The 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. 


--courtesy of REBGV

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December 9, 2013

With the holidays approaching, sellers often wonder if they should keep their properties on the market or take them off? Or if they haven't listed their homes yet, should they wait until after the first of the year? Maybe hold off until spring?

Conventional wisdom used to be that you shouldn't even try to sell your home during the busy holiday season. Potential homebuyers were too preoccupied with attending parties, cooking meals, buying presents or planning vacations. With all that going on, there just wasn't time to ride around with a real estate agent, looking at properties.

But with the Internet, smartphones, tablets and our always-on lifestyle, that conventional wisdom isn't relevant anymore. The reality is, the home buying season is now year-round. Here's why you should consider listing your home during the holidays, or even in January.

Today's buyers never stop looking online: Serious buyers are always looking -- and the holidays are no exception. Many buyers today work hard. They don't shift into holiday mode until the last minute. Even during the holiday break, they're still squeezing in work. There's no such thing for them as "going off the grid." So why not continue to monitor real estate listings, too?

The inventory -- and the competition -- is usually lighter: Despite our always-on lifestyles, many sellers still believe buyers can't be bothered to look for a home between, say, Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. At the same time, sellers who've had their homes on the market often take them off during the holidays. The net effect is that the inventory for good homes often tightens this time of year. So there's less competition for sellers, at a time when motivated buyers are out there looking -- and no doubt wishing there were more properties to see. The supply and demand pendulum swings in favour of the Seller.

If you've been considering selling, are motivated, are flexible on timing and have a home that truly sparkles, after Thanksgiving there's still a window of several weeks to get buyers into your home before the end of the year. And those buyers flipping through listings at their kids' basketball game will be excited to see something new and awesome hit the market -- especially if there's a lack of good inventory in their area. These buyers will be motivated to see your home, regardless of what the calendar says.

Home not selling? Now's the time to lower the price or change your strategy: If your property has been on the market for months, most buyers and their agents will see it as stale or overpriced and disregard it no matter how great it is or how light the competition is. In that case, it's time to take action, and the year-end holidays can be a great opportunity to shift course. Dramatically reducing the price or overcoming some major obstacle that's been preventing the sale might be what's needed to sell your home.

If you received lower offers early on but weren't ready to accept them, or you keep hearing there are issues with how your property shows, this is a good time to show the market you're listening and are serious about selling. The motivated buyers, desperate for good inventory, will notice you and take a look. You might even get a sale closed before the end of the year.

Don't want to be bothered during the holidays? List in January: Admittedly, the thought of keeping the house clean, holding open houses and vacating to accommodate last-minute showings during the holidays is a deal killer for some sellers. If so, consider listing your property after New Year's Day.

Traditionally, not much inventory comes onto the market in January. It's cold in most places, the leaves are off the trees and landscaping is dead. Many sellers wait until the spring instead, a more conventional time to sell.

January inventory is still very tight. Often, new buyers -- with their fresh New Year’s resolution to stop wasting money on rent and buy a home -- are ready to jump into the market as soon as possible. Some buyers are motivated to search for a home in January because of year-end tax planning.

Whatever the buyers' motivation, for sellers it means one thing: Demand for homes can increase at a time when inventory is traditionally low. And that means if you're ready to sell, you'll have an even more "captive" audience during the holidays, all the way through January.

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2013 was a year of pleasant surprises for Canada’s housing market. Far from extending last year’s deep sales dive on mortgage-rule turbulence, the market pulled up sharply and is cruising at an above-normal altitude. Here’s how the four biggest cities performed, ranked from strongest to weakest, and a look ahead to 2014.

 

Calgary: Gaining Altitude


After correcting several years ago, Calgary has reclaimed its title as the strongest major housing market in the nation. In the three months to October, home sales have run 23% above year-ago levels (nearly twice the national rate) and stand a heady 20% above past decade norms, though preliminary November figures show some slowing. Resale listings and new home inventories are lean, giving sellers the upper hand. Housing starts have hardly kept pace with an exploding population. Benchmark prices are climbing fast (8% y/y) and have all but retraced the 16% collapse from 2007 to 2009. Still, valuations remain reasonable, with prices about four-times median family income and mortgage service costs consuming a manageable 23% of earnings. About half of the increase in prices is supported by rising income. Alberta’s hourly wages are up 4.4% y/y so far in 2013, double the national rate. 

