Category: real estate

Vancouver real estate sales strengthen in March

A heritage style home
A heritage style home

This is my monthly look at the real estate market. Below is the official report from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

PROPERTY SALES STRENGTHEN IN CURRENT MARKET CYCLE

VANCOUVER, B.C. . April 2, 2009

Home sales in March 2009 returned to levels witnessed at the beginning of the decade, with 2,265 sales recorded across Metro Vancouver for the month, a 53 per cent increase over February but a 24.4 per cent decrease over March 2008, when 2,997 sales were recorded.

Since 1999, March sales have increased 31 per cent, on average, over the month of February. March 2009 marks the second consecutive month that sales have outperformed the ten-year average for this month-over-month comparison.

“There’s more confidence in the housing market today than we were seeing late last year. Sales activity is rising to more typical levels given the season, and the number of homes being listed for sale is levelling off”,. said Scott Russell, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

New residential listings on the MLS® declined 22 per cent in March 2009 to 4,385 compared to March 2008. This is the ! fth month in a row that new listings have decreased year-over-year and the third consecutive month where those declines exceeded 20 per cent.

Despite these trends, total active listings at the end of March 2009 had still reached 14,579, a 19 per cent increase compared to the end of March 2008.

“REALTORS® are seeing an increasing level of interest from first-time buyers who are attracted to low interest rates, good supply of housing, greater affordability, and a considerably lower overall cost of servicing a mortgage compared to recent years”,. Russell said.

Sales of detached properties in March 2009 declined 19.6 per cent to 897 from the 1,116 units sold during the same period in 2008. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties declined 15.1 per cent from March 2008 to $649,342.

Sales of apartment properties declined 28.8 per cent last month to 976, compared to the 1,370 sales in March 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 13.5 per cent from March 2008 to $337,099.

Attached property sales in March 2009 decreased 23.3 per cent to 392, compared with the 511 sales during the same month in 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit declined 11.2 per cent between March 2008 and 2009 to $420,563.

METRO VANCOUVER BENCHMARK

The Vancouver Real Estate Board publishes a benchmark that tracks the price of a benchmark property across the region. There are three categories:

  • DetachedThese are houses, sometimes called single family homes
  • AttachedThis refers to townhouses and half duplexes.
  • ApartmentsThis means apartments within high or low rise buildings.

I have set out the benchmark prices across the region, with the annual percentage price rises in brackets and 3 year percentage rise in square brackets.

The top percentage price rise over the year is shown in bold. I have also marked the biggest fall in red.

The story is still of price drops across the board, which is no surprise. In homes (detached) Port Moody did the worst and it’s fellow tri-city, Port Coquitlam did the best.

In attached properties (townhouses), Port Coquitlam also did best, with North Vancouver bringing up the rear.

And in apartments, we see the third tri-city, Coquitlam, make an entrance as the worst contender. Far away to the south, South Delta fared best of an admittedly sorry bunch.

However sorry is a relative word. Buyers looking at more affordable rates and falling prices are happier than they have been in a long time.

