MAY MARKET UPDATE

 

So, what is going on in our market?  In a nutshell, detached houses continue to be pretty quiet across the board.  Attached strata condo, townhomes, and half duplexes continue to be the hottest product available!  While the majority of our attached strata condos and townhomes sell with multiple offers pushing the values ever higher, many houses can sit for weeks before there is an offer on the table.  As you can see below for both Westside and Eastside product detached houses clearly fall into the buyer’s market category while the two attached strata product are well into strong seller’s markets.

 

While our Provincial governments would like to take the credit for the slower detached market saying that “this is part of a grand plan to make housing affordable”, they can’t.  Prices for houses that are selling have remained relatively stable with only minor drops in price, only the volume of sales have fallen significantly.  So, while the Foreign Home Buyer tax increase, the new Speculators Tax, and the Federal Mortgage Stress Test have slowed the market, they have by no means made housing more affordable.  In fact, since the bulk of activity has now shifted over to strata product, we have seen the price in this category sky rocket making entry level condos and upgrade townhomes/duplexes unaffordable for many local families.   The Stress Test has further hindered families from purchasing their first or second homes.

Having two polarized and disjointed markets puts too much pressure on various price bands and product resulting in dramatic swings and hot spots.  It makes purchasing and selling homes more unpredictable and more stressful for clients. But, holding true since the times of King Solomon, and as I have said many times before, “this too shall pass”.  At some point our markets will reach a point where the trend stops, stabilizes, and then returns back to a more balanced market.  And a balanced market in all product would be happily welcomed by sellers and buyers alike.

We are always here to help you and your friends, we are never too busy to help, and no transaction is too small.

 

MORTGAGE UPDATE  by Paula Siemens

We have just completed the first 4 months post stress test! The new stress test requires that mortgage applications qualify using income from the tax returns using a rate that is 2% above the actual interest rate.

During May we will see how this new stress test will impact the real estate market under these new rules, as any applications approved before Dec. 31, 2017 were approved using the old rules, and the rate holds were good up to April 30th  2018. The month of May will represent the first month with all applications undergoing the new rules.vancouver

Unfortunately the interest rates are on the rise! The Bank of Canada has a mandate to take Canadian interest rates back to “normal”, meaning a prime rate that is 4.5-5% over the next 2-3 years. Currently our prime rate is 3.45% so that means we are potentially going to see 1.55% increase in interest rates if the Bank of Canada follows through with the current mandate. We are expecting 2-3 Bank of Canada increases during 2018 depending on how the Canadian economy performs. February GDP showed an increase of growth of .4% which is higher than the expect.

Be Careful What You Wish For

The Economic Fallout of Housing Price Shocks

The desire of some well-meaning British Columbians for government to drive down the price of homes through demand-side policy may sound practical at first blush. However, when you consider the broad and deep economic toll that a negative shock to home prices would exact on both homeowners and renters, it quickly becomes apparent that such an approach is at best, a mug’s game. BCREA Economics analysis* shows that even a relatively modest negative price shock will produce significant consequences to the BC economy.

Nearly 70 per cent of British Columbian households own their home. A relatively minor 10 per cent negative shock to home prices would extinguish $90 billion of their wealth, or $70,000 of the average home owner’s equity. While some may see this as a paper loss, it will have a significant impact on the economy, as declining household wealth reins in consumer spending. Retail sales would suffer, with an estimated $1.8 billion in forgone revenue in the first year after the shock.

Home construction activity would fall dramatically. Home builders would cut back production 25 per cent; that’s 10,000 fewer housing starts in the first year alone. A negative price shock would markedly slow the expansion of the housing stock, creating even more critical housing supply problems down the road.

Across the economy, a negative home price shock will slow growth. Tens of thousands of jobs will be forfeited. The unemployment rate will shoot up. A 10 per cent negative price shock will slow real GDP growth to 1.5 per cent from a baseline of 2.7 per cent. That’s $3 billion in lost activity. If home prices fell 35 per cent, a level some activists are championing, the BC economy would collapse into recession. The average home owner would have lost $245,000 in equity, housing starts would fall by half, 64,000 jobs would be forfeited – sending the unemployment rate to 7.5 per cent with $4.4 billion in forgone retail sales and a colossal $8 billion loss to GDP in the first year.

