Many first-time buyers are taking a wait-and-see approach,
in case home prices drop further - is that the best strategy?
Recently I was asked to guest live on CityTV’s BT Vancouver morning news show to recap a range of industry predictions for real estate in 2019. During the interview, I was asked what strategy first-time buyers should adopt if they’re hoping to get into the market but are waiting to see what will happen.
This question, of trying to time the market, is one that comes up time and time again — no matter whether we’re in a rising market, in a down market, or in a steady market (which, in fact, we have now, in terms of prices for entry-level homes). People have a terror of buying a home at the “peak” of the market, or at another point where prices will drop after they’ve bought the home — but I don’t think this is something to fear.
To make my interests clear: I’m not a real estate agent or adviser, I’m a writer and editor who specializes in real estate and spends her days analyzing and reporting on market statistics. I have nothing to gain from advising anyone to buy homes, and I am not paid by anyone other than the media company for which I work, which gives me free rein to share my views as I see fit. I own a condo (my home) plus a long-term investment studio in Vancouver. I don’t offer advice to try to buoy the market, but simply because I’ve been lucky enough to get into this position (largely by ignoring those who told me not to buy yet) and I want to share what I’ve learned.
The very smart senior analyst of the Real Estate Investment Network, Don Campbell, once said to me, “The past two decades are littered with the bones of those who stayed on the sidelines of the real estate market.” That phrase stayed with me, as I see it all the time — friends in their 50s and 60s who are still renting, and will now likely pay rent throughout their retirement years. They all tell me, “I wish I’d bought when I was younger. Homes seemed soexpensive, even back then - but that’s nothing compared with what they are now.”
Exactly. The £182,000 (British pounds) I paid for my tiny first flat in South London, a 50-minute commute from work, seemed astronomical 15 years ago. I could only raise a 5 per cent down payment and take out an interest-only mortgage. And everyone told me not to buy it, as “we’re at the peak of the market.” They said the same thing when I moved up to a larger place even further out of town, for £240,000, in 2008. That really was the then-peak of the market, as immediately after I bought it, the recession hit and its value dropped by 15 per cent.
But no matter. I was still above water, as my mortgage was still only £175,000, and over the next few years the value more than recovered. I sold it for £280K in 2014, and that’s how I had a down payment to buy a condo in downtown
That’s how real estate works. There is no price “peak,” only a fluctuating, but generally upward, line. If you’re looking at holding onto a home for a reasonable length of time, if you can afford the mortgage and if you have a decent down payment, just go for it — trying to time the market is a fool’s errand. Those price predictions I spoke about last week differ considerably, so nobody really knows what will happen this year, or next. Sure, the general consensus is that here in Metro Vancouver, average home prices might dip by a couple of per cent this year. But even if that happens, interest rates are rising. So a lower average home price a) doesn’t mean the specific home you want to buy will be any cheaper and b) even if it is, it doesn’t mean it’s more affordable, if mortgage costs are going up.
The only buyers I’d recommend to wait are speculators looking for a quick flip. For everyone else, if you hold on to your home for long enough, it will always end up higher than you bought it for.
Now we are facing an influx of one million additional people in Metro Vancouver by 2050. Political migration, climate migration, our relatively stable economy, our Pacific Rim position, and many other factors will, in my opinion, mean that even if prices dip in the next year or so, they will at some point over the next decade exceed their previous peak. And by the time we get to 2050, I predict that today’s Millennials will be wishing they had bought 30 years previously, when the average cost of a condo was “only” $600,000 and they could’ve gotten a great little pad in Surrey for $250K.
You really don’t want to be on the wrong side of the price rises that could be ahead of us over the next 10 or 20 years. So if you're lucky enough to be able to buy a home — whichever location you can afford, and in whatever size home — just go for it. I did, and I’ve never regretted it.
Article by Joannah Connolly / Vancouver Courier
The Canadian housing market reflected a lot of restraint and not much growth in 2018. Even so, there are reasons to be optimistic when looking forward to the new year ahead. Check out these forecasts for 2019:
The Mortgage Stress Test Affected Overall Sales Numbers
There were a number of policy changes that took place in 2018, all of which likely had some effect on the real estate sector in Canada. Some point to the mortgage stress test, which was initiated in January 2018, as having a major impact.
The stress test requires homebuyers to qualify for mortgages at higher rates than the contracted mortgage rate. The purpose is simple: to determine if the borrowers have the ability to continue making mortgage payments if interest rates increase.
In late 2017, some buyers kicked into overdrive as they searched for a home, in an effort to avoid having to pass the mortgage stress test at the beginning of 2018. In fact, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported more than 46,000 homes sold throughout Canada in December 2017. The following month, after stress tests were put in place, housing transactions dropped by 14%.
A Lackluster 2018 Points toward a Stronger Market in 2019
It’s true that 2018 was rather lacklustre in terms of home sales. However, there was also no major economic shock. This leads experts to believe that the Canadian real estate market is likely to remain steady, at a minimum, or even experience a slight growth in 2019.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) believes that price tags on properties will move in accordance with the economy. That is, so long as there is stable growth in income, jobs, and population, the housing market should move in step.
The specific prediction of the CMHC is that sales through the MLS will be lower than 500,000 in 2019, which is in line with 2017 but lower than 2016. They also believe that the average home price across the country will not hit $525,000. Of course, regional real estate markets will have differing forecasts.
Local Markets Impacted by Changing Mortgage Regulations
Taking a step closer and looking at specific housing markets throughout Canada paints a consistent picture. Toronto real estate was slower in 2018 compared to both 2017 and 2016. In fact, all of Ontario showed a slowdown in housing transactions–and flattening of sales prices–since the second quarter of 2017. This slowdown was likely a result of the new taxes imposed on foreign homebuyers in the province. The CMHC believes that the urban housing markets throughout Ontario will recover from a slump in 2018, which will be caused mainly by predicted job growth and in-migration.
They expect that B.C.’s housing market will moderate even more than it has, considering the fact that there’s been an economic contraction and more people moving out than moving in. For example, Vancouver real estate prices have been growing, but at a slower rate, since new transaction taxes were imposed on foreign buyers. In fact, there were 35% fewer Vancouver home sales in October 2018 compared to October 2017.
Calgary real estate resales were down by 9% in October 2018 compared to the year before, and the composite housing price index dropped 2.6% in October year-over-year. This was the only large housing market to experience a decline in the composite housing price index for the month of October.
Some expect real estate in the Prairies to continue to moderate, in part because of the heavy reliance on fossil fuels and other extractive industries. Others, however, believe these housing markets are actually ripe for growth.