DETACHED BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Detached Greater Vancouver $649,342 (-15.1%), [3yr: 6.4%]
  • Burnaby $644,100 (-15.4%), [3yr: 5.8%]
  • Coquitlam $609,883 (-8.2%), [3yr: 15.1%]
  • South Delta $585,171 (-12.9%), [3yr: 5.6%]
  • Maple Ridge $400,949 (-12.6%), [3yr: 4.9%]
  • New Westminster $514,354 (-17.2%), [3yr: 3.9%]
  • North Vancouver $744,495 (-19.8%), [3yr: 0.5%]
  • Pitt Meadows $426,733 (-13%), [3yr: 7.7%]
  • Port Coquitlam $497,902 (-5.9%), [3yr: 12.5%]
  • Port Moody $469,537 (-34.8%), [3yr: -19.4%]
  • Richmond $665,759 (-12.3%), [3yr: 12.2%]
  • Squamish $530,025 (-8.5%), [3yr: 33.4%]
  • Sunshine Coast $363,600 (-16.5%), [3yr: -0.5%]
  • Vancouver East $610,943 (-11.3%), [3yr: 8.6%]
  • Vancouver West $1127,017 (-22.2%), [3yr: 6.4%]
  • West Vancouver $1109,124 (-25.3%), [3yr: -9.2%]
ATTACHED BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Attached Greater Vancouver $420,563 (-11.2%), [3yr: 11.9%]
  • Burnaby $421,421 (-8.3%), [3yr: 14.3%]
  • Coquitlam $370,373 (-15.6%), [3yr: 5.9%]
  • South Delta $392,566 (-10.4%), [3yr: 10.1%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $284,959 (-10.1%), [3yr: 12%]
  • North Vancouver $516,538 (-17%), [3yr: 6.3%]
  • Port Coquitlam $371,265 (-2.8%), [3yr: 13.4%]
  • Port Moody $353,607 (-14.4%), [3yr: 8.7%]
  • Richmond $419,624 (-9.1%), [3yr: 14.3%]
  • Vancouver East $444,199 (-15.2%), [3yr: 13.7%]
  • Vancouver West $624,746 (-12.2%), [3yr: 12.9%]
APARTMENT BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Apartment Greater Vancouver $337,099 (-13.5%), [3yr: 10.5%]
  • Burnaby $302,832 (-12%), [3yr: 11.2%]
  • Coquitlam $250,614 (-16.7%), [3yr: 9.3%]
  • South Delta $342,913 (-5%), [3yr: 25.9%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $233,053 (-10.3%), [3yr: 16.8%]
  • New Westminster $263,500 (-12.8%), [3yr: 16.7%]
  • North Vancouver $347,337 (-13.5%), [3yr: 9.7%]
  • Port Coquitlam $227,058 (-12.6%), [3yr: 14.7%]
  • Port Moody $272,946 (-10.3%), [3yr: 4.1%]
  • Richmond $281,745 (-12.6%), [3yr: 8.1%]
  • Vancouver East $296,377 (-11.6%), [3yr: 17.1%]
  • Vancouver West $422,264 (-14.9%), [3yr: 8.1%]
  • West Vancouver $534,084 (-14.8%), [3yr: 4.4%]

Taking possession of your home in Canada

Just one thing you should find in your new home
Just one thing you should find in your new home

This week we had a family move into their new house. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of our job. After all it is what the whole business is about: getting our clients into their new homes in Canada.

I thought it would be interesting to highlight a few things about this last stage of the home buying process that might be different from your experience elsewhere. Especially for those of you in the UK.

The day you take possession of your home is agreed up front at the time your offer is made. At that time three dates are agreed. The completion date is the first of these. It is the day when the money is handed over. Your mortgage is put in place and the title to the home is transferred to your name.

This is all done via the Land Title Office whose records are all computerized. This does mean that things generally go pretty smoothly, but occasionally there are problems. That is why the possession date is usually set for two days or so after the completion date. This allows for heavy workloads at the LTO and any hiccups in the system.

Our managing broker would not allow us to schedule the possession date on the day after the completion date. He could not believe the system in the England where everything happens on the same day.

So, here in BC, we usually hear on the completion date that the purchase has been registered. We then make arrangements to get the keys and meet our clients at noon on the day of possession.

Our buyers are usually very excited and cannot wait to get into their home. And if they are British, they are often worried about what state the home will be in when they eventually get in.

We reassure them that this is Canada. By which we mean that the home will have been cleaned, usually professionally. The biggest surprise is usually that the place has not been stripped of every light bulb and toilet roll.

The example from this weekend is typical. The sellers left a potted plant with a note welcoming them to the home.The note included introductions to the neighbours and a detailed diagram of the garden and what was planted where. All the manuals and instructions were left out too.

The light bulbs were all present and correct. There were even spare ones left on the shelves in the storage room. The shed had leftover paint for each room.

Oh and in the bathroom there was a spare toilet roll.

Fraser Valley real estate statistics for February 2009

FRASER VALLEY REAL ESTATE STATISTICS

Abbotsford with Mt Baker
Abbotsford with Mt Baker

We also have access to the Fraser Valley Real Estate statistics since these are available to Vancouver realtors too.

Below is the official view from the board.

REALTORS® SEE SIGNS OF SPRING IN FRASER VALLEY HOUSING MARKET

(Surrey, BC) – February sales on Fraser Valley’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) experienced a typical ‘early spring’ surge, increasing by 75 per cent in one month from 389 sales in January to 682 last month. However, by historical standards, they continued to reflect sales levels last seen in the mid-1980s, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Sales showed a 48 per cent decrease compared to the 1,308 sales processed in February 2008. The Board also received fewer new listings last month compared to the same month last year – 2,369 compared to the 2,808 new listings received in February 2008 – however, the total number of active listings at 9,594 was still 11 per cent higher than in January and almost 30 per cent higher than the 7,415 active listings available in February 2008.

Paul Penner, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board explains, “High inventory and low demand over the last few months have created the best buying opportunity since 2006, which buyers started capitalizing on in February.”

