Home sale activity up, supply down to start 2020

Home sale and price activity remained steady in Metro Vancouver to start 2020 while home listing activity declined in January.  

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totaled 1,571 in January 2020, a 42.4 per cent increase from the 1,103 sales recorded in January 2019, and a 22.1 per cent decrease from the 2,016 homes sold in December 2019.  

Last month’s sales were 7.3 per cent below the 10-year January sales average.  

“We’ve begun 2020 with steady home buyer demand that tracks close to the region’s long-term average,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “Looking at supply, we’re seeing fewer homes listed for sale than is typical for this time of year. As we approach the traditionally more active spring market, we’ll keep a close eye on supply to see if the number of homes being listed is keeping pace with demand.”  

There were 3,872 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in January 2020. This represents a 20.1 per cent decrease compared to the 4,848 homes listed in January 2019 and a 143.8 per cent increase compared to December 2019 when 1,588 homes were listed.  
Last month’s new listings were 17.4 per cent below January’s 10-year average. The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,617, a 20.3 per cent decrease compared to January 2019 (10,808) and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to December 2019 (8,603), and is 13.7 per cent below the 10-year January average.  

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2020 is 18.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 11.6 per cent for detached homes, 22.6 per cent for townhomes, and 23.9 per cent for apartments.  

Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.  

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,008,700. This represents a 1.2 per cent decrease over January 2019, a 1.4 per cent increase over the past six months, and a 0.8 per cent increase compared to December 2019.  

Sales of detached homes in January 2020 reached 439, a 29.5 per cent increase from the 339 detached sales recorded in January 2019. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,431,200. This represents a 1.7 per cent decrease from January 2019, a one per cent increase over the past six months, and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to December 2019.  

Sales of apartment homes reached 814 in January 2020, a 45.6 per cent increase compared to the 559 sales in January 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $663,200. This represents a one per cent decrease from January 2019, a 1.5 per cent increase over the past six months, and a one per cent increase compared to December 2019.  

Attached home sales in January 2020 totalled 318, a 55.1 per cent increase compared to the 205 sales in January 2019. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $782,500. This represents a 0.7 per cent decrease from January 2019, a 1.6 per cent increase over the past six months, and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to December 2019.

This article provided courtesy of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

4 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Mortgage Broker

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, a move-up or downsizing buyer, buying an Investment property, here are 4 questions you should be asking your mortgage broker;

1. How much can I afford? 

Usually people pick their homes before they organize their financing, but it makes more sense to do it the other way around. Determine what monthly payment you would be comfortable with, how much financing you qualify for and what money you have available for a down payment before delving into your house hunting. 

2. What type of mortgage should I consider? 

Are you someone who likes a predictable payment or are you comfortable taking some risk to get a lower rate?  A fixed interest rate is set when you sign for the mortgage; it won’t change for the entire term. A variable rate, however, will change according to market interest rates, which may cause concern for some. While market fluctuations are hard to predict, we can give you historical data and economic information to help you make this decision. We will also determine your tolerance for risk and advise you on the best option based on your financial situation and needs. Also, the type of mortgage may be determined on the product you qualify for, based on the stress test. 

3. How much do I need for a down payment? 

Many homebuyers assume they need to make a large down payment in order to get the best mortgage rate, but that’s not always the case. Mortgage insurance products allow buyers to put as little as 5% down and still get a competitive mortgage rate. With the new mortgage stress test qualifying rules, the rates for an insured mortgage may be better than for a conventional mortgage because mortgage default insurance lowers the lender’s risk and cost. 

4. What should I take into account for the future? 

Everyone is excited about buying a new home, but not everyone is thinking about what that means in the long term.  What you can afford today might not be the most practical choice in years to come. What if your job situation changes or interest rates rise or if you’re planning a family? Will you still be able to make payments when you factor in the costs of parental leave and daycare?  

