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Month: July 2016

by Maggie Chandler Maggie Chandler No Comments

Expert Advice for Vancouver’s Real Estate Buyers and Sellers

Expert Advice for Vancouver Real Estate Sellers and Investors

There are two types of Vancouver real estate sellers – those who are investors and those who are owner occupiers. Making the decision about the correct time to sell is much easier for investors, because they are generally doing one side of the transaction. Either they accept the current market conditions – perhaps they are cashing out of the market and retiring – or they wait until it is a sellers market and then list their property. In the meantime their investment is generating income. It is adviseable to sell the property when it is not on a lease but on a month to month rental, because a large portion of the buyers are not investors and wish to move into the suite within 60 days, so you will decrease your market substantially if its leased.  It is a good idea to reduce the rent when the property is listed for sale and ask the tenant to be co-operative with your Realtor’s request for showings and to keep it tidy. Uncooperative tenants and untidy suites will fetch a lower price. Currently Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate is 0%.

Vancouver property sellers are advised to prep your home, tidy, clean, organize closets and cupboards and do minor updates if necessary and  ensure there are no pet odours in the home, so that the home shows its best. In a balanced market make sure the price is right.  Staying on the market too long and having price reductions will not achieve the best price for you. Also, get advice from your experienced Vancouver Realtor when is the best time of the year to list your property.

Expert Advice for Vancouver Real Estate Buyers & Sellers

When  a Vancouver real estate buyer or seller makes the decision to enter the market, albeit to do one or two transactions simultaneously, the conditions will often benefit only the buyer or only the seller.  It is a buyers market if there is more supply of properties than there is demand. It is a sellers market – such as what we are experiencing currently in 2016 in Greater Vancouver  – when there is more demand than there are listings for sale and this results in multiple buyers making offers on the same property, which results in the property selling above the List Price. This is the most stressful market conditions and extremely time consuming for buyers.  If you plan to be in the market for the long term, then hunker down, keep writing offers until you win the competition and become a happy homeowner. Don’t purchase a property just to get into the market because you will not be happy if it doesn’t suit your needs.

Sometimes you are fortunate to enter the real estate market when it is well balanced between buyers and sellers. In this scenario you can shop the market to satisfy yourself that there is a selection of listings which meet your top criteria. Then you market your current home, negotiate with the buyer for a longer closing – say 90 days – then you purchase a property that suits your needs and negotiate a closing date that is one day after the closing date for the property you are selling. This scenario is by far the less stressful for Vancouver home owners.

Secondly, you could sell your current home and move in with family, or rent short term until you find the right property. The downside of this scenario is that in a rising market if it were to take six months to find the property, financially you might be unable to get back into the market.

Thirdly, your other option would be to ask your Bank to give you bridge financing, so first you would find a property that meets your needs and purchase it without a subject to the sale of your current home. Try for as long a close as possible. Should your current property not sell by the Closing Date, your Bank would lend you the funds to buy the next property and you would repay the loan when your current property sells. One risk in this scenario is what if the market were to change and trend downwards after your make your purchase , then the property you are selling would then be worth less. It is important to crunch the numbers for all the different kind of scenarios.

If the market conditions favour buyers you can try to make an offer subject to the sale of your current property. Should the seller accept this condition they would add a shotgun clause that says if the seller gets another offer which has no subject to the sale of a property, then you would be given 48 hours to remove all of your subject to clauses and thereby purchase the property or if you do not remove your subject to clauses your contract collapses and the next buyer wins.

Expert Advice for Vancouver First Time Real Estate Buyers or Investors

This is by far the easiest of Vancouver real estate transactions because you do not have a property to sell, you are solely a buyer. So once you have a written pre-approved mortgage, have selected an experienced Realtor to represent you, then it is merely a matter of finding the right property.

Investors are sometimes lucky and find a property that already has a tenant in place. If this is the case you would want to ensure that the tenant is paying current market rent. If the condo isn’t rented its a good idea for your Property Manager to get access to the condo prior to the beginning of the month, so they can take pictures and upload the property to their website.

For buyers who are renting you will need to have a longer closing so that you can give your landlord the required notice to vacate the premises.

Current Vancouver Real Estate Market Conditions

Currently the sales to active ratio for Vancouver real estate is 51%, having hit a hight of 57% in April and a low of 4% in November 2008. Vancouver property listings are now 2,362, having reached a high of 6,321 in October 2008 and a low of of 1,689 in December 2015. Vancouver real estate sales hit a record in April 2016 at 1,302 and a low in low in January 2009 at 251, June2016  sales were 1,219.

Have a real estate question? Call Maggie 604-328-0077 and put my decades of hyper-local experience to work for you!

