Jun 2014 6

May 2014 Real Estate in Vancouver & Richmond: No More Place to Build

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The housing market is stronger according to May 2014 Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver stats report. No surprise there. Time after time it has to be pointed out to pontificating economists that Vancouver and the Lower Mainland lie between mountains on two sides, the ocean on one and the US border on the other. No place to go, no place to build. Especially with the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) designation on much of the currently undeveloped land in the Fraser Valley.

Vancouver Sky By Alvin BrownVancouver Sky By Alvin Brown

This has placed upward pressure on prices on homes everywhere. Detached homes are particularly popular. In Vancouver they are especially desirable because they permit redevelopment of the property. Much of the character and charm of Vancouver is being razed to be replaced by the ubiquitous mansion with permitted rental suite and laneway house. The avowed density goal of the Vancouver City Council is to have 3 separate dwelling units on each detached property under single ownership.

The public has been complaining so loudly about the destruction of livable heritage homes that the City Council is finally waking up to the concerns of the voters. There is a plan about to be enacted to limit permits for demolition of traditional homes in Shaughnessy and to require recycling of the components when a home is knocked down. Two birds with one stone they hope. More pre-war wooden homes saved and less construction debris to the landfill.

In more good news for Vancouver and BC, the Conference Board of Canada released its annual report on the conditions of Canada's largest 13 cities. Vancouver and BC are forecast to grow in population, in investment and in retail sales.

This will continue the pressure on all types of housing in the Lower Mainland.

Vancouver and Richmond May 2014 Market Report InfographicVancouver and Richmond May 2014 Market Report Infographic

For the last two years, we have been measuring the total dollar value of sales in the Greater Vancouver area and we were comparing it with the past two years to give you an idea on how the market was performing and how much has the recent crisis damaged the market. In the last few months, however, the "losses" turned to "gains" and the market is strong as ever, with rising prices and sales.

There was a 14 per cent increase in the number of sales in Greater Vancouver in May 2014, a jump from 2,882 sales recorded in May 2013 to 3,286 sales in May 2014. Nevertheless, the sales number for May 2014 was still below the 10-year sales average for May in Greater Vancouver.

New listings totalled 5,935 properties in May 2014, which is a 5 per cent increase year-over-year, but still 2 per cent lower than the 10 year average for the month.

The rising sales-to-active-listings ratio is 20.4 per cent in Greater Vancouver, which illustrates the fact that the total number of properties listed on the MLS is 16,072, which is a 6.7 per cent decline year-over-year, while the sales have risen, thus eating from the available inventory.


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