FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – From the Desk of AMALIA LIAPIS

While the balance between home buyer and seller activity remains in an equilibrium range in the Greater Vancouver housing market, last month’s home sale total was below the 10-year average for July.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties on the region’s Multiple Listing Service reached 2,571 in July, a 14 per cent increase compared to the 2,255 sales in July 2010 and a 21.2 per cent decline compared to the 3,262 sales in June 2011.

We’re seeing less multiple offer situations in the market today compared to the last few months, but homes priced competitively continue to sell at a relatively swift pace.  It’s taking, on average, 41 days to sell a property in the region, which is unchanged from June of this year.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,097 in July. This represents a 23.2 per cent increase compared to July 2010 when 4,138 properties were listed for sale on the MLS and a 12 per cent decline compared to the 5,793 new listings reported in June 2011.

Last month’s new listing total was 8.6 per cent higher than the 10-year average for July, while residential sales were 17.3 per cent below the ten-year average for sales in July. At 15,226, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS increased 0.8 per cent in July compared to last month and declined 7.3 per cent from this time last year.

The number of homes listed for sale in the region has increased each month since the start of the year, which is giving buyers more selection to choose from and more time to make decisions. The MLSLink Housing Price Index benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 9.2 per cent to $630,251 in July 2011 from $577,074 in July 2010.

Sales of detached properties on the MLS in July 2011 reached 1,099, an increase of 21 per cent from the 908 detached sales recorded in July 2010, and a 31.9 percent decrease from the 1,614 units sold in July 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 13.3 per cent from July 2010 to $898,886.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,040 in July 2011, a 6.2 per cent increase compared to the 979 sales in July 2010, and a decrease of 39.1 per cent compared to the 1,708 sales in July 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.5 per cent from July 2010 to $405,306.
Attached property sales in July 2011 totalled 432, a 17.4 per cent increase compared to the 368 sales in July 2010, and a 45.5 per cent decrease from the 792 attached properties sold in July 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6.9 per cent between July 2010 and 2011 to $524,909.
 

Moving forward to our Fall market, I expect an increase in housing/land prices and a stable condo/townhome market. The exception will be view properties, which will see a significant spike in demand and pricing in an increasingly competitive market.

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Canadian markets didn’t get much of a summer vacation this week, as negotiations on the Greek bailout package took centre stage globally, while the Bank of Canada’s interest rate decision was the main event at home. On balance, an agreement on a second Greece bailout, combined with some positive corporate earnings reports, improved market sentiment and helped equity markets rally. A more hawkish-than-expected statement from the Bank of Canada (BoC) added fuel, initially taking bond yields higher, and the Canadian dollar along with them. After a benign inflation report for June on Friday, however, these moves were partially unwound.

As expected, the BoC left interest rates unchanged, but the accompanying statement was more hawkish than anticipated. The Bank dropped the word “eventually” from the statement “some of the considerable monetary policy stimulus currently in place will be [eventually] withdrawn”, leading markets to move up their timetable on rate hikes. However, Wednesday’s Monetary Policy Report (MPR), included two technical boxes that emphasized the case for leaving rates lower for longer. One explained how interest rates can remain stimulative even after inflation has reached its target and the output gap is closed. This occurs if the economy is facing significant headwinds, such as a persistent reduction in foreign demand for exports. Governor Carney reiterated that monetary policy is not some mechanical process whereby you input expected inflation and the output gap, and out comes a rate decision (in fact if that were the case, he wouldn’t have a job). Rather, the Bank takes into account what he characterized as “the very real headwinds from the dollar, the U.S., from Europe”. This is likely in response to some critics who argue the bank is at risk of getting behind the curve on inflation.
 
The other technical box in the MPR underscored the damaging effects of a strong Canadian dollar on some sectors of the economy, expanding on the responses in last week’s Business Outlook Survey. Nearly half of firms surveyed reported adverse impacts from a stronger dollar, and these firms tended to be less optimistic about their future prospects. Adverse effects were more common among manufacturers, and firms based in Central or Eastern Canada. In sum, the survey showed that headwinds from a strong C$, and continued softness in U.S. demand are constraining sales prospects over the next 12 months for firms not benefitting from high commodity prices.
 
