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Source: Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

SURREY, BC – Propelled by significant activity in attached categories, March housing sales in the Fraser Valley reached their second highest point in ten years, trailing only last year’s extraordinary market levels.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 2,213 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March, a decrease of 26.4 per cent compared to the 3,006 sales in March of last year, and a 58.5 per cent increase compared to the 1,396 sales in February 2017.

Of the 2,213 sales processed last month, 526 were townhouses and 638 were apartments, representing over half of the region’s total sales of all property types for the seventh straight month.

“Inventory levels aren’t where we’d like them to be, especially with demand picking up as we move deeper into the spring season,” said Gopal Sahota, Board President. “However, that being said, it’s great to see more buyers turning to our burgeoning apartment and townhome markets and taking some of the pressure off of detached homes.”

Last month the total active inventory for the Fraser Valley was 4,808 listings, the lowest level seen for a March in ten years. Active inventory increased by 3.5 per cent month-over-month, and decreased 12.3 per cent when compared to March 2016.

The Board received 3,072 new listings in March, a 41.5 per cent increase from February 2017, and a 24.3 per cent decrease compared to March 2016’s 4,057 new listings.

“We’ve never seen sales like this for our attached category homes. Whereas buyers may have had a more relaxed experience looking for a townhome a few years ago, things have certainly changed: competition is up, and listings are moving fast”, added Sahota.

“Talk to your REALTOR® to help you understand what’s happening in your community. The support of a local expert goes a long way when navigating a busy spring market here in the Valley.”

HPI® Benchmark Price Activity

  • Single Family Detached: At $869,000, the Benchmark price for a single family detached home in the Valley increased 1.1 per cent compared to February 2017, and increased 17.3 per cent compared to March 2016.
  • Townhomes: At $432,100 the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 2.3 per cent compared to February 2017, and increased 25.5 per cent compared to March 2016.
  • Apartments: At $276,900, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley increased 3.7 per cent compared to February 2017, and increased 27.5 per cent compared to March 2016.

Find the March Statistics Package here.


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Source: Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

SURREY, BC – The Fraser Valley housing market returned to more typical levels in February, with sales and new listing intake on-par with the 10-year average for the month.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,396 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February, a decrease of 41.5 per cent compared to the record-breaking 2,387 sales in February of last year, and a 43 per cent increase compared to the 976 sales in January 2017. The 10-year average for February sales is currently 1,288 transactions.

Of the 1,396 sales processed last month, 369 were townhouses and 391 were apartments.

“This is the kind of February we like to see. Last year at this time, the incredible demand created a market that was difficult for consumers. Now, we have sales moving upward from the winter months at a typical, healthy pace and a growing inventory to support it,” said Gopal Sahota, Board President.

The Board received 2,171 new listings in February, a 0.3 per cent decrease from January 2017, and a 33.9 per cent decrease compared to February 2016’s 3,283 new listings.

For February the total active inventory in the Fraser Valley finished at 4,645 available listings, increasing by 5.5 per cent month-over-month, and decreasing 9.4 per cent when compared to February 2016.

“While the pace of the market has returned to more normal levels, pricing is still heavily impacted by the activity and demand seen throughout 2016. Understandably, this can create a challenging environment for consumers. If you’re struggling finding the right home or buyer, talk to a REALTOR® who can help guide you towards success in the market.”

For the Fraser Valley region, the average number of days to sell a single family detached home in February 2017 was 38 days, compared to 21 days in February 2016.

HPI® Benchmark Price Activity

  • Single Family Detached: At $859,300, the Benchmark price for a single family detached home in the Valley increased 0.4 per cent compared to January 2017, and increased 20.4 per cent compared to February 2016.
  • Townhomes: At $422,400 the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 0.5 per cent compared to January 2017, and increased 25.2 per cent compared to February 2016.
  • Apartments: At $267,000, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley increased 1.8 per cent compared to January 2017, and increased 26.5 per cent compared to February 2016.

Find the February Statistics Package here.


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Market forecasts are never easy, as the forecast for Canadian real estate is as varied as the individual characteristics of the many housing markets within Canada.

A report from PwC Canada and the Urban Land Institute reports that property owners are cautiously optimistic about the real estate market's outlook for 2017. The report forecasts a "year of stability" for the housing market, despite a slight drop in prices and a pullback in the Toronto and Vancouver markets.*

The Canadian Real Estate Association forecasts a slight decline in national sales for 2017. They expect transactions in British Columbia and Ontario to remain strong, but also anticipate they will fall short of 2016's record levels to some degree due to a lack of supply of single-family homes.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) believes MLS® sales will soften from last year to between 489,500 and 509,700 in 2017 before settling in 2018 at between 488,100 and 511, 100. Likewise, the CMHC expects resale prices to come in at between $483,600 and $507,800 in 2017 and between $497,700 and $525,100 in 2018. Meanwhile, the CMHC anticipates mortgage rates to rise modestly from the posted 5-year mortgage rate to within a 4.4 to 5.2 percent range in 2017, and then to within a 4.5 to 5.7 percent range in 2018.**

Your local market forecast is the one you'll be most interested in receiving. Please call today for the latest real estate information in your specific region!

