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Greater Vancouver housing market favoured buyers in June

“Overall conditions have trended in favour of buyers in our marketplace in recent months,” Eugen Klein, REBGV president said. “This means buyers are facing less competition and have more selection to choose from compared to earlier in the year.” 

VANCOUVER, B.C. – July 4, 2012 – The number of residential property sales hit a 10-year low in Greater Vancouver for June, while prices remained relatively stable. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 2,362 in June, a 27.6 per cent decline compared to the 3,262 sales in
June 2011 and a 17.2 per cent decline compared to the 2,853 sales in May 2012. June sales were the lowest total for the month in the region since 2000 and 32.2 per cent below the 10-year June sales average of 3,484. Click here to view complete Real Estate Board Statistics for June 2012.

Spring activity remains balanced in the Greater Vancouver
housing market VANCOUVER, B.C.  June 4, 2012

The number of properties listed for sale continued to increase in the Greater Vancouver housing market in May. 

The MLS® HPI benchmark price* for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver currently sits at $625,100, up 3.3 per cent compared to May 2011 and up 2.4 per cent over the last three months. The benchmark price for all residential properties in the Lower Mainland** is $558,300, which is a 3 per cent increase compared to May 2011 and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to three months ago.

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The Mortgage Minute - Changes to Mortgage Rules - Peter Kinch - Dominion Lending

Ottawa caps CMHC mortgages at 25 years

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has outlined new rules aimed at reining in a hot housing market and ensuring Canadians aren't taking on more debt than they can afford. Flaherty laid out a series of changes to the rules that govern the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Crown corporation that effectively oversees the housing market by insuring the vast majority of Canadian mortgages. The most important new change is that the maximum amortization period has been reduced to 25 years, down from 30. The longer a mortgage is spread out, the lower the monthly mortgage payments are — but the more the borrower ends up paying overall over time.

The impact of the change is likely to be significant. It's about the same as a 0.9 percentage point increase on a typical mortgage, Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic noted. Indeed, the numbers add up. A $300,000 mortgage spread over 30 years at 4.0 per cent would cost $1,426 a month to pay back. That same mortgage amortized over only 25 years increases the monthly payment by $152 or 10 per cent to $1,578 a month. Ultimately though, the higher monthly payment saves the borrower money in the long run. The total interest payments are $213,558.91 on the 30-year mortgage, but only $173,416.20 on the 25-year one.

The shortened amortization is also likely to affect a huge segment of the market, as about 40 per cent of all new mortgages were amortized over 30 years last year, the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals estimates. Anyone who needed or wanted a 30-year mortgage before is going to have to qualify under tougher 25-year requirements now.


Ottawa has now moved three times to rein in the maximum mortgage term, since the CMHC briefly started insuring mortgages with 40-year terms in 2006. The limit was brought down to 35 years, then 30 and now the more traditional 25. "The reductions to the maximum amortization period since 2008 would save a typical Canadian family with a $350,000 mortgage about $150,000 in borrowing costs over the life of that mortgage," Flaherty said. "Our government has encouraged Canadians to borrow responsibly," Flaherty said. "Most Canadians have done so." At 25 years, the maximum amortization period for CMHC-backed loans is now back to where it had historically been before the Harper government began raising the period after taking office in 2006. Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae made that very point in question period on Thursday, asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper if raising CMHC's limit to 40 years in the first place was a mistake. "The government has altered rules a number of times and will continue to do so on a prudent and flexible manner depending on the circumstances," the prime minister replied.


Refinancing limit set at 80%

Flaherty also outlined a few other measures Thursday. The government has lowered the total amount that Canadians can withdraw when refinancing their homes to 80 per cent of the home's value, from 85 per cent. "This will promote saving through home ownership and encourage homeowners to prudently manage borrowings against their homes," Flaherty said. Flaherty also moved to cap the maximum gross debt service ratio at 39 per cent and the maximum total debt service ratio at 44 per cent in order to get CMHC insurance. Banks calculate the former by adding up mortgage payments and property taxes on a home loan, and dividing by the borrower's income. The latter adds in other debt payments such as lines of credit and credit cards to the top side of the ledger. Although they both have obscure, technical names, they're both effectively just limits on how much debt a borrower is allowed to take on as a percentage of their overall income. That move, too, is aimed at making sure borrowers can't bite off more than they can chew. The final change was to limit CMHC insurance to homes priced under $1 million. "Wealthy people can borrow whatever they want from banks, and they can work that out from banks," Flaherty said. "That is not my concern."