Montreal real estate is expected to benefit from a projected boost in foreign buyers in the upcoming year, thanks to the fact that it has not joined Toronto and Vancouver in imposing taxes on foreign buyers. It is also likely that this means rental vacancy rates in Montreal are going to drop, due to a larger demand caused by a strong economy and in-migration.
Finally, the CMHC has predicted that the number of units sold and the prices of existing homes in Nova Scotia will both be on the rise. However, this will be an anomaly in Atlantic Canada, which will continue to struggle due to lower population growth.
Vancouverites have railed against property taxes for decades and made no exemption in 2018. With so many levies to choose from, it’s tough to pick just one. The dour joke that B.C. stands for “Bring Cash” applies no longer to just the high cost of living but also to the rising cost of acquiring and holding real estate in the province – if you can afford it.
The fun kicked off in July 2016 with the announcement of a snap tax on foreign nationals buying residential property, and ramped up in the 2018 provincial budget with news that the property transfer tax on foreign nationals would be expanded to more areas and a vacancy and speculation tax would be introduced. That tax followed in the steps of a similar initiative by the City of Vancouver, which claimed 25,502 homes in the city were vacant but levied the tax against only 2,538 homeowners this year.
Commercial property owners, particular neighbourhood retail, have also been hit hard. City councillors long opposed Walmart’s debut in the city, citing concerns about its impact on local businesses. But property taxes have one-upped Walmart, pushing many long-standing businesses from premises (now subject to redevelopment with higher and better uses) along Broadway, Main Street and Commercial Drive to points east and south.
When the year began, rising interest rates were expected to have an effect on both commercial and residential property sales, not to mention prices. Together with a new federal mortgage stress test, increases to interest rates muted residential purchases this year and seem set to continue to do so.
The impact on non-residential deals was muted, however, thanks to a shortage of opportunities.
This has been particularly true of industrial properties, where deal-making remains strong – a situation that Avison Young expects to continue through the first half of 2020. While interest rates have increased, supply hasn’t, meaning there’s still a price to be paid for assets. Those who want space are willing and able to pay, even if it means buying strata space.
“Vacancy remains tight and financing is easily available to industrial owner-occupiers,” Avison Young said of the strata market, noting that the first half of the year saw $449 million invested in industrial properties worth more than $5 million, while those worth less than $5 million (mostly strata properties) attracted $301 million.
While capitalization rates are inching up, vacancy rates may well prove a better indicator of market strength so long as investors are willing to pay. This isn’t the case for residential, with many homebuilders bracing for a slowdown while acknowledging, as one remarked at a year-end party, “Vancouver’s had a good run.”
In the field
B.C.’s Agricultural Land Commission turned 45 in 2018, and the province marked the occasion by asking people how to revitalize it and the properties it oversees.
While the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is generally considered a fact of life, several pronouncements have – depending on your perspective – either reinforced the ALR’s sacred-cow status or created confusion about what exactly might be allowed. The latter was illustrated by Abbotsford’s decision to pause a planning process that sought, among other things, to crack down on non-compliant use of properties within the reserve.
Meanwhile, initiatives around the province have sought to limit the kind of production that takes place in the ALR. Richmond failed to rein in monster homes within the ALR, then sought to limit the use of slab-on-grade construction with a view to limiting cannabis cultivation. While the province has no problem with food production and has been cool with ginseng and echinacea in the past, cannabis has drawn censure and an order-in-council limiting production to soil-based systems.
Having eliminated the two-zone ALR and strengthened regulations governing activities within the ALR in 2018 (including mandating limits on residential construction), B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promises to change up governance of the reserve in 2019.
With development land in short supply, the changes mean the ALR will continue to make headlines.
Every need and lifestyle is addressed in a variety of floorplans, each with 9-foot ceilings and featuring plenty of natural light and space. Once you have found an ideal layout, personalize it for your tastes by selecting from two beautiful colour palettes. Interior living seamlessly transitions to private outdoor decks, where views and fresh air are always enjoyable. Appreciate the art of entertaining or a quiet afternoon watching Netflix – homes are designed for all elements of life.
Come to Place des Arts’ free, all-ages celebration of cultural diversity and discover how our cultural traditions and customs are entwined over the holiday season.
Over a warm cup of tea, learn how to tell your story and hear the inspiring stories of others in a storytelling tea salon, led by First Nations spoken word artist Molly Billows. Make lanterns inspired by those from the main cultural groups that populate Coquitlam: China, Iran, Korea and the West, and enjoy live music performances and other fun surprises.
Admission is free. All ages welcome.
Visit Place des Arts for more information.
‘Tis the season!
Join us for the annual Skate with Santa on Dec. 16 at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex. The big man in red will be donning a pair of skates for some fun, on-ice activities from 11-12:30 p.m., 12:45-2:15 p.m. and 2:30-4 p.m. There will be free hot chocolate to warm up with after!
Note: There will be a family rate for Skate with Santa. Rentals are not included.
Celebrate the holidays at Glen Pine Pavilion with festive music and performances by Glen Pine's talented entertainers.
Date: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018
Time: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Price: Tickets: $8 (children six and under $3)
All ages event
Join us for a family afternoon with Santa! We'll keep you busy with crafts, snacks, story time and great opportunities with Santa, as well as lots of active play with your family. | Register Now
Date: Sunday, Dec. 16
Time: 2 – 4 p.m. OR 4 – 6 p.m.
Location: Poirier Community Centre
Let's fill Lafarge Lake with the sound of music! Sing along with caroling groups as you stroll around the lake.
At 7:30 p.m. everyone will stop where they are and join in a community sing-a-long of Jingle Bells. Rain or shine!
Learn about more pop-up events with Coquitlam's Park Spark staff and volunteer team at coquitlam.ca/parkspark.
Coquitlam Heritage welcomes you to join us in celebrating our 2018-2019 exhibit Heirlooms & Treasures. Music, performance and food along with exhibit tours will highlight the traditions, customs and objects that our community holds dear. No Registration Required.
Every house will acquire holes in the walls throughout its life. Whether it is a small hole from a painting you re-located or a larger hole from an accident, fixing a hole in the wall is a relatively straightforward process. Here are seven steps to fix a hole in the wall in your house.
Step 1 - Prep Surface
Start by cleaning around the hole and making sure any loose drywall or paint is removed. You want to get the surface around the hole as smooth as possible so that the patching compound will get the best adhesion. Sand around the perimeter of the hole to remove as much excess drywall as possible.