Penner feels that though consumers are still cautious about the global economic situation, based on February’s real estate market, he is guardedly optimistic. “For the first time since last September, Fraser Valley REALTORS ® had higher traffic at open houses, more multiple-offer situations and an increase in home sales.

“Because of lower prices and mortgage rates, consumers are gaining confidence.”

Residential benchmark prices, the value of a ‘typical’ Fraser Valley detached home as determined by the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI), decreased 10.4 per cent compared to February 2008, however, increased from the previous month for the first time in nine months. The benchmark price was $456,683 in February 2009 compared to $509,958 last year.

The HPI benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses decreased by 10.5 per cent in one year, going from $330,444 in February 2008 to $295,731 in February 2009, while the benchmark price of apartments decreased by 10 per cent going from $253,351 in February of last year to $228,091 in February 2009.

SNAPSHOT OF VALLEY PRICES

Here is a snapshot of the benchmark prices in the valley for detached homes only. If anyone wants more details then please contact me. Remember that between us and our partners we cover the whole of the Fraser Valley as well as most of British Columbia — so we can put you in touch with a local expert to advise you.

DETACHED BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Fraser Valley $456,683 (-10.4%)
  • Abbotsford $394,221 (-9.4%)
  • Mission $338,839 (-11.5%)
  • White Rock / South Surrey $627,287 (-17.1%)
  • Langley $463,879 (-11.2%)
  • Delta – North $454,354 (-10.0%)
  • Surrey – Central $465,839 (-9.0%)
  • Surrey – Cloverdale $502,270 (-5.7%)
  • Surrey – North $433,177 (-9.1%)

Prices shown are benchmark ones – representing “typical” properties in that area. The figures in brackets are the percentage change (fall) since February 2008. White Rock / South Surrey has seen the biggest year on year drop, where Surrey – Cloverdale is holding out the best.

Vancouver real estate statistics for February

A tudor style house
A tudor style house

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s monthly report on the real estate market is shown below.

PROPERTY LISTINGS DECREASE, AS FEBRUARY SALES IMPROVE

VANCOUVER, B.C. – March 3, 2009 – Residential housing sales in Greater Vancouver rose 94 per cent in February compared to the month before, with 1,480 sales registered in February compared to 762 sales in January, which was the slowest month for housing sales in 25 years. Over the past 10 years, February sales have typically surpassed January by an average increase of 53 per cent.

At the same time, new MLS® listings for residential properties continued to decrease for the fourth month in a row. New listings decreased 25.6 per cent in February compared to the previous year; 20 per cent in January; 8.6 per cent in December; and 10 per cent in November.

“There are terrific opportunities out there right now, but with property listings continuing to decrease, those opportunities may be available only for a brief window of time,” said Dave Watt, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

REBGV reports that year-over-year property sales in Greater Vancouver declined 44.7 per cent in February 2009 from the 2,676 sales recorded in February 2008. Year-over-year, those are the lowest sales fi gures for February since the mid-1980s.

“REALTORS® are reporting more activity compared to recent months as people begin to see whether their position in the housing market has strengthened as a result of falling interest rates and improved affordability,” Watt says. “It took, on average, 67 days to sell a home in Greater Vancouver in February, seven days less than last month, but behind the seller’s market of last February when the average stood at 33 days.

Sales of detached properties in February 2009 declined 41 per cent to 587 from the 995 units sold during the same period in 2008. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties declined 14.2 per cent from February 2008 to $653,452.

Sales of apartment properties declined 45.6 per cent last month to 650, compared to the 1,197 sales in February 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 13.9 per cent from February 2008 to $333,143.

Attached property sales in February 2009 decreased 49.8 per cent to 243, compared with the 484 sales during the same month in 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit declined 9.7 per cent between Februarys 2008 and 2009 to $426,268.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 25.6 per cent to 3,916 in February 2009 compared to February 2008, when 5,260 new units were listed.

METRO VANCOUVER BENCHMARK

The Vancouver Real Estate Board publishes a benchmark that tracks the price of a benchmark property across the region. There are three categories:

  • DetachedThese are houses, sometimes called single family homes
  • AttachedThis refers to townhouses and half duplexes.
  • ApartmentsThis means apartments within high or low rise buildings.

I have set out the benchmark prices across the region, with the annual percentage price rises in brackets and 3 year percentage rise in square brackets.

The top percentage price rise (ok smallest fall) over the year is shown in bold.

Detached homes saw prices across the board, with the best result being from Port Moody at -6%.

South Delta was the exception in both apartments and attached homes, showing a small rise. Again other areas saw percentage decreases.

