Vancouver Housing Market Forecast 2018 ⌂ Richmond Burnaby City of Vancouver Surrey Richmond BC

Vancouver Housing Market Forecast 2018 ⌂ Richmond Burnaby City of Vancouver Surrey Richmond BC

Vancouver Real Estate Market 2018 and 2019

Prices were up and sales were up, and listings are down in the greater Vancouver housing market last year.

GVREB reported that the MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver
finished up 15.9% at $1,050,300 compared to December 2016. Home listings rose 44% over 2016, and sales to homes ratios hit a whopping 14% for detached homes, 38.8% for townhomes, and 59.6% for condominiums in greater Vancouver.

While there’s much talk about the depressing effects of Federal increases in interest rates and stress tests, it remains to be seen if it has any impact on the market, since those affected are unlikely to qualify to buy Vancouver’s high home prices anyway.

The December home market sunk by a whopping 28% from November’s totals and this will hardly spur new home development. It’s likely price pressure will return later in 2018. In fact, Phil Soper, President of Royal Lepage brokerage says Royal LePage predicts prices will rise 5% to 6% to $1.3 million on average across all home types in Greater Vancouver.

Just as in the Toronto real estate market, the condo market is where the focus is. That’s due to prices and the fed’s new stress test mortgage rules. With everyone bidding on lower priced condos in both cities, we should see big price increases, especially as borrowers hunt for new mortgage financing. Demand can disappear for a while, but it will return because so many people need a place to live.

Richmond and New Westminster bucked the downward trend with price growth of 2%. Richmond, Squamish, Whistler, Coquitlam, Burnaby and New Westminster also saw gains in apartment/condo prices in December.

December also saw the lowest level of home listings. The 20% decline is scary, making a 2018 housing forecast for Vancouver difficult.

Valiantly, Vancouver home builders are building multi-tenant buildings yet it looks like a losing battle. They issued permits for 263 units for all of Vancouver in October. It’s a market that’s run out of gas but the prices haven’t declined as governments had hoped.

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The Vancouver housing market is reflective of a strong BC and Canadian economy and the outlook for spring 2018 is positive too. As the King of unaffordability, Vancouver is suffering from a crushed housing market, big immigration, increased global trade, growing poverty and stagnant wages. The monthly stats send the same message each time.

This same situation exists in the Toronto housing market which is enjoying a stronger fall season as well. In fact, a few are sensing the beginnings of continued housing boom after a weak late winter 2018 season.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported that sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 35,993 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2017, a 9.9% decrease from the 39,943 sales recorded in 2016, and a 15% decrease over the 42,326 residential sales in 2015. — from GVREB 2017 Year Report.

Vancouver remains perhaps the most unaffordable city in North America based on home price vs income. With new mortgage rules coming in 3 weeks, more Vancouverites will find themslves stuck in the rental market which is also not getting any better. Ask any post secondary student about housing.

The sales to listing ratio for the all important condomnium market was an astonishing 68%, up 7% since September. Cheap condos are hot, and going for way beyond what they’re actually worth.

Check out Realtor Steve Saretski’s November report and this key revealing graphic that foretells of 2018 and 2019 markets:

Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam had big prices increases of 3.8% and 4.2% price growth in apartments. Single family houses in Squamish grew 3% in price this last month.

Share this report on Facebook. Sharing is good. People need more perspective because what’s being done in the Vancouver market is not working.

Given the fate of the Liberals, the NDP government may not be too eager to go the market killing route. However, the new plan being proffered by the Gregor Robertson’s city government, may be the thing I’ve commented on many times – that governments start economic and housing crashes, not the markets themselves.

Robertson is quoted as complaining about Vancouver’s amazing prosperity as “hit us like a ton of bricks.”  Those aren’t the kinds of words investors and homebuyers want to hear.

But should a local mayor be fiddling with strong global and national economic forces? Is he way overmatched, just like Wynne in Ontario?

One outrageous goal for Robertson may be to restrict ownership of Vancouver real estate by non residents. Seriously, in this era of open trade, he is actually considering it. Maybe Robertson will opt out of all trade deals and cross border business too since that just fuels demand for real estate?