Step 2 - Patch Small Holes
For holes smaller than 1/2 inch in diameter, you do not need a bridging compound. You can simply fill the hole with some spackle or plaster and use your putty knife to smooth out. Once the compound is dry, sand it and repeat the process until the wall is smooth. After that, you can use a texture spray to mimic the existing wall and paint.
Step 3 - Add Hole Patch
If the hole is larger than 1/2 inch, then you need a hole patch to smooth out the surface. Start by placing the patch over the hole to determine the size of the patch. You want to leave 1/2 inch extra all the way around the hole. Once the patch has been cut, take off the backing paper and install the patch over the hole. Try and get the edges of the patch as smooth as possible before proceeding. If the adhesive fails to stick, use a wet sponge to apply the patch. You can also use some patching compound around the edges to secure it in place.
Step 4 - Apply Patching Compound
With the patch in place, add the patching compound with your putty knife. Start by applying the compound around the edges of the patch, working your way inward. Ensure the patch is completely covered with the compound before stopping. Most compounds will dry a different color when they are fully dry. If the hole is fairly large, you may need to work in sections, allowing each one to partially dry before continuing. This will help keep the mesh in place and provide extra support for the middle of the patch. Try and get the compound as smooth as possible before it dries as this will cut down on sanding.
Step 5 - Sand
You should let the compound dry overnight before sanding. When you start sanding, do not stop until the edges of the patch are in line with the outer wall. This will help blend everything together when you paint. Once the sanding is complete, clean the area with a damp cloth and let it dry for about 15 minutes. While the wall dries, clean up any access dust or particles that were created during the sanding process.
Step 6 - Prep for Paint
Depending on the style of the wall, you should use a textured spray prior to painting. The spray should match the existing wall’s texture, so you may need to adjust the thickness until you get it just right. Once the texture is on, allow it to dry overnight before painting.
Step 7 - Paint
Getting the paint to match might be the hardest part of fixing a hole in the wall. If you do not have the original paint, you can remove a few chips and take it down to your local hardware store to get it matched. Once you have the right paint, simply paint over the patched surfaced and allow it to dry for around six hours. If you do not want to go through the trouble of matching the paint, you can repaint the entire wall a new color.
Home sale activity across Metro Vancouver* remained below long-term historical averages in October.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,966 in October 2018, a 34.9 per cent decrease from the 3,022 sales recorded in October 2017, and a 23.3 per cent increase compared to September 2018 when 1,595 homes sold.
Last month’s sales were 26.8 per cent below the 10-year October sales average.
“The supply of homes for sale today is beginning to return to levels that we haven’t seen in our market in about four years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “For home buyers, this means you have more selection to choose from. For sellers, it means your home may face more competition, from other listings, in the marketplace.”
There were 4,873 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in October 2018. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase compared to the 4,539 homes listed in October 2017 and a 7.7 per cent decrease compared to September 2018 when 5,279 homes were listed.
The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,984, a 42.1 per cent increase compared to October 2017 (9,137) and a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to September 2018 (13,084).
For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2018 is 15.1 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 10.3 per cent for detached homes, 17.3 per cent for townhomes, and 20.6 per cent for condominiums.
Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.
“Home prices have edged down between three and five per cent, depending on housing type, in our region since June,” said Moore. “This is providing a little relief for those looking to buy compared to the all-time highs we’ve experienced over the last year.”
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,062,100. This represents a one per cent increase over October 2017 and a 3.3 per cent decrease over the last three months.
Sales of detached homes in October 2018 reached 637, a 32.2 per cent decrease from the 940 detached sales recorded in October 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,524,000. This represents a 5.1 per cent decrease from October 2017 and a 3.9 per cent decrease over the last three months.
Sales of apartments reached 985 in October 2018, a 35.7 per cent decrease compared to the 1,532 sales in October 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $683,500. This represents a 5.8 per cent increase from October 2017 and a 3.1 per cent decrease over the last three months.
Attached homes sales in October 2018 totalled 344, a 37.5 per cent decrease compared to the 550 sales in October 2017. The benchmark price of an attached home is $829,200. This represents a 4.4 per cent increase from October 2017 and a 2.8 per cent decrease over the last three months.
Every month, the Cit compiles a list of Vancouver’s must-see events. This makes it easy to ensure that you’re always around ‘n about town experiencing all that Vancouver has to offer. We’ve drawn from various sources to make this calendar your monthly go-to list for all things Vancouver. The Cit is pleased to release the November edition of your Vancouver Social Calendar. As always, if you have an event you’d like us to include, share.
Attend a Remembrance Day ceremony
When: Tuesday, November 11
Where: Multiple locations around Vancouver
Celebrities 30 Year Anniversary
When: Friday, November 7 to Monday, November 10
Where: Celebrities Nightclub
What: The historical & diverse nightlife destination celebrates 30 years with special sets from Hot Since 82, Amine Edge & Dance and a Vogue Charity Event featuring NYC Legend MikeQ
Website: www.thisisblueprint.com (Full release: http://thisisblueprint.com/news/nightclubs/celebrities-celebrates-30-years-strong)
Twitter: @celebrities_van #CELEBS30YR
Hastings Park Winter Farmers’ Market
When: Running until November 30, Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: PNE Fairgrounds
What: Shop local winter produce + artisan prepared foods + local crafts + enjoy hot food trucks
11th Annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival
When: Running until November 9
What: Over 90 arts + culture events at 25 venues throughout the Downtown Eastside
Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium
When: Running until April 25, 2015, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Nat Bailey Stadium – 4601 Ontario Street, Vancouver
What: Shop locally grown produce + enjoy hot food trucks + live music + more
Moustaches for Movember
When: November 4, 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: Holt Renfrew, Pacific Centre
What: Canada’s largest Movember fundraising event feat. a VIP fashion show, local celebrities, beers, canapés, and more!
Circus Fest Vancouver
When: November 6 to 9
Where: Various venues
What: A 4-day circus festival feat. leading circus acts & performers, Main Stage shows, hands-on workshops, installations, cabarets, and industry panel discussions
Ballet BC presents No. 29
When: November 6 to 8
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
What: Ballet BC’s first performance of the season
Movies at MARKET by Jean-Georges
When: November 7 & 8
Where: MARKET by Jean-Georges restaurant
What: Enjoy a movie in the plush private theatre of the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver with an elegant meal
An Evening at Ringside
When: November 8
Where: Griffins Boxing & Fitness, North Vancouver
What: An award-winning charity dinner and boxing gala benefitting Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
41st Annual Circle Craft Christmas Market
When: November 11 to 16
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre
What: Over 310 artisans from coast to coast incl. wood turners + glass blowers + sculptors + potters + entertainment + food + more!
