Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Market Shift=a shift in expectations

Market conditions have shifted. After five years of blockbuster activity and double-digit price growth, market conditions have slowed, and now favour buyers in many areas of the province. Residential sales have declined 22 per cent in the first six months of this year, while available resale inventory has grown by 54 per cent to 57,000 active listings in June. In the Greater Vancouver board area, where longer-term data is available, inventory is at the highest level since 1998. Home price appreciation observed from 2004 to 2007 is less attainable in today’s market, and sellers’ expectations for such gains should be tempered. More generally, in a market favouring buyers, prices generally increase at or below the level of inflation. While the average residential home price in BC increased at a healthy 6 per cent per year since 1981, large gains are often followed by periods of price stagnation. Over-optimistic pricing by sellers will only inhibit the timely sale of properties, adding to inventory levels. Buyers have more homes to choose from now than in previous years, resulting in greater freedom to compare the attributes and prices of similar properties in the market before making purchase decisions. Despite current buyers' market conditions fuelled by housing affordability constraints and economic uncertainty, the economic and demographic backdrop in support of housing demand remains strong in BC. BC's unemployment rate remains near record lows, while the labour force participation rate hovers near historical highs. Meanwhile, the province remains a favoured destination for new migrants, reflected in the third-highest population growth among provinces during the first quarter of 2008. However, challenges continue in the forestry sector, and eroded consumer confidence may also be playing a role in a pull back of consumer spending.

Putting title fraud in perspective

Title Fraud - made its way into the media headlines earlier this summer, creating an unhealthy climate of fear that unnecessarily worried land owners. REALTORS® felt the heat too, as their buyers and sellers asked whether they and their properties were safe from fraud.
The facts are that BC’s land title system is one of the safest in the world, there is no pattern of increased title fraud and the Assurance Fund is available to compensate owners in the very unlikely case that they are financially affected by a title registration error.
There are more than 1.9 million active titles in BC. In the past 18 years, the land title system processed 15 million transactions—yet only two claims related to land ownership fraud and only 14 fraud claims related to lesser interests in land, such as discharges of mortgage, were paid out from the Assurance Fund.
The Land Title and Survey Authority is continually looking for ways to enhance the security of the system. If you want added protection, I suggest these simple steps:
- Owners, via a lawyer or notary, may use the Activity Advisory Service provided by BC OnLine. It notifies the legal professional when an application affecting the owner’s title is made to the Land Title Office (LTO).
- Registry Agents can conduct title searches for homeowners wishing to check the status of their titles, and some agents may provide access to the Activity Advisory Service.
- An owner who doesn’t have a mortgage or agreement for sale registered on their title can apply for a Duplicate Certificate of Title through their lawyer or notary, or at an LTO. No sale, transfer, mortgage or agreement for sale may be registered while the owner holds that Duplicate Certificate (the Duplicate must be stored in a secure location, such as a safety deposit box, to avoid the considerable time and cost associated with replacing it).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rising Gas/Food Prices Sideline Homebuyers

Vancouver, BC – June 16, 2008. British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports residential sales dollar volume on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC declined 27 per cent to $3.85 billion in May, compared to May 2007. Residential unit sales fell 31 per cent to 8,101 units during the same period. The average MLS® residential price in the province reached $475,656, up 6 per cent from May 2007.
"Rising fuel and food prices are impacting the housing market, as many potential homebuyers take a wait and see approach out of concern for their household budgets," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.
While BC has one of the best performing economies in the country, slower economic growth and a spate of bad news stemming from the US housing recession is also eroding consumer confidence, causing some consumers to delay major purchases.
"Despite strong demographic fundamentals, amenity markets in the province are bearing the brunt of reduced demand as second home purchases by recreation and investor buyers are more easily delayed," added Muir. "However, higher inventory levels may soon edge lower as homes priced in relation to the accelerating conditions of the past are either pulled off the market or re-priced and sold according to today’s market realities."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beautiful Condo in Penticton for Sale

Hi Everyone - We have a beautiful new condo for sale here in Penticton.
It is in Alyson Place, a short walk to the beach at Skaha Lake.
Please log onto and click on floor plans. Ours is called
the "Willow". Corner location, large wrap around deck, 2 underground parking stalls, and a storage unit.
Possession could be almost immediate, and the asking price is $565000.00, $65,000 below replacement
If anyone is interested or knows someone that is, please contact me for more details.
A referral fee will be paid.
Brian Moen

Beware of Flat Fee Brokerages

Compensation for Real estate brokers must be tied to the sale of a property, according to a new ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada.
In a 7-2 decision titled Association des courtiers et agents immobiliers du Québec v. Proprio Direct Inc., the Court ruled that Proprio Direct’s practice of charging a non-refundable fee for their services – whether or not they successfully sold the property – violated the consumer protection principles of Québec’s Real Estate Brokerage Act (REBA).
Quoting the REBA, the decision noted that every exclusive brokerage contract must set out the nature and manner of the broker’s compensation, including particulars determined by government regulation. Those “particulars” include a requirement that compensation is payable only in the event of a sale.
“This interpretation is supported too by the fact that the purpose of REBA is to protect consumers,” wrote J. Abella, explaining the judgement. “Consumer protection trumps freedom of contract, not the other way around.”
This decision restores the Court of Québec’s original finding in the case, which had been overturned by the Court of Appeal for Québec. The two dissenting judges on the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeal that the REBA’s compensation provisions were not mandatory.
The case stemmed from complaints filed by two vendors who signed exclusive brokerage contracts with Proprio Direct requiring them to pay a non-refundable “membership fee”, in addition to a commission if the property sold. The two vendors paid fees of $1,262.97 and $1,724.22, although their homes were not sold during the contract period.