 

Immigrants and young Canadians are flooding into the city, drawn by better job prospects, faster wage growth, and healthier housing affordability than in Vancouver and Toronto. Alberta attracted a record 53,000 more people from other provinces than it lost in the past year, and a similar number from other countries. Because of the influx of young people looking for work and affordable housing, Alberta has the youngest population of the ten provinces. The median age (36 years) is four years less than in Ontario and about six years less than in British Columbia. The population of prime first-time home-buyers (aged 30 to 44 years) is growing 5.2%, nearly five-times faster than the national rate. Calgary’s population (15-years and over) is growing the fastest in fifteen years (4.1%), double Toronto’s and Vancouver’s rate and nearly quadruple Montreal’s. 

 

Propelled by energy exports, Alberta is the only provincial economy likely to grow faster than 3% in the next two years. Strong economic and population growth will encourage an upward trend in Calgary’s house prices, though higher borrowing costs will moderate the gains. While the Bank of Canada is expected to stand pat for a fourth straight year, longer-term interest rates are expected to increase

 

Toronto: Hardly Landing


Canada’s largest housing market (weighing in at 19% of national sales) continues to defy media calls of a crash. Across Greater Toronto, sales are up 20% y/y in the three months to October and are 9% above past decade norms, though preliminary November figures show some cooling. For the most part, markets are balanced, but sellers rule and bidding wars prevail in certain pockets where listings are scarce. Benchmark prices have picked up to an above 4% pace, and, at over six-times median family income, remain lofty. New buyers can either spend 39% of income on mortgage payments for a typical house—or buy a condo, requiring a lesser 24% of income. After plunging last year, new condo sales have firmed, but remain well below the past decade norm. Condos are an affordable alternative to the detached market for the more than 80,000 international migrants moving to the region each year and the growing number of young people leaving their parents’ basement. According to the CMHC, echo boomers accounted for 15% of the growth in housing demand in Greater Toronto in 2012, and the share is expected to double to 30% by 2021. 

 

While low rental vacancy rates have kept resale condo prices near record highs and rents moving higher, prices of new condos have weakened modestly in the face of a record number of units under construction (close to 60,000). And, that doesn’t include big incentives, such as free furniture or waived maintenance fees, which builders are offering to close a sale. Investors, who have purchased roughly half of new condos in recent years, could get antsy if rents flatten out or prices soften further. 

 

Still, most of the new units coming on stream should be absorbed by population growth. In addition, more than half of the units in the pipeline haven’t started construction. Many either won’t be built unless demand picks up and financing is approved, or will take a long time to build given approval delays and shortages of construction equipment. Moreover, the number of newly built, unoccupied condos is not high when normalized for population growth. Most new condos are needed to meet household formations given a shortage of new detached homes. While building of non-detached units has moderately topped demographic needs since 2006 (by about 5%), the excess does not fully compensate for a dearth of new detached homes owing to land constraints and zoning restrictions. In the past seven years, total housing starts in the Toronto region have actually fallen short of demographic needs, averaging about 36,000 per year versus a required 38,000. So, the region’s housing stock doesn’t appear overbuilt. In fact, the number of completed unsold condo units is relatively low, at fewer than 1,300.


Still, the looming supply of condos, high valuations of detached homes, elevated levels of household debt and expected higher interest rates should cool price gains in 2014, even as new immigrants and echo boomers provide support. Toronto house prices are at risk of declining moderately when interest rates normalize.

 

Vancouver: Pulls Out of Steep Dive


If any city is at risk of correcting, it’s pricey Vancouver. However, after keeling over in the face of tougher mortgage rules and the temporary suspension of the Immigrant Investor Program last year, this canary in Canada’s home mine has sprung back to life. At the lowest point, sales were down 33% y/y, but have since pole-vaulted 50% to nearnormal levels. Buyers held the upper hand last year, but the pendulum has swung toward balance today. New home inventories, normalized for population growth, are only moderately above long-term norms. Prices, which fell 6%, have risen modestly this year. The price drop, by the way, pales in comparison with the average 22% correction that Vancouver has suffered on four other occasions since 1980. The worst was a sickening 35% slide in the early 1980s, while the other three corrections clocked in at 22% in the late 1990s, 17% in the early 1990s and 15% in 2008. Whatever you want to say about Vancouver’s market, boring it’s not. 

