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The mall is located across from Vancouver City Hall and sold for more than double its latest assessed value of $102 million

The shopping centre across the street from Vancouver City Hall has sold for $225 million.

The nearly 250,000-square-foot City Square Mall was purchased by Richmond-based Sun Commercial Real Estate Group (SUNCOM), according to a new retail market report by real estate firm CBRE

The blockbuster deal sold for more than double its assessed value of $102 million. The site’s impressive price tag is likely due to its redevelopment potential. The 3.3-acre property is located within the Broadway Corridor Plan, just a block from the Canada Line Broadway-City Hall Station and the future Millennium Line Broadway Extension.

The mixed-use commercial mall was designed with a European village feel, utilizing both heritage buildings and modern structures. The property includes 50 retail units and two six-storey office buildings.

The mall currently has a high vacancy rate. The mall lost its anchor tenant, Safeway, last year. The space has remained vacant since.

SUNCOM’s holdings include the Best Western Sands Hotel on Davie Street; Westwood Plateau Golf & Contry Club in Coquitlam, Mylora Sidaway Golf Club in Richmond. They did not respond to a request for comment on their acquisition.

The property is located at the northwest corner of Cambie Street and West 12th Avenue at 555 West 12th Ave.



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Money laundering Effect on Lower Mainland could be much higher

An estimated $5.3 billion of laundered money into B.C. real estate in 2018 hiked housing prices about 5 per cent, two special reports released May 9 by the provincial government show.
However, since the figures are for the entire province and based on incomplete data and methodologies, the effecct on specific regions, such as Greater Vancouver, could be much higher, noted Minister of Finance Carole James.
“Our housing market should be used for housing people, not for laundering the proceeds of crime,” said James, via a news release.
Conservative estimates from a report from professors Maureen Maloney, Tsur Somerville and Brigette Unger, titled Combatting Money Laundering in BC Real Estate, indicate there was $7.4 billion laundered in B.C. in 2018, of which two-thirds filtered through the housing sector.
The Maloney report notes: “If all the investment were residential property in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, $5.3 billion of investment would represent 7.4 per cent of 2018 transaction volumes. Share transactions in the 4.6 per cent to 7.4 per cent range are sufficiently large to have an observable impact on real estate prices.”
The report actually estimates the annual impact on home prices thanks to money laundering to be between 3.7 per cent and 7.5 per cent. The overall national estimates are on the conservative end, as they peg money laundering in Canada at 2.1 per cent of GDP whereas the International Monetary Fund estimates global money laundering at between 2 per cent to 5 per cent of GDP. But the $5.3 billion going into real estate is on the high side, based on certain assumptions.
Additionally, the report notes that if countries, such as China, are under-reporting incidences of crime, then inflows of money will be underestimated.
“Estimated money laundering in B.C. will be particularly underestimated if crime reporting, especially for tax avoidance and corruption, by some East Asian countries that have close ties with B.C. … is incomplete,” the report states.
In the Greater Vancouver area, real estate prices have risen 59.5 per cent over the past five years.
Overall, the report’s authors were comfortable enough to conclude that money laundering has helped to decouple local incomes from real estate prices, fuelling an affordability crisis in the province. And a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime will result in “clear gains” in affordability, even if they are not large in magnitude.
The Maloney report was released alongside Dr. Peter German’s report titled Dirty Money – Part 2, which goes into detail on some money laundering methods that appear to be employed in B.C.
While on their own they may not be an outright indication of money laundering, combined, German said these widespread activities present red flags: nominee purchasers, unfinanced purchases, flipping, quickly discharged mortgages, over and undervalued listings and buying sprees.
In many instances, German suggested drawing conclusions involves an element of not knowing what one doesn’t know. He called B.C.’s real estate market “opaque” and took aim, in particular, at agencies that handle financial transactions but who are not required to report suspicious ones to FINTRAC.
“It is believed that much of the overseas capital used for private mortgages transits through Canadian ‘gatekeepers,’ such as lawyers, thereby skewing any data with respect to overseas investment in real estate,” noted German’s report.
In assessing land title data, German determined about 9 per cent of residential mortgages in B.C. are held by 18,570 private lenders, who are not reporting entities to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
German added: “Reporting of suspicious transactions to FINTRAC by realtors has been dismal at best.”
James said the government’s plan to rollout a beneficial ownership registry via the Land Owner Transparency Act next year should assist government agencies in tracking property ownership. As well, the province is working more closely to share income data with Canada Revenue Agency, said James.
Attorney General David Eby said a decision on a public inquiry into money laundering in B.C. is imminent.
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Just 20 per cent of the 865 homes released last month have sold, says MLA Canada’s research arm

Reflecting what’s happening in the Lower Mainland’s slowing resale housing market, the presale sector doesn’t seem to be doing much better, according to the results of a new report.