The Bank is clearly focused on the danger of hiking prematurely, and then having one of these risks worsen. It would be very difficult to raise rates before January, because in all probability they would want data on how Q3 evolved, and confirmation of firmer U.S. demand. Friday’s release of Canadian CPI and retail sales reports showed there is little urgency for the Bank to restart rate hikes. June inflation came in softer-than-expected, and retail sales were flat in real terms, confirming that there is little scope for retailers to raise prices with debt-fatigued consumers reining in spending. All told, our expectation for the Bank to delay resuming rate hikes until January remains in tact.
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On July 13, Economics issued a report predicting a 10.2% decrease in the housing market over the next two years.

The economists specifically focused on Vancouver and Toronto saying that they will experience an even larger decrease ...with a whopping  drop of 14.8 % for Vancouver.
 
Among the twelve major markets profiled in this report, Vancouver and Toronto look poised for larger-than-average declines over the next few years, reflecting in part their exposure to the condominium segment, which appears particularly ripe for a correction.
 
The rationale for this prediction is ...

 
A combination of more subdued job and household income growth, rising interest rates, the recent tightening in borrowing rules for insured mortgages and fewer first time home buyers are expected to be the chief culprits behind the slowdown. With most of these drivers expected to remain supportive to housing demand in the very near term, we anticipate that the brunt of this adjustment will take place in 2012 and into 2013.
 
A section of the report focused specifically on Vancouver with the title reading:
 

VANCOUVER - THE HOUSING MARKET THAT HAS ALL EYES WATCHING


 
With Vancouver consistently making all the Top 10 best city lists, it is little wonder that our housing prices are amongst the highest in Canada.
 
The predictions focus on the higher than average housing prices, condos and foreign investment factors that have driven the prices up.
 
Vancouver has been the poster child for those individuals worried about a real estate bubble here in Canada. We expect that Vancouver will post modest economic growth accompanied by subdued job and income gains. Interest rate hikes will be felt in Vancouver likely more than other places due to the fact that household debt levels are the highest across the country.
 
With this economic climate, we foresee a 25.4% peak to- trough decline in sales and 14.8% in prices over 2012-13, by far the worst fate of any urban centre. Still, the path to correction will likely transpire over seven to eight quarters. What's more, just as some of the recent increase has reflected a shift in the composition in sales towards higher priced homes, normalization in the sales mix going forward will disproportionately weigh on average prices. At the expected through in 2013, the average resale price is expected to sit at $675,000 - nearly double the national number and that of most other urban centres.
 
I hope you find this information beneficial! Please feel free to call me any time.
 
Regards
 
Amalia Liapis
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VANCOUVER, B.C. – July 5, 2011 - Home sellers outpaced buyers on Greater Vancouver’s Multiple Listings Service® (MLS®) in June, drawing the market back toward balance this summer. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 3,262 in June, a 9.8 per cent increase compared to the 2,972 sales in June 2010 and a 3.4 per cent decline compared to the 3,377 sales in May 2011.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,793 in June. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase compared to June 2010 when 5,544 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 2.3 per cent decline compared to the 5,931 new listings reported in May 2011.

Last month’s new listing total was 9.8 per cent higher than the 10-year average for June, while residential sales were 7.3 per cent below the ten-year average for sales in June. “With sales below the 10-year average and home listings above what’s typical for the month, activity in June brought closer alignment between supply and demand in our marketplace,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said. “With a sales-to-active-listings ratio of nearly 22 per cent, it looks like we’re in the upper end of a balanced market.” At 15,106, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 3.1 per cent in June compared to last month and declined 14 per cent from this time last year.
 
The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 8.7 per cent to $630,921 in June 2011 from $580,237 in June 2010. “The largest price increases continue to be in the detached home market on the westside of Vancouver and in West Vancouver,” Setticasi said. Since the end of May, the benchmark price of a detached home rose more than $147,000 on the westside of Vancouver and over $80,000 in West Vancouver. Detached home prices in Richmond, however, levelled off slightly, declining $25,000 in June.” Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in June 2011 reached 1,471, an increase of 29.1 per cent from the 1,139 detached sales recorded in June 2010, and an 11.8 per cent decrease from the 1,667 units sold in June 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 13.4 per cent from June 2010 to $901,680.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,266 in June 2011, a 0.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,258 sales in June 2010, and a decrease of 29.3 per cent compared to the 1,790 sales in June 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.5 per cent from June 2010 to $405,200.
Attached property sales in June 2011 totalled 525, an 8.7 per cent decrease compared to the 575 sales in June 2010, and a 34.5 per cent decrease from the 802 attached properties sold in June 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6 per cent between June 2010 and 2011 to $522,424.
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Recovery on the economic front will go hand in hand with retail and office investment in 2011, as developers cautiously brush off plans for towers downtown and improved housing starts boost demand in the suburbs for retail projects.
 
