While improving conditions were noted in both Winnipeg and Saskatoon, Canada’s housing markets remain highly vulnerable overall for the sixth consecutive quarter with evidence of overvaluation and price acceleration, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).


On a quarterly basis, CMHC issues its Housing Market Assessment (HMA) to provide Canadians with both expert and impartial insight and analysis, based on the best data available in Canada. This report acts as an “early warning system” for the country’s housing markets – an important tool supporting financial and housing market stability.

Results are based on data as of the end of September 2017 and market intelligence as of the end of December 2017.


CMHC’s HMA continues to find housing markets in Toronto, Hamilton, Vancouver and Victoria highly vulnerable due to price acceleration and overvaluation. There is low evidence of overbuilding overall at the national level but there are concerns surrounding overbuilding in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina. In these markets, the inventory of new but unsold homes and rental vacancy rates remain high. Low vulnerability is detected for housing markets in Manitoba, Québec and the Atlantic.

Report highlights:

  • Overvaluation at the national level remains moderate, but strong evidence of overvaluation continues to be seen in Toronto, Vancouver, Hamilton, and Victoria.
  • Despite the recent price adjustments, the ratings of high degrees of vulnerability were maintained in Toronto and Hamilton. House prices are not fully supported by economic fundamentals such as personal disposable income and population growth.
  • Vancouver’s housing market remained highly vulnerable. Overheating continues to be detected, as demand for multi-family units remains elevated, largely due to their relative affordability compared to single-detached homes. Inventories of both new and resale multi-family units are near all-time lows.
  • Victoria’s overvaluation persisted with low inventory levels of new and resale homes.
  • House prices in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina appear broadly in line with fundamentals, but strong evidence of overbuilding is still observable. Both inventories of completed and unsold homes and rental vacancy rates are above the thresholds of overbuilding.
  • Manitoba, Québec and Atlantic Canada housing markets were rated as showing low vulnerability.

CMHC defines vulnerability as imbalances in the housing market. Imbalances occur when overbuilding, overvaluation, overheating and price acceleration - or combinations thereof - depart significantly from historical averages.


As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.


“Our market assessment continues to show a high degree of vulnerability for the housing market at the overall national level because of the combination of price acceleration and overvaluation. Regional disparities remained, especially in terms of overvaluation, as some centres in BC and Ontario were still highly overvalued leading to an overall assessment of a high degree of vulnerability.”

— Bob Dugan, Chief Economist


“While house price growth has slowed, house price levels remained high relative to underlying economic fundamentals such as income and population growth. Therefore, we continue to find strong evidence of overvaluation”

— Dana Senagama, Principal Market Analyst (Toronto)

Provided by: CMHC


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The deadline for Vancouver homeowners to declare whether or not their home is occupied is this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The deadline for Vancouver homeowners to declare whether or not their home is occupied is this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.

Those who fail to declare or who declare that their home is unoccupied will be subject to the empty homes tax of 1 per cent tax on the assessed taxable value of their home.

Here’s five things to know about the tax, the deadline and what’s next.


What happens if I miss the deadline?

A homeowner who fails to make a declaration by the deadline will be charged a $250 penalty and their property will be deemed vacant and subject to the 1 per cent tax.

A homeowner who makes a false declaration could be fined up to $10,000 per day the declaration is not corrected, as well as being subject to the 1 per cent tax. Those who are late making payments or who do not pay their empty homes tax will be subject to a late payment penalty of 5 per cent, daily interest on arrears and the tax sale process.


How will the city know if my declaration is accurate?

Declarations for both empty and occupied homes could be picked for random audits. If a property is selected for an audit, the homeowner will have to provide proof that their declaration is accurate.


If picked for an audit, how can I prove that I live in my home or that I have a tenant?

If the homeowner resides in the property, proof can be in the form of ICBC vehicle insurance and registration, government-issued personal ID, an MSP invoice, tax returns or notices of assessment, an employment contract or pay stub or insurance certificate for homeowner’s insurance. (The occupant’s personal information must be registered to the property’s address; if not, the homeowner could still fail the audit.)

