Canadian housing starts rose by 18.9k (7.6 per cent) to 267.3k units in April at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR). Comparing year-over-year, starts were down from April of 2021 (-3.1 per cent y/y). Single-detached housing starts declined 1.5 per cent to 83.2k, while multi-family and others rose 12.3 per cent to 184.1k (SAAR). 

In British Columbia, starts jumped 59.3 per cent in April, rising to 52.1k units SAAR in all areas of the province. In areas in the province with 10,000 or more residents, single-detached starts rose 13.6 per cent m/m to 9.4k units while multi-family starts jumped 93 per cent to 39.9k units. Starts in the province were 32.5 per cent above the levels from April 2021. Starts were up by 16.7k units in Vancouver, 2.4k in Victoria, 1k in Kelowna, and 1.4k in Abbotsford from last month. The 6-month moving average trend rose 6.8 per cent to 42.3k in BC in April. 



 

Home buyer demand in Metro Vancouver* returned to more historically typical levels in April.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,232 in April 2022, a 34.1 per cent decrease from the 4,908 sales recorded in April 2021, and a 25.6 per cent decrease from the 4,344 homes sold in March 2022.
Last month’s sales were 1.5 per cent above the 10-year April sales average.
“So far this spring, we’ve seen home sales ease down from the record-breaking pace of the last year,” Daniel John, REBGV Chair said. “While a small sample size, the return to a more traditional pace of home sales that we’ve experienced over the last two months provides hopeful home buyers more time to make decisions, secure financing and perform other due diligence such as home inspections.”
There were 6,107 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in April 2022. This represents a 23.1 per cent decrease compared to the 7,938 homes listed in April 2021 and an 8.5 per cent decrease compared to March 2022 when 6,673 homes were listed.
The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,796, a 14.1 per cent decrease compared to April 2021 (10,245) and a 15.3 per cent increase compared to March 2022 (7,628).
“With interest rates climbing and the total inventory of homes for sale inching higher, it’s important to work with your local Realtor to understand how these factors could affect your home buying or selling situation,” John said. 
For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2022 is 36.7 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 25.3 per cent for detached homes, 47.1 per cent for townhomes, and 45 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 $1,374,500. This represents an 18.9 per cent increase over April 2021 and a one per cent increase compared to March 2022.
Sales of detached homes in April 2022 reached 962, a 41.9 per cent decrease from the 1,655 detached sales recorded in April 2021. The benchmark price for a detached home is $2,139,200. This represents a 20.8 per cent increase from April 2021 and a one per cent increase compared to March 2022.
Sales of apartment homes reached 1,692 in April 2022, a 26.1 per cent decrease compared to the 2,289 sales in April 2021. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $844,700. This represents a 16 per cent increase from April 2021 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to March 2022.
Attached home sales in April 2022 totalled 578, a 40 per cent decrease compared to the 964 sales in April 2021. The benchmark price of an attached home is $1,150,500. This represents a 25 per cent increase from April 2021 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to March 2022.

In BC in March, sales, starts and new listings declined. Sales rose in the Kootenay and Northern regions, while declining in all other areas of the province. Rental costs in Vancouver and Victoria continue broadly rising and remain elevated relative to most other points since the onset of the pandemic.  
Retail sales eased somewhat in February but remain close to record highs. As for March, restaurant reservations in Vancouver are at roughly 86 per cent of the pre-pandemic level. In BC, Google’s measure of movement trends is currently about 17 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. Although aggregate employment has recovered in BC to pre-pandemic levels, the accommodation and food service sector was about 12 per cent below the pre-pandemic level in March. The labour market has served high-income workers much better than low-income workers. Employment in high-income industries is about 10 per cent above pre-pandemic employment levels, while employment in low-income industries is about 5 per cent below pre-pandemic employment levels.   Manufacturing and exports both rose to a fresh record in February, while imports rose but remained just shy of a record level.   Both consumer and business confidence rose slightly in March.   The number of US and non-US tourists rose in March, with US tourists reaching the highest level since the onset of the pandemic. Still, tourism remains more than two thirds below pre-pandemic levels.   For a more comprehensive overview of BC’s economic recovery, click here.
About BCREA’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard The BCREA Economics team has created the COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard to help REALTORS® monitor BC’s economic recovery. This dashboard focuses on the sectors and activities that have been most significantly impacted by the pandemic, including: Housing Markets Retail, Restaurant Reservations and Movement Jobs and Hours Worked Manufacturing and International Trade Business and Consumer Confidences Tourism To monitor the province’s progress, we benchmark each indicator to February 2020, the month before the pandemic was declared. This dashboard is updated each month.

