Market Update Oct 26th

Thanks to Marko for providing the numbers.

October 2015
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4
Unconditional Sales 268
New Listings 371 570 766
Active Listings 3338 3282  3247
Sales to New Listings
72% 74%
Sales Projection 755 733
Months of Inventory


Pace has slowed a tiny bit but still on track for a 20% sales increase over last year.   Last time we had these kinds of sales was October of 2009 with 742.  Inventory was pretty similar back then as well, but new listings are coming on even slower now.

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138 thoughts on “Market Update Oct 26th

  1. My posts with links in them are getting stuck in the spam filter, but you can Google Rachelle Berube Truth about current vacancy rates. However, I see Jason Kirby wrote a Macleans article based on her post and CMHC affirmed what you say — its vacancy rate is just based on rental condos, not all condos.

    And now that I think about it, I can see how to reconcile the UsedVictoria listings with the CMHC methodology.

    There are about 5000 rental condos in the Victoria CMA, so a 0.6% vacancy rate means that 30 condos are available for occupancy today. But most landlords plan ahead and advertise future vacancies — January, February. That’s why there are 80+ ads. But future vacancies don’t count in the CMHC rate.

    The overall message of the survey remains accurate: “it’s harder to find a rental condo than it was a year ago.”

    But renters aren’t really competing for only 30 condos region wide.

  2. Why did I know you would post that ? Did you notice Victoria is the missing link for the last yellow block to complete Canada with Van and all the rest of the over-valueds in Western Canada ? Next month’s chart. 😉

  3. Are you turning bullish on us Hawk? The reason I ask is your link^ is showing that it’s all ‘green lights’ for buying Victoria.

  4. The core as defined by VREB is up approx. $53,000 yoy. Five-year it is about the same. We know the market has been flat-ish for this period of time.

    The interesting thing is that if you put 10% down on a $580,000 home in Oak Bay in 2010 you are now probably up $50,000 in equity for the first time. Maybe by spring it will be $70,000.

    You’d still have the transaction costs of selling to realize a gain though. And then there are the costs of buying (PTT/realtor fees), and the LOC on your down payment, so maybe you are breaking even. Making $10-$15,000 if you do a flat fee listing to sell, which is what I’d do in this market.

    And then there is the $70,000 or so in principal pay down over the five years assuming no major repairs and that you would have paid the same amount in rent.

    Pretty good $80-$85,000 in your pocket not counting your initial investment of approximately $70,000 is pretty good ROI over a five year period. And it is tax exempt. Not great, but likely better than renting for the same period of time which I don’t think is something that could be always said over the past few years.

    And, if you had rental income of $1000/month during this period add another $60,000 in pre-tax. Tax rate is pretty low on that given that there are a bunch of deductions to account for things like interest that you would have paid for anyway without a suite.

    Of course, if you were living at home with mom and saving and investing $2000/month or more over the past five years instead, you might well have beat that return.

  5. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. All time low for agents.


  6. What’s misleading ? The core as of central Victoria has been a point of discussion for ages. Go to all the different categories in “your” core and you will see my main point of posting, the 3 month movements in price are very small in relation to the amount of sales volume and hype by the media and agents on here.

    Chew on that for a bit please before stating I am misleading anyone. They are the VREB main talking points so that’s the facts when you break down the neighborhoods.

  7. How’s that short-squeeze feeling anyway? Most of the gold-licking armageddoners I know have been short the Dow for years 😉 Just kidding Hawk old pal. Btw, do you think it’s time to buy gold again?

  8. Now don‘t you go thinking I got any help from them. They lived through something called the great depression. Nobody ever saw a dime leave their pockets.

  9. So your definition of the “core” is the city of Victoria itself only? That is misleading.

    On the VREB, and normally on this board, the core areas are defined as the core municipalities of Greater Victoria including the City of Victoria and the District Municipalities of Saanich, Esquimalt, and Oak Bay, which are all adjacent to it.

