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Analyzing Home Affordability in Canada and the World

In the news of late, there is a good deal of discussion about home affordability in cities around the world. A major contributor to this conversation is Demographia International. They just published their 13th annual Housing Affordability Survey in which they use a simple method to determine affordability. They take the median price of a home in a city and divide it by the median income of a family in the city. The resulting number is the “Median Multiple”, or simply, the number of years of income it would take to pay a mortgage for the home.
It was no surprise Hong Kong’s homes are the least affordable in the world, and for good reason: A densely populated island with over seven million inhabitants packed into 1,106 square kilometers, it’s a major hub of world commerce, and mainland developers are driving up costs with the government’s blessing. Demographia International’s recent survey put the median home price at 18.1 times the gross annual median income. In other words, it will …
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No Rentals to be Found

The rental vacancy rate in B.C. has hovered at an average of 1.3 per cent over the past three years, according to stats from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In Victoria, the rate sat at only 0.5 per cent at the end of 2016.

In the Lower Mainland, the City of Vancouver’s rate is 0.8 per cent, while Surrey sits at 0.4 per cent. The rate is 0.5 in Abbotsford and Mission, and White Rock has the fewest available rentals in the region, at 0.1 per cent.
Kelowna is sitting at 0.6 per cent.

If you have kids going to Royal Roads, consider helping them buy a Triple Crown condo instead of living in barely suitable accommodations in the rental market. A condo is a valuable family asset that will appreciate, and a good way to set your kids on a path towards building their own financial future rather than a landlord's.

Reviewing Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs)

In recent years, home equity lines of credit — or HELOCs — have become popular for homeowners that want to turn their huge house price gains into cash.
In a HELOC, a lender allows a borrower to withdraw a certain amount of money against the equity in their home. The interest rates tend to vary between 0.5 and two points above prime, so they're a little more expensive than mortgages.
And they are extremely convenient. While people will do anything to make their monthly house payment and avoid default, HELOCs allow borrowers to simply make payments against the interest with no obligation to pay down the principal each month. Most people had no real intention to pay them off, and most felt safe about taking a loan in the face of rising home values. Almost 40 per cent of people who have them did not make regular payments against the principal. They owe the same amount on the principal as they did four or five years ago.
A generation ago, the common wisdom was to pay off your mortgage…

The Real Reason Condominium and Townhouse Prices Are Rising

What is driving gains in the condominium and townhouse market?
Two factors: affordability and inventory.
Although the average price of homes in BC is lower than last year, a closer look at the data reveals the composite of homes being sold has shifted to smaller free-standing homes, condos, and townhouses. BCREA economist Brendon Ogmundson attributed this shift to a pronounced need for more affordable residential real estate along with short supply.
“(The) supply of homes available for sale has not recovered and is still declining in many markets around the province,” says Ogmandson. http://www.bcrea.bc.ca/news-and-publications/news-room/news-releases/2017-03-statistical-release
Indeed, home prices in most BC markets are being pushed higher due to severe supply constraints. This is particularly true in the Victoria region, which currently has less than two months of total inventory for sale.
Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian stated "This July, we saw a strong f…

Thinking of Purchasing a Condominium?

If you are working to get into the real estate market for the first time, or you want to downsize after your kids have left the nest, a condominium lifestyle can offer freedoms and opportunities beyond the single detached dwelling worth consideringat any age. Here are six reasons:
Affordable Lifestyle
Living in acondominium is usually more affordable. It cost less to buy vs. a house, and your mortgage is typically lower. As of June, the benchmark average price of condosas per the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) is $416,281 That’s now less than half the benchmark average price of a single detached dwelling in Greater Victoria now pegged at $885,281. Triple Crown’s condominiums in Langford are an even better price. A current example is our 2 bd, 2 bth, 976 square foot, 3rd floor condo (MLS 377098) listed at $389,900.
Selling your paid off family home to buy a condominium can provide you with a desirable nest egg in your retirement years. Or, if you’re just starting out, a condominium is…

June Sales Steady

July 4, 2017 - "This year may feel a bit steady and less exciting when compared to last year's record-breaking market. People are getting used to this new tempo of brisk sales," says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. 
"However, when we look at the longer-term numbers, we're in a very active market. This June we counted over one thousand properties sold, while the ten-year average for sales in the month of June is 798. If we remove 2016 sales, this June would have been the record-breaker."
A total of 1,008 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board Region this June - 14.1 per cent fewer than the 1,174 properties sold in June last year.
There were 1,915 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of June 2017, an increase of one per cent compared to the month of May, but 16.3 per cent fewer than the 2,289 active listings for sale at the end of June 2016.
"The good news fo…

Short-Term Predictions for Canada's Real Estate and Household Debt

Last week, the Bank of Canada reviewed the financial system and downplayed fears that the Canadian economy was in serious jeopardy from a potential real estate market correction.

About time!

We are NOT going to suffer a U.S.-style melt-down. If a big drop in home prices were to occur in the Vancouver and Toronto regions, (which Is unlikely), it wouldn't drag the rest of the country down with it. As the Bank of Canada sees it, a full-on bust in the Toronto and Vancouver regions would have only “modest direct spillovers to housing markets in the rest of the country.”

Most experts do not see anything like a full bust coming, albeit sensationalist reporting from, for example, CTV News quoting David Mandani, senior Canadian economist of Capital Economics on Monday continues to scare homeowners who haven’t done their research.

Read Article HERE