Assessment Day

Not only does January 1 mark New Years Day (New Year, New Home anyone?) but it also marks what has become a ritual for many – checking the value of their home on BC Assessment.
Every January 1 BC Assessment releases the assessed value of properties across BC on their website. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:
Here’s some things you should know though before checking it out:
1) This is the value, according to BC assessment, as at July 1 of the previous year (in this case 2018).
2) Because your BC Assessment increase, or decreased, does not mean that your taxes will as well. It is weighed against your neighbours properties. So if your home went down, but the average in your city actually went up, then your properties taxes would be going down, and vice-versa.
3) These assessments are not gospel and should not be seen as an accurate valuation of your home! They’re not an accurate measure of the value of your home as at July 1, and they are certainly not an accurate measure of the value of your home today. The assessment is very general, and does not take into condition anything to do with the condition of your home or renovations. BC Assessment is often working with incorrect information when it comes to rooms, sizes, number of bathrooms, etc.
Takeaway: While it’s fun to take a look at the BC Assessment Values, don’t take them as Gospel. Take them as what they are, a government tool for assessing taxes. If you want a real idea of the value of your home, call us. The only way you’re going to get a true idea of the value of your home is by taking to an experienced, knowledgeable Realtor(r) and having them give you a proper home evaluation.
But hey, I guess you would always rely on the internet. What is it that they say? You can believe everything you hear on the internet?

Canadian Real Estate Prices Are Up Over 44% Over The Past 5 Years

Canadian real estate prices are slowing in growth, but they made a wild run over the past few years. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) numbers show price growth made a huge deceleration into October. Price growth is now close to target inflation, but over the past 5 years they’ve increased by over 44%. Not just in Toronto or Vancouver, but that’s the national average.

Canadian Real Estate Prices Increased Over 44% In 5 Years

The price of a typical home across Canada is falling from peaks, but has a long way to go to normalize. CREA reported the benchmark across Canada reached $623,000 in October, down 0.13% from the month before. Prices are now up 2.33% from last year, and up an absurd 44.04% over the past 5 years. The aggregate number is adjusted for volume by region, and housing type. This isn’t just Toronto or Vancouver, that’s the national number.


After making such huge gains, price growth is tapering to much lower levels. The annual gains of 2.33% in October is higher than the month before, but way below the 9.1% we saw last year. The mild gain more likely has to do with how quickly the benchmark decelerated last year.

Vancouver Real Estate Is Still The Most Expensive In The Country

Vancouver real estate may be slowing in growth, but it’s still the most expensive market in the country. Vancouver’s benchmark reached $1,062,100 in October, up 1.03% from last year. Oakville, an affluent suburb of Toronto, reached $958,700, up 2.19% from the same month last year. Fraser Valley, a board so close to Vancouver agents often do both markets, reached $853,600, up 6.84% from last year. Worth also noting that British Columbian real estate markets are seeing huge declines in sales right now.


Guelph, Victoria, And Fraser Valley Real Estate Lead Higher

A commuter region for Toronto, and two BC markets are this year’s fastest moving markets. Guelph reached $562,300 in October, up 9.33% from last year. Victoria came in second with its benchmark reaching $693,600, up 8.5% from last year. Fraser Valley made an appearance once again with their benchmark at $853,600, up 6.84% from last year. Canadian Robert Shiller fans could have guessed this one.

Real Estate In The Canadian Prairies Is Dropping

The Canadian prairies are leading the market lower. Regina saw the biggest drop, with the benchmark falling to $277,100 in October, down 3.6% from the same month last year. Calgary followed with a benchmark of $422,000, down 2.61% from last year. Edmonton’s benchmark came in at $324,000, down 2.42% from last year. The prairies are a large part of why the Bank of Canada cut interest rates in 2015. The boost, that sent the rest of the country into overdrive, likely propped up values over the past few years.

Absurd Gains Made In Toronto And Vancouver Real Estate Suburbs

If you thought Toronto and Vancouver made big gains over the past few years, you should see their suburbs. Fraser Valley was the best performing market with its $853,600 benchmark in October, up 87.84% over the past 5 years. Niagara reached $389,200 in October, up 76.12% over the past 5 years. Vancouver came in third with $1,062,100, up 73.28% over the past 5 years. For those curious, Toronto came in sixth with a benchmark of $766,300, up 60.08% over the past 5 years.



REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive begins November 13

The 24th annual REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive kicks off November 13 to collect warm winter clothing for those in need across the Lower Mainland.

The REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive is the largest and longest running blanket drive in the Lower Mainland.

Between November 13 and 20, REALTOR® volunteers will collect warm clothing and blankets across the region. The donations are then distributed to partner charities from the same community where the item was donated.

The public can make donations at more than 100 participating real estate offices across the Lower Mainland. Click here for a list of drop-off locations.

The Blanket Drive seeks to collect enough clothing to help more than 30,000 people stay warm this winter.

“A recent homeless count in Metro Vancouver indicates there are more people living in shelters or on the streets than ever before,” Phil Moore, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president said.

“Our partner charities need all the support they can get this winter, so please donate what you can. Every little donation helps.”

Since beginning in 1994, the program has helped provide warmth to more than 345,000 Lower Mainland residents. To follow this year’s Blanket Drive on social media, use #RCBD2018 or go to

“Anything you can give that’s in good shape – an unused blanket, spare coat, even a pair of mittens – will directly help a person in need in your area,” John Barbisan, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board president said. “Please look through your closets and reach out to a participating REALTOR® or real estate office. They can help get your donation into the hands of someone who could really use it.”

Items we need:

  • Blankets or sleeping bags, gently used or new
  • Warm clothing, coats
  • Hats, gloves, scarves
  • New socks and underwear

For more information, visit

The REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive is a partnership between the REALTORS® of the Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver, and Chilliwack and District Real Estate Boards and their communities.



Get the Best Return on Your Investment in Home Improvements

The ROI on home improvements isn’t always about the money.


Often the best return on your home investment is the joy you get from waking up in a home you love more and more with each project you complete.

And the best part? You can sometimes get your money back when the love affair is over.

Which home improvements will pay off when you sell depends on how savvy you are when you remodel.

Here are some of the more popular home improvements, and whether you should do them for love or money (and in some cases, how to have both).

Kitchen Remodel

Do It For: Love

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $65,000

ROI: 62%

Will remodeling your kitchen increase your home value? Sure. Will you love it? Homeowners almost always do, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of REALTORS®.

But you’ll love it even more if you can bump up that ROI.

How to add more money to your love: A little sweat equity can save you thousands if you’re willing to tackle some tasks such as demolition and painting.

Basement Conversion

Do It For: Love

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $40,000

ROI: 63%

Converting a basement to a living area is the very definition of a project done for love. It instantly makes your home more functional by giving you more living space — without increasing your home’s footprint. Just so you know, though, it can be a big-ticket remodel.

How to add more money to your love: Think about how you’ll use the space. Will you be working, throwing parties, or watching Netflix? If you can make an open floor plan work, you’ll save the cost of framing, drywalling, and painting more rooms.

Skip the cost of a drop ceiling, and give your basement the flavor of a downtown loft by painting the ceiling, ducts, and plumbing.

Speaking of plumbing, if you can run upstairs for the loo and your wet bar doesn’t actually need to be wet, skip the extra pipes and save a bundle.

New Wood Floors


Do It For: Money (and Love!)

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $5,500

ROI: 91%

One of the best returns on a home investment is hardwood floors. They’re beautiful, durable, and timeless — and one of the smartest things you can do, too.

Many homeowners now want (and even expect) hardwood floors. And when done in keeping with the home’s layout and neighborhood, they can add 2.5% to the sale price.

How to get even more ROI: If you already have wood floors and they’re still in good shape, why not refinish them and save a little money? It costs around $3,000 and recovers 100% of its value at resale.

In-Ground Swimming Pool

Do It For: Love

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $57,500

ROI: 43%

Even if you adore the thought of diving into the clear, blue water of your very own backyard swimming pool, when you hear about the 43% ROI (not to mention the high project cost and the years of maintenance), the idea of installing one may feel like a wet blanket. And let’s face it: There’s no DIYing an in-ground pool to trim costs.