    You should likely be referring to the City of Victoria then. Otherwise I could pull out the OB stat and say the core is benchmarked at $848,000 now if we are going to define core as any one of the core municipalities.

    Also, you haven’t posted a link to the data but rather a list of areas. I assumed you were using this site: but perhaps I am incorrect.

  10. Sure Mike, reality is most came here with nothing and toiled the prairies to eek out an existence. Glad to hear you didnt come from one of “those” families and are happy to see empty neighborhoods with no soul.

  11. Good on you Dasmo. Beating the market is a good thing, not easy to do. Lots of danger still lurks with key jobs numbers this week and oil numbers tomorrow. Bond market is sending signals higher rates are coming. Easy money has been made.

  12. Saanich has a population of 109,752 and some 49,670 dwellings from condos to houses.

    And currently the district has only 361 homes for sale. Roughly about 180 of them are houses.

    That’s less than 1 percent of the total stock of housing of all kinds. This is not a market for first time home buyers because everything is against them.

    Why even bother looking with such poor selection? You would really have to be desperate to be looking at buying these days. You’ll end up overpaying for a home that you don’t want.

  13. Yeah, both my grandpas would tell me the same “clothes on their backs” stories when I was a kid , but the truth is they were bringing buckets of cash from Europe. Lol, if you think Asian-descent are going to disappear, you need to take a drive around Richmond… or Oak Bay & Gordon Head 😉 They’re just getting started.

  14. @ Hawk,
    I sold half my GoPro position a while back when they doubled. I have bought back in now though and show some loss. I have no losses in Tesla (its up 5% still for me). I have significant paper losses in Etsy, Seadrill, DDD and POT. They don’t make up the majority of my portfolio combined and It’s too late for me to sell them to limit my losses on them so I’m holding… After this last few months I will incorporate stop loss strategies into my portfolio in the future though… I am still an armature after all even if I am beating the market. Here is a screen capture of my performance… not including October which will have a significant uptick.

  15. I showed you where to look on Page 5. Here’s the list. It breaks down every area. The second one down says “Victoria” for Single Family All, then goes on to list condos and townhouses separately in the pages below.

    View Royal
    MLMalahat& Area

  16. Not that pathetic argument please. Our grandparents didn’t come here with buckets of cash to buy up neighborhoods then disappear. They came here with the clothes on their backs.

  17. Who said it crashed ? I just said it popped yesterday based on the indexes. I previously said it is not a broad based rally and only a handful of areas are carrying the load. Piles of stocks have taken beatings and continue to do so like your GoPro.Tesla etc. Can you and Mike post all your losers too ? My pot stock is doing great too thanks, up 250% over the last 9 months with much more to come.

  18. Vancouver is still dirt cheap compared to 100 years ago.

    “Incredibly, by 1912, – at a time when wages were roughly 50 cents an hour, and a tailored suit cost less than $40 – a lot in the very same area was worth $725,000.”

    The only difference then was it was yours and my grandparents immigrating. I don’t think we can rightly stop the Asians if we didn’t stop our own grandparents from coming here.

  19. It is like winning the lottery to have owned a house in Vancouver for the past couple of years (or longer).

    I think I might give up and leave town if I didn’t already own in Vancouver though. Or maybe I’d buy with another family. Guess there is a reason for the VanCity co-ownership mortgages.

    I don’t know if it is offshore buyers. Toronto has had a similar run up.

    “Based on what little data are available, Mr. Muir estimates that foreign buyers of residential properties account for less than 5 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s total sales activity for detached homes, condos and townhouses.”

    There are other theories:

    I don’t understand why there isn’t better data collection on this.

  20. Even little old Port Alberni has turned… average price up 54%, mind you it’s only based on 31 sales.

    Interesting how Comox Valley(AB haven) is up 14%, but sales are down -29%.

  21. Reports of a stock market crash around here are not accurate. My portfolio is in s full upswing again. Sorry Hawk. The Election was particularly good for my Tweed investment 🙂

  22. Well I guess we can safely put the speculation to rest that Vancouver is not driven by offshore buyers.

    “Consider StatsCan’s 2013 Median Vancouver Family Income of $73,390. In doing so take into account the year to date Average increase of $334,000 for a detached home in Vancouver.