MLA Advisory, the research arm of real estate marketing company MLA Canada, reported May 3 that there have been 3,817 presale units released for sale so far this year across Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. That number is 23 per cent lower than the same period in 2018.

There were 10 project launches in the region in April – five of which were wood-frame condo developments in West Coquitlam, New Westminster and Langley – totalling 865 homes. Of those, just 20 per cent have sold so far, said MLA Advsory. That compares with an absorption rate of 43 per cent in April 2018, of the 879 presales released that month.

This low an absorption rate can put new home developments’ financing at risk, as institutional lenders financing a project require a certain level of uptake. MLA’s report said, “We would prefer to see this [absorption rate] closer to 25-30 per cent within the month, to make the remainder of sales needed to hit financing requirements more manageable.”

MLA Advisory April 2019 presale launchesSource: MLA Advisory, Urban Analytics and RealNet

The supply of new homes coming on stream is also much lower than in recent years, said the research group.

Suzana Goncalves, chief advisory officer and partner at MLA Canada, said, “MLA Advisory estimates that nearly 5,000 concrete units within 17 projects have postponed their sales launches [to wait] for more favourable market conditions.”

The group is warning that the reduction in new home supply, caused by the slowing housing market, will have significant effects in the long term. Goncalves added, “These concrete pre-sale project delays, along with decreases in housing starts by up to 20 per cent province-wide, will have drastic long-term implications on our housing supply, affordability and home ownership.”

Buyer incentives

For those developers who have launched sales and are seeing sluggish absorption, there is an increasing trend to offer significant buyer incentives to attract presale buyers. A number of developers are offering lower-than-usual deposits to make it easier for buyers to sign up, especially first-time buyers. And Woodbridge Homes, developer of West Coquitlam project KIRA, hit the headlines by throwing in a year’s worth of free avocado toast to buyers who purchased a condo during the project’s launch this past weekend.

MLA sees the increased choice of inventory and the trend for incentives as making this a good time for buyers to get into the presale market.

MLA’s report authors wrote, “As more projects offer purchaser incentives such as lower deposit structures and decorating allowances, it is becoming more favourable for end-users to purchase homes this year.”

You can read MLA Advisory's full April presales report here.

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More condo owners in West Vancouver have appealed their property assessments this year than homeowners across B.C. as a whole

About 3.5 per cent of West Vancouver’s 3,452 condo owners are appealing their assessments this year, according to figures released by BC Assessment. | North Shore News
A larger percentage of condo owners in West Vancouver have appealed their property assessments this year than homeowners across B.C. as a whole.
About 3.5 per cent of West Vancouver’s 3,452 condo owners – 122 owners – are appealing their assessments this year, about four times the number who appealed last year.
In the City and District of North Vancouver less than one-half of a per cent of condo owners appealed their assessments.
Rates of assessment appeals launched by single family homeowners in West Vancouver were also higher than those of surrounding detached homeowners in North Vancouver.
About 1.5 per cent of West Vancouver’s approximately 12,000 single-family homeowners appealed their assessments this year compared to about half a per cent of detached homeowners in North Vancouver.
The figures were recently released by BC Assessment.
Considered in total, about one per cent of all homeowners on the North Shore are disputing the value assigned to their property.
Across B.C., about 1.6 per cent of property owners are appealing their assessments.
The deadline for requesting an appeal this year was Jan. 31.
BC Assessment sets a value on all property in the province, based on a date of July 1 each year.
Since then, the assessed value of properties was set, home values have generally been falling across the region – although that is not considered a factor in an appeal.
Latest figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver put the “benchmark price” of a typical West Vancouver condo at about $1.1 million and the price of a detached home at $2.5 million.
Prices of benchmark homes in North Vancouver are about $567,000 for an apartment and $1.5 million for a single-family home.

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Overall, 4 cities saw an upward trend, 3 downward, and 17 remained stable last month. There was little movement throughout Canada as a majority of cities stayed in their previous month’s rankings, with a few cities stirring at the very bottom. A little less than half of the total cities continued to have double digit year over year growth rates but this has been the most stable month Canada has seen yet.

Notably, Windsor had the fastest growing rent in the nation last month, up 5.6%, and Calgary saw the largest rent dip, down 2.7%.

Top 5 Most Expensive Markets

  1.  Toronto, ON had a stable month with one bedroom rent staying flat at $2,260 and two bedrooms also remaining fixed at $2,850. On a year over year basis, however, one bedroom rent is up 10.8%.
  2. Vancouver, BC continued to rank as the second priciest city with one bedroom rent at $2,100. Two bedrooms, meanwhile, dropped 4.9% to $3,100.
  3. Burnaby, BC one bedroom rent had a flat month, staying at $1,570 and as the third most expensive. Two bedrooms had a slight uptick of 0.4% to settle at $2,250.
  4. Montréal, QC saw one bedroom rent drop 2% to $1,470, while two bedrooms had an even larger decline, falling 3.9% to $1,710.
  5. Victoria, BC was the fifth most expensive city with both one and two bedroom rents staying flat last month at $1,390 and $1,730, respectively. Though stable month on month, two bedroom rent here is up 14.6% since this time last year.


