June 19 Market Update

Also weekly numbers courtesy of the VREB.

June 2017
June
 2016
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4
Unconditional Sales 96 331  586
1174
New Listings 189 542  849
1319
Active Listings 1939 2000  1992
2289
Sales to New Listings  51% 61%  69%
89%
Sales Projection 915  997
Months of Inventory

1.9

Well the 2000 listing level was short lived.  A good sales week drove it back down a smidge and we are now 15% below last year’s sales rate with 15% fewer properties on the market.

Despite some early signs of softening like more price changes, it seems the number of over-ask sales aren’t slowing down.   Looking at a few days of sales in the past years, the percentage of over-asks (defined as more than 1% over asking price) is higher than ever.  You can see a big difference between a hot market like now and last year, to a balanced market (2015) and a slow market (2013).

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Tidbits

Few little bits that caught my eye lately.

Firstly, seems like the number of price changes are increasing lately.   Unfortunately the Matrix database search is a little broken when searching for price changes in the past, but looking at the last few weeks the rate of price cuts has been increasing quite a bit.

Either the market’s appreciation rate is slowing, requiring some price flexibility from sellers to get properties sold, or the overpriced properties that didn’t move in the spring are being reduced to try for a summer / fall sale.  Something to watch going forward.

Rents

According to Padmapper, Victoria has the third highest rental rate in Canada at $1180/month for a 1 bedroom (up 7.3% in a year) and $1400 for 2 bedrooms (up 2.9% from last year).    Those numbers are higher than the CMHC stats mostly because CMHC only surveys purpose built rentals, and not privately rented condos that generally go for more money.

Regulations

The NDP are discussing options with respect to curbing speculation, saying that a speculation tax as proposed in their platform may not be the only option they are looking at.   The article is light on details, but David Eby has a good handle on the housing portfolio so I’m hoping for some effective changes, assuming they can actually get into power.   Meanwhile the City of Victoria is mulling more AirBnB restrictions, which has caused a bit of a storm in a teacup about the mayor’s recusal from related discussions.

Delinquency Rates

The CMHC has new data on delinquency rates, and as discussed earlier, it’s pretty clear that they don’t tell us a lot until house prices decline.

In the strong markets of Vancouver and Toronto, delinquency rates decreased to absurdly low levels.  In Victoria we saw the same thing as prices increased.

 

After all, why default on your mortgage if you can sell your house at any time for a large profit?   In the stagnant markets of Calgary and Edmonton we can see the effect of the downturn in increased delinquency rates.  It takes a while, but if house prices stay flat or decline for a couple years, people start running out of the easy options.   If Toronto undergoes a serious correction this will be an interesting stat to watch.

For now though in Victoria, we are still happily financing this runup in house prices with ever increasing mortgages.  All good until those rates rise!