    Based on these numbers it would require every penny earned by that median family 4.5 years simply to offset this year’s average increase.”

  23. With money laundering rampant and Canadian banks assisting them to bid 100’s of thousands over asking just to have somewhere to park the cash you can’t believe this will last forever. Should the government impose new laws for actually living in these houses you could see this change course and the bottom drop out of Vancouver.

  24. It separates each area of Victoria, that’s the point of the stats list. I used the numbers for Victoria core not Greater Victoria which were listed at the top.

  25. Vancouver just posted a YOY 26% ($334,000) price increase.

    There might be a bigger ripple headed this way…

  26. Do you have a link to the study you are referencing re. Condos?

    My understanding is that Cmhc excludes owner occupied units and the percent indicated how many of the rental units in Victoria are currently available. It is based on phone interviews and site visits. The lower the number the harder it becomes to find a place.

  27. Yeah you are referencing an incorrect stat for the core. That chart is for Victoria including areas outside of the core. Might even include the peninsula and western comm. the core area benchmark in October was 608,200.

  28. A single high prices sale will affect the average somewhat (by $-x/(202), or about $34k in this case, where $ is the sale price and x is the average without the high priced property). It does nothing to the median.

    And as for the other matter, there’s nothing wrong with the market. There’s some variability and your sample size may be too small but that has nothing to do with dysfunction.

  29. About the CMHC’s 0.6% vacancy rate for Victoria condos (not to be confused with the similar purpose-built apartment rate). What does this number actually mean? Only 6 of 1000 rental condos in Victoria are unrented? (If so, the ~85 current Craiglist rental ads that use the word “condo” suggests there are over 14,000 tenanted condos in the region.)

    If I’m reading Rachelle Berube’s post about Toronto (“Truth about current vacancy rates”) from last year correctly, what the CMHC actually means is that 0.6% of condos in the region — including all the ones occupied by their owners — are currently available to rent.

    But who cares about that ratio? That doesn’t tell us how hard it is to find a rental. A bunch of people could buy new condos to live in, and this vacancy ratio would drop.

    Can anyone shed light on this for me?

    (I posted this earlier with links, but I think the post might be getting caught in a spam filter, because it wasn’t appearing.)

  30. Great stats Jack. Once again it’s clear that the market is not healthy and is skewed by the high end sales and some low priced bidding war set ups for media hype.

  31. “And according to the law of demand, the number of sales will decline as prices rises. A 20 percent increase in price will result in fewer house sales.”

    Not necessarily. Only if prices rise faster than incomes. Price rises alone don’t reduce demand, otherwise there wouldn’t be any sales right now.

  32. About the CMHC’s 0.6% vacancy rate for Victoria condos (source, second table, not to be confused with similar apartment rate).

    What does this number actually mean? Only 6 of 1000 rental condos in Victoria are unrented? (If so, the ~85 current Craiglist rental ads that use the word “condo” suggests there are over 14,000 tenanted condos in the region.) The methodology says “A unit is considered vacant if, at the time of the survey, it is physically unoccupied and available for immediate rental.”

    If I’m reading Rachelle Berube’s post correctly, it actually means that 0.6% of condos in the region — including all the ones occupied by their owners — are currently for rent.

    But who cares about that ratio? That doesn’t tell us how hard it is to find a rental. If a bunch of people bought condos and lived in them, the rate would go down, even if the vacancies remained the same.

    Anyone shed light on this for me?

  33. The spring one only canvasses buildings with 3 or more rentals. The fall one does all the ones listed in my comment above.

  34. More about the CMHC’s 0.6% vacancy rate for Victoria condos (source, second table, not to be confused with similar apartment rate).