Windsor, ON one bedroom rent had the largest growth rate in the nation last month, up 5.6% to $760.

Saskatoon, SK moved up 2 spots to become the 21st most expensive city with one bedroom rent jumping 5% to $840.

Edmonton, AB saw one bedroom rent climb 4.4%, settling at $950, and up one spot to 18th.


Calgary, AB one bedroom rent dropped 2.7% last month, settling at $1,070. Two bedrooms had a similar decline, falling 2.3% to $1,290.

Winnipeg, MB remained the 17th most expensive city, though one bedroom rent decreased 2% to $960 and two bedrooms were down 0.8% to $1,250.

Montréal, QC was the only city in the top markets to see a decline in one bedroom rent since it dropped 2% to $1,470. Two bedrooms had an even larger downturn, falling 3.9% to $1,710.

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Nationally, home sales down 4.6% and prices fell 0.5% from a year earlier.

Canadian home sales and prices rebounded in March from a dismal showing a month earlier, but remained below historical averages.

Home sales rose 0.9 per cent nationally while the benchmark price rose 0.8 per cent, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday from Ottawa. While the results are an improvement from February, both sales and prices were down from a year earlier as homebuyers grapple with stricter mortgage rules and rising rates.

Sales activity remains at some of the lowest levels recorded in the last six years, CREA said. It’s the latest in a string of data that show sluggishness in the housing sector after policy makers tightened borrowing regulations, partially in a bid to slow runaway growth in Toronto and Vancouver.

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近年来,温哥华逐步成为北美西海岸新的科技金融中心亚马逊、苹果、谷歌等知名企业纷纷入驻温哥华,并在此设立分公司或办事处,极大的推动了当地的就业局势,为温哥华吸引更多的人才涌入。商业办公楼的需求也随之增加,办公楼的空值率逐步下降。同时,由于商业楼盘可以豁免多项税收,如空值税,投机税,海外买家税,学校税等等, 越来越引起大家的关注,成为投资新热点。




One Burrand Place

$1,000-1,200 /sqft


Bosa Waterfront

$1,500 /sqft



  • 预计完工时间:2023年

  • 楼盘数量:142单位

  • 用途:

    • 普通-74 单位, 

    • 健康医疗-68 单位

  • 楼层:5层 (2-6)

  • 管理费:$0.79/sqft




  • 项目将带来6000名新居民,100万平方英尺的零售,50万平方英尺的办公室

  • 温哥华第二大图书馆,日托中心,室内外音乐场所以及世界一流的表演艺术学院,拥有本地和全球最好的厨师的尚厨汇

  • 由6个特色小公园组成的占地近10英亩的公园

  • 未来十年橡树岭周边地区将有大约三倍人口的增长

  • 项目完工后橡树岭每年预计将吸引超过4200万游客

  • 以各种形式将人文体验达到极致的文化中心





  • HVAC暖通空间系统改善空气质量,加速新鲜空气循环;

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  • 主入口和公园入口处门对讲系统,租户可用专用的安全卡进出,集成电梯读卡器提供安全的指定到达楼层访问;

  • 所有建筑入口、大堂和电梯均提供24小时高清视频监控系统,同时所有楼梯间门和大厅均提供电子读卡器和电动门锁;

  • 定制B&B Italia步入式地毯,商业用综合式厨房,B&B Italia定制橱柜和内置电器美诺速热炉、全集成冰箱、咖啡机等),打造专属的空间品质;

  • 办公楼设有独立的大堂入口,和直通社区公园的独立大堂,最大限度的保证所有在这里办公的人和居民之间的私密性

  • 专业的团队协助租赁

  • 精装修办公空间或提供全套装修服务(视办公空间面积计费)

  • 停车位租赁和代客泊车服务


对于那些希望投资加拿大房地产的人来说,温哥华的橡树岭办公空间无疑是最好的选择。 温哥华的办公楼市场是加拿大发展最快的市场之一,由于创意经济和高科技企业不断涌入该市,其需求远远超过供应。由于像市中心等核心区域的空置率已破纪录的处于历史低位,租赁率相应较高且不断上升。市中心写字楼市场的竞争虽已白热化,人们对高端新型写字楼的需求却仍在不断高涨,预计2021年之前,写字楼市场都将供不应求。


如对此楼盘感兴趣,希望在交通便捷四通八达的温哥华新城市中心和文化中心获取专属办公空间,欢迎联系PRINCESS PAN专业团队, 竭诚为您出谋划策,以便于您做出最明智的抉择。

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Overall, 5 cities saw an upward trend, 8 downward, and 11 remained stable last month. In line with seasonality, these relatively flat to decreasing monthly growth rates are signaling a slow down from the constant monthly price spikes that we’ve seen recently in the Canadian rental market. However, the many double digit year over year growth rates continue to show the large overall demand that exists there. In the top 10 markets, the Ontario province had the most cities with 6, British Columbia followed suit with 3, and Québec had 1.

