CMHC Downgrades Risk of Investing in Vancouver, expert says no ‘doom and gloom for commercial property prices
It is no news again that the Vancouver real estate market is experiencing a tough time except for 5 neighbourhoods that remain strong. The month of July and early days of the new month of August have been witnessing a slight change in the story. How? Did the housing price exponentially increased overnight? No. But a recent report released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) revealed there is a moderate risk in investing in Greater Vancouver’s real estate.
The improved ratings according to the report is as a result of the decrease in the frequent increase in housing price; thus, lower home prices.
For the first time in a long while, the Vancouver real estate is experiencing its lowest in pricing. The market was at its highest point in 2016 but a different story today.
The bearish market has made the sellers switch seat with the buyers. Even though a reduction in the property price was expected, it wasn’t predicted to be this bad, according to a local realtor, Barry Magee.
Magee’s statement came after his review of the sales data prepared by the Real Estate Boards of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The review revealed the sum of all property sold in Vancouver for the first 6 months of 2019 was lesser than the same recorded from 2016 ― $15.6 billion (2019) compared with $38.1 billion (2016).
The sharp drop and the forecasts of more drops were considered by Magee to be a comeback to reality and that it would be better for the society in general. He considered the housing price to be outrageous.
Buyers now have the superior power to dictate a real estate worth instead of the other way round in previous years like 2016.
This year the Canadian real estate trends are navigating with uncertainty. Social change and fast-paced technology transform how people work and leave.
The real estate sector faces rising pressure. Hence, they have to respond with new ideas by accelerating digital transformation. Also, being more innovative with deal strategy and rethinking how to address affordability.
People who embrace change and creativity. May find themselves in a position to take advantage of the shifting environment. And also grow with confidence.
Vancouver’s economy is predicted to grow by 2.3 percent in 2019 after seeing a growth of 2.9 percent in 2018. The region’s real estate fundamentals look good, even after years of price increases.
According to interviewees, “Vancouver continues to defy gravity” in terms of commercial prospects. However, the market is yet to come back to earth. As investors are being more cautious and selective, when looking for new opportunities to invest in.
Let’s have a look at the major predictions and trends for Vancouver real estate 2019.
Owning a home in Vancouver is a dream come true for many, a dream that seemed unattainable in recent years due to increasing real estate prices in this region. However, as the reports show a decline in the market; this is the best time for prospective homebuyers to get in.
Vancouver is the third most expensive city in Canada. It’s located in the Southwestern part of British Columbia and has massive cultural diversity and natural beauty due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Real estate prices in this area have been driven up by demand for houses fueled largely by wealthy immigrants who moved into this area because of lenient laws on home ownership and diversity in the city.
According to a new housing forecast report by Central 1 Credit Union, British Columbia is in a mild recession with the mainland shifting from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. Recession is a period marked by economic decline, a sharp drop in home sales, and a slowdown in housing starts. In the month of April 2019, resale of residential properties dropped 17% from 2017 to 2018, while housing starts slowed by 10%, with another 18% drop forecast for 2019.
Nevertheless, it’s not all gloom for homebuyers who can enter into the real estate market by snagging up prime houses at a lower cost and reaping the gains once the market stabilizes. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the slowing growth in this sector is expected to last for at least two years.
Detached Homes Sales Drop
From the latest figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), sales are now lowest in three years. According to REBGV, the price of a detached home is dropping. The report shows the Greater Vancouver detached benchmark dropped down to $1,404,200 a drop of 11.1% from last year. A decline of 26.7% was recorded on detached homes compared to last year the same month.
The report further indicated that the eastern part of the city’s prices dropped to $1,357,200, 12.1% drop from last year. Western Vancouver wasn’t spared and performed even worse. The prices dropped down by 13.4% from $2,950,000 last year. As per the figures, the losses in just one year range between $177,000 to over $440,000. This downturn is driven by policy measures such as the introduction of speculation tax, school tax and a slump in the economy of the region.
