Fraser Valley Real Estate News & Market Updates

You’ll find our blog to be a great resource of latest market information, covering everything from local market statistics, home values, and building development to community events. Being local experts, we really care about the community and living environment, and want to help you find your dream home in it. Please reach out if you have any questions and feedback. We’d love to talk with you!

June 10, 2020

May 2020 Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Update

 

METRO VANCOUVER

Housing market activity showing signs of recovery: prices stable, new listings increasing

It’s now been over five months since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in British Columbia. With all markets seriously impacted, some devastated during this period, the durability of residential real estate values in Metro Vancouver speaks volumes.  As reported by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver for the end of May, the composite benchmark price for all residential properties is nearly 3.0 per cent higher than one year ago. With the current combined benchmark price of $1,028,400 virtually the same as April’s $1,035,000, this factional decline would not make headlines in any market conditions. The trend over the last three months is in fact upward, showing 1.4 per cent increase during this time.  All of this has come as COVID-19 forced a decline in normal sales activity. The resulting steep decline in home sales was evident with May sales over 50 per cent lower than the 10-year average. However, the notable current jump to 1,485 home sales this past May is nearly 34 per cent higher than in April, a clear sign that as COVID-19 constraints are relaxed, Metro Vancouver’s housing market is vigorously coming back to life. Even the decline in new listings that had preceded the COVID-19 period has indications of reversing. The 3,684 new listings across all property types in May was nearly a 60 per cent increase over April’s number. This brings the current inventory to almost 10,000 homes, providing an excellent selection for prospective buyers at this time.   

Purchasing a home is typically more than short-term property transaction. It should be kept in mind that this is where you may be living with your family for many years, often until your old age. It’s important therefore to look at the long term when considering your investment. Amid the plethora of recent forecasts for housing markets – some gloomy, others optimistic – I encourage you to focus on your plans for a residential purchase as a place you will live for quite some time.  There will no doubt be a prolonged recovery period from the full effect of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy, but we can be confident that there will continue to be a need for housing. Relative prices may fluctuate for a while, but the stability that we are currently seeing in price levels is a solid indicator that a home remains a good investment. There is some concern that the country’s housing market will see big price declines over the next year as a residual economic effect of the pandemic. Some of the factors in this scenario are more general such as possible higher unemployment, lost income, and more stringent qualifications on credit and mortgages. But our financial institutions are strong, and as a country we have the resources to bounce back. If you want to talk about your housing challenges at this time, please feel free to give me a call. There are a number of ways I can help. Below is my monthly comparison of benchmark prices for each of three property types in the six municipalities closest to the overall benchmark average.                 

Detached Homes

The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in Greater Vancouver at the end of May was $1,456,700, an increase of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were Vancouver West (not West Vancouver) at $3,041,100 and Sunshine Coast at $586,300. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Burnaby North at $1,472,700 an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month; Richmond at $1,528,400, a decrease  of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; and Burnaby South at $1,529,000, an increase of 1.8 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Port Moody at $1,453,400 an increase of 0.8 per cent from the preceding month; Vancouver East at $1,447,800, a decrease of  of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; and Burnaby East at $1,244,600, an increase of 2.0 per cent from the preceding month. 

 

Townhouses

 

The benchmark price for a townhouse in Greater Vancouver at the end of May was $796,800, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were Vancouver West (not West Vancouver) at $1,125,000 and Maple Ridge at $548,400.  The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Richmond at $793,500 a decrease  of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; Vancouver East at $905,000, an increase of 1.3 per cent from the preceding month; and North Vancouver at $974,200 a decrease of 0.9 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Burnaby South at $773,400, a decrease of 1.0 per cent from the preceding month; New Westminster at $745,000, an increase of 1.7 per cent from the preceding month; and Burnaby North at $719,300, a decrease of 1.2 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Condominiums

 

The benchmark price for a condominium in Greater Vancouver at the end of May was $686,500, a decrease of  0.3 per cent from the preceding month.  The extremities of this average were West Vancouver at $1.006,000 and Maple Ridge at $360,500. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Burnaby East at $746,500, a decrease of 0.5 per cent from the preceding month; Vancouver West (not West Vancouver) at $801,300 a decrease of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month; and West Vancouver at $1.006,000, an increase of 1.0 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Port Moody at $661,100, a decrease of 1.5 per cent from the preceding month; Richmond at $652,800, no change from the preceding month; and Burnaby North at $623,500, an increase of 0.8 per cent from the preceding month.  