Notably, Hamilton, Kitchener, and Oshawa were all tied for 9th with one bedrooms priced at $1,200. While Saskatoon was essentially the only city with a significant monthly growth rate of 4.8%, Regina, on the other end of the spectrum, took the cake for the largest monthly decline, down 5.8%.

Top 5 Most Expensive Markets

  1.  Toronto, ON saw one bedroom rent decrease a slight 0.4% to $2,260, while two bedrooms remained flat at $2,850.
  2. Vancouver, BC one bedroom rent grew 1% to $2,100, while two bedrooms dropped 0.6% to $3,260.
  3. Burnaby, BC held steady as the third priciest city, though one and two bedroom prices were mainly flat, settling at $1,570 and $2,240, respectively.
  4. Montréal, QC also had a steady month with one and two bedrooms remaining flat at $1,500 and $1,780, respectively.
  5. Victoria, BC rounded out the top 5 with one bedroom rent staying flat at $1,390 last month and two bedrooms growing 3.6% to $1,730.


Kitchener, ON one bedroom rent had the largest monthly growth rate in the nation, up 4.3% to $1,200. This big bump also moved the city up 2 spots and into the top 10 markets as the 9th most expensive

Hamilton, ON also jumped into the top 10 markets with one bedroom rent growing 3.4% to $1,200.

Barrie, ON one bedroom rent climbed 2.3%, settling at $1,360, and up one position to rank as the 6th most expensive city.


Québec, QC, ranking as the 21st priciest city, had the largest monthly rental decline in the country, falling 5.8% to $810. Two bedrooms saw a significant downturn as well, dropping 4.8% to $1,000.

Saskatoon, SK took a single ranking dip to 23rd with one bedroom rent falling 4.8% to $800 and two bedroom rent, similarly, decreasing 4.7% to $1,010.

Edmonton, AB dropped one position to become the 19th priciest city. One bedroom rent decreased 4.2% to $910, while two bedrooms had a slightly more modest decline, down 3.2% to $1,200.

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Development application for three buildings to be presented at March

Henriquez Partners Architects has filed a development application for three more buildings planned for the sprawling Oakridge Centre redevelopment.

They include a 32-storey tower (building six) and a 17-storey tower (building seven), which will face Cambie Street between West 43rd and West 45th avenues. The buildings would house 329 residential units and would sit atop a podium with retail and office spaces.

A third building, a 34-storey tower (building eight) with 286 units, would also sit atop a podium with retail spaces.

In addition, the development application features a portion of the future nine-acre park and a two-storey “accessory” building with retail uses.

The plans will be presented at an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Oakridge presentation centre, where Zellers used to be located, March 7. The application is currently scheduled to go before the Development Permit Board on May 13.Comments on the development application can be submitted before April 5.

Oakridge Centre is among Canada’s top three most profitable malls.

QuadReal and Westbank are partners on the redevelopment project, which, once completed, will feature 10 towers of varying heights up to 44 storeys, as well as midrise buildings.

Plans include 2,000 market condo units, 290 market rental units, 290 City of Vancouver-owned below-market rental units, the redevelopment of the shopping centre, commercial and office space, a community centre, a library, a seniors’ centre, performance spaces, a daycare and a nine-acre park.

Pricing for market residential units in buildings three and four, which face 41st Avenue, range from upwards of $800,000 to $5.7 million

View looking up at building seven. Henriquez Partners Architects

View looking up at building seven. Henriquez Partners Architects

View looking west at site. Henriquez Partners Architects

View looking west at site. Henriquez Partners Architects

View from Cambie street looking north at buildings six and seven. Henriquez Partners Architects

View from park looking south towards the fitness pool and summer house. Henriquez Partners Architec


View looking north at site. Henriquez Partners Architects

View of top of stairs looking into park. Henriquez Partners Architects

Aerial view looking north. Henriquez Partners Architects

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MLA Intel 2019


In 2018, we witnessed a pivotal point in our real estate market — a transition from hyper-active conditions to a normalized environment. MLA Advisory anticipates 2019 to be another dynamic year as we face cooling pressures from global giants and our own government, while continuing to see supply and affordability issues in the forefront. Amidst this unique climate, there will be challenges, but also opportunity for creativity.

Report highlights include new statistics on the local pre-sale market, the impact of the city entitlement process and the increase to land and construction costs.

“BC’s fundamentals remain stronger than elsewhere in the country. This means pressures on our housing market will continue, particularly with population increasing and housing starts declining. We must be progressive in our solutions to provide housing – the long-term viability of our cities depend on it.,” explains Cameron McNeill, Executive Director of MLA Canada.