* www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/emerging-trendsin- real-estate.html

** www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/ esub/61500/61500_2016_B02.pdf?fr=1478014289803


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When it comes to mortgage terminology, borrowers often confuse the definitions of the words "term" and "amortization". It's important to understand all of your mortgage components completely to appreciate how they can affect you both now and in the future.

The mortgage term is the block of time that a borrower commits to an agreed-upon mortgage rate and conditions with a particular mortgage lender. The mortgage amortization is the total number of years you're expecting it will take to completely pay off your mortgage. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)-insured loans have a maximum amortization of 25 years, while non-CMHC-insured loans can have a longer amortization depending on the lender.

A common mortgage in Canada has a five-year term with a 25-year amortization period. Some borrowers select a longer term – up to ten years for example – with a slightly higher interest rate if they expect to stay in their home for some time while others choose a three or four year term if they're anticipating a move within the foreseeable future, and want to avoid any prepayment penalties.

Before committing to a new loan or renewing your mortgage, let's take the time to compare different mortgage scenarios to find the one that fits both your short-term and long-term housing plans and budget. Simply pick up the phone and call to set up your no-obligation mortgage consultation!

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There's a new down payment rule now in effect, valid as of February 15, 2016, that increases the amount of the down payment necessary to buy a home selling for more than $500,000.

The minimum down payment on a home was previously a straight five percent of the purchase price, however as of December 2015 homebuyers must now apply a minimum of ten percent down on the portion of their purchase that's over $500,000.

The increase in down payment was most likely designed to cool down the hottest real estate markets in Canada that have average prices topping $500,000. For example, here's the difference in down payment for a $700,000 property:

5% down payment on first $500,000: $25,000

10% down payment on remaining $200,000: $20,000

Total minimum down payment on a $700,000 home: $45,000

The buyer in this example therefore needs to come up with an extra $10,000 for the down payment compared to the system before the change.

While first-time buyers will feel the pinch most, existing homeowners will typically already have that amount covered through their home equity. Questions about the new rule, or about your home financing in general? Simply pick up the phone and call – there's no obligation at all!

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A recent real estate consumer survey* has unveiled an unsettlingly low level of knowledge reported by today's homebuyers and sellers that has resulted in a feeling of post-transaction regret for many.

The survey reveals that 41 percent of surveyed homeowners and 45 percent of first-time homebuyers wish they had done something differently when buying or selling their home, for example:

  • Having a better grasp of the process (buying process: 26%; selling process 12%)
  • Seeing more houses (buying process: 21%)
  • Having a home inspection (buying process: 15%)
  • Understanding the contracts involved better (buying process: 14%; selling process: 9%)

Knowledge is power, and education about the buying and selling process surrounding one of the biggest financial decisions of your life is paramount to easing the stress and eliminating any uncertainties you may have about your real estate transaction. Before running the risk of any post-transaction regrets, sit down with your real estate representative to brush up on all the basics before taking the first step towards buying or selling a home.

Now that the busy spring season is here, you'll want to make sure you're on top of the latest real estate issues. Please call today so we can go through all your questions and concerns thoroughly, ensuring that when you're ready to make a move, you're confident about all your decisions.

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Especially in hot markets, buyers can feel pressure to make snap decisions. Taking the time to view potential properties a second time can be invaluable in helping buyers avoid making a decision they'll regret.

First viewings tend to be emotional. Buyers are assessing whether the property feels right; many "fall in love" with what they see. A second viewing allows you time to process those emotions and figure out whether you could have a lasting relationship with this home, or if it was just infatuation at first sight.

First viewings also tend to be general, as buyers focus on the big picture: How big is the home? How many bedrooms are there? How many bathrooms? On a second viewing – when your emotions have cooled and you're able to look more critically – you'll no doubt notice things you missed the first time. Perhaps that second bathroom isn't a full bathroom, or you didn't realize how little storage space there is, for instance.

On the other hand, a second viewing may be just what it takes for a property to move from your "maybe" column to your "yes" column. Having had time to reconsider those things you weren't crazy about – and having seen what else is out there – you might just decide you can live without that kitchen island or you don't need that much storage space.

Lastly, a second viewing allows you to check out the area at a different time of the day or week. Were you first there on a weekend? If so, what's it like during rush hour? Was your first viewing during the day? What's the neighborhood like at night?

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Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

The government has announced, effective February 19, 2014, under the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Exemption program, qualifying first-time buyers can buy a home worth up to $475,000. The previous threshold was $425,000.

The partial exemption continues and will apply to homes valued between $475,000 and $500,000.

With this change, the government estimates 1,700 additional first-time buyers will annually be eligible to save up to $7,500 in PTT when they buy their home.

The government estimates this measure will cost $8 million in lost tax revenue each year.

The Real Estate Board, together with BC Real Estate Association, has actively lobbied to make home ownership more affordable for first-time home buyers. This increase in the threshold clearly signals our efforts have paid off as in past years.

In 2008, as a result of industry lobbying, the provincial government increased the threshold to $425,000 from $375,000. 

In 2005, the government increased the threshold to $325,000 from $275,000.

The PTT is calculated at a rate of one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remaining value of the purchase price.

Here is a link to the Budget.: http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2014/default.htm

For information, contact Harriet Permut, Manager, Government Relations at hpermut@rebgv.org

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