24 Feb

Canadian Housing Market and Interest Rate Trends


Posted by: Kimberly Walker



TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ – Canada’s housing affordability continued to improve in the fourth quarter of 2010, thanks in part to slight decreases in five-year fixed mortgage rates and minimal home price appreciation across the country, according to the latest Housing Trends and Affordability report released today by RBC Economics Research.


“Some of the stress that had been building in the housing market between 2009 and the first half of 2010 has been relieved, but tensions persist overall and the recent improvement in affordability is likely to be short-lived,” said Robert Hogue, senior economist, RBC. “We expect that the Bank of Canada will resume its rate hike campaign this spring and with borrowing costs set to climb further in the next two years, housing affordability will erode across the country. That said, we don’t expect this to derail the housing market because of rising household income and job creation from the sustained economic recovery.”


The RBC Housing Affordability Measure captures the proportion of pre-tax household income needed to service the costs of owning a specified category of home. During the fourth quarter of 2010, measures at the national level fell between 0.4 and 0.8 percentage points across the housing types tracked by RBC (a decrease represents an improvement in affordability).


The detached bungalow benchmark measure eased by 0.8 of a percentage point to 39.9 per cent, the standard condominium measure declined by 0.4 of a percentage point to 27.6 per cent and the standard two-storey home decreased 0.4 percentage points to 46.0 per cent.


“We expect affordability measures will rise gradually in the next three years or so while monetary policy is readjusted, but will land softly thereafter once interest rates stabilize at higher levels,” added Hogue. “This pattern would be consistent with moderate yet sustained stress on Canada’s housing market. Overall, the era of rapid home price appreciation of the past 10 years has likely run its course and we believe that Canada has entered a period of very modest increases.”


A majority of provinces saw improvements in affordability in the fourth quarter, most notably in Alberta where falling home prices once again contributed to lower the bar for affording a home. Only the standard two-storey benchmark became less affordable in Ontario and Quebec, as did the standard condominium apartment in Quebec and the Atlantic region.


RBC’s Housing Affordability Measure for a detached bungalow in Canada’s largest cities is as follows: Vancouver 68.7 per cent (down 0.4 percentage points from the last quarter), Toronto 46.8 per cent (down 0.5 percentage points), Montreal 41.3 per cent (down 0.4 percentage points), Ottawa 38.7 per cent (up 0.5 percentage points), Calgary 34.9 per cent (down 3.1 percentage points) and Edmonton 31.0 per cent (down 2.4 percentage points).


The RBC Housing Affordability Measure, which has been compiled since 1985, is based on the costs of owning a detached bungalow, a reasonable property benchmark for the housing market in Canada. Alternative housing types are also presented including a standard two-storey home and a standard condominium. The higher the reading, the more costly it is to afford a home. For example, an affordability reading of 50 per cent means that homeownership costs, including mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes, take up 50 per cent of a typical household’s monthly pre-tax income.


Highlights from across Canada:


*       British Columbia: Buying a home in B.C. became slightly more affordable in the fourth quarter of 2010, due primarily to a small drop in mortgage rates. After experiencing some declines in the previous quarter, home prices rose modestly for most housing categories; condominium apartments bucked the trend, however, and depreciated slightly. Prices were supported by a tightening in market conditions with home resales picking up smartly following substantial cooling in the spring and summer that saw sellers lose their edge in setting property values. Demand and supply in the province are judged to be quite balanced at this point. RBC’s Affordability Measures fell between 0.8 and 1.0 percentage points in the fourth quarter which came on the heels of much more substantial drops (1.7 to 4.8 percentage points) in the third quarter. Notwithstanding these declines, affordability remains poor and will weigh on housing demand going forward.


*       Alberta: Alberta officially became the most affordable provincial market in the country in the fourth quarter, according to the RBC Measures which fell once again by 1.0 to 2.4 percentage points, extending their declines since late-2007. In addition to the lower mortgage rates, the further depreciation of home prices contributed to lowering homeownership costs. Property values were negatively affected by a substantial downswing in demand in the spring and early summer, which put buyers in the drivers’ seat. The significant improvement in affordability is near the end of its line, however, as demand has shown more vigour in recent months – alongside a provincial economy that is gaining more traction – and the market has become better balanced. RBC expects that this will stem price declines this year, thereby removing a potential offset to the negative effect of projected rise in interest rates on affordability.