If the property is rented out by a tenant, proof can be in the form of a tenant agreement, income tax returns or notices of assessment showing rental income, bank statements that show rental income, insurance certificates for tenants insurance or information from a long-term tenant that states they are occupying your home.


What if I made a mistake on my declaration, I missed the deadline or the city says my home is empty but it isn’t?

Homeowners who miss the deadline, made a mistake in their declaration or who left out information in their declaration can file a notice of complaint. Notice of complaints will not be accepted until March 15, 2018.

If the city deems a home to be empty and the homeowner disagrees, they can also submit a notice of complaint beginning March 15.


What if my property is empty because I can’t find a tenant? Can I be exempt from the tax?

There will be no exemptions for homes that are unoccupied because the homeowner wasn’t able to find a tenant. The city encourages owners to lower their asking rental price until they are able to find a tenant.


 Provided by: Stephanie IP


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Listing provided by; Royal LePage -Brookside Realty


Hafez is an amazing realtor. We appreciated his patience and knowledge. We never felt rushed or pushed into anything. When it came to choosing a home, my husband and I were all over the map. Hafez helped us to figure out our goals in a home and provided suggestions we had both ruled out because of mis-information on our part. We are very happy in our new home! Hafez also has an amazing team. Debra is so sweet and helpful. We really appreciated Hafez introducing us to a stager for our previous home. The photographer was very talented and made our previous home shine. Hafez provided a high quality sellers portfolio. We were very happy with the attention to detail. Thanks so much Hafez!

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Canadians have never had it so good.

Canada ranks as the second best country globally once again, according to the 2018 Best Countries report by US News & World Report, Y&R’s BAV Consulting, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


The number two ranking is out of a list of 80 countries, and Canada only trails behind Switzerland at number one.

Canada also came in at number one for quality of life and number four for citizenship.

The quality of life sub-ranking is based on several factors: affordability, job market, economic stability, family-friendliness, income equality, political stability, safety, and quality of public services such as the healthcare and school systems.

Scandinavian countries largely topped the quality of life ranking, with Denmark coming in at number two, Sweden at number three, and Norway at number four. Australia came in at number five.

The citizenship sub-ranking measures a number of factors such as gender equality, human rights, religious freedom, and trustworthiness. Canada ranked number four overall in this category, just being edged out by Norway at number one, Switzerland at two, and Denmark in third place.



According to the publishers, the 2018 Best Countries report and rankings are based on how global perceptions define countries in terms of a number of qualitative characteristics, impressions that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment and directly affect national economies. Eighty countries, up from 60 in the inaugural rankings, were measured in this year’s report.

So yes, despite our strange love for ketchup, we’re pretty awesome up here.

Here are the 25 best countries to live in the world right now:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Germany
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Japan
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia
  8. United States
  9. France
  10. The Netherlands
  11. Denmark
  12. Norway
  13. New Zealand
  14. Finland
  15. Italy
  16. Singapore
  17. Austria
  18. Luxembourg
  19. Spain
  20. China
  21. Ireland
  22. South Korea
  23. United Arab Emirates
  24. Portugal
  25. India
See also

Provided by: The Daily Hive


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Vancouver's attempt to address the issue of people purchasing properties and leaving them empty is hurting the wrong people, citizen group says.

The lot at 6161 Macdonald St., Vancouver, owned by Jane Macdougall. Ms. Macdougall restored the house at the right, then subdivided the adjoining empty lot. PHOTOS COURTESY OF Jane Macdougall 


When Samantha Reynolds got a reminder from the city in the mail that she had not yet submitted her Empty Homes Tax declaration, she shook her head at the irony.

Ms. Reynolds lives a few houses down from a house owned by the city that has been vacant for almost two years.

Last summer, the city-owned character house at 3030 Victoria Dr. became a case of bad publicity for the city when it was revealed in this column that the city purchased the house in February, 2016 and left it empty.

City hall and the park board, had plans to tear it down and leave it as a vacant lot, with the expectation that the other homeowners on the block would also sell. All the houses would then be torn down to create more parkland. The block is adjacent to John Hendry Park, better known as Trout Lake. But the residents on the block are part of a tight-knit community and have no plans to leave. After neighbourhood push back, the city said the house would remain and it was to be rented out. However, it has remained empty for almost two years.

