Wednesday, June 27, 2018

B.C., federal governments sign 10-year deal worth nearly $1bln

The British Columbia government has signed a deal with Ottawa that will see nearly a billion dollars injected into affordable housing across the province over the next decade.
The provincial and federal governments say more than $990 million will be spent on building, repairing and expanding social housing and supporting housing affordability.
A joint news release says both levels of governments will share the costs, and the agreement will be supported by funding that starts on April 1, 2019.
The deal is part of a $40-billion national housing strategy unveiled by the federal government last year, which includes funding from the provinces and territories.
Federal Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has previously said the strategy will reduce homelessness and take 500,000 Canadians out of housing that is either unaffordable or inadequate.
B.C. introduced a 30-point plan earlier this year that will spend more than $6 billion on affordable housing over the next decade.
``This agreement will help more British Columbians find homes they can afford,'' B.C. Housing Minister Selina Robinson said in a news release.
Duclos said the agreement is part of the federal government's national goal.
``The government of Canada is committed to ensuring that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home,'' he said in the release.
``Long-term, predictable funding for housing has been needed for more than a decade.''

The Canadian Press

Friday, June 22, 2018

Bank of Canada decision could go either way

OTTAWA _ A pair of unexpectedly soft economic reports are creating fresh doubts about the timing of the Bank of Canada's next interest rate hike.
For months, experts have been predicting Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz to raise his benchmark rate at next month's meeting. But broadening economic unknowns _ mostly linked to trade concerns around U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist agenda _ have begun to lead some analysts to wonder if Poloz will stand pat on July 11.
And on Friday two reports from Statistics Canada added more uncertainty to the interest rate outlook.
One release by the agency found Canada's annual inflation rose at a pace of 2.2 per cent in May for the second straight month. The number, however, was cooler than market expectations of 2.6 per cent.
In the second report, Statistics Canada found that retail sales contracted in April by 1.2 per cent for the reading's first month-to-month decline since December.
``These reports kind of highlight an economy that has slowed pretty significantly from the last year or two,'' Robert Kavcic, senior economist for BMO Capital Markets, said in an interview.
``Given a lot of the uncertainty out there, and a little bit of a softer tone to this data, I think expectations for a July rate hike have probably come down a little bit.''
Royce Mendes of CIBC Capital Markets wrote in a report that Friday's ``bad data'' make it even more difficult for the Bank of Canada to hike rates in July. Mendes noted, however, that things could improve before Poloz's July 11 meeting because more important numbers on gross domestic product and employment are still on the way.
Nathan Janzen, RBC senior economist, said the combination of Friday's figures, somewhat slower economic growth and a deteriorating tone in trade discussions with the U.S. ``aren't all that encouraging'' and will make the Bank of Canada's rate decision closer than previously thought.
Ranko Berich, head analyst at Monex Canada and Monex Europe, said the central bank's July rate decision is ``now an unknown factor.''
The hunt for clues into Poloz's thinking will continue next Wednesday when he gives a speech to the chamber of commerce in Victoria, B.C.
The May annual inflation number in Friday's report followed the 2.2 per cent reading for April and 2.3 per cent for March.
The main contributors to inflation last month were led by gasoline prices. Compared to a year earlier, they climbed 22.9 per cent in May and helped drive overall energy prices for the month 11.6 per cent higher.
Inflation also received a lift because Canadians paid more last month for restaurants, airline tickets and mortgage interest costs.
Consumers, however, paid less in May for telephone services, natural gas and digital devices and computers.
The report also found the average of the Bank of Canada's three measures of core inflation, which leave out more-volatile numbers like pump prices, slowed to 1.9 per cent last month.
The core readings, which are closely monitored by the central bank, averaged 2.03 per cent in April, which was the strongest pace in six years.
On retail trade, the April contraction of 1.2 per cent pulled total sales down to $49.5 billion.
The April decrease was mostly due to a 4.3 per cent decline in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers _ with new car dealerships reporting a 5.1 per cent drop and used car lots seeing a contraction of 4.1 per cent.
Statistics Canada said April's unusually cool temperatures and bad weather in many parts of the country may have been to blame for the overall decline.
The decrease was concentrated in the largest provinces. Sales fell 2.3 per cent in Ontario, while Quebec saw a 2.7 per cent drop.
Statistics Canada, however, did release an upward revision to its retail sales data for March. The updated reading shows a 0.8 per cent increase, compared to its preliminary 0.6 per cent estimate.
Friday's reports will help feed the Bank of Canada's deliberations as its governing council considers its next interest rate decision.
For inflation, the bank can use interest rate hikes as a tool to help prevent it from climbing too high. The Bank of Canada tries to keep inflation from moving outside a range of between one and three per cent.
Recent inflation readings _ including Friday's _ have been hovering just above the two per cent mid-point of the bank's target range.
It's unlikely, however, to have a significant impact on upcoming rate decisions because governor Poloz has predicted inflation to stay above two per cent for all of 2018. He's predicted inflation to average 2.3 per cent this year before settling back down to 2.1 per cent in 2019 _ in large part due to the temporary effects of higher gas prices and the introduction of minimum wage increases in some provinces.
He's raised the trend-setting interest rate three times since last July, but he hasn't touched the rate since January. It's been at 1.25 per cent ever since.\
 The Canadian Press