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF)
When: November 12 to 15
Where: Centennial Theatre & Rio Theatre
What: Watch a unique collection of outdoor and mountaineering films on the big screen
Vancouver Short Film Festival
When: November 14 to 16
Where: Vancity Theatre – 1181 Seymour Street
What: 17 new films and 4 web series showcasing B.C.’s film industry
Shipyards Christmas Market
When: November 14 to 16, 21 to 23, 28 to 30
Where: The Shipyards – 19 Wallace Mews, North Vancouver
What: Over 50 local artisans + food trucks + live music + an outdoor light display + a skating rink from noon to 6 p.m.!
2014 Local Government Election
When: November 15
What: Vote in the general local election from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
When: November 17 to 23
Where: The PNE Forum
What: Vancouver’s premium whisky, beer and spirit festival featuring over 300 kinds of whisky
Eastside Culture Crawl
When: November 20 to 23
Where: Main Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive
What: Annual visual arts festival that involves artists on Vancouver’s Eastside opening their studios to the public
Il Mercato: Italian Night Market
When: November 21, 3 to 7 p.m.
Where: 3075 Slocan Street
What: Italian cuisine + music + handmade products from local artisans
Vancouver Christmas Market
When: November 22 to December 24
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
What: Authentic outdoor German Christmas village + market
When: November 22 from noon to 7 p.m.
What: A free holiday festival w/ outdoor shopping + more
The Peak of Christmas
When: November 28 to December 24
Where: Grouse Mountain
What: Sleigh rides + skating + breakfast with Santa + real reindeer + gingerbread village + more
When: November 29 to January 3
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge
What: 250,000 sparkling lights + music + the world’s largest living Christmas tree
Buying real estate is about more than just finding a place to call home. Investing in real estate has become increasingly popular over the last 50 years and has become a common investment vehicle.
Although the real estate market has plenty of opportunities for making big gains, buying and owning real estate is a lot more complicated than investing in stocks and bonds. In this article, we'll go beyond buying a home and introduce you to real estate as an investment.
Basic Rental Properties
This is an investment as old as the practice of land ownership. A person will buy a property and rent it out to a tenant. The owner, the landlord, is responsible for paying the mortgage, taxes and costs of maintaining the property.
Ideally, the landlord charges enough rent to cover all of the aforementioned costs. A landlord may also charge more in order to produce a monthly profit, but the most common strategy is to be patient and only charge enough rent to cover expenses until the mortgage has been paid, at which time the majority of the rent becomes profit.
Furthermore, the property may also have appreciated in value over the course of the mortgage, leaving the landlord with a more valuable asset. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, real estate has consistently increased in value from 1940 to 2006, then proceeded to dip and rebound from 2008 to 2010 and has been increasing overall.
There are, of course, blemishes on the face of what seems like an ideal investment. You can end up with a bad tenant who damages the property or, worse still, end up having no tenant at all. This leaves you with a negative monthly cash flow, meaning that you might have to scramble to cover your mortgage payments. There is also the matter of finding the right property. You will want to pick an area where vacancy rates are low and choose a place that people will want to rent.
Perhaps the biggest difference between a rental property and other investments is the amount of time and work you have to devote to maintaining your investment.
When you buy a stock, it simply sits in your brokerage account and, hopefully, increases in value. If you invest in a rental property, there are many responsibilities that come along with being a landlord. When the furnace stops working in the middle of the night, it's you who gets the phone call. If you don't mind handyman work, this may not bother you; otherwise, a professional property manager would be glad to take the problem off your hands, for a price, of course.
Real Estate Investment Groups
Real estate investment groups are sort of like small mutual funds for rental properties. If you want to own a rental property, but don't want the hassle of being a landlord, a real estate investment group may be the solution for you.
A company will buy or build a set of apartment blocks or condos and then allow investors to buy them through the company, thus joining the group. A single investor can own one or multiple units of self-contained living space, but the company operating the investment group collectively manages all the units, taking care of maintenance, advertising vacant units and interviewing tenants. In exchange for this management, the company takes a percentage of the monthly rent.
There are several versions of investment groups, but in the standard version, the lease is in the investor's name and all of the units pool a portion of the rent to guard against occasional vacancies, meaning that you will receive enough to pay the mortgage even if your unit is empty. The quality of an investment group depends entirely on the company offering it. In theory, it is a safe way to get into real estate investment, but groups are vulnerable to the same fees that haunt the mutual fund industry. Once again, research is the key.
Real Estate Trading
This is the wild side of real estate investment. Like the day traders who are leagues away from a buy-and-hold investor, the real estate traders are an entirely different breed from the buy-and-rent landlords. Real estate traders buy properties with the intention of holding them for a short period of time, often no more than three to four months, whereupon they hope to sell them for a profit. This technique is also called flipping properties and is based on buying properties that are either significantly undervalued or are in a very hot market.
Pure property flippers will not put any money into a house for improvements; the investment has to have the intrinsic value to turn a profit without alteration or they won't consider it. Flipping in this manner is a short-term cash investment.
If a property flipper gets caught in a situation where he or she can't unload a property, it can be devastating because these investors generally don't keep enough ready cash to pay the mortgage on a property for the long term. This can lead to continued losses for a real estate trader who is unable to offload the property in a bad market.
A second class of property flipper also exists. These investors make their money by buying reasonably priced properties and adding value by renovating them. This can be a longer-term investment depending on the extent of the improvements. The limiting feature of this investment is that it is time intensive and often only allows investors to take on one property at a time.
Real estate has been around since our cave-dwelling ancestors started chasing strangers out of their space, so it's not surprising that Wall Street has found a way to turn real estate into a publicly-traded instrument.
A real estate investment trust (REIT) is created when a corporation (or trust) uses investors' money to purchase and operate income properties. REITs are bought and sold on the major exchanges, just like any other stock. A corporation must pay out 90% of its taxable profits in the form of dividends, to keep its status as a REIT. By doing this, REITs avoid paying corporate income tax, whereas a regular company would be taxed its profits and then have to decide whether or not to distribute its after-tax profits as dividends.
Much like regular dividend-paying stocks, REITs are a solid investment for stock market investors that want regular income. In comparison to the aforementioned types of real estate investment, REITs allow investors into non-residential investments such as malls or office buildings and are highly liquid. In other words, you won't need a realtor to help you cash out your investment.
