Steve Flynn  RE/MAX Crest Realty- Burnaby 

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Output in the the Canadian economy expanded 0.3 per cent in January, offsetting declines in the two previous months.  The construction sector recorded positive growth for the first time in eight months, led by a 3.1 per cent increase in residential construction. The GDP of offices of real estate agents and brokers increased 4.1 per cent in January following four months of decline.


We expect the Canadian economy will expand just 1.5 per cent in 2019 as it struggles to rotate from consumption and residential investment led growth to an expansion driven by export and business investment.  The latter will be a particularly difficult shift as the Alberta energy sector continues to face significant challenges. That means little chance of further rate tightening by the Bank of Canada in 2019 and therefore sustained lower mortgage rates this year.



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


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Canadian retail sales declined for a third straight month, falling 0.3 per cent in January.  Sales were lower in only 4 of 11 subsectors, with lower sales of motor vehicles and parts contributing to the majority of the decline. Excluding that sector, retail sales were 0.1 per cent higher. In BC retail sales were up 1.5 per cent on a monthly basis in January but were just 2.6 per cent higher year-over-year. In contrast to the national trend, sales of motor vehicles and parts were the largest contributor to gains in BC.
 
Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), registered 1.5 per cent in the twelve months to February,  a slight uptick from 1.4 per cent in January.  The Bank of Canada's three measures of trend inflation were essentially unchanged, averaging just over 1.8 per cent.  In BC, provincial consumer price inflation was 2.2 per cent in the 12 months to February. 
 
With inflation well in-check and meager retail spending growth providing further evidence of a slow first quarter, we expect that the Bank of Canada will remain sidelined for most, if not all of 2019.  As a result, lower mortgage rates should prevail in 2019, providing a much needed boost to home sales. 



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


 
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I have sold a property at 4875 Eldorado MEWS in Vancouver.
Beautiful and rarely find 13' ceiling height townhouse style unit, bright & spacious 1 bedroom unit. Private entrance with a large patio for enjoying coffee or tea in sunny days, facing quite courtyard. Wide plank laminate flooring. Daycare Centre on site. Central location steps to public transits, shoppers drug mart, restaurants. Walking distance to Norquay Parks, schools, new open T&T Supermarket on Kingsway. Close to Metrotown & Downtown. 8 minutes walk to Nanaimo Skytrain Station. Well managed building. 
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Vancouver, BC – March 20, 2019.


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) is pleased with the measures announced in Budget 2019 that will help address housing affordability in British Columbia. REALTORS® in BC recognize that home ownership is a difficult goal to achieve for many British Columbians, and the policies announced in this budget provide meaningful assistance with this complex challenge.
 
BCREA supports the newly announced First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program, which introduces shared equity mortgages that will help to directly foster affordability. The budget also proposes increasing the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, further supporting first-time buyers.

“British Columbians who aspire to home ownership need to be able to achieve this goal to assure a sustainable future for our province,” says Darlene Hyde, BCREA CEO. “REALTORS® have advocated for modernization of the HBP for a long time and we’re pleased to see it addressed in Budget 2019.”

The BC real estate sector makes important direct contributions to economic growth in the province, ultimately accounting for close to ten per cent of real GDP in the province through new home construction and residential and commercial real estate transactions. Home sales also generate significant spin-off expenditures. According to a 2017 study from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), each home sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC between 2014 and 2016 generated $67,800 in related expenditures, such as moving costs, renovations and legal fees following the sale. Each transaction also generated an average of $7,000 in Property Transfer Tax.

BCREA also welcomes the following measures announced in Budget 2019:

  • making the National Housing Strategy a permanent program,
  • the announcement of an additional $10 billion and an extension of the Rental Construction Financing Initiative until 2027-28—a strong policy direction that will assist with assuring market sustainability,
  • increased sharing of financial data among federal and provincial governments and their agencies as part of anti-money laundering/anti-terrorist financing efforts; this issue can be best addressed with close collaboration among the federal and provincial governments, along with industry,    
  • the announcement of an Expert Panel on Housing Supply and Affordability. These are significant issues in British Columbia, and a well-chosen panel can bring collective expertise and forward-thinking strategy to the issue. In the near future, BCREA will provide the federal and provincial governments with recommendations for strong potential appointees. 


Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.

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Vancouver, BC - March 14, 2019.


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 4,533 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February, a decline of 27 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $678,625, a decline of 9.3 per cent from February 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $3.08 billion, a 33.8 per cent decline from the same month last year.


Prospective homebuyers continue to be sidelined by the mortgage stress test, said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Deputy Chief Economist. As a consequence, and despite a strong BC labour market, sales remained slow in February.


Total MLS® residential active listings increased 36.5 per cent to 30,891 units compared to the same month last year. The ratio of sales to active residential listings declined from 27.4 per cent to 14.7 per cent over the same period.