There are 25,502 unoccupied or empty homes across the city, according to the last census. The rental vacancy rate is less than one per cent.

"I would like them to be accountable to their empty promise; to rent the house out," Ms. Reynolds says.

She'd also like the city to give up its plan to create more parkland and put the house back on the market, since there's a housing crisis.

"As a neighbourhood we are not backing down. We want them to reverse the whole plan."

When I contacted the city last week, staff said they were just about to put out a request for a co-op operator who could take on a lease and find tenants for the house. The operator would also have to do repairs according to the building code. (The first winter the city owned the house, no one turned off the water and the pipes froze and broke.) There was no explanation as to why that process had not begun several months ago.

Double standard aside, the Empty Homes Tax (EHT) is well intentioned. It was introduced in order to address the practice of purchasing properties and leaving them empty as mere land banks. Rich property owners who can afford to leave a perfectly good home empty is just the sort of crass wastefulness that is making Vancouver residents apoplectic. Kerrisdale and Dunbar are full of empty new homes that symbolize the hypercommodification of housing that's become a Vancouver specialty.


The EHT becomes a reality on Feb. 2, also the deadline for Vancouver homeowners to declare whether they are holding a property that has been empty for more than six months. The tax amounts to one per cent of the home's assessed value, which will be due by April 16. People who make false declarations will face fines up to $10,000 a day, as well as the tax.

But some are arguing that the tax is sweeping up a good many innocent citizens in its attempt to net those homeowners who have turned housing into a mere money-maker.

Developer Michael Geller calls the approach well intentioned but "absurd" – a tax that will only incentivize people to find ways around it.

"They will either figure out a clever way to get around it, or sell their places. That's what's happening. A number have sold them, but others have come up with clever legal structures to avoid paying the tax."

He also questions what will happen when someone purchases an empty house. If audited, will the new buyer be stuck with the previous owner's EHT?

"There is a whole series of unintended consequences, which the city should have remedied and instead they are simply standing by it," Mr. Geller says.

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There's the case of Jane Macdougall, who owns a lot that has never had a house on it. In 2005, she had restored and saved a significant Tudor Revival heritage house on a large lot, and, with the help of a Heritage Revitalization Agreement, she subdivided the adjoining empty lot. The grand house, with its striking Gothic arch entrance, was designed by Hodgson & Simmonds in 1930. That same year, Simmonds designed the Stanley Theatre.

Ms. Macdougall says she will owe around $60,000 in total taxes for the lot, including the EHT. She says she's being punished for not providing housing, while the City – which will face no penalty for leaving 3030 Victoria Dr. standing empty – is held to a different standard.

("City of Vancouver-owned properties are exempt from payment of property taxes under the Vancouver Charter and are therefore exempt from the Empty Homes Tax," city staff said in an e-mail.)

Jane Macdougall says she'll owe $60,000 in total taxes, including the EHT, for a lot that has never had a house on it.
Jane Macdougall says she'll owe $60,000 in total taxes, including the EHT, for a lot that has never had a house on it.

Despite its significance, Ms. Macdougall could have torn the house down and made a fortune from the three city lots that it occupied. It happens all the time in Vancouver. Instead, she sold off the house and planned to build on the lot that remained. However, building on a property that had limited access proved to be a case of endless bureaucratic red tape.


Instead, Ms. Macdougall bought a house elsewhere and allowed the owners of her former house to use the lot as garden in exchange for maintaining it.


Now, she has discovered the EHT also applies to empty lots such as hers. The city had included empty lots in the tax because they quite rightly realized that some homeowners would rather bulldoze their houses than pay the tax. Ms. Macdougallis in a unique predicament. She says city staff have advised her to take out development permits.


"I'm thinking, 'Okay, do you want to give me the $2-million it's going to take to build on this? And who am I building it for? And to what end? And how does that address the ridiculous crisis of affordability in housing that we have found ourselves in as a result of, in my estimation, some people not being proactive when they needed to be?"


