Sutton Showplace Realty (2015) Chilliwack


OUR VIEW: Are foreign buyers really leaving B.C.'s real estate market?

23 August 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

It looks like foreign buyers have all but disappeared from the Metro Vancouver real estate market – if you believe the latest data.

The latest property transfer data from the B.C. Ministry of Finance, compiled at the end of July, suggest that foreign buyers have pulled back dramatically from buying in Metro Vancouver.

According to the numbers released, just one per cent of all real estate transactions in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District during the first six months of this year involved foreign nationals, down from three per cent in the same period a year ago.

Burnaby, however, still leads the pack.
According to an article in Business in Vancouver,“Burnaby, Coquitlam and Richmond were the top destinations for foreigners buying property in the first half of 2018, with three per cent of transactions in Burnaby and two per cent in each of the other two municipalities involving foreign nationals.”

The number of foreign buyers is an important issue for people in this province. “A recent Insights West poll found foreign homebuyers are the most commonly identified contributor to the region’s housing crisis, with 84 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents naming them – more than the proportion that identified population growth or that other bête noire, shadow flipping,” said the BIV article.

It’s why the BC Liberals imposed a tax on foreign buyers – although it left a loophole by not including pre-sale condos – and why the BC NDP increased the foreign buyer tax, added a speculation tax, and is tightening up the reporting rules when it comes to identifying who is buying.

It’s that last point that makes us skeptical about whether foreign buyers are really leaving the local housing market. There are questions about whether the data being collected truly shows who is buying a property – or whether foreign buyers are using loopholes. Are foreign buyers just using proxies to front for their purchases? We remain unconvinced that the official data is truly reflective of who is buying.

What’s obvious is home sales have slowed.

“Total residential sales in Metro Vancouver fell by 25 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with sales during the same period a year earlier,” said BIV.

In Burnaby, detached home sales have definitely slowed, with a total of 56 sold in June, down from 103 in June 2017. Over the same period, the median price of a home fell from $1.65 million to $1.45 million.

Overall, prices across the region have generally flattened but remain still sky-high. We’re hopeful that new reporting rules beginning in September will at least provide more accurate information on who is really buying.

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Housing, housing, housing. Does anything else matter this election?

03 August 2018
Sutton Showplace Realty Chilliwack

The last full week of council decisions across the Lower Mainland before the August break brought with it political debates on a wide variety of … nah, it was mostly just housing.

In the District of North Vancouver, there's now a referendum question asking whether it should spend up to $150 million to create up to 1,000 units of non-market housing in the next decade.

In Burnaby, the city is suddenly pushing staff to develop bylaws for rental-only zoning, less than 10 days after one of its councillors said "it's going to take some time" to get moving.

In Vancouver, city council declared (through a last minute amendment to a motion), that a tower next to BC Place would have to be 100 per cent market rental if the developer applied for it to be higher than 300 feet.

What's the common denominator? Well, part of it is local councillors and mayors showing voters they're responsive to the housing crisis and deserve to be entrusted with another term in office.

Four years ago, the benchmark price of a Lower Mainland property was $561,400, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Now it's $1,006,600.

Secondly, it's a continuation of the never-ending feedback loop we seem to be in: new stats come in about the price of homes, voters get angry and demand answers, politicians come up with solutions, media covers them … and then a whole new whack of stats come in, and we start the cycle again.

There are municipalities where this isn't always the case (transportation and crime are shaping up as greater wedge issues in Surrey for instance), but there are seven candidates running to be mayor of Vancouver, and until we emailed all of them this week, only one of them had made any public comments on bike lanes.

Read the full article here:

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