Vancouver Real Estate

Current Vancouver Real Estate Market Information

• Key local economic factors continue to show positive implications for the housing market in Metro Vancouver, including – population growth (up to nearly 2.1 million people from 1.75 million 10 years ago) and improving labor force statistics (recent unemployment rate of 6.5% which is below the national average of 7.1%).

• Additionally, the fact that Metro Vancouver is Canada’s strategic link to Asia continues to benefit the local economy.

• Concerned that net migration is overpowering in-migration, is a sign of lack of affordability and jobs

• Bank of Canada 5 year conventional mortgage rates (5.14%) are near all-time lows

• Province continue to run deficit since 2008 but is decreasing

• New construction was back up to 2008 levels in 2012 and now in 2013 at 2009 levels, with $7B in new housing starts value created

• Outer suburban area home starts are down considerably, Vancouver area remains strong

• Vacancy rate in Vancouver proper is very low at 1%, shows lack of affordability,

• Concrete condo inventories are flattening out, while sales are considerably stronger in 2013

• The new concrete condominium market saw a relatively steep increase in actively selling projects and unsold inventory in Q2 2013.

• Much of this can be attributed to significant comprehensive developments launched in Richmond and Vancouver East early in 2013.

• Many of the recently launched high rise projects in Inner Metro have now experienced strong absorptions which has now lowered released inventory numbers of this product type in Q2 2013.

• Q2 2013 sales for concrete condominiums for all areas were higher than Q1. Much of the sales increase in this quarter compared to Q1 can be attributed to the successful absorptions in the Inner Metro sub-markets (Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam) that collectively experienced considerable buying activity as a result of competitive pricing incentives and significant realtor bonuses.

• Standing inventory levels for concrete condominiums in Metro Vancouver are quite low relative to the overall released inventory.

• Standing inventory levels have been relatively flat since 2011 with the exception of Vancouver, which has seen a decrease over this period. Much of the standing inventory in Vancouver was originally located in the former Olympic Village (which has now successfully sold a substantial portion of the homes.)

• Wood frame inventory levels are high and need to be depleted, especially in suburban areas where there is overstock.

• Buyers are seeking concrete and these projects sell better.

• Townhome inventory is decreasing, still higher in outer metro, almost non-existent in inner-metro, new mortgage rules have reduced first time buyers in this segment dramatically, there is demand for townhomes but affordability is the issue.

• Release of developable land in the Burke Mountain neighborhood of Coquitlam has resulted in a significant boost in townhome development there.

• Released inventory of new townhomes in Vancouver proper are at extremely low levels, which can partially explain the lack of affordability of this product. There is demand for good townhome projects in Vancouver given affordability or the right target markets (such as west side downsizers are targeted – much higher price point).

• One in four Vancouver condos is empty or occupied by non-residents, according to an analysis by University of British Columbia planning Professor Andrew Yan. Hence a focus should be on affordable housing for purchase for residents. 

• There are huge watch lists of resale condos now where there are problems or likely assessments in the future and many condo owners facing massive assessments that when taken into account, lower the overall value of the building and in some cases individual owners can not sell at a profit. Hence quality is once again becoming a very important issue as this spate of condos built in the past 15-20 years are put on watch lists and listed as bad buildings.