    What does this number actually mean? Only 6 of 1000 rental condos in Victoria are unrented? (If so, the ~85 current Craiglist rental ads that use the word “condo” suggests there are over 14,000 tenanted condos in the region.) The methodology says “A unit is considered vacant if, at the time of the survey, it is physically unoccupied and available for immediate rental.”

    If I’m reading Rachelle Berube’s post correctly, it actually means that 0.6% of condos in the region — including all the ones occupied by their owners — are currently for rent. But who cares about that ratio? That doesn’t tell us how hard it is to find a rental.

    Anyone shed light on this for me?

  35. There was a real whopper of a sale on Beach Drive at $7.5 million in the last week of October that pushed the median and average up. That property was listed since 2010 starting at 11.5 million and sold under its assessed value of $8.1 million. It was more of a mercy killing than a sale.

    Considering that the core had only 202 house sales last month, the sale of this leviathan skews the October stats.

    When you graph house sales in the core for this October you can see that number of sales X price range increments is completely distorted. Instead of a Bell shaped symmetric curve, the curve looks like a roller coaster ride at Disney Land. Lots of data skewing. This is not a pretty graph and depicts a dysfunctional market rather than a stable to increasing market. The last time we had a graph as screwy as this was October 2007.

    The mode last October was clearly around $600,000. This year the mode is unclear laying somewhere between $600,000 to $800,000.

    Those that want to graph the curve here are the frequency numbers for 2014 and 2015

    $0 – 200 2014 2015
    $200 – 300
    $300 – 400 8 6
    $400 – 500 38 22
    $500 – 600 57 41
    $600 – 700 34 40
    $700 – 800 18 35
    $800 – 900 5 17
    $900 – 1,000 5 15
    $1,000 – 1,250 5 6
    $1,250 – 1,500 1 10
    $1,500+ 4 10

  36. What’s the source/context for the 0.6% rental vacancy rate? CMHC’s 2016 forecast vacancy rate for purpose built apartments is 1% (page 4 of the Fall 2015 report for Victoria CMA). And of course, purpose-built apartments are a small part of the overall rental picture. Only 439 were built in 2014. If no one’s been building apartment buildings, then condos and suites would take up the demand. I don’t see anything in the report about condo/suite vacancies though.

    Rachelle Berube from Landlord Rescue had an excellent post last year about how CMHC’s reported stats for condo rentals didn’t reflect her experience as a property manager.

  37. Where are you getting your stats from? “The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core last year in October was $555,900. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2015 has increased by 9.4% to $608,200.”

  38. Is your theory that unpermitted suites have a higher vacancy rate than permitted suites? I wouldn’t agree. JJ you can look up the methodology by reading the CMHC vacancy report online.

  39. SFH average of $698,759 for the month highest on record

    I guess Jack’s “price ceiling” turned out to be more of a price sky 😉

  40. Interesting bench mark prices for SFH in the core. This month it is $588,300, last month $580,900, and three months ago it was $583,500. That means prices have only gone up $4800 in the past three months with all this record volume of sales ? Looks like Jack’s right, the price ceiling has been hit. Interestingly too it was $547,000 5 years ago, that’s hardly a blip on the chart.

  41. Always trust the words of a salesman. So if they sold today they would break even after salesman takes his cut, plus the cost of the property taxes etc. Irrational exuberance written all over these numbers. Since the US is raising rates next month most likely with the stock market popping back up the panic buyers should peter out by spring.

  42. How do you calculate a vacancy rate?

    First of all you have to know the total number of rental properties. That’s simply the number registered and on permit from the various city halls. If you own a triplex then the building has a permit for 3 suites from the City.

    How many of them are vacant? You get this information from calling the property management companies. And the quotient of these two numbers is the vacancy rate expressed as a percentage.

    You can’t do that with condominiums because you don’t know the total number of condominiums that are currently used as rentals as most owners don’t use a property management company and don’t need permits to allow them to rent the suite.

    I call bullfeathers to any CMHC study that purports to calculate the vacancy rate for condos or basement suites. Show me the analysis.