BCREA’s updated COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard is available here.

Canadian housing starts fell by 4.0k (-1.6%) to 246.2k units in March at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR). Comparing year-over-year, starts were down from March of 2021 (-25.4% y/y). Single-detached housing starts rose 7.1% to 83.9k, while multi-family and others declined 5.6% to 162.3k (SAAR). 

In British Columbia, starts were down 6.7% in March, falling to 32.6k units SAAR in all areas of the province. In areas in the province with 10,000 or more residents, single-detached starts rose 4.7% m/m to 8.1k units while multi-family starts declined 11.7% to 20.6k units. Starts in the province were 54.1% below the levels from March 2021. Starts were down by 2.9k units in Vancouver, 3.6k in Victoria, and 0.4k in Abbotsford, but rose 1.5k in Kelowna from last month. The 6-month moving average trend declined 1.5% to 39.6k in BC in March. 





Sales activity in the Lower Mainland’s commercial real estate market reached the second-highest annual total on record in 2021.

There were 2,659 commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland in 2021, a 65.3 per cent increase from the 1,609 sales in 2020, according to data from Commercial Edge, a commercial real estate system operated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). 

Last year’s sales total is the second highest on record behind 2016 when 2,848 sales were recorded.

The total dollar value of commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland was $14.396 billion in 2021, a 66.7 per cent increase from $8.635 billion in 2020.

“Like residential consumers, businesses and investors became more comfortable operating in the commercial market in the second year of the pandemic,” Daniel John, REBGV Chair said. “We saw consistent increases among the different commercial property types both in sales volumes and dollar figures last year.”

2021 activity by category

Land: There were 781 commercial land sales in 2021, which is an 86.8 per cent increase from the 418 land sales in 2020. The dollar value of land sales was $7.28 billion in 2021, a 73.6 per cent increase from $4.193 billion in 2020.

Office and Retail: There were 1,041 office and retail sales in the Lower Mainland in 2021, which is up 74.1 per cent from the 598 sales in 2020. The dollar value of office and retail sales was $3.136 billion in 2021, a 77 per cent increase from $1.772 billion in 2020.

Industrial: There were 712 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in 2021, which is a 36.9 per cent increase from the 520 sales in 2020. The dollar value of industrial sales was $2.394 billion in 2021, a 61.1 per cent increase from $1.486 billion in 2020.

Multi-Family: There were 125 multi-family land sales in the Lower Mainland in 2021, which is up 71.2 per cent from 73 sales in 2020. The dollar value of multi-family sales was $1.586 billion in 2021, a 33.9 per cent increase from $1.184 billion in 2020.


COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard – March 30, 2022   In BC in January, home sales remained flat, while new listings rose and starts fell. Sales rose in all areas of the province except Northern BC and the Lower Mainland. Rental costs in Vancouver and Victoria remain broadly elevated relative to most other points since the onset of the pandemic.      Retail sales in BC rose to a fresh record in January as Omicron waned and are now 14 per cent above February 2020 levels. As of March, restaurant reservations in Vancouver are at roughly 75 per cent of the pre-pandemic level. In BC, Google’s measure of movement trends is currently about 18 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. Although aggregate employment in BC has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the accommodation and food service sector was about 13 per cent below the pre-pandemic level in February. The labour market has served high-income workers much better than low-income workers. Employment in high-income industries is about 10 per cent above pre-pandemic employment levels, while employment in low-income industries is about 6.5 per cent below pre-pandemic employment levels. Manufacturing and exports edged up in January, while imports declined slightly.  Consumer confidence declined slightly in February, while business confidence drifted sideways.  The number of US and non-US tourists has been rising each month since restrictions were eased last summer, with US tourists reaching 58 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in December.    
 
Ryan McLaughlin
Economist
Copyright© British Columbia Real Estate AssociationFacebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter YouTube

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)

reports that a total of 6,138 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2022, a decrease of 14.7 per cent from January 2021. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $1,042,169, a 23.5 per cent increase from $843,918 recorded in January 2021. Total sales dollar volume was $6.4 billion, a 5.3 per cent increase from the same time last year. “Sales activity is down compared to record levels at the start of last year,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “However, the level of sales activity remains strong compared to the long-term average and inventory is still incredibly low. As a result, it will take quite some time to get back to healthy balance in the BC market.” Total active listings remain near record lows with just 13,000 total listings in the province. For context, a healthy level of re-sale listings for the province is closer to 40,000 listings. As a result of this listings drought, markets all over the province are seeing significant upward pressure on prices.