 

by Maggie Chandler Maggie Chandler No Comments

Vancouver Real Estate Forecast

Since becoming a Realtor in 1981 I have probably seen every possible type of real estate market, ranging from the current very strong seller’s market to the very strong buyer’s market of 2012/ 2013 and the mid to late 1990s, and the worst of all was the dreadful market of the early 1980s when Pierre Trudeau increased interest rates to 20% and many people were faced with the reality of their mortgage term expiring and the huge increase in interest rates resulting in a mortgage payment they could not afford to pay. Also, prices plunged 50% very quickly and their home was worth less than their mortgage, resulting in homeowners declaring bankruptcy and losing their homes.

So what is my Vancouver real estate forecast for the future and what are the reasons behind my forecast?

Vancouver has evolved from a small town in the 1980s, with a local economy based on lumber and mining, to a desirable International city which attracts much offshore investment into all types of real estate. As well, current low interest rates, rising rents and a rental vacancy rate of 0.5% is attracting local investors and parents who are buying a condo for their children who are not yet adults, so renting it out in the short term. Some parents gift their first time buyer kids the downpayment in order to help them get into the housing market. Then there’s inter-provincial migration and offshore migration There are also people who live in the Vancouver suburbs, or outside of the Lower Mainland and buy  a pied-a-terre in order to enjoy city living. The latter tend to buy a studio or small one bedroom, some rent their condo furnished, which has evolved into a desirable and profitable investment. For example, Downtown Vancouver condo studios currently rent furnished for $2,000 a month in the summer and $1,700 a month in the winter.

The City currently has a population of 650,000, which is 25% of the Greater Vancouver’s population. Greater Vancouver has jobs for 1.311.000 people, of which 33% are in the City. So, the City has more jobs than the number of people living in it. This results in many workers having to commute from the suburbs and the need for more public transportation is highly desirable.

Vancouver’s City Hall has carried out major rezoning to many of the City’s neighbourhoods. This has not resonated well with many residents who do not wish to live in a more densified city. In the Downtown core the area is pretty much built out, no lots left for developing, so Mayor Robertson has rezoned the West End which was developed as rental buildings about 60 or 70 years ago and  are ripe for redevelopment. As well, the developers are approaching older strata and co-op buildings, offering them two to three times current market value in order to entice the owners to sell the land. The new zoning permits towers up to 60 storeys. Many of these new hi-rise developments are catering to the rich Mainland China money that has been pouring into the city over the last few years – first was the Shangri-la, soon to open is Trump Tower, under construction is Vancouver House, One Burrard, the Charleston and three new towers in the 1500-1600 block of Alberni Street which are all over 60 storeys high.

Then there’s the Brexit question. Many Canadian economists are predicting that there will be immigration from England to Canada and Vancouver will be the most sought after location, being a waterfront city with a temperate climate, our fabulous outdoors, restaurants, great walkability, geographical beauty and clean air, etc. So just when some people are hoping for a slowdown, it might not occur just yet!

Tom Davidoff, UBC Professor at Economics says that bubbles are hard to predict and some people have been predicting one in Vancouver for years! Houses always lead the price increases in real estate and over the last year Vancouver house prices have increased 22% on the West Side and 28% on the East Side (it used to be the other way around but the affordability factor is one of the reasons more people are moving east). Ten years ago the average price of a West Side house was $1.2M, now it sits at $4M. Ten years ago the average sale price of an East Vancouver house was $540,000 and now it’s $1.680.000. The City has been rezoning areas from single family homes to townhomes and condos, so the supply of houses is decreasing.

On the other hand, the supply of condos is rising as a result of rezoning and increasing the allowable height of a building.  Ten years ago the average sale price of a West Side condo was $447,000 and now it’s $882,000.Ten years ago an East Vancouver condo was only $230,000 and now it’s $525,000. Over the last year West Side prices increased 20% and East Van prices increased 23%. Again the demand on the East Side is now greater than the West Side and the sales to active ratio is 100% on the East Side and 75% on the West Side.

The rise in Vancouver real estate prices are being underpinned by the strong economy – currently the best performing Province in Canada – and job growth and the City’s attractions for Millennials who are the largest demographic in the country and now in their prime home buying years.

Currently there is strong demand driven by the Mainland Chinese who are pouring huge amounts of money into all types of BC real estate. Whether the economy in China is booming or correcting the outflow of money so far has not been effected. It is estimated that by 2020 another US$220B will flow out of China into international real estate and Vancouver is one of their top five cities which include London, New York, Sydney and Auckland.

At some point the prices will level and/or correct because all markets have their ups and downs. It may be triggered by a political initiative  or a world event but Vancouver is now on the international radar as a desirable city to invest in real estate and money is flowing in from many different countries around the world. It’s not just the super rich that wish to live here.

What will Vancouver real estate prices be like in ten years? Very expensive!

 

 

 

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