Andreas Nystrom

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According to the latest British Columbia Real Estate Association from their second quarter results; the housing demand in Vancouver has increased to a new high that hasn’t been seen 2007.


BC’s housing increase has been rising everywhere but the two leading locations are Vancouver and the Fraser Valley says the report.  Both of these locations have shown an increase of 16-17 percent in sales and are not expected to decrease anytime soon.


More and more families are choosing to live in multi-family housing units in Vancouver due to increasingly high costs for single family homes. This will lead to less construction for single family homes in the city but even more for apartments and multi-family buildings in the next coming years. 


The average price for a home in Vancouver is proposed to shoot up to $870,000 as there most likely won’t be as many being built in the next year, and the average price of an apartment in Vancouver is also proposed to shoot up to $465,000. These apartment costs are up 1.4 percent compared to the past few years.


The housing costs are also expected to increase to almost $900,000 by 2016 states the board. Putting the costs for apartments and homes continually on the rise.


The report also goes on to say that “market conditions in Vancouver have improved as a result of consumer demand rising faster than the number of homes for sale. While the market is exhibiting sellers’ market conditions overall, there is variability according to product type and its location in the region.”


Also stated in the BCREA report when describing foreign investment is the “relatively small, niche market” from that sector, but though small it remains persistent.

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The student housing situation at UBC Vancouver is about to get some trendy new spaces for students to rent in the form of new micro housing units.


630 units of different variations will be located in the Gage South Student Residence. The cozy new 145 square foot micro apartments going in on campus are the first of their kind.


Of the new units, 43 of them will be fully equipped with a bed, full bathroom and kitchen perfect for a student looking for their own space on campus. These are designed to cost lower than a traditional apartment rental. These smaller spaces will be available to rent from $670-$690 a month.


The new residence building will be put up near the bus loop on central campus. This building will contain the new micro units as well as a front desk and lobby, lounge rooms, private rooms for music and laundry services all available for the students living there.


These proposed new developments for UBC are scheduled to be finished in the year 2019 and will be most beneficial for students looking live right on campus. The University is considering adding more if they prove to be successful.

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The Greater Vancouver sales report for May 2015 shows that there were 4,056 sales in May which is up 23.4% from last year and 16.7% abover the 10 year average for May. May 2015 represents the third consecutive month that sales have surpassed the 4,000 homes sold mark, this is the second time in the boards history that this has happened.

 

There were 5,641 homes for sale in May 2015 which is down 5.0% from last year and down 7.8% compared to the 10 year average. The number of total homes for sale currently hovers around the 12,000 mark which is down 23% from last year May 2014.

 

The Greater Vancouver overall benchmark house price is currently $684,400 which is up 9.4% from last year.

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With the ever increasing cost of living in the city more and more families or desiring homeowners are looking to buy outside the city. Surrey, Abbotsford, and the popular Skytrain towns are all increasing in size rapidly due to this wave of people looking elsewhere to buy.

 

Kristine and Tom Rajkowski are new home owners that recently bought a home in Clayton Heights Surrey. They both “we’re ecstatic,” says Kristine at being able to finally own a home, as whenever they looked at a house before they all had accepted offers.

 

The couple both in their early 30’s bought the 3,275 square-foot detached house for $617,000 built in 2009.

 

Some of the hottest spots for BC’s housing in the next few years are in communities such as: Clayton Heights, Cloverdale and Fleetwood as they are all closer to the city but with more affordable prices.

 

Moving east from Vancouver is Burnaby’s Brentwood, the Tri-Cities and the communities of Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Abbotsford are all increasing quickly due to this flood of people looking for alternative places to own homes.

 

Housing prices in Vancouver’s West Side and West Vancouver are more than likely going to continue to rise due to land shortages in the area. The only places to build more houses is on land that already is already occupied.

 

While the price of land and homes is on the rise the price of condos may not be as more and more people are buying condos instead of detached houses due to high prices. The price of condominiums is not expected to rise as rapidly as detached homes.

 

Five spots on the Real Estate Investment Network’s Top 10 BC investment towns are currently communities found in the Lower Mainland.

1. Surrey
2. Maple Ridge/Pit Meadows
5. Abbotsford
8. Chilliwack
10. Langley

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The Economist showed in a recent study that Canada’s housing is at the top of the list for the most overvalued houses in the world in rental rates, and third for most overvalued in comparison to incomes.

 

A survey by the Economist published this weekend points to Canada and Australia as being the two top countries “where prices seem most out of kilter.” 

 

In residential real estate Canada has been ranked close to the top for 5 years but never at the top until now as Australian and northern European countries have been experiencing unstable housing prices recently.

 

Thanks to the most recent edition of The Economist we now see that house prices in Canada are at 89-percent overvalued with comparisons to rents, this marks the changes from two years ago when the house prices were at 73 percent. Placing Canada at the top for most overvalued among all of the 26 housing markets measured.

 

In this survey The Economist also looks at incomes against house prices and we see that Canada’s house prices are third worldwide for being too high at 35 percent. Only topped by Belgium at 50 percent and Australia at 39 percent.

 

Even the Bank of Canada is concerned with our country’s overpriced housing, and also with the amount of unstable mortgage lending’s taking place.

 

Canada isn’t the only country with unstable mortgages raking up though as was observed by The Economist regarding the real estate markets around the world, “a single unifying theme is the cheapness of borrowing.”  For “in their efforts to support weak global demand, central bankers have kept monetary policy ultra-loose. That has left mortgage rates at historic lows.” 

 

As clearly shown in Canada with our rising household debt levels of above 163 percent per household income, and our mortgage rates dropping drastically as shown by one lender bringing in a fixed-rate mortgage at 1.49 earlier this year.

 

This has increased our home prices despite the slowing of our economy due to low oil prices, with the average prices for houses in Canada hitting $439,000 in April of last month. At total rise of 9 percent in a year.

 

Debating has been going back and forth between economists and banks as there is talk of a correction or “soft landing” that is due to come as a result of these high house prices.  According to some, it isn’t due to happen for a few years, but according to the Royal LePage last week this “soft landing” may have already arrived due to shrinking prices with most markets.

 

As of right now what we do see is rising house prices and sales in Vancouver and Toronto, and according to the Toronto Real estate Board, for the first time the average price for a single-family home shot above $1 million this year.

 

Solid proof that the demand for residential properties, especially detached, in our cities is continually on the rise.

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