*       Saskatchewan: The provincial housing market finished 2010 on an enviable note as affordability improved even though home prices, for the most part, rose slightly in the fourth quarter. Generally, the price increases more than reversed declines in the previous period but were too small to negate the beneficial effect of lower mortgage rates. The home resale market gained back solid forward momentum in the second half of 2010, notwithstanding some softening in the final months, which re-established a stronger balance between demand and supply. The RBC Measures fell between 0.6 and 1.1 percentage points in the quarter, although the levels continue to be modestly above historical averages in the province. RBC projects the Saskatchewan market will take its current affordability position in stride as a rebound in provincial economic growth and continued strong migration inflows will support housing demand this year.


*       Manitoba: Manitoba’s market enjoyed the best of both worlds in the fourth quarter of 2010 as home price were higher but ownership costs were lower. Thanks to lower mortgage rates in the quarter and continued growth in household income, the negative effect of small gains in property values on affordability was more than offset. The RBC Measures eased between 0.1 and 0.6 percentage points in the fourth quarter, keeping Manitoba among the only two provincial markets in Canada (with Alberta) in which Affordability Measures stand below long-term averages for all housing categories. Sales of existing homes ramped up considerably in the fall, reaching near historical peaks by December. Housing demand is being boosted by the strongest net international immigration in the province since the mid-1950s and by improved job prospects – Manitoba boasts the lowest unemployment rate in Canada (as of the fourth quarter of 2010) and RBC expects this to continue in 2011.


*       Ontario: Concerns last year that the housing market would falter have now largely dissipated as home resale activity picked up smartly in the fall and property values resumed their appreciation trend in the closing months of 2010. The slowdown in market activity in the spring and summer last year largely reflected various transitory factors – including the introduction of the HST and changes in mortgage lending rules – that brought demand forward to the start of the year. The silver lining of this slowdown, however, has been an improvement in affordability. The RBC Measures edged lower for the second consecutive time for most housing categories in the fourth quarter, down by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points. The only exception was two-storey homes, which became marginally less affordable amid notable price gains. RBC expects affordability will play a neutral role for demand in Ontario with RBC Measures close to their long-run average.


*       Quebec: Higher home prices in the fourth quarter of 2010 caused some deterioration in affordability following meaningful improvement in the previous period. Home resales strengthened in the latter part of 2010, contributing to tightened market conditions that gave sellers a stronger hand in negotiating prices, particularly for two-storey homes. Price gains and rising household income dominated the positive effects of lower mortgage rates on affordability in the fourth quarter for all housing types except detached bungalows (where a small improvement was registered). RBC Measures rose marginally by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points for two-storey homes and condominium apartments, and fell by 0.6 percentage points for detached bungalows; however, the levels of all Measures still modestly exceeded long-term averages in the province. RBC expects that modestly strained affordability in Quebec will further deteriorate in the period ahead when interest rates rise.


*       Atlantic Canada: Home resale activity sputtered late in 2010 and reversed some of the gains achieved at the end of the summer and early fall. This has not disrupted property values in the fourth quarter as home prices generally appreciated; yet, housing affordability improved for most housing categories because declines in interest rates provided a dominant offset. Only condominium apartments saw a slim deterioration in affordability as the RBC Measures rose by 0.1 percentage point compared with declines of 0.5 percentage points for detached bungalows and two-storey homes. Affordability levels continue to be mostly attractive in Atlantic Canada from both historical and cross-country perspectives. RBC projects that is likely to remain so in the near-term despite our expectation of higher interest rates. Market conditions have recently swung in favour of buyers which will exert downward pressure on prices in coming months.


The full RBC Housing Trends and Affordability report is available online, as of 8 a.m. ET today at www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/house.pdf <http://www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/house.pdf> .


11 Feb

Interest Rates On The Rise


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Housing market will be stable next two years: RBC

A stronger economy will offset the effects of higher mortgage rates and keep Canadian house prices stable over the next two years, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.

In a market update that has the bank forecasting price gains of 0.5 per cent in 2011 and 1.3 per cent in 2012, economist Robert Hogue said that after two years of “gyrating wildly,” the Going forward, we see nearly perfectly offsetting forces driving Canada’s housing market,” he said. “On the upside, the economic recovery will gather strength in 2011, continuing to boost employment and family incomes. On the downside, interest rates are expected to rise.”

The Bank of Canada will likely raise interest rates by 100 basis points this year and another 150 basis points in 2012, he said, making mortgage payments more expensive for the majority of homeowners. But real gross domestic product is expected to increase to 3.2 per cent in 2011 from 2.9 per cent in 2010.