The popularity of new listings of detached real estate in Vancouver is currently high. REBGV reported a 234% increase in new listing compared to a month before. This being twice as much as last year, leading to a decline in demand thus reducing the number of sales. As much as this news is bad for sellers, it is good news for buyers. It would be prudent for one to buy a detached house at this moment, as the prices are hugely low.
Things are not as dire as they seem. In spite of the declining price, which is projected to last for at least two years, there is a positive outlook. On the bright side, home inventory is exchanging hands, which only means money is circulating. The board reported 1966 transactions in the month of April an increase from 1727 reported in March. Maybe this increase is due to the season (spring) which previous data shows the number of sales increase during this period.
This April has received the most detached inventory since 2014. The listings reached a multi-year high end for the month. The total numbers of active listings were 6,236, a 10.39% rise as compared to the previous month. As compared to April last year, the figures represented an increase of 8.71%.
Why Real Estate Is Becoming More Expensive
Central 1 Credit Union chief economist Helmut Pastrick told the Vancouver Real Estate Forum that prices will likely double between 2016 and 2014. The reason for this is simple: An increasing populace and the need for developers to build more homes to accommodate the increasing demand. Now throw in the effects of new regulations and higher construction costs in terms of material and labor and the real estate prices shoot up rapidly.
There is also the question of affordability. Jonathan Woetzel from McKinsey & Co. a leading consulting firm in Cities Special Initiative foresees that third city dwellers will have inadequate housing by 2025, the price of the real estate is the reason why.
That’s a combination of people who just can’t find housing, there isn’t housing there for them, and people who have to pay too much for housing,” he explained. “So Vancouver, you’re not alone.
The government can’t spend to plug that deficit which is quite huge and would be very expensive. The private sector developments are what is needed to bring in new housing units are that well priced to the majority of the city dwellers.
New Policy Measures
British Columbia government introduced a foreign buyer’s tax in 2016 in response to increasing home prices driven by wealthy immigrants. In the last year, this rate has gone up from 15% to 20%.
The market has been hit by a Federal Mortgage Stress Test which is meant to reduce the amount borrowers can take out on a mortgage and mortgage rates have gone up in the last two years. In addition to that, the city has introduced a vacant home tax that could force investors and homeowners to sell at the current market rate.
These measures are meant to reign control on the housing market whose prices are rising too fast in the short term but ultimately don’t do any good. However, many experts agree that these measures are forcing the market to adjust pricing in the long term and removing the foreign buyer’s tax and mortgage stress test will cause the price to start rising again and lead to mortgage debt stress on homeowners
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver stats shows a 30 percent dip of buying compared to last year. Buyers are fearful of buying now when the prices are still decreasing. But according to a report by Pollster Angus Reid, families or singles with lower debt are well positioned to buy right because they will make a killing once the market stabilizes. There is one thing that professionals agree on; real estate prices will start increasing in the near future.
Sales were down in February 2019 over the sales of February 2018 but they were up over late 2018 and January 2019. Although prices are adjusting, particularly in the detached home market, it is important not to confuse lower sales numbers with lower prices. In checking price point changes, we use the benchmark price comparison where model homes with standard popular features are measured against homes of that type that have sold that month. When average sale prices are used they are just looking at prices of homes that have sold divided by the number of sales. In this market where fewer high priced homes are selling a lower average price is attained and suddenly the sky is falling. Not a realistic measuring tool. However, some economists are predicting a larger price drop before rebalancing again. Buyers now have variety of options to choose from , as well as having a chance negotiate to get the
best value home.
Affordability is the elusive goal of governments around the world and there are many ways to crash the economy in trying to achieve it. The Federal Government in its recent election budget is trying a system called SEMs or shared equity mortgages. These have been tried in Australia, the UK and US. According to the Haider-Moranis Bulletin the SEM will be run by CMHC which is a long way from being ready to implement such a program. In Canada there is an assumption that millennials have an RRSP of more than $35,000 that they can borrow from for a mortgage or they can share their mortgage with CMHC as the lender for up to $40,000 to reduce the monthly payments of the mortgage with the loan for the SEM being paid back at the end of the mortgage or the sale of the property.
There is a discussion on just how soon this election goody can be mobilized. There are lots of offerings in the Budget that are not fully funded in a timely fashion, including the Home Buyers Plan.
Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute in BC, is on the frontlines with developers and politicians trying to create more affordable communities for those who live here and for the up to 40,000 newcomers who will arrive in Metro Vancouver this year plus another 140,000 foreign students and temporary workers. As it stands now there is not enough rental housing or affordable homes to buy for the people who live here now. Over the next three years the number of housing starts is predicted to go down by 30 per cent. In her Vancouver Sun article Ms McMullin outlines suggestions to make more housing possible:
Build more homes of all types by opening up communities to options such as townhomes, row homes, micro-suites, triplexes, mid-rise buildings.
More purpose built rentals through financial incentives or targeted tax breaks
Link transit funding to building apartments and other home choices near transit hubs.
Government should ensure fair taxation on homes. Piling on development charges creates more expensive housing for buyers or renters.
Approval process should be faster, particularly in Vancouver where the approval process takes up to 5 years.
The Federal B-20 mortgage and provincial tax measures introduced in 2018 have brought about a harsh housing reduction in the current and existing home sales market. Retrenchment has mostly been essential within larger urban markets. This will help in the decrease in new home activity in 2019. Home sales in real estate have fallen to a multi-year low pace. Credit constraints together with high-interest rates have triggered a considerable decrease in the purchasing power of buyers, hence price declines and slow activity in the sectors of the economy.
Major real estate markets in B.C.’s has felt the federal mortgage stress test. This is because of the already-high housing cost. In other highly priced markets, where buyers are already self-conscious in their buying ability, the stress test makes them come up more to get into the real estate market. Use of higher down payment is the usual way to make up the difference. In Vancouver, it might be an extra $80,000 when compared with an additional $35,000 in Winnipeg.
As it’s predicted, existing home sales will turn higher by mid of 2019 hence lower prices inducing buyers to enter into the market. The downturn will be unassuming compared to other previous episodes. The Benchmark MLS prices are coming down, and the expectations are that buyers will come back. Since the economy is still sound, then there will be a return in demand. All that is needed to be looked at is about the buyers being able to get financing for their home purchases since sellers don’t have their backs, and so they don’t necessarily have to sell for a lower price.
The current slowdown being experienced in home sales might continue to pull down on the overall economy over the next coming years with the housing starts and residential investment following the decline in sales. The housing starts trail the cycle of sales and are predicted to decrease by 20 percent in this year to 32,600. The current demand down cycle results to higher inventory of new homes and reduced activity of condominium pre-sale hence forcing most developers to have construction delays or even forced to cancel projects. Multi-family housing starts will trigger most of the decline experienced and be highly concentrated in Metro Vancouver. The Government investment in real estate housing will provide some balance hence leading to a reduction in the private investment. Also, the residential investment spending declines with 8 percent this year on fewer housing starts, and a slowdown in renovation is hence spending reducing in 2020 before getting higher.
Real GDP is predicted to slow to 2.1 percent in this year before rising again to 2.4 percent in next year and 2.8 percent in 2021. A build up in significant capital project construction in both private and public sectors will be a strong hence balancing to the decline in the residential activity. Moderate population growth is also a determined source of growth whereby there will be underpinned in consumer spending.
British Columbia’s Housing Matters on Speculation and Vacancy Tax
British Columbia’s major urban centres have issues on handling the housing crisis. Prices of homes and rent have built up hence making it out of reach for many British Columbians. The key measure in solving this housing crisis is the speculation and vacancy tax. People living and working in B.C. deserve a moderate place to call home, and the provincial government is taking measures towards ensuring this. Speculation and vacancy tax is a 30-point plan of the provincial government towards having affordable housing for the people of B.C.
There are two kinds of taxes that are subjected to Vancouver homes. These include the speculation tax levied on homes located in certain parts of the province and the vacancy tax for homes (empty home) in the city. The annual tax aims towards domestic and foreign speculators who own homes in B.C. but don’t make payments as per where they live, making changes in an empty home to have good housing for the people, and also raising revenue for the support of affordable housing. All homeowners located in B.C. where taxes are chargeable, must completely make a declaration every year.
