CLI Points to Flattening Commercial Activity in 2019

The BCREA Commercial Leading Indicator (CLI) declined by 1.8 points to 134.5 from the third to the fourth quarter of 2018. Compared to this time one year ago, the index is about 1 per cent lower.

“Following several years of robust growth, the BC economy slowed in 2018 and the CLI is reflecting that slowdown,” says BCREA Deputy Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “That means the economic environment for commercial real estate activity will be less favourable in 2019.”

Slowing provincial economic activity continued in the fourth quarter, led by weak retail sales and a fourth quarter drop in manufacturing shipments in the forestry sector. Adding to those declines were falling manufacturing employment and a jump in short-term credit risk spreads. As a result, each component of the CLI posted a decline in the fourth quarter. Recent volatility in the CLI has left the underlying trend in the CLI flat over the past two quarters, signaling a slower growth environment for commercial real estate activity. 

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Provided by: BCREA

“Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.” 


BCREA 2019 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update 

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2019 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to increase 2 per cent to 80,000 units this year, after recording 78,345 residential sales in 2018. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase a further 6.9 per cent to 85,500 units in 2020. The 10-year average for MLS® residential sales in the province is 85,800 units.

“The negative shock to affordability and purchasing power created by the B20 stress test on mortgage borrowers is expected to continue constraining housing demand in the province this year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Favourable demographics along with continuing strong performance of the BC economy is expected to underpin housing demand over the next two years.”

The policy-induced demand shock has contributed to an increase of the inventory of homes for sale in most regions of the province. As a result, market conditions are expected to provide little upward pressure on home prices this year, with the average annual residential price forecast to remain essentially unchanged, albeit up 0.5 per cent to $716,100.

Modest improvement in consumer demand is expected to unfold over the next two years as households further adjust to the mortgage stress test.

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Provided by: BCREA

“Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.” 


Nothing for home buyers in Budget 2019

BC Budget 2019, tabled on February 19, 2019 by Finance Minister Carole James, offers nothing to help home buyers – whether they’re first-timers or trading up.

The government is forecasting Property Transfer Tax (PTT) revenue to remain at $1.910 billion, despite a significant slowdown in home sales and housing starts.

Housing starts

Housing starts fell 6.4 per cent in 2018 and are forecast to drop 16.7 per cent to 34,000 units in 2019 from 40,857 units in 2018 and 43,664 in 2017. Starts are forecast to decline even further to 30,517 units in 2021.

The Speculation and Vacancy Tax

  • Forecast to bring in $87 million in 2018/2019 and $185 million in each of the three fiscal years following.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver recommendations

  • increase the First-Time Home Buyers’ Program PTT exemption threshold to $750,000 from $500,000.
  • increase the 1% PTT threshold to $525,000 from $200,000 for all home buyers.
  • index PTT thresholds using the consumer price index, and make adjustments annually for the:expand the exemption for the additional 20% foreign buyers’ PTT to include everyone with a work permit in BC, and don’t increase this tax or expand it beyond its current geographical scope.
    • 2% and 3% thresholds;
    • First-Time Home Buyers’ Program exemption threshold; and
    • Newly Built Home Exemption threshold.
    • expand the exemption for the additional 20% foreign buyers’ PTT to include everyone with a work permit in BC, and don’t increase this tax or expand it beyond its current geographical scope.

The government did not implement any of these recommendations.

Other Budget highlights

Anti-money laundering
  • $6 million for Anti-money laundering, cannabis legislation and gun and gang violence.
Speculation and Vacancy Tax – retroactive to November 27, 2018:
  • There’s an exemption for property that's uninhabitable due to a natural disaster or a hazardous condition for at least 60 days.
  • Funding to community organizations to operate rent banks to help tenants in danger of losing their homes.
  • Funding for short-term loans with low/no interest to low-income tenants in financial crisis who can’t pay rent.

Although the government promised to introduce a $400 annual renters’ rebate, this is missing from this budget.

  • Additional funding of $679 million for the CleanBC plan includes $58 million to make homes/ buildings more energy efficient. This covers rebates up to $14,000 for energy efficiency home improvements and $700 for high-efficiency natural gas furnaces. Rebates up to $6,000 apply to new zero-emission vehicles.
Provided by: REBGV

Canadian home sales improve in January 2019

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales in January 2019 were up from the previous month but remained below levels recorded one year ago.