“The net effect of these forces is expected to be close to nil, thereby leaving resale activity largely flat,” he said.

There have been a flurry of forecasts issued in the last week,  as the market starts the year stronger than expected

Canadian housing market is likely to be a much less interesting place for the next several years. Capital Economics issued a cautious report that suggested higher interest rates could drive prices down as much as 25 per cent over the next three years, while the Canadian Real Estate Association raised its sales forecast for the next two years as it suggested that a stronger economic recovery and continued low interest rates would keep the market balanced.

“Even though mortgage rates are expected to rise later this year, they will still be within short reach of current levels and remain supportive for housing market activity,” CREA chief economist Gregory Klump said. “Strengthening economic fundamentals will keep the housing market in balance, which will keep prices stable.”

Capital Economics economist David Madani said too many optimistic forecasts are based on too short a time frame to be useful, because many mortgages won’t reset until rates rise much higher than they are today.

“Let’s balance this discussion a bit and think longer term,” he said in a recent interview. “As far as housing prices are concerned, we think they’re overvalued and we don’t see income growth closing that gap.”


10 Feb

How Much Money Is Needed In Retirement


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Lifestyle and expenses determine how much money is needed in retirement

By LuAnn LaSalle, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Your current lifestyle may impact your retirement more than you think.

Can it be sustained? How much money will it take to maintain the standards you’re used to? What will it take in RRSPs, investments, savings and private and government pensions once retired?

“Understand how much it costs to keep the lifestyle that you are enjoying today and lock it in,” says Patricia Lovett-Reid, senior vice-president of TD Waterhouse.

That sounds like a simple plan, but Lovett-Reid says many she talks to register a little shock when they hear that it could take $1 million to enjoy retirement as much as their working days.

Much of what’s needed is driven by what people intend to do once they retire, says Lovett-Reid, who writes and speaks about personal finance. Planning should take into account the expenses they anticipate will result from their spending choices once their working days are over.

Portfolio manager Adrian Mastracci says most retired couples can live on $50,000 to $60,000 gross total income from various sources per year. It can be done on less, but might not be “pleasant,” he says.

Mastracci says Canadians may not be saving enough for retirement, but he notes the economic climate as well as costs like housing and children that tend to eat up paycheques.

“I think we’re a little too hard on a lot of investors,” said Mastracci, of KCM Wealth Management Inc. in Vancouver.

Mastracci says he doesn’t believe most will need the equivalent of 60 per cent to 70 per cent of their working salaries in retirement.

“What I buy into are the expenses you have. Chances are the expenses before retirement and after retirement aren’t going to change very much, if any. Can you live on whatever that tells you?”

Lovett-Reid says 50 per cent of pre-retirement income is enough to lead a “modest” lifestyle in retirement. But she likes to use the 70 per cent rule. If the gross salary for the average couple is $63,900 at age 65, that couple would need to generate 70 per cent of that yearly in retirement.

For those going into retirement with consumer debt and mortgages, they’re going to have to get “creative,” said Gail Vaz-Oxlade, longtime financial writer and TV host.

That could mean getting a roommate, being a companion to an elderly person who doesn’t get out much, working at a part-time job or selling your house to get out of debt, she said.

“Unfortunately, there have been people who have gone into retirement thinking they can behave as if they’re still working,” said Vaz-Oxlade, whose latest book “Never Too Late” offers advice for retirement planning to those who are unsure of how to get started.

As the March 1 deadline to make an RRSP contribution looms, Canadians will hear numerous cheerful advertisements from financial institutions about making their contributions so they can retire in style. But whatever vehicle you choose to invest in for the future, in the end it will need to produce enough to match your expectations, and that’s what you should be thinking about right now.

“We were sold retirement as being the day you stop working and climb on a sailboat and head out into the Caribbean. But that’s not what retirement is for 85 per cent of us,” said Vaz-Oxlade.

“If you want to travel the world every year, you had better be socking away a ton of money.” http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Lifestyle-expenses-determine-capress-3095576925.html

9 Feb

New Mortgage Rules Effective March 18, 2011


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Did you know effective March 18, 2011


–         The maximum amortization period will be reduced from 35yrs to 30yrs for new insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratio’s of more than 80%

–         The maximum amount that applicants can borrow when refinancing will be reduced from 90% to 85% of the value of their home


Now may be the time for those clients to look at consolidating their debts or taking out equity for home improvements ie: new kitchen, new bathroom or perhaps roof….

