Here is a great snapshot of what happened in 2016.  What a year in Vancouver Real Estate!

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Well it is now 2017 and looking back it is safe to say that 2016 was arguably the wildest year in the history of real estate in Vancouver.  Record price jumps, daily price increments and government regulation have been a few factors that contributed to the wild year that we just saw.  Here is a month to month breakdown of how the year in Vancouver looked.

 

January


As always January real estate news is based on looking back at the previous year.  The value of Vancouver residential home prices increased by 16.9%.  This recorded as the fourth highest increase in BC history.  West Van was the biggest increase at 17.9 per cent.  Royal Lepage predicted a 9 per cent increase going into the year.

 

February


This was the first month that we saw the lovely term "Shadow Flipping".  The Globe and Mail coined the term and people stuck to it.  It refers to agents assigning contracts multiple times before completion.  The government jumped on this and in the following months tackled the issue.

 

On February 15th the government increased the minimum down payment for all homes after $500,000.  This was not taken nicely by those struggling to save up for a down payment.

 

March


The government decided to tackle the "shadow flipping" issue.  They implemented provincial policy to limit the profit of assigning contracts.  This came with a variety of feedback but overall a positive feeling moving forward for most in the industry.

 

The Spring market was very hot and March proved to be the busiest month of the year in terms of the number of sales, and the busiest month to date in Vancouver.

A home vacancy report showed that there were 10,800 vacant homes which represented less than 5 per cent of the homes in Vancouver.  Gregor Robertson found this to be too many (See June).

 

April


The city of Vancouver approved it's plan to provide 300 below market homes to eligible candidates.

 

May


A variety of media outlets came out and said that there would be a mass exodus of millennials from Vancouver if the prices continued to soar.

 

June


Christy Clark took away the Real Estate Boards ability to self regulate.  This came on the heels of the shadow flipping issue.  She stated that the Real Estate Board would be governed  by a new superintendent.

 

July


Arguably the biggest news of the year came at the end of July when the government imposed the foreign buyer tax.  This tax amounted to a 15% tax on home purchases for all non residents of Canada.  The deadline was August 2nd, which caused a serious rush for those looking to close before the deadline.

 

August


This month all we heard about was the foreign buyer tax.  Deals collapsed, agents scrambled for their clients and the collateral effect was felt throughout the city.  The media jumped all over the news and we saw several lawsuits getting started.

 

Stats showed that sales were WAY down, over 63 per cent year over year, however this did not account for the sales that were pushed up to beat the August 2nd deadline.

 

September


A class-action lawsuit was launched on September 19th against the government for damages incurred by those affected by the foreign buyer tax.

 

Stats were much less dreary now as they were in early August.

 

October

 

Another shake up!  The Canadian government implemented new mortgage rules for those with less than 20% down.  A new stress test was mandatory for qualifying for an insured mortgage.  Buyers would now need to qualify at a much higher rate (more than 2% higher).  This caused more outrage from first time buyers as many were now pushed out of the market.

 

November


To make the year even more memorable, the US elected Donald Trump to be their President.  The day after the election we saw 3 times the amount of searches coming from US citizens looking to relocate to Canada.

 

It was reported by the Urban Development Institute that new home sales had dropped at the same rate as resale sales.

December

 

A 3.9 per cent hike in Vancouver property tax was implemented with 0.5 per cent going towards combating the fentanyl issue that grew in Vancouver.  Home owners are now on the hook for the new increase.

Christy Clark also came forward with a new loan program for first time buyers.  The program will help first time buyers come up with their downpayment as the government will loan up to 5 per cent of the property price as an interest free loan for 5 years.

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Summer is a time of weddings, bbq's, trips, time outdoors, patio pops and overall fun times.  Summer is definitely my favourite time of the year and I love being outside in Vancouver and enjoying everything that this city has to offer.  With that being said it seems our media coverage has been more about new real estate rules than anything.  I am going to take a minute to touch base on one of the main topics that we have seen in the recent weeks in Vancouver.  


As most of you have probably heard the government has made some changes in an attempt to cool off demand in the Vancouver housing market.  They have implemented a 15% tax on all foreign buyers which was active as of August 2nd.  They also do not appear to be grandfathering any of the contracts that were written prior to August 2nd.  What this means is that if a foreigner agreed to purchase a property prior to August 2nd and the completion date was after August 2nd then they are now going to be facing an additional 15% on top of all other fees that were in there previous agreement.  This is causing all sorts of emotions from buyers, sellers, renters and agents.   There are reports that are showing a variety of opinions.  From my conversations most people are shocked and disappointed in the government for not taking into account those with pre-existing contracts but understand and have accepted the new tax moving forward.  Most people think buyers will find loopholes and that we won't see much of a shift.  

