Hey – We’re Still Affordable

 

MEDIA RELEASE

June 16, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE BOARD RELEASES 2016 BUYER PROFILE

NANAIMO, BC –             The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) has released its 2016 Buyer Profile, tracking the who, what, and where of residential property purchases north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

The 2016 Buyer Profile provides statistical information summarizing “home characteristics” for VIREB’s overall board area, as well as for the various sub-areas within its boundaries. These include Duncan-Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Port Alberni-West Coast, Parksville-Qualicum, Comox Valley, Campbell River, North Island, and the Islands.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir notes that the profile reveals interesting demographic trends.

“At 81.5 per cent, owner-occupiers continue to be the primary buyers in the VIREB area. Investment purchases rose slightly from 2015 but still represent only 2.7 per cent of the market. Purchases of recreation homes dipped slightly in 2016 compared to the previous year, comprising just 1.3 per cent of home sales,” says Muir.

Despite rising prices in the VIREB area, housing is still more affordable compared to the Lower Mainland and Victoria, notes Muir.

“In 2016, 26 per cent of homes that sold were under $250,000, 51 per cent were under $350,000, and 68 per cent sold for under $500,000, “says Muir. “Only 1.4 per cent of homes in the VIREB area sold for more than $1 million dollars.”

At 58 per cent, single-family detached homes represented the majority of purchases in 2016, with condominium apartments accounting for 10 per cent of purchases and townhomes garnering 7.2 per cent of total home sales. The percentage of first-time buyers in 2016 was 17.5 per cent in the Cowichan Valley. 17.9 per cent in Port Alberni-West Coast, and 22 per cent in Nanaimo. Just 8.4 per cent of purchasers in Parksville-Qualicum were first-time buyers, not surprising since this area is a particularly attractive location for retirees. For the overall board area, home purchases by retirees remained brisk but did drop to 57 per cent last year from 62 per cent in 2015.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, notes that the data presented in the buyer profile is not surprising. The range of residential property options is tremendously appealing to both local and out-of-province buyers, as are the Vancouver Island lifestyle, climate, and amenities.

 

“Vancouver Island delivers the best of West Coast living in a more affordable and relaxed setting than what you’ll find on the Lower Mainland,” says Stromar. “And, whether you’re a first-time home buyer, a retiree, or an investor, you’re sure to find a property that works for you.”

Other trends noted in the report include the following.

  • Nearly two-thirds of home buyers (65.7 per cent) found their property through a REALTOR® and/or REALTOR.ca.
  • The number of Alberta buyers increased slightly, growing from 9.7 per cent in 2015 to 10.4 per cent in 2016.
  • In terms of aggregated buyer origin, home purchasers break down as follows: o 31.6 per cent from Vancouver Island;
    • 41.6 per cent from elsewhere in British Columbia (Vancouver and the Fraser Valley make up 27.8 per cent of that figure);
    • 24.2 per cent from elsewhere in Canada; and o 2.6 per cent from outside of Canada.

VIREB’s 2016 Buyer Profile also highlights regional differences. The report is available online at www.vireb.com. – 30          -

ABOUT VIREB

VIREB represents approximately 1,000 REALTOR® members in nearly 90 member offices on Vancouver Island, from the Malahat in the south to the northern tip.

For more information, please contact:

Nora Cserny

Communications Department

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

250.390.4212

ncserny@vireb.com

 

Low Inventory Continues to Write its Own Sales Story

VIREB NANAIMO, BC – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in April 2017, 478 single-family properties sold on the MLS® System compared to 659 last April, a decrease of 27 per cent.Month over month, sales edged slightly lower from March.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 33 per cent from April 2016, with 1,122 active listings available last month compared to 1,694 one year ago. Additional listings have entered the market since VIREB hit its historic inventory low of 859 in December 2016. Active listings rose to 893 in January, 949 in February, and 1,023 in March. However, properties are being snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

“Properly priced single-family homes between $400,000 and $600,000 rarely last more than 48 hours and usually generate multiple offers, with many selling above list price,” says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.

The real estate market on Vancouver Island has been telling the same story for several months now, notes Stromar.

“Limited supply, combined with high demand, means it has been a sellers’ market for months. Sellers are in the drivers’ seat, and the lack of inventory is frustrating buyers and REALTORS® alike,”says Stromar. “That said, even though we are in a sellers’ market, homeowners still need to price their home correctly. Houses can sit unsold for months if they are priced higher than the market will bear.”

She adds that sellers are not immune to the frustration that buyers are experiencing because it is hard to sell your home if you cannot find another property to buy. Still, homeowners reluctant to sell due to concerns of housing availability should make the most of this hot market.

“Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar. “When the market does correct itself – and it always does – it usually happens without warning.”