  43. Median and benchmark are both up 9.4%. Last year the benchmark house sold for $555,000, but if you waited until this October to buy the same benchmark house is now $608,200. I agree it is quite likely that spring prices could be even higher unless something shifts significantly.

  44. What makes you think basement suites are not counted?

    CMHC’s fall Rental Market Survey covers apartment and row structures containing at least three rental units and, unlike the spring survey, reports information on: a) Smaller geographic zones within centres; b) Secondary rental market (rented condominium apartments, single detached, semi-detached, duplexes or accessory apartments).

  45. But isn’t average price have much wider swings due to high end sales manipulating the number and is not to be taken seriously and to use the median and benchmark ? I thought that’s what VREB always says.

  46. Vacancies are always low at this time of year. You must have just moved here with your first house. Students suck up the rentals in the fall and if you are aware basement suites don’t contribute to the official counting which is the dominant rental in this town, everyone has one ya know.

  47. Well, we now have the tightest vacancy rate in the whole dang country…

    Oct ’14 Vacancy rate

    Van 1.0%
    Vic 1.5%

    Oct ‘15 Vacancy rate

    Van 0.8%
    Vic 0.6%

    Could someone tell me where ‘decreased vacancies’ are on this cycle? I can’t quite make it out… is it right before ‘prices crash’ 😉

    Just having some fun…i’ll try to stop being jerky about it, but the bears can’t say that I haven’t been politely warning them this would happen.

  48. The fact that it went that much over asking is indicative of a very competitive seller’s market with rising prices no matter which way you look at it.

    It is also a testament to “location location location”.

    If you own a home in one of the more desirable areas in the core you are finally going to see some return on your investment if you sell.

    It will be interesting to see what 2065 Allenby St sells for as it is a much more typical house for the area with a somewhat undesirable floor plan. Assessed at $585,000 and listed at $659,000.

  49. I got a bridge to sell you at the bottom of Johnson St. Quit being so naive dude, only a fool believes that garbage. If they can’t do it legit, then too bad, they’re breaking our laws and people like you support that crap.

  50. You would have to take a look at the UBC professor’s study. What I would be interested in seeing is if those homes were financed at the time of purchase or were they financed some time after the date of purchase.

    First you have to get the money into Canada by trading an overpriced asset for money from an illicit source. That’s placement. Then you finance the asset.

    When Canadian banks say they are conservative when it comes to financing these homes what they really mean is that they are lending at under 50% of the value. The value most commonly used to set this limit is the BC Assessment. This is equity lending and it isn’t necessary to have an income to get the loan. The bank is lending a million dollars against a 2 million dollar property what can be more conservative than that!

    Now that the home is financed through a Canadian bank the home owner can provide a paper trail of where that money originated. This allows them to buy property in the USA. That’s layering.

    If you’re laundering money it’s necessary to create a paper trail and move it around and over borders. Because the paper trail becomes too difficult to follow back to the source.

    I suspect that Canada is just an easy way to get the money out of their country. The ultimate end of the game is to get the money into the USA. The empty houses and condos in Vancouver are just a conduit into the USA.

    rinse and repeat

  51. Another huge month….October 2012 we had 4,876 listings and only 373 sales.

    Mon Nov 2, 2015 8:15am:

    Oct Oct
    2015 2014
    Net Unconditional Sales: 734 602
    New Listings: 925 945
    Active Listings: 3,170 3,927

    Please Note
    Left Column: stats for the entire month from this year
    Right Column: stats for the entire month from last year

  52. I love how we always have to label foreign money as ‘dirty’ money. Canadians can’t handle competition from (mainly) hard-working people, so we have to label them all as criminals. Try putting yourself in their shoes, they’re just trying to protect their hard-earned dollars from their criminal governments taking it all.

  53. Nope, this is the dumb money leaving Canada.

    “This is Canadian investors that are pushing money abroad”

    The dumb money always likes to crystallize their losses at bottom in a desperate search for greener pastures. Silly Canadians. The same ones probably sold their Vic home near bottom in 2013 😉 and are now waiting to get back in after ‘the crash’.

