REBGV Market Update April 2017 – The Seller’s Market Continues: Townhomes And Condos Are Hot

The April 2017 stats released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) show that demand for condominiums and townhouses continues to drive the Metro Vancouver real estate market, and we are firmly in a seller’s market.

By looking at the following key indicators, we can get a better understanding of last months’ results:

Home Sales

In Greater Vancouver there were 3553 registered home sales on the MLS last month. This number is down 25% from April 2016, and 4.8% above the April 10 year sales average. For the first 4 months of the year, townhomes and condos accounted for 68% of all residential sales, making them the most sought after property types in today’s market. The sales are up 10% from the same period last year.

Home Listings

In April 2017, there were 4907 new listings, up 3% from March 2017, but down 20% from April 2016.

Home Prices

The benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver in April 2017 was $941,100. This is up 2.4% from March 2017 and up 11.4% from April 2016. Over the last few months, condos have increased in price by 8.2%, townhomes by 5.3% and detached homes by 2.8%.

Sales-To-Active Listings Ratio

This ratio explains the relationship between supply and demand that influences price. The ratio for April is 45% across all property types. Despite the fact that it is down 2% from last month, the ratio is firmly entrenched in seller market territory.

When the ratio is around or below 12% for a sustained period, then there is downward pressure on prices, and when it is above 20% for a sustained period, there is upward pressure.

Get the full report here.

Buying a home in a seller’s market requires a real estate professional with experience and local knowledge. If you are looking to buy a home in the Greater Vancouver area, contact us. We are one of Vancouver’s established real estate firms and have been in the real estate business for over 28 years.

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6 Great Tips On How To Buy A Home In A Hot Real Estate Market

Buying in a seller’s market can be frustrating, especially when you are competing with many buyers for a limited inventory. Your challenge is not just finding the right home but beating out other homebuyers who are just as keen as you.

Expecting to find the right home by casually visiting Open Houses and viewing online listings cannot work in a seller’s market.  So here are some important tips to ensure that you have an advantage over other potential buyers vying for the same property:

 1.    Know your limits before you start.

Know how much you are willing and able to pay and what you are willing to compromise on in terms and conditions. Once you know this, then you are in a better position to decide whether or not you should make an offer. You will not let emotions bias your negotiations if things do not go your way.

2.     Get your finances in order.

Make sure you are in a financial position to buy. That means getting enough mortgage financing pre-approved before you start the negotiating process. You want to prove to the seller that you will be able to pay for the house and close on time.

3.     Get a good real estate professional.

You need a good, reputable and experienced real estate professional with local expertise, in a hot real estate market. The agent should get information about listings before or as soon as they hit the market. Also he/she should know how to make your offer stand out. An experienced real estate professional will be very adept to this type of market.

4.     Once you find the house you want, move quickly.

In a hot sellers market, once a new listing is out, don’t wait until the next day to respond to the listing. If you like what you see, write up and offer immediately. You will be surprised how many offers a sought after property can get in a matter of hours!

5.     Make a strong offer.

Your offer should be competitive and clean, as in a hot seller’s market, you may not get a chance to negotiate. If your offer is much lower, the seller may refuse to negotiate with you when you increase your offer. Remove as many contingencies as possible, but do not waive those that are important and in your best interest.

6.     Try and work with the seller.

If you are an easy customer, sometimes you don’t have to pay the highest price to win the deal. Options like giving the seller an option to rent for a few months while he/she searches for a new one, may give you the edge. In a bidding war, paying the seller’s closing fees (not the agent’s commission) may satisfy the seller more than than increasing your bid.

Dealing with a seller in a seller’s market requires tact and experience. If you are looking to buy a home, contact us and one of our experienced real estate professionals will help you find your dream home.


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The Hidden Costs Of Buying A Home That Every Homebuyer Should Know About

Purchasing a home is a major purchase and what many home buyers, especially new ones, don’t realize is that there are a number of hidden costs associated with the home purchase. So when you look at purchasing a home, you must make sure that you have a good understanding of how much money you will need to spend.

Here is a list of costs that are typically associated with buying a home:

Appraisal fee: Required by the lender to ensure that you not trying to borrow more than you should be relative to the property’s actual value. Sometimes your lender may cover this cost.

