The Top 10 Features Requested by Home Renters

General Robyn McLean 21 Sep

Some good tips from our friends at REW Rentals. 

Attention landlords and renters: here’s what’s hot in Canada’s rental market.
By Justin Kerby Sep 18, 2020

Every renter has their own unique criteria for what they’re looking for in a home. However, there are a few notable features that are always in high demand. Whether you’re a renter who wants to know what options are out there in the market or a property owner who is looking to get more eyes on your listing, here are ten features that are frequently requested by renters today.

1. Storage

For many renters, storage can be a make or break feature – and that’s including storage both inside and outside of the rental property. Inside the unit, renters are looking for closets in the bedrooms and hallways, and preferably some sort of pantry or broom closet. Pre-installed closet organizers in these spaces can be a plus, and make things more attractive on a walkthrough. If it’s a renovated basement suite with no built-in closets, consider installing free-standing storage units and wardrobes, instead.

External storage can also be very important. While most apartments and condos will come with storage lockers, renters looking at basement suites may need to negotiate coveted garage space or bins that can be kept safely and securely outside.

2. Outdoor space

Since many Canadians are spending more time at home, the appeal of outdoor space has never been greater. If you’re not lucky enough to have a private patio or balcony at your rental unit, there’s still hope. Many multi-unit buildings are adding in community gardens, where tenants get a small garden box or part of a larger, shared box, to tend to on their own. We’ve seen these on rooftops as well as on ground level. In rental homes or basement suites, many landlords are gracious enough to share their outdoor space with tenants, or at least have a dedicated space for the renters to use.

3. Office space

The pandemic drastically shifted the needs of renters. That Ikea is warning of a potential shortage of office furniture points to the fact that renters, now more than ever, need a dedicated space to sit down in front of a computer and remain comfortable and engaged while they work or study from home. This has caused the demand for multi-bedroom or bedroom-plus-den rental units to rise. If you’re an owner with a property on the market, consider staging a dedicated home office space to help renters envision themselves working in the space. If you’re a renter that needs a home office, while you scope out where to set up your desk be sure you also ask your prospective landlord about internet speed and capacity to ensure it meets your needs.

4. Noise insulation

Renters today are paying close attention to noise insulation, and noting whether a unit is in a wood-frame building or sits underneath hardwood or laminate flooring is important if you’re noise sensitive. Renters who work or study from home: aside from just asking the landlord about the quality of noise insulation, if you can, try viewing rental space during the day so you can experience it yourself. Owners: consider small, affordable upgrades you can make to the property to make noise more manageable.

5. Heat insulation

Again, as many people now work and study at home, utility bills have been on the rise. Ensuring the rental space has good heat insulation can ensure these bills are reasonable and that the renter is comfortable. This can include properly sealed doors, multi-pane windows, or a variety of other upgrades. Check out our post on energy-efficient features for more ideas on how to properly insulate a home, or what to look out for when you’re rental hunting.

6. Ceiling fans, central air, etc.

On the flip side, many Canadians are no longer able to benefit from the office air conditioning during the hot summer months. So, pay attention to cooling systems such as ceiling fans and central air. If the space doesn’t have either of those, scope out where you might be able to put a window-mounted or portable air conditioning unit in the property.

7. Carpet-free spaces

Even though there are some pros to having carpeted floors in a living area, many renters prefer hardwood or laminate flooring. Along with the style and aesthetic, this type of flooring is easier to clean and more durable, which is important for renters hoping to get back their security deposit. If you’re a homeowner thinking about renovations for your rental property, laminate flooring is a relatively affordable upgrade that can increase the value of and interest in your rental.

8. Kitchen counter space

Depending on the renter, the kitchen might be the most important room in the home. For that reason, many renters pay close attention to the amount of counter space the kitchen has. Ideally, the layout will accommodate a comfortable amount of room, but if not, both renters and homeowners could consider installing an island. You can find reasonably priced temporary and movable islands at stores like Canadian Tire and Rona.

9. In-suite laundry

Very few renters relish the thought of lugging laundry up and down multiple flights of stairs while paying $2.00+ per load, so having in-suite laundry is a huge perk. While this can be a bigger investment for a homeowner to put in a rental property, it does have the potential to up the value for renters who are willing to pay for convenience (and there are many out there!). Stackable machines are a great way to save on space, or deals can be found at appliance outlets stores, where it’s typical to find perfectly operating machines for a discount due to a cosmetic defect like a scratch.