  54. This part is pretty disgusting, our banks scrutinize the average Canadian but the immigrant gets a free ride as the banks break the laws yet they have zero idea where their money came from. Welcome to your new Canada folks.

    “Yan noted the majority of the homes were mortgaged through Canadian banks. This suggests the banks offer services to facilitate investment from high-net-worth investors who face strict rules against transferring more than $50,000 per year from China. “

  55. Man this is just getting worse by the day. Is this what you want for Victoria ? Is it already happening but is local media too scared to report it to not taint the city’s squaeky clean image, real estate market and advertisers ?

    “Groundbreaking study shows 70 per cent of detached homes sold in a six-month period on Vancouver’s west side went to Mainland Chinese buyers; many of them housewives or students with little income”

    “In a recent six-month period about 70 per cent of all detached homes sold on Vancouver’s west side were purchased by Mainland China buyers, an academic case study shows.

    Even more stunning, the study shows that of all self-declared occupations among owners — on homes worth an average $3.05 million — 36 per cent were housewives or students with little income.

    And 18 per cent of the 172 homes purchased were not mortgaged by banks. That means roughly $100 million in questionable cash was poured into Vancouver’s west side from August 2014 to February 2015, much of it from China. Total value of all homes sold in the study period was $525 million.”

  56. That place was under priced to get the bidding war going. It has 3400 Sq ft, that’s huge so $750K is in the ballpark, especially since it’s all reno’d. Just another hype job by the agents.

  57. Well maybe this is the last hurrah of the dumb money as it’s apparent the smart money is leaving Canada bigtime.

    Money is flooding out of Canada at the fastest pace in the developed world

    “Money is flooding out of Canada at the fastest pace in the developed world as the nation’s decade-long oil boom comes to an end and little else looks ready to take the industry’s place as an economic driver.

    Canada’s basic balance — a measure of national accounts that spans everything from trade to financial-market flows — swung from a surplus of 4.2 per cent of gross domestic product to a deficit of 7.9 per cent in the 12 months ending in June, according to analysis from Kamal Sharma, a foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. That’s the fastest one-year deterioration among 10 major developed nations.”

  58. It sold for $251,000 over BC Assessment valuation.

    Townley is a lovely street to raise a family on – right next to Carnarvan and walking distance to Willows and OB High – and that house has a suite and is super large for the area at 3375 square feet – and it is renovated in some of the expensive ways that really matter – perimeter drains, chimneys, oil tank, new deck and separate workshop…but that is still a premium price for a 1919 built house.

    When I was looking in this area in 2003 sale price and BC Assessment were also often $200,000 apart.

  59. And according to the law of demand, the number of sales will decline as prices rises. A 20 percent increase in price will result in fewer house sales.

    If the dream of estate agents is for prices to reach a million they may get that wish and find themselves unemployed.

  60. CBC: Royal Bank scraps size limit on newcomer mortgages to keep up with Chinese demand

    “‘It counters a lot of our mythologies, in terms of this idea of people showing up with very large bags of money and paying cash,’ he said.”

    “While there is no official data on foreign ownership in Canada, realtors who work in Vancouver’s luxury market say more than 80 per cent of buyers have ties to mainland China, with demand strong despite this summer’s Chinese stock market plunge and President Xi Jinping’s corruption crackdown.”

  61. Wow… That is insane. $750k for that tiny lot/old unrenovated house on that mediocre street??

    If this keeps up we will have a 15-20% increase in prices (which, sadly, wouldn’t even come close to other parts of Canada, which are up well over 50% in the last 8 years while Victoria hit the pause button.)

  62. My best pick is still Vic RE… and you don’t need to worry yourself about my other holdings in the debt & equity of companies like CIBC, GE, Celgene, Exxon, Phillips66, Priceline, Microsoft, Wells Fargo et al… they’re doing alright for now…and you still owe me a beer for telling you when oil bottomed. You should have put a bid in on that Townley house for 755k… anything that close to OB will be a million before you know it.