9 Feb

Canada’s housing market could prove more resilient in 2011 than predicted


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Canada’s housing market could prove more resilient in 2011 than predicted

By Sunny Freeman, The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Canadian home sales this year will be better than previously thought, helped by improving consumer confidence that will partially offset the anticipated deterrent of interest rate hikes, the Canadian Real Estate Association predicts.

CREA released a revised forecast Tuesday that estimates there will be 439,900 existing homes sold in 2011, down 1.6 per cent from 2010, but better than the nine per cent decline that CREA had forecast at the end of last year.

The real-estate association is also taking a more positive view of pricing, with the national average price now expected to rise by 1.3 per cent in 2011 to $343,300. CREA had earlier predicted that the national average home price in 2011 would fall by 1.3 per cent from last year to $326,000.

CREA’s January sales data won’t be released until next week. But recent reports on building permits and housing starts — two indicators of how much new housing will be available for sale in future — indicate a measured start to 2011.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Tuesday that the pace of new-home construction in Canada increased slightly last month, rising to 170,400 units, up from 169,000 in December on a seasonally adjusted annual rate.

That puts the country on a pace for about 10 per cent fewer housing starts than last year.

Krishen Rangasamy, an economist at CIBC World Markets said housing starts will likely soften over the coming months as home prices moderate and the Bank of Canada resumes its tightening cycle by mid-year.

A moderation in housing starts is a sign that supply is contracting in line with reduced demand, which could avoid an unhealthy glut of available houses on the market if demand declines when interest rate hikes are announced.

Some economists have warned that a combination of higher interest rates and new mortgage rules that go into effect March 18 could put a chill on demand in the later months of this year.

CREA predicted Tuesday that some sales that would have been made later in the year will likely occur in the first quarter, as a result of the new rules. A previous change in mortgage rules last year contributed to extremely strong first-quarter demand as buyers sought to beat the deadline.

“This is expected to produce a milder version of the volatility in sales activity that we saw last year which resulted from additional transitory factors,” said CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump.

Last year, sales were also pushed ahead to the first part of the year as buyers in two provinces — British Columbia and Ontario — rushed to avoid a switch to the harmonized sales tax on July 1.

Those factors exacerbated the effect of interest rate hikes last summer and the market reached a trough in July.

Following last year’s pattern, sales will likely be robust in the first quarter as buyers enter the market before the tighter mortgage rules take effect and then drop off in the second quarter.

However, CREA predicts that the market will gain traction in the second half of this year as economic conditions, job and income growth and consumer confidence improve, in contrast to 2010 when economic growth softened.

“Even though mortgage interest rates are expected to rise later this year, they will still be within short reach of current levels and remain supportive for housing market activity. Strengthening economic fundamentals will keep the housing market in balance, which will keep home prices stable,” Klump said.

The Bank of Canada has forecast that housing will be a minor net negative for the economy this year, although it also cautions the market is a potential key downside risk for the economy.

It is expected to maintain its key lending rate at a low one per cent until at least the second half of the year, as some global economic uncertainty lingers. The key lending rate has the most immediate impact on variable-rate mortgages whereas home owners with fixed-rate mortgages won’t be affected until renewal time.

The Royal Bank (TSX:RY), CIBC (TSX:CM) and TD (TSX:TD) said this week they are raising the posted rate for a five-year closed mortgages by 0.25 percentage points to 5.44 per cent.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned Tuesday that Canadians should expect long-term mortgage rates to rise further.

“The recent increase by a couple of the banks is exactly what we expected,” Flaherty told reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons. “We’re likely to see higher interest rates as we go forward because interest rates are still very low.”

Last week, in the gloomiest report to date, Capital Economics analyst David Madani said house prices were just a few interest rate hikes away from a 25 per cent correction over the next three years.

However, a report released Tuesday by real estate agency Re/Max suggests the Canadian market has shown resiliency in the wake of major events in the past decade, such as the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the SARS health crisis in 2003 and the 2008-2009 recession.

The report said the market has self-adjusted as inventory dwindled during periods of reduced demand.

Through tumultuous times in the past decade, fewer real-estate listings led to higher home values, with national home prices increasing at an average of 6.82 per cent annually.

The market is on track to a similar realignment this year as the number of available homes trends downward, suggesting that the market is closer to seller’s territory, in which prices spike said Christine Martysiewicz, a spokeswoman for Re/Max.

