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The City of Vancouver is looking for ways to reset a housing market in which its residents are battered by both high prices and a low availability, and putting local buyers at the front of the line for any new presale real estate opportunities is one of the policies it is considering.

 

But as some recent voluntary efforts by developers to prioritize local buyers show, it's easier to declare a "locals-first policy" than it is to verify and enforce that locals end up living in a newly constructed condo or townhouse.

 

Similar to the province's 15-per-cent foreign-buyer real-estate tax, the city policy is aimed at non-resident investors who have been shown to buy a disproportionate share of the city's high-end condos.

 

Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, broke down the foreign ownership numbers from Statistics Canada and the CMHC and found that condominiums valued higher than $1.5-million had a remarkably high share of foreign ownership, as high as 19 per cent in Vancouver. The city-wide percentage of foreign ownership of all home types was just 7.6 per cent and 4.8 per cent in Vancouver's metro area.

 

Before even having these numbers the city had already concluded that foreign buyers were distorting the market for new condos.

 

On Oct. 17, 2017, Vancouver's city council passed a motion to begin "a policy framework for new development applications that gives residents who live and work in Metro Vancouver the first opportunity to purchase new presale homes in Vancouver."

 

So far, such moves have been applied only to individual projects. One of the first came in 2016 when the West Vancouver district attached a locals' first presale period to the its approval of the six-building, 120-condo unit Sewell's Landing project.

 

Council's motion could eventually make locals-first the default in any new building application across the city.

 

That has prompted some developers to move now, and announce they are voluntarily adopting a locals-first policy.

 

Westbank Corp. opened up a locals-first buying period on Dec. 14 for its 57-floor, 331-unit, Butterfly building project for 969 Burrard St. in Vancouver, the company posted a long document explaining the policy on its website. The company also states it has done similar programs in the past, designed to give a 30-day exclusive buying period for literal locals (as in they lived in the neighbourhood of the development) and another 60 days for residents of Greater Vancouver.

 

"The sales team also verifies driver's licenses, utility bills and employment letters to insure the buyer included in the Local First program meets the criteria," the document says. "All buyers are asked to sign a declaration to confirm they meet the program's criteria."

 

The Butterfly document says that in addition to a 30-day window, at any time whenpresales are open if a foreign buyer and a local expressed interest in the same condo unit the tie would go to the local buyer.

 

"To be perfectly frank, it's a window-washing exercise," says Josh Gordon , assistant professor at the Simon Fraser University School of Public Policy. "This will have very little effect."

 

For example, what if a buyer was found to have falsified the declaration of " localness" they signed, would that cancel the sales contract? "We have never had to enforce a declaration before so we are unsure what legal consequences would be exactly if buyer does not live up to declaration," according to Michael Braun, director of sales and marketing for Westbank.

 

Even how the companies define and screen for locals is ripe for abuse, Mr. Gordon says. Locally registered shell corporations with foreign owners, for example, might slip by as "local." A recent civil case involving a $750,000 home purchase in PortCoquitlam, B.C., showed some Chinese overseas investors will go to extreme measures – such as having nine individuals each smuggle packets of $50,000 in cash across the border into Canada – in order to disguise the origin of real estate funds.

 

There's the more widely known practice of a foreign buyer transferring money to a relative or other agent in Canada to purchase the home on their behalf.

 

"We understand and acknowledge that a family member may be helping out another family member to purchase a home in Vancouver [a common reality in a high-priced housing market] and do not specially track that," Mr. Braun says.

 

Butterfly units start at $960,000.

 

Until policymakers are better able to establish residency of property owners – for example by tracking whether an owner declares income in the province – announcing a development will be locals' first "is more or less a meaningless pledge," Mr. Gordon says.

 

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The Bank of Canada was widely expected to hike its benchmark interest rate for the third time in a year this morning and they did. They increased the rate by another .25%

 

After staying on the sidelines for the better part of a decade following the financial crisis, Canada's central bank raised its key interest rate twice last year, to one per cent. The bank's rate is important because it filters down to affect the rates that Canadians get from banks and other lenders for things like mortgages, GICs and savings accounts.

 

After a slew of data suggesting Canada's economy is growing solidly, and the job market is positively booming, experts say the central bank is likely to raise its key lending rate by 25 points to 1.25 per cent — a level not seen since 2009.

 

Regards,

 

Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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2017 has come to an end and we've welcomed the new year and the opportunities it may bring. It’s been a year of many mortgage rule changes, new regulations, mortgage stress test, foreign buyer tax and more. 


The one thing that hasn’t changed is Canadians’ desire to own a family home or investment properties and this is sure to continue. Owning real estate especially for the long term simply makes financial sense. The low interest rate environment and the continued growth in the Canadian economy are great catalysts for continued demand for homes. According to the latest RBC Economic Outlook, the Canadian economy is ready to keep rolling in 2018 while on track to post the strongest performance in all the G-7 countries.


There are many ways to use a mortgage other than for buying your first home or investment property. You can use the equity in your home to access funds for things such as paying down debt, helping your children or other family members with the purchase of their first home or to help with tuition. You can even use the funds to buy additional properties and other investments that build your financial security. 


I’m sure 2018 will be another interesting year in the Canadian mortgage and real estate world, hopefully not as eventful as this year was. I’ll be here to help you, your family and friends find the right mortgage solution and help make your homeownership and other financial dreams come true.  I look forward to working with you, your friends and family.


Wishing you all the best in 2018.


Regards,


Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC




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After reaching record levels in 2015 and 2016, Metro Vancouver home sales returned to more historically normal levels in 2017. Home listings, on the other hand, came in several thousand units below typical activity.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 35,993 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2017, a 9.9 per cent decrease from the 39,943 sales recorded in 2016, and a 15 per cent decrease over the 42,326 residential sales in 2015.

 

Last year’s sales total was, however, 9.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average.

 

“It was a steady year for home sales across the region, led by condominium and townhome activity, and a quieter year for home listings,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “Metro Vancouver home sales were the third highest we’ve seen in the past ten years while the home listings total was the second lowest on record for the same period.”

 

Home listings in Metro Vancouver reached 54,655 in 2017. This is a 5.1 per cent decrease compared to the 57,596 homes listed in 2016 and a 4.5 per cent decrease compared to the 57,249 homes listed in 2015.

 

Last year’s listings total was 4.4 per cent below the 10-year listings average.

 

“Market activity differed considerably this year based on property type,” Oudil said. “Competition was intense in the condominium and townhome markets, with multiple offer situations becoming commonplace. The detached home market operated in a more balanced state, giving home buyers more selection to choose from and more time to make decisions.”

 

The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $1,050,300. This is up 15.9 per cent compared to December 2016.

 

The benchmark price of condominiums increased 25.9 per cent in the region last year. Townhomes increased 18.5 per cent and detached homes increased 7.9 per cent.