10. Pets

Certain markets (Vancouver being one of them) are notoriously hard for pet owners. While there are many valid reasons a homeowner might not want pets in their rental property, there are also many valid reasons why they should. The BC SPCA offers a few benefits to consider.

First, pet owners are often willing to pay more monthly, in addition to putting down a pet deposit. Second, pet owners typically stay in their rentals for longer, which is one of the most important considerations of any landlord. Third, studies from FIREPAW have shown that there is no significant difference in damage between tenants with and without pets. Renters: even if the unit isn’t listed as pet friendly, don’t be afraid to ask the landlord about this and see if you can come to an agreement, as it could be in the best interest of both parties.

No matter which side of the rental agreement you’re on, there are a lot of features in a property to consider. Renters need to make sure they find a space that suits their needs, and property owners equally need to find a renter that makes them feel comfortable.

Teaching your kids about finances

General Robyn McLean 17 Sep

What better way to prepare your kids for the future than teaching them about finances. Some great tips from our friends at Dominion Lending. 

Did you know? According to a 2019 RBC Family Finances Poll, 9 out of 10 parents (96%) are financially supporting their children (ages 18-35 years). On average, this costs parents $5,623 per year! This is an added cost that many parents cannot afford. In fact, approximately 3 in 10 parents (32%) are seeing delayed retirement in order to help kids with post-secondary costs and are facing an inability or delayed response in paying off their own debts.

As much as parents want to help their kids, it should not be done at the jeopardy of your own future. In fact, when it comes to teaching your children about money, there is no better time to start than now!

Financial independence is a critical skill for future success that your children will not learn anywhere else. Not only does financial literacy help your children have more success in life, but it allows them to move out sooner and it avoids delaying retirement!

So, how do you teach your children about money?

Review Your Attitude Towards Money
The first and most important thing is to examine your own attitude towards money. Are you a penny pincher? Frivolous spender? Do you buy on impulse, or take a long time to make a purchase? How much debt do you have? Your financial habits will shape your children’s. To ensure that you are setting them up for their best financial future, parents need to consider what messages they are sending with their own money habits.

Give Your Children an Allowance
Providing an allowance to your children (especially one exchange for chores) is an age-old way of teaching your kids about

money. A good guideline is $0.50 to $1.00 per year of your child’s age. For a 10-year-old, this would be $5 to $10 per week.

Teach Your Child to Save
If you are giving your child $10 per week in allowance for chores, encourage them to put even just $0.50 per week into a piggy bank. In six months, show them how much money they have saved and talk to them about why it is important, and what they can do with that larger amount now.

Encourage Kids to Think Before They Buy
While it’s hard to get a 10-year-old excited about an RRSP, there are other ways to help them plan ahead. One is to encourage them to think about their purchases before they commit. They saw a toy on TV they have to have? Teach them about how advertisements are designed to make you want something. Ask them to wait a week. Do they still want it?

Involve Your Children in the Family Finances
Growing up, I always saw my mother balancing the budget. In fact, I cannot tell you how many times I walked into her office while she was going through endless bank and credit card statements to ensure things matched up. Seeing the time she would devote to this was proof enough about its importance for me. This is why it is so valuable to let your kids see and hear you discuss financial planning; let them be part of opening and paying bills or planning vacations. Explain why you pay certain things and discuss affordable choices.

Remember, you are the best example to your children about money. Don’t be afraid to share the ups and downs with them. Be patient with your kids, but don’t give up! The best thing you can do as a parent is to promote financial security and independence.

Back to School Credit Clean Up

General Robyn McLean 17 Sep

Some great advice from our friends at DLC. 

It’s time to go back to school… for your finances! The Fall is the perfect time for a credit clean-up so that you are ready for the holiday spending season.

When it comes to cleaning up credit, there is no better time than now to recognize the importance of your credit score and check if you are on track with your habits. To get started with your credit clean-up, there are a few things you can do:

  • Pull Your Credit Report: For most of us, our credit score is something we only think about when we need it. However, if you are unsure of where you stand, this is a great time to find out! The Fair Credit Reporting Act lets you get one free credit report every year through Equifax or TransUnion. Pulling your own credit report results in a “soft” inquiry on your report and will not affect your credit score. Click hereto get your free credit report today!
  • If You Find Errors, Dispute Them:When doing your annual credit score review, it is a good idea to go through line-by-line and confirm no errors. If you find any errors, report and dispute them immediately as they could be affecting your score.
  • Consolidate Your Loans: One of the best tips for managing your credit and working towards future financial success, is to consolidate your debt. Consolidating debt means reducing multiple loans to a single monthly payment, which typically has a lower interest rate allowing you to maximize spend on the principal amount.

