Gena Smith Belanger

1 604-892-4012

The following letter was issued to The Vancouver Sun for publication earlier today:

 

Letter to the editor:

 

I am concerned about information presented in Lori Culbert’s March 19 article “Flipping on the rise, but still a small portion of sales.” The article listed the “top 10 most lucrative house flips.” Our analysis through the MLS® system found that seven of these ten homes were not “flipped,” but instead rebuilt and re-sold. In some cases, a laneway house was also added to the property.

 

The implication that these homes were re-sold as-is for a quick profit is false and it misleads your readers.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, and the 12,500 REALTORS® we represent, encourage an open public discussion about today’s real estate market. We believe, however, that the information that informs this discussion must be presented factually and in proper context.

 

Yours truly,

 

Darcy McLeod

President

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Read full post

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

January 5th 2016 

 

In a year when the number of homes listed for sale was below historical averages, actual home sales in Metro Vancouver set a new record.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that 2015 home sales were the highest annual total in REBGV history. This was powered early in the year by four straight months with more than 4,000 sales a month from March to June, another first for REBGV.

 

Sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2015 reached 42,326, a 27.8 per cent increase from the 33,116 sales recorded in 2014, and a 48.4 per cent increase over the 28,524 residential sales in 2013.

 

The total number of homes listed for sale on the MLS® in 2015 ranked fifth in the last ten years, while the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) saw double-digit year-over-year price increases.

 

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in 2015 reached 57,249. This is an increase of 2.1 per cent compared to the 56,066 properties listed in 2014 and an increase of 4.6 per cent compared to the 54,742 properties listed in 2013.

 

With sales-to-active-listings ratios above 25 per cent for 11 months in 2015, the Metro Vancouver market experienced seller’s market conditions for much of the year.

 

"Home buyers were active and motivated throughout 2015 despite the pressure on supply of homes on the market," Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. "Housing markets typically experience quieter periods within a calendar year, but that wasn't the case in Metro Vancouver last year."

 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $760,900. This represents an 18.9 per cent increase compared to December 2014.

    

“We often hear economists say that seller’s market conditions put upward pressure on home prices,” McLeod said. “That was certainly the case in 2015, with price increases ranging from 14 to 24 per cent depending on property type.”

    

December summary

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,827 in December 2015, an increase of 33.6 per cent from the 2,116 sales recorded in December 2014 and a 19.8 per cent decline compared to November 2015 when 3,524 home sales occurred.

 

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,021 in December 2015. This represents a 7 per cent increase compared to the 1,888 units listed in December 2014 and a 40.4 per cent decline compared to November 2015 when 3,392 properties were listed.

 

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 6,024, a 41.6 per cent decline compared to December 2014 and a 25.6 per cent decrease compared to November 2015.

 

Sales of detached properties in December 2015 reached 1,136, an increase of 36.4 per cent from the 833 detached sales recorded in December 2014. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 24.3 per cent from December 2014 to $1,248,600.

 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,225 in December 2015, an increase of 34.3 per cent compared to the 912 sales in December 2014.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 14 per cent from December 2014 to $436,200.

 

Attached property sales in December 2015 totalled 466, an increase of 25.6 per cent compared to the 371 sales in December 2014. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 13.6 per cent from December 2014 to $543,700.

 

Download the complete stats package by clicking here.

Read full post

Katia Dmitrieva and Doug Alexander, Bloomberg News | January 23, 2015 | Last Updated: Jan 23 2:16 PM E

 

The Bank of Canada’s bid to stimulate a sluggish economy with a surprise rate cut is getting no help from the nation’s big banks.

With rate cut, sub-2% mortgages are coming to a bank near you

Bank of Canada

 

By this time next week, Canadians borrowing for a home might be looking at the lowest rates in the country’s history as a result of the Bank of Canada’s rate cut.

