8 Jul

Slower Real Estate Market In Store


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Royal LePage Expects Slower Market

| Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The residential sector will slow down in the second half of 2010 thanks to “front-loaded” sales in the first half of the year.

The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast, released today, predicts that, by the end of 2010, home appreciation will average almost seven per cent year-over-year and home sales will increase by just over one per cent.

“We have seen an unusual pattern of activity in the housing market over the past 12 months, with the market experiencing a surge of activity and price increases that peaked in the fall of 2009 rather than spring,” said Royal LePage president Phil Soper. “An expected increase in the supply of homes on the market will now bring stabilization in prices and, in some cities, we will see both prices and unit sales decline towards the end of the year. This should not be interpreted as a severe correction but rather a natural reaction to the market having peaked quite early this year.”

According to Soper, home prices will stay consistent or decline negligibly in most of Canada with the exception of energy-producing markets like Alberta.

Home prices in Vancouver were up by an average of 17.8 per cent year-over-year while, in Toronto, prices rose by an average of 9.5 per cent. St. John’s, NL also posted sharp increases with prices up an average of 19 per cent.

In the second quarter, the average price of a detached bungalow reached $331, 868, up 9 per cent from last year. Standard two-storey homes rose 8.7 per cent to $367, 835. Standard condominiums averaged just over $230,000, up over 7 per cent from 2009.


8 Jul

More Banks Lower Rates


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Laurentian Bank announced yesterday they’re reducing mortgage rates, The Gazette reports.

Effective today, their benchmark five-year closed rate dropped by 10 basis points to 5.79 per cent matching changes made by Canada’s other major institutions.

7 Jul

Drop in home sales may be sign of peak


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Garry Marr, Financial Post ·  

Existing home sales dropped sharply in Canada’s two most expensive markets, a further indication that the real estate market may have peaked.

The Toronto Real Estate Board said sales in June were down 23% from a year ago, leaving activity for the quarter up 1% from the same period a year earlier.

“We experienced a record number of existing home sales during the first half of 2010 but these sales were weighted more towards the beginning of the year, said Bill Johnston, president of TREB.

“The pace of home sales has moderated from record levels over the past two months with the prospect of higher mortgage rates.”

In addition to the fear of higher mortgage rates, the housing market was impacted earlier in the year by new mortgage rules that made it tougher to borrow.

The real estate industry has said many customers simply pushed forward their purchase to beat the new rules, predicting slower sales through the spring.

The industry is also now dealing with the impact of the harmonized sales tax, which was introduced in British Columbia and Ontario on July 1. Consumers trying to beat that tax — which will be newly applied to services such as real estate commissions — are said to have pushed their purchases forward, which will deprive the summer and fall of a number of sales.

Vancouver’s market is also feeling the brunt of the new real estate reality. Sales in Canada’s most expensive market were off 30.2% in June from a year ago, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said earlier this week. President Jake Moldowan noted June 2010 sales are still up 22.6% from 2008 recession levels.

The slowing market appears to be a phenomenon right across the country with Calgary also reporting last week June sales were off about 42% from a year ago. June sales were 16% from May alone.

So far, the drop in demand has not hit prices dramatically, but coupled with increased supply, the double-digit year-over-year price increases we saw for most of 2010 have ended. The average sale price of a home in Toronto last month was $435,034, an 8% increase from a year earlier.

“With more to choose from in the second quarter, many home buyers have been making less-aggressive offers. This has resulted in less upward pressure in the average selling price,” said Jason Mercer, senior manager of market analysis for TREB, who said price increases will remain in single-digit territory for the rest of 2010.

New listings continue to put pressure on the Toronto market. New listings were up 13% in June from a year ago while total active listings climbed 28% during the same period.

In Vancouver, the total number of properties for sale is up 32% from a year ago. Prices in Vancouver were up 11.8% from a year ago with the board’s housing price index benchmark price climbing to $580,237 from $518,855. In Calgary, the average price of a home sold in June was $483,240, an increase of 8% from a year earlier.

The existing home market may get a break from the fact it looks likes builders are ramping down on construction. Statistics Canada said the value of building permits applied for in May was off 10.8% from a month earlier. Housing permits were off 4.4% from a month earlier.

