Category: real estate

Vancouver real estate in review – 2013

Vancouver Real Estate Review – 2013

Vancouver Real EstateThe Greater Vancouver housing market maintained a consistent balance between demand and supply throughout 2013.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2013 reached 28,524, a 14 per cent increase from the 25,032 sales recorded in 2012, and an 11.9 per cent decrease from the 32,390 residential sales in 2011.

“Home sales quietly improved last year compared to 2012, although the volume of activity didn’t compare to some of the record-breaking years we experienced over the last decade,” Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said.

Last year’s home sale total ranks as the third lowest annual total for the region in the last ten years, according to the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver declined 6.2 per cent in 2013 to 54,742 compared to the 58,379 properties listed in 2012. Looking back further, last year’s total represents an 8.1 per cent decline compared to the 59,539 residential properties listed for sale in 2011. Last year’s listing count is on par with the 10 year average.

“It was a year of stability for the Greater Vancouver housing market,” Wyant, said. “Balanced conditions allowed home prices in the region to remain steady, with just a modest increase over the last 12 months.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $603,400. This represents a 2.1 per cent increase compared to December 2012.

December summary

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,953 in December 2013, an increase of 71 per cent from the 1,142 sales recorded in December 2012 and a 15.9 per cent decline compared to November 2013 when 2,321 home sales occurred.

December sales were 8.1 per cent above the 10-year December sales average of 1,807.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,856 in December 2013. This represents a 34.5 per cent increase compared to the 1,380 units listed in December 2012 and a 42.8 per cent decline compared to November 2013 when 3,245 properties were listed.

Sales of detached properties in December 2013 reached 762, an increase of 79.3 per cent from the 425 detached sales recorded in December 2012, and a 21 per cent increase from the 630 units sold in December 2011. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 2.5 per cent from December 2012 to $927,000.

Sales of apartment properties reached 850 in December 2013, an increase of 68.7 per cent compared to the 504 sales in December 2012, and an increase of 9.8 per cent compared to the 774 sales in December 2011.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.8 per cent from December 2012 to $367,800.

Attached property sales in December 2013 totalled 341, an increase of 60.1 per cent compared to the 213 sales in December 2012, and a 34.3 per cent increase from the 254 attached properties sold in December 2011. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 1.2 per cent between December 2012 and 2013 to $456,100.

Five questions to ask yourself before you rent or buy

Rent or buy a home?I met with a new arrival in Vancouver this week and one of the things we discussed was the whole issue of whether it is better to rent or buy.

I strongly believe that there is no single answer to this question as so much is down to your personal circumstances. So instead, here’s some questions to ask yourself that will help you make this decision for yourself.

1. Can I get financing?

This is the first question for a reason. If the answer is NO, then there’s no need to even think about any of the other questions!

Financing is available when you first arrive in Canada, despite your not having a credit rating here, IF you have enough money to put down on the property. That is generally 35% or more. And that can be a large chunk of change.

If you are newly arrived and have a job already, then your financing may be available with a smaller down payment. You will need to have passed your probation in your job.

My advice is to contact a mortgage broker (like ours: Keith Baker) because then you will have access to a wide range of financial institutions. There’s no charge for this and you’ll get advice that’s specific to you.

2. Do I know where I want to live?

This is a pretty basic question and one that every immigrant should ask quite carefully. Let’s face it there’s no point in buying a lovely home in an area that you sooner or later find is not one that suits you.

If you’ve done really good research and been over here enough to know what area is right for you, then buying is worth considering.

If not, then you’re probably still in the research phase of your move – even if you’ve landed. Now’s the time to rent for a while and check out whether what you think is the right area is really so in practice.

3. How long am I going to be here?

Real estate is a long term investment especially when it is your family home. If you aren’t sure how long you will be in the area, then renting might be better for you. Buying and then selling within a short time can be ok, but only when the market is active and moving up. When it is slow or the prices are going down then you might lose out.

4. What about schools?

Getting your child into a specific school can be a factor. Most schools have catchment areas and your challenge might be in finding a rental property in the right area for the school you want. And once you’ve found one there’s a possibility that your lease will not be renewed at the end of the year and you’ll be looking for another suitable place.

Buying somewhere to be in the right catchment area is a familiar tactic all over the world. In Canada it happens too. You would need to be certain that you want the school and are prepared to live in the area for the time your child is in that school. If so then buying is for you.

5. How do I feel about renting?

So far, if you’ve been following along, you’ve been asking practical questions. This one is all about your own thinking and gut feeling about renting or buying.

Some people just object to renting at all. They’re the ones who see rent as “dead money” or talk about “paying someone else’s mortgage”. Depending on how strongly you agree with this, you might be buying even if some of the other practical factors suggest renting is better.

Another psychological factor that often plays is “wanting to get settled”. Immigrating is a stressful process and for most of us, we are in limbo whilst waiting for the visas to come and the move to happen. That leads to a feeling of being unsettled that is uncomfortable. Buying a home and finally unpacking all your belongings is very appealing.