Friday, June 15, 2018

Towers proposed for Coquitlam Centre Eleven new highrises could go up near Lincoln Station

Plans to build 11 towers next to the Lincoln SkyTrain station as the first phase of the Coquitlam Centre mall redevelopment are in the works at city hall.

But putting a shovel in the ground is going to take a while.
Morguard Investments, which manages the mall, has four applications on file for the property. One is for a development permit for the first phase of the project which proposes "approximately 11 towers." The highrises would be constructed on the northeast corner of the mall property's footprint along the west side of Pinetree Way. They would be between Atlantic and Northern avenues to the north and the former Sears building to the south, said Jeff Denney, the city's major project planner.

Morguard is also applying to change the official community plan to add more commercial and office space and a higher density to the project. Denney emphasized the process is in the very early stages.
"There's a lot of work ahead for this. It's more geared toward land use and site planning versus the towers at this stage," said Denney.

Morguard is also applying to have the city's official community plan amended from being general commercial and City Centre commercial to all City Centre commercial. It's so preliminary at this point, it's unlikely any of the applications will appear before council, let alone go to public hearing, before the fall. The city is also in the late stages of updating its City Centre area plan.
"It's difficult to estimate timelines at this point," said Denney. "There's just a lot of work ahead of us. We have to identify the parks and open space needs, school needs.
"Those are high level things we will consider in terms of the overall planning direction for the mall site… It's definitely exciting."
Morguard did not respond to an interview request from The Tri-City News. In November 2016, Morguard asset manager Ken Moffatt told the News there would be an expansion of retail, some commercial and "most probably the introduction of plenty of residential."
At the time, Morguard said they planned to develop a master plan to guide development in the area for the next 50 to 70 years.
Coquitlam Centre is close to three SkyTrain stations, which puts it in an even better situation than the massive development currently underway at Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby and the ones in the works at Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby and Oakridge Centre in Vancouver, all of which have rapid transit stations.
With a 57-acre footprint, the Coquitlam Centre project has a potential to be even bigger than the others. Brentwood will have 12 towers on a 28-acre site when it's completed, including one that was recently topped off in construction at 63 storeys. Lougheed is expected to have 23 towers on a 40-acre site. Oakridge's plans call for 10 towers on 28.5 acres.
Despite the long-term major redevelopment plans, a significant tenant for the mall signed on last week. According to two Canadian retail websites, Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo announced plans to open three new outlets in the Toronto area and at Coquitlam Centre. Retail Insider said Uniqlo will take over a 12,000 square foot space on the second level of the Walmart wing where Old Navy used to be.
That gives Uniqlo nine stores in Canada and four in the Lower Mainland. It opened its first in B.C. in October 2017, a 20,000 sq. ft. outlet in Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby. Since then it has opened a 12,800 sq. ft. store in Guildford Town Centre in Surrey and an 8,000 sq. ft. outlet at Richmond 
Tri City News