 

IMPORTANT DEADLINE:  New mortgage qualifying rules to come into effect July 1, 2020

 

As of July 1, 2020, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a federal government insurer of mortgages for borrowers with a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price, will set new mortgage qualifying rules. The new criteria come in the wake of COVID-19’s impact on incomes and possible mortgage defaults, and will primarily affect first-time home buyers. The new criteria include a higher credit bureau score, rising from 600 to 680. Borrowers will also need to have lower housing costs, including the mortgage, not higher than 35% of household income, and total maximum debt payments not more than 42% of income. If you are currently involved in a negotiation to purchase, you should move quickly to complete your transaction before the deadline. It may be advisable to contact a mortgage broker.  Please feel free to contact me for assistance in this regard. I can put in touch with a good mortgage broker.

 

Posted in Market Updates
June 10, 2020

May 2020 Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Update

 

FRASER VALLEY

As summer blooms, Valley housing market shows new life. Prices steady, new listings up.

After nearly six months of COVID-19 in British Columbia, the Fraser Valley housing market is coming back to life. In a season that shows how the cycle of life always prevails, housing sales and new listings are also rejuvenating the Valley, a favourite market for singles and young families. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board reported a total of 805 sales this past May, a 17 per cent increase over April. Market activity is returning toward normal as the stifling effects of COVID-19 are beginning to retreat. New listings, which have been down since before the COVID-19 period, are also showing upward movement. The past May saw a total of 2,207 new Fraser Valley listings, up 56 per cent from April. The total inventory across all property types is now a plentiful 6,454, providing ample selection for prospective home buyers.  While many buyers have learned to adapt to online tools during the most serious part of COVID-19, it is encouraging to see that normal activity may soon be resuming as COVID-19 constraints begin to relax.  Let’s continue to take care with social distancing and other safety guidelines, striving to put the pandemic permanently behind us. The Fraser Valley remains a beautiful and popular place to locate a home.

The combined benchmark price for all property types in the Fraser Valley at the end of May 2020 was $847,400, a negligible decline of 0.3 per cent for April. Overall, this price kind of stability was evident in all areas and property types across the Valley. Considering the severe impact of COVID-19 on market activity, the firmness of price levels during this period is a testament to the underlying value in residential property in the Fraser Valley. Looking at the trend in prices in recent months, the overall benchmark has risen by 3.7 per cent from six months ago, and 1.7 per cent from three months ago. While the rate of increase has declined slightly during the COVID-19 period, price levels have generally remained quite stable. The uptick in new listings is also an optimistic sign that Valley market activity is moving back to normal.  While there is still some apprehension amid the multitude of conflicting housing forecasts recently, the current level of market confidence is a significant factor in its continuing stability. Even in pessimistic scenarios that forecast steep declines in housing prices over the next year, residential real estate remains strong with an ongoing need for homes, and with strong financial system supporting it.  Below you can survey my monthly comparisons of three property types based on benchmark prices in the six municipalities closest to the benchmark average for each type of home. The monthly change can give you some insight into current activity in each area. However, remember that average prices are only a guide. I will be happy to direct you to actual specific prices that meet you budget requirements. Please give me a call. I am always happy to help.

 Detached Homes

The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley at the end of May was $990,400, a decrease of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $1,321,900 and Mission at $675,100. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $1,027,400 a decrease of 1.2 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $1,043,500, an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at $1,045,800 a decrease of 0.9 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $982,900, an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $916,300, a decrease of 1.2 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $827,600, an increase of 0.5 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Townhouses

 

The benchmark price for a townhouse in the Fraser Valley at the end of May was $553,200, an increase of 0.4 from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $648,000 and Abbotsford at $453,700. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: North Surrey at $569,200, an increase of 1.7 per cent from the preceding month; Langley at $569,500, an increase of 0.5 per cent from the preceding month; and Surrey at $573,600, a decrease of 0.7 per cent  the preceding month.  The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Delta at $544,300, a decrease of 1.3 per cent from the preceding month; Mission at $463,500, an increase of 1.7 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $453,700 a decrease of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Condominiums

 

The benchmark price for a condominium in the Fraser Valley at the end of May was $433,700, a decrease of 1.0 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $484,800 and Abbotsford at $314,200. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Surrey at $440,900, a decrease of 0.5 per cent from the preceding month; Cloverdale at $464,500, a decrease of 2.0 per cent from the preceding month; and South Surrey/White Rock at $484,800, an increase of 1.0 per cent from the preceding month; The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $409,800, a decrease of 1.6 per cent from the preceding month; Langley at $402,600, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; and North Delta at $396,000, a decrease of 1.2 per cent increase from the preceding month. 

 

IMPORTANT DEADLINE:  New mortgage qualifying rules to come into effect July 1, 2020

 

As of July 1, 2020, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a federal government insurer of mortgages for borrowers with a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price, will set new mortgage qualifying rules. The new criteria come in the wake of COVID-19’s impact on incomes and possible mortgage defaults, and will primarily affect first-time home buyers. The new criteria include a higher credit bureau score, rising from 600 to 680. Borrowers will also need to have lower housing costs, including the mortgage, not higher than 35% of household income, and total maximum debt payments not more than 42% of income. If you are currently involved in a negotiation to purchase, you should move quickly to complete your transaction before the deadline. It may be advisable to contact a mortgage broker.  Please feel free to contact me for assistance in this regard. I can put in touch with a good mortgage broker.