She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help clarify the situation,” says Stromar. “We’re also equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and ensure sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.”

In April 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $419,100, up 17.5 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 13 per cent in Duncan to 22 per cent in Nanaimo. The benchmark price of an apartment in April rose 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increase was in Campbell River, at 39 per cent. The townhouse market also strengthened in April, posting a 21 per cent increase board-wide.

The April 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $335,000, an increase of 18 per cent over April 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $415,800, up 16 per cent from 2016. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $354,400, an increase of 13 per cent compared to April 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 22 per cent to $461,600 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 20 per cent to $477,700. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $227,400, up 19 per cent from one year ago.

VIREB – Still a Seller’s Market

March 1, 2017 Despite Additional Inventory, the VIREB Area is Still a Sellers’ Market

WELCOME MARCH!

NANAIMO, BC – In February 2017, 347 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 406 last February, a decrease of 15 per cent.

Sales rose by 42 per cent from January 2017, which saw 245 sales. Inventory of single-family homes declined by 38 per cent from February 2016, with 949 active listings compared to 1,529 one year ago.However, the 949 available properties reflect a six per cent increase over January, an encouraging development since the lack of inventory continues to challenge consumers and REALTORS® in the VIREB area.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that strong economic fundamentals are fuelling housing demand throughout British Columbia, with the B.C. economy continuing to outpace the rest of Canada. Among other factors, increased population growth is a significant force driving the provincial housing market.

“In the first three-quarters of 2016, net migration to British Columbia hit 50,000 people,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Although most of those residents will end up on the Lower Mainland, the effects of this influx will inevitably trickle into other markets.”

Although BCREA expects the provincial economy to weaken somewhat this year, consumer confidence and job growth should continue to have a net positive effect on the housing market. After dipping in late 2016 and early 2017, overall sales activity in the province appears to be trending upwards again, and that is certainly happening on Vancouver Island.

In fact, sales in the VIREB area would no doubt be much higher if there were more properties available, says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.

“The Nanaimo market in February was busier than I’ve ever seen,” says Stromar. “Single-family homes in the $450,000 range are practically flying out the door, and multiple offers are the norm, not the exception.”

The VIREB area has been a sellers’ market for several months now, and Stromar encourages people to list their homes now.

“Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.

She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market. REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and help sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.

In February 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $403,100, up 18 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 14 per cent in Duncan and Port Alberni to 25 per cent in Nanaimo. The benchmark price of an apartment in February rose 22 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were seen in Parksville-Qualicum (24 per cent), the Comox Valley (26 per cent), and Campbell River (26 per cent). The townhouse market also strengthened in January, posting a 20 per cent increase board-wide.

The February 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $318,100, an increase of 17 per cent over February 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $401,000, up 17 per cent from 2016. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $345,500, an increase of 14 per cent compared to February 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 25 per cent to $444,400 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 20 per cent to $454,100. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni stayed the same as in January but did rise by 14 per cent from one year ago.

Another Rule

 

A lot of people seem to have missed hearing about this one (maybe because it’s about taxes) but it could have negative consequences if you fail to pay attention.

 

On October 3, 2016, the Government announced an administrative change to Canada Revenue Agency’s reporting requirements for the sale of a principal residence.

When you sell your principal residence or when you are considered to have sold it, usually you do not have to report the sale on your income tax and benefit return and you do not have to pay tax on any gain from the sale. This is the case if you are eligible for the full income tax exemption (principal residence exemption) because the property was your principal residence for every year you owned it.

Starting with the 2016 tax year, generally due by late April 2017, you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption.

The Potential Implications

If you fail to report the sale of a residence in 2016 or later years, you won’t be entitled to the PRE. If you forget to designate a property as your principal residence in the year of sale (for 2016 and later years), you should ask CRA to amend your tax return for that year. CRA will often accept a late designation but penalties could apply (the penalty could be $100 for each complete month the designation is late, or $8,000, whichever is less).  For further information check out the following links:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2016/qa11-eng.html

http://www.thor.ca/blog/2016/10/new-tax-reporting-rules-for-principal-residence-sales/

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.”

Nanaimo B.C. – Makes Top 5 List for Real Estate Investors

 

Along with Kamloops, Coquitlam, St. Albert, and Terrace, Nanaimo has been picked by Western Investor  as one of the top five centres in Western Canada they believe hold the most potential for real estate returns through 2017.

 

An oceanfront port city, Nanaimo has the potential to become the pressure valve for Lower Mainland housing and export growth.

Building permit values, averaging $30 million per month this year already eclipse those of larger Lower Mainland suburbs.