Dr. Rainer Borkenhagen started the citizen group, Unfair Vancouver Vacant Homes Tax Coalition, last spring, and it has hired legal counsel to advise them on whether they should take action against the bylaw. The group, which numbers about 80 people, is made up of retirees, artists and working professionals who come and go from Vancouver. Dr. Borkenhagen lives on the Sunshine Coast and owns a small condo in Vancouver, which was intended for family gatherings since their family has become dispersed. Once the tax was announced, they found a family friend to rent it last year, and this year they intend the condo for their own use. If they hadn't rented the unit last year, they'd be looking at an EHT of about $8,000, Dr. Borkenhagen says.


They feel the tax unfairly targets tax-paying citizens who've done nothing wrong.


The way the bylaw is written, only people who are working in Vancouver can occupy a secondary unit for a minimum of six months of the year. It doesn't apply to retirees, which, he says, is discriminatory.


"If it's your secondary home, you have to prove that you are there for six months working," says Dr. Borkenhagen, who still works, but will retired people who used to be full-time in Vancouver."


Dr. Borkenhagen makes a number of strong points. The tax is retroactive, which means it affects people who would have never purchased a secondary unit if they had known about the tax.


He says that if he does rent out his secondary unit, he doesn't have to prove that the tenant is working, or even spending a lot of time in it. So, the tenant can come and go, but not the retired owner. As well, with housing costs the way they are, a pied-à-terre is often the only way that parents can visit their city-dwelling children, he argues. The family has become decentralized.


"The other thing is, how are they going to monitor it? Right now it's the honour system, what you declare. And then they threaten to audit you, and industrial-size penalties of up to $10,000 a day. The threat is there."


It is not a tax, but a fine, he says. And it's a substantial fine for retirees on a fixed income.


"They should just across the board increase taxes and put the increase towards social housing," he says. "People like us, taxpayers who've paid our dues in everything, do not throw us in the pot and say, 'you're a culprit.' They should recognize that the issue is much bigger.


"They see us as a necessary collateral damage," he adds. "But they want to keep it clean and easy and not look at too many exceptions to the bylaw, because it becomes too difficult to administer."


As of last week, 62 per cent, or 116,000 property owners had made their declarations this year. "What the city is saying is there is no room for retired people who used to be full-time in Vancouver." The city says it will release the number of declared vacant properties later this year. It's unclear how the bylaw will be enforceable, other than an audit, if the city asks for it. In that case, the homeowner will have to prove that they qualify for one of several exemptions.


Empty homes represent speculative buying by mystery buyers who often have no other connection to the city than real estate. Local incomes can't compete.


Until government gets tough on foreign money, the empty home will remain what it is – a symbol of an empty promise to meaningfully do something.


Provided by: Kerry Gold with the Globe & Mail


The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 1 1/4 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 1/2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent. Recent data have been strong, inflation is close to target, and the economy is operating roughly at capacity. However, uncertainty surrounding the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is clouding the economic outlook.


The global economy continues to strengthen, with growth expected to average 3 1/2 per cent over the projection horizon. Growth in advanced economies is projected to be stronger than in the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report (MPR). In particular, there are signs of increasing momentum in the US economy, which will be boosted further by recent tax changes. Global commodity prices are higher, although the benefits to Canada are being diluted by wider spreads between benchmark world and Canadian oil prices.


In Canada, real GDP growth is expected to slow to 2.2 per cent in 2018 and 1.6 per cent in 2019, following an estimated 3.0 per cent in 2017. Growth is expected to remain above potential through the first quarter of 2018 and then slow to a rate close to potential for the rest of the projection horizon.


Consumption and residential investment have been stronger than anticipated, reflecting strong employment growth. Business investment has been increasing at a solid pace, and investment intentions remain positive. Exports have been weaker than expected although, apart from cross-border shifts in automotive production, there have been positive signs in most other categories.


Looking forward, consumption and residential investment are expected to contribute less to growth, given higher interest rates and new mortgage guidelines, while business investment and exports are expected to contribute more. The Bank’s outlook takes into account a small benefit to Canada’s economy from stronger US demand arising from recent tax changes. However, as uncertainty about the future of NAFTA is weighing increasingly on the outlook, the Bank has incorporated into its projection additional negative judgement on business investment and trade.