Property purchase tax: This is land transfer tax that is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price. The formula varies for province to province and from city to city. If you are a first time buyer you receive some exemption.

Adjustment costs: These are prepaid costs paid by the vendor that are to be paid back when the buyer takes possession of the home. Typical costs are property taxes, utility bills such as gas, hydro and water.

Home inspection fees: A home inspection reports on the condition of the home – the electrical, plumbing, roofing and insulation aspects, and includes the condition of the structural health of the home.

Property survey: some lenders require a property survey to verify the property’s boundaries, measurements, and structures and identify any easements, rights of way or encroachments on your property.

Interest adjustment: This is the calculation of interest from the closing date to the date of the first mortgage payment is calculated. For instance, if you close your deal on March 10th, the interest adjustment date would be from March 10th to April 1st, the day when your first full mortgage payment is due.

Hook-up fees: Fees charged by utility companies and telephone companies to create an account and initiate the service.

Strata or condo fees: If you are buying a condominium or townhouse you may be charged a monthly fee to cover the costs of security, lighting and common area maintenance.

Legal fees: There are a number of legal documents that can only be processed by a lawyer or notary public. On top of these fees, you will be charged on disbursement costs such as photocopies, telephones, mail and other costs of doing business.

New locks: It is usually advisable to change the locks of your new home once you have moved in. The previous owners may have given the keys to a number of individuals, some who many not be aware of the sale.

Insurance: Most lenders require homeowners to buy home, fire and liability insurance, effective on the completion date of the sale.

Mortgage insurance: If your down payment is less than 20% of your total mortgage, you will be required by the lender to get mortgage insurance, which protects the lender if you default on paying the outstanding loan.

It is important that you factor in these costs when contemplating a home purchase. You should also keep funds available for any repairs or renovations that may be required on possession.

If you are looking to buy a home, we have over 45 homes available and over 28 years of experience in the real estate business. Contact us via email or call us at 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000.

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The Top 5 Questions To Ask In An Open House

Visiting open houses is very important and you should start doing this when you are at the beginning of your home buying cycle. By going to visit open houses, you will get a better idea of where you want to buy, what amenities you want, what neighbourhood you want to be in and also what is the ideal type of home for you.

At this time of the year, open houses are more frequent, happening every weekend, almost everywhere.

Here are 5 important questions you should ask at every open house, regardless of the stage of the home-buying process you are in:

Why are you moving?

Usually families are upgrading or downsizing. If the owners are relocating, that is good news for you. When a seller is relocating, they are in a time crunch and are generally more flexible when selling.

If there are maintenance issues, then you should be weary and ask searching questions.

When was the last time the home had any renovations or upgrades?

If work was done recently, this is good news, as it saves you the time, effort and money. If the water heater, ac or heater have not been updated for a long period of time, you can expect bills in the near future.

If renovations have been done, ask about whether the appropriate permissions have been obtained. If not, then you may face problems with the local municipality in the years to come.

How long has the house been on the market?

This is a very important question as it tells you a lot about the home or the owners. If the home has been on the market for over 60 days, this should be a red flag that there could be something wrong:

-Is the house overpriced for the neighbourhood?

-Has the seller had multiple offers but is very firm on the asking price?

-Are there material defects that are not apparent?

What are the added expenses that go into owning this home? 

Apart from the mortgage expenses you should be aware of other expenses that go into owning the home. Questions that need an answer are:

-What are the yearly taxes?

-What are the monthly electric and heating bills?

-If it is condo, what are the monthly service charges?

How long have the owners lived in the house? 

If the owner has lived in the home for a short period of time, there are 3 possibilities:

-The owner has bought the home, renovated and is flipping for a higher price.

-The owner purchased the house, but after a couple of years is unsatisfied with the purchase.

- The move is job related.

If the owner has lived for a long time, it is more than likely that he/she has taken great care of the home.

Finding the right home is not an easy process. You need the guidance of an experienced real estate professional. We have been in the real estate business for over 28 years. For any home buying or home selling related enquiries, please contact us or call us on 604 913 1000/604 695 1000.