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
May 19, 2020

April 2020 Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Update

 

FRASER VALLEY

Sales down, prices stable under Covid-19 restraints; townhouses have some price reductions

Across the Fraser Valley, home sales declined predictably in April as Covid-19 measures continued to curtail normal market activity. Yet home values remain firm with prices for all property types showing little variance for the one-month period. With April sales down by 52 per cent from March, the 688 recorded sales were half of what they were one year ago – an indication of the actual Covid-19 impact.  Nonetheless, the Valley’s combined residential benchmark price of $851,100 at the end of April 2020 was an increase 0.4 per cent from the preceding month, and this was 1.9 per cent higher than in April 2019. On the supply side, new listings also continued to decline; however, this trend was evident before the COVID-19 outbreak, with a significant decline in the rate of new Valley listings occurring last year. Still, new listings in April 2020 were down by 47 per cent compared with the preceding month, and they showed a 58 per cent decrease for the same period one year ago. While not an immediate concern for home shoppers – the current inventory of nearly 6,000 active listings in the Fraser Valley provides an excellent choice for buyers – declining stock could be a significant factor in a price rise when sales volumes increase again. I am therefore encouraging home seekers to continue their shopping during this period. There are many new innovations being rolled out to enable both buyers and sellers to meet the challenges of confinement during this time. I invite you to visit my website where you can find all the tools you need at:

 www.liveincentralcity.ca

Your residential property search can be conducted online easily from the comfort of your home. This virtual one-shop has the latest data on home listings including photos, prices, and locations. You can also create your own custom market report to compare sales activity and selling prices in any area, and with the available interactive map you can easily find the specific neighborhood of you selected property. Of course, I am still always available to help you. Please feel free to give me a call if you would like to chat about whatever your interests or challenges may be. To guide your online shopping, I have again provided my monthly comparison of benchmark prices in different areas in the Fraser Valley. Below you will find my selected areas Valley according to the upper and lower ranges making up the benchmark average. By comparing these benchmarks, you get a good idea of what comparable homes cost in different areas. By providing the month-over-month price change, you can also get an idea of the sales activity in the area. The selection I have made for gives you a good idea of the where prices may most closely match your budget. You will also be able see the most up-to-date price change, whether an increase or decrease since last month’s review.    

Detached Homes

The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley at the end of April was $993,400, an increase of 0.5 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $1,330,900 and Mission at $665,100. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $1,039,800 an increase of 1.3 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $1,041,300, an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at $1,055,700 an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $982,200, an increase of 0.7 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $927,500, a decrease of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $825,600, no change from the preceding month.

 

Townhouses

 

The benchmark price for a townhouse in the Fraser Valley at the end of April was $553,200, an increase of 0.7 from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $642,900 and Abbotsford at $454,100. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: North Surrey at $559,700, an increase of 1.5 per cent from the preceding month; Langley at $566,300, an increase of 0.9 per cent from the preceding month; and Surrey at $569,600, an increase of 0.3 per cent  the preceding month.  The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Delta at $552,100, a decrease of 1.8 per cent from the preceding month; Mission at $455,700, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $454,100 a decrease of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Condominiums

 

The benchmark price for a condominium in the Fraser Valley at the end of April was $424,100, an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $476,200 and Abbotsford at $320,200. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $425,500, no change from the preceding month; Surrey at $443,300, an increase of 3.2 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at $473,800, a decrease of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month; The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $416,600, an increase of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $400,600, an increase of 2.8 per cent from the preceding month; and Mission at $343,000, an increase of 0.1 per cent increase from the preceding month. 

 

I can help

One of the ways I work hard for my clients is to stay abreast of the most recent events in the real estate market. By watching price changes each month for all property types, I am able to give you the most up-to-date advice for both buying and selling. I am always happy to chat with you about any of your real estate questions. The is no obligation and no pressure. I am here to help. Please feel free to call me.

Posted in Market Updates
April 29, 2020

Mortgage Payment Deferrals: A great help when we need it.

 

For many homeowners, this is a time of tremendous anxiety. In normal times we tend to measure the value of our home in terms of our long-term investment. We may think about the financial return as the eventual pay-off when we retire, or when we upsell and move to another location. In this time of Covid-19, our idea of value shifts dramatically.

We realise how fortunate we are right now to have somewhere to keep our families safe, a place from which to work remotely as best we can, a place to be close to the ones we love the most while having to social distance elsewhere. It’s natural that one of the most stressful things in our lives at this time is the prospect that we could lose our home through no fault of our own. Our job may be lost, our income reduced, our ability to work severely impaired. After working hard to save for our down payment, to meet the requirements to qualify for a mortgage, and to budget our household income to provide for our family’s needs, we are suddenly faced with circumstances never imagined and beyond our control.

So, if you find yourself in this situation, I am encouraging you to take advantage of the lifeline that has been thrown out for mortgage payment deferral in Canada. Our country’s six major banks, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and TD Bank Group, made a joint public statement in March that they would undertake to assist their clients to manage their financial obligations through this difficult period. Among the solutions offered is a mortgage payment plan which allows a borrower to defer payments up to six months. In general, the mortgage payment deferral plan works like this:

1)     Apply to your bank for the deferral plan; you cannot just stop payments;

2)     You can choose to postpone your monthly payments for up to six months;

3)     During the deferral period, your mortgage interest will continue to accrue;

4)     When you resume your payments, the accrued interest will be added your principal;

5)     Your new monthly payment may then be a bit higher than it was previously.

 

There was some initial criticism of the Banks’ payment deferral plan because it did not cancel the interest owing on the mortgage principal during the deferral period. However, it is important to remember that banks are also responsible to their investors and a sturdy financial system is what allows us to obtain a mortgage in the first place. Every part of our national economy, of which the real estate sector is a major component, is under stress because of Covid-19 pandemic, and we must all get through this challenging time together.

Similar mortgage payment deferral plans have also been made available thought most credit unions, and as a short-term solution for financially stressed homeowners, these plans can mean the difference between keeping your home or losing it. Banks do not want to foreclose on any homeowner. The Covid-19 crisis has hit everyone very quickly and our institutions are responding to a situation never encountered before.

There will no doubt be many individual cases which require special attention, and we have been reassured that flexibility on a case-by-case basis will be the way forward. In its March announcement, the Banks stated: "These measures are an important first step and underscore the resilience of Canada’s financial system and the strength of our major banks. Banks will monitor evolving economic conditions and consider other measures if necessary. Canada’s banks have a long history of standing by Canadians through challenging times, and this commitment will continue throughout this crisis and beyond."

I want to also remind my clients, who I also consider my friends, that I am available to help them navigate their particular challenges and find solutions that fit their specific needs.  I will employ my formal education in business, my experience in the financial industry, and my professional knowledge as a realtor to do everything I can to assist you at this time. Please feel free to call and let me know how I can help.

Posted in Market News
April 22, 2020

March 2020 Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Update

FRASER VALLEY

Spring home shoppers love the Fraser Valley:  opportune time for buyers.    

With the long-awaited Spring season now upon us, there are clear signs that home buyers are getting out to look at Fraser Valley properties. February 2020 sales across all property types rose above the 10-year average. This was also 39 per cent higher than the preceding month of January and close to the same increaseover this period from one year ago. Prices across the Valley for all property types are continuing to move upwards, through still moderately. However, this situation may not last. The recent prime rate drop of 50 basis points by the Bank of Canada has already brought down mortgage rates; shaving half a percent off a mortgage means significant savings. This mortgage rate cut combined with an easing of national mortgage stress test rules will surely be an incentive for serious home shoppers to purchase a home at this time. I strongly encourage prospective buyers to move quickly though, to avoid the possibility of a sharper increasein prices with likely increasein demand arising from the financial incentives now in place. There is also still some seasonal slowness in new listings at this time. February listings in the Fraser Valley reached 2,557, but this was still down 15 per cent compared with one year ago.  Nonetheless, there were sill 5,741 active listings at the end of February so shoppers still have ample choice. However, homes in the three main property types sold last month on average six days faster than they did one year ago, another indicator of increasing demand. Across the Valley in February, the average time for a single family detached residence to remain on the market was 37 days; townhouses on average sold in 33 days; and condominiums in 35 days.

The composite benchmark price for a Fraser Valley property at the end of March was $847,300, anincreaseof 1.6 per cent from the preceding month. Compared to the comparable benchmark in Metro Vancouver of over $1-million, it is easy to see why so many young families and singles are finding a quality home at an affordable price in this region. Although there is still some sluggishness in new listings on average across the Valley, it is well worth the effort to check out specific areas, particularly for condominium sales, which may exceed the norm for availability. I will be happy to help any home shopper with details on their specific requirements. Please also take a look at my monthly comparative benchmark changes for each property type in the selected areas below. And if you are contemplating listing your Valley home for sale now, please give me call. This is an excellent time to sell without undue delay, and I can assist you in setting the optimal price for current market conditions in your area.
Detached Homes 
The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley at the end of March was $988,500, an increase of 1.8 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $1,319,900 and Abbotsford at $825,600. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $1,026,600 an increase of 2.4 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $1,029,200, an increase of 1.6 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at $1,053,700 an increaseof 2.4 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $975,600, an increase of 2.5 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $930,700, an increase of 1.5 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $825,600, an increase of 1.4 per cent from the preceding month. 
Townhouses
The benchmark price for a townhouse in the Fraser Valley at the end of March was $549,600, an increase of 0.7 from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $640,700 and Abbotsford at $455,400. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: North Surrey at $551,400, a decrease of 1.9 per cent from the preceding month; Langley at $561,300, an increaseof 0.4 per cent from the preceding month; and North Delta at $562,400, a decrease of 2.3 per cent  the preceding month.  The two municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Mission at $456,100, an increase of 1.0 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $455,400 a decrease of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month.
Condominiums 
The benchmark price for a condominium in the Fraser Valley at the end of March was $423,200, an increase of 2.1 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $481,400 and Abbotsford at $320,800. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $425,500, an increase of 3.2 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $429,600, an increase of 2.0 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at $474,600, an increase of 2.1 per cent from the preceding month; The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $415,200, an increase of 2.0 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $389,900, an increase of 3.4 per cent from the preceding month; and Mission at $342,700, an increase of 0.9 per cent increase from the preceding month.  