Population is expected to increase steadily in BC, with almost 50,000 new residents landing in our province in 2019. With job opportunities remaining high compared to other provinces, interprovincial migration will likely remain constant over the next 3 years. Steadily increasing international immigration to our province continues as foreigners still view BC as safe, secure, and livable.

MLA Intel 2019

With steady population increases, housing starts are expected to decline in Metro Vancouver over the next 2 years, adding pressure to the housing market. Increased government regulation and taxation, elongated development timelines, and municipal bureaucracy make housing that much harder to produce in our cities.

Approval timelines continue to be a major factor in our ability to appropriately address the demand for housing in Metro Vancouver. Vancouver, Burnaby, and the District of North Vancouver remain the municipalities with the lengthiest project approval timelines.

The cost of construction has always been a vital variable in a project’s viability. Over the past 5 years, construction costs have risen nearly 50 per cent, on average, which, of course, is absorbed downstream by the consumer. In 2019, we could see a slight easing in the cost of construction, as some projects may be put on hold or pushed due to different factors, including market conditions, interest rates, or rezoning approvals.


MLA Intel 2019

MLA Advisory breaks down the True Cost of a Home for a Cambie Corridor condo and findings show land and construction costs are the largest contributing factors at 69% of the total cost. Perhaps less well known, the government taxes and fees associated with projects, particularly in the case of the Cambie Corridor, can constitute 11 per cent or more of the cost.


Looking ahead to 2019, we forecast 73 projects and 13,975 homes to be released. As inventory levels rise and projects take longer to sell, we anticipate some of these projects to be delayed due to market conditions.

“2019 is expected to be highly competitive, but an overall balanced market with nominal price escalation will provide purchasers with choice and value.,” shares Suzana Goncalves, Chief Advisory Officer at MLA Canada.


It is safe to say that the unsustainable and rapid market of 2017 is firmly behind us, and likely will not be experienced at similar levels for several years, if ever. 2018 was a transition year, as we turned from an extreme sellers’ market to a more normalized and fairly balanced one. Benchmark prices will remain stable overall, the result will likely be net increases of 0-2 per cent, with projects taking 9 months to hit presale targets and selling until completion. Primary end-users will again comprise the bulk of our buyers, enjoying more selection and time to find true value.

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Metro Vancouver home sales decline below historical averages in 2018

Metro Vancouver home sales in 2018 were the lowest annual total in the region since 2000.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 24,619 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2018, a 31.6 per cent decrease from the 35,993 sales recorded in 2017, and a 38.4 per cent decrease compared to the 39,943 residential sales in 2016.

Last year’s sales total was 25 per cent below the region’s 10-year sales average.

“This past year has been a transition period for the Metro Vancouver housing market away from the sellers’ market conditions we experienced in previous years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “High home prices, rising interest rates and new mortgage requirements and taxes all contributed to the market conditions we saw in 2018.”

Home listings in Metro Vancouver reached 53,614 in 2018. This is a 1.9 per cent decrease compared to 54,655 homes listed in 2017 and a 6.9 per cent decrease compared to the 57,596 homes listed in 2016.

“The supply of homes for sale will be an important indicator to follow in 2019. We’ve had record building activity in recent years and many projects will complete soon. This will provide additional housing options for home buyers across the region,” Moore said.

The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $1,032,400. This is a 2.7 per cent decrease compared to December 2017.

“As the total supply of homes for sale began to accumulate in the spring, we began to see downward pressure on prices across all home types throughout the latter half of the year,” Moore said.

The benchmark price of detached homes in the region declined 7.8 per cent over the last 12 months and 7.3 per cent since June 2018. Apartment homes increased 0.6 per cent over the last 12 months and have declined 6.4 per cent since June 2018. The benchmark price for townhomes in Metro Vancouver have increased 1.3 per cent since December 2017 and have decreased 5.3 per cent over the last six months.

December summary

REBGV reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,072 in December 2018, a 46.8 per cent decrease from the 2,016 sales recorded in December 2017, and a 33.3 per cent decrease from November 2018 when 1,608 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 43.3 per cent below the 10-year December sales average.

There were 1,407 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver in December 2018. This represents a 25.6 per cent decrease compared to the 1,891 homes listed in December 2017 and a 59.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2018 when 3,461 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 10,275, a 47.7 per cent increase compared to December 2017 (6,958) and a 16.5 per cent decrease compared to November 2018 (12,307).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2018 is 10.4 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 7.1 per cent for detached homes, 12 per cent for townhomes, and 14.2 per cent for apartments.

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.

Sales of detached homes in December 2018 reached 348, a 43.6 per cent decrease from the 617 detached sales recorded in December 2017. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,479,000. This represents a 7.8 per cent decrease from December 2017 and a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to November 2018.