This analysis does not account for the negative impact on provincial tax revenues, expanding deficits, ballooning debt and credit downgrade risks.

*Based on simulations using BCREA’s econometric model of the BC economy augmented by a housing Vector Autoregression model.

Article above taken from “Market Intelligence” of the British Columbia Real Estate Association April 4, 2018 publication

 

Working with Pospischil Realty Group is definitely having the A-Team on your side.

Working with Pospischil Realty Group is definitely having the A-Team on your side. Having partnered with them on five separate transactions, I can say with certainty that they maximized our outcomes and did them with such professionalism that we always felt comfortable and confident that our goals would be met. They do a great job of keeping us in the loop all year round on the state of the market and are just really wonderful people to work with. I highly recommend them for your next real estate transaction.

– Lisa and Brian M.

Spring 2018 Market Update

Detached Houses: Detached houses are now consistently in a strong Buyer’s Market with sales ratios* in the Westside neighbourhoods dipping below 10%. (remember Seller’s Markets beginning at 21% SR). The hottest neighbourhood in the Westside is Kitsilano with a 21% sales ratio. So, in actual fact houses in Kits are in a Seller’s Market and the rest of the Westside is in a Buyer’s Market for houses. Go figure?

Detached houses on the Eastside are on average in a sales ratio of 17% just hitting a more balanced market.

Condos & Townhomes: Condos and Townhomes on the Westside of Vancouver are in a hot Seller’s Market with an average sales ratio of 44%. Kitsilano once again leads the pack for activity with an 86% sales ratio followed by Fairview at 72%. The Downtown condo and townhome market is even hotter with an average sales ratio of 53%.

Condo and townhomes on the Eastside are even hotter with an average sales ratio of 72%.

Summary: So, in summary right now is an excellent time to buy a detached house to live in or investment. It is also an excellent time to sell a condo or townhome.

The bottom line is the government intervention programs have hit the upper end of the market hard causing a softening in demand and in turn prices. The consumers, who are mainly locals, have for some time been forced down in the market. They have had to reconsider the definition of a family home to now include half duplexes, townhomes, and condos. The detached home is no longer the goal of the majority of young families wishing to settle in Vancouver. The banks are just not able to make it work for most of them. The new Stress Test launching this spring is not helping the matter making it even more difficult for young families to afford homes in Vancouver. The affordability has instantly dropped by 20% through the introduction of this program.

With the provincial budget coming out as we go to print on this newsletter we wait nervously for what surprises our current government has in store. Whatever it is, rest assured it will not be to improve affordability or to positively assist local families to buy their first or second home. It will likely take more of a negative spin, a new tax perhaps, new restrictions. The current political trend seems to be to ‘take’ or ‘penalize’ rather than ‘assist’. And unfortunately, all these programs cost millions of dollars to implement and administer. Over the long haul they stifle the market making it more difficult for investors to invest, buyers to buy, and sellers to sell. None of the current programs from Municipal to Federal make housing more affordable. They lead you to believe that they do, but they don’t. Housing prices will only fluctuate mildly. Certainly not enough to have any impact on affordability for local families. This can be clearly see in the MLS Housing Price Index Benchmark Price Graph below. Even the 15% Foreign Home Buyers Tax had a marginal impact on price and only on detached. Attached product weathered the storm with only a temporary delay in appreciation. So prices are not being impacted, only market activity.

So, this too will pass. The government will at some point realize that stifling one of our largest industries might not be the best thing for the province. Real estate contributes substantially to our economy. And maybe, just maybe they will begin to loosen their grip around the neck of the market, so it can catch its breath and resume a natural growth pattern.

*Sales Ratio –
The monthly absorption rate of the current inventory of homes.

Home Owner Grant Changes

home owner grant changesAs we all know the provincial government (for the time being) allows homeowners who occupy their property as their principal Residence to claim a ‘Home Owner Grant’. This grant towards your property taxes for people under the age of 65 is $570 in Greater Vancouver. Interestingly enough the province pays $770 for all other areas of BC.

Grant Threshold increased

To qualify for the Home Owner Grant, your property value (assessment) must be below the Grant Threshold. The Grant Threshold has now increased to $1.65M in Greater Vancouver. The grant is reduced by $5 for each $1000 assessed value over the $1.65M. So, properties assessed over $1.714M are not eligible for the grant.