Let me help: New mortgage stress test can assist buyers

You will now find it easier to qualify for a mortgage. New national mortgage stress test rules will help many potential buyers who did not meet previous criteria for a mortgage. The recent reduction in the Bank of Canada’s prime lending rate is another incentive for home shoppers. These two changes make it an excellent time to purchase your dream home. With several years in banking and finance, I can also help you understand your mortgage requirements. I am happy to help. Please feel free to call me. 

 

 

 

 
Posted in Market Updates
March 24, 2020

New stress test rules and lower mortgage rates: A double benefit for home buyers – ACT NOW!

 

If you have been concerned about your financial ability to purchase a home in the Great Vancouver area, I have some exciting news for you. There is a rare opportunity for home buyers starting in April. Perhaps you were previously unable to qualify for a mortgage because of the mortgage stress test introduced by the federal government in 2018. For the past two years, these difficult rules have sidelined many hopeful buyers. I know many of my clients are prospective first-time buyers who had saved for a down payment – only to be told that you did not have quite enough to meet the necessary minimum under the stricter rules. I’m sure many of you felt this was somewhat unfair, but you were also glad to see measures that eased demand and brought down prices in an overheated market – one that has now dropped to levels not seen since 2017. After two years of watching prices return to an affordable range, your patience is to be doubly rewarded.

 

Starting April 6, the federal government is making it easier for you to qualify for your mortgage. I will briefly describe how the new rules will change in this paragraph, but if you wish to skip over the technical jargon, please just give me a call. In simple terms, I can assure you that the bottom line will mean a big benefit to you – if you act now! Basically, under the rules of the past two years, your ability to meet monthly mortgage payments was tested using the five-year interest rate posted by Canada’s big banks. With some minor variability, this rate has recently been around 5 per cent. As of April 6, there will be a new stress test formula for calculating your mortgage rate. It will be the weekly median five-year fixed and insured mortgage rate based on mortgage insurance applications, plus two per cent. It’s not imperative that you are familiar with the technical issues in this new formula.  What you need to understand is that this new formula will create a means for the rate to change in response to market changes much more quickly than was happening with the big bank rates. Some financial analysts have accused the big banks of delaying changes to their rate when it favoured them. The bottom line for the new rules is that they should help more people qualify for a mortgage.

 

But wait! There’s more. (That sounds like late night TV commercial – but it’s true!) You’ve probably heard the news that Canada’s Central Bank has recently lowered the nation’s prime lending rate to keep our financial markets liquid. In plain English, this means that the Bank of Canada is ensuring there is enough money available for credit buying as the world’s financial system is under stress. By lowering the prime rate – that is, the interest rate which is provided to the commercial banks for their borrowing, the big banks can then lower their lending rates to stimulate the economy. This applies to mortgages, of course, so at this time there is an even better reason for you qualify for your mortgage. With the lower rates you will have lower monthly payments, and with the eased stress test rules, you can qualify with a smaller down payment. However, I am encouraging you to move now. The market is a dynamic place, and when a lot of potential buyers decide to start buying, it can push prices higher. That’s why I am really encouraging you to take advantage of this double benefit without delay.

 

If you want to get an idea of how low a mortgage rate you can get at this time, go to:  https://www.ratehub.ca

 

At the time of this writing, the lowest mortgage for a five-year fixed term was 2.24 per cent. Add 2.0 per cent to this figure to see the rate you would have under the new stress test rules. You have not had a bargain like this for a long time.

 

Please feel free to call me. I can work with you for your particular financial capacity, and help you get into that long-awaited home with no further delay.

 

Posted in Market News
March 15, 2020

February 2020 Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Update

 

FRASER VALLEY

Spring home shoppers love the Fraser Valley:  opportune time for buyers.    