It could be BC voters have learned that despite terribly high prices, that the BC economy is more important. And the strong Canadian economic forecast will push house prices higher. The solution is big investment in housing not in meddlesome government actions. When a politician fusses with administrative red tape, he’s telling us a lot.

The Need is for More Housing

Breaking News: PM Justin Trudeau has just announced a program to bring in one million new immigrants over the next 3 years. How many will choose Vancouver?  The influx will almost certainly impact Vancouver’s housing availability. Most newcomers are to come from Asia. Many immigrants are already here as students and there’s no housing for them.

House and Condo Stats in November

Sales in Vancouver were up 7% from September and up 35% from last October. Prices rose .5% over September and  12% over October 2016. Buyers have more million dollar homes (up 14%) at an average price of $1.6 million and a DOM of 41 days. Vancouver condos / townhouses prices 14%) in October. The sales to active listings ratio was an incredible 67% in October. Prices rise when that ratio surpasses 20%.

Experts believe rising mortgage rates and more restrictive stress tests will deflate the market. Fewer middle class earners will be able to qualify. That will put more pressure on the Vancouver rental market which is approaching zero vacancy rate. Incredibly, housing starts are down  and that will put upward pressure on the resale market.

BCREA in its 4th quarter report, forecast home sales might decline 10.4% to 91,700 units in 2018, after an expected 8.8%. A record 112,209 unit sales were recorded in 2016.  But these drops in sales are just drops in financial transactions. Prices of condos and houses aren’t falling.

It would be difficult to rationalize lower prices given a strong, growing economy and a lack of housing in Vancouver.

It’s All About Condos in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, and Richmond

Demand for places to live and for investment properties is being funneled into the Greater Vancouver condominium market.

As of the first half of this year, HPO had received registrations for 1,788 new Vancouver condos, down from 2,488 units at the same time in 2016 — from a report in the Vancouver Sun.

Homes for sale scarcity combined with eager buyers, means demand is being focused on condos, townhouses and apartments. 3043 property sales were recorded in August 2017 which was 2.3% increase over July’s numbers. And it represented a 22% increase over August 2016 sales.

Condo Sales Driving Vancouver’s Market

While sales of detached homes dropped in August 2017 compared to July sales, and compared to August 2016 sales, Vancouver condos are in hot demand.  More than 4200 condos and townhouses were listed for sale in August. The decreased availability and rising prices are putting big pressure on International students studying in Vancouver.  UBC has 6000 students on their housing waitlist. Huge investment opportunity in foreign student housing.

Are you an investor? The August 2017 sales report shows townhouse/condo/apartment prices are rising fastest in Pitt Meadows, Squamish, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby East and Whistler. Mapleridge saw a big increase in apartment prices likely because the average price is only $252,000.

REGBV’s August 2017 report shows home and condo prices are rising. Any home for sale in Metro Vancouver between $350k and $750k are still subject to multiple offers. The big change is in the number of Vancouver area homes for sale which plummeted 19.2% since last month. Overall, the number of properties for sale dropped 4.2% since last month.

Check out the Calgary housing forecast and the Toronto housing Market for comparison.

REBGV President Jill Oudil stated the detached home market has achieved a balanced state and that buyers have more homes to choose from. That may contradict the reality that the volume of homes available for sale has plummeted. The truth might be that there are fewer buyers of homes above $750,000 which comprises most of the homes in Metro Vancouver. It’s a split market like Toronto.

The Federal Government has just raised the prime lending rate to 1% and hinted at further rate increases, and this will likely cool demand for higher end homes. The demand in Vancouver is still present, and the buyer target is condominiums.

Vancouver is host to tens of thousands of foreign students studying here, and they have an impact on condo prices. Currently companies such as CIBT specialize in student housing investment.  They purchase properties such as hotels to fill this big demand in a Vancouver housing market that is near to a zero vacancy rate. Check out the student housing investment opportunity yourself. The forecast here is for more demand.

Vancouver’s Housing Forecast Remains Positive

The last 8 years have been a real awakening for the city of Vancouver and for the rest of BC.  BC is now is perhaps the hottest province economically in Canada. This has spurred tremendous construction, entrepreneurial, and employment opportunities.  The demand for housing speaks for itself.

