Blog by Ann Hickey

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March 2016 - Market News

Hot Topics for Home Buyers

It’s not easy for first time home buyers to break into the Metro Vancouver real estate market. With detached home prices  rising between 45-70% over the past 5 years many first time home buyers are looking at condo’s and townhomes (attached homes) for their first home purchase.  There is a lot of information out there on first time home buying but here are 5 hot topics to not overlook when buying your first home.

Canada Revenue Agency’s Home Buyers' Plan lets qualifying home buyers use up to $25,000 of their (RRSP) to purchase a new home. Couples can use up to $50,000. The home must be the primary residence, the loan   repaid within 15 years and the home buyers must not have owned a home within the past five years.
Recent budget announcements made by the BC Government states that new homes priced up to $750,000 will be fully exempt from the property transfer tax when bought by a Canadian citizens or permanent residents as a primary residence and lived-in for one year.  For new housing valued up to $800,000, there are partial exemptions available as well.

As tedious as it may seem it is essential to review all maintenance reports as well as strata meeting minutes and financials, especially the buildings contingency fund. If a strata’s contingency fund is low it may increase the possibility that all owners will have to pay an assessment when costly issues develop.

Take the time to hire a qualified home inspector. When you purchase a unit in a condo building, you are not just buying your unit, but a part of the building as well. A home inspector should test out appliances and plumbing in your unit, and assess the building's overall condition, including the exterior, parkade, and common spaces.  The inspector should prepare a comprehensive written report for you to review.  Remember, problems with the building such as leaks or electrical and plumbing problems can end up costing you a large sum assessment.

When calculating closing costs, assume an additional 2 to 3% will be required of the purchase price to cover such things as the home inspection, legal fees, property tax, insurance, utility hook-ups, moving costs, etc.

Looking for your first home? Let me help you navigate the market and get you into your first home.

MARKET OVERVIEW: Residential Detached

Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Benchmark Price: Estimated sale price of a typical property, based on a set of common qualities of homes within each market.

Price Index (HPI): Index numbers estimate the percentage change in price on typical and constant quality properties over time. All figures are based on past sales.

The Vancouver real estate market continues to be a hot topic for many. Prices continue to steadily increase as the limited number of homes on the market remains in high demand. Last month’s overall sales were 56.3% above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the highest February sales total recorded.  Even with record pricing, homes are selling and February was no exception.
As mentioned, Active Listings were down approximately 25% in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Vancouver West for February, 2016. As fewer homes are put on the market, the need becomes much greater and prices are increasing in most neighborhoods. North Vancouver saw the Average Price per Unit increase 22%, from $1,326,078 to $1,734,749 in just one year. West Vancouver’s Average Price per Unit rose a staggering 35% from the previous year from $2,782,877 to $3,757,649 for February, 2106. Not surprising the much talked about Vancouver West Average Price per Unit increased 34% and is now sitting at $3,737,356, up from $2,784,655.

It’s continues to be a sellers’ market and homes are being definitely being sold. For March, 2016 North Vancouver sold 159 units which is up 28% from a year ago when 124 units were sold. West Vancouver had a 19% increase as Units sold rose from 118 to 141 in just one year. Not surprising, Vancouver West sold 226 units in March, 2016 which is up 36% from March 2015 at 166 units. As the demand for homes remains high in our area, it looks like we will still be talking about the same hot topic for a while longer.

Please see the market overview chart below for more detailed figures. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home please give me a call, I’d love to help.

Ann Hickey
604 220-6249