The Bank continues to monitor the extent to which strong demand is boosting potential, creating room for more non-inflationary expansion. In this respect, capital investment, firm creation, labour force participation, and hours worked are all showing promising signs. Recent data show that labour market slack is being absorbed more quickly than anticipated. Wages have picked up but are rising by less than would be typical in the absence of labour market slack.


In this context, inflation is close to 2 per cent and core measures of inflation have edged up, consistent with diminishing slack in the economy. The Bank expects CPI inflation to fluctuate in the months ahead as various temporary factors (including gasoline and electricity prices) unwind. Looking through these temporary factors, inflation is expected to remain close to 2 per cent over the projection horizon.


While the economic outlook is expected to warrant higher interest rates over time, some continued monetary policy accommodation will likely be needed to keep the economy operating close to potential and inflation on target. Governing Council will remain cautious in considering future policy adjustments, guided by incoming data in assessing the economy’s sensitivity to interest rates, the evolution of economic capacity, and the dynamics of both wage growth and inflation.

Information note

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is March 7, 2018. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on April 18, 2018


Simon Fraser University 2017 A Year in Review




Happy New Year!  I wish you and your families a healthy and prosperous 2018. 

Another year has come and gone and what a year it is has been.  There was significant media attention given to the real estate market in the Lower Mainland.  It felt like not a day went by that some news outlet was reporting something about real estate.  And it was not just about home prices. 


Prices are too high. Debt levels are too high. Vancouver real estate market highest in the world.  And, oh Foreign Buyers, Foreign Buyers, Foreign Buyers!!


So, are prices too high?  Are we carrying too much debt?  Will there be a major correction?  The long and short answer is we really do not know.


To add to all the extra confusion, we have a new mortgage stress test that will apply not just to mortgages with under 20% down payment but as of January 1, 2018 to all new mortgages. 

I think the one thing to take away from all of this is that markets will go up and markets will go down.  Real Estate in Vancouver is an interesting topic.


The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market in 2017, in my opinion, can be summarized in two words: Low Inventory.


Although sales trended to more historically normal levels compared to 2015 and 2016, a decrease of 9.9% over 2016 and 15% decrease over 2015, listings were much lower.  2017 sales were still 9.7% above the 10-year average.  However, listings were off by 5.1% over 2016 and 4.5% over 2015.  Or 4.4% below the 10-year average.


This all translated to an increase of price of 15.9% over 2016 according to the Home Price Index (“HPI”).


Specifically looking at the Simon Fraser University (“SFU”), 2017 saw an amazing unprecedented rise of 22.3% according to the HPI.  That is a 5% increase over 2016.  During 2015 the market in SFU increased by only 12.5%.  So, between 2016 and 2017, SFU prices have appreciated a whopping 40.7%.  Congratulations if you were one of the lucky ones that got in the market. 


Click here for the Home Price Index


There was a total of 168 sales registered through the MLS system, including resale and presale construction.  This is an approximate decrease of 17% compared to 2016.  Given that we now have approximately 1750 resale units on the market, 168 sales represent only 4% of the entire available stock in 2017.

Here is a summary of 2017 vs. 2016 performance for SFU, UniverCity





% Difference

Number of Sales




Avg. Price




Avg. cost per sqft




Avg. Days on Market





This brings us to current market conditions on the mountain.  Inventory levels are incredibly low.  There are presently only 12 units for sale as of January 15, 2017. Prices range from $418,000 for a 710sqft, 2 bed and 1 bath home to a 1,141sqft, 2 bed and 2 bath penthouse that is under construction at the Terraces by InterGulf listed at $1,499,000.

Low inventory levels and strong demand coupled with a milder than normal winter are all signs that UniverCity at Simon Fraser University should perform well in Q1 of 2018.  Activity has already been very good at open houses in my personal experience. 


Contact us now if you have any questions about the market in general or specifically if you would like to learn more about the Simon Fraser University area.


Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), show national home sales continued to climb in December 2017.



  • National home sales rose 4.5% from November to December.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 4.1% year-over-year (y-o-y).
  • The number of newly listed homes climbed 3.3% from November to December.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) in December was up 9.1% y-o-y.
  • The national average sale price advanced by 5.7% y-o-y.

Home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems posted their fifth consecutive monthly increase in December 2017, fully recovering from the slump last summer.


