Real Estate News & Facts About Vancouver

Living in Vancouver

Real estate news for Vancouver is always a hot topic as Vancouver is a popular destination. This beautiful, laid-back west coast city is both a favourite place to live and visit. Canada’s third most populated city, it is home to about 630,000 residents and has a greater metropolitan population of 2.4 million. This clean, attractive city has warm, sunny summers and wet but mild winters (especially compared to other Canadian cities), and regularly makes it to the top of worldwide Best City studies. Vancouver’s popularity continues in spite of having Canada’s most expensive housing market. The price of the typical detached house reached a record $1.7 million in July. New home prices rose 5% between March and June, the biggest 3-month increase since 1990.

Yet, it is still possible to find relatively affordable housing if you know how to look. Here are the top 25 neighbourhoods across all of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) ranked with real estate news for Vancouver in mind.

Economic experts are equally concerned about the province's financial reliance on the real estate market and the NDP’s efforts to cool the housing market. 2016/17 public accounts released in August recorded a $2.7 billion surplus. Real estate market revenue made up a large amount of that. BC real estate accounts for a larger share of government revenues than it does in any other province.

Real Estate News: Vancouver

Residential Tenancy Act

The BC government is making efforts to prevent landlords from bypassing annual rent controls by evicting tenants and imposing larger rent hikes between leases. Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act were recently introduced, and are aimed at protecting renters who have been vulnerable to higher rent increases and housing market instability.

So far the Act has allowed landlords to impose a “vacate clause” on leases, forcing renters out and allowing landlords to exceed rent controls for incoming tenants. The proposed changes would restrict the use of the vacate clause and protect tenants renewing fixed-term agreements so they are covered by rent control, which allows for increases of 2% plus inflation. The changes would apply to existing rental agreements.

Foreign Buyer’s Tax

Many critics have suggested that foreign capital was one reason real estate had become increasingly unaffordable, with locals unable to compete with foreign investors. Last summer, then Liberal premier Christy Clark introduced a 15% tax on foreign home buyers in Vancouver as a way of tempering the area's skyrocketing housing prices. Real estate news in Vancouver continuously reports how home prices continue to rise however, and houses are still out of reach for most residents.

The immediate effect of the taxes were huge declines in resale market transactions.

Vancouver home buyers took out smaller and fewer mortgages after the government imposed mortgage cooling measures on the housing market. The average amount of a new mortgage in Vancouver was $517,415 in the first quarter of 2017, compared with $553,719 the year before. Not only were mortgages smaller, the number of mortgage originations in the city dropped to 6,226 from 9,162 over the same time period—an indication that the cooling measures had an effect. In recent months, however, sales have picked up again. The average price of a detached house in the Vancouver region was $1.7-million in July.

The NDP is now making promises to cool the real estate market. Their strategies are geared toward making it easier for people at the bottom end of the housing market to buy property. Among the NDP's campaign promises was the creation of 114,000 affordable housing units, a Housing Affordability Fund, and the introduction of a 2% absentee speculators tax.

Vancouver Housing Market

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, August sales were pushed above average levels thanks to a sustained demand for condos and townhomes. When compared to the August sales average from the last decade, 2017 sales were 19.6% above average. Real estate board president Jill Oudil says the real estate news in Vancouver is such that first-time homebuyers are the biggest group buying condos and townhomes, in spite of the fact that prices will likely continue to rise. The demand for condominiums and townhouses winning out over free-standing homes can be attributed to the need for more affordable housing.

 

Increasing numbers of Vancouver renters are planning on buying a home in the next year, possibly in reaction to high rental prices or lack of supply. Altus Group’s latest Vancouver Flash Report released November 8, said that overall interest in home-buying in Vancouver “has not faded.” More renters surveyed this year (17%) than last year (14%) are saying they are planning on buying a home within the next 12 months, but fewer existing homeowners are planning a move (14%) compared with last year (18%). Overall, that averages out as 15% of all households surveyed in 2017 planning on buying a home in the coming year, which is only down minimally from last year’s 16%.

With the latest data showing foreign buyer activity picking up again in Metro Vancouver, and condo prices soaring, the BC NDP is now responsible for creating more affordable housing. The NDP government has made already made Vancouver real estate news headlines by spending $500 million on various efforts. Two temporary modular-housing buildings containing 78 new homes are currently being built to address immediate housing needs for Vancouver’s homeless population, and are part of a $66-million commitment from the province toward constructing 600 units of temporary modular housing in the city. The NDP has also put forth funding for 1700 purpose-built rental units, as well as new funds for the Residential Tenancy Branch—all of which was announced in September’s mini-budget.