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Blog › August 2019

October sales exceed historical average

Metro Vancouver home sales exceeded typical historical levels in October with the majority concentrated in the townhouse and apartment markets.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 3,022 in October 2017, a 35.3 per cent increase from the 2,233 sales recorded in October 2016, and an increase of 7.1 per cent compared to September 2017 when 2,821 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 15 per cent above the 10-year October sales average.

“Conditions continue to vary significantly based on property type. The detached home market is well supplied with homes for sale, which is relieving pressure on prices,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “It remains a much different story in the townhouse and apartment markets. Buyers of these properties continue to have limited supply to choose from and are seeing upward pressure on prices.”

There were 4,539 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in October 2017. This represents a 14 per cent increase compared to the 3,981 homes listed in October 2016 and a 15.6 per cent decrease compared to September 2017 when 5,375 homes were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,137, a 0.1 per cent decrease compared to October 2016 (9,143) and a 3.5 per cent decrease compared to September 2017 (9,466).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for October 2017 is 33.1 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 16.8 per cent for detached homes, 44.8 per cent for townhomes, and 66 per cent for condominiums.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“The growth in our provincial economy and job market is contributing to today’s demand,” Oudil said. “The federal government’s announcement of plans to tighten mortgage requirements for the seventh time in the last eight years also helped spur activity in the short term. Many buyers are trying to enter the market before the changes are in place.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,042,300. This represents a 12.4 per cent increase over October 2016 and a 0.5 per cent increase compared to September 2017.

Sales of detached properties in October 2017 reached 940, a 44.2 per cent increase from the 652 detached sales recorded in October 2016 and a 34.6 per cent decrease from the 1,437 sales in October 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,609,600. This represents a four per cent increase from October 2016 and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to September 2017.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,532 in October 2017, a 30.1 per cent increase compared to the 1,178 sales in October 2016 and a 0.7 per cent decrease from the 1,543 sales in October 2015. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $642,000. This represents a 22.7 per cent increase from October 2016 and a one per cent increase compared to September 2017.

Attached property sales in October 2017 totalled 550, a 36.5 per cent increase compared to the 403 sales in October 2016 and a 17.4 per cent decrease from the 666 sales in October 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $802,400. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from October 2016 and a two per cent increase compared to September 2017.

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31 Great Grants and Rebates for Home Buyers, Owners and Renters

1. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remainder of the purchase price of a resale home priced up to $500,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $500,000 and $525,000. At $525,000 and above exemption is nil. Foreign entities and taxable trustee are not eligible for the exemption.


2. BC Property Transfer Tax Newly Built Home Exemption Qualifying buyers of new homes may be exempt from paying the PTT on a newly built home or newly subdivided unit priced up to $750,000 and a partial exemption on newly built homes priced $750,000 to $800,000.

3. BC Home Owner Grant Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed or partitioned value up to $1.65 million. The grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 above the threshold and eliminated at $1.764 million (basic grant) and $1.819 million (additional grant). The basic grant: • up to $570 for principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts; • an additional grant of $200 to rural home owners elsewhere in BC; and • an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled, and veterans of certain wars. Learn more. [email protected] 1-888-355-2700.

4. BC Property Tax Deferment Programs • Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors: qualifying home owners aged 55+ can defer property taxes. • Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children: qualifying home owners who financially support children under age 18 can defer property taxes. Learn more. Vancouver: 604-660-2421. Elsewhere in BC:1-800663-7867.

5. CMHC First-time Home Buyers’ Incentive CMHC offers qualifying first-time home buyers with household incomes less than $120,000 a year and a five per cent down payment a 10 per cent shared equity mortgage for a newly constructed home OR a 5 per cent shared equity mortgage for an existing home. The buyer repays the incentive later or at re-sale. The incentive reduces the amount of monthly mortgage payments.

Learn more:

6. Home Buyers’ Plan Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $35,000 (couples can withdraw up to $70,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have experienced a breakdown in their marriage or common-law partnership even if they are not first-time buyers and those  who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency. Participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan :

7. GST/HST New Housing Rebate New home buyers can apply for a rebate for the five per cent GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36 per cent of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. There is no rebate for homes priced at $450,000 and above. Canada Revenue Agency. 1-800-959-8287.

8. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC) Eligible persons who bought a qualifying home in 2018 can claim the home buyers’ amount of $5,000 on Line 369 of Schedule 1 when filing their 2018 income tax and benefit returns. For 2018, the maximum home buyers’ tax credit (HBTC) is $750, which is calculated by multiplying the home buyers’ amount of $5,000 by the federal non-refundable tax credit rate of 15 per cent (equal to the lowest personal income tax rate for the year). Learn more:

9. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10 per cent premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations. Learn more. 604-731-5733.

10. Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer. Learn More. 604-433-2218 or 1-800-257-7756.

11. BC Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit Assists eligible seniors 65+ with the cost of eligible permanent home renovations to a principal residence to improve accessibility. The maximum refundable credit is $1,000 per tax year and is calculated as 10 per cent of the qualifying renovation expense (maximum $10,000). Forms are available online. Learn more: 1-800-959-8281.

12. Energy saving mortgages Some financial institutions offer special mortgages to home buyers/owners making homes energy efficient. For example, home owners may qualify for a BMO Eco Smart Mortgage™ or a TD Canada Trust rural property mortgage.

13. Low interest green renovation loans Financial institutions offer loans to home owners making energy efficient upgrades, for example, Vancity Home Energy Loan up to $50,000 and RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers one per cent off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. Visit your financial institution.

14. Clean BC Plan A new $679 million program of the BC Government provides a range of incentives including up to $6,000 for buyers of electric vehicles, and $2,000 to replace a fossil fuel heating system. Learn more.

15. Energy Efficient Buildings Incentives offered to households and businesses for installing high-efficiency heating equipment and building envelope improvements. A partnership of BC Hydro, Fortis BC and BC Housing. 

16. BC Hydro and FortisBC rebates to improve a home’s efficiency A wide range of rebates for heat pumps, insulation, draftproofing, hot water heaters, and a $300 bonus offer for making two eligible upgrades within 18 months. Learn more.

17. FortisBC new home energy rebate offer FortisBC and BC Hydro customers can receive rebates when building ENERGY STAR new homes or installing high-efficiency natural gas fireplaces. Learn more.

18. Home energy rebate offer BC Hydro and FortisBC offer home owners rebates for upgrades and improvements, including insulation, space and water heating systems and ventilation to reduce your energy bill. Includes a bonus offer for completing three or more upgrades. Total value of available rebates: up to $10,000. Learn more. More information. 1-877-740-0055.

19. Energy savings kits BC Hydro and FortisBC offer income-qualifying customers a free energy saving kit containing products to help save energy and money.

20. FortisBC Rebate for rental apartment buildings The Rental Apartment Efficiency Program for owners and managers of rental apartment buildings of nine or more units includes a new water-efficient shower head and kitchen and bathroom faucet aerator for each unit, an energy assessment and ongoing professional assistance. Learn more.

21. Join the Power Smart Team Become a member of Team Power Smart and start a challenge to reduce your electricity use by 10 per cent over the next year. If you’re successful you’ll earn a $50 reward. Learn more.

22. ENERGY STAR appliance rebates BC Hydro Power Smart and participating municipalities offer $100 mail-in rebates to home owners buying ENERGY STAR clothes dryers, and refrigerators. 

23. BC Hydro Power smart appliance rebates Clothes washers: $50 rebate; refrigerators − up to $100 rebate; clothes dryers up to $100 rebate. Learn more: 1-800-224-9376.

24. Climate action tax credit This BC government program gives eligible low- and middleincome families a tax credit of up to $400 in 2019, and up to $500 starting in July 2021 to offset BC’s carbon tax.          

25. Leaders in Energy Management Program Partners BC Hydro with large commercial, government and institutional customers spending $200,000 or more a year. Customers gain access to energy management programs, tools, and incentives. Learn more: 1-800-522-4713.

26. Business Energy Saving Incentives Provides financial incentives to organizations that replace inefficient technologies with energy efficient technologies. Learn more. 1-800-474-6886.

27. FortisBC rebate program for businesses For commercial buildings, save up to $500,000 for constructing high-performance, energy efficient commercial, multi-unit residential or industrial buildings; up to $1 million for industrial building energy-efficient upgrades.  

28. City of Vancouver Building Energy Retrofit Fund Program includes $1 million to support and expand programs that result in energy efficiency upgrades for buildings. Includes a Green Landlord Program to help non-market apartment building owners and operators reinvest in buildings and reduce energy costs. 

29. Rain barrel subsidy programs Metro Vancouver municipalities offer rain barrels for sale at a discount for residents: Richmond - $30; Burnaby - $100; Coquitlam - $60. Other municipalities may have similar offers.

30. Water saving kits Metro Vancouver municipalities offer water saving kits to reduce water use including Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Delta.

31. Local government water meter programs Municipalities may offer water metering, so you pay only for the amount of water you use. Burnaby (scroll down), Delta, Richmond, and West Vancouver have programs. Visit your municipality’s website and search ‘water meter.’