 

“Strong economic growth, low interest rates, declining unemployment, increasing wages and a growing population all helped boost home buyer demand in our region last year,” Oudil said.

December summary

Sales of detached, attached, and apartment properties totalled 2,016 in the region in December 2017, a 17.6 per cent increase from the 1,714 sales recorded in December 2016 and a 27.9 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 when 2,795 homes sold.

 

Last month’s sales were 7.5 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

 

“As we move into 2018, REALTORS® are working with their clients to help them understand how changing interest rates and the federal government’s new mortgage qualifications could affect their purchasing power,” Oudil said. “Only time will tell what impact these rules will have on the market.

 

“Home buyers today should get pre-approved before making an offer to ensure that your home buying goals align with your financial situation,” Oudil said.

 

There were 1,891 residential homes newly listed for sale in December 2017. This represents a 44.1 per cent increase compared to the 1,312 homes listed in December 2016 and a 54 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 when 4,109 properties were listed.

 

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver is 6,958, a 9.7 per cent increase compared to December 2016 (6,345) and a 20.5 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 (8,747).

 

The sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2017 is 29 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.4 per cent for detached homes, 38.8 per cent for townhomes, and 59.6 per cent for condominiums.

 

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

 

Sales of detached properties in December 2017 reached 617, a 14 per cent increase from the 541 detached sales recorded in December 2016. The benchmark price for a detached home in the region is $1,605,800. This represents a 7.9 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

 

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,028 in December 2017, a 12.3 per cent increase compared to the 915 sales in December 2016.The benchmark price of an apartment in the region is $655,400. This represents a 25.9 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

 

Attached (or townhome) property sales in December 2017 totalled 371, a 43.8 per cent increase compared to the 258 sales in December 2016. The benchmark price of an attached home in the region is $803,700. This represents an 18.5 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

 

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It’s been an interesting year, to say the least, in the Canadian housing & mortgage market. Many policy changes have been imposed to try to reign in the very strong demand for housing in some Canadian markets. 
 
The Globe & Mail does a good job of reviewing these changes and how they’ve impacted the market in the article below. Take a read and, as always, let me know if you have any questions at all.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!!!


 

Canada's housing sector has been whipsawed by policy changes over the past year as governments have tried to cool overheated markets in Vancouver and Toronto and stave off a consumer debt crisis.


In the year since the B.C. government introduced a foreign-buyers tax in the Vancouver housing market, federal and provincial governments have announced a variety of policy changes and proposals that have cumulatively turned residential real estate into one of the most actively regulated sectors in the economy.

 

The changes have included a combination of vacant homes taxes, breaks for first-time home buyers, tighter mortgage qualification rules and restrictions on foreigners buying homes.


Together the reforms have created a major national experiment in cooling off an industry sector in the face of overwhelming consumer demand. Here are highlights of some of the most significant reforms announced in the past 12 months, along with the market impacts.

Vancouver foreign-buyers tax

The B.C. government surprised Vancouver residents last summer when it announced a new 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers effective Aug. 2, making Vancouver the first jurisdiction in Canada to require non-residents to pay a tax on home purchases.


The tax appeared to have an immediate impact, with house sales in the Vancouver region falling 26 per cent in August compared with a year earlier and average prices sliding through the fall.


However, many observers said the tax hit as the market was already softening, spurring an even greater response. Sales in the Vancouver region had climbed just 0.6 per cent in June, 2016, and fell 19 per cent in July compared with the same month a year earlier as many home buyers had already started to leave the market due to affordability concerns.


Coupled with the unexpected new tax, total sales fell steadily through the fall and winter, and the average price for all home types dipped to a low of $896,000 by January, 2017, down 4 per cent from the benchmark index high of $930,400 in July. Detached home prices fell 6.5 per cent from July to February.


But the price decline began to slowly reverse in February and prices hit new record highs by April and continued to grow, although the pace of new sales slowed. The benchmark index price for all types of homes in Vancouver was $998,700 in June, up 7 per cent from July last year before the tax was announced.


The result is that the Vancouver market appears to have largely shrugged off the tax, said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president of Western Canada at realty firm Re/Max.


"The tax last year was introduced as a political move more than anything else, knowing there was a spring election around the corner," Mr. Ash said. "And ultimately it hasn't had any effect."


Mr. Ash said housing demand returned quickly, and he believes foreign buyers will begin to factor in the tax as a cost of doing business and will not be significantly deterred by the additional cost. Local residents meanwhile are slowly stepping back into the market after spending a few months on the sidelines assessing the impact.


"You really can't tax your way out of a housing problem," he said.

Mortgage rule changes

The federal government toughened mortgage lending rules five times between 2008 and 2015 to curb risky borrowing practices and ensure homeowners could afford the costs of their mortgages.

 

But with debt levels still soaring last year as house prices continued to climb, the government moved again in October, 2016, with a major package of changes to further cool the borrowing binge.

 

The new rules included new stress-testing measures for homeowners who are required to get mortgage insurance because they do not have down payments of at least 20 per cent of the purchase price of the house.

 

 

The rule requires insured home buyers with new fixed-rate mortgage loans of five years or longer to prove they could still afford their mortgages at the common rate posted by the Bank of Canada, which is about two percentage points higher than the discounted rates offered by most lenders.

 

The impact of October's reform is illustrated by the declining volume of mortgage insurance issued in the first quarter of 2017, a period of rapid growth in the housing sector in Ontario in particular, when mortgage insurance could have been booming as buyers leaped into the market.

 

Instead, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported a 41-per-cent drop in the number of housing units it insured in the first three months of 2017, and said the total value of new loans insured in the quarter fell 42 per cent to $8.3-billion from $14.3-billion last year. A large proportion of the drop came in portfolio insurance, which is bulk insurance purchased by financial institutions for their uninsured mortgage portfolios.


The steep drop within just a few months suggests many buyers either found more money or bought more modest homes to ensure they would not need insured mortgages – or else didn't buy at all if they couldn't meet the new stress-test rules.

Toronto foreign-buyers tax

The Toronto housing market this year has tracked Vancouver's experience earlier last year, with house prices soaring in early 2017 and observers raising calls for government intervention to stem speculation in the market.


Despite the mortgage qualification changes last fall, the Toronto region housing market went on a tear in the first four months of 2017, with prices climbing 33 per cent in March compared with the same month a year earlier.


At the market's peak in April, the average home in the Greater Toronto Area sold for $920,791, up 25 per cent from April, 2016.


Amid fears that an unstable real estate bubble was forming in Toronto, the Ontario government announced a package of reforms on April 20, dubbed the Fair Housing Plan.


The centrepiece of the package was a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in the market, but the province also said it would give Toronto's city council the power to impose a tax on vacant homes, similar to one implemented in Vancouver this year.