“Interest rates would have to go up significantly before we see any impact, and we wouldn’t see an immediate impact,” Martysiewicz said.

“To say that there might be another real estate bubble is really not a responsible comment.”

CREA forecasts that national sales activity will rebound in 2012 by three per cent to 453,300 units, which is roughly on par with the 10 year average.

It believes the market will continue to be relatively balanced between sellers, or supply and buyers, or demand, although the supply of new listings of existing homes is expected to trend higher. http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Canada-housing-market-prove-capress-1306102310.html?x=0

Have a great day!

7 Feb

Scheme saw large mortgages obtained with stolen identification


Posted by: Kimberly Walker


Scheme saw large mortgages obtained with stolen identification


HAMILTON — A 45-year-old Hamilton woman has pleaded guilty to six charges in connection with the use of false documents to defraud local financial institutions of more than $200,000 in mortgage funds.


Lauren Paolini is believed to be one of six accused involved in the scheme that saw large mortgages obtained with stolen identification for modestly priced homes before the properties were flipped for substantial profits.


The mortgages would immediately go into default leaving the lending institution with significant losses.


Paolini will be sentenced for her role in the scams after a pre-sentence report is presented to Ontario Court Justice Richard Jennis on April 13.


Crown counsel Kevin McKenna read an agreed statement of facts Thursday indicating in June, 2007, a woman using the name of Orla O’Brien secured a property mortgage for the purchase of a $107,000 Oak Avenue home from Scotiabank in the amount of $152,000.


The mortgage immediately went into default and the bank sold the property for $82,000.


Orla O’Brien was in fact Patricia Bobb. Bobb obtained a mortgage with various pieces of indentification and pay stubs in the name of O’Brien from Hunt Material Handling. Paulini, who worked for Hunt, provided the documentation knowing it would be used fraudulently.


The loss to Scotiabank was $67,000.


Later that year, Paolini personated Jacqueline Soehner of Kitchener to obtain a $279,278 mortgage from the Canadian imperial Bank of Commerce for the purchase of a Queen St. S. home valued at $140,000.


“Ms Soehner had not purchased this property and was the victim of identity theft,” McKenna told court.


Paolini’s secured mortgage obtained fraudulently in Soehner’s name immediately went into default. The loss to the bank was more than $121,000.


On Nov. 14, 2009, Paolini used the stolen identification of Christine McSavaney of Kitchener to obtain a $120,000 mortgage from My Next Funding Corporation to buy a Cannon Street East home valued at $80,000.


The mortgage immediately went into default costing the lender almost $36,000. Paolini obtained a line of credit with the CIBC in the name of McSavaney in the amount of $16,350. The money has been used and no payments made toward the debt.


On Jan. 4, 2010, Paolini presented herself as Ruth Ann Piggott at 1130 Barton St. E. Paolini used an Ontario driver’s licence in the name of Ruth Ann Piggott to obtain a $6,000 loan. The money is gone and there have been no payments toward the debt.


Paolini also used the same driver’s licence to seek a $9,000 loan from Wells Fargo Financial Corporation in Etobicoke in December 2009.


The lender provided her with $4,442 of the amount. That money has disappeared.


McKenna said Paolini was a relatively minor player in the frauds. Still the Crown counsel said he will be seeking jail time at the sentencing hearing. http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/481417–scheme-saw-large-mortgages-obtained-with-stolen-identification




















4 Feb

Mortgage Rates On Rise Call For Rate Hold Today


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

As many of you are aware, when most mortgage lenders price their 5 year fixed rates, they do so with a spread above the Government of Canada 5 year Bond yield. Just before Christmas most lenders re-priced the 5 year fixed at 3.99%-4.04%, given a Government of Canada 5 year bond yield of about 2.48% at the time.


That same yield is now increase by 26 bps to 2.74% which has squeezed lenders’ spread significantly.


What does this all mean? à 5 year fixed rates are likely on the rise, industry wide, with estimate of about a 25 bps increase in fixed 5 year rates.

4 Feb

Rate hikes could spark house price collapse, economist warns


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Rate hikes could spark house price collapse, economist warns

Steve Ladurantaye  Globe and Mail Blog

Any move by the Bank of Canada could “easily” cause house prices to collapse, Capital Economics warns in a bleak report that suggests the Canadian housing market is likely to suffer the same sort of crash that has plagued countries such as the United States.

