As 30-year mortgage rates surge past the 7% mark, a significant number of current homeowners seem hesitant to sell their properties, fearing the prospect of acquiring a new, pricier mortgage. The combination of reduced housing inventories and elevated borrowing expenses has led to a prominent concern: home affordability, which is now a pressing issue for prospective buyers.

Denny and Monica discuss their observations of the local markets and delve into how elevated interest rates are impacting everyday real estate deals.

This episode will focus on interest rates and how they are affecting local markets, BoC holding last meeting, certain neighbourhoods busier than others, investors dumping small investments, BC housing goals and rate predictions for the future. 

Watch and listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast below and follow us on Spotify, iTunes & YouTube.

Read the Transcript Here

Hi everyone, I’m James Garbutt. And I’m Denny Dumas. And this is the Garbutt Dumas Real Estate Podcast.

Denny: Big story in 2022 & 2023 in real estate is interest rates, we’re all sick of hearing about them, I get it, so am I. But, I feel like we kind of have to talk about it and just kind of summarize what Greater Vancouver real estate is doing in September, we’re near the end of September 2023. 

The last Bank of Canada meeting was September 6, they did not increase the rate. The overnight bank rate is still what is it? 5.25 The next Bank of Canada meeting is October 25. 

September has been kind of a predictable month. We often see a surge in inventory, a lot of people waiting till after Labor Day long weekend to list their homes and we definitely saw that this year. There’s definitely more for sale today than there was at the end of August. What is interesting to kind of see is that in a lot of neighborhoods and a lot of product types, the demand has not kind of kept up with the increase in inventory in the last few weeks. 

You disagree with me if you feel like. Sounds like you want to. There are some, well let me preface this. There are some product types and some neighborhoods that are still smoking busy. Last night I had a client offer on a beautifully renovated house in East Vancouver that got four offers. Sold like well above list price, rescission period, so we won’t know, check back with me. 

But other other product types like Maple Ridge single family.

Monica: Detached Maple Ridge, it’s a snooze-fest.

Denny: Condos in Surrey, there’s 10s of 1000s of condos it feels like to see, if you have a buyer looking for a one bedroom in Surrey, you’re going to type in your search under 500k There’s 550 and you’re gonna see 400 of them.

Maple Ridge is yeah we have a listing of Maple Ridge right now, I have some buyers looking out that way. And a lot of homes that we’re seeing around market 30 days, 90 days even.

Monica: We’re seeing the market react to interest rate I think big time, this late spring, summer all the way through now, this is the biggest slowdown. We saw a big slowdown last year in 2022 November, December, then spring picked up a little bit more but it didn’t pick up for long and then we saw a really really abrupt slowdown through the summer up until now. 

I think what we are seeing though, is just normal market conditions. We’re down 13% from Peak but we’re up 5% year over year in the dollar amount for the homes are selling for. So that to me is a normal market condition. We’re seeing pretty normal market conditions, we talked about Maple Ridge.  

Maple Ridge is an area that is historically not as busy as East Vancouver. Surrey has a ton of condos it’s, they’ve done a great job in Surrey and making sure there’s a crap ton of housing. There’s tons of townhouses, there’s new detached homes being built all the time and there’s certainly plenty of condos. So it would make sense that there are a lot of condos on the market. 

We are seeing more than ever is like an investor dump. We’re seeing lots of investors dump their small investments and they work their way up. So usually it starts with getting rid of that little condo that they don’t really care about much more of a headache. So we’re seeing some of the small, smaller, you know, investors unload a lot of their smaller condos to help either subsidize whatever mortgages they have on, usually primary residences and things like that.

Denny: You can take advantage of conditions when inventory increases?

Monica: Well, I mean, there’s always opportunity in markets like this, the opportunity that I see in a market where you’re saturated with rentals, or excuse me with condos is to scoop one up. 

Usually somebody makes a lot of money in these types of markets. So historically speaking, when we see low markets like this, they don’t last for very, very long. I don’t know if a very very long is the next 12 months, I don’t know if it’s 24 months, I don’t know if it’s 36 months, but knowing that we have a housing crisis and all of the announcements that we’ve heard in September of 2023, it sounds like there are higher ups kind of panicking about supply. So for me when I hear people panicking about supply it makes me feel like I should buy some.

Denny: Even in our previous podcast you shared a stat about what the what BC housing wants to see in next five years. What they want to see is 29,000 new homes.

Monica: That’s just in Vancouver. 

Denny: That’s just in Vancouver. 

Monica: Yeah. Yeah.

Denny: And they’re projecting based on what they think population is going to do in five years from now.

Monica: It’s pretty wild, like the percentage of increase that they want in some of the cities is not realistic. Like they want Abbotsford to add 13.6% of housing on top of what they have now. 13.6 an enormous amount. That’s 7200 units. That’s pretty wild. 

Denny: So this is them obviously projecting that our population growth, is not slowing down. But at the same time, as someone who understands real estate and how municipalities grow and how developers work and how long it takes to get building permits and how long it takes to actually construct these buildings. These numbers are super unrealistic.