 July deadline

That effectively means that a homebuyer who wants to purchase a home for more than $1 million can't get insurance on it — which in turn means the buyer will have to come up with the 20 per cent down payment requirement in order to get an uninsured mortgage. So under any circumstance, any new borrower wanting to buy a home of $1 million or more is going to have to put $200,000 down at a minimum. That's also likely to have a major impact on a comparatively small segment of the market.

"Although this could create some market dislocations in the just-under-$1-million segment, it's consistent with CMHC's recent efforts to focus its insurance business on encouraging owner-occupied purchases among average Canadians," BMO economist Michael Gregory noted. All of the changes will be in effect as of July 9, 2012. In the interim, the action in hot Canadian housing markets is likely to get even hotter, experts say, as borrowers scramble to get in ahead of the more stringent rules.

"As we’ve observed around prior mortgage rule changes, some housing market activity will likely be pulled forward ahead of the implementation date," Kavcic noted. But there's likely to be a subsequent pullback, too, he says. The last time Ottawa tinkered with CMHC rules, home sales fell by three per cent in the two months following the implementation date.  The Canadian Real Estate Association reacted coolly to the news on Thursday, calling it a "measured response" to rein in debt loads, but taking pains to note that the home resale market contributes $20 billion a year to Canada's economy and as such, is deserving of caution. "Going forward, we would urge the government to consider the impact of further interventions in the market carefully," CREA said.






Greater Vancouver housing market maintains a steady spring pace  May 02-2012

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Home sale and listing activity has maintained a consistent pace on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver in recent months, which has helped create balanced conditions for the region’s housing market.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,799 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in April 2012. This represents a 13.2 per cent decline compared to the 3,225 sales recorded in April 2011 and a decline of 2.6 per cent compared to the 2,874 sales in March 2012.

Census: Canada's growth fastest in G8 as population hits 33.5 million

Canada's population of 33.5 million people is growing faster than that of any other G8 nation — fuelled primarily by immigration — while the booming West continues to reshape this country's demographic landscape, a new census has revealed.

Canadian Population Census

Canada's population of 33.5 million people is growing faster than that of any other G8 nation — fuelled primarily by immigration — while the booming West continues to reshape this country's demographic landscape, a new census has revealed.More...

OTTAWA — Canada's population of 33.5 million people is growing faster than that of any other G8 nation — fuelled primarily by immigration — while the booming West continues to reshape this country's demographic landscape, a new census has revealed.


The latest national head-count, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, shows strong and steady growth in nearly every corner of a country that remains firmly in the grip of a westward shift in population power — one that will see growing political and economic influence from Western Canada, observers say.


Up from 31.6 million at the time of the previous census in 2006, the Canadian population remains the smallest among the G8 but by far the fastest-growing, with a 5.9 per cent growth rate in the past five years that not only exceeds the 4.4 per cent rise in the U.S., but also Canada's own previous increase of 5.4 per cent between 2001 and 2006.


Sustaining the growth spurt is Canada's open-arms approach to immigration, a phenomenon that has become twice as important as natural increase — the difference between births and deaths — in driving the country's population upward.


Initial results of the 2011 census — conducted last year under a cloud of controversy after the Conservative government's elimination of the mandatory long-form questionnaire — show Alberta again leading all provinces in population growth (10.8 per cent since the last census in 2006) and its two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, outpacing the country's 31 other metropolitan areas with soaring increases of more than 12 per cent in the number of residents over the past five years.


The first batch of data from last year's census is peppered with indicators of the West's growing importance, a trend that was also evident in the 2006 population tally.


For the first time in Canadian history, the proportion of the population living west of Ontario (30.7 per cent) is greater than the number of people living to the east (30.6 per cent). The population shift has already had political implications; the West's growth was recognized in an electoral reform package recently approved by Parliament that will boost the number of MPs from Alberta and B.C. by six each, along with 15 new members from Ontario and three from Quebec.