Activity in December was up in close to 60% of all local markets, led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Edmonton, Calgary, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Hamilton-Burlington and Winnipeg.


Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 4.1% from December 2016. While activity remained below year-ago levels in the GTA, the decline there was more than offset by some sizeable y-o-y gains in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal.


“Monthly momentum for national home sales activity gained strength late last year and further expected economic and job growth will buoy sales activity this year despite slightly higher expected interest rates,” said CREA President Andrew Peck. “Even so, momentum for home sales differs depending on location and type,” he added. “A professional REALTOR® is your best source for information and guidance in negotiations to purchase or sell a home during these changing times,” said Peck.


“National home sales in December were likely boosted by seasonal adjustment factors and a potential pull-forward of demand before new mortgage regulations came into effect this year,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “It will be interesting to see if monthly sales activity continues to rise despite tighter mortgage regulations that took effect on January 1st.”


The number of newly listed homes rose 3.3% in December. As in November, the national increase was overwhelmingly due to rising new supply in the GTA.


New listings and sales have both trended higher since August. As a result, the sales-to-new listings ratio has remained in the mid-to-high 50% range since then.


A national sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40% and 60% is generally consistent with a balanced national housing market, with readings below and above this range indicating buyers’ and sellers’ markets respectively. That said, the balanced range can vary among local markets.


Considering the degree and duration that the current market balance is above or below its long-term average is a more sophisticated way of gauging whether local housing market conditions favour buyers or sellers.


Market balance measures that are within one standard deviation of the long-term average are generally consistent with balanced market conditions.


Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with its long-term average, more than two-thirds of all local markets were in balanced market territory in December 2017.


The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 4.5 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of December 2017. The measure has been moving steadily lower in tandem with the monthly rise in sales that began last summer.


The number of months of inventory in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region (2.1 months) was up sharply from the all-time low reached in March 2017 (0.9 months). Even so, the December reading stood a full month below the region’s long-term average (3.1 months) and reached a seven-month low.


The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 9.1% y-o-y in December 2017. This was the 8th consecutive deceleration in y-o-y gains, continuing a trend that began in the spring. It was also the smallest y-o-y increase since February 2016.


The deceleration in y-o-y price gains largely reflects trends among Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, particularly for single-family homes. On an aggregate basis, only single-family price increases slowed on a y-o-y basis. By comparison, y-o-y price gains picked up for townhouse/row and apartment units.


Apartment units again posted the largest y-o-y price gains in December (+20.5%), followed by townhouse/row units (+13%), one-storey single family homes (+5.5%), and two-storey single family homes (+4.5%).


Benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in 9 of the 13 markets tracked by the MLS® HPI, with Calgary and Oakville-Milton price comparisons tipping slightly into negative territory on a y-o-y basis.


After having dipped in the second half of last year, composite benchmark home prices in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia have recovered and now stand at new highs (Greater Vancouver: +15.9% y-o-y; Fraser Valley: +20.9% y-o-y).


Benchmark home prices rose by about 14% on a y-o-y basis in Victoria and by about 19% elsewhere on Vancouver Island in December. These y-o-y gains were similar to those recorded in October and November.


Price gains have slowed considerably on a y-o-y basis in the GTA, Guelph and Oakville-Milton; however, home prices in the former 2 markets remain above year-ago levels (Greater Toronto: +7.2% y o-y; Guelph: +13.1% y-o-y; Oakville-Milton: -0.8% y-o-y).


Calgary benchmark home prices were down slightly in December (-0.4% y-o-y), as were home prices in Regina and Saskatoon (-4% y-o-y and -3.7% y-o-y, respectively).


Benchmark home prices rose by 6.6% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by a 7.5% increase in two-storey single family home prices), by 5.4% in Greater Montreal (led by a 6.3% increase in in two-storey single family home prices) and by 6.3% in Greater Moncton (led by an 8.3% increase in one-storey single family home prices). (Table 1)


The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides the best way of gauging price trends because average price trends are prone to being strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in December 2017 was just over $496,500, up 5.7% from one year earlier. The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations trims almost $116,000 from the national average price to just under $381,000.


PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month. 

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types. 

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale. 

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 120,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.



A for-sale sign is pictured in front of a home in Vancouver on Sept. 22, 2016.


Home prices climbed sharply in Canada in 2017 as booming sales in British Columbia offset weaker home sales in Ontario.

The Canadian Real Estate Association released year-end numbers on Monday, reporting the national benchmark home price was $600,300 in December, up 9.1 per cent from a year earlier, according to the MLS Home Price Index.

The national price increase came as home prices in Greater Vancouver climbed 16 per cent in December compared with a year earlier, reaching an MLS benchmark price of $1,050,300 at the end of 2017 as B.C. real estate markets shrugged off the impact of a foreign-buyers tax announced in August, 2016. Prices in the Fraser Valley rose 21 per cent and Vancouver Island prices climbed 19 per cent in December compared with a year earlier.


In Ontario, by comparison, growth slowed in 2017 after the Ontario government introduced a package of reforms in April, including the new foreign-buyers tax. The Greater Toronto Area saw prices rise 7 per cent in December compared with a year earlier, according to the MLS Home Price Index, while prices in Oakville-Milton fell 0.8 per cent in December compared with a year earlier.

Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic said that while volume of home sales fell 7.6 per cent in December in the GTA compared with a year earlier, the result was still a sharp improvement from midyear when sales were down as much as 40 per cent on a year-over-year basis.


Mr. Kavcic said rebounding demand has been met with new supply, as new listings in the GTA climbed 51 per cent in December compared with December, 2016, which is the largest increase in new listings ever on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The result is that growing supply has kept price increases in check, he said, and prices are unlikely to soar again soon after tougher new mortgage qualification stress-test rules took effect on Jan. 1.

"We still view fundamental supply-demand factors as very strong, which should contain the price declines soon," Mr. Kavcic said in a research note.

"However, the new [stress-test] measures and a shift to a rising-rate environment should prevent speculative froth from building again, and contain price growth to a reasonable pace for the remainder of the cycle."

Mr. Kavcic said regions such as Oakville-Milton may have seen prices fall on a year-over-year basis in part because they had higher-than-average levels of foreign investment, which has been affected by the new tax announcement in April.


On a national basis, the number of homes sold in December rose 4.5 per cent over November as sales climbed in 60 per cent of all major local markets during the month, including the GTA and Hamilton-Burlington. CREA said it was the fifth consecutive month of national sales growth, which shows Canada is "fully recovering" from the slump last summer.

But sales were still down 4 per cent nationally based on the total volume of sales throughout the year, which marks the worst performance for sales since 2010, said Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Rishi Sondhi.

TD is anticipating national sales will fall in 2018 from 2017, Mr. Sondhi said, as the new mortgage rules and interest-rate increases restrain growth, but is not forecasting a sharp market correction.


"We're not expecting an outsized, sharply lower plunge in prices," Mr. Sondhi said.

Mr. Sondhi said the GTA market has a relatively large share of uninsured mortgages that will be affected by new mortgage stress-test rules, which means January's report will be "all the more closely scrutinized" to try to assess the impact of the regulations.

CREA expects economic and job growth in 2018 will buoy sales this year. However, CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said national sales in December were also likely boosted by a rush to lock in purchases before the introduction of the mortgage stress-test rules, so sales could be affected in early 2018.


"It will be interesting to see if monthly sales activity continues to rise despite tighter mortgage regulations that took effect on Jan. 1," Mr. Klump said.

The MLS Home Price Index adjusts for the mix of home types sold during the year to provide a benchmark sales price. The average sale price in Canada, by comparison, rose 5.7 per cent in December to $496,532, which was significantly lower than the benchmark price. The average was pulled lower by the larger proportion of condominium sales compared with single-family homes, especially in the GTA.

Home sale prices fell in four of 14 major markets included in the MLS Home Price Index. Prices dropped 4 per cent in Regina in December compared with a year earlier, while Saskatoon recorded a 3.7-per-cent decline, Calgary saw a fall 0.4 per cent and prices in Oakville-Milton slipped 0.8 per cent.

Prices climbed 5.4 per cent in Greater Montreal in December compared with a year earlier, according to MLS Home Price Index, while Ottawa saw a 6.6-per-cent price increase.


Provided by:  with the Globe & Mail


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