A better bet for your ROI: If you’re more of a sit-by-the-water type, consider a waterfall or fountain. It’ll bring you water-side happiness while also upping curb appeal. Or DIY a small (removable) soaking pool and mini-deck — you’ll get all the watery goodness without the high cost and maintenance.

But! If you just can’t stop dreaming about the real deal, don’t let the low return on investment deter you. Being happy while you’re in your home is just as important, maybe more so.

Bathroom Addition

Do It For: Love

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $59,000

ROI: 50%

Adding a new bathroom seems like an ROI no-brainer. And yet, it’s not. So ask yourself why you’re fantasizing about the update. If it’s because you’re legitimately short on toilets, it’s worth considering.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, buyers tend to favor houses with an equal number of bathrooms and bedrooms. And if you’re in a four-bedroom with one bathroom, you probably do, too.

How to add some money to your love: If a new bathroom will boost your happiness (or sanity), there are ways to make the most of your remodeling budget. Adding one within the existing footprint of your home and next to existing plumbing will save thousands. And like a kitchen update, the bathroom is a place where DIY pays off. Doing your own paint or demo can save a bundle.

New Garage Door

Do It For: Money

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $2,300

ROI: 87%

While it’s not the dreamiest home investment, a new garage door is one of the quickest ways to make your home shine, especially if it’s front and center like many of today’s homes. It’s also one of the most affordable.

How to make your garage door pay off more: In addition to improving curb appeal, an insulated door on an attached garage can help lower energy bills, which will earn back money every month — and generate a little joy in your heart.

Outdoor Kitchen

Do It For: Love and Money (depending on where you live)

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $14,000

ROI: 71%

There’s something dreamy about cozying up to a table under the trees and digging into a meal you’ve cooked under the open sky.

But before you give in to the call of a backyard cucina, consider your climate and neighborhood.

While 71% ROI is good, that’s a number that includes homes from sunny Tucson to frigid Fargo. The more you can use the outdoor kitchen, the better your ROI will be.

If your neighbors prefer a simple backyard grill and plastic lawn chairs, your ROI may not be so great.

How to add even more money to your love: Stick to a built-in charcoal or gas grill and skip the cooktop to avoid running electricity. Use inexpensive string lights from the wall outlet on your home’s exterior to illuminate the space.

Also, situate the outdoor kitchen near the back door, and you can use the plumbing inside rather than paying extra for an outdoor sink.

Plant Trees

Do It For: Love and Money

Estimated Cost: $50 to $100 for a 6- to 7-foot deciduous tree

ROI: 100% or more

Planting trees today is one of the smartest ways to reap financial rewards tomorrow. A well-positioned tree shades the house in summer and shields it from harsh winds in winter, shaving money off your utility bills — as much as $250 per year.

And according to the Forest Service, mature trees contribute as much as 10% to your home value.


New Roof

Do It For: Money

Estimated Cost for a Pro Job: $7,500

ROI: 109%

Putting on a new roof tops the home project list in rate of return. This is a relatively high-dollar item, but wow — that 109% ROI sure makes your bottom line do the happy dance.

And even better: REALTORS® say a new roof helps them make a sale 32% of the time.

FYI on your roof’s ROI: Naturally, the longer the time span between your roof replacement and your home sale, the lower that ROI becomes. But even if you aren’t thinking of selling right away, if your roof is in disrepair, a new one is the wise choice.

It improves energy efficiency (an Energy Star-certified roof can reduce peak cooling demand 10%-15%); it ups curb appeal; and it protects you from mold, critters, and the dreaded water damage.


7 Ways to Make a lasting First Impression on Buyers

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and when selling your home first impressions can make or break your sale.  Good news, making the best impression on home buyers is not hard (piece of cake, really), so let’s get started on our top 7 ways to get your home ‘sale ready’:


  1. Curb Appeal!
  • Mow the lawn, prune bushes, dead head flowers, mulch, edge walk-ways, drive ways & garden beds, pull all the weeds you can find, and remove any toys, lawn furniture or garden implements that are visible.


  1. Make a Grand Entrance!
  • Clean your front door, make sure the door bell works, update door handles if necessary, make sure outdoor lighting works, sweep, power wash & add some colourful potted plants near the front door way to add warmth and colour.