With the exception of REITs, investing in real estate gives an investor one tool that is not available to stock market investors: leverage. If you want to buy a stock, you have to pay the full value of the stock at the time you place the buy order. Even if you are buying on margin, the amount you can borrow is still much less than with real estate.
Most "conventional" mortgages require 25% down, however, depending on where you live, there are many types of mortgages that require as little as 5%. This means that you can control the whole property and the equity it holds by only paying a fraction of the total value. Of course, your mortgage will eventually pay the total value of the house at the time you purchased it, but you control it the minute the papers are signed.
This is what emboldens real estate flippers and landlords alike. They can take out a second mortgage on their homes and put down payments on two or three other properties. Whether they rent these out so that tenants pay the mortgage or they wait for an opportunity to sell for a profit, they control these assets, despite having only paid for a small part of the total value.
The Bottom Line
We have looked at several types of real estate investment. However, we have only scratched the surface. Within these examples there are countless variations of real estate investments. As with any investment, there is much potential with real estate, but this does not mean that it is an assured gain. Make careful choices and weigh out the costs and benefits of your actions before diving in.
Real estate market analyst Dane Eitel, of Eitel Insights: Metro Vancouver's detached prices will slump further over three years, but skyrocket far past previous peak within a decade
A real estate analyst who accurately predicted Metro Vancouver’s housing crash a year ago says the current slump will stretch out for three more years.
One year ago, Dane Eitel of Eitel Insights forecast that 2018 sales of detached houses in Metro Vancouver would collapse and the average detached house price would fall from the $1.8 million peak in May 2017 to $1.6 million by the third quarter of this year.
As of September, detached housing sales had indeed plunged 40.4 per cent from a year earlier and the benchmark price had hit $1.54 million, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The average detached sale price was approximately $1.58 million.
Eitel, who applies stock market-style analytics to the housing market, now forecasts that the detached house price in Metro Vancouver will sink in stages to a bottom of $1.4 million by Q3 2020 and trade at the level for another 18 months. The turnaround will begin in January 2022 – and it will be dramatic, he predicts.
“By the end of 2023 we will be back up to the 2017 peak pricing [$1.83 million]. But the breakout will be historic. Especially for those who purchase at or anywhere near the bottom,” Eitel told Western Investor.
He is forecasting that in the following five years to 2028, the average Metro Vancouver detached house price will skyrocket to around $2.8 million – a 100 per cent increase from the 2021 bottom of $1.4 million.
The continued slump to 2022 is not what the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) is forecasting. The BCREA contends the current downturn is a government-caused blip and recovery is already underway.
According to the association’s calculations, the B.C. market has turned from its trough in June, and since then has seen a relative increase in activity of around 3.5 per cent, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Cameron Muir, BCREA’s chief economist, said “The B.C. housing market is evolving along the same path blazed by Ontario and Alberta, where the initial shock of the mortgage stress-test is already dissipating, leading to increasing home sales.”
But Eitel said that 40 years of Greater Vancouver detached house sales and average price cycles reveals a trading pattern is established that will play out over the next decade.
He noted that the last long-term cycle began in October of 1987 and ran to 1996, during which time average house prices increased 190 per cent and peaked at $286,000 in February 1995. The average price then dropped 19 per cent to bottom out in December 1996. Prices did not recover to the earlier price peak until November 2002, six years later.
We are seeing a similar pattern today, Eitel said.
Toronto’s “dead-cat bounce”
Eitel said he has applied his analytics to every major city in Canada and that some regions will outperform both Vancouver and Toronto over the short term. He cautioned that the current recovery in the Toronto’s housing market is “a dead-cat bounce” that will soon come to an ugly end.
“There are some markets in Canada that will see strong growth in house prices, even as Vancouver and Toronto decline,” Eitel said, adding that his information is proprietary and available through Eitel Insights.
Don't waste money on inflatable Halloween decorations for your front yard. Use our ideas and your crafty skills to make one-of-a-kind decorations. You'll be the envy of the neighborhood and save a lot of money.
Greet trick-or-treaters with a scarecrow mascot. Give it a personality to match your style: scary or friendly, male or female, casual or formal. Use lumber to create the body: a 2x4 for the main post, a 1x4 for the shoulders and four more 1x4s for the arms. Use wood glue and fasteners to secure the elbow joints. A dried or plastic gourd will last longer than a fresh one and a scarf is the perfect accessory to cover up any unsightly handiwork.
Fill your trees or front porch with free-flying ghosts. Made inexpensively from balloons and gauze fabric, these little Caspers catch the wind to add movement to your outdoor decor.
Don’t want to be bothered with a real bonfire because it's too dangerous for kids and too much of a pain to keep lit? Create a low-maintenance fire pit with faux pumpkins, battery-operated candles and a few logs.
1. Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Pink ribbons abound every October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
2. Bathtub Day
It’s a thing. Kind of.
Bathtub Day on October 7th is a treat for real estate agents.
3. Canadian Thanksgiving
Canadians in every province and territory recognize Monday, October 8th as Thanksgiving.
4. Election Day
Many Canadian municipalities are having elections in October, including:
- Vancouver on October 20th;
- Toronto on October 22nd;
- Ottawa on October 22nd; and
- Winnipeg on October 24th.
5. Make A Difference Day
On Make a Difference Day (October 27th)
Make a donation to the food bank. Volunteer at a nursing home or at a school. Gather some colleagues and go pick up trash at a local park.
Share a photo of your kids dressed up in their costumes on October 31st.
It doesn’t matter that most homes aren’t sold with all of the contents included; good decor helps prospective buyers fall in love with a property. That’s why staging real estate listings can be so powerful.
That power comes with a price tag, though. If you want to save money on professional staging and go the DIY route, there are two things you need to know:
In this post, we’re giving you the rundown on the top home decor trends of 2018 and how they can help you stage and sell homes faster.
In July 2018, American blind and shade company Next Day Blinds published the results of their research into the home decor items that Americans googled most in the last year.
The most searched-for item? Trays.
Wood trays that rest on an ottoman and contain a television remote, drink coasters and a photography book. Or lucite trays to hold a candle, matches and a notepad. Or gold-mirrored trays for bar supplies, like fancy cocktail glasses and chic napkins.
Trays like these are hot because they serve as both storage and a decor item that adds visual interest. They’re available in all kinds of aesthetics and at various price points, making them a flexible and accessible way to dress up various rooms in your listings.
2. Woven Textures
Wicker as a summer-only material? Not anymore.
Fringe, crochet and woven textiles are just bad 70s leftovers? No way.
