The latest statistics from the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board reveal that the benchmark cost of a single detached home in Vancouver is up nearly 40% from just over a year ago. This rapid ascent has drawn the attention of retired master hedge-fund manager, Marc Cohodes. In a recent interview, Cohodes tells Global BC News Morning that he believes members of the real estate industry are using “chinese money to keep the market propped up” as part of a money-laundering scheme that Cohodes says can’t last.
Foreign Investment: Myth or Reality?
According to the Global News article about Cohodes, not everyone agrees that the influx of foreign money is due to criminal activity. However, many do agree that foreign money is a signification contributor to the high-flying real estate prices here in Vancouver. To put this belief to the test, the government of British Columbia launched a study in June to begin tracking real estate investments in the province by foreign nationals.
Initial results from the study show the dollar value of foreign investment in residential real estate between June 10 and June 29, 2016, averaged slightly over 5% province-wide. Foreign transactions represented slightly over 3% of all MLS property transfer transactions during that same time period. This indicates that the average amount per transaction is higher for foreign buyers than Canadian citizens and permanent residents. In Metro Vancouver, the total value of investments from foreign nationals was over $350 million, or 6.5% of the total investments made during the first 19 days of the study. The highest concentrations of foreign investment were found in Richmond with a 14% rate.
Across the province, 258 transactions involved Chinese nationals, which was 76.6% of all foreign national transactions. More data and details are available in the Housing Market Information Release on BC MLS Home Sales issued by the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry report indicates that new housing units are in development throughout the province. However, these developments take time. Meanwhile, the housing market remains tight. In addition, more voices lately have been calling for a tax on foreign real estate transactions. Will these factors finally burst the real estate bubble as Cohodes predicts? And if so, when?
Vancouver Condo and Detached Home Buyers Pushed to New Heights
While we wait to see what the future holds, those who want to own a home in Vancouver today are faced with steep prices and limited selection. From single-family homes to luxurious condos in Yaletown, local buyers are feeling the effects of the pricing bubble.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that June residential property sales totaled 4,400 transactions. This is slightly down from May; although, higher than same-month sales last year. Looking at historical records demonstrates that houses are still moving despite the higher prices. June 2016 ranked as the highest-selling June on record, at 28.1% above the 10-year sales average. Total listings for the four-month period from March through June have also reached an all-time high.
Despite an increase in listings, supply has not exceeded demand and prices for both detached and attached residential properties continue to climb. The REBGV announced that benchmark prices for attached units in June 2016 increased by 28.1% from June 2015 prices. However, this rate remains lower than the 38.7% increase in detached properties.
Regardless of who is investing in Vancouver’s real estate, those who work in the city still need a place to live. So what is a prospective home buyer to do? As the saying goes, “location, location, location.” Look for properties that are located in sought-after areas that will hold their value, such as a Vancouver downtown condo. In particular, the thriving community and close commute make Yaletown condos a good bet during tumultuous times. If you are in the market for a new home here in Vancouver, contact Condos in Yaletown. We can show you the best real estate the city has to offer and help you choose how to invest your real estate dollars effectively.
Real Estate in the Greater Vancouver Overview – June 2016