By 2041, more than 1.2 million more residents will move to the Metro Vancouver area, bringing our population to 3.4 million residents.


To accommodate these newcomers, we’ll need more than 574,000 new housing units according to Metro Vancouver data.


Given Metro Vancouver’s geographical constraints – the North Shore mountains, the Pacific Ocean, the US border, and protected agricultural land to the east – how will this shape our communities?


To find out, we asked urban design specialist Bob Ransford, who has spent the last 24 years tackling complex urban development and land use challenges.


Here are the five trends he believes will shape real estate in Metro Vancouver in the next decade. 



Transit oriented development (TOD): increased density around transit lines and stations will occur if the TransLink referendum passes. Micro-suites of 250 sq. ft. with common areas for dining and fitness will become more popular with Millennials who live more in the street and in coffee shops and are used to sharing cars, rides and space. TOD reduces traffic, energy consumption and our carbon footprint. If the TransLink vote is no, TOD development will halt. 






Small-scale density: to maximize land use and reduce building and infrastructure costs, we’ll see more small detached energy-efficient homes, cottages and multi-family units on small lots in pocket neighbourhoods. This increases affordability, lets younger families move into neighbourhoods and lets seniors stay in neighbourhoods.






Social purpose such as real estate owned by faith-based groups and other non-profits: we’ll see more development of property owned by places of worship, often located on prime real estate. Congregations increasingly want to use land more efficiently to build affordable housing and are not interested in making a profit. Developments will include smaller, affordable apartments.






Maker Spaces: a new trend that preserves industrial areas by combining light industry, for example, artisan manufacturing, with residential. Cities are economic growth engines and this new mixed-use zoning encourages industry which doesn’t produce noxious fumes or use heavy equipment in residential areas, helping jobs stay close to home. Examples includeMakerLabs on Kingsway which rents laser cutters, routers, 3D scanners and printers, industrial sewing machines and woodworking tools.






Changes in tenure: fee simple, strata tenure and co-housing ownership will be joined by new types of shared ownership that helps promote small-scale density. Legislation will change to allow property owners to build and sell laneway homes and basement suites, which are presently only allowed as rentals.

Read full post

March 3, 2015

Home buyer and seller activity outpaces historical averages in February


Conditions within the Metro Vancouver* housing market continued to strengthen in February as home sale and listing totals came in well above the region’s ten-year average for the month. 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 3,061 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February 2015. This represents a 21 per cent increase compared to the 2,530 sales recorded in February 2014, and a 60 per cent increase compared to the 1,913 sales in January 2015.

Last month’s sales were 20.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“It’s an active and competitive marketplace today. Buyers are motivated and homes that are priced competitively are selling at a brisk pace right now,” Ray Harris, REBGV president, said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,425 in February. This represents a 15.4 per cent increase compared to the 4,700 new listings reported in February 2014.

Last month’s new listing count was 11.8 per cent higher than the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the REBGV MLS® is 11,898, an 11.3 per cent decline compared to February 2014 and a 10.1 per cent increase compared to January 2015.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $649,700. This represents a 6.4 per cent increase compared to February 2014.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in February was 25.7 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since March 2011.

“We’re seeing more multiple offer situations and generally more traffic at open houses today,” Harris said. “In a market such as this, it’s important to do your homework and work with your local REALTOR® before embarking on your home buying and selling journey.”

Sales of detached properties in February 2015 reached 1,296, an increase of 25.6 per cent from the 1,032 detached sales recorded in February 2014, and an 84.1 per cent increase from the 704 units sold in February 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 9.7 per cent from February 2014 to $1,026,300.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,244 in February 2015, an increase of 20.5 per cent compared to the 1,032 sales in February 2014, and an increase of 63.7 per cent compared to the 760 sales in February 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3 per cent from February 2014 to $386,500.

Attached property sales in February 2015 totalled 521, an increase of 11.8 per cent compared to the 466 sales in February 2014, and a 56.5 per cent increase from the 333 attached properties sold in February 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.6 per cent between February 2014 and 2015 to $481,500.

Read full post