BUY OR SELL FIRST?
James Garbutt & Denny Dumas talk about different situations around whether you should buy or sell your property first. Watch the video below and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more VLOGS!
James Garbutt & Denny Dumas talk about different situations around whether you should buy or sell your property first. Watch the video below and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more VLOGS!
Winter may be hanging on tenaciously, but the housing market is waking from its seasonal slumber.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports 2,425 residential home sales in February; that’s 59.2 per cent more than were sold the month before.
And while it’s still 41.9 per cent less than the record 4,172 homes that were sold in February, 2016, it’s only slightly less than the 10-year average for the month.
REBGV president Dan Morrison says rotten weather may have helped keep buyers at home. But the supply of new listings is also tight. The 3,666 new properties for sale in February was 36.9 per cent less than a year ago, and 11.4 per cent fewer than January. It was also the lowest number of new listings for the month since 2003.
That’s keeping prices buoyant in the local housing market, says Morrison.
“While home sales are not happening at the pace we experienced last year, home seller supply is still struggling to keep up with today’s demand,” says Morrison. “This is why we’ve seen little downward pressure on home prices, particularly in the condominium and townhome markets.”
The ratio of sales to active listings actually increased 10 per cent from January to 31.9 per cent; experts say housing prices don’t start going down until that ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period and they go up when the ratio stays greater than 20 per cent over several months.
In fact, the benchmark price for a typical condo in Greater Vancouver increased 2.7 per cent in February to $526,500. In New West, the benchmark price for a condo went up 1.4 per cent to $392,400; that’s a 21.3 per cent increase over a year ago. The benchmark price for condos also increased in Burnaby, by as much as 2.6 per cent to $503,600 in North Burnaby, to 1.9 per cent in South Burnaby, where a typical condo now goes for $561,600.
The benchmark price for townhomes in Greater Vancouver is now $675,500, a 1.3 per cent increase since January and 18.3 per cent more than Feb., 2016. New West townhomes experienced similar increases to a benchmark of $545,500 while in North Burnaby, the benchmark price increased 3.1 per cent over the previous month to $539,500.
House prices are staying steady; in Greater Vancouver the benchmark price of $1,474,200 for a single-family detached home was unchanged from January. In New West, the benchmark price for a typical house went up .3 per cent in February to $1,026,700 while increases in Burnaby ranged from .1 per cent in the South to $1,636,100 to a 1.3 per cent jump in North Burnaby to a benchmark price of $1,499,600.
What’s hot in Greater Vancouver real estate? And what’s not? We’re well into the new year, we’ve settled back into familiar routines. It’s time for a little market analysis and look ahead to the coming months.
Snow and ice. A media feeding frenzy. Changes to the mortgage rules. The foreign buyers’ tax. The usual post-Christmas lull. It’s all added up to a of uncertainty, and a “lukewarm start” in the Greater Vancouver real estate market.
Sure, sales are down 39.5 per cent from last January. And there’s 9.1 per cent more listings.
But the market is stronger than it may appear.
In fact, condos and townhouses are hotter than ever! They’re still selling at peak prices. They’ve been virtually unaffected by the legislative changes, or skittish buyers. We’ve already had a few recent sales that were 5-10 per cent above last summer’s spike.
Quite simply, there’s more demand for condos and townhouses for sale than there is supply. It’s the first time I can recall condos being hotter than houses.
So, if you’re looking to purchase a condo, don’t expect to find a deal. You’re going to have to jump when the right one comes up because there’s no sign they’re going to slow down in the short term.
If you’re selling a condo, it’s a great time. The provincial government’s new loan program to help first-time homebuyers with their downpayment is already driving demand. Many of those buyers are shopping for condos.
The market for detached houses, on the other hand, is still cool. Especially for houses worth more than $2 million. Currently, there’s 240 of those listed for sale in Burnaby, New Westminster and the Tri-Cities. But only seven have sold.
Then again, only seven such homes sold in all of 2010.
Also feeling the pain are land value listings as builders hold off, hoping to score a deal. Difficult properties such as those with weird layouts or ones located on busy streets are presenting challenges as well.
Overall, their prices are discounted 5-10 per cent, and sometimes even as much as 20 per cent, from where they were last summer.
That’s not great news for sellers. If you’re looking to sell a high-end detached home, it might be best to hold off a little longer if you’re able; I expect the market will rebound 5-10 per cent by the time the weather warms up.
