Home Prices Adapt to Affordability Demands

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver declined 42.9 per cent in September 2008 to1,585 from the 2,776 sales recorded in September 2007.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties increased 28.8 per cent to 6,142 in September 2008 compared to September 2007, when 4,770 new units were listed.
“After five years of unprecedented increases, housing prices are beginning to realign,” REBGV president, Dave Watt said. “Although the economic situation in the United States has affected consumer confidence globally, the consensus view remains that our local housing market is underpinned by solid economic fundamentals.”
Sales of detached properties in September 2008 declined 50.3 per cent to 546 from the 1,099 units sold during the same period in 2007. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties declined 1.6 per cent from September 2007 to $726,331. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for a detached property in Greater Vancouver has declined 5.8 per cent.
Sales of apartment properties declined 35.1 per cent last month to 764, compared to 1,177 sales in September 2007. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 0.7 per cent from September 2007 to $369,062. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for an apartment property in Greater Vancouver has declined 5.2 per cent.
Attached property sales in September 2008 decreased 41.9 per cent to 450, compared with the 775 sales in June 2007. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 7.6 per cent between June 2007 and 2008 to $476,585. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for an attached property in Greater Vancouver has declined 3 per cent.
Click here to see Listing & Sales Activity Summary for September 2008
Click here to see Greater Vancouver Average Price Graph September 2008

U.S. Housing Market Shows No Relief.
The U.S. housing market recession continues in full swing, with home sales running at least 20% slower than a year earlier, prices posting significant yearover-year declines and the stock of homes for sale holding well above historical norms. Residential investment fell at a 24.6% annual rate in the first quarter after plummeting 25.2% in the fourth quarter of 2007 and subtracted a sizeable 1.1 percentage points from economic growth in the first quarter of 2008.
Foreclosures were up in April and delinquencies are continuing to rise. RBCs forecast assumes that the recession in this sector will continue through 2008. In 2009, the combination of lower interest rates and lower house prices is expected to reduce the inventory of homes for sale to more normal levels, which should put a floor beneath new home construction after three years of significant declines.

The Canadian Housing market is losing its edge but not headed for a crash.

Canada's resale housing market showed signs of slowing early in the second quarter with sales off 1% from the first quarter of 2008 following three consecutive quarterly declines. However, sales continue to run well above the average pace of the past 20 years. While strong demand boosted prices, with gains of at least 10% in the past six years, the pace slowed to 3.2% in April. In contrast, new listings picked up in the first quarter and this trend continued into April, with listings in the major markets up 17.7% compared to a year earlier. Slowing in the housing market was expected and, to some degree, desired because affordability had been increasingly strained through 2007, with most major markets seeing affordability deteriorate to its worst levels since the early 1990s.


On the supply side, the high level of demand continues to support construction activity with housing starts running at an historically fast rate. The structural backdrop to Canada's housing market remains solid, with very limited sub-prime mortgage activity, a relatively small speculative sector and no significant supply overhang despite robust construction activity.
Affordability is also forecast to improve this year, with the Bank of Canada having cut the overnight rate by 150 basis points since last December, mortgage rate spreads showing some signs of narrowing and the pace of house price gains slowing.
Exerpts from Royal Bank of Canada Economic & Financial Market Outlook, July 2008. To read the complete report, visit

BC will outperform most other provinces in economic and job growth during the next two years.
Existing home sales will decline slightly as mortgage carrying costs rise in response to higher home prices and mortgage rates. Income and population growth stemming from tight labour markets will put upward pressure on existing home sales, lessening the decline.

BC will outperform most other provinces in economic and job growth during the next two years. This relative strength will translate into a high level of existing home sales, housing starts and house


Move-up buyers and people downsizing their residences will keep the number of resale transactions above the ten-year average. Existing home sales will decline during the next two years in response to high home prices, a rise in mortgage rates in 2009, and slower job growth.

High home prices will result in more homes being listed for sale. This increase in supply will slow growth in the provincial average MLS® price from the double-digit pace of the past four years. Centres where the local economy is more diversified and homeownership demand remains strong will record double-digit price gains again in 2008.

Fewer homes will be started as tight resale market conditions ease and potential homebuyers are more able to satisfy their housing needs in established neighbourhoods. Single-detached home starts will trend lower, as builders balance the high cost of land and building materials with what price conscious homebuyers will pay. Multiple-unit starts will account for the lion’s share of new home construction. With demand shifting to denser housing forms, more than sixty per cent of starts will be in multiple-unit housing developments. The large number of projects already in the construction pipeline in Vancouver and Kelowna will ensure multiple-unit starts will be at high levels.
Mortgage rates are expected to trend marginally lower throughout 2008, but will be  within 25-50 basis points of their current levels. For 2009, posted mortgage rates will begin to drift up slightly as the year progresses. For 2008 and 2009, the one-year posted mortgage rate is forecast to be in the 6.50-7.50 per cent range, while three and five-year posted mortgage rates are forecast to be in the 6.75-7.50 per cent range.
Exerpts from CMHCs Housing Market Outlook - British Columbia Region Highlights - Second Quarter 2008. For complete report, visit


VANCOUVER, November 2, 2007

Demand for homeownership will keep housing starts and existing home sales at above-average levels in BC and Vancouver, and push new and existing home prices higher in 2008.
Housing starts in BC will top 33,250 next year down slightly from this years level but still above average levels noted Carol Frketich, BC Regional Economist. Factors behind this demand include: unemployment near record lows, strong employment growth, rising wages, relatively low mortgage rates and growing migration. Recent financial market turmoil in the United States will keep interest rates relatively flat in Canada despite upward inflationary pressures.

In Vancouver, housing demand will be supported through 2008 by ongoing job growth and a steady flow of people moving to the region said Robyn Adamache, CMHCs Vancouver Senior Market Analyst. Solid home price gains will continue to attract investors and live-in homeowners alike. These factors, combined with Vancouvers growing international reputation as a clean, liveable city, will keep demand for new and resale housing robust. Both new home starts and existing home sales will stay near record highs, but edge down slightly in the year ahead. Look for new and resale home prices in Metro Vancouver communities to increase, but at a slower pace than in recent years.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.
Housing Market Outlook
Total Housing Starts 2006 Actual 2007 Forecast 2008 Forecast
British Columbia 36,443 36,200 33,250
Abbotsford CMA1 1,207 1,150 1,200
Kelowna CMA 2,692 2,750 2,700
Vancouver CMA 18,705 19,000 18,500
Victoria CMA 2,739 2,445 2,275
Total M® Sales2 2006 Actual 2007 Forecast 2008 Forecast
British Columbia 96,671 100,500 93,750
Abbotsford CMA 3,853 3,700 3,650
Kelowna CMA 4,158 5,500 5,200
Vancouver CMA 36,479 38,300 37,200
Victoria CMA 7,500 8,300 7,600
Average MLS® Price ($) 2006 Actual 2007 Forecast 2008 Forecast
British Columbia 390,963 438,200 464,500
Abbotsford CMA 303,959 361,700 398,000
Kelowna CMA 349,805 415,000 448,000
Vancouver CMA 509,876 571,000 623,000
Victoria CMA 427,154 465,000 485,000
SOURCE: CMHC Housing Market Outlook, British Columbia Region Highlights, Fourth Quarter 2007.

1 Census Metropolitan Area (CMA).

2 The term MLS® stands for Multiple Listing Service and is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
For more information about the Canadian Housing Market, visit
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