Sales of apartment homes reached 535 in December 2018, a 34 per cent decrease compared to the 1,028 sales in December 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $664,100. This represents a 0.6 per cent increase from December 2017 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to November 2018.

Attached home sales in December 2018 totalled 189, a 49.1 per cent decrease compared to the 371 sales in December 2017. The benchmark price of an attached home is $809,700. This represents a 1.3 per cent increase from December 2017 and a 1.1 per cent decrease compared to November 2018.

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Real estate prices in the Vancouver region have gone up too much too quickly, creating conditions ripe for sharp declines, the author of a report on the country’s most expensive real estate market says.


“Prices have accelerated sharply, especially at the beginning of 2016, and many more people were priced out of the market,” Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank of Canada, said in an interview. “Prices were overshooting.”


The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, which tracks overall change in price for various housing types, last month reached a record 249.53 (which means prices have climbed almost 150 per cent since June, 2005) in the region, but could fall 10 per cent over a 12-month period, Mr. Pinsonneault said. For all housing types, that would bring the broad index back to where it was in April.


Within that index, the value of detached houses could tumble 20 per cent over a 12-month period, likely to begin in late 2016, Mr. Pinsonneault estimates. For detached houses, it roughly translates into values that could retreat to levels last seen in October, 2015.


Sales of detached houses, condos and townhouses have been falling in the region since peaking at a record high in March of this year.


Several measures have combined to dampen sales activity, including the B.C. government’s new luxury tax on properties in the province that sell for more than $2-million. That tax took effect in February.


The provincial government also implemented a 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers in the Vancouver region, effective Aug. 2, although it is unclear how much of the sales decrease since is due to the tax. Another factor to consider is the impact of the federal government’s decision to tighten mortgage lending rules effective Oct. 17.


The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index for the Vancouver region has gained 24 per cent over the past year, despite the recent sales slowdown.


The index shows pricing trends based on a large sample of the sales of properties registered at the land titles office.


“The index prices are different than average prices,” Mr. Pinsonneault said. The real estate industry’s benchmark prices, which represent the sale of typical properties, remain strong. The benchmark price for detached homes sold last month in Greater Vancouver hit a record $1.58-million – 33.7 per cent higher than in September, 2015.


But with fewer high-end properties selling, that has dragged down the average price for detached houses sold in Greater Vancouver, compared with the spring. Last month, the price for detached houses sold in the region averaged $1.53-million, down 15.7 per cent from April, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.


By contrast, the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index has continued to roar ahead in the region this year. “The reason the sharp drop in sales has yet to translate into [an index] price decline is that the resale market remained tight despite the drop in sales,” Mr. Pinsonneault wrote.


He said it is unclear whether a significant number of foreign buyers are shifting their attention to the Greater Toronto Area.


“China’s anti-corruption campaign is suspected of crimping the flow of capital from that country,” he said in his report, which notes that both the Vancouver and Toronto metropolitan markets are at risk of experiencing price declines in 2017.


The GTA faces a 3-per-cent overall drop its home price index next year, especially with condos expected to be plentiful in supply, Mr. Pinsonneault said. He believes the anticipated price decrease for detached houses in the GTA will likely be in line with his overall forecast.

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For some the last few weeks was a rush to wrap up real estate deals before Aug. 2 tax was imposed on Metro Vancouver property deals.

For some the last few weeks was a rush to wrap up real estate deals before Aug. 2 tax was imposed on Metro Vancouver property deals. (DeWitt Clinto/Flickr)

Deals collapsing under the weight of extra costs from 15% tax which came as a 'shock'

By Yvette Brend

Real estate deals are collapsing in B.C. for buyers and sellers who missed the deadline to be exempt from the recently created 15 per cent foreign-buyer aimed tax.

Realtors estimate that 3,000-4,000 deals are in limbo, as they had not closed before the tax came into effect Aug. 2.

It's not clear yet how many deals have collapsed, but Fraser Valley realtors in North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission B.C. say foreign investors are indeed backing out of agreements because of the tax.


"It is unfortunate that, in the wake of the most complex and volatile market we've seen, our government has chosen a path that, at this time, will bring significant distress to consumers both local and abroad rather than nuanced solutions," said Charles Wiebe, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Vancouver real estate

Realtors are reporting collapsing deals in the wake of the new B.C. real estate tax. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Last week thousands of Metro Vancouver buyers and sellers rushed to meet the midnight deadline to be exempt from the real estate tax.


Many reacted in "disbelief" at the sudden change in price on pre-struck deals.

"It's so fast. Just everyone is shocked," said Jin Luo, a realtor with Remax.


After the legal documents flutter to the floor industry watchers warn there will be challenges to the new tax, seen by many as unfair.