Like in Vancouver, the impact of the reforms was immediate. House prices in the GTA fell in May and June, and sales plunged 37 per cent in June compared with the same month last year as potential buyers flooded out of the market to wait for stability.


By mid-July, the average sales price for all types of homes in the GTA was $760,356, down 17 per cent from April's peak, although still up 6.5 per cent from July last year, which means some of the price increase from earlier this year has not been erased.


A key reason for the price drop has been a surge in new listings as homeowners saw a downturn looming and rushed to list their houses before prices fell. New listings were up 49 per cent in May compared with the same month a year earlier, adding a flood of new inventory to the market.


Many in the real estate sector believe Toronto's market was rising too fast and needed the dose of cold water, but are waiting to see how far the drop will go and when all the buyers who were bidding in a frenzy just a few months ago will come back into the market.

What could be next

The housing sector is still facing more change, including further mortgage reform that could have the greatest impact of any federal rules changes yet introduced.


The Bank of Canada raised interest rates in July for the first time in seven years, increasing the overnight lending rate to 0.75 per cent from 0.5 per cent previously.


Few economists expect the tiny change in itself to have a major impact on housing demand because an increase of 0.25 of a percentage point does not have a significant impact on monthly payments. But the wild card is whether the central bank moves ahead with further rate increases this fall, which could have more housing sector impact depending on how much rates ultimately grow.


The more immediate change was unveiled in July, when Canada's banking regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), unveiled a proposed new rule change that would impact a broad swath of Canadian home buyers.


OSFI said it plans to require home buyers who do not need mortgage insurance – those with down payments greater than 20 per cent of the purchase price – to prove they could still afford their mortgages if interest rates were two percentage points higher than the rate they are offered by their bank.


The more stringent stress testing requirement could have a major impact on the real estate sector because uninsured buyers account for a larger proportion of all real estate sales in Canada.

 

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce economist Benjamin Tal says it is "not unreasonable to assume" that within a year or two, mortgage growth in Canada could be half of what it is now.


If interest rates rise a further 25 basis points – a quarter of a percentage point – to 1 per cent this fall, and if OSFI goes ahead with its proposed change, Mr. Tal forecasts the rate of growth of new mortgage lending in Canada would drop from roughly 6 per cent annually to about 3 per cent, which means the value of new mortgage lending could fall by up to $40-billion a year from about $80-billion, he said.


Toronto realtor John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty Inc., believes the proposed OSFI rule change could take "a significant portion of buyers out of the market" and further soften prices in Toronto if many people qualified only for significantly smaller mortgages as a result of the change.


"I think the OSFI thing is a game-changing policy decision – it would have a massive impact on the entire market," he said.


Full Article >


 

Regards,


Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC


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There are many places in Metro Vancouver to see sparkling Christmas lights, admire seasonal decorations and enjoy the festive winter holiday season.

 

There are gardens with amazing illumination displays, gingerbread house competitions, Christmas musical performances, holiday markets to explore, popular attractions all lit up and a whole lot more.

Top Holiday Season Activities

Below are the top 10 places in Metro Vancouver to see Christmas lights, holiday decorations and get into the festive spirit.

 

1. Bright Nights at Stanley Park


Vancouver’s Stanley Park hosts the most amazing presentation of Christmas lights and festive themed displays in the Lower Mainland, with over three million sparkling lights viewed by gazillions of people each year. Admission is by donation, with funds going to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

The classic night train costs about $9-$12 and requires waiting in line due to its popularity, but it’s fun for the kids. Bright Nights offers exceptional value and is our top choice for Christmas lights for young children.

Click Bright Nights at Stanley Park for more information.

Bright Nights is open from November 28, 2017, until January 6, 2018.

Santa and Bright Nights Decorations

 

 

2. Peak of Christmas at Grouse


Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver offers some of the best Christmas-time activities in the Lower Mainland. There are Christmas movies in their theatre, sleigh rides, Santa to visit and gingerbread houses all on display and included with admission. There is also ice skating, trails for snowshoeing, fine dining and of course the great ski slopes with their amazing views of Vancouver below.

At a cost of about $90 or so for a family, the Peak of Christmas isn’t cheap. Admission is included with a ski ticket or advance reservations for dinner at the Observatory Restaurant, however, which makes all the attractions suddenly become a pretty good deal.

Click Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain for more information.

The Peak of Christmas runs from November 27, 2017, until January 7, 2018.

Grouse Mountain Skating Rink


3. Lights at Lafarge


Lights at Lafarge is a Christmas attraction that features holiday lights and illuminations around the lake at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam.

The decorations are beautiful, the walk around the lake is most pleasant, the scenery is wonderful and the attraction is completely free! The venue is also conveniently located near the Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain Station. If you live in the area or have never been, we highly recommend it.

For more information, click Lights at Lafarge.

In 2017 the attraction starts up on November 25th and it typically runs until around the third week in January.


4. Heritage Christmas in Burnaby


Burnaby Village’s Heritage Christmas is the best holiday festive deal in Metro Vancouver – not only is it a great place to get into the Christmas mood, but it’s also free! It doesn’t have the best or largest displays of Christmas lights and decorations, but for the price they charge it’s still impressive, plus you get interesting pieces of history thrown in to boot!

Click Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village for more information.

In 2017 Heritage Christmas takes place from November 25th until January 5th.

Christmas Illuminations at Burnaby Village


5. Hyatt Gingerbread Lane


Hyatt Gingerbread Castle

For the best display of gingerbread houses in Vancouver, check out Gingerbread Lane downtown at the Hyatt Regency on Burrard Street near Georgia. The hotel’s foyer becomes home to dozens of beautiful and delicious-looking gingerbread creations. It’s not necessarily a destination of its own, but if you are in the area it’s worth a visit.

For more information, click Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt Regency.

Note: Vancouver’s other exceptional place to see Christmas gingerbread displays is at the top of Grouse Mountain (see #2 above).

Most years the gingerbread houses are on display from early December until the beginning of January.


6. VanDusen Festival of Lights


Interested in seeing amazing light displays in Vancouver’s finest botanical garden? This is a must see! Prices range from about $11.50 to $19 or so per person.

Click VanDusen Festival of Lights for more information.

In 2017 the Festival of Lights runs from December 1st to January 7th.


7. Canyon Lights at Capilano


Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver are not inexpensive, but they are amazing. Their Christmas lights win top prize for being tastefully displayed, and the bridges and unique walkways make this a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience.

Click Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge for more information.

Canyon Lights is open from November 23, 2017, until January 28, 2018.

Canyon Lights at Capilano BridgeCanyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge


8. Holiday Hi-Light Festival


If you plan to be in North Vancouver and want to see some good free Christmas lights, then check out the displays at Park and Tilford mall. Admission is by donation.