“If there is hope for house prices in Canada, it lies in curtailing supply. That’s where any room for optimism lies in an otherwise bleak report that displayed widespread losses in value and volume terms within both the non-residential and residential categories,” said Derek Holt, an economist with Bank of Nova Scotia. http://www.financialpost.com/news/Drop+home+sales+sign+peak/3241780/story.html#ixzz0szmBtZcH




6 Jul

First Time Buyers Want New Detached Homes


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

First-time homebuyers wasn’t new, detached homes

By Sunny Freeman, The Canadian Press

TORONTO — A majority of Canadians who just bought or are about to buy their first home expect to pay less than the asking price and prefer newer and detached homes over older and semi-detached homes or condos, according to a TD Bank survey.

But the report questioned whether the homebuyers had unreasonable expectations, considering that nine out of 10 took out or expect to take out a mortgage for their home.

“It’s only natural to want your first home to be the home of your dreams, but it is important to be realistic about what you can afford,” said Farhaneh Haque, a mortgage specialist at TD Canada Trust.

Six in 10 first-time homebuyers said they were worried about being able to afford their home should interest rates rise — a scenario that economists say is inevitable after an era of historically low rates sparked a rush into the housing market.

Only 30 per cent said they plan to or already have more than a 20 per cent down payment, and the remaining 70 per cent will require mortgage insurance. Eight of 10 buyers reported putting down as much as they can afford.

But Haque advised that prospective first-time homeowners consider a larger down payment because paying 10 per cent or more will make a big difference, bringing down the time it will take to pay off a mortgage and possibly affecting regular payment amounts.

“It may mean that you need to save longer before buying your first home, but it will pay off in the end.”

The vast majority of those surveyed said they made informed financial decisions before buying, with nine in 10 homebuyers getting pre-approved mortgages and calculating closing costs before buying.

However, closing costs, land transfer tax, and legal fees were the top three costs buyers felt unprepared for.

Six in 10 first time home buyers said they bought or intend to buy a fully detached home and three-quarters want a new home.

Meanwhile, survey respondents were equally split between preferring a smaller home closer to work and 45 per cent would prefer a larger home with a longer commute.

Almost all respondents, 99 per cent, said price was the most important factor when considering what kind of home to buy.

The report compiled 1,000 results from an online survey between June 8 and 21 of Canadians who had purchased their first home within the past 24 months or intended to purchase their first home within the next 24 months.

First-time homebuyers in B.C. bucked a national trend and said condominiums were their No. 1 choice. They were also most concerned about being able to afford their homes if interest rates rise.

Respondents from Atlantic Canada were most likely to have their hearts set on new, large and fully detached homes. They are also most likely to prefer a larger home even if it would mean a longer commute.

Quebecers browsed through the fewest number of homes while shopping for their first, but were most likely in the country to live in their first home for their entire lifetime, the report found.

More first-time buyers in Alberta expected to pay less than asking price than those in any other province.

In Ontario, more homebuyers than the national average planned to put more than 20 per cent toward a down payment.

More than in any other provinces, people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan said they would prefer a newer home over an older home if price points were similar. http://news.therecord.com/Business/article/740718

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5 Jul

Fraser Valley real estate market picks up in June


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

(Surrey, BC) – Sales processed on the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) increased by 23 per cent in one month going from 1,477 sales in May to 1,815 in June. June’s numbers represent an 8 per cent decrease compared to the 1,982 sales during the same month last year.

Deanna Horn, president of the Board, says, “Historically, it’s not unusual for June sales to outperform May in the Fraser Valley. This has happened in nine of the last twenty years.


“However, a 23 per cent increase in one month is significant. We were busier than expected and it could be due to the combined effect of mortgage rates edging down, the Harmonized Sales Tax coming into effect July 1, as well as the tremendous selection of homes available in the Fraser Valley.


“Although we’re seeing a decrease in the number of new properties coming on stream, June buyers have only had this volume of homes to choose from two other times in our history, in 1995 and 2008.”


The total active inventory on Fraser Valley’s MLS® at month’s end was 11,110, 19 per cent more than was available in June 2009. The Board’s MLS® received 9 per cent fewer new listings in June compared to May, good news according to Horn.