What have I seen?  Well I agree with those that are disappointed that previous contracts are not being held to the same tax laws as when they were agreed upon.  It has impacted a few of my clients and it really doesn't seem like a "Canadian" way of doing business.  Only time will tell what this tax will do to the economy and the real estate market.  In the past week I have seen more deals collapse due to uncertainty than I have seen in the last year.  I don't expect this to continue, but I don't blame buyers who have become nervous when the government enacted a significant tax at a moments notice. 

We hear the term "affordable housing" almost daily in the news.  What price point constitutes "affordable housing"?  Is a 15% tax going to bring Westside homes down enough in value to make them "affordable"?  The average house on the Westside sold for over $3.5 Million in June.  For this number to become affordable to most 9-5 workers in Vancouver we will need to experience a full blown recession.  I am not convinced that a 15% tax on foreign buyers will do this, but again... time will tell.

One thing that I am seeing are buyers looking to assign their pre-sale contracts before completion as they are wanting to get out of this tax burden.  If you are looking to pick up an investment property this could be a new alternative for local buyers.

Here is a great article breaking down the new tax:

http://www.rew.ca/news/real-estate-deals-collapse-as-foreign-buyer-tax-takes-effect-local-agents-1.2314546

 

Overall I expect August to show lower than average stats.  I expect the tax to cause buyers and sellers to put a slight pause on their plans to see how things shake out.  I don't expect a massive fallout in prices but the media will point to changes in the market which will add to the uncertainty.  Only time will tell how this all plays out...

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Most of you will find in your mailbox your 2015 BC Assessments.  If you have not yet received it and are curious about what your assessment will look like you can look it up at the following link:

 

http://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca

 

Just enter your address and it will populate your tax assessment for 2015.

 

What does this value mean?  Well in Vancouver and surrounding areas it means that this is the value that will be used to calculate your property tax for 2016.  Aside from that it doesn’t say much.  In other areas around the province this number reflects market value and is a pretty good indication of what a home will sell for.  In the Lower Mainland however we have such a lack of supply that this number is becoming more and more useless.  Not to mention that this evaluation was calculated in July 2015.  In this market a lot changes over 6 months!

 

As far as property tax goes keep in mind that you may be eligible for a home owner grant to reduce the tax that is actually due.  

 

For more information or for a more accurate market value of your home or condo don’t hesitate to give me a call.


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Government of Canada Takes Action to Maintain a Healthy, Competitive and Stable Housing Market
December 11, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance


Finance Minister Bill Morneau today announced changes to the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance to contain risks in the housing market, reduce taxpayer exposure and support long-term stability. Effective February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from 5 per cent to 10 per cent for the portion of the house price above $500,000. The 5 per cent minimum down payment for properties up to $500,000 remains unchanged.

 

For example: 

Purchase price of $700,000

5% down payment on first $500,000 = $25,000

10% down payment on excess $200,000 = $20,000

 

Total minimum down payment required = $45,000

LTV of 93.57%

 

Canadians who already own a home will NOT be affected.

 

The Government continuously monitors the housing market and is committed to implementing policy measures that maintain a healthy, competitive and stable housing market. Higher homeowner equity plays a key role in maintaining a stable and secure housing market.

In making this announcement, Minister Morneau also highlighted the increases in guarantee fees for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)-sponsored securitization programs, announced today by CMHC. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has also announced today its plans to update regulatory capital requirements for residential mortgages to ensure that capital requirements keep pace with market developments and risks. Taken together, today’s actions will strengthen the resiliency of Canada’s housing finance system to promote long-term stability and balanced economic growth.

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Investor clients are now looking for ways to maximize their rental return and one of the more popular ways to do that is through sites like VRBO and Airbnb.  The issue with these short term rental options are that stratas are starting to shut them down, or fine home owners who they find to be using them.  Buildings such as the Woodwards building are fining short term rental owners $200 for each infraction that they catch.  With this being said if you were to look on Airbnb you would quickly realize that there are still numerous options in the building.  