Woven textures showed up in a big way this year. Think: fringed throw pillows, wicker storage baskets and nubby, vintage-inspired wall hangings.
Moderation is key here; try a large-scale wall hanging on a bedroom wall or wicker baskets containing a couple throw blankets in the living room.
3. Tropical Touches
Palms, monstera leaves and hibiscus motifs have showed up on everything from shower curtains to wallpaper to throw pillows to coffee mugs.
The tropical trend is a nice way to incorporate graphic touches without being too abstract. But it’s not for every home; a palm tree print will be out of place in a house otherwise filled with antiques, for example.
Turn to this trend when you’re selling a minimalist or austere home that could benefit from some warmth and personality. Tropical vibes can also be a great addition to an already maximalist or vibrant aesthetic.
Speaking of maximalism, it’s back after years of being overlooked in favour of minimalism.
We’re talking layered textures, colours and patterns – sometimes in surprising combinations. Forget less is more; we’re all about ‘more is more’ now.
The overall effect is whimsical and creative, which can feel inviting and warm.
It can be difficult (and expensive) to start creating a maximalist room from scratch, so save this trend for listings that already have the foundation of a maximalist aesthetic.
5. Plant Party
Houseplants never went out of style, but they’ve never been hotter than they are this year.
Whether it’s because of a desire to counteract our increasingly digital lives or simply because they’re relatively inexpensive and impactful decor, having an overabundance of house plants is a trend in and of itself.
We don’t mean a plant in each room; we’re talking rooms with plants on nearly every surface. Like maximalism, but with plants.
This trend can be applied in ways that achieve a myriad of looks. Add climbing vines and leafy palms to a maximalist artsy home. A more classic space, dominated by white walls, could be livened up with orchids in a variety of colours and sizes.
Summer is over, and so are your summer-specific selling strategies.
Backyard party open houses, listing descriptions focused on outdoor entertaining potential, or even filling front porches with lush and vibrant flowers — put those away now.
A new season = time for new tactics.
Today, we’re exploring five season-specific strategies to help you sell more homes this fall.
1. Be A Stickler For Lawn Maintenance
Keeping lawns and yards free of fallen leaves and debris is a daily challenge in the autumn months.
We might only rake our own properties once or twice in the fall, but when it comes to homes we’re selling, we gotta kick our raking game up a notch (or five).
As long as there’s a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard, the lawns of your listed homes should be as free of dead leaves as possible. If you’re having an open house, that same level of care should extend to the backyard.
Other outdoor maintenance to undertake or make clear to your seller: trimming back overgrown trees and bushes, removing withered summer plants and flowers, and removing any summer-y decor and furniture.
2. Set The Mood
When sweater weather approaches, everyone craves coziness. Appeal to that craving by creating fall ambience at your September to November open houses.
Light candles in each room.
But stay away from heavy scents; while some open house attendees may appreciate the vanilla-fig wafting through the house, others will be heading for the door.
Play mood music.
Reggae jams and the Beach Boys may have helped you create a relaxed, sunny vibe in the summer months. Now that we’re in fall, opt for an intimate, softer, maybe even folk-y soundtrack.
Great fall picks include Bon Iver, Damien Rice, Sarah Harmer, and Nick Drake.
Offer seasonal treats.
When it comes to the snacks and beverages you offer up during open houses, trade slushy summer drinks and fresh fruit for spiced tea, apple cider, and pumpkin-everything baked goods.
3. Create Curb Appeal
Just because summer’s brightest blooms have retired, doesn’t mean you should leave a home’s front porch devoid of any plant life and decor.
Colours play a role in the buying process, so just opt for fall-appropriate colours like bold reds, oranges, yellows and purples.
Marigolds, chrysanthemums and pansies are all perfect picks for the fall months. As Halloween approaches, you can accessorize with a pumpkin and various squash.
4. Swap Out Decor
With the help of a stager or on your own, make a few small decor changes to your listings to help make them feel more seasonally-appropriate.
Add throw pillows in rich fall colours and sumptuous fabrics, like velvet.
Lighting dimmers are very inexpensive and easy to install. Being able to customize the level of brightness helps create a cozy fall mood.
Dress up a fireplace.
If your listing has a functional fireplace, you probably don’t want to be bothered with lighting and maintaining a fire during an open house.
Instead, fill it — as a for-show fireplace — with lit pillar candles in glass vases.
5. Sell Coziness
You can tailor your listing descriptions and social media promotion to be fall-specific, too.
Is the house close to a forested trail system, or does it offer a view of trees? Mention the amazing fall colours.
If the home features a beautiful working fireplace, describe cozy nights spent in front of a roaring fire.
Even large kitchens and standout dining rooms can be a fall-selling feature.
Using storytelling techniques, set the scene for prospective buyers by describing a big Thanksgiving meal spent with family and friends.
While vinegar is commonly regarded as the “holy grail” of household products, it can't be used for everything.
Vinegar is certainly useful in freshening up bath towels, de-gunking a dishwasher, or battling stubborn carpet stains.
Given the fact that vinegar is both non-toxic and natural, it’s a desirable cleaning solution. It’s also in high demand
because it’s not high in chemicals. Just because this magical solution offers help around this house in a range of ways
doesn’t mean it’s safe to use across the board. To ensure that you’re only using vinegar where appropriate, below is a
list of things that should never be done with vinegar around the house.
1. Cleaning Marble or Granite
Granite and marble are certainly something that you do not want to ruin or damage. Using vinegar to clean these items could
do just that. This is because the acid in vinegar can etch the natural stone. Instead, use a mild liquid dish detergent mixed with
warm water and your counters will soon be sparkling.
2. Cleaning an Iron
It’s tempting to clean your iron with vinegar to freshen it up, especially since the solution can be safely added to a washing
machine to clean towels and linens. However, doing so presents a danger to your iron. Doing this could damage the tool
internally, causing a clog. Instead, read the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to best clean an iron and avoid the
steam vents clogging by emptying the iron each time you use it.
3. Touching Up Hardwood Floors
This is a part of the household where there’s still some debate as far as vinegar goes. Some argue that vinegar both cleans
and seals their hardwood floors nicely, while others state that it damages the finish. While there is a chance that vinegar could
react well to your hardwood floors, from our point of view, it’s not really worth the risk. Instead, you’d be better suited to use a
cleaner that is specifically formulated for hardwood floors, easily found at your local hardware or grocery store. If you simply
must try vinegar on your flooring, dilute it with water generously and test it on a small part of the floor to see its reaction.
