Updates › December 2015

November Home Sales Second Strongest on Record


TheBritish Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,032 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November, up 34.5 per cent from the same month last year. Total sales dollar volume was $5.38 billion, up 56.4 per cent compared to the previous year. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $668,317, up 16.3 per cent from November 2014.

“Housing demand last month was the second strongest ever recorded for the month of November,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “You’d need to look all the way back to the frenetic market of 1989 to find more homes trading hands in November.“

The largest increase in consumer demand occurred in the Fraser Valley, where home sales climbed over 60 per cent from November 2014. Vancouver and Chilliwack experienced an increase of over 40 per cent, while Kamloops home sales were up 30 per cent.

The year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 35.4 per cent to $60.7 billion, when compared with the same period in 2014. Residential unit sales climbed by 21.5 per cent to 95,927 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 11.4 per cent to $632,209.



Canadian Government Change to Minimum Down Payment on Insured Mortgages - December 11, 2015


Policy Change

The Canadian government announced today that it is increasing the minimum down payment on insured mortgages from 5 per cent to a two tiered system under which the minimum down payment on houses priced above $500,000 will remain at 5 per cent, but there will be an additional 10 per cent required on the portion of the house price above $500,000. 

As an example, for a house priced at $700,000, the minimum down payment for mortgage insurance purposes under the status quo would be $35,000. Under the new system, the minimum down payment would be 5 per cent x $500,000 + 10 per cent x ($700,000-$500,000) or $45,000. It is important to note that the homes priced at or above $1 million already require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. 

The changes to minimum down payments will take effect on February 15, 2016 and apply to new mortgage loans where a mortgage insurance application is received on February 15, 2016 or later. 

Market Impact 

The increase in minimum down payments on homes above $500,000 is designed to target excess risk taking in Canada's most expensive housing markets. Most homes in BC are priced below $500,000 and therefore this change will have limited impact in much of the province. However, 35 per cent of homes sold in Metro-Vancouver are priced between $500,000 and $1 million and so this change could adversely affect or delay demand in those markets, particularly for first-time homebuyers. That said, given the incremental nature of the change, and since minimum down payments are less frequent at higher home prices, we expect the overall impact to be relatively minor.



Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1/2 per cent


OTTAWA, Dec. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1/2 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 3/4 per cent and the deposit rate is 1/4 per cent.

Global economic growth is evolving essentially as the Bank had anticipated in its October Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The US economy continues to grow at a solid pace, although private domestic demand has proven slightly less robust than expected. Meanwhile, commodity prices have declined further. The ongoing terms-of-trade adjustments and shifting growth prospects across different regions are contributing to exchange rate movements. In this context, policy divergence is expected to remain a prominent theme.

In Canada, the dynamics of growth have been broadly in line with the Bank's MPR outlook. The economy continues to undergo a complex and lengthy adjustment to the decline in Canada's terms of trade. This adjustment is being aided by the ongoing US recovery, a lower Canadian dollar and the Bank's monetary policy easing this year. The resource sector is still contending with lower prices for commodities. In non-resource sectors, exports are picking up, particularly in exchange rate-sensitive categories. However, business investment continues to be weighed down by cuts in resource-sector spending. The labour market has been resilient at the national level, although with significant job losses in resource-producing regions. The Bank expects GDP growth to moderate in the fourth quarter of 2015 before moving to a rate above potential in 2016.  While bond yields are slightly higher, financial conditions remain accommodative in Canada.

In the midst of all of these adjustments, inflation is in line with the Bank's October outlook. Total CPI inflation remains near the bottom of the Bank's target range, owing to declines in consumer energy prices. Core inflation is close to 2 per cent as the effects of the lower dollar and the output gap continue to offset each other.

The Bank judges that the risks around the inflation profile remain roughly balanced over the projection horizon. Vulnerabilities in the household sector continue to edge higher while overall risks to financial stability are evolving as expected. Taking all of these developments into consideration, the Bank judges that the risks to the outlook for inflation remain within the zone for which the current stance of monetary policy is appropriate. Therefore, the target for the overnight rate remains at 1/2 per cent.

Information note:

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 20 January 2016. The next full update of the Bank's outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR at the same time.

 

SOURCE Bank of Canada



Housing Demand Remains Strong Despite Diminishing Supply


Home sales reached near record levels in November even as home listings began the traditional year-end decline.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 3,524 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November 2015. This represents a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the 2,516 sales recorded in November 2014, and a 3.3 per cent decrease compared to the 3,646 sales in October 2015.

Last month’s sales were 46.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the second highest November on record for residential property sales.

“November is typically one of the quietest months of the year in our housing market, but not this year,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “The ratio of sales to home’s available for sale reached 44 per cent in November, which is the highest it’s been in our market in nine years.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 3,392 in November. This represents a 12.5 per cent increase compared to the 3,016 new listings reported in November 2014.

The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 8,096, a 35 per cent decline compared to November 2014 and a 15.4 per cent decline compared to October 2015.

“Demand remains strong and there are housing options at different price points throughout the region,” McLeod said. “It’s important to work with your REALTOR® to understand your options before you embark on your home buying journey.” 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $752,500. This represents a 17.8 per cent increase compared to November 2014.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in November was 43.5 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular community for a sustained period of time. 

Sales of detached properties in November 2015 reached 1,335, an increase of 31.9 per cent from the 1,012 detached sales recorded in November 2014, and a 44.2 per cent increase from the 926 units sold in November 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 22.6 per cent from November 2014 to $1,226,300. 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,553 in November 2015, an increase of 47.6 per cent compared to the 1,052 sales in November 2014, and an increase of 60.3 per cent compared to the 969 sales in November 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 14 per cent from November 2014 to $435,000. 

Attached property sales in November 2015 totalled 636, an increase of 40.7 per cent compared to the 452 sales in November 2014, and a 49.3 per cent increase from the 426 attached properties sold in November 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 11.3 per cent between November 2014 and 2015 to $536,600.