 

Acting on behalf of investors I try to find ways around this or at least educate my clients that this may not be a long term plan.  What I find is that you can often get away with short term rentals in the first few years of a building or if you have your own front door, such as a townhome or ground floor unit.  It becomes more difficult as the stratas get in place and complaints start to happen.  There are a few buildings in Vancouver that are known to be more lenient on short term rentals and we can look at those as well.  

 

One area that is extremely profitable in this market is Olympic Village.  With huge nightly rental rates, proximity to the sky train and downtown, and a variety of new buildings I see this as a great place to try your luck at short term rentals.  With that being said, be prepared that you may get shut down and need to convert to either a 3 or 6 month rental period.  

 

Good luck fellow investors and happy hunting!

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Metro Vancouver home buyers push October sales above long-term averages


Home buyers remain active across Metro Vancouver despite a reduced supply of homes for sale.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in *Metro Vancouver reached 3,646 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2015. This represents a 19.3 per cent increase compared to the 3,057 sales recorded in October 2014, and a 9 per cent increase compared to the 3,345 sales in September 2015.
Last month’s sales were 36.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.
“Home sales are more than one-third above what’s typical for this time of year yet the supply of homes for sale is the lowest we’ve seen in five years,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “This activity has created favourable market conditions for anyone considering selling their home today.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,126 in October. This represents an 8 per cent decline compared to the 4,487 new listings reported in October 2014.
The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 9,569, a 30 per cent decline compared to October 2014 and an 11.4 per cent decline compared to September 2015.
This is the lowest active listing total in Metro Vancouver since December 2010.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $736,000. This represents a 15.3 per cent increase compared to October 2014.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio in October was 38.1 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular community for a sustained period of time.
Sales of detached properties in October 2015 reached 1,437, an increase of 13.1 per cent from the 1,271 detached sales recorded in October 2014, and a 34.7 per cent increase from the 1,067 units sold in October 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 20.1 per cent from October 2014 to $1,197,600.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,543 in October 2015, an increase of 21.7 per cent compared to the 1,268 sales in October 2014, and an increase of 40.5 per cent compared to the 1,098 sales in October 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 11.4 per cent from October 2014 to $425,800.
Attached property sales in October 2015 totalled 666, an increase of 28.6 per cent compared to the 518 sales in October 2014, and a 34.3 per cent increase from the 496 attached properties sold in October 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 9.3 per cent between October 2014 and 2015 to $526,700.

 

 

For full stats package click here

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The Spot on 12th and Cambie has been one of the most popular developments in Vancouver of 2015.  With only 5 homes remaining, this East facing 2 bedroom has some great features.  Listed at $779,900.  Give me a call at 604-363-7858 for further information.

 

 

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The Jervis, is the newest project to come to the coveted West End, blocks from English Bay.  The developer, Intracorp has developed this 19-storey tower to maximize views, space and elegance.  With only 4 homes on each floor, every home is a corner unit with maximized views.  58 homes in total this development will be very private.  They have promised the highest of end finishes including over-height ceilings, large covered patios, marble tiled bathrooms, integrated high end italian cabinetry and best cooking technology available.  Private appointments are starting soon.  Give me a call if you would like to get a VIP preview.

 

604-373-7858

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Between January 1 and July 31 of this year, 572 properties sold for over $3 million, compared to 319 during the same period in 2014 – an increase of 79 per cent.  The increase of sales at the top-end of the luxury market can be attributed to two factors. The first factor is overall price appreciation in the Vancouver market, driven by low inventory and high demand for single-family homes. This has led to more homes meeting the higher dollar threshold. The second is very high demand for luxury homes from foreign buyers.

 

Foreign buyers, primarily from China, tend to be families looking to live in Vancouver, viewing Canada as an economically and socially stable country in which to invest their money and raise a family. Their home-buying decisions are strongly influenced by proximity to good schools, and newly-built houses with top-quality finishes are in highest demand. With the luxury market increasingly geared toward Chinese buyers, some agents have begun offering additional services to help these buyers settle in their new city, such as helping to secure insurance or purchase a car.

Home-buying decisions are strongly influenced by proximity to good schools, and newly-built houses with top-quality finishes are in highest demand.


Luxury buyers moving within Vancouver are a smaller segment of the market. These buyers tend to have lived in their previous home for several years and, having built up significant equity, are moving up, downsizing or moving laterally, depending on their individual circumstances.