But this year will be characterized by hard bargaining on prices and incentives as doubts remain about the depth and speed of the economic recovery.
 
While Metro Vancouver retail remains "the most sought-after property type" in Canada, according to a third-quarter report by Avison Young, sales tallies are off across the board from the second quarter as activity slowed in the second half of 2010 to the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009.
 
Overall investment sales totalled $527.3 million in the third quarter of 2010, including $68.8 million worth of office deals and $143.7 million worth of retail sales.
 
Those deals include South Surrey's South Point Exchange, which sold to a private investor for $91 million, and Bosa Development Corp.'s sale of Semiahmoo Shopping Centre to First Capital Realty Inc. for $82.7 million - both driven by strong growth in surrounding residential communities.
 
But the deals also highlight the shift from the bargain-taking deal-making that characterized the first half of the year to a strategic rejigging of portfolios in the second half that heralds more stable conditions as owners prepare for the long term.
 
Based on interviews in the third quarter, Colliers International reported that 61 per cent of investors were looking to expand their portfolios, down slightly from six months earlier when 65 per cent were looking to expand. On the other hand, approximately 22 per cent were looking to rebalance.
 
Close to two-fifths of respondents attributed the shift in emphasis to a desire to shift asset classes, while other key factors were linked to advantages to be gained from location, liquidity and leverage. Approximately 17 per cent were looking to trade up or trade down and 6 per cent were looking to increase leverage.
 
A further 28 per cent refused to disclose the reasons for rebalancing their portfolios, but the several factors point to a hunkering down for the long term in the face of lacklustre growth for the year ahead.
 
--excerpt from: Western Investor, January 2011
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VANCOUVER, B.C. – April 4, 2011
 
Activity in the Greater Vancouver housing market continued to strengthen in March with both the number of homes sold and added to the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) reaching near record levels.
 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver reached 4,080 in March 2011. This represents a 31.7 per cent increase compared to the 3,097 sales recorded in February 2011, an increase of 30.1 per cent compared to the 3,137 sales in March 2010 and an 80.1 per cent increase from the 2,265 home sales in March 2009. The all-time sales record for March occurred in 2004 when 4,371 transactions were recorded.

 
Our market has had a very strong start to the spring season,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said. “With home sales above 4,000 and nearly 7,000 home listings added to the MLS® in March, it’s clear that home buyers and sellers view this as a good time to be active in their local housing market.”
 

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 6,797 in March 2011. This represents a 3 per cent decline compared to March 2010 when 7,004 properties were listed for sale on the MLS®, an all-time record for March. Compared to February 2011, last month’s new listings total registered a 19.4 per cent increase.

 
At 13,110, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 9.9 per cent in March compared to last month and declined 3 per cent from this time last year. “Conditions favour sellers at the moment, but we’re seeing differences in home-price trends and overall activity depending on the region and property type,” Setticasi said.
 
The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 5.4 per cent to $615,810 in March 2011 from $584,435 in March 2010. Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in March 2011 reached 1,795, an increase of 34.4 per cent from the 1,336 detached sales recorded in March 2010, and a 100.1 per cent increase from the 897 units sold in March 2009. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 8.3 per cent from March 2010 to $866,806.
 
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,622 in March 2011, a 29.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,252 sales in March 2010, and an increase of 66.2 per cent compared to the 976 sales in March 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 2.1 per cent from March 2010 to $403,885. Attached property sales in March 2011 totalled 663, a 20.8 per cent increase compared to the 549 sales in March 2010, and a 69.1 per cent increase from the 392 attached properties sold in March 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 3.6 per cent between March 2010 and 2011 to $511,039.
 
--source: REBGV
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