New Rules Prohibit a Realtor From Representing Both Seller and Buyer in a Deal

Rules have now banned what’s called a dual agency deal where a realtor can’t represent both a seller and a buyer at the same time, according to a Global News article.

B.C. is the first province to ban this practice when rules come into effect on March 15, 2018.

The rules will also require real estate licensees to inform customers about the responsibility they owe to their clients as well as unrepresented parties before they work together.

Superintendent of real estate, Michael Noseworthy, said dual agency deals creates a potential abuse and conflict of interest, so it’s in the best interest of consumers to prohibit it.

The rules have mixed reactions within the housing industry. However, because the rules are in place doesn’t mean realtors won’t be able to find a way around them.

9 Maps that will explain Greater Vancouver 2016 Real Estate Market Prices

Lower Mainland Real Estate Benchmark Prices for September 2016

Greater Vancouver

We spent couple days to make 9 super detailed heat maps of Lower Mainland September 2016 Real Estate Prices. We broke it down to neighbourhoods and type of property so everybody can see what happened with their home prices. Enjoy!

Home sales for both Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions have reached a significant low as of September 2016, with inventory in the Fraser Valley reaching the highest it’s been in all of 2016. Sales have decreased in both regions to below the ten-year sales average for the first time this year.
Sales in both regions saw a huge dip in sales: down 24.4 percent in the Fraser Valley to 1,305 sales and down 32.6 percent to 2,253 sales in Greater Vancouver.

 

Single Family Homes Benchmark Price September 2016

 

Single Family Homes Benchmark Price September 2016, 1 month change, %

 

Single Family Homes Benchmark Price September 2016, 1 year change, %


 

Sales to listing ratios are now closer to the 20 percent mark – a much more “normalized” state for the market, which gives buyers a much more comfortable environment to shop in. Analysts note that downward pressure on home sale prices tend to occur when the sales-to-listings ratio reaches lower than 12 percent for a sustained period; and home prices tend to experience upward pressure when it reaches above 20 percent for a number of months.
Supply and demand has also changed drastically: there is a shift towards more demand for condominiums and townhomes today, rather than detached homes.

Benchmark prices for homes in both the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions have also grown substantially when compared to previous years – but are on a slight decline when compared to previous months of this year. In Greater Vancouver, September 2016 saw a benchmark price of $931,900 – an increase of 28.9 percent compared to September of the previous year; Fraser Valley saw an even larger increase for townhomes – 35.7 percent, increasing the benchmark price to $419,300, and up 37.7 percent for detached homes to $878,100.

 

Apartments Benchmark Price September 2016

 

Apartments Benchmark Price September 2016, 1 month change, %

 

Apartments Benchmark Price September 2016, 1 year change, %

 

In the Fraser Valley region, the number of days a house stayed on the market before being sold increased significantly to 27 days. That number was 17 days in June of this year – just three months prior.
Sales of detached homes sunk the most rapidly – down by almost 50 percent in the Greater Vancouver area to just 666 sales in the entire region. Apartments and townhomes both also decreased in sales: down by 20.3 percent for apartments and 32.2 percent for townhomes in Greater Vancouver. Fraser Valley showed similar decreases.
Total active listings as of September 2016 for Greater Vancouver was 9,354 – a 13.4 percent decrease from September 2015, but a 10 percent increase from August 2016. Again, the Fraser Valley region saw very similar numbers: 6,422 total active listings, an increase of 5.2 percent month-to-month, but a 9.8 percent decrease when compared to September 2015.

These changes to the real estate market are caused by a new environment in which the summer “sizzle” has finished, and demand is starting to produce numbers more in line with previous years. The dramatic numbers, experts say, appear more significant than they may actually be due to the heated market over the past seven months.
For more detailed information on September’s housing market – including specific information on neighbourhoods, and by property type, please see our maps below.

 

Townhomes Benchmark Price September 2016

 

Townhomes Benchmark Price September 2016, 1 month change, %

 

Townhomes Benchmark Price September 2016, 1 year change, %

 

The Data
All data displayed on the map is provided by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and www.estateblock.com. All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be personally verified.