With the long-awaited Spring season now upon us, there are clear signs that home buyers are getting out to look at Fraser Valley properties. February 2020 sales across all property types rose above the 10-year average. This was also 39 per cent higher than the preceding month of January and close to the same increase over this period from one year ago. Prices across the Valley for all property types are continuing to move upwards, through still moderately. However, this situation may not last. The recent prime rate drop of 50 basis points by the Bank of Canada has already brought down mortgage rates; shaving half a percent off a mortgage means significant savings. This mortgage rate cut combined with an easing of national mortgage stress test rules will surely be an incentive for serious home shoppers to purchase a home at this time. I strongly encourage prospective buyers to move quickly though, to avoid the possibility of a sharper increase in prices with likely increase in demand arising from the financial incentives now in place. There is also still some seasonal slowness in new listings at this time. February listings in the Fraser Valley reached 2,557, but this was still down 15 per cent compared with one year ago.  Nonetheless, there were sill 5,741 active listings at the end of February so shoppers still have ample choice. However, homes in the three main property types sold last month on average six days faster than they did one year ago, another indicator of increasing demand. Across the Valley in February, the average time for a single family detached residence to remain on the market was 37 days; townhouses on average sold in 33 days; and condominiums in 35 days.

The composite benchmark price for a Fraser Valley property at the end of February was $833,400, an increase of 1.2 per cent from the preceding month. Compared to the comparable benchmark in Metro Vancouver of over $1-million, it is easy to see why so many young families and singles are finding a quality home at an affordable price in this region. Although there is still some sluggishness in new listings on average across the Valley, it is well worth the effort to check out specific areas, particularly for condominium sales, which may exceed the norm for availability. I will be happy to help any home shopper with details on their specific requirements. Please also take a look at my monthly comparative benchmark changes for each property type in the selected areas below. And if you are contemplating listing your Valley home for sale now, please give me call. This is an excellent time to sell without undue delay, and I can assist you in setting the optimal price for current market conditions in your area.

Detached Homes

The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley at the end of February 2020 was $971,300, an increase of 1.1 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $1,304,200 and Mission at $669,400. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $1.002,600, an increase of 0.7 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $1,012,700, an increase of 0.5 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at $1,029,100, an increase of 2.1 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $951,900, an increase of 1.4 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $916,600, no change from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $814,000, an increase of 1.9 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Townhouses

 

The benchmark price for a townhouse in the Fraser Valley at the end of February 2020 was $523,200, an increase of 1.0 from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $617,100 and Abbotsford at $382,100. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: North Surrey at $561,900, a decrease of 1.8 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $561,900, an increase of 1.7 per cent from the preceding month; Cloverdale at $571,100, an increase of 3.7 per cent from the preceding month.  The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Langley at $503,700, an increase of 1.7 per cent from the preceding month; Mission at $444,100 an increase of 1.1 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $382,100, an increase of 0.4 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Condominiums

 

The benchmark price for a condominium in the Fraser Valley at the end of February 2020 was $414,500, an increase of 1.5 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $482,400 and Abbotsford at $313,400. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Surrey at $421,200, an increase of 2.3 per cent from the preceding month; Cloverdale at $465,100, an increase of 1.7 per cent from the preceding month; and South Surrey/White Rock at $482,400, an increase of 1.3 per cent from the preceding month; The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Langley at 412,200, an increase of 1.6 per cent from the preceding month; North Surrey at $407,300, an increase of 1.9  per cent from the preceding month; and North Delta at $377,200, a 1.9 per cent increase  from the preceding month. 

 

Let me help: New mortgage stress test can assist buyers

You will now find it easier to qualify for a mortgage. New national mortgage stress test rules will help many potential buyers who did not meet previous criteria for a mortgage. The recent reduction in the Bank of Canada’s prime lending rate is another incentive for home shoppers. These two changes make it an excellent time to purchase your dream home. With several years in banking and finance, I can also help you understand your mortgage requirements. I am happy to help. Please feel free to call me.  

 

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 23, 2020

Canada’s First time Home Buyers Incentive urgently needs adjustment for Great Vancouver

 

Last year the federal government introduced its First Time Home Buyers Incentive.  The idea behind the program was to provide financial assistance for families across the country to buy their first home. This was to be done with the federal government becoming an equity partner in the home by providing an interest-free load up to 10 per cent of its purchase price. The federal financing reduces the down payment for the first-time buyer and thus creates an incentive to buy a home with lower monthly mortgage payments. As an equity partner, the government is then entitled to receive a return on its investment when the home is eventually sold, within a period of 25 years. The government is therefore betting that the value of the home will increase over time (a safe bet in Canada), and its percentage of ownership will provide a return to the government greater than its initial investment. For many Canadians who would not otherwise be able to afford to purchase a home, this is a very good idea, even it means that they will return part of their ultimate sale price to the government. For the many years that a family can enjoy the benefits of their home, it is a deal that they see is well worth making.  While there are some specific criteria for qualifying for the program that need to be checked out in some individual cases, three general rules are as follows: 1) that your household income is under $120,000; (2) you have sufficient cash for the minimum down payment. The current program sets this at 5 per cent of the first $500,000 of the purchase price of a new home, and 10 per cent for any amount above that, with a ceiling of 20 per cent of the home’s purchase price; (3) the total amount that you can borrow toward the home purchase is less than four times your income.   For example, if your want to buy a new home for 500,00, you could receive a loan of $50,000 toward the down payment. (If you are buying home that is not new, then the amount of the load would be 5 per cent, or $25,000, on a $500,000 price.)

