Residential Property Sales in Metro Vancouver
In October 2017, Metro Vancouver saw home sales activity exceed the 10-year October sales average by 15%. According to the REBGV, residential property sales totaled 3022 in October 2017, a 35.3% increase from October 2016 (2,233 sales), and a 7.1% increase from September 2017 (2,821). Townhouse and apartment sales accounted for a little over two-thirds of October’s sales.
The current benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is $1,042,300. This is a 0.5% increase compared to September 2017 and a 12.4% increase from October 2016.
Detached properties saw 940 sales in October 2017, representing a 44.2% increase from October 2016. The benchmark price of a detached property as of October 2017 is $1,609,600; a 4% increase from last October. There were 1,532 apartment property sales in October 2017, representing a 30.1% increase from September 2016. The benchmark price of an apartment home as of October 2017 is $642,000; a 22.7% increase from the same time last year. 550 attached homes were sold in October 2017, representing a 36.5% increase from October 2016. The benchmark price of an attached home as of October 2017 is $802,400; a 17.7% increase from the same time last year.
The high demand in the residential markets may in part be due to growth in the provincial economy and job market. “The federal government’s announcement of plans to tighten mortgage requirements for the seventh time in the last eight years also helped spur activity in the short term.”, said Jill Oudil, president of the REBGV. “Many buyers are trying to enter the market before the changes are in place.”
As of October 2017, the sales-to-active listings ratio by property type is 16.8% of detached homes, 44.8% for townhomes, and 66% for apartments. Across all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2017 is 33.1%, an increase from 29.8% in September 2017, and an increase from 24.4% in October 2016.
Analysts say that home prices face downward pressure when the sales-to-active listings ratio is 12% or lower for a sustained period, while home prices face upward pressure when the ratio is 20% or higher for a sustained period.
“The detached home market is well supplied with homes for sale, which is relieving pressure on prices,” said Oudil. “It remains a much different story in the townhouse and apartment markets. Buyers of these properties continue to have limited supply to choose from and are seeing upward pressure on prices.”
Lower Mainland Commercial Property Sales
In Q2 2017, commercial real estate sales saw a decrease across all categories from the record-setting Q2 2016 levels. Based on Commercial Edge data, there were 875 sales in Q2 2016, compared to 595 sales in Q2 2017, representing a 32% decrease in the commercial real estate sale. These reductions were most pronounced in land and industrial sales.
“Land and industrial sales experienced the largest year-over-year declines last quarter, with sales in both categories down more than one-third compared to 2016.” Jill Oudil, president of the REBGV, said.
The total dollar value of Lower Mainland commercial real estate sales decreased by 37.5% to $2.886 billion in Q2 2017 from $4.615 billion in Q2 2016.
“Looking back over several years, however, we see that last quarter’s sale and dollar value activity follow more historically normal trend lines,” said Oudil.
Foreigner Buyers' Tax
The proportion of residential properties being purchased by foreigners is currently at its highest level since the Additional Property Transfer Tax came into effect on August 2, 2016. Experts and industry insiders are saying that international interest is high for the surging condominium market, and for the suburbs of Burnaby, Richmond, and Surrey.
September data released by the government of BC on October 31 showed that foreign buyers bought 5% of the 6,105 Metro Vancouver residential properties sold that month. Richmond and Burnaby showed the highest proportions of foreign buyer activity, at 10.8% and 9.6%, respectively. Surrey also saw an increase in foreign buyer activity, increasing from 1.7% in August to 5.9% in September.
The BC Finance Ministry reported that between June 10 2016 and August 1 2016, 13.2% of residential property sales were to buyers who were not Canadian citizens, or permanent residents. From the tax's implementation on August 2 2016, and August 2017, residential property sales to foreign buyers decreased to 3-4%.
September data for the City of Vancouver shows that foreign buyers have continued to purchase more expensive properties than locals, despite the additional tax. Local buyers spent an average of $1.4 million on a property, while foreign buyers spent an average of $1.7 million. Outside the City of Vancouver, however, the opposite was found: on average, locals were spending $75,000 more than international buyers.
Between April 1 and September 30 2017, the total number of property transactions in BC was 84,139. Of these transactions, 2.8% involved international buyers, representing more than $2 billion in value.