Please hover the neighbourhoods for more information. Have any questions? Feel free to ask us in the comments below.

Feel free to share this map and subscribe for more cool heat maps!

For more Lower Mainland Heat Maps and ALL available Real Estate Listings in Lower Mainalnd please visit – click here

tax

Foreign Tax Impact: Still Too Early to Tell

While house sales for August dropped by 22.8 percent since July, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s general consensus is that it is too early to say what long-term impact the new foreign buyer tax will have on Vancouver’s housing market.

Sales have been declining moderately since February. While it appears that the foreign-buyer tax has accelerated that decline, it will be at least a few more months before anyone can make a proper speculation.

The new tax, announced July 25th of this year, added an additional 15 percent tax onto transactions with foreign purchasers. The tax came into effect August 2nd – causing a ripple effect of both purchasers rushing to close their purchases before August 2nd, and also stopping a number of agreed-upon deals from closing.

Home sales in the Metro Vancouver area do seem to have dropped for August, when compared to both previous years of the same month, and to July of this year. August sales totaled 2,489 sales, compared to 3,362 in August 2015 – a 26 percent decline!  The decline was far greater this year, than in the previous comparisons. Sales were down only 10.2 percent from August 2014, and only 1 percent from August 2013. Pricing, on the other hand, has increased by 31.4 percent compared to one year ago. The average price for August was a whopping $933,100, up from July’s $930,400 average price.

Detached home sales, however, plummeted in August with only a total of 715 deatched houses changing owners – a decrease of 44.6 percent in detached home sales for this August when compared to August 2015. The price of these detached homes has increased by 35.8 percent from 2015, to an average price of $1,577,300.

Has this tax affected you? Positively or negatively? Let us know in the comments.

Chinese Buyers & House Auctions: A Peek into Australia’s Real Estate Market

It’s a topic we know all too much about right now: foreign investment in the real estate market – especially with Chinese purchasers. However, the scene in Australia is a little different from the one in Vancouver.

Chinese investment in Australia’s housing market has quadrupled from 2013 to 2015: soaring to $24.3 billion from $5.9 billion.  Chinese buyers are dominating the housing auctions in suburban Australia – and in many such auctions it has become increasingly rare to see bidders of other nationalities.

However, it is not just offshore investors who are dominating the market. Australian real estate companies claim that the largest percentage of Chinese buyers whom attend their auctions are either Australian citizens or permanent residents.

In these house auctions, it’s common for the incredibly bidding-savvy Chinese buyers to do well. The bids all come down to readiness; how much homework you have done; and how much heart you put into the bid, according to one auction-style home purchaser. He recommends not to bother bidding near the beginning of the auction, so as to not “waste breath.” He claims you will know who you are really bidding against near the finish line.

Another bidder, one of dozens on the four bedroom house that ended up selling for $1.8 million, was hoping to move his growing family out of their cramped apartment. He, like many of the bidders, has been searching for a home for well over two months – but it all comes down to who wants it the most with an auction-style market.

What do you think about buying a house in an auction? Would it make the process easier or more difficult? We are curious to know your opinions!

Evictions and Penalties: What is fair?

According to the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, complaints over wrongful evictions in the Vancouver area have increased dramatically in relation to the recent increases in Vancouver rental housing prices of recent months. A new landlord can set rent to whatever price they want; whereas there are strict rules for how quickly rental costs can be increased on an existing tenant.

Some are saying that penalties for landlords who break the rules of the Tenancy Act are far too lax – a mere two month’s rent in compensation to the previous tenant. In one such recent case, a Ms.Gazzola was given two months to remove herself from the home she had lived in for almost thirty years, with the excuse that the house had been sold and that the buyer’s family was to be living in the home. When the sale was finalized, it turned out to be new, more higher-paying tenants who moved in. This called for an appeal to be filed for compensation for the loss of her home.

If the appeal is awarded in favor of Ms.Gazzola, the new owners of the house will be required to pay her two months’ rent – an amount that they can easily and quickly recoup through the new high amount they are changing for rent; and an amount that some believe is not enough for Ms.Gazzola to have had to move over 45 minutes away, to a house with a steeper rental cost.

