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The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that although first quarter GDP growth appears unexpectedly strong, it believes that strength is temporary and will likely reverse in the second quarter. However, fiscal measures announced in the March federal budget are anticipated to have a notable positive impact on growth. The Bank is now forecasting that the economy will grow 1.7 per cent this year, 2.3 per cent next year and 2 per cent in 2018. That upgrade to growth means the output gap will close sooner than expected, likely in the second half of 2017.  That suggests a return to the Bank's 2 per cent target for inflation along the same time-line.  Overall, the Bank judges risk in the economy as roughly balanced. Interestingly, the Bank did not highlight the housing sector as a risk despite frenzied activity in both Vancouver and Toronto.

A significantly upgraded economic forecast will very likely close the door on further discussion of an impending rate cut, though downside risks in the global economy remain.  Indeed, as the economy accelerates and the output gap closes, we expect the Bank to move to a tightening bias. However, the Bank in unlikely to offset the fiscal stimulus provided by the budget and so an increase in interest rates is still some time away. If economic growth and job creation continue to surprise to the upside, it is possible that the Bank will begin raising rates in late 2017 and we could potentially see a modest rise in mortgage rates toward the end of this year in anticipation of tighter monetary policy. 

  “Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.” BCREA makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.


Redistribution of Canada’s Workforce Drives Further Price Appreciation in Greater Vancouver & the Greater Toronto Area

Greater Montreal Area sees signs of a real estate market revival in the first quarter of 2016 

According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released April 7th, 2016, Canada’s residential real estate market showed strong year-over-year price increases in the first quarter of 2016.  The Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) real estate markets continue to lead the country in home price appreciation, with Canada’s economic landscape supporting robust housing demand in these metropolitan areas.  Additionally, an emerging trend of inter-provincial migration to British Columbia and Ontario from commodity-focused economic regions such as Alberta is expected to put further upward pressure on home prices in these areas in the coming months.  Meanwhile in Quebec, the residential real estate market in the Greater Montreal Area is showing the most promising signs of renewal seen in recent years, posting home price increases and a noticeable surge in unit sales in the first quarter.


The Royal LePage National House Price Composite, compiled from proprietary property value data in 53 of the nation’s largest real estate markets, showed that the price of a home in Canada increased 7.9 per cent year-over-year to $512,621 in the first quarter of 2016.  The price of a two-storey home rose 9.2 per cent year-over-year to $629,177, and the price of a bungalow increased 6.8 per cent to $426,216.  During the same period, the price of a condominium increased 4.0 per cent to $344,491.


“A glance at our national house price composite points to a very strong Canadian real estate market, yet the findings contain extreme regional disparities of the kind we haven’t seen in over a decade,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “Like an economic triumvirate, the impact of rock-bottom interest rates, the low Canadian dollar and a rapidly expanding U.S. workforce are stimulating economic growth and housing demand in our largest metropolitan areas. Conversely in cities like Calgary, the ongoing drags in depressed energy prices and worrisome employment trends have taken a material bite out of sales volumes. As a lagging indicator, home prices in Alberta and Newfoundland are just beginning to adjust to the lower demand.”


In Alberta, year-over-year home price declines have trailed the drops in sales volumes that began in 2015, but are now starting to emerge in varying degrees across the province. Calgary, with its large population of oil company head-office professionals and less affordable housing, is expected to see more of a price adjustment during the year than will be seen in Edmonton, where prices remain relatively flat. In contrast, the GTA and Greater Vancouver markets are skewed in favour of the seller, with a shortage of inventory and growing demand putting upward pressure on prices.


“Redistribution of labour across the country is further reinforcing disparities among housing markets, as the broader impacts of the oil recession on Alberta’s economy take hold.  For the first time in many years, we are witnessing an out-migration trend in the province, as economic conditions and employment prospects dim,” continued Soper. “We expect British Columbia, followed by Ontario, to be the top recipients of new household inflows in the coming year, which will further fuel housing demand and price appreciation in Greater Vancouver and the GTA.  This is in sharp contrast to the situation from 2011 to 2014, and in the mid 2000’s, when a booming energy sector attracted families from all over Canada to Alberta.”


The Royal LePage survey also showed a noticeable divergence between Canada’s two hottest markets: while the GTA sustained its trajectory of an aggregate year-over-year home price increase in the 8 per cent range (8.4 per cent), the Greater Vancouver market accelerated at rarely seen appreciation levels, surpassing a 20 per cent (21.6 per cent) aggregate year-over-year home price increase for the region.


