Real Estate Blog

Policy-induced downturn has eroded home values and led to fewer housing starts, reports economist



The policy-driven chill in the resale market, which has triggered declining home values and slowing pre-sale purchases, may finally be translating into curtailed new home construction.

The latest Teranet-National Bank House Price Index for March showed further price erosion in both Vancouver and Victoria, as well as declines in Kelowna and Abbotsford-Mission.

Housing starts slumped for a second straight month in March as fewer apartment units broke ground in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Vancouver and Victoria. Total urban-area B.C. starts declined 10 per cent from February to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 32,493

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House front in Vancouver

Would you want to know if somebody was murdered in your potential new home? Died of natural causes? Died from suicide?

We recently published a story online about court case involving a Vancouver woman who was sued for not telling a home buyer someone had been murdered on her property. She won her appeal and didn’t have to pay damages.

Even though the story was not local to Vancouver Island, on the Citizen’s Facebook page people found it interesting enough to share their opinions, which were varied — and largely dependent on how the death occurred.

While some, like Sandra Vanderleek argued, “It has zero to do with the house,” others said they would want to know if there’d been a death in the house they were looking to purchase.

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After something of a winter cool-down, the busy spring season for Canadian real estate is almost here.

Open houses and for sale signs will be popping up, giving buyers more options to get into the market. It’s a good time for sellers too because they typically are able to charge more. But could this time be different?

Canada’s real estate market is coming off one the slowest Februarys in decades. According to a new national survey from Zoocasa, 58 per cent of Canadians surveyed say they think spring is the best time to sell a home. Less than half (42 per cent) say it’s the best time to be in the market as a buyer.

Among survey respondents, 11 per cent said they want to buy a home this spring. On the flip side only eight per cent plan to sell.

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Selling sign in Vancouver

A local realtor and real estate blogger has crunched the numbers and he says Greater Vancouver home sales just had their worst month of March since 1986.

According to Steve Saretsky, unreleased numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association show just a little over 1,700 transactions last month.

Steve Saretsky said the slowdown is a result of a gap between what sellers and buyers are expecting from the market.

 “Primarily because buyers have a certain price they want to pay, particularly given the outlook of housing market, and sellers are still trying to adjust to reality, which ultimately the market isn’t willing to pay for what they are asking,” Saretsky said.


Saretsky said prices are in fact taking a dip, however the slide

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Residential transactions plunge to just over half the 10-year average for the month, as prices slide across all property types

flowers blooming in Vancouver

Falling home sales in Metro Vancouver are “largely policy induced” and policymakers are “using policy to delay housing demand and feeding disruptive cycles,” according to the new president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

Issuing its monthly market statistics April 2, the REBGV reported that there were just 1,727 home sales in March 2019, which is 31.4 per cent year over year decline, and 46.3 per cent below the 10-year average for the month.

It’s also the lowest number of March home sales since 1986. 

However, the sales total is higher than one monthly previously, up 16.4 per cent from the

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Slowing of the Greater Vancouver real estate market is hitting pre-sale condos. Numbers from MLA Canada, a condo pre-sale marketing agency, show new projects are seeing slow absorption in February. The slowing of sales is sending relative demand to levels that could send prices lower.

Greater Vancouver New Condo Sales Are Plummeting

Greater Vancouver condo pre-sales of new projects are slowing down very quickly. There were an estimated 171 pre-sales picked up in February, down 9.41% from the month before. This represents an 88% decline compared to the same month last year. Fewer releases than last year meant a decline was expected, just not that large of a decline.

Greater Vancouver New Condo Releases Drop

The number of new units launched

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted efforts by the Liberal government to help first-time homebuyers put more down on their mortgages during a visit to a region of the country Monday that is facing a housing squeeze.

In its budget last week the government introduced measures that would allow Ottawa to pick up a portion of new homebuyers’ mortgage costs and it increased the amount they can borrow from their retirement savings for a down payment.

Housing has emerged as a major issue for many Canadians, especially young people who are trying to get into the real-estate market at a time when prices are soaring in some major cities.

During a visit to Maple Ridge, Trudeau said the budget contains measures to help first-time buyers by allowing them to

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China-based realty portal, local agents say rush of foreign buyers looking to snap up a deal could mean this sub-market has already hit bottom

Fuelled by a sudden spike in China-based buyers, the West Vancouver luxury housing market is bouncing off the bottom, according to China’s largest real estate portal and West Vancouver agents.

This month a West Vancouver “cabin” sold for $3.4 million – $600,000 over its assessed value – to a Beijing buyer, and the largest Chinese real estate search engine for global properties has seen a surge in inquiries for West Vancouver homes. This, agents say, is indicative that after a 40 per cent price plunge from the peak, B.C.’s premiere luxury housing market could be coming back.


Carrie Law, CEO and

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Realtor says grant could benefit those looking to buy in suburbs

The federal government's attempt to help first-time home buyers enter the real estate market won't help many would-be homebuyers in the pricey Vancouver market, a realtor says.

"I think it's more window dressing than anything," said Steve Saretsky, realtor and author of real estate blog, Vancity Condo Guide.

The so-called shared equity mortgage plan was announced in this week's federal budget.

It would apply to first-time buyers whose household income is less than $120,000 per year. It works like an interest-free loan where a would-be buyer is able to pay a five-per-cent down payment, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) would kick in up to 10 per cent of

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V.I.A. sister publication Business In Vancouver is hosting one of their BIV Talks on “Surviving the Slump in Real Estate” this week.

An expert panel will guide an informative discussion this Tuesday, March 26 at the Vancity Theatre on Seymour Street. The panelists will guide the audience to opportunities in the housing market, and also what to avoid. Further, they will underscore how your investment plan can make the most of the challenging times.

Cynthia Jagger, Principal, Goodman, will be one of the panelists. As an appraiser, she’s consulted and analyzed tens of billions of dollars’ worth of commercial real estate in B.C. and hundreds of rental apartment buildings.

W. Scott Brown, President & CEO, Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing, will…
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