4. Wiping Down Electronics
Since vinegar is known for cleaning items so thoroughly, you may think it’d be a great way to strip your laptop or even
smartphone screen of fingerprints and germs. This is not the case. Since many electronics have a thin layer of oleophobic
coating to improve their appearance and limit fingerprints and smudging, vinegar is a danger to these products. The acid in
vinegar can strip this film off completely.
5. Mixing with Bleach
Bleach and vinegar are both highly regarded and widely used cleaning solutions, but that doesn’t mean that they should be
mixed together. When they are mingled, in fact, they produce chlorine gas. This was the substance used to clear trenches in
World War I. Therefore, this is definitely not something you want within the walls of your home, so definitely don’t mix these
two solutions together for any reason.
6. Cleaning Cast Iron Pots
Cast iron pots and skillets are valuable tools in the kitchen, and for that reason, you want to keep them in working order.
These kitchen tools build up a layer of grease and grime that demand a thorough cleaning. The cleaning shouldn’t be done
with vinegar. Vinegar can have an adverse reaction with cast iron, inducing rust. To keep your pans pristine, rinse them simply
with water or gentle soap and water if desired.
7. Cleaning Egg Stains
While this may not be something you run into too frequently, egg stains do occur when you drop an egg on the floor
accidentally. If this happens to you, opt for a different cleaning solution than vinegar. Using vinegar can cause a spilled egg
to coagulate due to the acid in the vinegar. This will make the stain more difficult to remove.
Vinegar is undoubtedly a valuable cleaning agent, but avoid using vinegar with these items in order to maintain a clean and
Need a hand during dinner prep? You're likely using one to open the refrigerator door -- even if you just finished handling raw meat. If left untreated, refrigerator, freezer, and oven handles become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Scrub handles down once a week with a mix of 1 part hot water and 1 part vinegar.
Keep your pearly whites clean and your toothbrush holder cleaner. Throw the dirty bathroom accessory in the dishwasher once a week, or sterilize it by hand with hot water and soap. It's also a good idea to sterilize individual toothbrushes, especially during flu season. Boil brushes in water for two to three minutes.
Think of all the times you've coughed, sneezed, or blown your nose at your desk. Now think of the last time you cleaned your mouse and keyboard. Time to banish bacteria and prevent germs from spreading in your office. Detach your computer's keyboard and mouse, then dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in soapy water and gently scrub.
Place mats are great at protecting wood finishes from food stains, but they get filthy fast. Rinse plastic or vinyl place mats with warm water and soap. Let dry completely. Fabric mats can be thrown in the laundry machine with like-color linens, but be sure to hand-wash anything embroidered.
Keep your balance without picking up any pathogens. Use damp paper towels soaked in hot water and vinegar to scrub down railings. Wipe dry with a polishing cloth. Give doorknobs the same disinfection.
Grimy hands touch light switches and lamp knobs every day. Disinfect with a slightly damp cloth soaked in hot water and vinegar. Wipe dry with a polishing cloth.
7. Reusable Shopping Bags
Reusable shopping bags are great: They hold a ton and provide an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. However, the bags can start to smell and become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold if not cleaned regularly. Wash cloth grocery bags in your laundry machine, or invest in plastic bags that can easily be wiped down.
It's easy to just refill ice cube trays without a thought, but trays are susceptible to picking up food remnants or odors inside your freezer. Each time they're empty, give the trays a thorough wash with hot water and dish soap.
Put down the bottle. Before you take another sip, draw a hot, soapy bath for it. Let soak for five to 10 minutes. Use a bottle brush to scrub the interior, and utilize a toothpick to get inside the mouthpiece. Rinse thoroughly.
Faucets are hands-down the dirtiest thing in your home. Scrub handles daily with hot water and dish soap. For a shiny surface, make a paste with baking soda and vinegar, apply it to the faucet, let sit, then rinse off.
Latte spilled during a rough commute? We're here to help you out of this sticky situation. Use a rag soaked in hot water and dish soap to scrub the inside of a cup holder. Then use a toothpick to pick off any remaining gunk. Use a clean rag to towel dry.
Residential sales forecast to slow further this year but recover next year
Market headwinds are slowing the growth rate of home prices in B.C. but not reversing it, according to real estate association
Home sales across Greater Vancouver may be soft so far this year compared with the past couple of years, but that won’t be
enough to bring average prices down, according to a forecast by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).
In its quarterly outlook, the BCREA predicted that Greater Vancouver home sales on the MLS for the whole of 2018 will total
37,200 units, which is down 10.7 per cent compared with 2017 – but that transactions will recover somewhat in 2019 to rise
3.7 per cent.
The report said the average Greater Vancouver home sale price this year will be $1.08 million, which is 4.7 per cent higher
than 2017’s average price of $1.03 million. BCREA added that it expected a continued slight rise of 2.3 per cent next year,
to just over $1.1 million. This average encompasses all property types and all areas of the region, and doesn’t take into
account larger variables between different property types and neighbourhood sub-markets.
“The housing market continues to be supported by a strong economy,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist.
“However, slower economic growth is expected over the next two years as the economy is nearing full employment and
consumers have stepped back from their 2017 spending spree.”
Across the province, residential resales are forecast to fall nine per cent to 94,200 units this year, following 103,700 unit sales
in 2017, and stay flat in 2019. However, the BCREA said that B.C. sales are “expected to remain above the 10-year average
of 84,800 units into 2020.”
Filmed in Vancouver
We’re ready for our close-up! Vancouver’s film and TV show biz pumps $1 billion per year into the local economy, and with blockbuster flicks like Deadpool, Skyscraper, 50 Shades of Grey and Star Trek filmed here, word is out that Vancouver is spreading its own Hollywood glitter.
Chalk it up to lower production costs, close proximity to a range of available backdrops – sparkling ocean, sandy beaches, lush rainforests and soaring mountains, for starters – and a mild climate conducive to year-round shooting. Whatever the case, Vancouver is critically acclaimed by movie producers, directors and celebrities alike. In fact, the city has a long history with celebrity lore, back since Gary Cooper hitched a ride to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on a passing street-cleaning machine.
Of course, it’s not just big-name cinematic releases that shoot in Vancouver – plenty of your favourite TV flicks are brought to life here, too. The city has become a sci-fi and fantasy hub, starting back when the original X-Files series filmed in the ‘90s (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson also returned to shoot the series reboot). Other small-screen fan favourites shot in Vancouver include Riverdale, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Supernatural, Once Upon a Time, Arrow and The Flash, as well as old-school series spanning the range of 21 Jump Street to MacGyver.