House prices, are a third that of those in Metro Vancouver, and fat-passenger ferry service is on the horizon to augment BC Ferries and air links to the big city.

Tourism is a growing force, with BC Ferries traffic up 6 per cent this year to 4.4 million passengers and Nanaimo air passengers up nearly 12 per cent. In August, hotel occupancy rates topped 90 per cent..

With research from Jacob Parry

Home Sales Cool in October & Inventor Dips Again

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 1, 2016 Home Sales Cool in October and Inventory Dips Again

NANAIMO, BC – In October 2016, 399 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 368 last October, an increase of eight per cent.Month over month, sales decreased by 24 per cent from September, which saw 528 unit sales. Reduced sales activity in October is likely caused by typical late-summer cooling and continuing inventory challenges.Active listings of single family homes dropped once again in October, dipping to 1,158, the lowest VIREB has seen since the board began tracking inventory levels in 1999.

Robust sales in the VIREB area and throughout much of B.C. continue to be driven by a combination of economic factors that are creating a sound foundation for housing sales.

“British Columbia’s GDP and employment growth have been above three per cent for three years now, and GDP is currently tracking at 3.5 per cent,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Population growth is also a significant factor, with over 8,000 people migrating to B.C. from other parts of Canada in the second quarter of 2016.”

There has been a moderating trend in activity and prices occurring in Vancouver and on the Lower Mainland, with Vancouver experiencing three consecutive months of flat sales in August, September, and October. Yet Vancouver’s housing prices are still high, so many of B.C.’s new residents are settling down in the Fraser Valley or on Vancouver Island.

BCREA cannot yet determine whether the Foreign Buyer Tax imposed at the beginning of August has adversely affected the Vancouver market, nor whether the new housing rules introduced by the Government of Canada in October will have an impact. Thus far, however, there appears to be no negative fallout from any of these factors in the VIREB market. Foreign buyers are not turning to Vancouver Island instead of the Lower Mainland and are not the impetus behind VIREB’s robust housing market. As well, the federal government’s new rules that standardize eligibility criteria for high-ratio and low-ratio insured mortgages will have a greater impact on buyers purchasing homes in the $500,000-plus range. VIREB’s benchmark prices on all property types are below that mark.

Rather, the biggest challenge for the VIREB area continues to be a lack of inventory. Sales would be higher if there were were homes available, and buyer frustration is growing. Jason Finlayson, 2016 VIREB Past President, is encouraging potential home sellers to take advantage of these market conditions.

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, but consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever,” says Finlayson. “If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.”

Finlayson adds that in a competitive housing market, connecting with a local REALTOR® is crucial. They have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling a home.

In October 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $393,700, up 16 per cent from one year ago. Prices increased in every zone, ranging from around 13 per cent in Campbell River and Port Alberni to 19 per cent in Nanaimo and the Parksville-Qualicum area. The benchmark price of an apartment rose approximately 18 per cent board-wide, with ParksvilleQualicum reporting an increase of 33 per cent. The townhouse market also strengthened, posting a 12 per cent increase boardwide.

The October 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $308,900, an increase of 13 per cent over October 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $398,500, up 17 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $342,100, an increase of 13 per cent compared to October 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 19 per cent to $428,500 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 19 per cent as well to $449,400. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $215,700, up 13 per cent from one year ago. 

Would you like to know if  YOUR HOME falls into these categories? Give us a call and we’ll provide you with a no obligation consultation and a FREE evaluation.

Finance Minister Announces New Mortgage Regulations

 

The Government of Canada introduced new mortgage regulations this week. These changes will make it more difficult for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage in today’s real estate market.

Here are the new policies:

- Effective October 17, 2016 all new insured mortgages (CMHC/Genworth) must undergo a “stress Test” that will ensure a borrower has the ability to make their mortgage payments at a higher interest rate. Before these changes if you chose a fixed rate mortgage 5 years or grater the mortgage is qualified at the contract rate. Now the mortgage must qualify based on the Bank of Canada benchmark rate of 4.65%. this will lower the amount of money a client can qualify for on high ratio purchases.

Assuming an income of $40K per year and 95% financing, the maximum purchase price before October 17th is $420K and aftger October 17th is $335K.

Effective November 30, 2016, mortgages insured by lenders through portfolio insurance and other low loan-to-value ratio mortgage insurance must meet the same loan eligibility criteria as high loan-to-value insured mortgages. This affects clients who might be looking to refinance and already have equity in their homes. 

- Proposed changes to tax rules will ensure that the principal residence capital gains exemption is not abused, including by non-residents buying and selling a property in the same year.

Hot Housing Market Puts Sellers in Driver’s Seat

VIREB – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2016 Hot Housing Market Puts Home Sellers in Driver’s Seat

 

NANAIMO, BC – Home sellers are in the driver’s seat throughout the VIREB area as buyers compete for available listings.