The report released Thursday suggests that house prices in Canada have climbed at the same pace as that in the United States, but have not fallen at the same rate. In the United States, some markets have seen prices fall as much as 50 per cent through the recession.

As the central bank raises interest rates, mortgages will become more expensive for Canadians. Add inflation to the mix, and Capital Economics predicts prices could fall 25 per cent over the next few years.

“Even small rises in official interest rates have been shown to have a big effect on homeowner confidence in other countries under similar circumstances as they can change perceptions towards the housing market very quickly,” said economist David Madani. “If the Bank of Canada does resume its monetary tightening this year, this could easily prove to be a tipping point for a house price collapse.”

Other market watchers expect higher rates to hinder price gains, but few are calling for as sharp a drop. The Canadian Real Estate Association expects sales to fall 9 per cent this year, for example, but prices are only expected to drop 1.3 per cent. It hasn’t issued a forecast beyond 2011.

The country’s bank economists have varied short-term forecasts, but there are no expectations among the largest forecasters that a crash is even likely.

Some have suggested drops of 10 per cent may be in order next year as mortgage rates move higher and households struggle to service record debt loads, and the Bank of Canada specifically mentioned the prospect of “a more pronounced correction in the Canadian housing market” as one of three key risks to the country’s economy.

However, sales data from the fall market showed that fewer houses have been listed and prices were largely unchanged from a year ago.

Capital Economics’ chief concern is that as the central bank raises rates, variable rate mortgages become more expensive and homeowners could find themselves priced out of their homes.

Fixed rate mortgages are tied to government bond yields, but would move in the same general direction. If a homeowner is already stretched financially, any hike could prove problematic.

However, a survey released by the Canadian Association of Mortgage Professionals released late last year showed that Canadians are confident they could shoulder higher mortgage payments without too much difficulty, with 84 per cent saying a $300 monthly increase was no problem.

If prices do fall as far as he predicts, “the knock-on effects to consumer spending and housing investment could be significant and perhaps even strong enough to push the economy into another recession.”

In January, the federal government shortened the maximum amortization period for mortgages to 30 years from 35 to help Canadians take on less debt at a time when it is at record highs.

While most private sector watchers expect the market to pull back in the second half of this year after a strong two-year run, the Capital Economics call for a 25 per cent drop is the harshest.

After hitting record highs in May, the Canadian market did slow across most of the country through the summer. Recent data from the Canadian Real Estate Association has many economists predicting a “soft landing,” however, with activity returning at a lower level and prices holding steady rather than rocketing higher each month as they have through the recovery.


2 Feb

News Release Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Feb. 2011


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

News Release: February 2, 2011


(Surrey, BC) – The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board reports an increase in listing activity and steady sales for the first month of 2011.


Deanna Horn, president of the Board says, “In addition to an influx of new inventory in January, our REALTORS® had more inquiries and increased traffic at open houses boding well for a solid spring market in the Fraser Valley.”


There were 834 sales processed on the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January, a decrease of 15 per cent compared to the 981 sales processed in January 2010 and a 7 per cent decrease compared to the 895 sales in December.


Although the Board received 11 per cent fewer new listings in January than it did during the same month last year, it saw the typical post-holiday surge in new properties coming on stream. The Board received 2,632 new listings last month, an increase of 138 per cent compared to the 1,104 listings received in December taking the number of active listings to 7,724 at the end of January, 4 per cent more than were available during January 2010.


Horn adds, “The market typically picks up at this time of year as also evidenced by the decrease in the average number of days to sell for single family homes and townhomes in January.


“In terms of prices, overall they’re holding steady, however we are seeing variability depending on the community and property type.”


The benchmark price for Fraser Valley detached homes in January was $505,618, down 0.1 per cent compared to December and 0.9 per cent higher compared to $500,931 in January 2010.   


The benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses in January was $317,414, a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to December and a 0.1 per cent decrease compared to January 2010 when it was $317,719. Year-over-year, the benchmark price of apartments decreased 2.6 per cent going from $243,470 in January 2010 to $237,171 last month and decreased 1.2 per cent compared to December 2010.


The average number of days to sell for detached homes in January was 62.2, down from 67.9 in December. Townhouses on average sold in 57.7 days last month, down almost nine days compared to December, however apartments took on average 14.6 days longer to sell, going from 65.6 in December to 80.2 days in January.


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 2,894 real estate professionals who live and work in the communities of North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission.