January 5, 2021

Metro Vancouver housing market shows resilience in 2020


Strong December activity brought Metro Vancouver’s* 2020 home sales total in line with the region’s long-term annual average.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 30,944 in 2020, a 22.1 per cent increase from the 25,351 sales recorded in 2019, and a 25.7 per cent increase from the 24,619 homes sold in 2018.


Last year’s sales total was 2.8 per cent below the 10-year sales average.


“When the pandemic began in March, the housing market came to a near standstill. We knew, however, that shelter needs don’t go away in times of crisis, they intensify," Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “The real estate community worked closely with our regulatory bodies and public health officials in the spring to ensure appropriate precautions and protocols were implemented so BC REALTORS® could help residents safely meet their housing needs."


Home listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 54,305 in 2020. This is a 4.6 per cent increase compared to the 51,918 homes listed in 2019 and a 1.3 per cent increase compared to the 53,614 homes listed in 2018.


Last year’s listings total was 2.7 per cent below the region’s 10-year average.


“After adapting to the COVID-19 environment, local home buyer demand and seller supply returned at a steady pace throughout the summer, fall and winter seasons," Gerber said. "Shifting housing needs and low interest rates were key drivers of this activity in 2020. Looking ahead, the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends in 2021.”


The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $1,047,400. This is a 5.4 per cent increase compared to December 2019.


The benchmark price for apartments increased 2.6 per cent in the region last year. Townhomes increased 4.9 per cent and detached homes increased 10.2 per cent.


December Summary


REBGV reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,093 in December 2020, a 53.4 per cent increase from the 2,016 sales recorded in December 2019, and a 0.9 per cent increase from the 3,064 homes sold in November 2020.


Last month’s sales were 57.7 per cent above the 10-year December sales average and is the highest total for the month on record.


“Robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what’s traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate. This was part of an unusual seasonal pattern the market followed last year, which can be attributed in large part to the pandemic,” Gerber says.


There were 2,409 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver in December 2020. This represents a 51.7 per cent increase compared to the 1,588 homes listed in December 2019 and a 40.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2020 when 4,068 homes were listed.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,538, a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to December 2019 (8,603) and a 23.2 per cent decrease compared to November 2020 (11,118).


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2020 is 36.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 35.2 per cent for detached homes, 50.4 per cent for townhomes, and 33.1 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.


Sales of detached homes in December 2020 reached 1,026, a 71.3 per cent increase from the 599 detached sales recorded in December 2019. The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,554,600. This represents a 10.2 per cent increase from December 2019 and a one per cent increase compared to November 2020.


Sales of apartment homes reached 1,474 in December 2020, a 40 per cent increase compared to the 1,053 sales in December 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $676,500. This represents a 2.6 per cent increase from December 2019 and is unchanged from November 2020.


Attached home sales in December 2020 totalled 593, a 62.9 per cent increase compared to the 364 sales in December 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $813,900. This represents a 4.9 per cent increase from December 2019 and a 0.1 per cent decrease compared to November 2020.

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C. Hesketh, first-time home buyer Smile


Helen has been an absolute dream to work with. Buying our first home in a hot market during a pandemic could have been a very stressful and confusing endeavour. From the onset however, Helen has been honest, extremely knowledgeable, thorough and prompt when we needed her for quick replies to our many inquiries. We felt at ease knowing we could trust her expertise through this intense time and are thrilled with our new home.

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November 3, 2020

Home sale and listing resurgence extends into the fall


Home sale and new listing activity remained at near record levels across Metro Vancouver in October.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,687 in October 2020, a 29 per cent increase from the 2,858 sales recorded in October 2019, and a 1.2 per cent increase from the 3,643 homes sold in September 2020.


Last month’s sales were 34.7 per cent above the 10-year October sales average and stands as the second-highest total on record for the month.


“Home has been a focus for residents during the pandemic. With more days and evenings spent at home this year, people are re-thinking their housing situation," Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “Throughout this period, REALTORS® have been working to understand and adapt to the latest safety protocols so that they can continue to help the public meet their housing needs in a safe and responsible way.”


There were 5,571 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in October 2020. This represents a 36.7 per cent increase compared to the 4,074 homes listed in October 2019 and a 13 per cent decrease compared to September 2020 when 6,402 homes were listed. 