Vancouver city at night

Deals are already falling through according to realtors who blame the new 15% tax that was applied even to real estate transactions brokered before the new tax existed. (Tina Lovegreen/CBC)

Some say it violates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which prohibits governments from imposing policies that punish foreigners. Top lawyers say the tax is ripe for a constitutional challenge.

The foreign buyer tax, aimed at cooling Vancouver's torrid housing market, was announced July 25. The aim was to chill speculative investing and preserve affordable homes for people living and working in Canada.

'It's going to affect everyone'

Buyers and sellers were caught in the sting of the Aug. 2 tax that has been applied even to deals struck long before it existed.

"We weren't given notice .... so most likely the deals will collapse. It's not fair for everyone," added Luo. 

Johnathan Cooper

"The ripple effect [of this tax] is going to affect many, many Canadian families," said Jonathan Cooper of vice president at Macdonald Real Estate Group. (Charlie Cho/CBC)

He hopes the August market slowdown is just summer doldrums, but worries about the tax.

"It's going to affect everyone .. builders, electricians, plumbers."

Cost of tax

On a half-million dollar deal the tax represents $80,000 to $90,000, said Jonathan Cooper, vice president at Macdonald Real Estate Group in an interview with CBC's The Early Edition.

"Fifteen per cent is substantial," said Cooper. "It's been a hectic week."

While he has not seen the tax collapse a deal yet — as the buyer would then lose a deposit and potentially face a lawsuit — he has seen a huge impact.

For sale sign in Vancouver BC

It's unclear how the new foreign-buyer-aimed tax will affect the market in the long term. Some experts predict it won't slow high-end sales much. (Christer Waara/CBC)

He described an immigrating family who recently bought a home on Bowen Island for $750,000 in time for their daughter to attend UBC, only to face an extra $100,000 to pay.

"It was a burden for them. This isn't the kind of family that has an extra $100 thousand dollars just lying around," he said.

Long-time Canadian home owners hurt by tax

Cooper said he dealt with dozens of cases like this — mid-range buyers frustrated by the lack of warning before the tax was imposed and the B.C. Government's decision not to grandfather deals struck long before the Aug. 2 tax deadline.

The sudden change in final prices jeopardized deals and hurts everybody connected to the real estate deal said Cooper, who described the "shock and disbelief" of a retired Canadian couple who were trying to sell their family home.

The additional tax left their buyers scrambling to come up with $300,000 they did not have.

'Shaken his confidence in Canada'

"The ripple effect [of this tax] is going to affect many, many Canadian families who are not supposed to be the targets of this taxation," he said.

But for Cooper and others the tax aimed at foreign buyers is much more damaging.

Critics are calling for the 15 per cent levy to be challenged under the free trade agreement and in court on the basis of discrimination.

For Cooper, whose own extended family immigrated from Malaysia — via the Philippines — it's personal.

Tax photo

Anybody who is not a Canadian citizen of a permanent resident will now be charged 15 per cent extra tax on real estate transactions. (Dave Dugdale/Flickr)

"They are coming here for the same reasons we come here. For education. For clean air. the same reasons that we love living here," said Cooper, describing the emotional cost of the tax aimed at one buyer because of his country of origin.

"The [buyer] told me that this has shaken his confidence in Canada as a place to invest and a place to raise his family," said Cooper.

With files from Meera Bains and Greg Rasmussen

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home prices

Mark your calendar, because a major bank has set a date for Vancouver and Toronto real estate to cool off, if only a little bit.


TD Economics issued its quarterly economic forecast on Thursday, and it has some promising news for anyone who hopes to see housing simmer down in those cities in the near future.


The bank said the twin factors of affordability and higher borrowing costs could lead to a "cooling in domestic and foreign housing demand."


But it added that any slowdown is unlikely to happen until next year, unless governments introduce new regulatory measures to bar property speculation in 2016.


TD also said that, even with a slowdown, "There tends to be a lag before weaker resale demand translates into a moderation in building activity."


Nevertheless, "the party will come to an end," TD said.

toronto condos

TD chief economist Beata Caranci said that home prices such as those that have been seen in Vancouver are usually "followed by a period where prices cool," The Globe and Mail reported.


B.C. prices could fall as much as two to four per cent next year, she noted.


"Given the high levels, this is pretty small and will maintain elevated levels," Caranci said, adding Ontario could also become a "sideways market" next year due to "affordability erosion."


vancouver condos
Condos in Vancouver. (Photo: Christian Kober/Getty Images)

The housing analysis came as part of a report that predicts Canada's economy will grow by 1.3 per cent this year.


That's down from growth of 2.4 per cent in the first quarter alone. It has largely been attributed to slackening economic activity from the end of the quarter, and a slowdown in oil production due to the Fort McMurray wildfire.


Canada's economy could "rebound" to two per cent next year, TD said.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to meet with a round table of experts on Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis on Friday, just as new data are released showing the extreme nature of the city’s escalating housing problem.