Once you have put the effort into cleaning up your credit, you will want to keep it that way! A few tips for maintaining your credit and maximizing your financial future include:

  • Pay Your Bills: This seems pretty straight forward, but it is not that simple. You not only have to pay the bills, but you have to do so in full AND on time whenever possible. Paying bills on time is one of the key behaviours lenders and creditors look for when deciding to grant you a loan or mortgage. If you are unable to afford the full amount, a good tip is to at least pay the minimum required as shown on your monthly statement to prevent any flags on your account.
  • Pay Your Debts: Whether you have credit card debt, a car loan, line of credit or a mortgage, the goal should be to pay your debt off as quickly as possible. To make the most impact, start by paying the lowest debt items first and then work towards the larger amounts. By removing the low debt items, you also remove the interest payments on those loans which frees up money that can be put towards paying off larger items.
  • Stay Within Your Limit: This is key when it comes to managing debt and maintaining a good credit score. Using all or most of your available credit is not advised. Your goal should be to use 30% or less of your available credit. For instance, if you have a limit of $1000 on your credit card, you should never go over $700.NOTE: If you find you need more credit, it is better to increase the limit versus utilizing more than 70% of what is available each month.

Whether you qualify for a mortgage through a bank, credit union or other financial institution, you should be aiming for a credit score of 680 for at least one borrower (or guarantor). If you are ready to start your home-buying journey, or are looking to refinance your existing mortgage, a DLC Mortgage Broker can help you review your credit score and financial information to help you get the most from your money.

Debt ratio dips, but not for everyone

General Robyn McLean 15 Sep

How are we faring during Covid? More from our friends at First National.

Sep 14, 2020
First National Financial LP

One of the biggest vulnerabilities in the Canadian economy got a bit smaller in the second quarter.

Statistics Canada reports that the amount of debt-to-household-income dipped to 158.2%, from 175.4% in the first quarter.  So, for the peak months of the COVID-19 shutdown, Canadian households owed $1.58 for every dollar of disposable (i.e., after tax) income.  Under normal circumstances that would be good news.  But the StatsCan report also shows that the actual, total amount of debt did not change very much.

Overall, credit market debt totalled $2.33 trillion at the end of Q2, with $1.55 trillion in mortgage debt and $779 billion in consumer credit and non-mortgage loans.

On the other side of the ratio, incomes did increase slightly but that was chiefly because of government supports such as CERB.  The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is due to expire in early October.

Statistics Canada notes that annual trends show that lower income households tend to have a higher debt-to-disposable-income ratio.

In his latest statement, Bank of Canada Governor, Tiff Macklem, focused on evening-out the economic inequities faced by low-income earners, women, youth and others during the pandemic and recovery.  Macklem warned that uneven recessions, that affect some workers or sectors more than others, tend to be longer and leave a bigger mark on the labour market.

The central bank has left its benchmark interest rate at 0.25%.  The Bank has said it will stay there until inflation is sustainably at 2%.  Many analysts expect that could take until late 2022 or early 2023.

Canadian Housing Market Sets Record Highs in August

General Robyn McLean 15 Sep


The full story from Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist at DLC.
Today’s release of August housing data by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) showed a blockbuster August with both sales and new listings hitting their highest levels in 40 years of data–exceeding the record July activity levels. This continues the rebound in housing that began four months ago.

National home sales rose a further 6.2% on a month-over-month (m-o-m) basis in August, raising them to another new all-time monthly record (see chart below).Unlike the previous two months in which activity was up right across the country, sales in August were up in about 60% of local markets. Gains were led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. With ongoing supply shortages in so many parts of Canada, it is interesting to note that the GTA and Lower Mainland also saw a considerable amount of new supply become available in August.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity posted a 33.5% y-o-y gain in August. It was a new record for the month of August, and the sixth-highest monthly sales figure of any month on record. Transactions were up compared to last August in almost all Canadian housing markets.

So far this year, over 340,000 homes have traded hands over the Canadian MLS Systems, which was up 0.8% from the same period in 2019 despite the COVID-19 pandemic-induced recession.

“It has been a record-setting summer in many housing markets across Canada as REALTORS® and their clients play catch up following the loss of so much of the 2020 spring market,” stated Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of CREA. “Many markets dealing with inventory shortages have been seeing fierce competition among buyers this summer; although, that was something that had been anticipated for 2020 prior to COVID-19. It really does seem that the spring market shifted into the summer”.