The Holiday Hi-Light Festival illuminations aren’t as impressive as the lights at Stanley Park, or at more expensive places like VanDusen Garden or Capilano Suspension Bridge, but, considering they’re free, they are actually quite impressive and well worth checking out, especially during Family Nights which take place on Friday evenings in December.

Click Park and Tilford Holiday Hi-Light Festival for more information.

Open nightly in 2017 from December 1 until December 31.



9. Holidays Arts and Theatre


The Christmas season is a great time of year for music and the performing arts. There are choirs, orchestras and live plays taking place throughout the Lower Mainland. Some of the best music any time of the year is offered by the following musical groups:

Click Christmas Concerts 2017 for a list of specific performances and dates in the Lower Mainland.

Christmas Concerts


10. Vancouver Christmas Market


Vancouver’s Christmas Market features numerous German and other European-themed stalls selling all kinds of Christmas-y items, from souvenirs to European festival food to a range of festive “adult” beverages to help with the holiday season celebrations.

Although there are carousel rides and kids ages 6 and under are free, the place is more for adults than children, but still good for everyone. Regular admission ranges from around $5-$10. If you are looking for an outdoor market with interesting knick-knacks to see while enjoying mulled wine or cider with friends, then this can be a great place to be.

Click Vancouver Christmas Market for more information.

Open daily from 11 am until 9 pm between November 22nd and December 24th.


For more ideas on things to do during the Christmas season, check out Vancouver’s Best Places’ December Calendar.


Other Christmas Activities

In addition to the above top 10 things to do at Christmas, below are other great holiday traditions.


Christmas Craft Fairs


November and December are the months for Christmas crafts fairs, and there are lots of them in Metro Vancouver. For a list of craft fairs click Lower Mainland Christmas Craft Fairs.

 

Christmas Plays & Theatre


The Christmas season is a great time to see a holiday show, including the following:

  • The Day Before Christmas – a play about the perfect holiday disaster showing at the Goldcorp Stage at 162 West 1st Avenue (November 16 – December 24, 2017).

For more theatre options, click Vancouver December Theatre.


Christmas at Canada Place


If you plan to be in downtown Vancouver between mid-December and the end of the month, then check out The Canadian Trail along Canada Place‘s West Promenade. It’s just a few blocks from Waterfront Station, next door to the new Vancouver Convention Centre building, and only a few blocks from Gastown and the Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre.

Christmas at Canada Place takes place from late November until the end of December.

Canada Place at Night at ChristmasChristmas at Canada Place


Other Christmas Activities


  • Christmas plays and theatre throughout town – see Vancouver’s Shows and Entertainment Calendar for details.
  • Robson Square Ice Skating – free ice skating from the beginning of December until February from 9 am to 9 pm daily, and until 11 pm on Fridays and Saturday nights.
  • Christmas at the Cannery – the historic site at Steveston Village in Richmond is decorated with Christmas trees from area businesses all month, making December a good time to visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
  • Dundarave Festival of Lights– decorated Christmas trees in West Vancouver throughout December in the Forest of Miracles, and free concerts on the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas. It’s not a big event, but good to combine with a walk along the seawall on a sunny day in the late afternoon.
  • Yule Duel: Caroling for a Cause – A friendly competition between choirs from across Metro Vancouver for a night of holiday entertainment benefiting a Downtown Eastside hospice. Takes place in Gastown on the sidewalks of Water Street on the evening of December 7, 2017.
  • Heritage Holiday at Fort Langley – Christmas-themed decorations and activities at the historic fort in the Fraser Valley (December 23-23 and 27-30 in 2017).

 

 

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The City of Vancouver has approved a new housing strategy. That strategy includes 72,000 homes over the next decade for people who live and work in Vancouver. New co-ops, rental apartments and townhouses are also part of the plan.

 

NPA Councillor Melissa De Genova says the strategy is vague, adds bureaucracy and doesn’t actually address the problems within the market.

 

“Many of the individuals that we heard from who spoke in support of this, said that they didn’t truly support the policy, they just wanted to see some movement in affordable housing, so they would have supported anything.”

 

She says the city should focus on speeding up the approval process so builders can actually add housing to the city.

 

“Unfortunately, Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver would prefer to pretend they are doing something about it than actually roll up their sleeves and really start to make housing affordable.”

 

Robertson is much more optimistic about the plan.

 

“Our newly approved Housing Vancouver strategy is a bold, forward-thinking plan that was directly informed by what we heard from local residents: we need urgent action now to ramp up not just the supply of housing, but the right kind of supply,” says Robertson in a release.

 

“Housing Vancouver builds on measures the City is already taking that are the first of their kind in Canada-the empty homes tax, temporary modular housing for our most vulnerable residents, and regulating short-term rentals-and includes strategies that go after real estate speculation, offer more protection for renters and will transform single-family neighbourhoods across the city. This comprehensive approach will help us maintain Vancouver’s diversity and vibrancy, and create more affordable housing options for young people, growing families, seniors and our most vulnerable residents.”

 

De Genova maintains this only appears to be taking action to help.

 

“In this plan, we are talking about a tactical response team for housing. I found out that would cost $700,000 but they still can’t tell me what that team will do. This is a smoke screen.”

 

Here is the presentation that was given to Council.

 

Full Article >

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The year is coming to an end and it appears the Government is done with significant regulatory changes that affect home ownership and mortgage lending in Canada. Their overall objective was to introduce measures intended to “cool” the housing market and introduce new “stress test” measures that ensure affordability in the future if rates do rise.


These new measures require you to qualify based on an interest rate that is higher than the rate you pay! They’re preparing for interest rate hikes, but are interest rates on their way up? Maybe not!


Inflation is the main catalyst for a rising rate environment. We appear to be in an age of no inflation. There are many factors for this but the primary one is that with the ever-increasing shift to globilization, the pressure for wage increases diminishes which has historically been the main driver for inflationary pressure.


Housing prices on the other hand have gone up over the last few years. Many would argue it has more to do with lack of supply of housing, especially in areas where people want to live as well as an increasing demand for housing.


However, regardless of whether real estate prices go up, stay the same, or even slightly go down in the short term, true stability and wealth will be created over time when you pay down your mortgage regardless of the value of your home at any given time. This is the ideal time for Canadians not only to buy their first, second, or investment property, but also for implementing strategies and options to pay down their mortgage faster and accelerate their wealth building potential.


Finding the right mortage that financially makes sense today and in the future is just as important as finding the right home.  Call or message me today.



Regards,

 

 

Tony Marchigiano 

 

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC


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The City of Vancouver is expected to unveil its 10-year housing strategy shortly, following a major local announcement on the same issue coming from the federal government on Wednesday.

 

The federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, is scheduled to make a major housing policy announcement Wednesday morning in Vancouver.