For prospective home buyers in Greater Vancouver, there is another important rule that needs to be noted: The maximum price for a home purchase under the incentive program is $565,000. This is huge problem for Canadians who live in the Greater Vancouver region. Last month the composite benchmark home price listed on the Multiple Listing Service by the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board was $1,008,700. Note that each of the following benchmarks for each different property type is beyond the maximum allowable for the program: At the end of January 2020, the composite benchmarks for single detached homes was $1,431,200; for townhouses, $782,500; and condominiums, $663,200. This is a regional inequity that must be remedied soon.

When the federal government announced the program in its 2019 budget, it promised it would help 100,000 new home buyers in Canada. According to a recent report by the Western Investor, there were only 29 applications approved for Metro Vancouver since the launch of the program in September 2019. Of these, the average loan was $18,000 which represents an average home price of about $350,000. Obviously, this price range precludes the housing needs of the vast majority of home buyers in Greater Vancouver. The federal government has indicated it is looking into adjusting the maximum eligible home price for large urban areas like Vancouver. It is imperative that the government moves quickly to remedy this unfair regional differential. It must create an incentive that works for expensive real estate markets like Vancouver, and to do so without delay. There are many home seekers who are forced to sit on the sidelines while residential property prices continue to rise.   

Posted in Market News
Feb. 12, 2020

January 2020 Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Update

 

FRASER VALLEY

Fraser Valley listings surge in January; excellent time for prospective buyers.

 

The Fraser Valley continues to attract home buyers, as shown in sales for the first month of this year. At the end of January, Valley sales jumped 21.9 per cent over the preceding month, reaching nearly 1,000 purchases across al property types. This would be a strong start to the year under in any circumstances, but considering the inclement weather for most of January, it is particularly noteworthy and bodes well for sales activity in 2020. It’s also worth noting that January sales were almost 25 per cent higher than for the same period one year ago. With a composite residential benchmark price of $823,600, still well under the $1-million mark of Metro Vancouver, affordable, quality homes are still a big draw for home buyers. Single family detached homes led January with 363 sales, followed by 241 sales of townhouses and 248 condominiums. The breakdown of benchmark prices for each of these property types is provided in my comparative sample of various areas below. Prices tend to be inching up overall, but the market is still stable and there was good news in January on the supply side. During the month of January, there were 2,216 new listings, a 234 per cent increase over the number of new listings in the preceding December. This brought the closing inventory at the end of January to 5,143 active listings, almost 10 per cent higher than it closed at the end of 2019.  

 

As the weather continues to improve, there are sure to be more home shoppers in the Spring. I therefore recommend that if you are seriously looking for a Valley home, you should make a bid

at this opportune time. While the recent surge in new listings may be attracting prospective buyers, there is no guarantee that the supply will continue to increase at this rate. Compared with new listings one year ago, the rate is still a 15 per cent decline. I will be tracking new listings for you in this newsletter each month and I urge to you take note of this statistic because lower inventory could begin an upward pressure on prices. For anyone thinking about listing at this time, there is ample demand to warrant that decision now. During the month of January, single family homes remained on the market for an average of 60 days before selling. Townhouses sold on average in 47 days, and condominiums on an average of 49 days. Please take a look below at the property type of your choice to get a sense of the benchmark prices in different areas of the Fraser Valley. If you have any questions about a specific neighborhood, I will be happy to give you a more detailed analysis.    

 

Detached Homes

 

The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley at the end of January was $960,800, an increase of 0.8 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $1,300,500 and Mission at $653,100. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $995,500, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $1,007,500 an increase of 0.8 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at $1,008,400, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $938,700, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $916,600, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $798,900, an increase of 1.4 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Townhouses

 

The benchmark price for a townhouse in the Fraser Valley at the end of January 2020 was $518,000, an increase of 0.6 from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $616,400 and Abbotsford at $380,600. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Cloverdale at $550,600, a decrease of 1.8 per cent from the preceding month; North Surrey at $552,800, an increase of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; and North Delta at $564,100, an increase of 2.7 per cent from the preceding month.  The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Langley at $495,500, an increase of 1.1 per cent from the preceding month; Mission at $439,300, an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $380,600, an increase of 1.2 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Condominiums

 

The benchmark price for a condominium in the Fraser Valley at the end of January 2020 was $408,400, an increase of 0.7 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $476,400 and Abbotsford at $312,000. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Surrey at $411,800, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month; Cloverdale at $457,400, an increase of 1.9 per cent from the preceding month; and South Surrey/White Rock at $476,400, an increase of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Langley at 405,900, a decrease of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month; North Surrey at $399,800, an increase of 1.1  per cent from the preceding month; and North Delta at $370,300, no change from the preceding month. 