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Six Great Spring Cleaning Tips to Keep Things Cleaner Longer

Home cleaning is not easy, especially for working professionals. Here are a few useful and valuable tips that make it easier to fight those dirty jobs faster and less often:

  1. Keep those shower doors crystal clear. Eliminate that annoying soap scum by coating your shower doors with a rain repellent product made for car windshields. When applied to glass, these products create an invisible barrier that causes oils, water and other debris to roll off.
  2. Protect your furniture and carpet from stains. Protective sprays and sealants guard your furniture and carpets against spills, stains and some sprays guard against fading and mildew. Products like Ultra-Guard and Scotchgard cause the liquid spill to bead on the surface instead of being absorbed into the fabric or carpet, allowing for an easier clean.
  3. Do quick and frequent touch ups to keep things tidy. When you do small cleaning projects on a frequent basis, you prevent dirt, grime and grease from building up. This also prevents smudges from staining, dust from accumulating and this even combats allergens. Keeping items in closed cabinets and drawers prevents dust from getting in and circulating.
  4. Use a cleaner sweeper. Brooms hold on to dirt, and when you use a broom to sweep you are in effect pushing dirt around.
  5. Seal your stone countertops. Countertops made of natural stone such as marble and granite are porous. If they are not sealed, then spills on them get absorbed and eventually a layer of hard to remove stain forms. By using a countertop sealer, potential stains get repelled as the liquid beads on top and doesn’t get absorbed.
  6. Combat dust You can defy dust by adjusting your home’s humidity level. Keep the level between 40-50%. Low humidity causes static electricity that attracts dust. High humidity is ideal for dust mites and other allergens.

Thinking of selling or buying a home? Now could not be a better time to do this. Contact us or call us on 604 913 1000. 

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REGBV Report March 2017 – Home Prices Will Continue To Rise Due To Lack of Supply

The March 2017 stats for Metro Vancouver have been released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).  The story sounds familiar: March saw a shortage of residential property listings coupled with strong demand for condos and townhouses.

Residential property sales totalled 3,579 in March 2017, a 30% decrease from the 5,173 sales recorded in March 2016 and a 47% increase compared to last month when only 2,425 homes sold. This is the lowest number of new listings in March since 2009.

“Sellers still seem reluctant to put their homes on the market, making for stiff competition among home buyers,” Jill Oudil, the new 2017/2018 REBGV President said. She added, “Home prices will likely continue to increase until we see more housing supply coming on to the market.”

The total number of properties listed on MLS system in Metro Vancouver is 7,586  – a 3.1% increase compared to the 7,358 properties listed in March 2016, and a 0.1% decrease (7,594 units) compared to February 2017.

The all-important sales-to-active listings ratio for March 2017 is 47.2%. This is a 15% increase over last month. The general rule of thumb is that there is downward pressure on home prices when the ratio dips below 12%, and upward pressure on home prices when the ratio surpasses 20% over several months.

March 2017 Stats:

Detached properties               1,150               (2,135 – March 2016)

Apartments                             1,841               (2,252 – March 2016)

Attached properties                588                  (786     - March 2016)

(Figures obtained from the March 2017 REBGV News Release)

In these market conditions, you need to work with a real estate company that has the experience and know how on getting you the right home. Contact us and let one of our real estate professionals obtain the best results for you.

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8 Hot Tips That Will Make Your Home Sell Faster This Spring

Every year, spring is the best time to put your house on the market – factors like improving weather, wanting to get the kids in the house before school starts and motivated buyers and sellers, make this the ideal time to get into the market.

So if you are getting ready to offer your home this spring, here are 8 key tips:

Take good pictures.

First impressions are important. Your first showing will most probably be on the Internet. If the pictures do not look good, they will keep the buyers away. Use a professional photographer and if possible, pick a sunny day.

Light up your house.

Maximize the light in your home and make the rooms bright, this shows them off as bigger and cheerful. The easy way of doing this is to increase the wattage of your light bulbs, and remove obstacles that hinder the natural light from entering the room.

Repaint dark walls to a neutral color.

A wrong color can turn a buyer off, so most real estate professionals recommend painting your home with warm neutral colors that are stylish and clean. Avoid bold and contrasting colours.

Don’t forget about the exterior of the home. A jarring color on the exterior can rob your home of needed curb appeal. Make sure your exterior colors blend in with the colors used in the neighbourhood.