 

It will be a joint event, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appearing in Toronto while Duclos is in Vancouver, the two cities facing the country’s most acute housing challenges.

 

CBC reported Tuesday that the national housing strategy set to be outlined Wednesday will include plans for the creation of up to 100,000 new affordable housing units across the country over 10 years.

 

Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver has already announced its own target of 72,000 new homes for renters, families, and vulnerable residents over the next decade.

 

Those previously announced housing targets are part of the city’s 10-year plan, which is set to be unveiled in full before next Tuesday’s council meeting, where it will be discussed.

 

The comprehensive housing strategy is expected to touch on everything from permit approvals and real estate speculation, to single-room occupancy hotels and temporary modular housing to combat homelessness. The plan will also attempt to increase the stock of rental housing in a city with a critically low vacancy rate.

 

The city began stakeholder consultation on the housing plan in fall 2016, and earlier this year introduced some changes meant to increase housing options for renters earning medium-level incomes. Those changes included opening up neighbourhoods dominated by single-family houses to different housing options including more laneway houses and duplexes. Some housing activists and academics said while the measures were a step in the right direction, the city needed to go farther in the density allowed in single-family areas, pushing to open up vast swaths of residential land for denser options like townhouses, duplexes, condos and apartment buildings.

 

How far the city will go in transforming those neighbourhoods currently zoned single-family — estimated to make up as much as 80 per cent of Vancouver’s residential land — will be, for many observers, one of the most keenly anticipated pieces in the final housing plan.

 

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CMHC (Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation) has come out with it’s latest forecast on interest rates and the housing market for the next 2 years. Mortgage lender, First National has done a great job of summarizing the report.
 
See below for the details:
 

"Canada Mortgage and Housing has released its latest Housing Market Outlook.  The HMO is released annually at the beginning of the fourth quarter and looks ahead over the next two years.

 

In general CMHC sees a stable, but slowing housing market. 

 

Housing starts are expected to decline over the next two years as the economy strengthens and the Bank of Canada withdraws stimulus – that is, interest rates continue to rise.

 

CMHC is forecasting posted, 5-year mortgage rates of 4.9% to 5.7% next year and 5.2% to 6.2% in 2019.  That is an increase of as much as 160 bps over the time horizon of the outlook.

 

Existing home sales are forecast to drop.  This should be no surprise given the record setting pace of sales through 2016 and early 2017.  As well, the pace of price increases is expected to slow down.  CMHC predicts the national average price for a home should fall somewhere between $494,000 and $511,000 this year.  In 2019 the range is expected to be between $499,000 and $524,500.

 

CMHC is also forecasting ongoing growth for GDP, employment and immigration.  But the agency expects consumer spending to decline as interest rates increase."

 

Regards,

 

 

Tony Marchigiano 

 

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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The B.C. government has announced new rules it says will cut down on shady real estate deals in the province.

Superintendent of Real Estate Michael Noseworthy says the changes are set to take effect March 15.

 

They include better informing buyers about how much compensation realtors are entitled to, as well as restricting "dual agency," where when one agent acts on behalf of both buyer and seller on the same deal.

 

The changes stem from recommendations made last year by an independent advisory panel created by the former B.C. Liberal government.

 

The changes are the result of effort to curb practices like "shadow flipping," which first came to light in 2016.

Shadow flipping is the practice of selling a property several times by reassigning the sales contracts before their closing date. The price of the home goes up each time. 

 

Changes limited in scope, agent says

 

Keith Roy, a real estate agent with REMAX Select, says the rules will likely increase consumer protection by raising awareness of the issues, but questioned whether they will actually be better protected from a legal standpoint.

 

"All we're doing in this case is limiting consumer choice of which professional they hire," Roy said.

 

"It's important because it's highlighting the issue, but it's not solving the problem that the government's saying it is."

Roy also said the new rules won't affect anyone's ability to flip houses on a speculative basis.

 

"These rules do nothing to change the impact of international money in the market [and they do] nothing to change the impact of people flipping houses [or] consumer protections around pricing," he said.

 

"All this does is limit the ability of a realtor to represent two people inside of the same transaction."

 

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A recent article in the Globe & Mail brings to light what I’ve been educating my clients on for the last year; since the last round of mortgage rule changes put in place October 2016. That is you get a better rate if you put down less than 20% as the financing would be considering insured meaning less risk for the mortgage lender. In some cases the rate is quite a bit lower.  I know, seems a bit crazy that someone with a higher down payment gets a crappier rate. 
 
The article below discusses this in detail and shows an example of being ahead by putting less than 20% down, paying the one time insurance premium and actually paying less over the 5 year term than if you were to put a full 20% down payment.
 
See below for all the details and, as always, let me know if you have any questions.
 
 

"It's tough to feel financially prudent when buying a house these days.

 

That's why an increasing number of first-time buyers are saving a down payment of 20 per cent or more. In doing so, they avoid having to buy mortgage default insurance which, in the case of a house price of $487,095 (the national average) bought with a 10 per cent down payment, would be 3.1 per cent or $13,590. This premium is generally added to the mortgage, which means more interest to pay.

 

It certainly sounds financially prudent to make a 20-per-cent down payment where possible, but this isn't always the case. In fact, you may save money both now and in the future by making a slightly smaller down payment and taking on the cost of mortgage default insurance.

 

Listen up if you're concerned about the new mortgage lending rules that were announced last week and will take effect on Jan. 1. When making a down payment of 20 per cent or more, the new rules require that you be able to qualify for a mortgage at the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada, or the original contractual rate plus two percentage points. An easier path to a mortgage may be to make a smaller down payment.

 

To even propose this seems bizarre. "The story has been that you're just throwing money away with mortgage insurance," said Mike Bricknell, a mortgage agent with CanWise Financial. What this thinking ignores is the way today's mortgage market discriminates against people who make down payments of 20 per cent or more. They may pay a fair bit more for a mortgage than someone with a high-ratio mortgage (down payment of less than 20 per cent) both now and on renewal.

 

A lender dealing with a client who has a sub-20 per cent down payment can take comfort from the fact that the loan is covered by government-backed insurance that is paid for by the borrower. A conventional mortgage (20 per cent or more) can be insured as well, but by the lender. All in all, a high-ratio mortgage is preferable from the lender's point of view and often results in a lower mortgage rate.

 

Mr. Bricknell has lately found that rates on five-year fixed rate mortgages are about 0.45 of a percentage point less for high ratio as opposed to conventional mortgages. Maybe your lender can do better than that. If not, consider this example of how a down payment less than 20 per cent can pay off.

 

We start with a $450,000 house and a buyer with a 20-per-cent down payment already saved. With a conventional mortgage amortized over 25 years, Mr. Bricknell figures this person could get a five-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.29 per cent. That means a monthly payment of $1,758.