For buyers, there may be some opportunities to score a deal that would have been unattainable last summer. You could do especially well if you’re willing to throw a little sweat equity into the mix by buying a home that needs some renovation.
Of course, what’s hot in Greater Vancouver real estate, and what’s not, is always evolving. The fact remains, this is a desirable place for people to live and invest in real estate, and the general trend for property values continues to increase over time. It’s all about where and when you want to jump into or out of the market. Spring is just around the corner; traditionally that’s a busy time of year whether you’re selling or buying.
We’re always curious about who’s buying a home in New Westminster.
After all, we don’t just work in New Westminster, we also live and play here.
It’s important for our clients, and for us, to have a handle on how the city is changing and how those changes might affect the local real estate market.
Whenever we hold an open house, we ask visitors where they’re from. The majority are usually local, mostly curious neighbours. But as we started tracking the numbers, we were seeing more and more people coming to our open houses from Vancouver. In fact, through Oct. 2016, 22 per cent of visitors to our open houses were from Vancouver.
When we looked at actual sales last year, the trends were even more definitive.
For detached single-family homes, 51 per cent of the buyers’ agents were from Vancouver, suggesting their clients likely are as well. For condos, 36 per cent of the buyers’ agents were from Vancouver. The next biggest source was from Coquitlam. But New Westminster residents who’ve chosen to stay in the city were close behind.
Overall 39 per cent of the buyers’ agents were from Vancouver.
It’s not surprising, really.
As real estate prices spiralled upward through the first half of 2016, Vancouver homeowners were cashing out and looking for value by buying a home in New Westminster.
New home buyers who can no longer afford Vancouver are looking for a place that fits their budget but still offers them the amenities of the big city they desire.
Like Justin Turcotte. The 29-year-old filmmaker and his wife, Jaycey, moved to New Westminster last year from East Vancouver. They bought a home in Sapperton because they could afford it, something they could no longer do west of Tenth Avenue.
But moving to New West hasn’t cost them the urban vibe they loved in East Van, says Turcotte. “It really doesn’t feel like a suburb.”
New Westminster is no longer a secret. The city is centrally-located, there’s a great sense of community and, quite frankly, it’s the most affordable community to buy into that’s within 30 minutes of downtown Vancouver.
Even people who grew up here are appreciating the value of buying a home in New Westminster.
Anna Horvath considered moving to Gastown, Chinatown and Mount Pleasant in Vancouver when she was shopping for her first home before she realized there’s no place like her hometown. She ended up buying a condo in the Trapp + Holbrook on Columbia Street.
“The area needed to have a sense of community,” she says. “I wanted it to be on a transit line and no bridges between my place and the downtown core. I did not want to spend most of my disposable income on a mortgage.”
Anna’s thrift is well founded; a two bedroom, two bathroom condo that’s between 800 and 900 square feet, in a five to 10 year-old building, will cost a little over half in Downtown New West than it would in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood.
But this new demographic of young professionals buying a home in New Westminster does create some challenges for British Columbia’s oldest city, says its mayor, Jonathan Coté.
“It certainly does present a challenge to be able to anticipate that services are in line with the growing population and demand,” says Coté.
To meet that challenge, the city embarked on a three-year process to update its Official Community Plan, a kind of road map for growth that was last visited in the 1990s. New Westminster’s population is expected to exceed 104,000 by 2041.
“The Official Community Plan is definitely a document that guides us how the city will transform,” says Coté. “The timing is perfect for a city in our stage of growth that is starting to become attractive.”
But to manage the city’s growth, it needs a variety of housing options, and the infrastructure like schools, transportation, recreation, culture and jobs, says Coté.
One key component is the city’s new Family-Friendly Housing Policy.
It was sparked by a 2015 City of New Westminster supply analysis that ranked New West 21st out of 22 Metro Vancouver communities for ground-oriented housing and 20th for housing options with three bedrooms that are more family-friendly.
But the need for family housing is growing. Census data from 2011 shows an 11 per cent increase in the number of families living in New Westminster compared to 2006. Of neighbouring communities, only Surrey and Coquitlam saw a larger jump, and BC’s overall increase was just 6 percent.
Matt Lorenzi knows the frustration of finding a family home in New Westminster only too well. He spent about a year searching for a new, larger home that could accommodate his growing family, his budget, and his desire to stay centrally-located in the Lower Mainland as well as close to transit.