Monica: Yeah, for five years, for five years out. That means like we see from the time new projects are marketed to the time that we get keys. It’s at least five years most times. Like that idea, just completely unrealistic.

Denny: So I think what we’re getting at is BC Housing has notified that we need more housing, the number of homes that they projected we need are super unrealistic. So investing in units today, single family, condos and townhomes in good neighborhoods today. I think there’s going to be like, it’s hilariously gonna pay off in five years from now. 

Monica: Yeah, I mean, I get a big kick out of this. I mentioned this in another podcast. We need people that are willing to invest in rentals, we need people, we need Denny’s and Monica’s dnd Karl’s, we need like, small time people to invest.

You mentioning how many hundreds of condos are available in Surrey, kind of makes me chuckle because you hear tenants all the time. And, you know, people screaming that oh, you know investors are keeping you know small time people from owning. Well, right now there’s hundreds of really affordable condos on the market, where are all these people that are really upset that they, like now’s the time guys, now’s the time to get out of your rental and buy your first condo now’s the time. Yes interest rates are high but in a few years will go down I’m guessing.

Denny: I’m really flustered with the interest rate. And how many times have you heard “I’d like to buy something, but I’ll wait till interest rates go down.” It’s a losing formula.

Monica: So much. And we talked about this. We talked about this yesterday, like if you buy it right now at the interest rate level now and you hold on to it for five years and this is this a number that we’re making up and we’re making this number up. 

If appreciation goes up 5% Say you buy that condo for $700,000 today and appreciation goes up 5% In the next five years and then interest rates ease off a little bit. It will cost you what was it? $200,000 That’s 5% Yeah, it will cost you 200 is like $220,000 to wait for interest rates to go down.

Denny: You need to take into consideration too,  you’re living somewhere. So you’re paying rent somewhere. Your housing cost does not go from zero to $3,000 a month. If you’re purchasing a condo it goes from renting for $2,500 a month or more to owning for $3,000 a month that you’re paying down your principal every month, which is actually putting money back in your pocket instead of an investors.

Monica: Now’s the time. There’s lots of condos in Surrey, now’s the time.

Denny: Just for the record. We do sell outside of Surrey. Well sell in Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, New West, Burnaby, Vancouver.

Monica: I looked at some really awesome condos in New West this weekend with a buyer, had a great buyer’s tour. We were looking at two bedroom apartments. Some really big ones which is pretty amazing all in the $700,000 range. 

I would have had clients die for one of those like last year or the year before and now there we went, we saw almost nine in one day and I had four Realtors call me on Monday being like hey, what do you what do you guys think? You know, did you like it? So there’s, those are out there right now. It’s pretty there’s, there’s choices. There’s choices.

Denny: Honestly, that’s funny that you bring that up because that’s something that is back in style right now is realtors fishing for feedback. And in busy markets, nobody ever reaches out and says What did you think of the showing on Saturday because they had 40 and they sold it already on Monday. Versus today. It seems like almost every showing request or showing that you do with a buyer now you’re getting feedback requests.

Monica: I even get it from my clients just head out to open houses without me and and I’ll get the realtors like: “Hey, I don’t know if you know this but your client came through” and so they’re asking everyone that comes to the door like who’s your realtor, they’re like writing it down. I’m gonna call her on Monday!

Denny: The market is shifted, and I think this Fall is, there’s a lot of really good opportunity out there. Yes, interest rates suck and they are a bit intimidating at the moment. But if you can afford it, I think this is a really good time to invest in real estate because three to five years from now, when rates are settle out, my guess is in like the four, four and a half range. Properties are going to cost a lot more money than they are today.

Monica: Yeah, now’s the time. If you’re buying for the first time, you are more in the driver’s seat now than you will ever likely be. You have the benefit of buying in a high interest rate environment where you know that like this we’re getting close to peak if we’re not there already in terms of the interest rate increases. So you’re not one of the buyers that bought two years ago that’s now like really strapped because the increases, so that for me is a positive. You’re buying into the higher interest rate environment. So you know, like I can afford this whereas a lot of people purchased thinking oh, at most, it’ll increase to you know, two points and we’re way beyond that. 

And you have choices. So in terms of being in the driver’s seat, if you’re one of those types of buyers that is a little hesitant, you don’t want to get a multiple offer situation you’re really afraid of fluctuation of interest rates, now is like the most drivers-seaty situation that I can see in the foreseeable future really and certainly looking at the past two. 

Denny: There’s two more meetings this year, October 25 and December 6 Bank of Canada meeting.

Monica: What do you think’s gonna happen? 

Denny: What do you think?

Monica: I think maybe hold one more time, but I’ve seen it and I see an increase later in the year maybe December.

Denny: I think October increases. I know it’s not exactly what all our clients, friends, families want to hear. But I think October increases by point two five. I think the inflation numbers are higher than expected mostly due to gas and real estate like housing prices. 

So it’s a weird spiral that, yes, increase rates, that increases monthly costs on housing that increase in inflation. I don’t know what the solution is, but I think there’s one more hike this year and then I think it kind of settles for six to 12 months.

Monica: Let’s find out if Denny’s a genius or a complete dumb-dumb. We’ll get back to you guys next year.