 

The luxury condo market attracts a more diverse range of buyers, including downsizers, younger couples and foreign buyers. While there is a good supply of inventory in the lower end of Vancouver’s condo market, demand is high for luxury units. For example, units in Trump Tower, priced at $4 to $5 million, quickly sold out when they came on the market.


A trend reported in Vancouver’s high-end housing market is an increase in buyers bypassing the MLS system and, through agents, making offers directly to homeowners. Unlike for sale by owner (FSBO) sales, sellers in these transactions are putting their trust in experienced agents to ensure they are getting the best possible price for their homes. 

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Just recently CMHC came out and said that they are changing their rules.  They announced that they will allow 100% of rental income from a LEGAL secondary suite (Basement suite, coach home, duplex) to be used towards qualifying for a new mortgage.  Up until this point CMHC only accepted 50% of the rental income.  The move was done to help create more affordable housing options for Canadians.  Wh

at is likely to come fro

m this are new construction builds containing legal suites and past owners turning their illegal suites into legal suites before selling. This change will take place as of September 28, 2015.

Curious what rules are needed to qualify?  Take a look:

 

•The property must be owner-occupied.

•The property being insured can have only two units (i.e., a duplex or a single home with a legal secondary suite). 

•Rental income cannot be used if the suite is “illegal/non-conforming” but “legal non-conforming” is okay. (Non-conforming means that the suite was grandfathered in before zoning/regulations restricted such units. You can check with the city to confirm if a suite is legal.)

•The suite must be self-contained with its own entrance.

•Property taxes and heat must be factored into the borrower’s debt ratios (which

is currently not the case when using rent from legal secondary suites).

•For existing units, there must be two-year history of rental income from the suite. The maximum rental income allowed for qualification is a two-year average of the unit’s rent.

•For new units, a market rent appraisal can be accepted if an appropriate vacancy rate has been applied to the estimated rental income.

•Mortgage applicants must “demonstrate a strong history of managing credit” with a minimum credit score of 680.

 


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KITSILANO

 

 

DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER

 

 

MOUNT PLEASANT

 

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I have always had a soft spot for a nicely renovated Vancouver Specials, partly because they are very effective layouts but also because they have the charm and grit of Vancouver 30 years ago.  Growing up in the city I spent a lot of time playing in them, running through them and seeing them on a daily basis.  Seeing them maintained nowadays is truly something special for me. 


This one that just hit the market checks most boxes.  Nicely finished.  Check.  Spacious.  Check. Huge patio.  Check.  Quiet street.  Check.  Spacious mortgage helper…. check check and check! 


If you would like to be informed when the next home like this hits the market just send me a quick email to casey@caseyarchibald.com with your own checklist!

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Metro Vancouver home sales set record pace in June

Last month was the highest selling June, and the second highest overall monthly total, on record for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The REBGV reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver* reached 4,375 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in June 2015. This represents a 28.4 per cent increase compared to the 3,406 sales recorded in June 2014, and an increase of 7.9 per cent compared to the 4,056 sales in May 2015.

Last month’s sales were 29.1 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month. It’s the fourth straight month with over 4,000 sales, which is a first in the REBGV’s history. The previous highest number of residential home sales was 4,434, recorded in May 2005.

“Demand in our detached home market continues to drive activity across Metro Vancouver,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “There were more detached home sales in the region last month than we’ve seen during the month of June in more than 10 years.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $694,000. This represents a 10.3 per cent increase compared to June 2014.

“Housing market activity comes in cycles; we're in an up cycle right now that looks similar to the mid-2000s,” McLeod said. “It would be easy to point to one factor that's causing this cycle, but the truth is that it's a number of different factors.

"Conditions today are being driven by low interest rates, a declining supply of detached homes, a growing population, a provincial economy that's outperforming the rest of Canada, pent-up demand from previous years and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that we live in a highly desirable region," McLeod said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,803 in June. This represents an 8.7 per cent increase compared to the 5,339 new listings reported in June 2014.

"We’re seeing a steady stream of new listings entering the market, but the overall number of homes for sale is not keeping up with buyer demand," McLeod said.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the region’s MLS® is 12,181, a 23.9 per cent decline compared to June 2014 and a 1.3 per cent decline compared to May 2015. This is the lowest active listing total for June since 2006.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in June was 35.9 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since June 2006. A seller’s market typically occurs when this ratio exceeds 20 per cent for a sustained period of time.