While visiting, take note of big white trailers parked around the city, with cables snaking down footpaths and casually dressed crews milling about with walkie-talkies – you might be witnessing the makings of the next Hollywood blockbuster. That’s a wrap!
The garage is often the last place in a home that gets organized. But with the right plan and some motivation, you can organize and clean your garage in no time. Here are eight ways to organize your garage.
1. Pegboard Organizer
Pegboards are great for organizing small tools and supplies in a neat and orderly fashion. Not only are they easy to install, but you can cut them down to whatever size you need and put them pretty much anywhere on the wall. Pegboards are best suited for smaller items, such as screwdrivers, hammers, measuring tools, and gardening items. You can also draw outlines of each item on the pegboard so you know where everything goes and when something is missing.
2. Vertical Storage
Storing larger items vertically is a great way to free up floor space in your garage. Bicycles, for instance, can be stored vertically on a pole or hung on the ceiling with hooks. Just ensure you are using a secure method when storing things vertically and make sure they do not interfere with the movement of the garage door.
3. Slat Wall Storage
A slat wall is another great solution for organizing loose items in your garage. While similar to a pegboard, a slat wall is stronger and can hold larger items, such as shovels, rakes, brooms and even garden hoses. You can use hooks to mount items or install baskets to store smaller things, like paint brushes or cleaning supplies.
4. Movable Workbenches
Workbenches are handy for DIY projects but they can get in the way when they are not in use. An easy solution to this problem is building a worktable that can be folded up and tucked away at the end of the day. If you already have a workbench, you can put castors on the legs to make it mobile. You might not be able to hide it in a corner, but you will be able to move it out of the way when you are not working on a big project.
5. Sports Storage
Storing sports equipment in the garage can be challenging, but there are easy solutions out there to keep everything neat and organized. For balls, consider hanging a wire wall basket. These handy devices make it easy to retrieve the ball when you need it while also keeping them from rolling all over the garage. For larger sports equipment, such as baseball bats and hockey sticks, you can store them upright in an old pallet. You can also build a rolling cart for the equipment, complete with shelving space and a wire basket for balls.
6. Ceiling Storage
When organizing the garage, the biggest key is to free up as much floor space as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by installing storage options in the ceiling. There are a number of ways you can do this and your preference depends largely on what you need stored. If you have a lot of loose items, for instance, you can build a vertical shelf that will hold large tubs for storage. This is a great solution for seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations.
Adding shelving in the garage is one of the easiest and most popular ways to get organized. You can build shelves out of an array of different materials, including recycled goods, and place them wherever you have wall space. If you are installing shelves, consider placing items in larger containers to help keep everything organized and looking neat.
8. Create Groupings
Before you begin hanging things and tidying up, it is important to organize all of the items you have accumulated over the years. An easy way to get started is by grouping things together based on their similarities. Put all of the gardening supplies, for instance, in the same group and mark a space for them in your storage system. This will help you get better organized and give you a better idea of the types of storage you need.
Vancouver housing sales drop as prices flatline
Home sales in the Vancouver region have tumbled to their lowest level in six years while prices flatline, with listings languishing on the market.
There have been fewer home buyers recently but prices tend to be slow to react before declining, said real estate economist Tom Davidoff of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.
“Prices are slow to adjust,” Mr. Davidoff said in an interview on Wednesday. “But there are reasons for optimism if you’re a millennial buyer. The price momentum has certainly slowed and there is reason to think you will see a further softening of the market going forward.”
Total residential sales volume last month fell to 2,425 transactions, down 37.7 per cent from 3,893 sales in June, 2017. Last month’s sales, the lowest for June since 2012, were 28.7 per cent under the 10-year average for the month, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
“Before prices fall, you tend to see sales activity fall first,” Mr. Davidoff said.
The benchmark price for all housing types in Greater Vancouver has flattened, slipping to $1,093,600 − down $400 from the previous month but up 9.5 per cent since June, 2017.
The benchmark price is an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area.
“Buyers are less active today. This is allowing the supply of homes for sale to accumulate to levels we haven’t seen in the last few years,” board president Phil Moore said in a statement.
The total number of listings soared to 11,947 last month, up 40.3 per cent from 8,515 in June, 2017.
“Rising interest rates, high prices and more restrictive mortgage requirements are among the factors dampening home buyer activity today,” Mr. Moore said.
Prices were flat month-over-month for townhouses sold, with the benchmark reaching $859,800 in June, up $300 from May and a 15.3-per-cent gain over the past year.
Prices began surging regionally in mid-2013. Those huge spikes ended in mid-2016, shortly before the B.C. government introduced the foreign-buyers tax in August of that year for the Vancouver area.
The average price for detached houses sold in Greater Vancouver reached $1,754,795 last month, up 2.4 per cent from a year earlier. The region’s condo market saw a 5.7-per-cent gain over the past year to hit an average of $693,626.
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board saw a total of 1,452 sales last month, down 43.5 per cent from a year earlier. In the board’s territory, which includes the sprawling suburb of Surrey, the average price for all residential property types dipped to $748,709 last month, down 0.4 per cent from June, 2017.
On the higher-end part of the market, prices are dropping. On Vancouver’s west side, the benchmark price for detached properties slipped to $3,392,500 in June, down 1.1 per cent over the past month and a 6.5-per-cent decrease over the past year.
An annual 0.2-per-cent property surtax will be imposed by British Columbia’s NDP government on the portion valued above $3-million and up to and including $4-million; for the portion above $4-million, a 0.4-per-cent annual rate applies.
For example, the owner of a property assessed at $4-million will fork over extra taxes of $2,000 next year, while the owner of a $6-million home will cough up an extra $10,000.
The NDP got the idea of the surtax from Rhys Kesselman, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy, who proposed the concept in early 2016, although he envisaged a formula that would have lessened the surtax burden on homeowners who pay B.C. income tax.
Mr. Davidoff, who supports the surtax, has been the target of booing at protests against the NDP’s housing policies.
He said many homeowners perceive their large price gains are the result of hard work and skill in investing in housing as an asset, but that clashes with the NDP’s view that the time is ripe to tax millionaires who benefited through sheer luck from the real estate boom. “Of course you want to avoid taxing those who scrimp and save,” Mr. Davidoff said.
Benchmark prices in Greater Vancouver for detached houses are up 0.7 per cent over the past year to $1,598,200. Whistler, B.C., has been one of markets escaping the cooling-off trend, with the benchmark price for detached properties rising 9.5 per cent over the past year to hit $1,716,200 in June.