Sunday, June 10, 2018

This expert says Vancouver condo price relief “could be on the way”

With condo sales in the City of Vancouver losing steam, one realtor says price growth could also ease in the near future.
According to a recent blog post from Vancouver-based realtor Steve Saretsky, last month the city saw rising condo supply and slower demand, which could be the recipe for cooling skyrocketing prices in the city.
“Make no mistake, inventory remains incredibly low which is helping to support condo prices. However, with weak sales volumes and new listings on the rise, up 22 per cent this month, price relief could be on the way for buyers,” writes Saretsky.
In May, the benchmark price of a Vancouver condo reached $794,700, up 14 per cent from $695,500 a year ago, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
Saretsky notes that although prices remain elevated, price growth has been rather benign in the city.
“The average price per square foot, which has been a strong indicator of current market prices, has been bouncing around in recent months with little to no growth,” he writes.
The reason for modest price growth could be attributed to a drop in condo sales in the past couple of months. In May, a total of 534 units sold in the city, down 28 per cent from a year ago. Last month saw the lowest amount of sales recorded for the month of May since 2013.
“The drop in sales likely has a strong correlation with mortgage credit growth decelerating to its slowest pace since 2001,” writes Saretsky.
Although demand appears to be easing, Saretsky says multiple offers are still common in Vancouver’s condo market, but buyers seem unwilling to push prices higher. Last month, 35 per cent of condo listings sold over asking price — a 51 per cent decline from May 2017.
Saretsky also adds that slowing sales are helping to push inventory higher. In May, inventory condo stood at 1,462 units in the city, up 28 per cent from a year ago and a two-year high.
BuzzBuzzNews Canada

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

11 key facts from Greater Vancouver’s spring housing market, so far

Cooling demand in Metro Vancouver’s housing market allowed supply to accumulate in May, however, the amount of homes for sale still remain below long-term averages.
In May, a total of 2,833 homes changed hands in the region, a 35 per cent decrease compared to 4,364 sales recorded a year ago, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), published June 1.
Last month’s sales were 19 per cent below the 10-year May sales average.
“With fewer homes selling today compared to recent years, the number of homes available for sale is rising,” says Phil Moore, REBGV president, in a statement.
“The selection of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver has risen to the highest levels we’ve seen in the last two years, yet supply is still below our long-term historical averages,” he adds.

1. Overall, there were 6,375 properties (detached, attached and condo) newly listed for sale last month, up 5.5 per cent from the 6,044 homes listed a year ago. This also represents a 9.5 per cent increase compared to April 2018 when 5,820 homes were listed.

2. Last month, there were a total of 11,292 properties listed for sale in Metro Vancouver — a 38 per cent increase compared to 8,168 properties recorded in May 2017.

3. According to REBGV, the total number of listings available last month was 17 per cent below the 10-year May average.

4. For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio was 25 per cent in May. REBGV says typically downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio falls below the 12 per cent mark for a prolonged period, while home prices generally experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent for a sustained period.

5. Last month, the benchmark price of a home for all property types was $1,094,000, an 11.5 per cent uptick from May 2017.

6. Detached home sales in Metro Vancouver continued to fall last month with a total of 926 sales — down 40 per cent from the 1,548 units sold a year ago.

7. The benchmark price of a detached home hit $1,608,000 in May, up two per cent from the same period a year ago.

8. In the condo segment, a total of 1,431 units sold in May, down 29 per cent from the 2,025 sales recorded in May 2017.

9. Last month, the benchmark price of a condo reached $701,700 — a 20 per cent year-over-year increase.

10. A total of 476 attached homes sold in Metro Vancouver in May, down nearly 40 per cent from the 791 sales in May 2017.

