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.

bcreasales2017f

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.

bcreaeconomy2017f

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.

mapoflowermainland

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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Are you a Vancouver real estate agent selling condos in Vancouver or detached homes struggling with online exposure? You’ve come to the right place. Have a good look at the best realtor digital marketing program available anywhere.

* 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.

Shadow Flipping: Good or Bad?

Opportunities in the Booming Real Estate Industry

real-estate-salespersonIt’s a perfect storm of economic, legal, and tax conditions that’s giving the real estate market a reputation of a place to score ultimate, once in a lifetime riches. And many are clamoring in to capitalize. Investors, home sellers, and agents alike are jumping on their chance to make more money.

And shadow flipping is the hottest tactic going in Vancouver and Toronto. Whether the practice is good or bad really depends on your attitude toward capitalism and ethics.

Shadow-Flipping is a legal tactic to sell properties fast and make a quick profit. It’s officially known as a contract assignment. 

It happens this way: A home owner has made an offer of sale to buyer, and before the deal closes there’s a time period where the owner can sell it to someone else. This time period is called contract assignment.  What could be wrong with that?  Well, some might say it’s not ethical behavior. Yet it’s legal and nothing new really.

In the mid-2000s, during a condo boom, such assignments were so common that some developers put in clauses to forbid them. “The market was in a similar state to what it is now,” Darcy McLeod, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said in an interview. “It was escalating quickly, and at that time, there were a lot of condos available and a lot of speculative investors were jumping in and buying condos that were expected to be completed one or two years in the future, and speculating that they could probably … sell the contract prior to completion for a profit.” from the Globe and Mail

Quick Flips involving your Real Estate Agent

The agent of the home seller can actually do a shadow flip. They can work with another buyer to purchase the property and then sell it to someone else for a much higher price. They can flip it multiple times in this way, thus increasing the home’s price.

Under real estate association rules of ethics, the realtor is supposed to be acting only in the home seller’s interest. In fact, they could be doing it all for their profit motive. In the case of a quick flip, the owner selling the property doesn’t get a cut of the ensuing profits from the flipping activity which some pundits believe they have a right too. 

Average-Gain-from-Flipped-Home
ROI from Flipping the Old Fashioned Way in the US

It comes out appearing as though the agent may be scamming their client by recommending they sell at a lower price, all the while knowing someone else they know is going to buy it for a lot more. Should the original owner get a cut of any ensuing profit? Should the terms of the contract assignment be nullified so that owners can’t sell the property while they’re waiting for another offer to close?

What’s odd about this is the owner is already agreeing with an offer, and instead is going to cut out on them and sell it to someone else. So contract assignment may encourage unethical sales activity.

So while the contract assignment is supposed to facilitate unethical behavior by the seller, it wasn’t really intended as an opportunity for the agents to make money on the side, or other parties. The fact agents are making more money may irk the public. It seems agents don’t a lot to upgrade their professional image as a group and the public is all too happy to jump on them.

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Skipping out on the Deadly Land Transfer Tax

If an assignment sale happens before the official sale closes, then no land transfer tax is owing. In Toronto, the land transfer tax is outrageous so you wouldn’t want to pay that. It’s a neat loophole allowing real estate speculation somewhat tax-free. It seems excessive taxation may increase the use of shadow flipping.

Some are suggesting Shadow Flipping or Consignment Sales is fueling higher real estate prices, however the practice is still minimal and couldn’t possibly be doing that.  It’s likely part of the hysteria around Vancouver and Toronto about high real estate prices and the desperation to control them.

Government Greed and Meddling

Shadow Flipping is an embarrassment to governments because it reveals how ridiculously over-legislated and regulated real estate is.  And they’re frustrated when can’t get the taxes. Some rumours suggest they’re out to change tax laws. Eventually, eyes come back to organizations like the Ontario Municipal Board who are desperately trying to keep everyone within the GTA region. There’s thousands of square miles of scrubland just north, west and east of Toronto that could take up the excessive demand for homes. Less demand in Toronto means less pressure to gobble up the limited parkland in the GTA. Problem solved. With new land freed up for development, current resale and new home prices would fall in Vancouver and Toronto.

“Vancouver’s geography is well documented, but in Toronto, development restrictions contributed to 2015 seeing the lowest annual number of detached home completions in 37 years (and that’s not a population-adjusted number),” said BMO Nesbitt Burns senior economist Robert Kavcic.

ombAnd while governments have no problem pulling in immigrants from all over the world, it seems it just adds fuel to the fire. What the real estate industry needs is for governments to take their hands out of everyone’s pockets and stop telling us what to do.

If the owner of a property doesn’t like the offer they’ve been given, then they shouldn’t accept. Or the seller should delete the consignment clause, with the agent to specify they will not be involved in any quick flip arrangement. The realtor association could abolish the consignment phase and demand that deals be closed very quickly, let’s say within 7 days.

However, what isn’t solved is government meddling in business. The reason prices are so high in the GTA is because there are no properties available. Governments with their Places to Grow Act, and The Green Belt Act along with the OMB have stopped development and reduced supply to fill the market.

In Vancouver, land is in extremely limited supply, and on top of that land use is restricted. So again, it’s governments who are the cause of home shortage. And home shortage equates to higher prices with people desperately bidding for a place to live.

See also:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/the-real-estate-technique-fuelling-vancouvers-housing-market/article28634868/

Realtors, take a look these posts: 15 Power Prospecting Tips, Mastering Digital Marketing, and How to Improve Your Homepage.

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