  63. Nice chart, every time it turned down sales continued down. Now it’s the Nasdaq that’s hot ? What happened to your commodities boom and the TSX a few weeks ago? It tanked pretty bad along with all those hot picks of yours.

    The major markets have tons of divergences going on with many big name stocks getting smoked. Seen VRX lately ? Many more like them Mike.

  64. 2.3% dip in Sept sales! …that’s almost getting as nasty as the 2002 dip!

    Run for cover everybody!
    Hard to believe some buyers would wait a month after that Black Monday in late August… oh nevermind, the Nasdaq is pushing all time highs again, just another bear false alarm 😉

  65. If you own several investment properties in Victoria you may choose to sell this spring with the upswing in prices over the last year and going into 2016.

    I don’t think the same rationale for selling applies to those who planning on moving up in the market who will also be paying higher prices, although it may to those who wish to downsize.

    Why would someone owning investment properties choose this spring to sell? Maybe their investment priorities have shifted, or they are looking to rebalance or retire. There are probably quite a few retired or soon to be retired people or those who own investment properties that they do not wish to hold onto them any more and they have been waiting for a good time to sell. They are timing their exit for acceptable appreciation and in the last seven years there hasn’t been acceptable appreciation.

    This is just my theory. We’ll soon find out if there is any merit to it. If true it might help moderate the spring market a bit by bringing more inventory out of the woodwork.

  66. So the media fear mongers when the IMF makes serious statements about global financial fragility? But it’s OK if the media pumps real estate that will only go up ? Guess you want it both ways as usual but the 1990 credit crisis is a drop in the bucket when the US alone has $18 trillion in debt and has gone up over 4 times in just the past 10 years. Their interest payments are $400 billion which was more than the S&L crisis. Ignorance that BC is indeed included in the new global market is a recipe for disaster. The world is in devaluation mode, not inflation, but keep on pumping the fantasy.

    US home sales are turning down for the second month in a row. Low inventory effects sales in the US and Vancouver but not Victoria ? Again, a short term phenomenon in my opinion.

    Pending home sales down 2.3% in September

    “There continues to be a dearth of available listings in the lower end of the market for first-time buyers, and Realtors in many areas are reporting stronger competition than what’s normal this time of year because of stubbornly-low inventory conditions,” Realtors’ chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Additionally, the rockiness in the financial markets at the end of the summer and signs of a slowing U.S. economy may be causing some prospective buyers to take a wait-and-see approach.”

  67. I think a lot of people in Victoria have bought multiple investment properties or have become accidental landlords. Or those that have become accidental landlords after being caught up in the last real estate frenzy in 2007.

    While we hear the stories of multiple bids at over asking price. There are other hoods that haven’t recovered from 2007 when the market was over zealous just before the credit crunch. Neighborhoods like the Stoneridge subdivision in View Royal.

    That makes a lot of people owning multiple properties. Never have so few owned so much real estate. Then it isn’t a matter of one seller and one buyer. But one seller dumping three properties to every one buyer.

    The craziness that one hears about is highly localized it only extends to about an 8 kilometer radius around Victoria City hall. And it’s only for specific types of homes. There are homes in Rockland, Fairfield and Oak Bay that have been up for sale for close to a year now.

    An odd thing is that you’ll find price wars in some hoods that sell for more than homes listed in better neighborhoods. That’s mostly because the buyer has a reason why they are willing to pay $60,000 over asking price. Perhaps their kids go to school nearby? Overbidding $60,000 means very little in the mortgage payment. However, these are emotional bids not bids coming from reason. And the purchaser will pay later in lost appreciation when it comes time to sell.

  68. This idea of pent up supply is pretty nebulous. Logically it is sound, in that opportunistic sellers will either wait to put their places on the market, or put them on but then refuse to drop the price and let the listing expire.
    But I think the net effect is still zero. Most opportunistic sellers (i.e. they don’t have to sell) will be buying again locally as they’re just looking to upgrade or change neighbourhoods. So yes they may sell their place, but then there’s one more buyer so overall the market doesn’t get pulled in either direction.