 

Affordability is Vancouver’s Achilles’ heel, with benchmark prices still topping eight-times family income and detached properties a mere pipe-dream for most first-time buyers. Foreign wealth, rather than income, appears to be driving the upper end of the market. Prices are likely to fall when interest rates normalize, and the opportunity cost of owning an expensive house goes up. We continue to expect detached house prices to decline moderately in the medium term

 

Still, a tight supply of detached properties and steady population growth will cushion the market. While international migration is well off its 2009 peak, the province still attracted 35,000 people (on net) from other countries in the past year, though it lost a good number (nearly 8,000) to other provinces, notably Alberta. In addition, the city’s natural beauty should remain a powerful magnet for the growing number of young Canadians seeking to lay down roots. 

 

For young buyers, condos will remain an affordable option, as prices have fallen slightly in the past year and are little changed from six years ago. Mortgage service costs on a Vancouver condo consume 29% of median family income, still within reach of most buyers. We expect condo prices to remain flat in 2014, as healthy demographic demand from echo boomers and immigrants counters the downward pull from a moderately high number of vacant unsold units. While condos account for nearly three-quarters of new home construction in the Vancouver region, overbuilding is not severe. In fact, total housing starts, normalized for population growth, have stayed below longterm norms for the past three years.

 

Montreal: Smooth Landing


While Montreal’s housing market is the weakest among the four major cities, it, too, has improved. Sales are still 9% below past decade norms, but have risen 2% in the past year. Support from decent affordability and job growth has countered middling population gains (1.1%). Unlike the other major cities, an upswing in new listings has kept buyers in the driver’s seat, especially in the new condo market where a moderate overhang of unsold units persists. While Montreal’s home prices are up 2% y/y, they have gone nowhere in the past six months. 

 

Despite a 155% leap in house prices since 2001, affordability remains healthy. Benchmark prices run at four-times family income, and mortgage service costs consume a reasonable 23% of earnings, less than half that of Vancouver. First-time buyers in Toronto and Vancouver can only cry over the cost of a two-story detached home in Montreal: $382,000 versus $565,000 and $1,030,000 (and we’re talking median, not mansion). Like Calgary, Montreal should remain affordable even when rates normalize. 

 

Montreal’s house prices are expected to hold steady in 2014. With fewer detached homes being built, condos flourished in recent years, leaving the city with a moderate overhang of vacant units (in fact more than in Toronto). While condo sales have picked up recently, they remain soft, as investors are wary of a higher condo rental vacancy rate (2.7% versus 1.2% in Toronto and 1.0% in Vancouver, as of the latest available period October 2012). Elevated unemployment suggests the city could attract fewer young job seekers and potential home buyers than the Western Provinces in the year ahead.

 

- Report courtesy of Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO

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Sequel 138 is an exciting new residential development underway at 138 E. Hastings Street, Vancouver BC. There will be a public Open House Saturday, June 29th, Noon to 4:00pm at the Sequel 138 Display Center -- International Village Mall (formerly Tinseltown), 2nd floor, #2099 - 88 West Pender Street.

 

Call Amalia or visit www.sequel138.com for more info!

 

 

 

(Click image for an enlarged PDF copy)

Sequel Open House, June 29th 12-4pm

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"Leith Wheeler is one of Canada's leading Investment Groups. They are who I have trusted with my investments for the past several years. Mike Job has generously offered the his opinion below.

As always, please feel free to send me your comments."

Canadian Housing Bubble?
Contributed by Micheal Job

At Leith Wheeler, we are value investors that are keenly concerned about the valuation of assets. But as stock and bond investors why would we bother looking at the real estate market? In short, because it is an important factor in the economy and can have a large, indirect impact on other asset prices.

To conduct our analysis on the Canadian real estate market, we looked at 40 years of housing fundamentals in 21 OECD countries to see how house prices interacted with inflation, household incomes and rents. Over the sample period 1970-2012, prices went up most of the time. However, we concluded that in the long run, prices go up primarily because incomes and rents go up, mostly due to inflation.