“Listings typically do decrease in the summer, which will continue to stabilize the market.


“Over the last few months, we’ve seen residential benchmark prices leveling. Year-over-year, price increases may still appear dramatic depending on the property type and location because at this time last year, we hadn’t yet begun our recovery phase.


“In a stabilizing market, consumers know to rely on the expertise of a REALTOR® because prices are highly local and competitive.”


In June, the benchmark price for Fraser Valley detached homes was $518,355, a 9.9 per cent increase compared to $471,788 in June 2009.   


The benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses in June was $328,080, a 9 per cent increase compared to $301,103 in June 2009.  The benchmark price of apartments increased by 6.6 per cent year-over-year going from $231,014 in June 2009 to $246,351 in June 2010.  



Information and photos of all Fraser Valley Real Estate Board listings can be found on the national, public web site www.REALTOR.ca. Further market statistics can be found on the Board’s web page at www.fvreb.bc.ca. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is an association of 2,988 real estate professionals who live and work in the communities of North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission. 

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2 Jul

Interest rates likely to rise in July despite slowdown.


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Weak Canadian GDP puts BoC on the spot

Eric Lam, Financial Post · Friday, Jul. 2, 2010

With Canada’s economy stumbling in April, adding fuel to speculation the country’s roaring recovery that began in September 2009 was coming to an abrupt end, economists warned Canada’s central bank will have to tread carefully on its plan to raise interest rates for the rest of the year.

Derek Holt and Gorica Djeric, economists with Scotia Capital, said the Bank of Canada “was not likely to be swayed” by Wednesday’s economic data. The pair maintain a forecasted 1.25% benchmark rate by the end of the year.

“There should be enough strength in the underlying economic momentum to dismiss the drag on GDP in April as something that does not portend the start of a new trend,” the pair say in a note.

In April, Canada’s gross domestic product neither expanded nor contracted, compared with 0.6% growth in March. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had been forecasting 0.2% growth in GDP for April.

This is the first time in eight months Canada’s economy did not expand.

In its report, Statistics Canada blames the stagnant April on a “large decline” in retail trade of 1.7%, after a 1.9% gain in March. Declines in manufacturing and utilities also contributed to the underperformance while advances in mining, wholesale trade, the public sector and construction helped to offset the decreases.

Krishen Rangasamy, economist with CIBC World Markets, said it was too soon to jump to conclusions.

“It’s too early to conclude from this GDP report that the recovery is already waning,” he said in a note on Wednesday. “The excellent handoff from March means that we’re starting the second quarter from a higher base, which sets Canada up for a decent quarter despite a slow start.”

Michael Gregory, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said that while the 3% growth now expected is respectable, it is a bit of a letdown compared with the 5% to 6% growth figures seen earlier.

“It’s kind of like driving on the highway at 100 kilometres an hour, then getting off and going 50,” he said in an interview. “But 3% growth is still all right and where we see it for this year.”

The second half of the year will likely move quite sluggishly, however, as a lot of spending in housing, renovation and other big-ticket items was “pulled forward” due to the HST, introduced in July in Ontario and British Columbia. Mr. Gregory expects growth of about 2% on average in the fall and winter months.

Canada’s economy also faces headwinds from the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, an even worse slowdown in the United States, and possible fallout in China, he warned.

Warren Jestin, chief economist with Scotia Economics, said in a note on Wednesday that Canada’s position as a resource leader should help keep it afloat in the face of other developed countries, although “this won’t be a hard race to win.”

The situation in Europe is troubling for Mr. Gregory, but he suspects the combination of weakening housing, high unemployment and zero credit growth will hurt the United States.

“That buzz you hear about a possible double-dip recession is legitimate and will remain a worry for markets the rest of the summer and into the fall,” he said. “It’s why we think the Bank of Canada will be on hold for a while after July.”

Mr. Gregory figures the central bank will raise rates 25 basis points at its next meeting in July, then go on hold to see how things play out in Canada the rest of the year. It is likely the BoC will push rates to 1% by the end of 2010 and add another 1 percentage point to 1.5 percentage points in 2011.

“An environment of 3% growth is still something that requires higher interest rates,” he said. “Rapid buildup in household debt is a long-term risk.”