Do the necessary repairs.

Buyers are usually interested in a home that they can move into immediately, without the need for further repairs. If they see a property in need of obvious maintenance, they may look elsewhere.

A property that has seen recent repairs or one that shows constant signs of maintenance will be more attractive and could lead to a higher net profit.

Make a good impression on the outside by landscaping.

When selling your home, landscaping determines whether or not your home feels inviting from the outside. Curb appeal is a very important factor to many potential buyers.  It is not uncommon for buyers to reject a house because they don’t like the looks of the front of the house, which is mostly landscaping.

Remove the clutter.

People cannot see past clutter. Selling a cluttered home is hard due to the fact that many people do not have the necessary vision to see beyond it.

Buyers want and need to see the full potential of your house to picture themselves in it. But this can be difficult to do when it is covered with your things. Removing unnecessary items from counter tops, shelves and cupboards is very important.

De-personalize your rooms.

Get rid of anything that is personal. The whole idea is to get a potential buyer to walk in and feel that the home is theirs. They don’t want to see your personality filtering throughout the home.

If possible, get a professional home stager who will maximize the potential of your home. It’s probably worth the investment.

Make each room work

The purpose of the room should be clear. If the room has a lot of unrelated items being stored for lack of space elsewhere, buyers will not know how to imagine the space. If the function of the room is made apparent then it will be easy for them to do so.

These are simple yet effective tips that will help your home sell faster and maintain the price you are asking.

We have been in the real estate business for over 28 years and have a wealth of experience when it comes to selling your home. If you are planning on selling your home, contact us for tips on how to stage and present your home before putting it on the market.

Here are a series of related blog posts we have written that will help you sell your home:

5 Really Useful Tips For Getting The Best Price For Your Home

When Is The Best Time To Sell Your Home

Some Great Tips On Staging Your Home Inexpensively

5 Renovation Ideas That Are Guaranteed To Pay Off For You, Especially When You Sell Your Home

Here’s How To Get The Best Real Estate Professional To Sell Your Home

Want To Sell Your Home Faster? Get Rid Of Your Clutter!

5 Mistakes You Cannot Afford To Make When Selling Your Home

Here’s How You Can Sell Your Home Faster For A Higher Price


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Good News For Immigrants In The Provincial Nominee Program – They Are Now Exempt From Paying the 15% Foreign Home Buyers Tax

Here’s a second amendment to the Foreign Buyer’s Tax first introduced seven months ago:  Those who have come to BC under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), are now exempt from paying the tax.

Last year 6,000 immigrants entered under this program, and the same number is expected this year. The ruling is retroactive, so those who have already paid the tax can apply for a refund.

The purpose of the PNP is to select and fast-track permanent residence applications for certain individuals who are either highly skilled or entrepreneurs. The Premier Christy Clark has said that the new exemptions are aimed at making the Vancouver region more attractive to tech-sector professionals, who make up more than 900 of the 6000 people who received work permits last year through the program.

“BC has always welcomed the world’s best and brightest, where they find a place that embraces them,” said the Premier. “ Our growing tech sector depends on the Provincial Nominee Program, and that’s why we are removing barriers, so they can get to work, create jobs, and help build BC.”

In February of this year, the Provincial Government made its first amendment to the tax, by exempting foreign nationals who became permanent residents or Canadian citizens within 1 year of purchasing a principal residence.  Those who paid the tax were eligible for rebates if they qualified. However a further qualification was that they must continuously live in the property as their principal residence for 12 months.

The 15% tax was introduced in August 2016 in the Vancouver area to cool down the red-hot real estate market. It has worked as prices and sales have dropped from last year, but some analysts have said that the market was already softening.

According to the Finance Minister Michael De Jong, the tax on foreign buyers is achieving the Government’s goals in the Vancouver area.

Buying a home in Vancouver is a great investment. We have a very experienced and knowledgeable group of real estate professionals available to help you. Call us at 604.913.1000 or email us with any questions you may have about the market or real estate in general.

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Looking For A Home? BCREA Projects A Decline In Housing Prices

Greater Vancouver’s real estate market could be headed for its first year of price declines since 2012 as home sales extend their slide.