On the other hand, you might be someone who is happy to have no mortgage and to be flexible enough to move around. Perhaps coming to Canada was your chance to be freer and you wanted to move around and explore the country. Renting is for you! (Or maybe an RV?)

Five tips for securing a rental

If you’re in B.C. and looking for a rental, here are my tips.

Signs on the street 1. Check out all the places rentals may be advertised.

There’s definitely been a move to online advertising so you should check them out first. (See my list of agents and internet sites as a starting point.)

Remember the local papers, particularly the free ones that are delivered in the areas you’re targeting. Older landlords and those willing to pay to advertise will still be using the printed press.

Walk the streets in areas that you particularly like and look out for the rental signs. In my area, for instance, there are definitely signs that appear from time to time.

2. Be quick to respond

Being first in to see a property is the best way to find somewhere. If you’ve not yet started work then use your availability to your advantage.

3. Be prepared

Landlords want good tenants who will treat their place well and pay their rent. Be prepared to satisfy them on all counts. That means having references available should they ask. If your references are from out of country then it can help to have copies of letters from previous landlords, employers or character references.

If at all possible find someone locally who can vouch for you. If you do have a job then confirmation of the job offer will be useful.

4. Be decisive

There’s a fair amount of competition for good rentals, so be prepared to make a quick decision. I have seen people lose out simply by taking too long to make a decision, or by holding out for something better.

5. Negotiate

This might not always be possible, but there are times when you can negotiate a drop in the rent. Use whatever factors you can to make your case. For example if you’re willing to sign a longer lease (over the standard one year) then use that. But you must be sure that you can stay for the term agreed.

If there’s something you don’t like about the property then see if you can get it fixed before you move in or get something off the rent. You can even use factors that aren’t really problems to you. For example if it has one parking place, you could say you’d ideally like two places and see if you can be compensated for only having one!

Okanagan real estate report for January 2013

Kelowna, BC – The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported January 2013 sales activity of all MLS® property types is down over the same month last year but showed an improvement over December.

Last year, the housing market remained fairly stable for the Okanagan-Shuswap with a good build-up in sales in many segments for most of the year and only losing strength during the closing two months. This slowdown carried over into January which is typically not a strong month, and can be partially attributed to the dreary winter weather that keeps people indoors.

Board-wide, overall sales for the month were down 5% compared to last year at this time. Sales of all property types dropped by 32% in the North Okanagan and 3% in the Shuswap, but the Central Okanagan showed a 4% improvement over January 2012.

During January, the Central Okanagan showed the greatest strength with a 16% bump in townhouse sales and 5% rise in the sale of single family residential homes. While the Shuswap saw a 5% dip in single family sales, the North Okanagan took a hit this month with a 40% decline in this segment.

While we expect sluggish sales will likely continue in February, we are cautiously optimistic that the second quarter of 2013 will see an improvement in our housing market. Signs of renewed buyer interest are already evident as open house traffic and calls for showings are on the rise.

People who need to make a move to satisfy lifestyle changes can’t afford to continue with a wait-and-see approach indefinitely and will finally get off the fence. Serious buyers could be waiting for the much anticipated transition from HST to PST/GST on April 1st, and will proceed with purchases this Spring while there is still an attractive selection of properties to choose from and low interest rates are ongoing.

Active listings are trending downward as fewer new listings are being taken, and sales are picking up with the level of demand. While there is no longer an oversupply of inventory, days on the market are up with listings taking 150 days on average Board-wide to sell, so it is important for sellers to be patient and note that they may need to list their properties for six months rather than three.

Victoria’s real estate prices hold despite slow sales

VICTORIA BC – A slow start to the year in Victoria’s real estate market is evidence that buyers are continuing to wait for prices to drop. Although January 2013 sales are 21% lower than January 2012, the six-month average price for a Greater Victoria home is only down 1% for the same period.

“We are realistic and sales are not what we would like to see,” says Shelley Mann, President of Victoria Real Estate Board. “But there are many stories within the market. This week, three houses sold in Sidney that were all newly listed and they sold for over asking price.”

Mann adds that she’s spoken to several local REALTORS® who have clients who want to buy, but they are looking for good houses with quality amenities. “One Member told me that he has several potential buyers, but they can’t find anything they like.”

In January, 294 properties sold, compared to 372 in January 2012. The median price of a single family home is $482,500 compared to $522,000, a decline of 7.6.%. The six-month average shows a 1.4% decline, year-over-year, but less than one percent over last month.

“My basic message is that sales are down, prices are flat and our provincial economist is predicting 2013 will be a transition year,” Mann says. “He believes the economic fundamentals are strong, and as a result the sales volume will increase 4% this year over 2012, but prices will remain flat.”

Current active listings are 3,870. There were 81 condominium sales in January, a 24.6% increase over December 2012, while the median price of $238,350 is down 12.1% year-over-year. Townhouses saw increased sales in the past month and a median price of $382,000, up 4.7% year-over-year.

Total Waterfront Single Family Dwellings sold: 9, up 5 over January 2012
Total Non-waterfront Single Family Dwellings sold:144, down 43 sales from January 2012
Single Family Dwellings sold over $1 million: 3 (1 over $2 million)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...