In May 2016, 771 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 527 last May, an increase of 46 per cent. Month over month, sales were up by 17 per cent from the 660 sales processed in April 2016. Last month’s active listings totalled 1,684, down 32 per cent from the 2,507 reported in May 2015.

Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, states that retail sales growth in the double digits reflects high levels of consumer confidence, which is spilling over into real estate. Tourism on Vancouver Island also posted a huge spike recently, which aids local economic conditions. However, although housing demand is extraordinarily high, its foundation is solidly based on a healthy GDP and rising population growth.

“British Columbia’s GDP is at three per cent, and employment growth rose around 3.5 per cent in the first four months of 2016,” says Muir. “Real estate is benefiting from that growth, with sales in the entire southern half of the province at record or near-record levels.”

Janice Stromar, VIREB 2016 President-Elect, confirms that the VIREB housing market is recording record sales in many areas. Multiple offers, particularly on single-family homes, are the norm rather than the exception. Low inventory levels are still a major challenge for REALTORS® and buyers for a variety of reasons.

“This is a fantastic time to sell, but some homeowners have been holding back because they love their home or are worried they won’t find another property to buy,” says Stromar. “More houses are now coming onto the market, but buyers snap them up so quickly, we still don’t have enough inventory to satisfy the demand.”

Despite increases in both the benchmark and average prices over the past year, the Vancouver Island housing market is still an affordable alternative to Victoria and Lower Mainland communities.

“Although retirees frequently choose to migrate to Vancouver Island, we are seeing younger professionals trading in their homes on the Lower Mainland for a significantly nicer property here,” says Stromar. “I wouldn’t call it a trend, but it’s becoming more common if people can find jobs on the Island or telecommute to jobs on the Lower Mainland all or part of the time.”

Stromar adds that in a competitive housing market, connecting with a local REALTOR® is crucial to ensure you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling your home.

In May 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $364,500, up 9.36 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The benchmark price of townhouses and apartments also increased in nearly every market. The average MLS® price of a single-family home in May was $411,458, a 13 per cent increase from May 2015.

The May 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $287,500, a 3.27 per cent increase over 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $360,400, up 11.32 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $317,300, an increase of 6.71 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 10.82 per cent to $389,800 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 14.31 per cent to $417,900. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $197,300, unchanged from one year ago.

 

Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace Supply in the VIREB Area

May 2, 2016 Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace Supply in the VIREB Area

NANAIMO, BC – The VIREB housing market is firmly in seller’s territory, with buyer demand continuing to outpace supply in most areas.

 

In April 2016, 662 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 449 last April, an increase of 47 per cent. Month over month, sales were up by 27 per cent from the 520 sales processed in March 2016. Last month’s active listings totalled 1,697, down 26 per cent from the 2,305 reported in April 2015.

Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, states that the hot housing market continues to be fuelled by strong consumer demand. Buyers are aggressively pursuing home purchases, with multiple offers the norm rather than the exception throughout British Columbia.

Real estate boards in the Lower Mainland, Chilliwack, Kamloops, the Okanagan, Victoria, and Vancouver Island are all reporting robust market conditions, with some areas posting record-breaking sales. Underpinning B.C.’s vibrant economy and strong demand for housing is employment growth of three per cent, the highest in Canada.

“Although these market conditions cannot continue indefinitely, there is just no sign of any slowdown,” says Muir. “Whether we’ll be reporting the same level of housing activity come September remains to be seen.”

VIREB President Margo Hoffman says that REALTORS® are busier than they have been in years, and multiple offers – particularly on single-family homes – are everyday occurrences. As stated in previous media releases, lack of inventory continues to be the major challenge for REALTORS® and buyers.

“The thing to remember about busy markets like we’re seeing is that they never last forever,” says Hoffman. “If homeowners are thinking of selling, this is an ideal time to do so.

” Although the benchmark and average prices have risen over the past year, Hoffman notes that the VIREB market is still very affordable compared to Victoria and Lower Mainland communities. Whether you are a buyer or seller, Hoffman also adds that a REALTOR® is a vital partner in the sales process to ensure you price your home appropriately for selling and pay the right price when buying.

In April 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $356,700, up 8.36 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The benchmark price of townhouses and apartments also increased in nearly every market. The average MLS® price of a single-family home in April was $396,165, a nine per cent increase from April 2015.

The April 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $284,600, a 4.09 per cent increase over 2015. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $357,700, up 10.34 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $313,400, an increase of 6.65 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 9.08 per cent to $379,300 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 10.69 per cent to $399,500. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $191,600, an increase of 1.42 per cent over April 2015