“We wanted more space, something as modest as a third bedroom or spacious den,” says Lorenzi, whose family of four could no longer fit into their one bedroom plus den apartment. “We knew the supply of three-bedroom condos was limited. But we didn’t really realize it until we started our search.”
After a series of consultations with residents and builders, the City brought in a new bylaw that mandates new multi-family projects must dedicate at least 30 per cent of the units to two and three bedrooms with at least 10 per cent of the total comprised of three-bedroom units.
New multi-family rental buildings must also include a minimum 25 per cent two and three-bedroom units, with at least five per cent of the total comprised of three-bedrooms or more.
The bylaw, the first of its kind in British Columbia, came into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
So far developers have been receptive, says John Stark, New Westminster’s acting manager of planning. “There is a realization in the development community that three-bedroom units appeal to a wider market segment, like extended families and young professionals looking at shared living arrangements.”
In fact, says Stark, some projects that have been submitted by builders in the past year are even exceeding the mandated requirements for two and three-bedroom units. One of those is a new condo development planned for 100 Braid St.; 26.1 percent of its units will be two-bedrooms and 13.5 percent will have three bedrooms.
Stark credits an ongoing dialogue with developers as well as some key compromises, like not requiring the third bedroom to require direct light from a window, for the smooth transition. He says the city is committed to gauging the ongoing success of the bylaw and adjusting it if necessary.
“We’re still in the early days,” says Stark.
That gives Lorenzi hope his family will be able to stay in New West, even as their living requirements change. After flirting briefly with the idea of moving to Port Moody or elsewhere, they were able to find a suitable condo in Victoria Hill
“Over the eight or nine years prior to moving (to Victoria Hill) we grew to love New West,” says Lorenzi. “The city should encourage a mix of housing, especially larger units for growing families.”
Justin Turcotte says he’s confident moving to New West was the right choice.
“It took a bit of warming up to the idea of living so far from Vancouver,” says Turcotte. “We’re discovering new things about the city and have been pretty impressed by what we’ve seen so far. I definitely still think that it’s only going to improve and offer more.”
Anna Horvath says she’s also feeling good about her decision to stay in New West, close to family and the friends she grew up with.
“It ticks most of the boxes.”
A version of this article was commissioned for Tenth to the Fraser magazine, where it appears in the February, 2017 edition.
We’ve got a new home! Garbutt + Dumas is now part of the Keller Williams Elite real estate team.
Keller Williams is a global network of realtors and real estate professionals who believe in working together to help each other and our clients achieve success in business and life. In fact, Keller Williams is the world’s largest real estate franchise, with more than 110,000 realtors operating in 700 offices in Canada, the U.S., Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa and Dubai.
That’s a lot of expertise and talent to draw upon.
The team at Keller Williams Elite is just that, a team. They understand the team model. Their support systems and commitment to training and innovation will make us more effective, able to provide an even better experience for our clients.
We’re pretty excited about the move. But that’s not all that’s new for us in this new year.
To celebrate our move to Keller Williams Elite, we’ve got a new look.
If you follow our social media channels (and, really, you should), you may have noticed our new signs being posted in front of our newest listings. As the market gets busier, you’ll also be seeing more of our signs around Metro Vancouver.
We like to think our new signs are bold and distinctive to catch the eye of passersby. But they’re still classy enough you’ll be pleased to place one on your lawn.
Finally, if you pay attention to the address bar at the top of your browser window, you may have noticed we’ve also got a new URL.
Our new site may not look that much different from the old one, but we’re building it to make it more functional and informative, even if you’re not currently in the market to buy a new home or sell your current one.
Our listings will continue to feature some of the best properties in Greater Vancouver. And now you’ll be able to easily search for properties in specific communities and neighbourhoods, as well as learn a little about what it’s like to live there. Each community page features an interactive map of its neighbourhoods where you can get familiar with amenities like parks, recreation and shopping, as well as its schools and transit information.
We also want to keep you up-to-date on everything real estate in Greater Vancouver. Our blog features timely updates on market news, issues and policies, as well as useful tips and information that will help you understand and navigate the process of buying or selling a home, or just make your life a little easier if you’re content right where you are.
After a record year in 2016, and with the support of Keller Williams Elite, our growing team at Garbutt + Dumas is poised for an even bigger 2017. But our priority will always be to provide our clients with the best service and a great experience.
To say the 2016 real estate market in Greater Vancouver was wild and crazy would be an understatement.