According to Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist, “Activity shows signs of moderating in September”.

New ListingsThe number of newly listed homes posted a further 10.6% gain in August compared to July. New supply was up in close to three-quarters of local markets, led by gains in the Lower Mainland, GTA and Ottawa.

With the August increase in new supply outpacing the rise in sales for the first time since the rebound began in May, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 69.4% in August compared to 72.3% posted in July. That said, it was still among the highest levels on record for this measure.

Based on a comparison of sales-to-new listings ratio with long-term averages, only about a third of all local markets were in balanced market territory, measured as being within one standard deviation of their long-term average. The other two-thirds of markets were above long-term norms, in many cases well above.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between sales and the supply of listings. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were just 2.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of August 2020 – the lowest reading on record for this measure. At the local market level, a number of Ontario markets are now into weeks of inventory rather than months. So supply constraints are still prevalent in many parts of the country, especially in Ontario.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose by 1.7% m-o-m in August 2020 (see chart and table below). This compares to a 2.3% m-o-m jump in July 2020 – the second largest increase on record (after March 2017) going back 15 years. Of the 21 markets currently tracked by the index, m-o-m gains were posted everywhere but Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 9.4% on a y-o-y basis in August – the biggest gain since late 2017.The largest y-o-y gains were recorded in Ottawa (+19.9%) and Montreal (+16.4%), followed by increases in the 10% – 15% range in the GTA and surrounding Greater Golden Horseshoe markets. Moncton prices were also up in that range in August.

Prices were fairly flat on a y-o-y basis in Calgary, Edmonton and St. John’s, while climbing in the 3.5% – 5.5% range across B.C.

The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends because averages are strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price set another record in August 2020 at more than $586,000, up 18.5% from the same month last year.

Bottom Line

CMHC forecasted back in May that the national average sales prices will fall 9%-to-18% in 2020 and not return to yearend-2019 levels until as late as 2022. Instead, the national average sales price as of August has posted a 18.5% gain.

Housing strength is largely attributable to pent-up demand by households that have maintained their level of income during the pandemic. The hardest-hit households are low-wage earners in the accommodation, food services, and travel sectors. These are the folks that can least afford it and typically are not homeowners.

The good news is that the housing market is contributing to the recovery in economic activity.  


General Robyn McLean 9 Sep

Great tips for Fall home maintenance from our always helpful friends at Pillar to Post!

With these easy steps, your clients will enjoy the comforts of home all season long and know that they’re protecting their investment, too.
  • Caulk around exterior doors and window frames for a tight seal. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well to protect from water, insects and mice.
  • Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Water, wind, ice and snow can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. Always have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but binoculars can be used to do a preliminary survey from the ground.
  • Clear gutters of leaves, sticks, and other debris. If the home gets heavy leaf fall, this may need to be done more than once during the season. If the gutters can accommodate them, leaf guards can be real time-savers and prevent clogging. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the house.
  • In cold-weather climates, drain garden hoses and store indoors to protect them from the harsh winter elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water.
  • Have the furnace inspected to ensure that it’s safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide basic, no-cost furnace inspections to their customers. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • A wood-burning fireplace can be a real pleasure on a chilly fall evening. For safety, have the firebox and chimney professionally cleaned before use this season.
Pillar To Post is always committed to the health and well-being of our clients. This is especially true during this time of Covid-19 and Realtor Safety Month. We remain committed to providing the highest quality home inspection while adhering to the strict safety and cleanliness guidelines provided by the CDC and local governments.

Bank of Canada Holds Rate At 25 bps

General Robyn McLean 9 Sep

Today’s announcement and what it means from Dr. Sherry Cooper, Cjief Economist at Dominion Lending.

Bank of Canada Relies on Quantitative Easing

As promised, the Bank held its target overnight rate at the effective lower bound of 25 basis points with the clear notion that negative policy rates are not in the cards. Instead, the central bank will rely on large-scale asset purchases–quantitative easing (QE–of at least $5 billion per week of Government of Canada bonds. QE adds liquidity to the financial system and keeps market yields low. The Bank began aggressive QE with the beginning of the pandemic and will not cease until the economy has recovered, and inflation is sustainably at 2%. This could be years away, as for example, Ontario has paused reopening plans with the virus numbers ticking up. Many public health officials are expecting infections to rise with the opening of schools and the turn to colder weather. The government is preparing for a possible second wave. Policymakers, however, have dialed back language on more aggressive action.

