Blog › January 2014

New Listing 6925 ADERA ST, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1044755 - 6925 ADERA ST, Vancouver, BC, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 6925 ADERA ST, Vancouver and currently listed at $4,088,000.SOLD

Recently Sold Listing 2606 W 35th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1041711 - 2606 W 35th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAI have just recently sold this listing at 2606 W 35th Ave, Vancouver.

The Immigrant Influence

Year of the HorseJust how much is Asian immigration affecting the local housing market? Are Mainland Chinese purchasers to blame for pushing housing values so high that many locals can’t afford to buy?

It’s an ongoing, often hotly debated topic in Metro Vancouver. And a conclusive answer seems even more elusive as Mainland China’s government progresses firmly along the path of change.

“It gets a lot of press. But I believe its impact is a bit overstated,” says Richard Bell, a Vancouver lawyer and principal of Bell Alliance, which offers a Global Immigration Services branch to help newcomers establish residency.

Like many industry watchers, he believes the idea is more urban myth than verifiable reality: “Yes, this demographic has an effect on the very high end of the housing market, but that segment is a very, very small part of the overall marketplace—one, maybe two per cent.”

However, he adds that within last six months, if a west side Vancouver property sold in the $2 to $2.5 million range, the odds are “strong” that the purchaser was Asian.

Buyers Return

After virtually disappearing between April 2012 and fall of 2013, Asian buyers are once again making their presence known. We’ll see if the annual rush to purchase real estate during Chinese New Year resumes this year.

If it does, there’s a sense that it will happen at a more moderate pace. “I believe the unrealistic pricing created by Asian buyers has run its course,” Bell says. “They seem to have reached a point where they simply don’t believe there will be further significant increases in values within prices ranges they’re buying in.”

Gaining a North American education for their children now seems to be the most important motivation. That’s why Bell believes luxury condominiums might well surpass high-end single-family houses as the residence of choice.

“It’s a story that will unfold over the next couple of years, but when the focus is education, where do you want to be? Close to universities—and that market is now primarily high-end condos.”

Many of these educational immigrants are continuing a trend to flexible, new ways of dealing with financial realities. “I see lots of Asian families where mom’s here, the kids are here and going to school, but dad is still in Asia,” Bell says.

The reason is pure economics. “It’s tough for dad to make the same money in Vancouver that he would in Asia. It’s not a place you come to get rich, but is a place with an exceptional lifestyle and where young people can get a good education.”

And not just any education. This demographic wants the emphasis on English skills that will allow them to participate in a global environment where English is the language of business.

Looking Ahead

Bell is enthusiastic about possibilities for the future. “Stability from the new political regime in China may well be opening some tremendous opportunities for Vancouver,” he says. “We are the gateway, the connecting city between North America and China.”

In fact, he suggests Vancouver may well be underselling its potential. “We have a beautiful city, high education values, and we’re attracting attention globally. And none of that is going to change.”

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BC Real Estate Association 2013 MLS Summary

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 72,936 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during 2013, up 7.8 per cent from 2012. The five-year average is 75,400 units, while the ten-year average is 84,800 units. Total sales dollar volume was $39.2 billion, an increase of 12.6 per cent compared to 2012. The average annual MLS® residential price in the province rose to $537,414 last year, up 4.4 per cent from 2012.

BC Real Estate Association 10-year residential sales

“After declining nearly 12 per cent in 2012, home sales posted steady growth through last year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Greater Vancouver, Kamloops and Okanagan Mainline board areas posted the most significant changes, with home sales rising between 12.5 and 14 per cent. Stronger consumer demand combined with fewer homes listed for sale improved market conditions in most regions last year.”

In December, BC residential unit sales rose 47 per cent to 4,426 units, compared to December 2012. Total dollar volume was 67.7 per cent higher at $2.5 billion, while the average MLS® residential price rose 14.1 per cent to $568,416.

“Large year-over-year changes in December reflect relatively weak activity the previous year rather than evidence of an accelerating market,” added Muir. 

BCREA statistics for all BC MLS real estate boards.

New Listing 2 - 138 W 13 Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1042602 - 2 - 138 W 13 Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale at 2 - 138 W 13 Ave, Vancouver and currently listed at 1195000.

Magnolia at City Hall!! 4 Brand new townhomes by Vandwell Living - stunning interior design finishings by Kenzi Design. Open plan living/dining chef's kitchen with Wolf range, s/s appliances, gas cooktop, quartz countertop, engineered H/W H/W flooring, clean lines, flat panel cabinetry, 'Kohler' plumbing fixtures, satin finished levers and pulls, 9 ft ceilings, radiant heat, dual flush toilets, rainscreened exterior with 2/5/10 yr warranty, 3 bdrms up. Prime City Hall area!! Still time to choose finishings & colors. Estimated completion April 2014. Tree-lined street just blocks from Skytrain, City Hall, VGH and shopping.

New Listing 2606 W 35th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1041711 - 2606 W 35th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale SOLD at 2606 W 35th Ave, Vancouver and currently listed at $2,880,000.SOLD

Location, Location!! Totally remodelled in 2003 and well maintained 5 bedroom home on a 60' x 134' south facing lot on one of the prettiest streets in MacKenzie Heights! Spacious liv/din, H/W floors with mahogany trim, tumble and travertine marble, built-ins, crown mouldings and much more! Kitchen is equipped with S/S appliances, maple cabinets, granite counters, French doors off kitchen lead onto large deck. Perfect for entertaining & terrific kids play area. Close to all preferred public & private schools, priced at land value! Must see! This is good!

See the Pixilink 360° Virtual Tour for this listing

New Listing 6925 Adera Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

V1041911 - 6925 Adera Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADAView my new listing for sale at 6925 Adera Street, Vancouver and currently listed at 4388000.