11. The benchmark price of an attached home was $859,500 last month — a 16 per cent increase from a year ago.

BuzzBuzzNews Canada

Monday, June 4, 2018

Metro Vancouver condo market drives big price increase in May as sales sink

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Tougher mortgage qualification rules did not stop Vancouver-area home prices from heating up in May, posting double-digit gains driven by the condo market. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says sales fell 35.1 per cent from a year earlier to 2,833.
Although they were 19.3 per cent lower than the 10-year May average, sales were up 9.8 per cent from April. Listings rose, too, increasing by 9.5 per cent.
“With fewer homes selling today compared to recent years, the number of homes available for sale is rising,” Board president Phil Moore says. “The selection of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver has risen to the highest levels we’ve seen in the last two years, yet supply is still below our long-term historical averages.”\
Prices were sharply higher. The industry group’s composite benchmark price for apartment-style condos jumped 20.2 per cent from a year earlier to $701,700. Prices for single-detached houses were up much less, 2.4 per cent, to an average of $1.6 million. Sales of detached properties were down 40.2 per cent from the previous May. The sales-to-listings ratio for the category was 14.7 per cent, which the board says is less than three points above the level where “downward pressure on home prices occurs.” For condos the ratio is 41.7, more than double the level for upward price pressure.
For all types of properties combined, the benchmark price was up 11.5 per cent to $1.09 million.
“The selection of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver has risen to the highest levels we’ve seen in the last two years, yet supply is still below our long-term historical averages,” Moore adds.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Housing fees and taxes account for 26 per cent of new Vancouver condo costs: study

In Vancouver, homebuyers can expect to spend roughly $250,000 on taxes and housing related fees when purchasing a new one-bedroom plus den condo.
That’s according to a new analysis conducted by Paul Sullivan, Senior Partner at Burgess, Cawley, Sullivan & Associates, who studied how taxes and housing charges are impacting rising home prices across BC, particularly in Greater Vancouver.
Based on an 800-square-foot new condo in Vancouver’s Cambie Corridor area, purchased at $960,000, government taxes and fees make up 26 per cent of the cost. This translates to $251,721 of the purchase price.
“When you talk about it in absolute dollars, $250,000 on a one-bedroom plus den condo going to all levels of government, it’s outrageous,” Sullivan tells BuzzBuzzNews.
Sullivan presented his findings last week at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade 2018 Housing Forum.
For a new Vancouver condo with two bedrooms and 900 square feet, $283,186 of the purchase cost (26 per cent) covers government taxes and fees. Meantime, for a 1,200-square-foot unit, housing related fees account for $377,582 of the price
Sullivan’s analysis includes fees and levies outlined in the BC government’s 2018 budget, which was announced in February. These taxes and charges on a new condo include property tax, vacant home tax, building permit fee, development permit fee, speculation tax, property transfer tax, and GST, among others.
The Vancouver-specific data comes on the heels of a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute, which found that between 2007 to 2016, homebuyers in Canada’s major markets paid an average of $229,000 more per home, due to government regulations.
Although the BC government developed its housing plan to address the province’s affordability crisis, Sullivan says the new budget increased the amount of taxes and fees on housing, resulting in more money coming out of homeowners’ pockets.
“[T]hey introduced several new taxes on development land that increase their share by 20 to 30 per cent, which is $50,000 to $75,000 per unit additional cost to the consumer coming from their 2018 budget,” says Sullivan.
Instead of implementing more taxes, Sullivan argues that the government should focus on creating more supply to meet demand.
“We need density. We need higher density on transportation thoroughfares. We need to think about where to put mixed-use development. We need to integrate commercial development with residential development,” he says.
BuzzBuzzNews Canada