Partitioned Value

Also, here is the interesting part: Did you know you could claim the Home Owners Grant of the partitioned value of your property if it consists of your principal residence and at least one separate residence. The partitioned value of a property is the property’s assessed value divided by the number of residences on that property. To qualify, each residence must have cooking, sleeping, bathroom and living room facilities. Laneway homes, multifamily dwellings like duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes qualify as a separate residence. Unfortunately, a basement suite doesn’t qualify as a separate residence.

Mortgage Update by Paula Siemens

We are 2 weeks into the new B20 mortgage rules. While I am sure we will see further changes as time goes along, here is what we have seen thus far…

• New mortgages with less than 20% down are still qualified using the mortgage qualification rate ( 5.19%) and a 25 yr amortization

• New mortgages with more than 20% down are qualified at 2% above actual rate and a 30 year amortization

• Existing mortgages coming due that were put in place BEFORE October 2016 are grandfathered as long as the loan amount is not altered. Borrowers can get insured rates from a new lender if they transfer their mortgage. This is important as you may be offered a higher rate by the existing lender than what you could get elsewhere if you TRANSFER your mortgage at maturity. The value of the home at the time of your last mortgage must be no greater than $1M.

• Basement suite rental income has changed from an offset of rental to using a maximum of 100% added to the borrowers’ income. Unless, they have 2 or more properties. Credit unions may still offer an offset on a case by case basis. Ask us if it will apply in your case.

City of Vancouver Empty Homes Tax Is Now A Reality

As you have probably heard, The City of Vancouver this past year implemented a tax on vacant properties. The tax is 1% of the properties assessed value. There are several exceptions and provisions within the new regulations, but generally speaking if a residential property is your principal residence where you live or has been rented for the past 6 months it will not be subject to this tax. We are coming up to our first declaration for this tax, and that being said all home owners must make a declaration by February 2nd, 2018 or it will likely be deemed to be vacant, and subject to the tax. This goes for those looking so sell/move as well, it is best to complete the declaration to avoid a potential problem or dispute.

City of Vancouver Empty Homes Tax is Now A Reality

 

The challenge we, and our Lawyer/Notary colleagues see for clients is that this tax (like property tax) runs with the property and the current registered owner (unlike income tax or sales tax specific to an individual or transaction). The problem is the City can potentially review up to two years following a taxation year, and collect the tax from the current owner if it is deemed payable. This is of specific concern for new owners property being finically responsible for a declaration a previous owner has made… a somewhat scary thought.

This all being said, there are ways we can work to reduce this exposure with research on your new prospective home, proper contract clauses, seller signed declarations, and a new title insurance product offering coverage for this exposure. The last of these may be the best way to reduce risk as of this time. We are eager to see how the City will resolve the difficult to overcome aspects within the implementation and execution of this tax.

2017 Client Movie Morning

A big thank you for joining us at the 2017 Client movie morning on Saturday for the premiere screening of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Braving the cold for some treats, prizes, and an excellent movie. Big thanks to the fans coming out in some great costumes, you looked great!

Clients also donated to the Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation raising a total of $500 at this event to bring our company total to $350,000 over the past number of years. Thanks for your support and generosity.

We hope you had as much fun as we did, and we look forward to seeing you in our next event!

Happy holidays…. and until next time…. May the force be with you!

Here are some photos below of the event

View more photos on our facebook: page: https://www.facebook.com/PospischilRealtyGroup/posts/1920267351320195 

2017 Pumpkin Patch, Thank You Vancouver For Your Support!

2017 Pumpkin Patch, Thank You Vancouver For Your Support!.

This past weekend at our annual Pumpkin Patch Fund Raiser Event, we raised $2500 towards cancer research and treatment options (BC Cancer Foundation) and for Trafalgar Elementary School.  You and your neighbours came out by the hundreds to get a fright, pick your favourite pumpkin(s), eat popcorn, cupcakes and play with dozen of halloween toys and monsters to support this great event. Over 300 pumpkins were chosen and a good time had by all!

See more photos and view our eye in the sky of the event below:

Aerial Video: