February 2014 – Market Update From Francis Piché

Greater Vancouver Housing Market – Current Statistics for February 2014

Here is a quick summary of what happened in the Vancouver real estate market during the month of February. If you would like a complimentary copy of the complete report, including neighborhoods-level sales and price statistics, please give me a call at 778-558-9948 or email me at francis@infinite.local

Bonjour dear Friends!

Number of Sales: 2,530 or 40.8% increase compared to 1,797 sales recorded in February 2013. February had 43.8% increase in sales compared to the 1,760 sales in January 2014. Last month’s sales totals mirrors the 10-year sales average for February of 2,547, with just 17 sales separating the two figures.

Percent of Original List Price Received at Sales: 96.6%, which is 1.5% higher than February 2013 at 95.1%.

Sales-to-Active-Listings Ratio: 18.9%, a 4.9% increase from last month, which also consistent with a balanced market condition and a great improvement vs a Buyer market condition with 11.6% in February 2013. We have been in a balanced market for nearly a year. An upward pressure on price occurs when the sales-to-active-listings ratio is around 20-22% in a particular community for a sustained period of time.

Total Inventory: 13,412, a decline of 9.3% compared to this time last year, and an increase of 6.4% compared to January 2014.

 There were 4,700 homes listed for sale listing in Greater Vancouver last month, a decline of 9.3% compared to February 2013 and a 6.4% increase compared to January 2014.

Benchmark Price: $609,100, an increase of 3.2% over February 2013. Detached homes prices increased by 3.5% and condos increased by 3.6% over the last year.

Average Days on Market: 53 days vs 56 days in February 2014. If we take a closer look at Downtown, the average days on market was 20 days vs 38 days in January 2014. As you see, the stats vary from market to market and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. Furthermore, a condo tower can reflect different market status vs another tower as each building is a neighborhood in itself. For more information about your neighborhoods-level sales and price statistics, I strongly encourage you to download the latest SnapStats Report.

Great news! Property Transfer Tax Exemption for First-Time Buyers

The province’s Property Transfer Tax (PTT) exemption for first-time home buyer increased to $475,000 from $425,000. A partial exemption is available for homes valued between $475,000 and $500,000.

This measure will boost the savings available for first-time home buyers and, more importantly, allow them to consider paying more for a home –PTT-free – than they would have otherwise. According to Anne McMullin, Urban Development Institute President and CEO, the change could benefit 1,700 to 1,800 buyers a year, saving them up to $7,500 each.

CMHC Insurance Premium Update

CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.

Effective May 1st, CMHC Purchase (owner occupied 1 – 4 unit) mortgage insurance premiums will increase by approximately 15%, on average, for all loan-to-value ranges.

For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.

Canada’s New Immigration Policy – Will It Slow High End Real Estate Sales?

Announced in the 2014 Federal Budget, the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, which fast-tracked permanent residency for people who could come up with $800,000, is now terminated. The money ultimately served as a interest-free loan to the government that was paid back to the immigrant in five years. Approximately 65,000 applications will be returned. According to Bell Alliance Lawyers & Notaries Public, the government will focus on new Business Pilot Projects, where investors must invest a significant amount into an investment at risk.

A recent article from Condo.ca mentioned that one realtor estimated that about 35 per cent of homes worth $2 million and over in Vancouver were bought by the foreigners. Without those buyers, will the luxury home market wither? A realtor from Vancouver told CBC news that most of the buying in that market is from the wealthy Chinese. If they can no longer come to Canada, “we have killed 80 to 90 per cent of the buying in West Vancouver.”

Others disagree. The B.C. Real Estate Association said in a report released in March that the only impact they foresee is “less pressure” on detached homes in West Vancouver. The average price for a detached home jumped from $748,651 in January 2013 to $812,536 last month. Less pressure would be a distinct advantage.

Bob Rennie, well-known Real Estate Marketer, suggested that the end of the program will only impact the top 20 per cent of local real estate sales. Of the 20 per cent of homes that sell for more than $2.1 million, he suspects about 35 per cent are currently snapped up by foreign investors, but readily admits there is no way to know for sure because of the lack of federal data keeping.

“The statistic that you should know is from 2006 to 2012, 69 per cent of all home sales in Greater Vancouver have been to people that already own a home,” he said.

Canadian Real Estate Association BC Resale Housing Forecast

On March 17, 2014, CREA has updated its forecast for homes sales activity via the he Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2014, and extended the outlook to 2015.

British Columbia is forecast to post the largest year-over-year increase in activity (8.3 per cent), and make the biggest contribution to the increase in national sales activity. The increase in 2014 sales activity reflects slow sales for the province in early 2013 and a replay of that weakness is not expected this year.

How to Sell Your Home Fast & Use SnapStats?

As I previously mentioned in my newsletter of the past few months, a well-priced property can sell really fast. I constantly used the SnapStats report to check the Price Band Sales Ratios of the homes listed in the market as well as the Sales Ratio of the neighborhoods because it helps Sellers and Buyers identify the price pressure of the properties they want to sell or buy.

It is in my own opinion that PRICING is the most important factor in selling your property. No matter what time of year you want to sell, as long as your home is priced well, it should sell. A certain season will not sell your home quicker. The longer you wait, keep in mind that you will also have more competition … especially during the spring season. The inventory of homes is currently low and Vancouver is a great Real Estate market with Buyers ready to buy. Thinking of selling in the spring? Don’t wait, sell it now!


Not only you get the SnapStats report on Vancouver Downtown, Vancouver Westside, Vancouver Eastside, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond but also you get statistics from GRD including Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. Also, check out the new feature “Sale Price SQFT” Feel free to pass along to your friends and family!

To access the complete SnapStats report (PDF) for the month of February 2014 for your specific neighborhood and area, please give me a call at 778-558-9948 or email me at francis@infinite.local

How to Read The Report? The SnapStats report will give valuable information and the answer the following questions:

–         What is the sales ratio of where I live or where I want to live?

–         What is the trend on inventory, price and number of sold properties for the last 13 months?

–         Who can help me better determine my market value and help me use SnapsStats to my advantage?


***Sales Ratio over 21% is considered a Seller Market

***Sales Ratio of below 14% is officially a Buyer market

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Francis Piché
421 Pacific Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2P5

Cell: 778-558-9948
Office: 604-685-5951
Email: francis@francispiche.com

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