 

Now, let's see what happens when this borrower makes a 19-per-cent down payment. A smaller down payment means borrowing a bit more, and thus more interest over the life of the mortgage. Also, mortgage insurance will be required at a cost of $10,206. All of this nets out to a monthly payment of $1,743, with the mortgage insurance premium included. How is this possible? Mr. Bricknell said it's because the high-ratio borrower gets a mortgage rate of 2.84 per cent.

 

There's a stress test for high-ratio mortgages as well, but it's marginally less onerous than it is for conventional mortgages because you only have to be able to handle the Bank of Canada benchmark rate, currently 4.89 per cent. Thus the high-ratio mortgage in Mr. Bricknell's example would have a qualifying rate of 4.89 per cent and the conventional mortgage would be at 5.29 per cent (the client's actual rate plus two percentage points).

 

The two mortgages outlined by Mr. Bricknell are pretty much a wash right now when compared on cost. Looking ahead, the high-ratio mortgage offers the potential for lower interest rates when it's time to renew your mortgage. This assumes that lenders will continue to look more favourably at high-ratio mortgages.

 

Mortgage industry data show that even as house prices increased from the early 2000s through the past few years, the percentage of people making down payments of less than 20 per cent has declined to 39 per cent from 54 per cent. If the rationale for this is to save money and be financially prudent, a rethink is required. Depending on the rates offered by your lender, a slightly smaller down payment could save you money in the long run."

 

Regards,

 

 

Tony Marchigiano 

 

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 3,022 in October 2017, a 35.3 per cent increase from the 2,233 sales recorded in October 2016, and an increase of 7.1 per cent compared to September 2017 when 2,821 homes sold.

 

Last month’s sales were 15 per cent above the 10-year October sales average.

 

"Conditions continue to vary significantly based on property type. The detached home market is well supplied with homes for sale, which is relieving pressure on prices," Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. "It remains a much different story in the townhouse and apartment markets. Buyers of these properties continue to have limited supply to choose from and are seeing upward pressure on prices."

 

There were 4,539 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in October 2017. This represents a 14 per cent increase compared to the 3,981 homes listed in October 2016 and a 15.6 per cent decrease compared to September 2017 when 5,375 homes were listed.

 

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,137, a 0.1 per cent decrease compared to October 2016 (9,143) and a 3.5 per cent decrease compared to September 2017 (9,466).

 

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2017 is 33.1 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 16.8 per cent for detached homes, 44.8 per cent for townhomes, and 66 per cent for condominiums.

 

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

 

"The growth in our provincial economy and job market is contributing to today's demand," Oudil said. "The federal government's announcement of plans to tighten mortgage requirements for the seventh time in the last eight years also helped spur activity in the short term. Many buyers are trying to enter the market before the changes are in place."

 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,042,300. This represents a 12.4 per cent increase over October 2016 and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to September 2017.

 

Sales of detached properties in October 2017 reached 940, a 44.2 per cent increase from the 652 detached sales recorded in October 2016 and a 34.6 per cent decrease from the 1,437 sales in October 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,609,600. This represents a four per cent increase from October 2016 and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to September 2017.

 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,532 in October 2017, a 30.1 per cent increase compared to the 1,178 sales in October 2016 and a 0.7 per cent decrease from the 1,543 sales in October 2015. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $642,000. This represents a 22.7 per cent increase from October 2016 and a one per cent increase compared to September 2017.

 

Attached property sales in October 2017 totalled 550, a 36.5 per cent increase compared to the 403 sales in October 2016 and a 17.4 per cent decrease from the 666 sales in October 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $802,400. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from October 2016 and a two per cent increase compared to September 2017.

 

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The next new mortgage regulation which comes into effect January 1, 2018 will require borrowers to qualify based on a rate that is 2 percentage points above the contract rate or the Bank of Canada posted 5 year rate (currently 4.89%) whichever is higher. The “stress test” criteria used to be for insured mortgages where homebuyers were putting less than 20% down. On January 1st, 2018 it will apply to all homebuyers!


The government felt these new rules along with previous regulations were necessary to ensure Canadians can afford their mortgage debt in the event interest rates were to rise over the coming years and as an attempt to slow the price appreciation particularly in larger Canadian cities.


It’s estimated that 1 in 6 homebuyers could be affected by this new qualification requirement and would either have to put more money down, purchase a less expensive home, or simply look at other possible options.


Regardless if you are affected by the new rules or not, getting a mortgage just seems to be getting more complicated and having the expertise of a mortgage professional on your side matters now more than ever. There are a variety of options and solutions to help you get into the home of your dreams including access to lenders such as credit unions, Mortgage Investment Companies (MICs), etc.


As a mortgage professional I know how important home ownership is for many and helping people find the right mortgage that fits their situation is what I do best. Again, the new rules come into effect January 1st, 2018 so if you’re looking to buy or refinance, let’s get ahead of the changes and see what we can do today.


Call or email me.


 

Regards,

 

 

Tony Marchigiano 

 

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC


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Fall is viewed by many as the real start of the year as children are back to school, summer holidays are over for many, cooler weather arrives and we begin to focus again on our daily routine.


It’s also typically a great time to start looking for a new home since more listings come onto the market which is perfect for buyers looking for a first home, forever home or an investment property.


The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported that the number of homes sold has declined over the last 4 months even though homes listed for sale have increased. The attempts by our federal government to “soften” the housing market by making it more difficult for buyers to qualify for financing appear to be working.


Robert Hogue, senior economist at RBC, stated “housing developments are consistent with our view that Canada’s housing market is in the process of moderating to a more sustainable level of activity”.


While interest rates have gone up slightly, affordability is still not a concern for many people. TransUnion (credit agency) recently stated that while mortgage debt has increased over the last several years, there are less Canadians with concerns about handling their mortgage payments and overall debt.


This could be the perfect time for you to make a move. Find out the options that are available to you and how much you can qualify for in today’s market. Together we can find the right mortgage that helps you achieve your goals. Call or email me today. 


 

Regards,

 

 

 

Tony Marchigiano 

 

Mortgage Broker

 

 

 

310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC


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Apartment and townhome activity is outpacing the detached home market across Metro Vancouver*. This activity helped push total residential sales above the historical average in September.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,821 in September 2017, a 25.2 per cent increase from the 2,253 sales recorded in September 2016, and a 7.3 per cent decrease compared to August 2017 when 3,043 homes sold.

 

Last month’s sales were 13.1 per cent above the 10-year September sales average.

 

“Our detached homes market is balanced today, while apartment and townhome sales remain in sellers' market territory,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “If you’re looking to enter the market, as either a buyer or seller, it’s important to understand these trends and use this information to set realistic expectations.”