Falling mortgage rates should provide some relief for homebuyers, providing a small boost to affordability heading into the spring, added Ogmundson.




Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.



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Canadian employment posted a second straight month of strong growth, adding 56,000 jobs in February. Overall, total employment was up 2 per cent over the past 12 months, with gains concentrated in full-time work. The national unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent.

In BC, employment grew by 3,600 jobs in February, most of which were full-time jobs.  On a year-over-year basis, employment was up 2.8 per cent. The provincial unemployment rate moved 0.2 points lower to 4.5 per cent, the lowest rate of unemployment in Canada. 



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


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The total value of Canadian building permits fell 5.5 per cent on a monthly basis in January to $8.4 billion. A decline in construction intentions for commercial buildings was the primary driver of the decline.
 
In BC, the total value of permits fell 24 per cent to $1.6 billion after reaching a milestone of $2 billion in December.  A decline in Vancouver commercial building permits was largely responsible for the overall drop in the value of permits, falling 56 per cent on a monthly basis.   Total non-residential permits were down 52 per cent on a monthly basis and were essentially flat year-over-year. Residential permits fell 4.3 per cent compared to December but were up 4.5 per cent year-over-year to $1.19 billion.

Construction intentions in January were mostly down in BC's four census metropolitan areas (CMA):

  • Permits in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA fell 49 per cent on a monthly basis to $33.5 million. Year-over-year, permit values were down 48 per cent.
  • In the Victoria CMA, total permit values were up 19 per cent on a monthly basis to $110.2 million, but were down 28.5 per cent over last year.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, permits values fell for a third straight month, declining 4.5 per cent on a monthly basis to $81.1 million. However, the value of permits was up 42 per cent compared to January 2018.
  • In the Vancouver CMA, the value of permits fell 28 per cent to just over $1 billion. On a year-over-year basis, the value of permits was 15 per cent higher.



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


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The Bank of Canada left its target for the overnight rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that while it had expected weak energy investment and exports due to low Canadian oil prices,  lower consumer spending and housing market activity in spite of a strong labour market led to a more broad based slowdown than it had forecast. On inflation, the Bank expects CPI inflation to run below its 2 per cent target in 2019 due to the drag from lower energy prices and other temporary factors.

The Canadian economy sputtered to the finish line in 2018, growing just 0.4 per cent in the final quarter of the year and actually contracting in the final month.  Given that weak hand-off to the first quarter, the drag from lower Alberta oil production and the ongoing negative impact of the mortgage stress test, slow growth will continue into the first half of 2019. That places any further tightening this year by the Bank of Canada in doubt, and raises the possibility of a rate cut should the outlook deteriorate further.  We expect to see further downward movement in mortgage rates, which will help to soften the hit to affordability from the stress test and move some buyers off of the sidelines this spring. 



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.



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Housing market conditions continue to favour home buyers:


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region* totalled 1,484 in February 2019, a 32.8 per cent decrease from the 2,207 sales recorded in February 2018, and a 34.5 per cent increase from the 1,103 homes sold in January 2019.


Last month’s sales were 42.5 per cent below the 10-year February sales average. “For much of the past four years, we’ve been in a sellers’ market. Conditions have shifted over the last 12 months to favour buyers, particularly in the detached home market,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “This means that home buyers face less competition today, have more selection to choose from and more time to make their decisions.”


There were 3,892 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in February 2019. This represents a 7.8 per cent decrease compared to the 4,223 homes listed in February 2018 and a 19.7 per cent decrease compared to the 4,848 homes listed in January 2019.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,590, a 48.2 per cent increase compared to February 2018 (7,822) and a 7.2 per cent increase compared to January 2019 (10,808).


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for February 2019 is 12.8 per cent. 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.


“Homes priced well for today’s market are attracting interest, however, buyers are choosing to take a wait-and-see approach for the time being,” Moore said. “REALTORS® continue to experience more traffic at open houses. We’ll see if this trend leads to increased sales activity during the spring market.”


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,016,600. This represents a 6.1 per cent decrease over February 2018, a 6.2 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to January 2019.


Sales of detached homes in February 2019 reached 448, a 27.9 per decrease cent from the 621 detached sales recorded in February 2018. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,443,100. This represents a 9.7 per cent decrease from February 2018, a 7.6 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.7 per cent decrease compared to January 2019.


Sales of apartment homes reached 759 in February 2019, a 35.9 per cent decrease compared to the 1,185 sales in February 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $660,300. This represents a four per cent decrease from February 2018, a 5.1 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to January 2019.


Attached home sales in February 2019 totalled 277, a 30.9 per cent decrease compared to the 401 sales in February 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $789,300. This represents a 3.3 per cent decrease from February 2018, a 6.7 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to January 2019.



Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.



Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.


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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.