  • National home sales rose 3.6% between December 2018 and January 2019.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down by 4% from one year ago.
  • The number of newly listed homes edged up 1% month-over-month in January.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 0.8% year-over-year (y-o-y) in January.
  • The national average sale price fell by 5.5% y-o-y in January.

Home sales via Canadian MLS® Systems climbed 3.6% in January 2019 compared to December 2018 (Chart A). The number of homes trading handswas up from the previous month in half of all local markets, led by Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) were down 4% from year-ago levels and turned in the weakest January since 2015. They also came in below the 10-year average for the month on a national basis and in Canada’s three westernmost provinces, Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador.

“Homebuyers are still adapting to tightened mortgage regulations brought in last year, “said CREA President Barb Sukkau. “However, their impact on homebuyers varies by location, housing type and price segment. All real estate is local. A professional REALTOR®remains your best source for information and guidance in negotiating the purchase or sale of a home during these changing times,” added Sukkau.

“Sales, market balance and home price trends are out of synch among major Canadian cities that have the greatest impact on national results,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “It’s clear that housing market conditions remain weaker in the Prairie region and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Notwithstanding the intended consequences, tighter mortgage regulations that took effect in 2018 combined with previous tightening will weigh on economic growth this year.”

The number of newly listed homes edged up 1% in January, led by a jump in new supply in Greater Vancouver and Hamilton-Burlington.

With sales up by more than new listings, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 56.7% compared to 55.3% posted in December. This measure of market balance has remained close to its long-term average of 53.5% for the last year.

Considering the degree and duration to which market balance readings are above or below their long-term averages is the best way of gauging whether local housing market conditions favour buyers or sellers. Market balance measures that are within one standard deviation of their long-term average are generally consistent with balanced market conditions.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, more than half of all local markets were in balanced market territory in January 2019.

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

There were 5.3 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2019, in line with its long-term average. That said, the well-balanced national reading masks significant regional differences. The number of months of inventory has swollen far above its long-term average in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador; as a result, homebuyers there have an ample choice of listings available for purchase. By contrast, the measure remains well below its long-term average in Ontario and Prince Edward Island, consistent with seller’s market conditions. In other provinces, sales and inventory are more balanced.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) was up 0.8% y-o-y in January 2019 – the smallest increase since June 2018 (Chart B).

Apartment units recorded the largest y-o-y price increase in January (+3.3%), followed by townhouse/row units (+1.5%). By comparison, two-storey single-family home prices were little changed (+0.1%) while one-storey single-family home prices edged down (-1.1%).

Trends continue to vary widely among the 17 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results were mixed in British Columbia. Prices were down on a y-o-y basis in Greater Vancouver (-4.5%) and the Fraser Valley (-0.8%). By contrast, prices posted a y-o-y increase of 4.2% in Victoria and were up 9.3% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Among Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (+7.2%), the Niagara Region (+7%), Hamilton-Burlington (+5%), Oakville-Milton (+3.9%) and the GTA (+2.7%). By contrast, home prices in Barrie and District remain below year-ago levels (-2.7%).

Across the Prairies, supply is historically elevated relative to sales, causing benchmark home prices to remain down from year-ago levels in Calgary (-3.9%), Edmonton (-2.9%), Regina (-3.8%) and Saskatoon (-2%). The home pricing environment will likely remain weak in these cities until elevated supply is reduced.

Home prices rose 7.1% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by a 9.5% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6.3% in Greater Montreal (led by a 9.2% increase in townhouse/row unit prices) and 1% in Greater Moncton (led by a 15.1% increase in townhouse/row unit prices). (Table 1)

The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends, as averages are 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 January 2019 was

just under $455,000, down 5.5% from the same month in 2018 and marking the biggest year-over-year decline since May 2018.

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 cuts almost $95,000 from the national average price, trimming it to just over $360,000.

Provided by: CREA


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 3,546 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January, a decline of 33.2 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $665,590, a decline of 7.7 per cent from January 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $2.36 billion, a 38.4 per cent decline from the same month last year. “BC households continue to grapple with the policyinduced affordability shock created last year by the federal government,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The resulting pullback in consumer demand is largely responsible for January’s lacklustre performance.”