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,416, a 1.5 per cent increase compared to October 2019 (12,236) and a 5.2 per cent decrease compared to September 2020 (13,096).


“With demand on the rise, homes priced right for today’s market are receiving attention and, at times, garnering multiple offers," Gerber said. "To understand the market conditions in your neighbourhood and property type of choice, work with your local REALTOR® to assess the latest MLS® housing market information."


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2020 is 29.7 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 30.9 per cent for detached homes, 43.5 per cent for townhomes, and 24.9 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 $1,045,100. This represents a six per cent increase over October 2019 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to September 2020.


Sales of detached homes in October 2020 reached 1,335, a 42.3 per cent increase from the 938 detached sales recorded in October 2019. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,523,800. This represents an 8.5 per cent increase from October 2019 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to September 2020.


Sales of apartment homes reached 1,570 in October 2020, a 13.4 per cent increase compared to the 1,384 sales in October 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $683,500. This represents a 4.4 per cent increase from October 2019 and is unchanged compared to September 2020.


Attached home sales in October 2020 totalled 782, a 45.9 per cent increase compared to the 536 sales in October 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $813,000. This represents a 5.4 per cent increase from October 2019 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to September 2020.


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October 2, 2020

Metro Vancouver home sales and listings surge in September


Home sale and new listing activity reached record levels in Metro Vancouver in September.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,643 in September 2020, a 56.2 per cent increase from the 2,333 sales recorded in September 2019, and a 19.6 per cent increase from the 3,047 homes sold in August 2020.


Last month’s sales were 44.8 per cent above the 10-year September sales average and is the highest total on record for the month.


“We've seen robust home sale and listing activity across Metro Vancouver throughout the summer months," Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. "This increased activity can be attributed, in part, to lower interest rates and changing housing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic."


There were 6,402 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in September 2020. This represents a 31.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,866 homes listed in September 2019 and a 10.1 per cent increase compared to August 2020 when 5,813 homes were listed.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 13,096, a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to September 2019 (13,439) and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to August 2020 (12,803).


"While the pace of new MLS® listings entering the market is increasing, the heightened demand from home buyers is keeping overall supply levels down," Gerber said. "This is creating upward pressure on home prices, which have been edging up since the spring."


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2020 is 27.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 28.3 per cent for detached homes, 36.1 per cent for townhomes, and 24.8 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 $1,041,300. This represents a 5.8 per cent increase over September 2019, and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to August 2020.


Sales of detached homes in September 2020 reached 1,317, a 76.8 per cent increase from the 745 detached sales recorded in September 2019. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,507,500. This represents a 7.8 per cent increase from September 2019 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to August 2020.


Sales of apartment homes reached 1,596 in September 2020, a 36.9 per cent increase compared to the 1,166 sales in September 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $683,500. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase from September 2019 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to August 2020.


Attached home sales in September 2020 totalled 730, a 73 per cent increase compared to the 422 sales in September 2019. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $809,900. This represents a 5.2 per cent increase from September 2019 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to August 2020.


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CMHC’s New Underwriting Criteria: What Changed and What it Means for Home Buyers

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has implemented new underwriting criteria (eligibility requirements) to apply for homeowner transactional and portfolio mortgage insurance. Introduced earlier this summer, these new adjustments from CMHC come as a precaution while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact consumers in the real estate market and many other aspects of day-to-day life.

The following changes have been made:

  • The maximum Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio is now 35% with no exceptions (previously, 39% GDS ratios could be approved under special circumstances).
  • The maximum Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio is now 42% with no exceptions (previously, 44% TDS ratios could be approved under special circumstances).
  • The minimum credit score required for at least one borrower is now 680 (previously 600).
  • Non-traditional sources for down payments that increase indebtedness will no longer be treated as equity for insurance purposes.

However, not all Canadian mortgage insurers have followed suit. Canada’s other two mortgage insurers, Genworth Canada and Canada Guaranty, announced earlier this summer they would not be following CMHC’s lead.

In a statement at the time, Genworth confirmed, “it has no plans to change its underwriting policy related to debt service ratio limits, minimum credit score and down payment requirements.”

