The Metro Vancouver Real Estate Market
In October 2023,1996 homes sold in the greater Vancouver area, this is 3.7% more homes than last year at the same time. It is, however, 29.5% below the 10-year average of 2,832 sales. The number of listings continues to grow, which means that we are now mostly in a balanced market. This is a market where the nicest house at the right price will sell quickly, and some others may take some time to sell. In a balanced market, it is generally possible to negotiate the price and other conditions. The sales-to-active listing ratio is at 17.9%. The sales-to-active listing ratio tells us that prices should be stable in the greater Vancouver area. When the ratio goes below 12%, prices have a tendency to go down and when the ratio goes above 20% prices have a tendency to go up. The average property sale price was $1,196,500 which is 4.4% over last year but 0.6% below September. This was expected with most rates in the 6% range since the end of August.
Fixed Interest Rates trending down
Fixed rates have finally started to come down from their peak. We are going back to the rates of July/August. Yes, they are still high, but not has much as they were. Most of the rates that went down are the ones for 5-year fixed insured mortgages, but other 5 year fixed rates and 3 year fixed rates have made some movement as well. Keep in mind that not all banks followed suit yet on the better rates. Some banks will take a few weeks or even a month before changing their rate so that they can increase their profit or mitigate some losses.
The Economy and Employment
The latest GDP numbers were disappointing, to say the least, with another negative print (-0.1%). This follows the negative print of the -0.2% of the last summer. Technically, two consecutive quarters with negative growth is considered a recession. This time, however, the contraction is very mild, it is more like a rounding error than a real decisive number. The caveat here is that we have record immigration numbers, which have certainly boosted the economy and made the print a lot higher than what would have been. We can see that effect by looking at the GDP per capita that is going downhill at a rapid pace. We also see this by unemployment rising quickly to the highest number since the pandemic (5.7%).
Risk of Rate Hike
With those lousy economic news, inflation should be able to go down and this should allow for the Bank of Canada (BoC) to keep rates at this level for the moment. Inflation is still a little high at 3.8% (September print), so the BoC should not move in any direction at their next meeting. If something changes drastically between now and December 6th, this may change. Personally, I doubt that the BoC will do anything for quite some time unless the GDP growth turns deeply negative in the tune of -1% or if inflation makes it under 2%. There is a high probability that rates have peaked for this cycle. For the Americans, traditionally if the Federal Reserve (The American equivalent of the BoC) does not increase rates for 5 months, this was normally the peak in rate for the cycle. The BoC last increase was in July, so if there is no increase in December, rates may have peaked.
Why It's a Good Time to Buy
With a balanced market, rates trending down and the traditionally slower months of November, December and January, this might be an opportunity for a purchase. You may be able to get a great deal for a property. Yes, you will be buying with rates near the peak, at most likely a time when there is a recession (either ongoing or to come, see paragraph above), and a possibility of lower prices in the short term. But please remember, that if a deeper recession happens, the cure is always the same, lower interest rates. Unless, a large portion of the population loses their jobs, there will be plenty of buyers waiting to jump in as soon as the rates go down. At that moment, the opportunity will be gone because prices will be going up once more. For those that do not believe me, just think of the spring market of 2023, when rates went down in April, May and June, we saw the market taking fire, with bidding wars, offers over asking and offers with no conditions. Property values in that period increased by about 7%, this was complete madness. Everything went to a halt with the BoC increases of June and July, followed by an increase in fixed rates that followed. This is just a question of time before our lack of inventory rears its ugly head.
Quick word on AirBnB because I get many questions about that. In short, BC wants to triple the fine for people breaking the rules. They aim to prevent investors from renting their property on the short-term market instead than on the long-term one. People renting an extra room within their primary residency or their full house when they are away on vacation, will still be able to do it. However, there will be some change in permitting and licensing. The goal is to release more properties for long-term rentals. The new rules will take place on May 1st 2024. For all the details, see the link below:
If you have any questions or you would like to start a pre-approval process for purchase of a home, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule an appointment on the link below.
Simon Bilodeau Mortgage Broker DLC-Mortgage Negotiators Phone : 604-828-9864 email : email@example.com