March 3, 2020

February saw steady home buyer demand and reduced home seller supply across Metro Vancouver.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,150 in February 2020, a 44.9 per cent increase from the 1,484 sales recorded in February 2019, and a 36.9 per cent increase from the 1,571 homes sold in January 2020.

Last month’s sales were 15.6 per cent below the 10-year February sales average.

“Home buyer demand again saw strong year-over-year increases in February while the total inventory of homes for sale struggled to keep pace,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “This was most pronounced in the condominium market.”

There were 4,002 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in February 2020. This represents a 2.8 per cent increase compared to the 3,892 homes listed in February 2019 and a 3.4 per cent increase compared to January 2020 when 3,872 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,195, a 20.7 per cent decrease compared to February 2019 (11,590) and a 6.7 per cent increase compared to January 2020 (8,617).

“Our Realtors are reporting increased traffic at open houses and multiple offer scenarios in certain pockets of the market. If you’re considering listing your home for sale, now is a good time to act with increased demand, reduced competition from other sellers, and some upward pressure on prices,” says Smith.

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for February 2020 is 23.4 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 17.3 per cent for detached homes, 26.9 per cent for townhomes, and 28.4 per cent for apartments.

Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent 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 $1,020,600. This represents a 0.3 per cent increase over February 2019 and a 2.7 per cent increase over the past six months.

Sales of detached homes in February 2020 reached 685, a 52.9 per cent increase from the 448 detached sales recorded in February 2019. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,433,900. This represents a 0.7 per cent decrease from February 2019 and a 1.9 per cent increase over the past six months.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,061 in February 2020, a 39.8 per cent increase compared to the 759 sales in February 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $677,200. This represents a 0.9 per cent increase from February 2019 and a 3.6 per cent increase over the past six months.

Attached home sales in February 2020 totalled 404, a 45.8 per cent increase compared to the 277 sales in February 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $785,000. This represents a 0.6 per cent increase from February 2019 and a 1.7 per cent increase over the past six months.

The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) fell for the second straight month to 134.3 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Compared to the same time last year, the index is up by 0.3 per cent.   Provincial economic activity continued to slow in the fourth quarter of 2019, with declines in wholesale trade and manufacturing sales more than offsetting a gain in retail. This left the economic activity component of the CLI negative for the sixth consecutive quarter. Office employment was up for the sixth consecutive quarter, but not enough to offset a decline in manufacturing employment, resulting in a negative change in the employment component of the CLI. The financial component of the CLI was also negative following three consecutive quarters of positive performance. The underlying trend in the CLI has been relatively flat over the past six quarters, suggesting a continued stable environment for commercial real estate activity in the province.  BC’s economy continued to slow in the fourth quarter of 2019. Weak manufacturing sales in durable goods, and lower wholesale trade sales in motor vehicles and machinery and equipment, put a drag on economic activity. Meanwhile, retail sales were positive after two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Despite this, retail sales ended 2019 with the lowest growth rate since the financial crisis in 2009. Employment growth in key commercial real estate sectors such as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing continued to be positive, up by 1,600 jobs in the fourth quarter. In contrast, manufacturing employment fell by 6,700 jobs from the previous quarter.  The CLI’s financial component was negative in the fourth quarter due to a decrease in benchmark Canadian REIT prices and an increase in short-term borrowing costs.  

Sales activity in the Lower Mainland’s commercial real estate market continued to decline in the third quarter (Q3) of 2019 compared to recent years.

There were 405 commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2019, a 32 per cent decrease over the 596 sales in Q3 2018 and a 42.3 per cent decline compared to Q3 2017, according to data from Commercial Edge, a commercial real estate system operated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The total dollar value of commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland was $1.886 billion in Q3 2019, a 59.8 per cent decrease from the $4.694 billion in Q3 2018.

“Activity in our commercial market this year is trailing the pace we’ve experienced over the last five years,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “We’ve seen activity pickup in our residential market over the last few months and we’ll watch to see if conditions strengthen on the commercial real estate side in the last quarter of 2019 or the first quarter of next year.”

Q3 2019 activity by category

Land: There were 114 commercial land sales in Q3 2019, which is a 44.9 per cent decrease from the 207 land sales in Q3 2018. The dollar value of land sales was $821 million in Q3 2019, a 61.7 per cent decrease from $2.142 billion in Q3 2018.

