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Two Speed Market Continues for BC Home Sales

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province continued to climb higher in March. Compared to March of 2010, MLS® residential unit sales increased 11.5 per cent to 8,600 units. The average MLS® residential price rose 15 per cent to $594,157 in March compared to the same month last year.



“We continue to observe a two-speed market in BC, with surging consumer demand in Metro Vancouver overshadowing more moderate demand in other regions,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Vigorous consumer demand drove Greater Vancouver to its most active March since 2004, while the Fraser Valley had its strongest March in four years. Conversely, sales activity in other BC markets is expanding at a pace more inline with overall economic growth.”


Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 21 per cent to $11.14 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales increased 4.7 per cent to 19,147 units. The average MLS® residential price rose 15.4 per cent to $582,021 over the same period.

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The HST referendum dates set

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

VICTORIA – The B.C. government announced on April 8, 2011 the process by which British Columbians will cast their ballot in the HST referendum vote this summer.

Key Dates:

• Monday, June 13 – Elections BC starts mailing out referendum ballots for the HST to all registered voters.
• Friday, June 24 – Majority of British Columbians have received the ballot.
• Friday, July 8 – Last day for unregistered voters to request a ballot from Elections BC.
• Friday, July 22, 4:30 p.m. (local time) – Completed ballots must be received by mail by Elections BC or in person by a Service BC centre.

Elections BC, a non-partisan office of the legislature, will conduct the referendum.

British Columbians who are not registered voters for a provincial election, or who have moved since the last election and have not updated their voter record, will need to request a ballot from Elections BC.

It will take several weeks for Elections BC to count the ballots. Results of the vote are expected in August.

The referendum question will be:

“Are you in favour of extinguishing the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and reinstating the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) in conjunction with the GST (Goods and Services Tax)? Yes/No.”

Quote:

Attorney General Barry Penner –

“Most British Columbians will have their ballot by June 24 and can begin weighing this very important decision. Voters will need to remember that, to be counted, they must make sure their ballots are mailed in time to be received by Elections BC before the close of voting at 4:30 p.m. local time on Friday, July 22 or deliver their completed ballot to a Service BC centre by the same deadline.”

Learn More:

For more information on the HST, visit: www.hstinbc.ca
For more information on Elections BC, visit: www.elections.bc.ca

Housing Market Update – March 2011

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Canadian Housing shows glimpses of cooling

May 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Canadian housing activity continues at a bustling pace, but there are glimmers the market is set to cool.

Housing starts rose at an annualized pace of 201,700 units last month, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Monday, though gains in multi-unit construction masked the first sizable slide in single-unit activity in a year.

A separate survey showed fewer Canadians have firm plans to buy a house. And resale activity is already slowing.

Most economists – including Bank of Canada officials – expect the housing market to slow from its torrid pace. Rising interest rates, tighter mortgage rules and a new sales tax in Ontario and British Columbia will likely dampen activity in the second half of this year. And though monthly numbers – especially in the building sector – can be volatile, economists said the drop in single-family homes suggests the sector is already softening.

“Is this a signal that single-market construction activity will ease going forward? Probably,”said Yanick Desnoyers, assistant chief economist at National Bank Financial.

Quarterly growth in the housing sector is cooling “rapidly,” and he expects the sector will actually have a negative impact on Canada’s economy next year.

Higher interest rates are a chief reason for the expected slowdown. The Bank of Canada is widely expected to boost its key lending rate next month. “The sensitivity of Canadian households to interest-rate hikes is very, very high right now because debt levels of many households have far outstripped personal-income growth,” Mr. Desnoyers said.

The resale market, meantime, also points to some moderation as activity has eased from record levels and more supply is coming into the market, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in March.

Canadians seem set to take a breather. Just 3.4 per cent say they are very likely to buy a house in the next 12 months, “suggesting activity may slow during the remainder of this year,” a Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals report said Monday.

To gauge the effect of rising rates, the association simulated the impact of mortgage-rate increases up to 5.25 per cent. The current average mortgage rate is 4.02 per cent among households that locked in fixed rates during the past year.

It found that about 375,000 mortgage holders “are already challenged” by their current payments, and an additional 475,000 might be in trouble if their rate hits 5.25 per cent.

Mortgage rates have already risen, though several banks – including Royal Bank of Canada on Monday– trimmed some rates in recent days. RBC’s five-year closed rate is now 6.10 per cent – still higher than several months ago.

CMHC’s report showed multiple starts rose 27.2 per cent. Single urban starts tumbled 12.7 per cent – the first big drop since last April.

Starts climbed 16.4 per cent in British Columbia, 6.7 per cent in the Prairie region, 4.5 per cent in Ontario, and 1.1 per cent in Quebec. They fell 3.3 per cent in Atlantic Canada. The country needs a pace of about 175,000 to 185,000 units a year to keep up with demographics, economists estimate.

Canadian mortgage numbers

5.55 million

Number of mortgages in Canada, out of a total 9.3 million homeowners in the country.

$138,000

Average outstanding principal.

$770-billion

Outstanding mortgage principal on primary residences in Canada.

0.45%

Portion of Canadian mortgages in arrears as of February.

Sources: Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, Canadian Bankers Association.

www.vancouver-properties.ca

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