 

There were 5,375 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in September 2017. This represents a 12 per cent increase compared to the 4,799 homes listed in September 2016 and a 26.6 per cent increase compared to August 2017 when 4,245 homes were listed.

 

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,466, a 1.2 per cent increase compared to September 2016 (9,354) and a 7.5 per cent increase compared to August 2017 (8,807).

 

“Detached homes made up 30 per cent of all sales in September and represented 62 per cent of all the homes listed for sale on the MLS®,” said Oudil. “This dynamic has slowed the pace of upward pressure that we’ve seen on detached home prices in our market over the last few years.”

 

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2017 is 29.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.6 per cent for detached homes, 42.3 per cent for townhomes, and 60.4 per cent for apartments.

 

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,037,300. This represents a 10.9 per cent increase over September 2016 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to August 2017.

 

Sales of detached properties in September 2017 reached 852, a 27.9 per cent increase from the sales recorded in September 2016 (666), a decrease of 33 per cent from September 2015 (1,272), and a decrease of 32.9 per cent from September 2014 (1,270). The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,617,300. This represents a 2.9 per cent increase from September 2016 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to August 2017.

 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,451 in September 2017, a 19.1 per cent increase compared from the sales recorded in September 2016 (1,218), a 5.1 per cent decrease from September 2015 (1,529), and a 22.1 per cent increase from September 2014 (1,188). The benchmark price of an apartment property is $635,800. This represents a 21.7 per cent increase from September 2016 and a 1.4 per cent increase compared to August 2017.

 

Attached property sales in September 2017 totalled 518, a 40.4 per cent increase compared to the sales recorded in September 2016 (369), a 4.8 per cent decrease from September 2015 (544), and an 11.6 per cent increase from September 2014 (464). The benchmark price of an attached home is $786,600. This represents a 14.5 per cent increase from September 2016 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to August 2017.

 

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The Bank of Canada finally increased its bench mark rate to 0.75 percent (up 0.25 %) after seven years of leaving the key interest steady and even reducing it a couple of times. Typically, any increase or decrease in the Bank of Canada rate has a direct impact on the banks’ prime rates which they use to set interest rates for variable-rate mortgages and other loans. All five major Canadian banks did increase their prime lending rates by the same 25 basis points (0.25%). While this doesn’t sound like great news, the fact is that the Canadian economy is doing better than expected in 2017, employment is strong, mortgage defaults are at record lows and interest rates, both variable and fixed, are still close to historical lows.

 

What this means for you.


If you currently have a variable rate mortgage, home equity line of credit, or a combination of both, you will see an increase in the interest you pay and depending on the type of variable rate mortgage you may also see an increase in your payment. If you have a fixed rate mortgage you won’t see any change for the remainder of your term but you might face higher interest rates at the time of renewal.


Interest rates are just one component of your mortgage. Other factors such as amortization (number of years to pay off your mortgage), payment frequency, and prepayment options all have a significant impact on the amount of interest you actually pay.


Homeownership is an important long-term decision that can greatly enhance your overall financial well-being and having access to the right mortgage solution is just as important. With current speculation that the Bank of Canada might increase the benchmark rate one more time this year and with even more mortgage rule changes, it makes sense to get a pre-approved mortgage in hand before shopping for your first or next home.


I’m here to answer all your mortgage questions, call or email me today.


Regards,

 

Tony Marchigiano 

Mortgage Broker

 

310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC


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The foreign buyers' tax, introduced by the previous Liberal government, has done little to improve affordability a year after it was introduced, say observers of Metro Vancouver's real estate  market.

 

Analysts say home prices have continued to escalate, sales are on pace with pre-tax expectations and houses are largely still out of reach for most residents.

 

"Maybe it's changed the composition of sales a bit, some fewer luxury sales ... but as far as shaping the overall Vancouver market, it really hasn't done that much," said Brendon Ogmundson, an economist with the B.C. Real Estate Association.

 

Last summer, then-premier Christy Clark introduced a 15-per-cent-tax on foreign home buyers in Metro Vancouver in response to the region's skyrocketing housing prices.

 

Many critics suggested that foreign capital was one reason real estate had become increasingly unaffordable, with locals unable to compete with foreign investors.

 

It worked! Or did it?


A month after the tax came into effect, Clark pointed to the dramatic impact the tax had on the market.

 

The number of transactions involving foreign buyers plunged, from 2,034 deals in the seven-week period before the tax, to 60 in the four weeks after.

 

The number of sales recorded by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver that August fell sharply by 19 per cent.

 

While the effect of the tax was more immediate and dramatic than Ogmundson had anticipated, he said home sales had already been declining in the four months prior. 

 

The association had projected an 8 per cent drop in sales even before buyers were "spooked" by the introduction of the tax, he said.

 

But by the beginning of 2017, Ogmundson said the market stabilized. In July, sales were 0.7 per cent above the 10-year July sales average.

 

The Multiple Listing Service Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is $1,019,400 — an 8.7 per cent increase compared to July 2016 and a 2.1 per cent increase from June 2017.

 

'Politics over public policy'


Andrey Pavlov, a professor of real estate finance at Simon Fraser University, said that while the markets appeared to only cool temporarily from the tax, there is still likely a long-term impact.

 

"I realize that prices have come back to previous highs, but in all likelihood they would have been even higher without the tax," Pavlov said.

 

Both analysts agreed the tax has had little impact on affordability.

 

Pavlov said the dearth of housing in Vancouver is a much bigger factor that "hasn't been addressed at all."

 

What's needed, Pavlov said, are higher density allowances in order to create more housing, and greater freedom to build on undeveloped land such as the agricultural land reserve.

 

He also noted the growing gap between Vancouver-area incomes — which are lower than in many major North American cities — and housing costs.

 

Andy Yan, director of SFU's City Program, said fixing Vancouver's housing affordability problem requires all three levels of government to work together.

 

Yan noted that the foreign buyers tax was introduced last August, roughly six weeks after the B.C. government began collecting data on foreign buyers. That short span, Yan said, is proof the tax represented "politics over public policy."

 

Meanwhile, the president of the region's real estate board, Jill Oudil, said a tax on foreign buyers did not address one of the chief causes she believes is responsible for high housing costs — the low supply.

 

"It most certainly hasn't changed supply which has been our driving force in our market right now," said Oudil.

 

Demand for condos and townhouses

 

The most significant shift since the foreign buyers' tax was implemented is that demand for condominiums and townhouses has outstripped free-standing homes.

 

Ogmundson attributed this change to the need for more affordable housing.

 

In June, Oudil said the number of condominium listings was near an all-time low.

 

"Detached home listings have increased every month this year, while the number of condominiums for sale has decreased each month since February," she said.

 

The MLS Home Price Index benchmark price of apartments has grown to $616,000, an 18.5 per cent increase compared to July 2016.

 

The benchmark price for townhouses is $763,700, representing an 11.9 per cent growth also over last year.

All of it is evidence to Yan, that more work needs to be done.

 

"The expectation that this was about a single event, that it was about just foreign buyers by themselves creating unaffordability in the region, I think really fails to recognize the issue of a failing housing system."

 

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Royal LePage is out with its latest House Price Survey and Forecast, and it says Greater Vancouver continues to be a sellers’ market, led by significant demand for condominiums.

 

It says compared to a year ago, the aggregate price of a home in Greater Vancouver in the second quarter rose 2.6 per cent to $1.1-million.

 

That is a marked slowdown from the double-digit growth in 2016.

 

When broken down by housing type, the median price for a bungalow was up 5.3 per cent to $1.3-million, for a two-storey house it fell 0.5 per cent to $1.4-million, and for a condo the median price rose 12.4 per cent to $578,000.

 

“The Greater Vancouver real estate market defies all odds and expectations in 2017,” Randy Ryalls, general manager of Royal LePage Sterling Realty, said in a statement.

 

“Overall, it’s tough for first-time buyers to enter the real estate market and a lot of prospective purchasers are being priced out of the market through highly competitive, multiple-offer scenarios, particularly within the well-priced condominium segment that first-time homeowners typically favour.”

 

As for the rest of the year, Ryalls said, “We anticipate that Greater Vancouver will see home prices continue to increase for the remainder of the year as more buyers re-enter the market, with inventory shortages continuing to put upward pressure on prices.”


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In the lead up to The Bank of Canada raising it's key interest rate on Wednesday, I read article after article of negative, and some even doomsday, reports about the negative affect of this.  Finally good old CBC put out one yesterday that was actually based on facts and commentary from the Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz. 

The Bank of Canada wants us to know it's a good news story, not a bad one.

The economy is doing better! This means more jobs, more buying power and the rate?  Well, it only went up by .25% making the Prime Lending Rate for mortgage providers still lower than 3%.

And the forecast is for any further rate increases to be slow and steady and to keep a measured approach while considering everything about the Canadian economy.

See the full article by Don Pittis of the CBC below.

Fear of rising rates may have obscured the Bank of Canada's good news story: Don Pittis


Canada's central bankers Carolyn Wilkins and Stephen Poloz may have looked dour on their way to yesterday's news conference, but they painted a happy face on the Canadian economy once they arrived. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
 

Canada's gloomy old central bank governor Stephen Poloz has put on a happy face.

 

Much of the commentary both before and after yesterday's quarter-point rate hike — the first by the Bank of Canada in seven years — has been downbeat. 

 

Perhaps influenced by the many who benefit from low rates and the high levels of borrowing it encouraged, much of the media emphasis has been on the damage a rate hike would cause.

 

According to that outlook, that huge load of debt, the albatross hanging around the necks of over-borrowed Canadians, was only going to get heavier.

 

But that was not the message from Poloz and his deputy Carolyn Wilkins at yesterday's policy-focused news conference.

 

Good news for Canada


Even the gloomiest questions couldn't bring Poloz and Wilkins down.

 

"The most important thing here is that this is good news for Canada," Poloz told reporters in an uncharacteristic flight of good cheer. "The accumulation of evidence and the growth in our confidence that the economy is on a solid trajectory should be good news for everyone."

 

That includes people with mortgages.

 

While he and Wilkins were careful to hedge their bets with the warning that perfect predictions of the economic future are always uncertain, the tone was almost bubbly.

 

The adverse impact of rising interest rates on Canadian borrowers has been the headline of many stories. But the Bank of Canada says a growing economy means people will be able to afford rate increases. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

 

There is no question consumer interest rates are going up. Within an hour of the Bank of Canada news conference, Royal Bank of Canada had hiked its prime rate by a quarter of a percentage point, automatically pushing up the monthly costs of credit lines and variable-rate mortgages. Other banks quickly followed.

 

Asked about the impact of rising rates on mortgage holders, Wilkins insisted Canadians must see any increase in the context of an "economy where employment is continuing to rise and salaries continue to rise." 

 

Yes, borrowing costs are on the way up, but it is in the context of an expanding economy, she said.

 

Despite their enthusiasm, the normally dour central bankers insisted they had not let a little good news go to their heads.

 

"We're not just forecasters. We're policy-makers. So, for us, it's not just a question of getting the forecast right," said Poloz. "For us to be more cautious than your average forecaster, I think that makes sense." 

 

'Very, very prudent'


Wilkins called the bank's forecasts "very, very prudent."

 

"We've tried to take account of the uncertainty that's out there," she said. That uncertainty includes trade negotiations with the United States and how that country's own interest policy may unfold.

 

Our central bankers so far are not predicting a wild boom. But all the talk of headwinds we usually hear from the Bank of Canada was missing this time.

 

The worst they had to offer were lingering problems in the energy sector, where employment income would take a long time to recover after industry cost-cutting. But that cost-cutting meant the oil and gas business is now able to cope with oil prices in the $40 to $60 US range that the bank foresees.

 

Canada's oil and gas sector is contributing less to the economy, but the Bank of Canada says efficiencies mean industry is stabilizing at a lower price level. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

 

Despite the loss of the Canadian economy's fossil fuel engine — or maybe because of that loss — the bank is seeing plenty of signs that the wider economy is climbing out of its hole.

 

Business investment, imports of machinery and equipment, and exports are all showing signs of life.

 

The bank's latest Business Outlook Survey shows business owners are increasingly optimistic, with sales up and expectations of sales growth even higher. Investment intentions are elevated. Hiring plans are up sharply. And that corresponds with recent employment figures.

 

A question that our central bankers were unable to resolve was why inflation remains so low. Even the bank's brand new measures of core inflation that are supposed to use statistical methods to look past short-term factors don't see inflation coming.

 

Inflation's rebound


Perhaps those core measures need to be further refined, because Poloz and Wilkins are convinced inflation really is about to rebound.

 

The output gap, "the difference between the actual output of the economy and its potential," is going to close around the end of this year, they said, and inflation would hit two per cent next year.

 

But that will only happen if the economy continues to strengthen.

 

Even at current levels, said Poloz and Wilkins, interest rates remain exceedingly low — perhaps low enough to draw consumers into risky borrowing, which, if it were to continue, could create financial vulnerabilities.

 

That means while the main story is economic growth, a small rise in rates will have a dual purpose, gently avoiding a sudden surge in inflation and preventing economic instability.

 

"Today we can say that there is a reasonable expectation that our inflation will be on target within a year," said Poloz. "And given that base, we can also look at financial vulnerabilities and say, yes, it is appropriate today that interest rates rise for both reasons."

 

Full Article >

 

Regards,

 

Tony Marchigiano 

Mortgage Broker

 

310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
 
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