DETACHED BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Greater Vancouver $653,452 (-14.2%), [3yr: 9.1%]
  • Burnaby $630,681 (-17.4%), [3yr: 7%]
  • Coquitlam $595,735 (-8.8%), [3yr: 15.1%]
  • South Delta $580,820 (-11.8%), [3yr: 8.9%]
  • Maple Ridge $390,847 (-14.7%), [3yr: 4.2%]
  • New Westminster $509,460 (-13.9%), [3yr: 0.2%]
  • North Vancouver $739,856 (-16.1%), [3yr: 1.8%]
  • Pitt Meadows $378,013 (-26.1%), [3yr: -7.2%]
  • Port Coquitlam $485,883 (-12.7%), [3yr: 13.9%]
  • Port Moody $678,575 (-6%), [3yr: 26.3%]
  • Richmond $679,344 (-12.2%), [3yr: 16.2%]
  • Squamish $530,479 (-8.9%), [3yr: 23.3%]
  • Sunshine Coast $346,736 (-19%), [3yr: -5.7%]
  • Vancouver East $610,052 (-11.1%), [3yr: 10.7%]
  • Vancouver West $1170,886 (-19.4%), [3yr: 11.1%]
  • West Vancouver $1232,469 (-16.5%), [3yr: 4.3%]
ATTACHED BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Greater Vancouver $426,268 (-9.7%), [3yr: 17.1%]
  • Burnaby $419,229 (-9.3%), [3yr: 16.5%]
  • Coquitlam $387,376 (-9.1%), [3yr: 13.3%]
  • South Delta $479,911 (5.2%), [3yr: 41.7%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $281,123 (-9.3%), [3yr: 12.5%]
  • North Vancouver $535,646 (-13.6%), [3yr: 14.9%]
  • Port Coquitlam $361,644 (-8.2%), [3yr: 12.9%]
  • Port Moody $360,970 (-11.5%), [3yr: 15%]
  • Richmond $418,528 (-9.2%), [3yr: 18.2%]
  • Vancouver East $460,242 (-8.8%), [3yr: 22.6%]
  • Vancouver West $635,072 (-12.3%), [3yr: 19.5%]
APARTMENT BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Greater Vancouver $333,143 (-13.9%), [3yr: 12.1%]
  • Burnaby $301,776 (-11.9%), [3yr: 13.8%]
  • Coquitlam $246,192 (-19.1%), [3yr: 7.5%]
  • South Delta $321,342 (-5.7%), [3yr: 18.7%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $233,421 (-10.5%), [3yr: 19.7%]
  • New Westminster $257,589 (-14.4%), [3yr: 13.9%]
  • North Vancouver $332,650 (-15.6%), [3yr: 7.4%]
  • Port Coquitlam $225,337 (-12.9%), [3yr: 15.8%]
  • Port Moody $254,736 (-16.5%), [3yr: 2.3%]
  • Richmond $278,019 (-11.4%), [3yr: 13.4%]
  • Vancouver East $286,000 (-13.2%), [3yr: 21.2%]
  • Vancouver West $422,456 (-15.2%), [3yr: 9.4%]
  • West Vancouver $571,909 (-5.4%), [3yr: 17.6%]

Buyers are circling the bargains

This morning’s Vancouver Sun has an article that suggests buyers are poised to take advantage of lower prices and lower interest rates.

I quote a small part of the article – where Cameron Muir the economist for the BCREA talks about the factors that are encouraging buyers to look at the market.

“He [Cameron Muir] said the benchmark price for a two-bedroom condo in Metro Vancouver was $334,602 in January, 11.5 per cent less than the $378,336 the same condo would have sold for 12 months earlier. A typical posted five-year fixed-term mortgage stood at 5.79 per cent in January, much lower than a similar mortgage rate of 7.39 per cent the previous January.

Therefore, he said, a condo with a 10-per-cent down payment (on a 25-year amortization) would have resulted in a monthly mortgage payment of $1,890 this January, nearly $600 less than the January 2008 mortgage payment of $2,468 (property taxes, maintenance fees and mortgage insurance fees not included).

On top of that, he said, there’s upward pressure on rents with the same two-bedroom condo renting in October 2008 for about $1,507 a month — a five-per-cent increase from October 2007.”

In my earlier posts I mentioned my impression, from my own experience within my market, and how it seemed that the market was becoming more active. It seems that I am not alone in having that impression.

Mortgage brokers, apparently, are seeing lots of buyers getting pre-approved for mortgages. Since prices are most definitely down, and if rents are rising then the argument for first time buyers to get into the market makes sense.

We will see what the next few months bring in terms of sales and prices.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...