Vacancy tax in Vancouver was effected in 2017 and 1% is charged as an addition on homes that are not the fundamental residence of the homeowner. This applies to unoccupied homes for six months or more a year. British Columbia speculation tax, passed in the fall of 2017, also applies to Vancouver’s housing properties.
The rate in 2018 was at 0.5% of the assessed taxable property value. As stated by the legislation in 2019, foreign homeowners (satellite families), charges will be at 2% whereas Canadian nationals (Canadian permanent residents) will still remain at 0.5%, same as last year. This year’s tax will be due on July 2, 2019.
Speculation and Vacancy Tax exemptions
According to legislation, for a homeowner to qualify for a speculation tax exemption, the purchase of the property must be on or before Oct 16, 2018. If forbidden by the development bylaws from a home being rented out, then speculation tax for 2018 and 2019 will be exempt for the homeowner.
Similarly, the city’s Vacancy tax exemption applies. Empty housing properties for over six months due to rental restrictions will be exempt. This will happen if the bylaws were in place from Nov 16, 2016.
There will be no charge if there is no residence on the property and the buyer has a vacant on which he or she has a plan for a building.Also, no tax will be charged on properties purchased for the current year.
Another issue that may make homeowners qualify for the exemption is an illness. There are full lists available for both the province and city. In order to claim for an exemption, properties registration by homeowners must be done by March 31, 2019. For registration purpose, it is very simple and can be done either by the use of phone or online.In case a home is owned by different owners, or even a spouse, you must have separate declarations for each owner.
The beauty of any city is well seen by how people would love to work and live there. Vancouver is one of the cities in Canada where the population is increasing and is ranked at the top as the most populous city in British Columbia province. The main reason behind this great milestone is the home prices that are very high. In March/April 2019, buyers might get their opportunity since the Prices are subsiding and listing growing. The rise of interest rates and mortgage stress test rules are believed to causing the flat sales and price decrease lately. This is a waiting game for almost every Canadian housing markets and hence the lowest prices expected to come in March/April.
Vancouver is an area desirable to live. Attractive with a clean and safe environment and mild climate due to the surrounding of mountains, and also full of outdoor recreation, it has raised the demand of housing which continues to grow tremendously within Canada and also overseas. A new study shows that there is a historical demand level as termed by The Real Estate Board of Great Vancouver since there is a drop in sales and prices for Metro Vancouver homes.
A report indicates that over 1,600 residential homes were sold in Vancouver in November. Home prices have dipped 4% to 7% in the past six months depending on the type of property. The conditions will be watched by the board in the first quarter of the year 2019 in order to see whether the buyer demand will pick ahead of the active spring market.
Real estate typically revolves around the world and new supplies are getting into the market. Due to the high level of immigration, population growth in Canada has accelerated in the last few years which is now growing fast. Canada’s future on affordable housing still remains bright. Policy makers in Real estate markets will have approved important key parts aimed at protecting tenants.
Permanent residency in Canada can be gained if you submit the interest to sponsor form and later invited to submit a complete application. By doing so, you can sponsor your parents and grandparents to be permanent residents of Canada.
A MUST things to do include:
supporting them financially.
Ensure they don’t require any social assistance from the government.
Requirements to sponsor your parents and grandparents are:
Be physically living in Canada.
Age-18 years and above.
MUST be a Canadian citizen.
Living in Canada permanently.
Those registered as Indians in Canada MUST be under the Indian Act.
Have enough money to cater for the persons you want to sponsor.
In a word, the outlook for the Greater Vancouver real estate market in the next year is ‘good’ according to industry sources. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) points to continued economic growth as contributing to a boost of sales in 2019. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) cites historic trading patterns that will see average prices of detached homes dropping 21-percent in 2019.
MLS Sales Down From 2017
Cameron Muir, Chief Economist for the BCREA, says that Multiple Listing Service sales are projected to record a dip of 23-percent compared to 2017. However, he is confident that the strong economy “combined with favourable demographics” will have a positive impact on home sales in 2019. So much so, that Muir expects the sales figures to exceed the 10-year average in the next 12-months.