A group aimed at protecting tenants’ rights, the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, exists to help people such as Ms.Gazzola. According the group, there has been a large increase in the amount of calls about “bad” evictions in the last year – jumping from 62 calls in a year, to 152 calls the next.

The current shortage of rental housing in Vancouver is a likely candidate to have contributed to the increase in poorly-evicted tenants – the number of applications to dispute eviction notices was well over 4,500 between August 2015 and July 2016. However, the tenancy branch could not comment on that number in relation to previous years as they had since changed their method of data collection. It is possible that this number is higher this year due to an extreme shortage of available suitable rentals – people are getting desperate, and are becoming more willing to pay steep rental prices just to get themselves and their families into a home.

These increased rental prices make it easier for a landlord to break the rules – as they know they can easily cover the costs of a penalty if they end up losing the case. Though, according to the Tenancy Branch, a large portion (18 percent) of the decisions do go in favor of the evicted tenants. Fifty-five percent end up being dismissed, sixteen percent are resolved by settlement, and only ten percent end up in favor of the landlord.

The tenancy branch remains strong that the Tenancy Act, and its subsequent penalties, is fair and balanced.

What are your thoughts on the penalties for “wrongful” evictions? Have you been in either side of this situation?  Tell us your stories below!

single-family homes Vancouver

Are Single Family Homes Harmful to Vancouver?

UBC Sociology Professor Nathan Lauster is speaking out against single-family homes in Vancouver. His soon-to-be-released (November 2nd, 2016) book “The Death and Life of the Single-Family House: Lessons from Vancouver on Building a Livable City” addresses his concerns for creating a city focused on better environment, greater urban vitality, and health of the citizens.

While a single-family home is becoming increasingly difficult to attain; Lauster is busy promoting the idea of multi-family living.

According to Lauster, one of the largest issues arising from single-family dwellings stems from the large amount of large needed to house a single family – the amount of space is not considered to be energy efficient as it encourages the family to drive rather than walk or bike. An issue, he says, that is as bad for our health as it is for the environment.

Lauster also states that encouraging us to be out in our environment would also encourage us to be more multiculutrally-friendly, as citizens would be near their neighbours rather than hidden away on a private property. Lauster disputes the idea that living in a single-family dwelling reflects a successful life; a mindset that he says causes a lot of people feeling like failures that they can’t afford a big house on a private property for their families to live in.

Vancouver is already starting to move in the direction of replacing the older single-family homes with new development – one such example can be found along the Cambie Corridor. According to Lauster, Vancouver is already well on its way to eradicating the single-family home; but believes that this process in Vancouver will see an increase in the speed at which it’s changing.

Do you covet the single-family home? Do you agree with Lauster on his views of Vancouver’s future? Let us know in the comments.

Apaprtment for rent

Rental Units Become Increasingly Difficult to Find

Currently, over 50% of Vancouver’s population is living in rental units. However, Vancouver citizens may have been noticing an extreme decline in availability of rental housing; and far fewer options available especially for those with kids or pets. No matter the budget, options have become extremely limited.

According to experts, a healthy rental market will hover between 3% and 5% vacancy. Vancouver has been right around the 0.5% mark for the last two years; and has been at 2% for more than ten years. Despite this, over forty thousand people move to Vancouver every year. Despite this favourable economy, Vancouver lacks enough rental inventory. Currently, rental prices are higher than ever before.

This all raises the question: why have more rental units not been added to the market? It all boils down to a few key issues:

– Land and construction costs have risen, coupling with lengthy approval times due to increased condo development;

– Community opposition: anti-development groups are strong within Vancouver and are considerably aggressive;

– Those who would benefit from more rental housing do not represent themselves at city council meetings, making impossible for a vote to favour more rentals.

A long term fix for Vancouver’s lack of rental units could be brought on by encouraging the collaboration of the private and public sectors to plan and build rental housing. This could help to quicken the process of approving rental projects, including subsidised options, which would in turn increase the range of options available and at lower costs.

Do you rent? How has the low vacancy affected you?