Office and Retail: There were 155 office and retail sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2019, which is down 37.2 per cent from the 247 sales in Q3 2018. The dollar value of office and retail sales was $433 million in Q3 2019, a 78.4 per cent decrease from $2.005 billion in Q3 2018.

Industrial: There were 124 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2019, which is a 4.2 per cent increase from the 119 sales in Q3 2018. The dollar value of industrial sales was $415 million in Q3 2019, a 41.7 per cent increase from $293 million in Q3 2018.

Multi-Family: There were 12 multi-family land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2019, which is down 47.8 per cent from 23 sales in Q3 2018. The dollar value of multi-family sales was $217 million in Q3 2019, a 14.3 per cent decrease from $253 million in Q3 2018.

After a quieter first half of 2019, home buyer activity has returned to more historically typical levels in Metro Vancouver*.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,498 in November 2019, a 55.3 per cent increase from the 1,608 sales recorded in November 2018, and a 12.6 per cent decline from the 2,858 homes sold in October 2019.

Last month’s sales were four per cent above the 10-year November sales average.

“We started to see more home buyer confidence in the summer and this trend continues today,” says Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “It’ll be important to watch home listing levels over the next few months to see if supply can stay in line with home buyer demand.” 

There were 2,987 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in November 2019. This represents a 13.7 per cent decrease compared to the 3,461 homes listed in November 2018 and a 26.7 per cent decrease compared to October 2019 when 4,074 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 10,770, a 12.5 per cent decrease compared to November 2018 (12,307) and a 12 per cent decrease compared to October 2019 (12,236).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for November 2019 is 23.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 17.2 per cent for detached homes, 24.9 per cent for townhomes, and 29.3 per cent for apartments.

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

“In today’s market, the intensity of home buyer demand depends on neighbourhood, property type, and price point,” Smith said. “To better understand the changing trends in your neighbourhood and property type of choice, it’s important to work with your local REALTOR®.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $993,700. This represents a 4.6 per cent decrease from November 2018 and a 1.3 per cent decrease over the past six months.

Sales of detached homes in November 2019 reached 825, a 59.9 per cent increase from the 516 detached sales recorded in November 2018. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,415,400. This represents a 5.8 per cent decrease from November 2018, a 0.5 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to October 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,222 in November 2019, a 50.9 per cent increase compared to the 810 sales in November 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $651,500. This represents a 3.8 per cent decrease from November 2018, a 1.9 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.2 per cent decline compared to October 2019. Attached home sales in November 2019 totalled 451, a 59.9 per cent increase compared to the 282 sales in November 2018. The benchmark price of an attached home is $772,800. This represents a 4.4 per cent decrease from November 2018, a 0.8 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to October 2019.

The Metro Vancouver housing market is experiencing a fall pickup in home sale activity.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,858 in October 2019, a 45.4 per cent increase from the 1,966 sales recorded in October 2018, and a 22.5 per cent increase from the 2,333 homes sold in September 2019.

Last month’s sales were 9.8 per cent above the 10-year October sales average.

“Home buyers have more confidence today than we saw in the first half of the year,” says Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “With prices edging down over the last year and interest rates remaining low, hopeful home buyers are becoming more active this fall.”

There were 4,074 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in October 2019. This represents a 16.4 per cent decrease compared to the 4,873 homes listed in October 2018 and a 16.3 per cent decrease compared to September 2019 when 4,866 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,236, a 5.8 per cent decrease compared to October 2018 (12,984) and a nine per cent decrease compared to September 2019 (13,439).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2019 is 23.4 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 17.3 per cent for detached homes, 26.2 per cent for townhomes, and 29 per cent for apartments.

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

“The recent uptick in home sales is moving us into a more historically typical market,” Smith said. “Both sale and listing activity is trending around our long-term averages in recent months.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $992,900. This represents a 6.4 per cent decrease from October 2018, a 1.7 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to September 2019.

Sales of detached homes in October 2019 reached 938, a 47.3 per cent increase from the 637 detached sales recorded in October 2018. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,410,500. This represents a 7.5 per cent decrease from October 2018, a 1.3 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to September 2019.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,384 in October 2019, a 40.5 per cent increase compared to the 985 sales in October 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $652,500. This represents a 5.9 per cent decrease from October 2018, a 2.2 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to September 2019.

Attached home sales in October 2019 totalled 536, a 55.8 per cent increase compared to the 344 sales in October 2018. The benchmark price of an attached home is $771,600. This represents a 5.8 per cent decrease from October 2018, a 0.4 per cent decrease over the past six months, and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to September 2019.