This symbolic east-to-west shift has been more a gradual one than a sea change between now and the last census, says Michael Holden, a senior economist with the Canada West Foundation. "30.7 per cent of Canadians live in Western Canada now. Fifty years ago, it was 26.4 per cent," he noted.


Nevertheless, "on the political side we've already seen for the first time ever, really, a majority government that was brought into power on the strength of its performance in Ontario and Western Canada, as opposed to the sort of traditional Ontario-Quebec political coalition," Holden said.


The Conservative government's base is strongest in Alberta and elsewhere in Western Canada, he said. As those parts of the country grow "it's more likely that we'll see increasing western influence in decision-making in Ottawa," he said.


That could present challenges in forming a national forward-looking policy, "which for the first time ever has to have a more significant western Canadian component because this region accounts for about 40 per cent of national economic output now, and it's growing quickly."


The census also shows clearly that Saskatchewan has emerged as a full partner with Alberta in the oil-and-gas-fuelled economic boom that's attracting both immigrants from abroad and migrants from other parts of Canada.


"When we observe the high immigration, and a lot of internal migration, people will tend to go where they can find work," said Marc Hamel, director general of Statistics Canada's census program.


For the first time since the 1986 census, when the number of Saskatchewan residents briefly topped one million, the province's once-declining numbers — a net decrease of 1.1 per cent was registered between 1996 and 2006 — have been emphatically reversed in the past five years and the population lifted to 1,033,381.


Another sign of Saskatchewan's population boom, powered by its above-average growth rate of 6.7 per cent, is the spiking number of people moving to the province's principal cities, Regina and Saskatoon, both seeing population increases of around 10 per cent since 2006.


It's clear, said University of Victoria census historian Peter Baskerville, that "the economy is shifting to Saskatchewan and Alberta in terms of resources, and manufacturing is declining in the central belt of Ontario and Quebec — that's been going on for a lot of years."


But even in parts of the country that couldn't quite match the pace of growth witnessed in the Prairies, there were substantial increases in population, the census data shows.


British Columbia's share of Canada's population reached a new high of 13.1 per cent, with the province's total residents up seven per cent to 4.4 million. Kelowna, which grew by 10.8 per cent since 2006, was the country's fourth-fastest-growing city after Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon.


Ontario, despite being hit hard by the recession of 2008-09 and facing painful adjustments in the manufacturing sector — most notably the auto industry — increased its population to 12.9 million and its overall share of the country's population to a highest-ever 38.4 per cent.


Two Ontario cities facing particularly hard economic times — Windsor and Thunder Bay — did experience population decreases, a rarity among Canada's urban centres during a generally widespread period of growth, especially in major metropolitan areas.


And Quebec, while seeing its share of Canada's population dip slightly to 23.6 per cent, actually accelerated its growth rate from 4.3 per cent in 2006 to 4.7 per cent in the latest census period. The province, which now has more than 7.9 million people, is also on pace to reach the eight-million milestone in the coming months.


Meanwhile, the same magnetic attraction that oil wealth appears to be having in Western Canada seems to be boosting the number of people moving to — and staying in — petroleum-rich Newfoundland and Labrador. Canada's easternmost province, which had not recorded a period of population growth since 1986, notched its numbers up by 1.8 per cent to 514,536 people.


Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all had higher rates of population growth in the 2011 census than in the 2006 count.


Manitoba and the Yukon also experienced significant jumps in their growth rates because of influxes of immigrants.


Even though there's been a slight increase in the number of Canadians classified as living in rural areas — agricultural districts, small towns beyond the orbit of larger centres and most of the northern territories — the much faster growth of cities has pushed the proportion of rural Canadians to a historic low of 18.9 per cent.


In contrast, more than one-third of all Canadians — 35 per cent of the population — now live in one of the country's three largest cities: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Each of those centres grew substantially over the past five years, the gains — once again — driven by the arrival of tens of thousands of immigrants.


As the single most important factor affecting the size of Canada's citizenry, the ongoing influx of newcomers to the country offers the promise of economic renewal and multicultural evolution but also presents major challenges in integrating and accommodating immigrant communities.


"I think Canadians are still quite supportive of immigration," said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies. "I think they understand — and this (census) will only reconfirm their understanding — that Canada needs immigration."