When we used a combination of price-to-rent and price-to-income ratios to analyze the Canadian real estate market, our straightforward conclusion was that Canadian housing needs to unwind about 30% from the current valuation ratios. That’s not the same thing as prices crashing by 30%! Importantly, if rents and incomes continue to go up, prices may not need to drop that much. In fact, annual growth in income and rents of 3% would deflate half of the valuation bubble over seven years. It is also conceivable that we don’t revert all the way back down. A modest price decline coupled with gains in rents and incomes, called a soft landing, is exactly what the central bank and federal government is aiming for. However, watch out for weaker inflation or income gains, particularly as the economy adjusts to slower housing activity, as they represent the primary threats to a soft landing.

In conclusion, a housing bubble is hard to define, but we see it in Canada right now. However this doesn’t have to mean financial disaster is around the corner. In fact, our research indicates that housing is almost always either inflating or deflating and while it is a very important factor for the economy, as most Canadian homeowners know, moderate price changes are not the end of the world.

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"Mr. Horner has been a client for many years. At times I've questioned the timing of his real estate decisions... sometimes with a raised eye brow but he has an impressive score card and I am grateful for his insight. He has been gracious enough to contribute. I hope you find his thoughts as useful as I have!

I look forward to your comments and input!"

Economy/Economic Thoughts
Contributed by Mr. Horner


Recreational Property

BC Recreational property underwent a major transition in 2008. The value of waterfront (salt or fresh) along with other recreational venues basically collapsed. I saw my own waterfront property (which we have owned for ten years), triple in value then drop down to a number above what we invested but not a lot more considering ten years has gone by. The increase in the Canadian dollar along with the incredible drop in US property values made properties in the sunny south of the US available for pocket change relative to BC. This is not going to change soon, however, the recovery of the US housing market, the realities many are learning of property ownership and risk in the US, aging boomers needing greater access to our low cost medical system (and facing increasing fees for insurance) and perhaps a weakening Canadian economy and dollar will shift the focus home…….eventually. So now may be a good time to invest in the BC recreational property market, but no need to rush, this is a decade long value recovery. We have passed the bottom of this market but it is still very much a buyers’ market in this area and recovery will be slow.

 

The Economy

While US companies are reporting good earnings this season I am still very cautious about the overall global economy. I believe we are in for continuing instability. Europe, while currently quiet, is still a major financial mess with overspending on farm subsidies, early pensions, unaffordable social programs and fat government bureaucracies. While we usually think of Greece when talking of these issues Greece is not the only problem, it is widespread. So Europe is going to underperform and the rest of the world will suffer with them. The emerging nations depend on the western consumers to support their massive growth plans, until they develop their own middle class they could be a bubble in waiting. Canada is dependent on global growth to fuel our natural resources exports so we are on shaky ground as well. So I think we are still in for a rocky and uncertain ride. I continue to be cautious, invest in good companies that make real things and pay dividends and have a lot in fixed income and preferred shares, again in good companies/institutions with a long future.

 

Vancouver Housing

Clearly the buzz has come off Vancouver but I still think this market will do nothing but go up in the long term. The place to be, I believe, is the lower mainland “inside the bridges” and Vancouver in particular. Our reputation as a great place to live, multiculturalism, closeness to growing Asian wealth and natural beauty will sustain us pretty much regardless of the long term global economic trends. There will be ups and downs but the trend will be up over the decade. Why “inside the bridges” , well I believe the future holds nothing but increasing tolls, fees on cars, transit costs, fuel costs and traffic congestion. All of these factors will increase the cost of living outside of Vancouver so property values in the city will maintain and grow. Increased population density that will be driven by these factors as the cost of land rises will maintain Vancouver as the social, cultural and business center of the region which will, in turn, help keep values intact and growing.

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"Over the past several years I have had the distinct pleasure to work with many great people. My client base contains countless individuals that have not only experienced great success buying & selling local real estate but also have success in diverse areas of finance, business and investment.


Three of these clients have graciously agreed to share their perspective on the current Real Estate market. Throughout the years, I have always found their insights extremely valuable and I hope that you do as well!"