Planner and analyst Andy Yan, who will attend the meeting, has released a comprehensive set of maps that show the rapid rise of assessed house prices over the past decade. Strikingly, his data show prices have spiked considerably within the past two years.


At least one academic at the gathering plans to make the case that Vancouver’s sudden escalation of house prices is timed perfectly with the mass exodus money from China. None of the academics interviewed was given any specifics as to what would be on the agenda, other than a general discussion of housing, so they plan to bring their wish list of recommendations to the table.


Josh Gordon, an assistant professor in public policy at Simon Fraser University, said in an interview on Thursday that he plans to make the case that the inflow of Chinese money has pushed Vancouver home prices out of range for the average person.


For example, in 2013, online real estate portal Juwai facilitated $5-billion (U.S.) worth of global real estate deals for its Chinese clients. In 2014, that number soared to $52-billion.


Prof. Gordon argued that that corresponds with a major increase in the number of houses assessed at more than $1-million (Canadian) in Vancouver.


The number of houses priced below $1-million dropped from 41 per cent in assessment year 2014 to 9 per cent by 2016, according to Mr. Yan’s data. Prior to the exodus of Chinese money, assessment figures show the market was levelling off. “Then all of a sudden it explodes,” Prof. Gordon said. “It shows so clearly what is going on is being driven by that kind of a factor. And we do have pretty good data on flows of capital out of China.”


The province announced in its February budget that it will begin gathering data on foreign investment in British Columbia’s real estate market, requiring all new purchases to list the buyer’s nationality. However, Finance Minister Mike de Jong has played down the idea that the role of foreign buyers in Vancouver’s affordability crisis is significant.


But Prof. Gordon said there is also solid data on the flow of Chinese money into Australia, where house prices have also soared. He questioned why Vancouver would be any different.


“We are a very similar target – if not a more enticing target – because we have such low property taxes, and we make such limited effort to track the nature of money and enforce money-laundering rules.”


Mr. Gordon said he also planned to make it clear to the Prime Minister that the high-end market is not operating in isolation to the rest of the market. It’s a common argument put forward by the real estate industry that foreign wealth is only driving luxury property prices.


Mr. Yan’s maps clearly illustrate the ripple effect spreading from the more affluent west side of the city to the east. The average price for a detached house that sold in the city of Vancouver is $2.96-million, according to recent figures supplied by Landcor. That’s a 19.8-per-cent increase since January. The average price of a condo is $719,434, a 7.88-per-cent increase in the same period. Throughout the region, prices have risen 20 to 35 per cent over all in the last year.


“The point I want to make in the public debate is that a lot of the other things we are seeing right now – including speculation, fear of missing out, loans from the bank of Mom and Dad, all these different things that we are talking about in terms of driving prices – these are all in a sense knock-on effects of foreign money,” Prof. Gordon said.

“They are not independent causal factors; they are occurring as a result and in reaction to the foreign money that is flowing into the city.”


Mr. Yan said he will emphasize with participants that they need to look at demand. “Clearly ,global capital is part of this,” said the acting director of Simon Fraser’s City Program. With these patterns, we have price and the supply, but we need to look at demand. And in terms of housing, we need to ask, ‘What are the kinds of demand we want to support? And what are the behaviours we want to discourage?”


University of British Columbia geography professor David Ley, who’s studied Asian global capital flows for 16 years, said he will suggest to Mr. Trudeau that Ottawa attempt to cool off the top end by taxing it, which would quell the entire market. He said he will also suggest a tax on foreign property purchases. “It would be a bolder move, and I think there’s quite an appetite for that. But that would be a bigger ask, and a complicated ask, as you can’t always easily tell what is a foreign purchase.”


He said he’ll also ask for regulation of the real estate sector, including measures against money laundering. Indebtedness tied to high mortgages is another one of Mr. Ley’s concerns he’d like to discuss with the Prime Minister.


“I’m going to raise the issue that we need to protect what we already have – the housing from the ’70s and ’80s, such as the government-subsidized rentals, whose subsidies are expiring and, not surprisingly, are in need of repair. I think it’s an easier task to conserve what you already have,” he said.


Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister responsible for housing, will follow up the Prime Minister’s round table with more in-depth meetings on June 26 and 27, according to his communications director, Mathieu Filion.


Vancouver and Toronto prices have also recently caused the Bank of Canada and major banks some concern. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and economists have recently cautioned consumers that rising prices are unsustainable.


“It’s incredible, really,” Prof. Gordon said. “We’re numb to it now, but if you think about how much income you need to have a $1-million house, you realize how crazy things are.”


Prof. Gordon said he plans to tell Mr. Trudeau that there is no time to waste and that immediate action needs to be taken.


“They need to start cracking down on money laundering, which is within their jurisdiction, and they need to end the Quebec Immigration Investor program, and seriously look at taxation of foreign investors.”


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