“The news goes from bad to worse,” a recent office report warns, adding: “Lower rents are unlikely, even with pending new supply”

Peter Mitham Business in VancouverMay 22, 2019

office

Full house

 The first long weekend of cottage season in much of Canada has just passed, even though the North Shore backcountry remains hazardous. It may be summer in the city, but it’s still winter in the mountains. But with cruise ships in port and tourist season ramping up, hoteliers are wondering just how much more Vancouver’s hotel stock can stand. A recent Urban Development Institute panel discussed what could be done to stem the loss of rooms and bring more online, and a recent CBRE Ltd. report indicates the problem isn’t limited to this city. “The hotel industry in Canada is performing at all-time highs, with record occupancy, average daily rates and RevPAR [revenue per available room], as well as bottom-line performance,” David Larone, senior managing director with CBRE Hotels, says in the report. “Our hotels are full, and we are in good shape to continue to grow top and bottom lines in 2019.” Hotels in Greater Victoria and Campbell River saw the greatest RevPAR increases of anywhere in the province last year, posting gains of 17.1 per cent and 16.5 per cent, respectively. In Richmond, meanwhile, the average daily rate rose 12.2 per cent, more than anywhere else in Canada, thanks to a short supply. Average occupancy is pushing 83 per cent in Richmond and 80 per cent in downtown Vancouver, numbers that give the uninitiated little cause for concern. With rental apartment vacancies in Metro Vancouver averaging 1 per cent, it can look like hotels have plenty of room. And isn’t Airbnb meeting some of the demand? According to David Ferguson, director of hotel valuation and advisory services in the Vancouver office of CBRE, local hotels are at “functional capacity.” “We used to say that 75 per cent of Metro Vancouver was probably functional capacity, but what they’ve proven is there’s sufficient demand to get this market to 80 per cent,” he said. “You won’t find many markets that are running 80 per cent occupancy.” He credits the marketing of Canada and Metro Vancouver since the 2010 Winter Olympics with creating the demand for visitors to be here not only during the summer but also during the off-peak periods. “They’ve really helped to start bring more people to Metro Vancouver at the times of year when they didn’t used to come,” he said. “We’ve been able to smash through those times of year and get people to come.” 

Landlord’s market

 Hotels and purpose-built rental properties aren’t the only forms of accommodation at functional capacity in Metro Vancouver. Office space is also full, with little relief on the horizon for tenants despite the current boom in construction. Office brokers typically consider the local market in balance when 8 per cent to 10 per cent of office space is vacant. Tenants have choice, landlords have cash flow, and neither side has the upper (or lower) hand. But the rate today is firmly on the landlord’s side. The first quarter saw CBRE report 2.7 per cent for downtown Vancouver. Colliers International reported 2.5 per cent for the same market, while tenant representation firm Cresa Global Inc. pegged Class A vacancies in the core at 1.9 per cent. “The news goes from bad to worse,” Cresa’s latest report warns. It adds: “Lower rents are unlikely, even with pending new supply.” Cresa advises tenants to expect lease rates to increase by up to 50 per cent downtown and 20 per cent in suburban markets, which are “tightening rapidly,” too. Rents are already at record highs in the core, according to both CBRE and Colliers. Downtown space averages $35.92 a square foot, according to CBRE, while Colliers puts it nearly $2 higher at $37.82 a square foot. Additional rent averages $20.58, according to Colliers, and is one figure that dropped from the previous quarter. 

Copyright © Western Investor

Sales value was down 15 per cent year-over-year, but investor sentiment remains favourable into 2019

Commercial real estate sales value was down 15 per cent in 2018, but investors remain bullish on strata assets. Real estate data company Altus Group’s latest quarterly findings report a total of 2,002 commercial transactions over $1 million in 2018, totaling 12.5 billion. 2017 posted 14.6 billion in sales.  “Demand remains strong for investment properties in the Vancouver market area, despite the challenges in 2018; rising interest rates, trade tariffs and provincial government intervention,” the report reads.  Land sales experiencing the sharpest decline, with overall investment value dropping 18 per cent year-over-year. However, land sales including holding income from rental properties or lease-back agreements remained strong. The priciest sales were located in Burnaby, Vancouver or Richmond. Despite the decreasing in transaction value, land investment still accounted for 62 per cent of commercial sales in 2018. 