 

Other ways I can help

I am here to help you, whatever your housing requirements, I bring experience in banking and finance to assist you in your mortgage planning. If you are thinking about listing your home for sale, I can also advise you on the optimal price for the current market conditions. And in case you are thinking about home renovations that will increase your home value, I can recommend reputable tradespeople who do excellent work at fair rates. Please don’t hesitate to call me. It gives me great pleasure to help my clients. 

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 17, 2020

December 2019 Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Update

 

Fraser Valley offers affordable, quality homes; declining supply could push prices up.

The start of 2020, both as a new year and a new decade, brings several attractive features for a quality lifestyle in the Fraser Valley. Affordability is still a bid draw, especially for young families and first-time home buyers.  The combined benchmark price for all property types across the region at the beginning of January was 818,000. This is 2.0 per cent less than it was one year ago, and well under the $1-million mark of Metro Vancouver. Across the municipalities in the Valley, prices are currently stable, and despite a declining inventory at present, it is an excellent time to enter the market.  Even with the listing decline last year, there were still over 30,500 new Valley listings in 2019, and 4,600 homes available for sale at the end of December. With buyers now more confident in normal market dynamics, I expect to seer a rise in the rate of sales in the coming year. And with greater home purchasing activity this could create an upward movement in prices, so I recommend you get into the market as early as you can this year.

 

Because quality of life for homeowners in the Fraser Valley is major attraction, I would impress on potential buyers that the long-term equity in a Valley home be seriously considered. If you were to look at price changes in every municipality for the past three years, you would see significant increases ranging from 15 per cent to over 50 per cent, with the exception of detached homes and townhouses in South Surrey/White Rock. In this high-end area alone, prices had spiralled the highest in the period before new government taxes and stricter mortgage rules took effect. It is understandable, therefore, that the market correction there has taken a bit longer. This year the combined benchmark price in South Surrey/White Rock is a mere 0.7 higher than three years ago, but there are some very attractive prices for buyers wanting a higher priced neighborhood. Across all other Fraser Valley areas, you will find quality homes comparably at most affordable prices. Below I have identified each property type closest to its benchmark price in six municipalities. This guide should give you a good idea of the price stability as it shows the one month change for each benchmark. If you have any questions for your particular needs, please don’t hesitate to call me.  

 

Detached Homes

 

The benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley at the end of December 2019 was $953,700, an increase of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $1,299,500 and Mission at $644,100. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $996,700, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month; Cloverdale at $998,100, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; and Surrey at $992,200, a decrease of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $933,400, a decrease of 0.2 per cent from the preceding month; North Delta at $904,600, an increase of 1.6 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $787,600, an increase of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Townhouses

 

The benchmark price for a townhouse in the Fraser Valley at the end of December 2019 was $514,900, no change from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $625,000 and Abbotsford at $376,200. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: North Surrey at $552,200, a decrease of 0.4 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $554,400, no change from the preceding month; and  Cloverdale at $560,700, an increase of 1.4 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: Langley at $490,100, no change from the preceding month; Mission at $438,400, a decrease of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $376,200, a decrease of 0.4 per cent from the preceding month.

 

Condominiums

 

The benchmark price for a condominium in the Fraser Valley at the end of December 2019 was $405,500, an increase of 0.3 per cent from the preceding month. The extremities of this average were South Surrey/White Rock at $475,800 and Abbotsford at $309,200. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the higher side of the average were: Langley at $407,300, an increase of 2.0 per cent from the preceding month; Surrey at $409,300, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; Cloverdale at $451,200, a decrease of 0.1 per cent from the preceding month; and Cloverdale at 448,700, a decrease of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month. The three municipalities closest to the benchmark on the lower side of the average were: North Surrey at $398,700, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the preceding month; Mission at 337,500, an increase of 0.7 per cent from the preceding month; and Abbotsford at $309,200, no change from the preceding month.

 

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2020

May good fortune be your companion throughout this New Year.  Please let me know if I am able to assist you in any of your real estate matters, whether you are planning to buy, to list, or to renovate in the coming year. I am happy to provide detailed market information, or financial expertise on your home or desired area; and can recommend quality, reliable tradespeople if you are thinking about renovations. I enjoy helping my clients in a variety of ways. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Posted in Market Updates