“The competition in today’s market means that buyers have less time to make decisions,” McLeod said. “Given this, it’s important to work with your REALTOR® to gain insight into the local market, to get quick access to new MLS® listings, to develop a buying strategy that meets your needs and risk appetite, and to receive other services and protections that come from having professional representation.”

Sales of detached properties in June 2015 reached 1,920, an increase of 31.3 per cent from the 1,462 detached sales recorded in June 2014, and a 74.2 per cent increase from the 1,102 units sold in June 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 14.8 per cent from June 2014 to $1,123,900.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,774 in June 2015, an increase of 35.6 per cent compared to the 1,308 sales in June 2014, and an increase of 66.1 per cent compared to the 1,068 sales in June 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 5.3 per cent from June 2014 to $400,200.

Attached property sales in June 2015 totalled 681, an increase of 7.1 per cent compared to the 636 sales in June 2014, and a 44.3 per cent increase from the 472 attached properties sold in June 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 7.1 per cent between June 2014 and 2015 to $506,900.

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Vancouver breaks up property tax into two payments a year.  The first payment being due on the second business day in February and the second payment being due on the second business day in July.  This year landing on Friday July 3rd!

 

Property taxes are one of the cities most lucrative income streams for the province.  Although as a home owner we cringe when it comes time to pay property tax this money does go to help build our communities and maintain our city.  

 

Don't forget to apply for the home owners grant if applicable.  These grants are applicable for homes under $1,214,000 for the basic grant and $1,269,000 for the advanced grant.  For more information on your home owner grant see City of Vancouver website : http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/home-owner-grant.aspx

 

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3431 Panorama Ridge, Whistler BC: 

 

8000 square feet
6 Bedrooms 7 bathrooms
Roof top deck
Infinity Pool and hot tub
Elevator and private road

10 minute walk to the Village
1.16 Acre Estate Lot
Floor to ceiling windows
Hiking trails out your back door
Finishings could be customized to your own taste


Contact me for more details: 604-363-7858

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In the heart of Gastown, this cute corner unit studio at the VAN HORNE is a great opportunity for an investor or first time buyer.  Brand new laminate flooring throughout and upgraded stainless steel appliances. Move in ready or easy to rent out. Secure underground parking. Steps away from historic China Town, close to fabulous restaurants, boutiques and cafes right outside your door. Pets and rentals welcome. 604-363-7858

 

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Metro Vancouver home sales surpass 4,000 for third consecutive month

It continues to be a competitive spring market for Metro Vancouver home buyers. This competition continues to put upward pressure on home prices, particularly in the detached home market.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 4,056 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May 2015. This represents a 23.4 per cent increase compared to the 3,286 sales recorded in May 2014, and a decrease of 2.9 per cent compared to the 4,179 sales in April 2015.

 

Last month’s sales were 16.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“We continue to see strong competition for homes that are priced right for today’s market,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “It’s important to remember that real estate is hyper local, particularly in a seller’s market. This means that conditions and prices vary depending on property type, neighbourhood, and other factors."

 

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,641 in May. This represents a 5 per cent decrease compared to the 5,936 new listings reported in May 2014.

 

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the region’s MLS® is 12,336, a 23.2 per cent decline compared to May 2014 and a 0.8 per cent decline compared to April 2015.

 

“While the supply of homes for sale remains below what’s typical for this time of year, our region continues to offer a diverse selection of housing options at different price points,” McLeod said. “This diversity within the housing stock is part of what’s driving today’s home sale activity.”

 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $684,400. This represents a 9.4 per cent increase compared to May 2014.

 

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in May was 32.9 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since June 2007.  Sales of detached properties in May 2015 reached 1,723, an increase of 18.6 per cent from the 1,453 detached sales recorded in May 2014, and a 42.2 per cent increase from the 1,212 units sold in May 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 14.1 per cent from May 2014 to $1,104,900.

 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,600 in May 2015, an increase of 24.4 per cent compared to the 1,286 sales in May 2014, and an increase of 40.8 per cent compared to the 1,136 sales in May 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.6 per cent from May 2014 to $396,900.

 

Attached property sales in May 2015 totalled 733, an increase of 34 per cent compared to the 547 sales in May 2014, and a 37.3 per cent increase from the 534 attached properties sold in May 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6.4 per cent between May 2014 and 2015 to $501,000.

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