Consumer Confidence Slide

Reflecting rising fuel and food prices, national consumer confidence posted its third consecutive monthly decline in May 2008, dropping to its lowest level in more than a decade.
Confidence fell in every region in May, with the largest decline in Ontario. In line with the national trend, the index of consumer confidence in Ontario also reached its lowest level in more than a decade.
Consumer sentiment reached its lowest level in almost five years in British Columbia, while in the Prairie region it slid below any other point in more than seven years. In Quebec, sentiment stood about on par with levels recorded at the end of 2005. Consumer sentiment remained strongest in the Atlantic region, but still dipped to its lowest point since last April.
The balance of sentiment about making major purchases, which is an important factor underlying Canada’s housing market, turned negative for the first time in a decade in May 2008. This means that more Canadian households said it was a bad time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a home or car, than said it was a good time. A negative balance of opinion about making major outlays was observed in every region except the Maritimes.
The national balance of sentiment about job growth remained negative for the second straight month in May, and marked the least positive outlook for employment in five years. A negative balance of sentiment results when more households expect there to be fewer jobs in six months time compared to those that expect more jobs. This was mostly the result of concerns for the future of manufacturing positions in Ontario and Quebec. By contrast, the employment outlook remains strong in British Columbia, the Prairies and the Atlantic region.
With higher gas and food prices taking a bigger bite out of Canadian incomes, more survey respondents said their household budget had worsened in the past six months. More also said they expect their household finances to worsen over the next six months. But unlike the balance of sentiment about making major purchases and job growth, the balance of opinion about household budgetary outlooks remains positive, both nationally and in every region except the Atlantic provinces – where opinion turned slightly negative in May. (CREA 03/06/08)

Record MLS Listings in May

The number of new listings of homes for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Canada’s major markets set a second consecutive monthly record in May 2008, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Record numbers of new listings are creating more balanced resale housing markets in many major centers. Nowhere has this trend been more evident than in Regina and Saskatoon. These were the tightest of Canada’s major markets at the beginning of the year, but the combination of a surge in new listings and slowing sales activity put them among the most balanced of major resale housing markets in May. A similar but less pronounced trend also pushed Vancouver’s resale housing market into a more balanced position in May. These markets joined Calgary, Edmonton and Windsor as the most balanced major markets in the country.
“The resale housing market has evolved in just a few short months,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “The record number of new listings means more opportunities for buyers.”
New MLS® residential listings in Canada’s major markets numbered 54,029 units on a seasonally adjusted basis in May 2008 – the highest level on record. This is an increase of 2.2 per cent over the previous peak reached in April.
The new record resulted largely from record or near-record numbers of new listings in Vancouver, Victoria, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto and Ottawa. This more than offset a monthly decline in new listings in Edmonton and Calgary, where the number of new listings continued retreating from their peaks in March.
Seasonally adjusted MLS® sales activity in Canada’s major markets edged lower by 0.5 per cent month-over-month to 26,902 units in May 2008. The small monthly decline resulted mostly from fewer transactions in Vancouver, Regina and Saskatoon. A monthly decline in activity in these cities offset an increase in transactions in Toronto, Ottawa and London & St. Thomas.
By contrast to the easing trend in many major markets, MLS® home sales activity in Ottawa reached new heights in May. Transactions for the first five months this year also continues to run ahead of activity for the same period in any other year in Regina, Thunder Bay, and Newfoundland & Labrador.
Reflecting an increasingly balanced housing market, the major market MLS® residential average price rose just 1.1 per cent year-over-year to $337,071 in May. While this is a new record for average price, it is the smallest year-over-year price increase in over seven years.
“Unlike the situation in the United States, re-sale housing prices in Canada continue to increase,” says the President of The Canadian Real state Association, Calvin Lindberg. “The evolving market, however, means the increase in average price is below the double digit percentages reported during the record-setting years of 2006 and 2007.”
New records for MLS® residential average price were reached in a number of major markets in May, including Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Hamilton-Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Saint John (NB), Halifax-Dartmouth, and St. John’s (NF).
“Rising food, fuel and home prices are denting consumer confidence,” said Klump. “Increasingly cautious homebuyers may keep listings on the market longer before being sold, which increases the importance of realistic pricing." (CREA 13/06/08)
Created: 06/13/2008
Modified: 06/13/2008

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


"Led by our booming housing sector, the Okanagan's economy will shine through at least 2011" said Craig Wright, Royal Bank's chief economist.
"The housing market is stronger here than in many other parts of the country and the labour market is tight. That may cause some concern for employers, but it means that consumer confidence is strong and will continue to grow."
As a lifestyle destination, the Okanagan goes through a lot of real estate bought by wealthy baby boomers who are snapping up retirment, second, vacation and investment homes in the valley.
Wright estimates B.C.'s economic growth will come in at 3.1% this year and about 2.9% in 2008.
"After 2011, the growth will slow" he said. "There will still be good growth and high levels of construction, but just not as high as during this health cylcle".
Mr. Wright's expects the Canadian dollar to settle around US 98 cents by the end of 2008.