Always look forward to your comments!

 
Gold & Real Estate
Contributed by Ralph B. - 20 years experience Gold Mining
 

For more than 6000 years gold and other precious metals have been money for various civilizations. These civilizations, who in complete isolation from one another, came to the same conclusion. That mainly gold and much later silver became the currency of choice. There are several reasons for this. To be a good currency it must be rare so a small amount can represent a considerable amount of wealth. Being rare protected it from being depreciated by large amounts entering circulation causing ones gold to be worth less - what we know as inflation. Despite this the powers that ruled always created currencies that were not 100 % gold. Hundreds of these Fiat (faith based) currencies have failed. The average life expectancy of a fiat currency was around 40 years. They always fail for the same reason.

 

The ruling power, due to wars or simply to try and create wealth out of thin air, issues ever increasing amounts of paper to meet their needs but without a limiting factor like gold backed currency. This always seems to spiral out of control until the currency is worthless. It is after all the amount of money in circulation that determines its worth. There are numerous examples this happening. One of the most notable was the Weimar republic which was set up with a fiat currency after World War 1. In order to make war reparations set out in the Treaty of Versailles the Germans had to print massive amounts of marks.

 

The price of a meal went up while people were eating it. Working people got paid twice a day so they could run out at noon and buy something because in the evening it would be worth considerably more. Everyone was finally a trillionaire but could buy a loaf of bread with it. But one thing did retain its value during this hyper inflation. An entire city block in Berlin could be purchased for ten ounces of gold. Finally a new currency had to be issued. A bank holiday was declared and a new currency the Reich mark was issued. It was backed by land because the German gold was a spoil of war and had disappeared a few years earlier.

 

We might think that this is a rare occurrence but this has happened dozens of times since. Most lately Zimbabwe whose treasury had around 200 us dollars as of a couple of weeks ago. Everyone in Zimbabwe has trillions in Zimbabwe paper but can’t buy anything with it. They have taken to trading with placer gold which is always been the competing currency to printed money. Our current financial system can be traced back to 1913. And the creation of the Federal Reserve which is a privately controlled central bank.

 

Canada has its own central bank as does England and any other western country has the same. Gold was fixed at just over 16 dollars an ounce and a dollar had the words pay the bearer on demand. If you gave any bank 16 dollars and a bit of change they would give you an ounce of gold in return. Remember this 16 dollar an ounce number. In 1913 it bought you a nice suit or food for a family for a month. World War 1 caused a lot of money printing mainly by the British who tried to fix their currency to the prewar fix. But due to the amount of money now in circulation this didn't work. England experienced a depression largely because of this.

 

Back in North America things were booming with fractional reserve banking and buying on margin driving the stock market bubble. Bubble is great until they pop and in the Fall of 1929 it collapsed. The very thing that the Federal Reserve was set up to prevent. One might argue that they even caused it by contracting the money supply. This quickly led to the depression. In 1933 in order to improve the American economy Roosevelt declared it illegal for Americans to own gold. He didn't want the Americans to have a viable competing currency for what was coming next. Less than 10000 dollar fines and 10 year imprisonment the Americans turned their gold in for the gold fix of the day. After the due date expired the gold was revalued at 35 dollar an ounce essentially devaluing the dollar and making American exports much cheaper. This is also an interesting time as the gold that the treasury had backed the m2 money supply 100 %. The Dow was at 35 dollars as well. If you had, but you were not allowed to own it, 150 ounces of gold then you could buy a nice house outright. The dollars lost the words "pay the bearer on demand". The depression dragged on despite Roosevelt's and the feds efforts. One could say only World War 2 ended the depression. Then came Breton woods in 1945. The western powers knew that the war was theirs to win. So before it was even over they went about designing a new financial system for the world. It was decided that they had 18000 tons of gold in reserve and they would back the USA dollar with that and the US dollar would in turn be the reserve currency for every other country in the world.