Home sale activity remains elevated across Metro Vancouver’s housing market while the pace of homes being listed for sale continues to follow long-term averages.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,149 in September 2021, a 13.6 per cent decrease from the 3,643 sales recorded in September 2020, and a 0.1 per cent decrease from the 3,152 homes sold in August 2021. 


Last month’s sales were 20.8 per cent above the 10-year September sales average. 


There were 5,171 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in September 2021. This represents a 19.2 per cent decrease compared to the 6,402 homes listed in September 2020 and a 28.2 per cent increase compared to August 2021 when 4,032 homes were listed. 


September’s new listings were 1.2 per cent below the 10-year average for the month. 


“The summer trend of above-average home sales and historically typical new listings activity continued in Metro Vancouver last month. Although this is keeping the overall supply of homes for sale low, we’re not seeing the same upward intensity on home prices today as we did in the spring,” Keith Stewart, REBGV economist said. “Home price trends will, however, vary depending on property type and neighborhood, so it’s important to take a hyperlocal look at your location and property category of choice before making a home buying or selling decision.” 


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,236. This is a 29.5 per cent decrease compared to September 2020 (13,096), a 2.6 per cent increase compared to August 2021 (9,005) and is 27.7 per cent below the 10-year average for the month. 


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2021 is 34.1 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 25.5 per cent for detached homes, 53.1 per cent for townhomes, and 36.7 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 total inventory of homes for sale remains insufficient to meet the demand in today’s market. This scarcity limits peoples’ purchasing options and ultimately adds upward pressure on home prices,” Stewart said. “With the federal election now behind us, we hope to see governments at all levels work with the construction industry to streamline the creation of a more abundant and diverse supply of housing options.” 


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $ 1,186,100. This represents a 13.8 per cent increase over September 2020 and a 0.8 per cent increase compared to August 2021. 


Sales of detached homes in September 2021 reached 950, a 27.9 per cent decrease from the 1,317 detached sales recorded in September 2020. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,828,200. This represents a 20.4 per cent increase from September 2020 and a 1.2 per cent increase compared to August 2021. 


Sales of apartment homes reached 1,621 in September 2021, a 1.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,596 sales in September 2020. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $738,600. This represents an 8.4 per cent increase from September 2020 and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to August 2021. 


Attached home sales in September 2021 totalled 578, a 20.8 per cent decrease compared to the 730 sales in September 2020. The benchmark price of an attached home is $963,800. This represents a 17.5 per cent increase from September 2020 and a 1.2 per cent increase compared to August 2021.

The increased activity seen in the Lower Mainland’s commercial real estate market in the latter half of 2020 carried into the first quarter (Q1) of 2021.


There were 576 commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland in Q1 2021, a 46.9 per cent increase from the 392 sales in Q1 2020, 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 $2.655 billion in Q1 2021, a 10 per cent increase from $2.413 billion in Q1 2020.


“Activity in the commercial real estate market has followed a similar pattern to what we’ve seen in the residential market throughout most of the pandemic,” Keith Stewart, REBGV economist said. “Commercial sales and dollar values have increased as REALTORS® and consumers have shown more confidence doing business within the COVID-19 safety guidelines that our public health professionals and WorkSafeBC have developed.”

Q1 2021 activity by category

Land: There were 110 commercial land sales in Q1 2021, which is a 0.9 per cent decrease from the 111 land sales in Q1 2020. The dollar value of land sales was $684 million in Q1 2021, a 35 per cent decrease from $1.053 billion in Q1 2020.

Office and Retail: There were 229 office and retail sales in the Lower Mainland in Q1 2021, which is up 62.4 per cent from the 141 sales in Q1 2020. The dollar value of office and retail sales was $820 million in Q1 2021, a 136.1 per cent increase from $347 million in Q1 2020.

Industrial: There were 196 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q1 2021, which is a 58.1 per cent increase from the 124 sales in Q1 2020. The dollar value of industrial sales was $664 million in Q1 2021, a 78 per cent increase from $373 million in Q1 2020.