The first half of the year was insanely busy as the market exploded. Homes were selling as soon as they hit the market, often after multiple offers, without subjects and above list.
The Lower Mainland has always been a desirable destination for home buyers, but this was off the hook, unsustainable. The 2016 real estate market was already showing signs of cooling down to a more sustainable level when the B.C. government implemented its foreign buyers’ tax. Some areas, like Vancouver’s West Side, felt its chill immediately.
That created a bit of a domino effect that reached into the suburbs as buyers and sellers decided to step aside to see how the market plays out.
The federal government’s new mortgage rules further tempered the market by making it a little tougher to qualify for a mortgage.
Then, in December, the provincial government introduced its new loan program to help first-time homebuyers with their downpayment, beginning in the new year. It’s too soon to tell if the incentive will reignite home sales; but for young people looking to plant roots in their community, every little bit helps. And the Bank of Mom and Dad will no doubt appreciate the relief.
Garbutt + Dumas enjoyed a record year; we sold 140 properties for a total of $98 million. It was hard work. But we still managed to have some fun along the way. Because providing our clients with an enjoyable real estate experience is our passion.
That commitment to superior service will continue in 2017. In fact, we’re planning to kick it up a notch or two by keeping you even better informed about what we’re up to and what the market is doing and making the biggest transaction of your life even smoother and as stress-free as possible.
Thanks to all our clients for a great 2016. Thanks to our followers on social media and visitors to our website. Happy New Year! Bring on 2017!
The Lookout at Victoria Hill has been designed to be the iconic centrepiece of this master-planned community with architecture that embraces the natural landscape and its prominent position on the site.
Set atop Victoria Hill’s Grand Lawn, with panoramic views of the Fraser River, The Lookout is the perfect stage for every chapter of your life. Inspired by the flow of the Fraser River, the natural curve of the building creates a quiet cove of privacy, allowing you to be a part of a larger community while experiencing the peacefulness of open green space right outside your front door.
The Greater Vancouver housing market maintained a consistent balance between demand and supply throughout 2013.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2013 reached 28,524, a 14 per cent increase from the 25,032 sales recorded in 2012, and an 11.9 per cent decrease from the 32,390 residential sales in 2011.
“Home sales quietly improved last year compared to 2012, although the volume of activity didn’t compare to some of the record-breaking years we experienced over the last decade,” Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said.
Last year’s home sale total ranks as the third lowest annual total for the region in the last ten years, according to the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).
The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver declined 6.2 per cent in 2013 to 54,742 compared to the 58,379 properties listed in 2012. Looking back further, last year’s total represents an 8.1 per cent decline compared to the 59,539 residential properties listed for sale in 2011. Last year’s listing count is on par with the 10 year average.
GlassHouse Lofts offers an arresting combination of chic finishes, original design layouts, high ceilings, and incredible views. A building like this comes along only once in a lifetime.
Friday marked the groundbreaking for a new $23.2-million elementary school on the old St. Mary’s Hospital site in New Westminster. Politicians, parents, students, teachers and local officials came together to break ground on the project.
The school, recently named Qayqayt (“Kee-Kite”) Elementary after the local First Nation, will feature five kindergarten rooms and 18 elementary classrooms for 100 full-day kindergarten students and 450 students in grades 1-5.
Work will begin shortly with completion expected in fall 2014. The elementary school is the first in a plan to develop three new schools for New West, including a middle school and a secondary school.
A New Place To Call Home
The Greater Vancouver housing market continues to maintain a relative balance between the number of homes for sale and the number of people looking to purchase a home in the region today.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,642 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in June 2013. This represents an 11.9 per cent increase compared to the 2,362 sales recorded in June 2012, and an 8.3 per cent decline compared to the 2,882 sales in May 2013.
Last month’s sales were 22.2 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month, while new listings for the month were 11.5 percent below the 10-year average.
“As the term suggests, a balanced market means that many of the key housing market indicators, such as price, are stable and conditions therefore don’t tilt in favour of buyers or sellers,” Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said. “If you plan to enter the market today, identify your needs, consult your REALTOR® and work to build a ‘win-win’ scenario with the people on the other side of the sale.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,874 in June. This represents a 13.2 per cent decline compared to the 5,617 new listings reported in June 2012 and a 13.8 per cent decline from the 5,656 new listings in May of this year.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver is 17,289, a 6 per cent decrease compared to June 2012 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to May 2013.