The BCREA reports that housing starts next year will jump dramatically. However, is 2,000 more units sufficient to quell the overheated market for rentals and buyers?

Screen Capture Courtesy of BCREA

This new tax, good for the BC government, may squash employment growth as Asian buyers look to live and buy elsewhere. Although this is a downer for Vancouver, it’s brightening the forecast for Calgary and theToronto housing market, where new investment is predicted to grow. Judging by the number of people visiting my site looking for info on Toronto, the demand is changing.

Post tax implementation: The average composite price for a Vancouver home was $938,000 in July which is still 33% higher than one year ago. The BC government has its worked cut out for it. The BC provincial government was already collecting $1.6 Billion dollars in taxes and the new tax will create a ridiculous opportunity for government spending in 2017. Do you cheer or jeer?

Here’s a look at the historical price trends in Vancouver contrasted with Toronto pirces. You can see the Toronto real estate forecast here.

The total numbers for July and August of 2017 haven’t been reported but we’d have to guess at $10 Billion for the two months.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver totalled 2,489 in August 2016, a decline of 26 per cent compared to the 3,362 sales in August 2015; 10.2% fewer than the 2,771 sales in August 2014; and 1% less than the 2,514 sales in August 2013. August 2016 sales also represent a 22.8% decline compared to last month’s sales. –  From the latest market report from REBGV on Sept 2, 2016.

The forecast is for fewer sales and perhaps lower prices, yet because of the foreign buyers tax, it might look more precipitous right now than it actually will be.


Regarding Vancouver condos, it looks like demand has slackened for cheaper accommodation and apartments and condos. REGBV said “Sales of apartment properties reached 1,602 in July 2016, a decrease of 7.3 per cent compared to the 1,729 sales in July 2015. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 27.4 per cent from July 2015 to $510,600.”

BC Economic Outlook

Although employment growth and GDP will moderate, BC residents and homebuyers will have much more disposable income. These facts plus an expected 5.5% rise in retail sales will definitely perk the attention of businesses everywhere.


Running out of Land in Greater Vancouver

BC lower mainland real estate is doing well, in stark contrast with Northern BC which saw its sales volume drop 8% and total sales volume drop by 25% compared to January 2015. It will be much worse in August and September.

The Greater Vancouver area saw its sales volume rise 73% to $2,788,099,000.  That was actually overshadowed by the 101% rise in sales volume in the Fraser Valley year over year in January.  The valley had a growth of $427 Million. Chilliwack and Powell River saw significant gains too, as affordability issues are forcing more BC residents out into the burbs.  The condo market in Vancouver showed a shocking increase of 50% year over year.

What it means for BC is a rare moment of sunshine where it is leading Canada in prosperity. Add that to BC’s more progressive and optimistic culture, and you’ve got an exciting mix. We can only hope it will last for a few more years before the Conservative wet blanket kills the party.

Vancouver Island enjoyed 50% growth in sales volume and the city of Victoria grew in sales to $260 Million in January. The south Okanagan region had a surprising growth of 44% in sales volume as well. It’s hard to argue that the Okanagan has not benefited from real estate and migration.


Yet, this market isn’t the hottest on record for BC, which was even more heated in 2005. Should this non-record high real estate market be snuffed out?

While politicians are jumping to suppress sales in BC, no one can argue that the deluge of real estate investment money is creating unheard of opportunity in Vancouver. The province is drawing migrants from Alberta and Saskatchewan who are looking for jobs at a time when Alberta is facing its biggest crisis ever. The worst hasn’t even hit Alberta yet, as oil sunk to touch $25 a barrel last week.

As far as the shadow flipping controversy is concerned, some believe the privacy issue in transactions will ensure the practice of flipping will continue unabated.  Others suggest the inflow of Chinese funds into BC will be terminated by the Chinese government and price rises  would then abate.

What is Shadow Flipping?

The Vancouver real estate forecast is glowing and is not headed upward, and Vancouver’s economic resilience has been tested by low commodity prices. Still, these good times never last so BC residents should revel in their wealth of opportunity. It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur in Vancouver.

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* BCREA is the professional association for over 19,000 REALTORS® in British Columbia Canada. BCREA focuses on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.


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