Archive for January, 2011

Federal government announces changes to mortgage financing requirements

Ottawa – January 17, 2011. The federal government announced this morning three changes to the rules for government-backed insured mortgages.

First, the government will reduce the maximum mortgage amortization period from 35 to 30 years. Second, the maximum amount of the value of a home that can be re-financed will drop from 90 per cent to 85 per cent. And finally, government insurance will no longer be available to financial institutions wishing to insure home equity lines of credit.

“These are prudent measures that promote responsible lending practices and further strengthen our internationally recognized mortgage finance system,” Jake Moldowan, Board president said.

The adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework will come into force on March 18, 2011. The withdrawal of government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes will come into force on April 18, 2011.

Click here to view the government’s announcement.

Property Assessment Notices are here!

Property owners throughout BC received their Property Assessment Notice the first week of January. This notice is BC Assessment’s (BCA) estimate of a property’s value as of July 1, 2010.

BC Assessment is the BC government agency responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates.

“The majority of homes in Metro Vancouver are worth more on this year’s assessment roll than they were on the 2010 assessment roll,” said Jason Grant, Area Assessor, Vancouver Sea to Sky region. “Most homes will see increases in the 5% to 15% range.”

Throughout Metro Vancouver values have substantially increased in most areas. They’re up 17.14 per cent in Richmond, 13.03 per cent in West Vancouver, 12.17 per cent in Vancouver, 12.07 per cent in Burnaby, 9.22 per cent in Delta, 9.12 per cent in Coquitlam, 9.11 per cent in New Westminster, 8.84 per cent in North Vancouver District, 8.78 in Port Coquitlam, 8.05 in North Vancouver City, and 7.58 per cent in Port Moody, 6.44 per cent in Pitt Meadows, 5.54 per cent in Maple Ridge and 1.99 per cent in Squamish.

Values decreased in Whistler by 2.06 per cent and in Pemberton by 1.87 per cent.

For specific details on changes in values, visit www.bcassessment.ca and go to Information about the 2011 roll and then the 2011 Market Movement Map.

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Record Home Prices for 2010

Vancouver, BC – January 13, 2011. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 12 percent to 74,640 units in 2010. The annual average MLS® residential price rose 8.5 per cent to a record $505,178 in 2010.

“Tighter credit conditions and expended pent-up demand curbed home sales during the first half of 2010,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, low mortgage interest rates and improved economic conditions buoyed home sales in the latter half of the year.” MLS® residential unit sales declined 40 per cent January through July before climbing 43 per cent by the end of the year, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“The inventory of homes for sale peaked at 53,375 units in May before declining 14 per cent to 46,000 units by December,” added Muir. “The combination of fewer active listings and increased consumer demand has improved market conditions in many areas.”

MLS® residential sales declined 25 per cent to 4,258 units in December from a near record level of 5,703 units in December 2009. After a 15 per cent increase in unit sales between October and November, a further 1 per cent increase was recorded in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average MLS® residential sales price was a record $523,990 in December, up 6 per cent from December 2009.

Download the complete stats package by clicking here.

Real estate market stable at year-end

VANCOUVER, BC – January 5, 2011. The Greater Vancouver residential housing market entered three distinctive phases in 2010. Continued buoyancy from the post-recession recovery began the year, followed by a summer lull and, throughout the fall, a sustained period of stability.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2010 reached 30,595, a 14.2 per cent decrease from the 35,669 sales recorded in 2009, but a 24.2 per cent increase from the 24,626 residential sales in 2008. Last year’s number of housing sales was 10.3 per cent below the ten-year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales in the region.

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver increased 9.7 per cent in 2010 to 58,009 compared to the 52,869 properties listed in 2009. Compared to 2008, last year’s total represents a 7.3 per cent decline compared to the 62,561 residential properties listed in 2008. The number of properties added to the MLS® peaked in April and generally declined for the remainder of the year.

“The last two years have been a bit of a rollercoaster for the real estate market. However, sales over the past six months have definitely shown a trend toward stability. We think that’s good news for home buyers and sellers,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said. “The Greater Vancouver housing market experienced a modest increase in home prices in 2010, and a continual decrease in the number of properties being listed for sale.”

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,899 in December 2010, a decrease of 24.5 per cent from the 2,515 sales recorded in December 2009—an all time record for the month—and a 24.3 per cent decline compared to November 2010 when 2,509 home sales occurred.

More broadly, last month’s residential sales represent a 105.5 per cent increase over the 924 residential sales in December 2008, a 0.1 per cent increase compared to December 2007’s 1,897 sales, and a 12.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,686 sales in December 2006.

The residential benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for Greater Vancouver increased 2.7 per cent to $577,808 between Decembers 2009 and 2010. However, prices have decreased 2.6 per cent since hitting a peak of $593,419 in April 2010.

“Although we saw some pressure on home prices throughout the year, home values in 2010 remained relatively steady in the region compared to the last few years when we witnessed much more fluctuation,” Moldowan said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,699 in December 2010. This represents a 21.1 per cent decline compared to the 2,153 units listed in December 2009 and a 43.9 per cent decline compared to November 2010 when 3,030 properties were listed.

Sales of detached properties in December 2010 reached 769, a decrease of 14.8 per cent from the 902 detached sales recorded in December 2009, and a 121.1 per cent increase from the 348 units sold in December 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 4.0 per cent from December 2009 to $797,868.

Sales of apartment properties reached 811 in December 2010, a decline of 29.7 per cent compared to the 1,154 sales in December 2009, and an increase of 94.5 per cent compared to the 417 sales in December 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.2 per cent from December 2009 to $387,115.

Attached property sales in December 2010 totalled 319, a decline of 30.5 per cent compared to the 459 sales in December 2009, and a 100.6 per cent increase from the 159 attached properties sold in December 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 2.7 per cent between December 2009 and 2010 to $490,869.

Download the complete stats package by clicking here.