The Bank has stated, “Both the global and Canadian economies are evolving broadly in line with the scenario in the July Monetary Policy Report (MPR), with activity bouncing back as countries lift containment measures. The Bank continues to expect this strong reopening phase to be followed by a protracted and uneven recuperation phase, which will be heavily reliant on policy support. The pace of the recovery remains highly dependent on the path of the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution of social distancing measures required to contain its spread.”

In Canada, real GDP fell by 11.5% (39% annualized) in the second quarter, resulting in a decline of just over 13% in the first half of the year, mainly in line with the Bank’s July Monetary Policy Report (MPR) central scenario. All components of aggregate demand weakened, as expected. Global financial conditions have remained accommodative. Although prices for some commodities have firmed, oil prices remain weak.

As the economy reopens, the bounce-back in activity in the third quarter looks to be faster than anticipated in July. Economic activity has been supported by government programs to replace incomes and subsidize wages. Core funding markets are functioning well, and this has led to a decline in the use of the Bank’s short-term liquidity programs. Monetary policy is working to support household spending and business investment by making borrowing more affordable.

Housing activity has been particularly robust with substantial existing home sales in July and August. With record-low mortgage rates, buyers are satisfying their demand for more space and for moving further from city-center congestion. This urban exodus is more than anecdotal. You can get more for your money, and with many people working from home, long commutes don’t seem to be as relevant. The chart below shows that the outer suburbs of Toronto have seen the most significant increase in sales since the market picked up in early June.

Also, the construction of new homes surged to the highest level in more than a decade in August following a sharp increase in July. The greatest strength was in Toronto and Vancouver, particularly in multiple units. 

Household spending rebounded sharply over the summer, with stronger-than-expected goods consumption and housing activity. There has also been a large but uneven rebound in employment. Exports are recovering in response to strengthening foreign demand, but are still well below pre-pandemic levels. Business confidence and investment remain subdued. While recent data during the reopening phase is encouraging, the Bank continues to expect the recuperation phase to be slow and choppy as the economy copes with ongoing uncertainty and structural challenges.

CPI inflation is close to zero, with downward pressure from energy prices and travel services, and is expected to remain well below target in the near term. Measures of core inflation are between 1.3% and 1.9%, reflecting the large degree of economic slack, with the core measure most influenced by services prices showing the weakest growth.

Bottom Line

The Bank also suggested that “as the economy moves from reopening to recuperation, it will continue to require extraordinary monetary policy support. The Governing Council will hold the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2% inflation target is sustainably achieved. To reinforce this commitment and keep interest rates low across the yield curve, the Bank is continuing its large-scale asset purchase program at the current pace. This QE program will continue until the recovery is well underway and will be calibrated to provide the monetary policy stimulus needed to support the recovery and achieve the inflation objective”.

The next policy meeting will be held on October 28 when the Bank will release its new forecast in the MPR. A rate hike is unlikely this year or in 2021.

Greater Vancouver Home Sales and Listings Market Report

General Robyn McLean 3 Sep

Interesting insight on the GRVD’s most recent Home Sales & Listings Report from our friends at Dexter Realty, Vancouver.

A tiny change today brings a dramatically different tomorrow.” Richard Bach

There seemed to be more competition in the real estate market than in the National Hockey League this August – who ever thought that would be a comparison for this time of year. If we thought competing offers were a constant in July, after a tempered start in the first half of August, we experienced two weeks with the most amount of sales reported this year after that. Amid all the chatter of economic disruption and its potential negative effects on the housing market, real estate has taken on a life of its own and clearly wants nothing to do with slowing down. And guess what? – it’s local! All the while buyers vying for various types of properties in different areas are walking away from competing offers still looking for their home. Demand side measures haven’t eased the burden for buyers in Metro Vancouver and supply continues to be an issue.

There were 3,122 properties sold of all types in Greater Vancouver in August this year compared with 3,202 sold in July, 2,256 sales in August last year and 1,961 sold in August 2018. It was actually the sixth highest amount of sales for the month of August on record in Greater Vancouver and the highest monthly sales for August since 2015. This is not just COVID pent up demand, it is a housing market that had been stalled in 2018 and 2019 coming to life. And coming to life with a significant surge as a result of homeowners looking to trade homes and many buyers simply wanting to engage after holding back.