Office, industrial and retail strata markets were the star performers of the year, representing $778 million in overall investment. Retail and industrial strata sales increases 34 and 37 per cent respectively, while office strata soared 137 per cent as new supply completed in suburban markets.  “Record low vacancy rates in the office and industrial markets and favourable interest rates, are all primary drivers in the success of strata properties in 2018,” the report states.  Industrial and apartment demand continues to far outpace supply, with interest from both local and national private investors vying for space. However, investor sentiment moving forward expressed some trepidation toward industrial assets. 

BCREA ECONOMICS NOW

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), registered 2 per cent in the twelve months to December, a slight uptick from 1.7 per cent in November. Lower energy prices were offset by an increase in air transportation, and telephone services.  Excluding the impact of falling gasoline prices, consumer prices were up 2.5 per cent. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation were all unchanged, averaging 1.9 per cent.   In BC, provincial consumer price inflation was 3 per cent in the 12 months to December.

With core inflation trending sideways and the economy expected to slow this year, the odds of further Bank of Canada tightening this year are diminishing, which is being reflected by lower 5-year yields in the Canadian bond market. That should result in a dip in Canadian mortgage rates relatively soon, which would provide a much needed boost to a housing market still struggling with the impact of the mortgage stress test.

– November 8, 2018
Canadian housing starts increased 9 per cent on a monthly basis in October to 205,925 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The trend in Canadian housing starts continued to moderate lower, averaging 206,000 units SAAR over the past six months.

In BC, total housing starts rebounded slightly in October after a sharp September decline. Total starts were up 17 per cent to 29,861  units SAAR and but were still down 45 per cent year-over-year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were up 30 per cent to 25,464 units SAAR while single detached fell 8 per cent to 7,784 units SAAR. Compared to October 2017, multiple units starts were down 51 per cent while single detached starts were 22 per cent lower.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC:

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA bounced back somewhat in October, rising 26 per cent on a monthly basis to 14,238 units SAAR as multiple units starts rose 41 per cent from September. However, starts have been trending lower for the past few months and were down 49 per cent compared to October 2017. Most new construction activity in October was concentrated in the City of Vancouver, which accounted for over half of all starts in the Metro Vancouver area.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts fell 12 per cent in October to 2,728 units SAAR but were 71 per cent down year-over-year. However, on a year-to-date basis, housing starts in Victoria are just 6 per cent below the record level set in 2017.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction remained slow in October, falling 7 per cent to just 629 units SAAR. On a year-over-year basis, total starts were down 64 per cent to just 62 total units.  While housing starts in Kelowna have fallen off of the record pace of 2017, they remain on pace to finish above the 10-year average for the city.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA nearly tripled from September to 1,734 units SAAR due to 120 new multiple unit starts in October. On a year-over-year basis, starts were 22 per cent higher.

Canadian housing starts declined 5 per cent on a monthly basis in September to 188,683 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The trend in Canadian housing starts continued to moderate lower, averaging 208,000 units SAAR over the past six months.

It was a volatile month for new home construction in BC. Total housing starts fell 43 per cent on a monthly basis to 25,611 units SAAR and were down 31 per cent year-over-year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were down more than half from August to just 16,980 units SAAR while single detached fell 3 per cent to 8,631 units SAAR. Compared to September 2017, multiple units starts were down 37 per cent while single detached starts were 20 per cent lower.

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC:

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA were down 42 per cent on a monthly basis to 14,390 units SAAR as multiple units starts dropped 50 per cent from August. Compared to this time last year, total starts in Vancouver were 21 per cent lower. September new home construction in Metro Vancouver was concentrated in Surrey which accounted for a quarter of all starts.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts fell 56 per cent after a surge of new starts in August. Total housing starts were still on a 3,000 annual pace in September. That is well below the torrid pace of new home construction seen in Victoria over the past year, but still relatively strong.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction slowed substantially in September, falling to just 750 units SAAR from August’s near 4,000 unit annual pace. On a year-over-year basis, total starts were down 84 per cent to just 67 total units.  Housing starts in Kelowna have fallen off of the record pace of 2017, but remain above the 10-year average for the city.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA rose 23 per cent on a monthly basis, driven by a 44 per cent increase in multiple unit projects and strong single-detached starts. However, total housing starts were down 80 per cent compared to last September, which saw very strong multiple unit starts.