 

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada’s largest lender, says it has no plans to cut its prime rate to match the central bank’s move, keeping the rate linked to variable mortgages, car loans and other securities, at 3%. Other banks, including Royal Bank of Canada, are also holding off.


“Our decision not to change our prime rate at this time was carefully considered and is based on a number of factors, with the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate only being one of them,” spokesman Mohammed Nakhooda said in an e-mail statement.


The Bank of Canada unexpectedly lowered its overnight lending rate a quarter of a percentage point to 0.75% Wednesday as a plunge in the price of oil dims the outlook for the economy. Prime rates have traditionally moved in lock-step with the central bank’s benchmark level, though there’s been departures in the past.


“The question becomes: Is this going to raise the ire of the Bank of Canada or the government?” John Aiken, analyst at Barclays Plc, said in an interview Thursday. “If you’re doing this to stimulate the economy and it doesn’t flow through into the lending rates, then it does not have the same impact as what was intended.”

Canada’s big five banks last cut their prime rate in April 2009, when they cut to 2.25% from 2.5%, Bloomberg data show.


A spokesman for the Bank of Montreal declined to comment on whether the bank would move its prime rate and a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment. Andrew Chornenky, a spokesman for Bank of Nova Scotia said the bank will make an announcement “if there are any changes to report.”


‘Off Guard’


“I, like the others, were completely caught off guard Thursday,” Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer David McKay said in an interview. “I need to catch up with my team and digest what’s going on in the market and figure out what we’re going to do from here.”


The country’s banks loaned about 74% of total Canadian mortgages, according to the Bank of Canada’s data for the second quarter of 2013.


“The BOC was prompted to cut rates in order to improve the affordability of existing — very high — consumer debt loads as unemployment rises and as incomes stagnate,” Gabriel Dechaine, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity in Toronto, said in a note to clients. “In turn, we believe there will be regulatory pressure on the banks to cut their lending rates,” he said referring to the Bank of Canada and Department of Finance.


The Bank of Canada rate cut comes just months away from the start of the key spring market when activity typically jumps. Home prices have been rallying for at least the last decade in Canada’s largest cities. The average price of a house in Vancouver rose 67% since January 2005 to $638,500  in December. Toronto prices jumped 71% in the same period to $521,300, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.


Oliver


Meanwhile, Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver says he has no intention of pushing Canadian banks to follow the Bank of Canada’s lead and drop their rates.

For his part, Oliver says he won’t interfere with internal decisions of commercial banks.

He also says he has no current plans to introduce new rules for residential mortgages.

Oliver’s approach differs from that of his predecessor, Jim Flaherty, who called the Bank of Montreal in 2013 to express his disapproval of its decision to offer a special low rate.

“I do not intend to interfere with the day-to-day operations of the banks,” Oliver said in a statement Friday.


Spring Season


Five-year variable mortgage rates, which are tied to prime, are at 2.4% for the major banks, according to RateSpy.com, a mortgage rate search engine run by Robert McLister, who also has a mortgage brokerage. He thinks they could go below 2%.


“We haven’t seen that for a while,” McLister said by phone. “You’re going to see fixed rates under 2 1/2%, which has never happened. It’s going to certainly heat up the housing market more.”

Big 5 banks have a discretionary rate on five-year fixed term mortgages at 2.89%, according to the website. Five-year fixed rates currently average 4.79%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


The bank’s prime rates haven’t always moved in tandem with the central bank rate. In December 2008, the country’s lenders failed to immediately match the central bank’s cut. CIBC, Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Toronto-Dominion Bank and National Bank of Canada all cut their prime rates by 50 basis points to 3.5%. That was less than the three- quarters of point rate cut from the Bank of Canada to 1.5%.

Read full post

Below are statistics for Squamish, comparing the real estate market for Decemer 2014 to November 2014 and December of the previous year. As you can see, inventory levels are lower, making it a Seller's Market. We do, however, expect more inventory to come on stream in the spring.

 

 

Read full post