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.