  1. Get Behind Your Electrical!
  • Walk through your home and turn on every light switch. Do all lights work?  Replace any lightbulbs that are burnt out, and repair any electrical that is not working.


  1. Get the Grime Out!
  • Clean, clean, clean, clean & then clean some more. Every room needs to sparkle.  Scrub all bathrooms top to bottom, all kitchen appliances inside & out, floors, walls, windows, closets need to be organized, clean, clean, clean, clean!


  1. Go Clutter Free!
  • Buyers need to see themselves living in your home, so store all collections, small kitchen appliances (blenders, toasters, etc), Knick knacks, tooth brushes and bathroom acessories – essentially anything and everything that can be stored, should be stored….Neatly & in organized fashion.


  1. Follow Your Nose!
  • Your house should smell good. Whether it’s pets, your cooking, cigarettes, dust & mildew, or just life, your home needs to smell good….It needs to NOT smell like you and your family.  Invest in some good, neutral air freshener scents and make sure to use them prior to any showings.


  1. Move From Past to Present!
  • If your home has not seen an update in the last 10 years, it’s likely time to invest in some. Thoughtful updates do not need to be expensive. New hardware (handles) on kitchen & bathroom cupboards, painting existing kitchen and bathroom cupboards, painting walls, updating light fixtures, caulking seams though out your home and new window coverings are all inexpensive ways to add a touch of modern to any home.  For those with larger budgets who ae looking to make a huge impact before selling, concentrate on the kitchen, bathroom, and floors for best return.


At the end of the day, when you are selling your home you need to remember that all buyers want to picture themselves living in the homes they are viewing.  This means you need to remove yourself from the eye (and nose) of buyer.

Here’s Where House Prices Have Risen And Fallen Across Canada

Canadian housing markets show “neither strength nor deep weakness” as price growth drops to slowest in five years.


  • Toronto house prices are 4 per cent lower than a year ago
  • Vancouver leads in price growth, but has weakened recently
  • Canadian house prices ‘more likely to stagnate than fall outright’

These are uncertain times in Canada’s housing markets.

The house-price boom is over in Toronto, but no one’s really sure where the market is headed next. In Vancouver, solid price growth over the past year has been replaced by a deep sales slump this summer.

The overall market is showing “neither strength nor deep weakness,” says National Bank economist Marc Pinsonneault.


The Teranet-National Bank index of house prices rose for the fourth month in a row in July, up 0.8 per cent from the month before. But “these rises were all below the historical average for these months,” Pinsonneault wrote in a client note Tuesday.

Over the past year, the index has grown 1.8 per cent nationally, the slowest price growth since 2013, noted Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics.

“There were disappointing results for Canada’s largest cities,” he wrote.


And while Toronto showed some modest growth — up 0.8 per cent in a month — the city’s house price index is 4 per cent lower than it was a year ago. Adjusted for seasonal differences, Toronto house prices have been flat in recent months, Pinsonneault said.

“This means that the recent rises in these indices reflected only seasonal pressures, not an underlying trend,” he concluded.

Similarly in Vancouver, the index rose by a mild 0.4 per cent in July, but if adjusted for seasonal differences, prices have fallen for the past two months, Pinsonneault said. The Vancouver index is 10.6 per cent higher than a year ago, thanks to strength in the market late last year.

The Teranet-National Bank price index attempts to create an “apples to apples” comparison of house prices by tracking “sales pairs” over time — that is, comparing the sold price of homes to their previous sold prices.


The Canadian Real Estate Association will be releasing its home sales data for July this week, and it’s likely to show a mixed bag, with sales picking up in Toronto and slowing down in Vancouver.

The nationwide ratio of home sales to new listings — a key measure of the health of the housing market — “implies that house prices are more likely to stagnate than fall outright,” Brown wrote.

“But that could change if rising interest rates cause demand to fall or prompt a rise in distressed sellers.”

Brown added that, even without house prices falling, the slowdown in the market could still prove to be a drag on the housing market, as it will result in slower construction activity.