During the first quarter, the Greater Montreal Area real estate market saw signs of renewal, including a dramatic increase in home sales activity, which rose 9.4 per cent year-over-year. In the luxury segment, when looking at condominiums in the $500,000 to $1-million range on the island of Montreal, the year-over-year increase in sales volume jumped to 23 per cent for the quarter and for homes over $1-million, sales volume increased 14 per cent year-over-year. With adequate supply to meet this increased demand, home prices showed moderate growth, posting a 1.8 per cent year-over-year aggregate price increase in the region.


“Following a multi-year period of stalled economic and residential real estate market growth, the Greater Montreal Area is seeing a frankly wonderful upswing in demand and unit sales, which often foreshadows stronger home price appreciation,” said Soper. “While Quebec has been slower to reap the economic benefits of more affordable energy costs in addition to the big three factors driving markets elsewhere in Canada – low interest rates, a lower dollar and expanding U.S. economy – the region is turning a corner.  My vote goes to Montreal as the city most likely to exceed expectations in 2016.”


In addition to low interest rates, the low dollar, and an expanding U.S. economy, in the coming year, Montreal’s housing market is expected to gain traction as a result of strong export performance driven by a steady recovery in the manufacturing and services sectors.  Large infrastructure projects such as work on the Champlain Bridge and on the Turcot Interchange are also expected to contribute to local employment, with the Conference Board of Canada projecting that these two projects alone will reverse three years of decline in Montreal’s construction sector.


“The mood is shifting in Quebec amid a renewed era of political stability and economic promise,” added Soper. “This year we expect to see improved business and consumer confidence in the province, which will result in stronger demand for larger purchases such as houses. Home buyers are well positioned as housing is much more affordable than in other large business centres such as Vancouver and Toronto.”


Outside of British Columbia and Ontario, year-over-year changes in house prices were generally modest in the first quarter.  In Atlantic Canada, Moncton saw the largest gains, posting an aggregate home price increase of 3.4 per cent, while the remainder of the Atlantic regions surveyed saw slight to moderate declines. In other parts of Western Canada, Winnipeg home prices increased 3.8 per cent year-over-year, while Regina and Saskatoon, feeling some of the impact of declines in commodity prices and net-migration, saw slight decreases of 1.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.


“The economic miracle that is contemporary Canada is driven in significant measure by our success at attracting quality immigrants to our land. While this is not new news, the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency has put renewed global focus on the often stark differences in opportunity and attitude that exist on either side of our huge border. In what started as a media prank, Canada’s attractiveness as a more realistic place to pursue life, liberty and happiness is gaining traction even in America. While we may just be a curiosity for many in the United States, the Cape Breton advertising campaign urging Americans to move north, as well as the record number of Americans googling ‘how to move to Canada’ reinforces the worldwide strength of brand-Canada as a prosperous and tolerant place to raise a family,” concluded Soper.


Home prices in Greater Vancouver continued to see significant appreciation during the first quarter of 2016, with the aggregate price of a home rising 21.6 per cent year-over-year to $1,044,750. The median price for bungalows in Greater Vancouver surged 25.7 per cent year-over-year to $1,116,136, while two-storey homes climbed 23.6 per cent to $1,418,231. Condominiums also saw notable growth during the quarter, increasing 9.5 per cent to $487,300.


Spring is often the time for out with the old and in with the new. So it must be "garage sale time." Whether you are planning to move or just want to clean up or de-clutter, Spring is often the time homeowners start planning a yard or garage sale. Below are some tips to get you started.



Planning a Garage Sale

Rather than discarding what you many no longer need or want, try selling it at a garage sale. A garage sale can be a profitable and fun way to make sure items are reused.

The following are some tried and true tips for a successful sale:
1. Pick the date
Make sure that the date will not conflict with holidays or special events that compete for attendance. Weekends are more successful than weekdays.

2. Bigger is better
Check with friends, relatives and neighbours to see if they would like to join you or if they have anything for you to sell on their behalf. More people mean less work and more items means more shoppers. Sharing on advertising costs increases your profit margin, too.

3. Get good sellers
Appliances, furniture, toys, tool, dishes and other such practical household items are popular. Records are also a good seller. Clothing does not usually have a high resale value, although kids clothing is the exception. Arrange kids clothing by size, and label each item. Clean everything. Make sure your items are working. If not, label them as such. For specialty items, include important information on labels. If you have items that you do not think will sell, have a “free box”. You’d be surprised what people will take and find uses for. If you have a truck, consider offering free delivery for big items within a certain distance – Customer service sells.