Gorgeous 9,752 SF estate property on prestigious Adera - absolute luxury! This completely re-built home features 3 spacious bedrooms each complete w/ ensuites, a traditional cross hall living & family room, A/C, granite & stainless steel kitchen w/ informal eating area. On the lower level you will find a spacious media room, 1000 bottle wine cellar, 1 bdrm legal suite, laundry & storage room. A truly spectacular garden maintained by Higher Ground, putting green, 5 covered parking spaces & new sump. Architectural plans available to create another bedroom & build another level. Call for your private viewing today! Open House SATURDAY Jan 25th 2 - 4 PM & SUNDAY Jan 26th from 230 - 430 PM

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market: December 2013

In the Greater Vancouver real estate market, 2013 had two distinct parts: first half, dead slow; second half, back to normal.

The Year in Review

Sandra Wyant, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, says, “Home sales quietly improved last year compared to 2012, although the volume of activity didn’t compare to some of the record-breaking years we experienced over the last decade.”

Watch the video.

Year-over-year, MLS® home sales increased by 13.9 per cent to 28,524. That left 2013 with the third-lowest annual sales total in the last 10 years, largely because the spring rush was non-existent.

Then came June, and 2013 began kicking 2012′s butt every month, with double-digit percentage gains over the same month of the previous year. Those startling gains got us back to average sales levels.

The chart shows how 2013 MLS residential sales (green line) caught up with the 10-year average in July. We finished 2013 with December sales at 8.1 per cent above the 10-year average for the month.

Greater Vancouver real estate sales chart 2011 - 1013
After a lacklustre 2011 and 2012, it’s nice to be back. Most real estate sages are predicting that we’ll stay in that stable range in 2014.

Despite the encouraging sales numbers, fewer homes went on the market. We ended 2013 with 54,742 active listings. It’s a drop of 6.2 per cent from 2012, but it’s right in line with the 10-year average for listings.

With a balance of sales and listings, MLS benchmark prices did not move much in most areas—a 2.1 per cent rise overall. That beat the predictions, though. In a 2012 Reuters poll of real estate forecasters, the median prediction was a 3.8 per cent price drop in 2013, with an eventual total decline of 12.5 per cent.

In this year’s Reuters poll, the median prediction is a 1 per cent increase in 2014, with a 0.8 per cent rise in 2015. A RE/MAX forecast in December called for 5 per cent growth in average prices, and the new Royal LePage House Price Survey predicts a 4.4 per cent rise.

High-end real estate is still setting the pace. Benchmark prices for detached houses in the most expensive areas increased the most in 2013. Vancouver and the North Shore prices rose by 4.5 to 8 per cent over the year. And the average price for a detached house in Greater Vancouver hit a new record high of $1,276,073 in December.

The latest Sotheby’s Top-Tier Real Estate Report says that sales of $4 million-plus homes increased by 48 per cent over 2012, and that in the second half of 2013, sales of homes over $1 million rocketed up 74 per cent in Vancouver.

BC Property Assessments

No doubt about it, we live in a pricey place. According to the new BC Assessments roll, all but 17 of the 500 most expensive residential properties in BC are within the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s territory. The top 500 properties ranged from a gasp-inducing $54,206,000 for Chip Wilson’s Point Grey Road mansion to a relatively modest $7,484,000 for a West Vancouver waterfront home on Travers Avenue.

The REBGV includes everything north of the Fraser, from Whistler to Maple Ridge, as well as the Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands, and South Delta, so those high-priced properties included city houses with panoramic views, Whistler retreats, country acreages, waterfront spreads and even three small Gulf Islands.

For the rest of us, the latest BC Assessment rolls, are based on market value on July 1 of 2013, so they don’t reflect the modest price increases we saw in the second half of the year. The BC Assessment office says that most changes will be in the -10 to +5 per cent range for the Greater Vancouver region. Judging by the examples they’ve published, many home owners will get a bit of a break.

There may be a few surprises in Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam, where a new program allows appraisers to spot physical improvements to homes more easily… from their computers. Many houses in Belcarra went up by 15 per cent or more, and waterfront properties throughout that region saw 15+ per cent increases as well.

Globe and Mail article titled “Vancouver Condo Market Stays Flat” looks at assessments in the GVRD. It quotes the BC Real Estate Association’s Cameron Muir as saying “… overall condo prices are now seven to eight per cent lower in inflation-adjusted dollars than they were at the recent peak of the condo market in 2009.”

If condos are flat, properties where somebody can build condos are anything but. According to the North Fraser office of BC Assessment, “Some properties that have recently been rezoned to a higher density are experiencing increases in total value in excess of 60 per cent.”

December Sales, Listings and Benchmark Prices

In all, 1,953 homes sold in Greater Vancouver in December. Of those, 762 were detached houses, 341 were townhomes or duplexes, and 850 were condo apartments. Compared to December 2012, those numbers were leaps ahead. Sales always decline from November to December, but this December they dropped only about half as much as they did in the 2012 and 2011.

What’s Up, What’s Down – At a Glance
 Dec 2013 / Nov 2013 Dec 2013 / Dec 2012
Overall Sales -15.9% +71%
- Detached -13.1% +79.3%
- Townhome -14.1% +60.1%
- Apartment -11.7% +68.7%
New Listings -42.8% +34.5%
Greater Vancouver MLS® Benchmark Prices % Change
 Dec 2013Nov 2013Dec 2012
Detached $927,000 +0.2% +2.5%
Townhome $456,100 -0.4% +1.2%
Apartment $367,800 0.0% +1.8%

For anyone hoping that Vancouver housing would get more affordable, this year was a disappointment, but there’s a wide range of prices in Greater Vancouver area. See detailed Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver stats for December for the range of prices in all areas and housing types.