Multi-Family: There were 196 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q1 2021, which is a 58.1 per cent increase from the 124 sales in Q1 2020. The dollar value of industrial sales was $664 million in Q1 2021, a 78 per cent increase from $373 million in Q1 2020.

Vancouver’s commercial real estate market appears poised for a significant rebound’ led by industrial and office sectors

Jul 2, 2021 7:01 AM By: Darrell Hurst, Colliers

Bentall_Centre copyMore than 60 per cent of office employees expected to return to the workplace. | Chung Chow

As many of us head back to the office this September, the post-pandemic reality for commercial real estate will be revealed. With vaccines now widely available, we’re seeing a growing confidence in Vancouver’s economic recovery, and with that, Vancouver’s commercial real estate market appears poised for a significant rebound. Strong spending, job growth, increased business investment, a low-interest rates environment and pent-up demand are just some of the factors driving improvements across all asset classes in Vancouver and across Canada.

Vancouver has always been an extremely buoyant market, and many companies are realizing it may be even more robust than initially thought. From where I sit at Colliers, there’s an unexpected level of confidence in all business sectors as we return to the office, driving greater demand and activity across the board. Here’s a quick summary of the challenges and opportunities ahead for each sector as we move into the second half of the year.

Office market rebound

Vancouver’s office market is experiencing a strong rebound, and demand for quality space and greater amenities is likely to continue. According to Colliers latest quarterly report, asking rates for office space in the Greater Vancouver area rose by 12 per cent in the second (Q2) 2021, with vacancy seeing just a slight increase, from 6 per cent to 6.5 per cent, quarter over quarter. With renewed optimism about returning to the office, there has been increased leasing activity in Q2, and while sublease space continues to make up around 30 per cent of all available space, this number is slowly diminishing as companies retreat from previous return-to- work expectations.

The office sector appears well-positioned for a strong performance. Vancouver is very much on the radar of multi-national tech and life sciences companies. And despite the pandemic’s inevitable impacts to flexibility demands and working from home, it is increasingly acknowledged that culture is crucial to corporate success and that is formed only when people are together. Employees want more flexibility than they had pre-pandemic, but whether this results in less occupied office space is still to be determined. With 62 per cent of office employees expected to return to the workplace after this Labour Day, the effect of increased vaccinations is starting to be felt positively in the office sector.

Industrial sector tightens

Industrial demand remained high during the pandemic, as e-commerce continued to gain in strength. The big news in this sector is that for the first time in the history of Vancouver, vacancy levels have now dropped below 1 per cent – to 0.7 per cent in Q2 2021. Amazon is a big part of that story with significant commitments in the past year to Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

The pricing of industrial land and space has been escalating for a number of years, pushing out a lot of smaller businesses to markets like Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Langley, markets now experiencing their own record-level lease rates and land prices. To continue this growth, we need to unlock more land and density, improve the pace of municipal approvals and stabilize development costs.

Multi-family draws investors

Multi-family continues to see strong growth, with capitalization rates compressing further. Yet Vancouver remains a top choices for investors. Increasingly, institutional investors are allocating capital to this sector, driving investment sales volumes. The repositioning of rental and condos shows the stability of this asset class and the attractive return metrics. The challenge with multi-family, and residential market overall, is the lack of supply. This is driven by the slow pace of municipal approvals and rising costs related to construction, labour and the supply chain. This has led to more municipalities offering bonuses to developers willing to build affordable and non-market housing, which in turn has driven developers to consider building rental projects. This should start to increase supply.

Retail has changed forever

If there is an unknown, it’s what’s going to happen in retail.

There’s been a lot of discussion about what the future of this sector will look like, and the general consensus is that e-commerce has changed retail forever. Post-pandemic business sentiment is improving, but many small businesses do not share this optimism. Some big boxes may never return to their pre-COVID status and are looking at ways to reinvent. It is expected that retail vacancy rates across all asset sub-types will continue increasing throughout 2021, but then either slow or begin to reverse in 2022. Retail rents have also taken a hit and are expected to continue falling well into 2022 when they will begin to stabilize.

In summary, the big difference for commercial real estate’s outlook for this fall is the renewed sense of optimism. Industrial demand remains strong, and with increased job growth, multi-family demand will be supported. The ongoing easing of restrictions and increased spending will aid retail. The recovery will be uneven, but it will continue to support commercial real estate demand in Vancouver.

Darrell Hurst is senior managing director of brokerage for Colliers in Vancouver.