Canada Guaranty echoed this sentiment saying it “confirms that no changes to underwriting policy are contemplated as a result of recent industry announcements.”


How is mortgage insurance affected?

Mortgage insurance protects lenders in the event homeowners default on their mortgage. Home buyers purchasing a home with a down payment of less than 20% must have mortgage insurance. The following underwriting criteria are the main figures taken into consideration for mortgage insurance applications:

  • GDS ratio: GDS ratio is the percentage of a buyer’s gross monthly income used for mortgage payments, taxes and heating costs and—if they are buying a condo—half of the monthly maintenance fees. A GDS calculator is available here.
  • TDS ratio: TDS ratio is the percentage of gross monthly income required to cover monthly housing costs, plus all of a buyer’s other debt payments, such as car loans or leases, credit card payments, and lines of credit payments. A TDS calculator is available here.
  • Credit score: credit score ranges from 300 to 900 and is determined from a person’s credit report. A higher number means a person’s credit is managed responsibly. Various factors are taken into consideration to calculate credit scores. TransUnion and Equifax are Canada’s two main credit bureaus. You may also find your credit score through a private provider or your financial institution.

For more information, consult our affordability calculator, the Home Buyers’ Road Map or contact your REALTOR®.


How does this all affect me?

While CMHC has made these slightly stricter underwriting restrictions as a precaution for the economic impact COVID-19 has had on the housing market, current trends are showing a promising rebound. Canadian home sales and prices have trended upwards through MayJune and July following an initial decline in March and April, although on a year-to-date basis we remain below 2019 figures.

The Canadian housing market will see the financial and economic impact of COVID-19 unfold for months to come, and each province and territory’s recovery plan varies. To stay in the know of how the market is evolving, visit CREA.ca for monthly housing market statistics reports or create a REALTOR.ca account for the latest information on the housing market and tips for your home. 


Source: REALTOR.ca


Link to article: 

https://www.realtor.ca/blog/postpage/14526/3195/cmhc%E2%80%99s-new-underwriting-criteria-what-changed-and-what-it-means-for-home-buyers

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September 2, 2020

Home sale and listing activity continues to increase in August


Home buyers and sellers remained active across Metro Vancouver in August, with home sale and new listing activity outpacing the region’s historical averages.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,047 in August 2020, a 36.6 per cent increase from the 2,231 sales recorded in August 2019, and a 2.6 per cent decrease from the 3,128 homes sold in July 2020.


Last month’s sales were 19.9 per cent above the 10-year August sales average.


“People who put their home buying and selling plans on hold in the spring have been returning to the market throughout the summer,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “Like everything else in our lives these days, the uncertainty COVID-19 presents makes it challenging to predict what will happen this fall.”


There were 5,813 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2020. This represents a 55.1 per cent increase compared to the 3,747 homes listed in August 2019 and a 2.3 per cent decrease compared to July 2020 when 5,948 homes were listed.


This was 34.8 per cent above the 10-year August new listings average.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 12,803, a 4.4 per cent decrease compared to August 2019 (13,396) and a six per cent increase compared to July 2020 (12,083).


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2020 is 23.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 23.7 per cent for detached homes, 30.5 per cent for townhomes, and 21.6 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.


“Low interest rates and limited overall supply of homes for sale are creating competition in today’s housing market,” Gerber said. “Your local REALTOR® can help you navigate today’s market and ensure that the latest public health requirements are followed at every step of the process. Above all, safety has to remain our top priority during this pandemic.”


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,038,700. This represents a 5.3 per cent increase over August 2019 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to July 2020.


Sales of detached homes in August 2020 reached 1,095, a 55.1 per cent increase from the 706 detached sales recorded in August 2019. The benchmark price of a detached home is $1,491,300. This represents a 6.6 per cent increase from August 2019 and a one per cent increase compared to July 2020.


Sales of apartment homes reached 1,332 in August 2020, a 19.4 per cent increase compared to the 1,116 sales in August 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $685,800. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase from August 2019 and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to July 2020.


Attached home sales in August 2020 totalled 620, a 51.6 per cent increase compared to the 409 sales in August 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $806,400. This represents a 4.4 per cent increase from August 2019 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to July 2020.

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