While it has been an ongoing trend that demand has been outpacing supply, residential sales have not been slowing down. In the latest market stats released mid-June by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), there continues to be a month-over-month surge in residential sales. There has been a 26% increase in sales from April 2017 to May 2017 with a total of 12,402 residential home transactions. If it weren't for the low supply, 20-year low as a matter of fact, sales figures may even be higher than actual figures. This amount is 8% lower than May 2016 when the market was hot.
As you can see below, as a result of 9 of 11 real estate boards in BC having a home sales to active listings ratio above 20%, this has resulted in a seller's market. The BCREA states that anything greater than 20% for a sustained period is a seller's market. The Greater Vancouver region, the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack and Victoria all have seen ratios of over 50%.
Source: British Columbia Real Estate Association
In May 2017, MLS® recorded a total of 12,402 residential unit sales and an average MLS® residential price in BC of $752,536 which is a 7.9% decrease and 4.2% increase, respectively, from the same period last year. Total sales dollar volume amounted to $9.33 Billion which is a 4% decrease from May 2016.
For a detailed look at residential statistics for May 2017, read our previous blog here. For all your real estate needs, contact Amalia Liapis at 604-618-7000 or alternatively at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following suit with previous months, housing demand is still continuing to outpace supply. In May 2017, MLS® recorded a total of 12,402 residential unit sales and an average MLS® residential price in BC of $752,536 which is a 7.9% decrease and 4.2% increase, respectively, from the same period last year. Total sales dollar volume amounted to $9.33 Billion which is a 4% decrease from May 2016.
“Market conditions have tightened considerably this spring as an upturn in consumer demand has not been accompanied by a rise in homes listed for sale,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The supply of homes for sale in the province has fallen 50 per cent over the past five years.
There is a shortage of housing supply in the entire southern portion which consequently results in upward pressure on home prices. Total active listings has decreased by 11.1% in comparison to May 2016 and totals 28,404 units. The ratio of home sales to active listings was over 20% in 9 of the province's 11 real estate boards and over 50% in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack and Victoria.
Below you will find a comparative chart showing May 2017 and May 2016 figures for average residential price, active listings, sales-to-active listings, dollar volume and residential units sold in BC. (Click to enlarge photo).
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The Agreement between the Bank of Canada and the Goverment of Canada for the Inflation-Control Target was renewed in 2016. The Bank of Canada has a mandate to keep an inflation-control target range of 1-3% with 2% as being the midpoint target over the medium-run. This target is the year-over-year increase in the total consumer price index (CPI) which is the most relevant cost of living measure for most Canadians. Keeping the inflation target in mind, the Bank of Canada has to maintain a delicate balance given the current state of the economy as well as inflation trending near its target.
The low oil prices have taken a snowball effect as it continues to increase unemployment in energy producing provinces while simultaneously causing a weaker Canadian dollar which in turn makes the cost of imported goods more expensive. The BCREA expects a continued weak economic growth for the first quarter. However, with "the possibility of an effective fiscal stimulus, a stronger US economy and a stabilization of oil prices points to stronger growth ahead" (BCREA, 2016).
"After standing on the sidelines for years, the Bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark [interest] rate twice last year in an attempt to stimulate a Canadian economy waylaid by low oil prices" (CBC, 2016). Since then, there have been some signs of improvement. There is potential for the Bank of Canada to reduce rates once more in 2016 although the BCREA's expectation is that the Bank will remain on the sidelines throughout the year. The Bank of Canada has elected to keep its benchmark lending rate at 0.5%. In a broad sense, the Bank will reduce rates when the economy needs to be stimulated or alternatively, would increase rates when it needs to pump the brakes on inflation.
Source: British Columbia Real Estate Association + CBC Business
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Residential sales for the month of March 2016 set an all-time record with a total of 12,560 unit sales which is a 38% increase in comparison to March 2015. In respect to last month's sales, the dollar volume totalled $9.69 Billion which is a 66.9% increase from last year. The average MLS® residential price increased 20.2% year-over-year to $771,620.
"Housing demand has never been stronger in the province," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "Most large population centres of the province are now experiencing record levels of housing demand." "Strong employment growth, rising wages and a marked increase in net inter-provincial migration is fueling consumer confidence," added Muir.
Strong consumer demand has been a trend in 2016 with not enough homes on the market to supply that demand. Consequently, inventory of homes for sale is at decade-long lows in many regions within BC. Looking at year-to-date data, BC residential sales dollar volume totals $21.59 Billion which is a drastic jump of 70.1% in comparison to the same period last year. Unit sales increased by 39.2% to 28,028 units with an average MLS® residential price of $770,408 (22.2% increase).
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Source: British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)
From a macro perspective, Canada's economy is going through a rough patch and growth is slowing down. Several variables contribute to this such as the equity markets being off to a historically bad start, the weak Canadian dollar and the oil prices struggling to find a floor. On the bright side, looking at BC's economy allows us to let out a bit of a sigh of relief. There seems to be a multitude of indicators that provide British Columbians with a glimmer of hope as these indicators point to significant momentum underlying our provincial economy.
The pace in which consumer spending and retail sales grew last year was the fastest pace in close to a decade. This key indicator proved to be the largest component of BC's economy. As a result of this, this growth largely reflected markedly improved labour market fundamentals. While employment growth has seen sluggish growth for the past few years, the last six months of 2015 proved to be a stark contrast. Growth was moving at more than a 2% rate over the latter half of the previous year. Full-time employment seeing an increase was the driver spearheading the growth seen.
With the growth demonstrated, it is no surprise that British Columbians were in a spending mood. Not only did consumption goods see an increase in sales but larger paychques and confidence in the BC economy resulted in the third highest year on record for provincial home sales. With the relative strength of the economy in BC, it is no wonder why we are seeing more interprovincial migration with workers moving to BC. Since 2013, there has been a net inflow of more than 30,000 people from other provinces, resulting in population growth and adding to an already strong housing and consumer demand.
With a strong housing demand comes a record low supply of re-sale and new housing in BC. Developers reacted to this lack of supply by breaking ground on over 30,000 new housing units last year making it the highest number of housing starts since 2008. All in all, BC's economy is forecasted to continue being a growth leader in Canada for this year and the years to come.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) provides us with an easy-to-understand video that depicts the specific insider trends in the housing market. Demand continues to outpace supply across Metro Vancouver resulting in seller market conditions.
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As a collective whole, Canadians are united in their definition of home. A recent survey done by Century 21 reveals the top 10 ways Canadians define home which is seen below. The question posed was, "In about five describing words or less, what does "home" mean to you?". The major themes that came up had a lot to do with family, comfort and safety. The personal value of a home is deeply rooted in Canadian culture and the personal definition of home is one that resonates with most Canadians.
British Columbians are the only province to include a social aspect to their definition of home by including "friend" in their top 10. The only region to list a practical term, "investment", in their top 10 was Quebec. Lastly, Ontario residents take the cake for being most creative with nearly 90 different definitions of home. Some humorous definitions of home included: escape from people, sweatpants, kitty, no strata fees and awesome. At the end of the day, regardless of where you habituate, home is where the heart is.
The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.