2017 has started on a cautious note, when compared to the same time last year. The average resale price in Greater Vancouver was $878,242 in January, down by 18.9% from last year. Last January, the average price stood at $1,038,000.

According to BCREA (British Columbia Real Estate Association) Chief Economist Cameron Muir, the average home prices in BC are forecasted to be down by 5% this year compared to a year ago, while in Vancouver, prices are expected to drop around 7.5%. Meanwhile, all other regions in BC will have price increases between 0.5-4.5%.

The average home price in BC will likely drop to $657,000, mostly due to a softening of the high end $3 million plus market. BC Home sales have been impacted by the property tax burden aimed at foreign buyers and the tighter mortgage regulations aimed at first time homebuyers.

Currently, it is the high-end market that is taking a decline in prices, which peaked in February of last year. But sales in condos and townhouses are surging. In other words, the lower end market – homes under $1m – is very active with lots of buyers. According to the BCREA, the boom in new home construction is likely to keep the housing stock high. This should keep the lower end market very buoyant.

Cameron Muir does not foresee any major price correction in the near future. According to him “typically major price corrections occur when we have macro economic shocks, which could be anything from a rapid rise in interest rates or a recession”.

With the sagging home sales, the pendulum is swinging towards being a buyer’s market. The decline in luxury home prices is now presenting a great opportunity to those who are thinking of getting into this market.

If you are looking to getting into the market, we have a large inventory of luxury homes and experienced real estate advisors to guide you. Contact us or call us at 604 695 1000.

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March Is The Best Time To Start Planting Your Seeds

Growing your seeds indoors is useful because it gives your plants a head start, especially when the weather outside is not warm. This results in earlier and longer harvests that would otherwise not be possible.

Growing indoors is particular good for tender crops such as tomatoes, peppers and squash.

Use the following tips to get the best results for your seeds:

1) Use a good seed starting soil.

The soil needs to be fine and moisture retaining so the young seeds don’t dry out. Keep the soil well watered, but not waterlogged so that there is sufficient air to prevent rotting.

2) Provide warmth for germination.

Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature of the room you are keeping the trays in. Warm soil does tend to dry out quickly, so to prevent this, either cover the seeds with a plastic cover, or regularly check and water them. The seed packet usually tells you how long it takes the seeds to germinate.

3) Once germinated transfer to lighted area.

As soon as the seeds emerge, you will need to transfer them to a place with good strong natural light. Placing the trays near a window will not necessarily be the best place to catch the optimum light.

4) Start planting the seeds at the right time.

There is no point starting seeds too early only to find that they have outgrown their pots before the weather has warmed up enough outside. Starting seeds too late means that they may not have time to develop properly.

Use an online location specific garden planner that will give you the best range of planting dates for each crop in your geographical area.

5) Sow in batches every few weeks.

Successful gardening depends on a lot of factors. To mitigate against variations in climate, pests etc., it is a good idea to plant every few weeks.

6) Transfer into pots once ready.

After a few weeks, the seedlings will have developed their second set of leaves. At this stage, before their roots get entangled, it’s a good idea to transfer the best ones into pots.

7) Minimize root disturbance.

When you transfer the seedling into a pot, pick it up by the leaves and not the stem. By picking up by the stem, you can squeeze and damage the capillary tubes that carry water.

Take as much soil as possible around the roots when you transfer the seedling, so the roots are not damaged.

8) Label your plants.

This may seem obvious, but many gardeners forget to label each pot and have trouble identifying them when planting outside. Note down the variety and dates such as when the seeds were sown and transplanted, for future reference.

9) Seedlings need intensive care.

Seedlings grown indoors are vulnerable to a lack of moisture, nutrients or warmth. Just like an intensive care unit, you need to make sure that you supply them everything they need. So check on them at least once a day.

10) Introduce them outdoors gradually.

Going from intensive care straight to outdoor conditions is a shock few seedlings can survive. As the plants get larger, gradually introduce them to outside conditions. Initially, take them out for an hour, and then gradually increase the time each day until they are finally ready to be planted.

By following these tips, you will give your seedlings the very best chance for survival and set yourself up for a great harvest.

If you have any questions about this blog or any other topic that we cover in our weekly blogs, please contact us by email or message us on Facebook.

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