Total MLS® residential active listings increased 41.2 per cent to 29,522 units compared to the same month last year. The ratio of sales to active residential listings declined from 25.4 per cent to 12 per cent over the same period.

“Many BC regions are now exhibiting buyer’s market conditions,” added Muir. “However, BC Northern, the Kootenay, Okanagan Mainline and the Vancouver Island markets continue to reflect balance between supply and demand.”

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Provied by: BCREA


THANK YOU to all my Clients

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Canadian Housing Starts Trend Held Steady in January

The trend in housing starts was 208,131 units in January 2019, compared to 207,171 units in December 2018, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

"After recent declines, the national trend in housing starts held steady in January and remained above historical average," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "While single-detached starts continued to trend lower in January, this was offset by an uptick in the trend for multi-unit dwellings in urban centres.

Monthly Highlights


The trend measure for housing starts in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) held steady in January 2019 after trending lower in the second half of 2018. The majority of January’s starts were concentrated in the apartment condominium segment in the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, which together accounted for over half of new construction activity for the month.


Total housing starts trended sharply upward in Kelowna for January. Condominium units in the city of Kelowna were the largest share of the uptick with larger projects breaking ground in the first month of 2019. This continued a trend of elevated multi-family construction in the region. However, single detached units also increased slightly.


Total starts in Lethbridge trended higher in January 2019 compared to the previous month mainly due to the increase in single-detached starts. Multi-family starts declined marginally as the decrease in both row and apartment starts was partially offset by the increase in semi-detached starts.


The trend measure of total housing starts edged higher in the first month of 2019. Nonetheless, actual total housing starts in January were down 15%, compared to January 2018. The reduction in building activity was entirely due to a sharp decline in multi-family construction while single-detached starts began the year on stronger footing.


Toronto CMA total housing starts trend was unchanged from the previous month. Single and semi-detached homes along with condominium apartment starts trended lower. Row starts, conversely, trended significantly higher as strong pre-construction sales towards the latter part of 2018 converted into housing starts. Rising borrowing costs kept pre-construction sales of new homes low, particularly low-rise throughout 2018.  As a result, expect to see even fewer units breaking ground during 2019.


Total housing starts in London CMA trended higher due to increased apartment construction while single detached and rows homes starts continuing their downward trend. An increasing number of completed but unsold new single-detached homes resulted in fewer single-detached starts; as builders were able to satisfy demand from existing inventories.


Ottawa housing starts trended lower for all dwelling types in the first month of 2019. Starts this January marked the lowest for the month in over two decades. The number of units under construction in January was historically high, leaving homebuilders with fewer resources to commit to new construction.


In January 2019, housing starts trended lower for the second month in a row for the Gatineau area. However, the number of new rental housing units remains at a high level, as the aging of the population and the low vacancy rate continue to stimulate starts for this type.

Québec CMA

Housing starts activity started off slowly in the Québec CMA, as a result of a decrease in multi-unit segment. Despite this slowdown in January, multi-unit—especially rental—housing construction should stay relatively strong this year. Activity in this market segment is being stimulated in particular by migration and the aging of the population.

New Brunswick

In January 2019, New Brunswick’s total housing starts were 33% higher compared to a year ago. The increase was due to multiple-unit starts, which were more than double the number observed in January 2018. On the other hand, construction of single-detached housing has been on a downward trend and the number of starts in January was the lowest for the month in 20 years.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of Canada’s housing market. In some situations analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 207,968 units in January, down from 213,630 units in December. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.1% in January to 190,912 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 0.7% to 146,353 units in January while single-detached urban starts decreased by 10.4% to 44,559 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17,056 units.

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Provided by: CMHC


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Trio of tall towers proposed for Coquitlam city centre

Onni seeks to build 49, 45 and 25 storey buildings at Glen Drive and Pinetree Way

Another three towers could be added to the Coquitlam City Centre skyline.


Monday, council sent to public hearing a proposal by the Onni Group to build the highrises on the southeast corner of Pinetree Way and Glen Drive

Onni is proposing towers of 49, 45 and 25 storeys, comprising 891 units, including 186 rental units in the smallest tower. Ninety-five of the 705 market condos will be three-bedroom units while 31 of the 186 rental units will have three bedrooms.


