties above $3 million increased to five per cent from three per cent
- 29.7% decrease in sales comparing March 2017 to March 2018
- 14% increase in sales compared to February 2018
- Benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $1,092,000. This represents a 14.3% increase over April 2017 and a 0.7% increase compared to March 2018
- Sellers were hanging onto the record prices that we saw in late 2017, not quite ready to reduce. This led to longer days on the market and fewer sales.
- July 2018 had 30% fewer sales than July 2017
- July 2018 had the fewest number of sales in any July since 2000
- By August, sales were 25% below the 10 year August average
- In September, sales were 46% below the 10-year average and 44% less than last September
- Prices are still up nearly 7% since a year ago, but they are down from the second quarter
- At the beginning of the quarter, sales were 26.8% below the 10-year October sales average
- Home listings at four-year October high as sales remain below typical levels
- The total number of homes listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,984, a 42.1%increase compared to October 2017
- By November, sales had decreased by 42.5% compared to November 2017, with an 18.2% decrease compared to October 2018
- Last month’s sales were 34.7% below the 10-year November sales average and were the lowest sales for the month since 2008
The number 1 question I get once I inform people that I am a realtor is “how is the market”?
Well, my answer is usually long-winded and accompanied by speculation from other parties, which I always welcome. Here, I will try to use statistics collected from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, information gathered from some of the top mortgage agents in the city, and Re/Max Crest Realty data to break down where we are headed in this crazy housing market.
This year, we have certainly seen the market slow down. We are in a period of correction, where the times of multiple bidding wars, subject free offers, and property values increasing by 40-50 percent are seemingly behind us. Buyers are able to take a moment to breathe, to solidify their financing terms, and also ensure that the property is to their standard. When it comes to the largest investment most families will ultimately make, it should be staring down the barrel of a shot gun competing against 5 other families. It seems that the times of more educated, concise buying are upon us… for now.
What are housing prices doing?
Well it depends on the property type, each are experiencing different levels of change. Greater Vancouver continues to see strong activity in the townhome and condominium market. RE/MAX predicts that it will decrease by 3%, given the high supply and low absorption rates heading into the new year. However, we did see a 4% and 5% increase in the number of condos and townhomes sold in October comparative to last year. So it's up for now, but trending down. One thing we know for sure that 1 bedroom condos win the popularity contest. Given that the condo market attracts first time buyers and investors, it's no surprise that prices hold true.
But the greater question is, who will be most affected?
- Luxury homes
- Land value
- Busy streets or prominent negative features
- Condo’s under $1M
- Suburb condos under $700k
- Townhouses in Vancouver under $1.2M
- Suburb townhouses under $900K
- Houses under $1.6M
- In terms of cities, less expensive suburbs to Vancouver seem to be holding up well
- Pre-sales for new condo developments remain hot. We’re still seeing pricing at its peak and quick sell outs in this sector
- In particular, we’re referring to the more affordable price points in desirable locations with easy access to public transit
So.. what’s next?
New mortgage stress test and higher interest rates! Basically purchasing power has decreased as lending is getting tighter. This coupled with a 1% increase in interest rates will slow things down in the new year.