15 Jan

The high-end luxury market in Canada continues to defy the critics, according to new figures.


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

The high-end luxury market in Canada continues to defy the critics, according to new figures.


Despite expectations of a major slowdown in Canada’s luxury-home market, sales in three key urban markets recorded double-digit gains last year.

Sales of homes worth $1 million or more were significantly higher in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary in 2013 compared to the year before, according to the latest figures from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

Vancouver’s appeal to high-end investors shows no sign of abating with a 19 per cent increase in sales, albeit from a very sluggish 2012. The greatest gains were in the $4 million plus price segment, increasing by 48 per cent.

Local market conditions, primarily the booming oil and gas industries, are also attracting high net-worth investors with the city enjoying a 33 per cent gain in this market. “Rising international immigration, inter-provincial migration and foreign investment continue to put Calgary in an enviable economic position,” the report said. “Entering 2014, the outlook for high-end properties and neighborhoods remains strong.”

Toronto recorded a 13 per cent hike, with Montreal the only major urban centre to post negatives sales growth of eight per cent. “2013 proved to be a year that defied many analyst predictions. We expect to see continued growth in western Canada’s high-end housing market, specifically in attached and single family homes in Vancouver and Calgary,” says Sotheby’s International Realty Canada CEO, Ross McCredie. “Entering 2014 we also anticipate Toronto maintaining its current upward sales trajectory.”

A total of 5,449 properties, including condominiums, attached and single family homes in the category sold in 2013.

Related Articles: Investors silence the critics

6 Jan

No Risky Business in 2014, Scotiabank Says


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Monday, 23 December 2013 02:50

No risky business in 2014, Scotiabank says

Written by  Grainne Burns

Investors should calm down and carry on in 2014. That is the word from Scotiabank who are playing down the so-called risks that may affect market conditions next year.

The big risks – high household debt, affordability issues and muted wage growth – should not pose a serious threat to the Canadian housing market in 2014, despite what the naysayers say.
That is according to the new Global Real Estate Trends report by Scotiabank Economics. They say that improving global growth, attractive borrowing costs and population growth in key demographic segments should be enough to support housing demand next year.

The rental market will also remain strong in 2014 thanks to the “widening cost premium between owning over renting” in major centres. However, they do warn that vacancy rates “could edge up next year alongside an increase in supply from recently completed investor-owned units.”

Alberta, in particular, is tipped to outperform national housing markets.

Scotiabank is also expecting a moderately lower level of resale transactions next year with home prices also remaining relatively flat. “Downside price risk is greater in the more amply supplies high-rise segment than for single-family homes,” the report says. Investor interest in renovation projects may also wane in 2014 as more people focus on their spending and general pricing environment.

Published in News

6 Jan

Brokers Beware Of Young Buyers Driving Audis


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Brokers beware of young buyers driving Audis

by Justin da Rosa | 06 Jan 2014

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on CTV’s Question Period Sunday that he is monitoring the state of the housing market and is willing to intervene in the mortgage default insurance industry again if the need is felt.

“I talk to people in the condo business and I talk to people about houses and I keep track and we’ve tightened the rules four times on mortgage insurance and if we have to tighten them again, we will,” Flaherty said. “We have to be vigilant because that market is really important for jobs in Canada.”

However, in a bit of good news for brokers who fear the government setting up further roadblocks between their clients and potential mortgage approvals, the minister also intimated that he believes the past rule tampering has helped the market achieve a soft landing.

“What we’ve been trying to manage, to the extent that governments can manage, the housing market is a soft landing that, that gradual reduction,” Flaherty said. “We’ve seen that; we’ve seen some softening in the housing market, including the condo market.”

Concerning personal debt, Flaherty indicated a similarly improving outlook.

“When you look at the debt to net-worth: As long as the housing market remains relatively strong we don’t really have a debt issue,” the minister said. “I worried about it when it came to housing, certainly, because some of the house builders and condo builders were telling me about young people graduating and buying way more house than they needed and driving up in and Audi and all that general stuff … so that worried me but, as I say, that market is calming somewhat.

“So I’m less concerned than I was.”

And homebuyers may continue to be driven to buy now rather than later, with Flaherty admitting there will be “pressure” for the central bank to raise interest rates.

“The OECD and the IMF have both said to Canada we ought to let our interest rates go up a little bit,” Flaherty said. “So there will be some pressure there to let that happen.”


3 Jan

News Release: January 3, 2014


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

News Release: January 3, 2014


(Surrey, BC) – Neither predictions of a huge crash or notable recovery came to pass in 2013 as Fraser Valley’s real estate market stayed slow and steady, similar to 2012’s market.

Fraser Valley’s total sales volume last year was 13,663 a decrease of 1.5 per cent compared to 13,878 in 2012. Over the course of the year, Fraser Valley REALTORS® listed 29,338 properties on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), a 5.4 per cent decrease compared to 2012’s 31,009 listings. The number of active listings at year’s end finished at 7,541, 5 per cent higher compared to 7,187 active listings in December 2012. 

Ron Todson, President of the Fraser Valley Board, says, “It wasn’t the best of years, nor was it the worst. Generally speaking, 2013 overall was quiet. Earlier in the year, our market felt the impact of the tighter mortgage regulations, rebounded some in the summer and then flattened again come fall.

“The positive for both buyers and sellers has been the stability in home prices. Although our sales last year were amongst the lowest they’ve been in last decade, we didn’t see significant price declines because our inventory also remained lower. When both buyers and sellers take a breather it has a balancing effect on the market where neither has the upper hand.”  

In December, the benchmark price of a detached home in the Fraser Valley was $549,500, an increase of 1.9 per cent compared to $539,000 in December 2012 and a decrease of -0.1 per cent compared to November.

For townhouses, the benchmark price in December was $293,300, a decrease of 1.0 per cent compared to the same month last year when it was $296,400 and up 0.3 per cent compared to November. The benchmark price of apartments in December was $192,600, a decrease of 3.7 per cent compared to December 2012 when it was $200,100 and a decrease of 1.8 per cent compared to November.

Annual average prices year over year show detached homes up 3 per cent – $615,852 in 2013 compared to $597,608 in 2012. Townhome average prices decreased by 0.7 per cent, going from $340,253 in 2012 to $337,811 in 2013 and the average price of apartments decreased by 0.4 per cent going from $220,033 in 2012 to $219,196 in 2013.

For the month of December, property sales were down compared to November, as is the seasonal norm – 890 compared to 986; however, they were a 34 per cent improvement over the 664 sales in December 2012.

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The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is an association of 2,769 real estate professionals who live and work in the BC communities of North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission.  The FVREB marked its 90-year anniversary in 2011.

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