 

This all worked well for the usual 30 to 40 year life expectancy of a currency system. But in this case it was only 28 due to the cost of Vietnam, a large trade deficit between the USA and other countries occurred and they wanted the gold now instead of paper they were supposed to be happy with. Nixon closed the gold window for all countries as the USA approached 8000 tons of gold left. And at that instant all the currencies in the world became a fiat currency like Weimar or Zimbabwe. Gold rose until in 1980 it peaked at 800 which are what the Dow was, and silver rose to 50 dollars. The price of a median home in the USA was around 120 ounces of gold. An ounce of gold also bought a nice suit or a month’s worth of groceries for a family. And the USA could go on a 100% gold backed currency backing M2. Fast forward to today. If history were to repeat itself. Gold is at 1560 the Dow 14000 and in order for gold to back the M2 money supply 100% gold would have to rise to 15000 dollars an ounce. And a median priced home 120 ounces at 15000 sounds absurd. Don’t forget that the money supply has increased by around 400% since 2008.

 

The money isn’t out bidding up real-estate or a suit or groceries. It’s fuelling a bond bubble. And if that much money goes into real estate a 2 million median home isn’t out of the question. It sounds absurd but that is what the guy who bought a city block in Berlin for 10 ounces of gold thought too. 

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On April 1, 2013 the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will cease to exist and the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will be re-implemented in BC. As of April 1, 2013 the 12% HST will no longer be charged on real estate commissions. Instead, only the 5% GST will apply.

 

We will provide more information @ www.weSellvancouver.ca in the next few weeks. Please also keep the change in mind when reviewing any articles or booklets on this website.

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The Greater Vancouver housing market experienced below average home sale totals, typical home listing activity and modest declines in home prices in 2012.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2012 reached 25,032, a 22.7 per cent decline from the 32,387 sales recorded in 2011, and an 18.2 per cent decrease from the 30,595 residential sales in 2010. Last year’s home sale total was 25.7 per cent below the ten-year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales in the region.

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver declined 2 per cent in 2012 to 58,379 compared to the 59,539 properties listed in 2011. Looking back further, last year’s total represents a 0.6 per cent increase compared to the 58,009 residential properties listed in 2010. Last year’s listing total was 6.1 per cent above the ten-year average for annual MLS® property listings in the region.

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,142 in December 2012, a decrease of 31.1 per cent from the 1,658 sales recorded in December 2011 and a 32.3 per cent decline compared to November 2012 when 1,686 home sales occurred.

December sales were 38.4 per cent below the 10-year December sales average of 1,855.


Since reaching a peak in May of $625,100, the MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver has declined 5.8 per cent to $590,800. This represents a 2.3 per cent decline when compared to this time last year.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,380 in December 2012. This represents a 15.3 per cent decline compared to the 1,629 units listed in December 2011 and a 50 per cent decline compared to November 2012 when 2,758 properties were listed.

Sales of detached properties in December 2012 reached 425, a decrease of 32.5 per cent from the 630 detached sales recorded in December 2011, and a 44.7 per cent decrease from the 769 units sold in December 2010. The benchmark price for detached properties decreased 2.7 per cent from December 2011 to $904,200. Since reaching a peak in May, the benchmark price of a detached property has declined 6.5%.

Sales of apartment properties reached 504 in December 2012, a decline of 34.9 per cent compared to the 774 sales in December 2011, and a decrease of 37.9 per cent compared to the 811 sales in December 2010.The benchmark price of an apartment property decreased 1.9 per cent from December 2011 to $361,200. Since reaching a peak in May, the benchmark price of an apartment property has declined 12.8%.

Attached property sales in December 2012 totalled 213, a decline of 16.1 per cent compared to the 254 sales in December 2011, and a 33.2 per cent decrease from the 319 attached properties sold in December 2010. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 2.6 per cent between December 2011 and 2012 to $450,900. Since reaching a peak in April, the benchmark price of an attached property has declined 4.4%.

 

source: REBGV

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The Government of BC has published information about transitioning from the Harmonized Sales Tax back to the Provincial Sales Tax and Goods and Services Tax at this link: HERE. The New Housing Transition Tax and Rebate Act covering the temporary housing transition tax and the temporary housing transition rebate came into effect on December 1, 2012.

 

Due to the complexity of the transition provisions and the potentially significant implications for sellers and buyers, clients are advised to seek appropriate and timely tax advice if there is any doubt as to whether these provisions may apply.

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