Total sales in August were 21 per cent above the ten-year average for the month. Looking at the different types of properties, detached home sales were up 55 per cent year over year, townhouses up 51 per cent year over year, apartments up 19 per cent year over year. Detached homes made up 35 per cent of all sales, while townhomes made up 20 per cent and apartments 43 per cent. While total active listings for apartments are up 16 per cent year over year, and active listings for townhouse and detached homes are down 8 per cent and 21 per cent respectively year over year, let’s not fall into the thinking that apartments are the unwanted product. The flight from apartments broadcast by some has just happened at a quicker pace, as it has always been a part of the buying cycle. While some buyers are looking for space due to working at home or wanting less shared common space, many would have made this move eventually regardless of COVID-19. Record low interest rates and over two years of down markets with price declines in the detached market have given buyers opportunities they have been itching for. After all, it’s the ultimate home owners dream, a plot of land where you live. We shouldn’t be so surprised to see this movement right now. But with more apartments available for sale comes opportunities for first time buyers and those looking for this type of property given they have been a scarce commodity over the last few years.

Average Daily Sales and Listings in Greater Vancouver

First two weeks of March – 253 new listings, 138 sales
Last two week of March – 167 New Listings, 98 Sales
April – 120 new listings, 56 sales
May – 189 new listings, 75 sales
June – 274 new listings, 115 sales
July 6 to 10 – 302 new listings, 138 sales
July 13 to 17 – 294 new listings, 146 sales
July 20 to 24 – 258 new listings, 151 sales
July 27 to 31 – 245 new listings, 154 sales
August 4 to 7 – 337 new listings, 151 sales
August 10 to 14 – 282 new listings, 140 sales
August 17 to 21 – 298 new listings, 171 sales*
August 24 to 28 – 279 new listings, 164 sales *
*the two highest weekly sales figures in 2020 including pre-pandemic

Some highlights from August:

  • Vancouver West and Burnaby were the only areas in Greater Vancouver to see the number of sales in August higher than July

  • North Vancouver detached home sales which are traditionally low in August were higher than July and 61 per cent higher than August 2019 and 232 per cent higher than August 2018

  • In the Pitt Meadows market, there is only one-month supply of detached homes and townhomes currently

  • Bowen Island and Vancouver East detached homes have seen the biggest year-over-year increase in house prices at 11.8% and 10.1% respectively (House Price Index)

There was an increase in the number of new listings in August, which was 34 per cent higher than the ten-year average for the month of August. As a result, at the end of August there were 13,511 properties for sale, compared to 12,796 at the end of July but still less than the 14,191 available at the end of August 2019 – a 5 per cent reduction in the number of homes available year-over-year. Yes, there have been more properties listed in the last few months than we typically see at this time of year and the total number of active listings have increased, but competing offers continue – houses, townhouses and apartments. Imagine what it would be like for buyers without the number of new listings we’ve seen in the last few months. Even with more homes available for sale it is very much a seller’s market in most areas, some more extreme than others. Vancouver and surrounding cities with 4 to 5 months supply of homes available while further out there are only 3 months supply available.

So now that we’ve caught up from the summer market, it’s time for the fall market. Interest rates will fuel the real estate while they remain low, but there’s no reason to think the continued availability of listings as they continue to come to market will also fuel real estate sales. There will be further movement by homeowners looking for their “more ideal” home, changes needed as a result of additions to families and unfortunately also the break down of families. And while there have been job losses, many who have been working have decreased their discretionary spending. Vacations and dinners out could turn into more equity to invest in the next home or first home.

“People who put their home buying and selling plans on hold in the spring have been returning to the market throughout the summer. Low interest rates and limited overall supply of homes for sale are creating competition in today’s housing market,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said, “Like everything else in our lives these days, the uncertainty of COVID-19 presents makes it challenging to predict what will happen this fall.”

East of Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 2,039 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® in August, a decrease of 2.9 per cent compared to sales in July but a 57.2 per cent increase compared to the 1,297 sales in August of last year. Last month’s sales were 39 per cent above the ten-year average for August and the highest August sales in a decade. There were 3,309 new listings in August, a 6.8 per cent decrease compared to July and a 40.4 per cent increase compared to August of last year. July’s new listings were 28.9 per cent above the ten-year average for the month and the highest in the last ten years. July finished with 7,404 active listings, an increase of 0.9 per cent compared to July’s inventory and a decrease of 7.9 per cent year-over-year. “We are seeing better sales volumes increase month over month because buyers are recognizing that the Fraser Valley offers increased choice and diversified housing opportunities, while offering more value as well,” Chris Shields, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said. “In an unusual situation given the pandemic, we remain cautiously optimistic and are encouraged by the numbers we are seeing.”