4. Promote your sale
If you have a community paper that is delivered to every household in your area, advertise in the classified section. Otherwise, advertise in the newspaper read most often by people in your area. Include the date, time (start early as most sales end by 1 or 2 p.m.), address and list some of the more desirable and unique items. If you don’t want early birds, include that in your ad but expect them anyway. If you are hosting the sale with others, split the advertising cost and remember to advertise the number of households participating in the sale.

5. Signage is key
Make sure the signs you make are large, clear and if possible, waterproof. Use well made, creative signs because they will attract more buyers. Some newspapers provide garage sale kits if you advertise with them, which usually includes a few signs. You should have enough signs to place at the intersection closest to your house, in front of your house and on the main streets near your house. Always include the date, time, and address on the signs.
Make signs for goods displayed at your sale. For example, “House wares”, “Kids Clothes”, etc. Make a sign that reads “Reduced Prices”. You can post this halfway through your sale.

6. Rainy day plan
Have a contingency plan for wet weather. Consider putting up tarps or holding your sale under cover.

7. Set fair prices
If you are not sure how to price your items, visit a local thrift store or garage sales. Don’t price your items too low initially, because people will bargain with you.
Put prices on everything using masking tape or removable stickers. This saves you from inventing prices on the spot and eliminates the need for everyone to ask you for prices. If many people are selling their goods, use different coloured tags (or different coloured dots on masking tape) and record sales by colour so you can correctly divide the money at the end of the day. Have lots of change and small bills on hand.

8. Make it social
Invite friends or neighbours the night before for a preview sale. If you have a street sale with your neighbours, have a BBQ afterward. At your sale, sell donuts and coffee. This will encourage people to stay longer, socialize and have a better opportunity to look at your wares.

9. It’s sale day
Expect early birds. Clear all paths and move any cars out of the driveway. Set up some tables the night before and carry them out first thing in the morning. Display your goods in an attractive way on tables, boxes or even the front lawn. For example, reuse coloured cardboard to display jewellery, and then attach the cardboard to a bulletin board. Group similar items together. If you are selling clothes, place them on hangers to display on the fence or a coat rack. Have an electrical outlet or extension cord accessible if you are selling electronic items. This enables potential buyer to test the items before they buy. Cover any items you do not want to sell with old sheets or move them out of sight. This helps prevent potential theft and stops people from trying to buy your lawnmower or garden tools.

Offer laundry hampers as shopping baskets. This allows shoppers the luxury of browsing without dropping their armful of goodies. Have extra shopping bags and boxes available for shoppers who purchase numerous items. Keep the money with you at all times. Use an apron with pockets or have one person dedicated to handling the cash. Remember to lock your house.
Be flexible and accept reasonable offers. Consider throwing in related token items, and post the “Reduced Prices” sign at lunchtime.

10. Clean up time
At the end of your sale, take down all signs and posters. If you have useful items remaining, donate them to charity or try selling them at a local flea market.


Metro Vancouver home sales eclipsed 5,000 in March for the first time on record.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 5,173 in March 2016, an increase of 27.4 per cent from the 4,060 sales recorded in March 2015 and an increase of 24 per cent compared to February 2016 when 4,172 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 56 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

"March was the highest selling month the REBGV has ever recorded,” REBGV president said. “Today's demand is broad based. Home buyers are active in neighbourhoods across our region."

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,278 in March 2016. This represents an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to the 5,968 units listed in March 2015 and an 8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 when 5,812 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,358, a 40.5 per cent decline compared to March 2015 (12,376) and a 0.8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 (7,299).

“Strong job and economic growth in our province, positive net migration and low interest rates are helping to drive this activity,"  said. 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $815,000. This represents a 23.2 per cent increase compared to March 2015.

Sales of detached properties in March 2016 reached 2,135, an increase of 24.8 per cent from the 1,711 detached sales recorded in March 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 27.4 per cent from March 2015 to $1,342,500.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,252 in March 2016, an increase of 38.4 per cent compared to the 1,627 sales in March 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 18.8 per cent from March 2015 to $462,800.

Attached property sales in March 2016 totalled 786, an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to the 722 sales in March 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 20.1 per cent from March 2015 to $589,100.

Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.