(The report recommended requiring the rental tower be occupied prior to the market condominium towers.)


The developer also proposes 72,000 sq. ft. of commercial space on a six-storey podium on Glen Drive, with eight retail units, four floors of offices and a daycare space accommodating 80 to 100 children. It would be next door to a 40-storey tower being built by Polygon at Glen and Westwood Street that was approved last year. Council gave the go-ahead to that project despite several speakers at a public hearing complaining the area would become “a concrete jungle.”

Coun. Bonita Zarrillo was the only councillor to oppose Onni’s application going to a public hearing, expressing concern about the many buildings and lack of access to family housing.

“This is far too quick of a change,” said Zarrillo. “I don’t think this is the time to do this type of zoning given the lack of family and entry-level housing.”

The proposal calls for a $250,000 public art feature, two car-share vehicles, bike repair rooms, parking for 1,329 vehicles and 1,166 bicycles. A staff report said more design considerations have to be developed with Onni including a more distinct look to the podium.


Onni plans to install a micro district energy system fuelled by natural gas to provide heating, cooling and hot water. A city report estimated the system would reduce gas and electrical usage by five to 20% and greenhouse gases by 10 to 25%.

Mayor Richard Stewart said he wonders if the system would become more common with development proposals but city manager Pete Steblin said they work best when one owner owns it long-term, which Onni proposes to do, with regulation by the BC Utilities Commission. Steblin said not many developers are interested in the systems and many have objected to municipalities making them mandatory.

“We have wanted to encourage it but we didn’t want to get in the space of running it,” said Steblin, who added it’s not often a developer proposes to install the system.

The report said the development will generate an estimated $12 million in development cost charges and $31 million in density bonus funds, of which $2 million will go in the affordable housing reserve fund.

Provided by: Grant Granger for the Tri-City News



Home listings increase while buyers remain in holding pattern

Home listings continue to increase across all housing categories in the Metro Vancouver* housing market while home buyer activity remains below historical averages.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,103 in January 2019, a 39.3 per cent decrease from the 1,818 sales recorded in January 2018, and a 2.9 per cent increase from the 1,072 homes sold in December 2018.

Last month’s sales were 36.3 per cent below the 10-year January sales average and were the lowest January-sales total since 2009.

“REALTORS® are seeing more traffic at open houses compared to recent months, however, buyers are choosing to remain in a holding pattern for the time being,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said.

There were 4,848 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in January 2019. This represents a 27.7 per cent increase compared to the 3,796 homes listed in January 2018 and a 244.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,407 homes listed in December 2018.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 10,808, a 55.6 per cent increase compared to January 2018 (6,947) and a 5.2 per cent increase compared to December 2018 (10,275).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2019 is 10.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 6.8 per cent for detached homes, 11.9 per cent for townhomes, and 13.6 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“Home prices have edged down across all home types in the region over the last seven months,” Moore said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,019,600. This represents a 4.5 per cent decrease over January 2018, and a 7.2 per cent decrease over the past six months.

“Economic fundamentals underpinning our market for home buyers and sellers remain strong. Today’s market conditions are largely the result of the mortgage stress test that the federal government imposed at the beginning of last year,” Moore said. “This measure, coupled with an increase in mortgage rates, took away as much as 25 per cent of purchasing power from many home buyers trying to enter the market.”

Sales of detached homes in January 2019 reached 339, a 30.4 per cent decrease from the 487 detached sales recorded in January 2018. The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,453,400. This represents a 9.1 per cent decrease from January 2018, and an 8.3 per cent decrease over the past six months.

Sales of apartment homes reached 559 in January 2019, a 44.8 per cent decrease compared to the 1,012 sales in January 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $658,600. This represents a 1.7 per cent decrease from January 2018, and a 6.6 per cent decrease over the past six months.

Attached home sales in January 2019 totalled 205, a 35.7 per cent decrease compared to the 319 sales in January 2018. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $800,600. This represents a 0.5 per cent decrease from January 2018, and a 6.2 per cent decrease over the past six months.

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Provided by: REBGV


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Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.