But Jedwab, whose research in recent years has illuminated significant levels of concern among Canadians about immigration from Muslim nations, said, "the issue is going to be the sources of immigration, what countries people are coming from. That's still going to be a source of concern in terms of issues of accommodation in Quebec, and integration, and we'll continue to have debates about that."


Surrey absorbs up to 1,000 new citizens a month over the last decade.

Recent immigrant to Canada Laura Yan attends ESL class at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. in Surrey. Census reports that the population of Surrey has grown 18.6 per cent in the last five years. The city has been absorbing up to 1,000 new citizens every month for the last 10 years.More...

Surrey’s population exploded between 2006 and 2011, jumping almost 20 per cent, or about three times the provincial average, according to the latest census.

And most of the growth came from immigration, which is a boon to English-as-a-second-language schools, said Michelle Lee at the SUCCESS Training Insitute, which has takes in students from China, Korea, the Punjab, Eastern Europe and Arabic-speaking countries.

The five classes the school offered five years ago have tripled to 15 classes in the morning, afternoon and evening, catering to 250 students on any given day.

And there is demand for more.

“We have a very, very long waiting list of more than 100 people,” she Lee.

Laura Yan, 35, moved to Surrey from China last year because she wanted a better future for her four-year-old daughter. She had to wait three months to get into English classes.

“I move here because I choose a new life,” Yan said.

Oswald Chan, 38, brought his family to Surrey because he heard there were more jobs, cheaper homes and a better lifestyle for families than in other cities in Metro Vancouver.

“We wanted to have some better environment for children,” Chan said.

Surrey is Metro Vancouver’s second largest city, with a population of 468,250, a hike of 18.6 per cent over five years. The area defined by the federal riding of Fleetwood — Port Kells jumped the most, by 30 per cent.

Mayor Dianne Watts said Surrey has been gaining 800 to 1,000 new citizens every month for the past 10 years. She said one-third of the city’s population is under 19 and 5,000 babies are born every year.

The city plans to continue to provide a mix of housing, including single family lots as well as higher-density developments near the city’s urban cores.

She said the city’s challenge is ensuring there are enough schools and post-secondary institution, effective transit and housing for an aging population.

Elizabeth Model of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association said her members are enjoying the economic boom that the higher population brings.

“You see more people out walking in business suits,” she said. “It’s really changing the face of Whalley.”

Model said the influx of people has meant “developers are coming in and buying up land.”

She said the area needs “more and better” transit to serve the area.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Surrey+absorbs+citizens+month+over+last+decade/6123163/story.html#ixzz1luvlcl00





Average performance for housing market in 2012


chartThe British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) recently released its 2012 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update.

“Modest economic growth at home and abroad is expected to limit growth in consumer demand both this year and in 2013,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to increase 2.1 per cent from 76,817 units in 2011 to 78,400 units this year, increasing a further 2.7 per cent to 80,500 units in 2013. The 15-year average is 79,000 unit sales. A record 106,310 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

"While European sovereign debt concerns and a sluggish US economy will continue to impact consumer confidence, strong demand in the bond market is expected to keep mortgage interest rates at or near record lows for most of 2012,” added Muir.

Home prices in most BC markets are forecast to experience little change over the next 24 months as the supply of homes for sale more closely matches consumer demand. The average MLS® residential price in the province is forecast to edge down 2.2 per cent to $548,500 this year and remain relatively unchanged in 2013, albeit increasing 0.8 per cent to $553,000.

logoHome sales increase in 2011: BCREA


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that the dollar volume of homes sold through Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC climbed 14.3 per cent to $43.1 billion in 2011.

A total of 76,817 homes were sold in BC in 2011, up 2.9 per cent from 2010.

The average annual MLS® residential price climbed 11.1 per cent to $561,026 over the same period.

“Low mortgage interest rates and gradually improving economic conditions contributed to a moderate increase in consumer demand last year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “BC home sales came in about on par with their 15-year average, but fell well below their ten-year average of over 88,000 units.”

Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the North experienced the largest percentage increase in unit sales last year, while consumer demand edged lower in Victoria and on Vancouver Island.

BC residential unit sales in December dipped 1.7 per cent to 4,186 units, while the average MLS® residential price was 2.8 per cent lower than in December 2010. 


Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), 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 GVR, 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 GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.