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The Latest Statistics, Mortgage Rates and Changes to the Speculation Tax

Vancouver Real Estate Market Overview - January, 2019. REBGV


Below is a summary for Metro Vancouver. You can find the statistics for specific property types in specific areas by going here (neighbourhoods in West Vancouver, North Vancouver, East Vancouver and Vancouver West are covered. Alternatively, feel free to get in touch with me and I'll be happy to provide the statistics for the area you are interested in.

February has started off busy and January saw the number of listings increase across all housing categories in Metro Vancouver, but last month's sales were still slow compared to historical averages. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported that residential home sales for January, 2019 were down 39.3% from this time last year, although they were up 2.9% from last month.

In terms of the ration of sales compared to the total number of listings, for January that number was at was 10.2%. By property type, the ratio was 6.8% for detached homes, 11.9% for townhomes, and 13.6% for condominiums. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12% mark for a sustained period of time. Home prices typically rise when it surpasses 20% over several months.

As for the MLS Home Price Index or HPI, the benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,019,600. This represents a 4.5% decrease over January 2018.

The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,453,400. This represents a 9.1% decrease from January 2018, and an 8.3% decrease over the past six months.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $658,600. This represents a 1.7% decrease from January 2018, and a 6.6% decrease over the past six months. For townhouses, the benchmark price of an attached unit is $800,600. This represents a 0.5% decrease from January 2018, and a 6.2% decrease over the past six months.

Again, I'm happy provide these numbers for your specific area if you are interested.


So the December and January rate hikes that were expected from the Bank of Canada never came. It seems like they are making good on their assertions that they will closely evaluate the economy and move cautiously when it comes to moving forward with any rate increases.

What has happened instead in that some of the big banks have actually DECREASED their rates lately, offering 5 year variables as low as 3.1% and fixed starting at 3.54%. If you'd like to hear more about how that applies to your specific situation I can put you in touch with some very qualified mortgage brokers. I don't receive a referral fee for this – just happy to help out.


So you may have received your Speculation and Vacancy Tax declaration letter in the mail. You will need to complete this before March 31, 2019 and the easiest way to do so is probably by going online here. As of this year, if you were planning on qualifying for the exemption based on long-term rental you will need to rent your property out for at least 6 months, as opposed to the 3 months required last year. Rental terms shorter than 1 month do not count towards that total.

Also, if you are a foreign owner or satellite family, you now need to pay 2% of your property's assessed value as opposed to the 0.5% for British Columbians and other Canadian citizens or permanent residents. There is also a $2000 tax credit for BC owners of secondary properties which is intended to offset their tax payable. The credit is limited to $2,000 per owner and $2,000 per property (in the case of multiple owners) per year.

Have more questions. Feel free to email me or read more here.

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