  69. Logically there should be some reason why people would all of a sudden start to sell off their surplus properties.

    For Baby Boomers it may be that they reach an age where they no longer want to be landlords.

    But as this blog shows there are some that believe baby boomers have yet to start buying real estate let alone sell it.

    If there is a rush to sell, I think we’ll see this happen in other countries too. And perhaps before Canada does. High prices are mostly a world wide phenomenon not just a Victoria one.

    But as been shown on this blog the low interest rate and the ease of obtaining financing makes housing affordable to most people. A $450,000 downtown condominium financed at 80% has a monthly payment of $1,300. The biggest impediment for buyers is getting the hundred grand down payment.

    Why wouldn’t you buy and just get the indecision over with!

    The answer is…. people are doing just that and to hell with what happens in the future.

  70. Sir Hawk, one of the most serious credit crunches in history (1990) didn’t stop Vic prices from rising 43% the following 4 years. Besides, credit crunches are rare… with the last one ending only 6 years ago, it’s very unlikely to see another anytime soon.
    Of course that won’t stop the Telegraph et al from fear-mongering about it every month since ‘09… the time to worry is when they finally stop the fear. You know, kind of like when you finally consider buying in the 2020s will be one of my signals to start selling 😉

  71. I am not sure if I buy the theory that people who have been waiting 6-7 years to sell will offload specifically in the spring of 2016. I’ve seen little indication of that this year.

    What we need for offloading is higher interest rates. As Just Jack has pointed out in the past many people are hoarding real estate. It is easy to hoard when the rental market is super tight, money is available and super cheap.

    If interest rates were 5% and it was difficult to secure tenants I think there would be a lot more incentive to sell.


    There has been a lot of money floating around the world, but it is being soaked up in personal mortgages. All those trillions of dollars that were printed are being absorbed into mortgages around the world.

    And none of us would sell our home if prices fell 20 or 30 percent. We would still continue to make the monthly payments. So we take all those floating trillions and put it into mortgages and then allow the personal asset to devalue and the world’s problems are gone. The trillions in debt aren’t carried by countries but in the debt of millions of individuals. A debt that the people continue to pay back every month even when the equity is gone. The house loses a hundred grand in value but we still continue to pay back $380 every month into the banking system – yet the value of the asset is gone.

    I agree with Hawk, the interest rate may stay low but the banks may restrict who will get mortgages. Another credit crunch? Forget the equity in the home, you won’t be able to access it. Cash will once more be king.

  73. To me a buyer is a buyer. Where they come from is of little importance.

    Yet is seems very important for some special interest groups to blame an outsider for high prices. And then to allow the public’s imagination to run wild without correcting those erroneous assumptions.

    And it works in all areas as people living in Duncan blame their high prices on Victorians buying there too. In Duncan – we’re the rich people buying up their properties.

    It’s the Domino theory from the 1950’s updated for real estate today, putting some scare into the locals to buy. And it works because all the “proof” that is needed is for prices to increase.

    My cousin in Surrey is trying to buy a house and has been outbid several times now. The last house he bid $30,000 over the asking price and didn’t get the home. He blamed investors buying up the homes in Surrey. He couldn’t accept that his $30,000 overbid was a significant part of the problem as his bid forced the other person to go even higher. I suppose the person that finally got the home thought they were bidding against a “foreign” investor too. In reality he’s just a short balding overweight white guy.

  74. Sounds like more over hyping of a short term event. 600 people out of 20,000 odd sales do not make a serious dent. As Jack’s stats showed they were spread over a wide area of Greater Victoria, not the core that this blog seems so focused on.

    I bet if you went back to all the other years Victoria prices went up there would be a noticeable amount of outsiders buying,in other words it’s nothing new wether they come from Vancouver or Timbuktu.

    The catalyst you need to worry about is not interest rafes or the stock market, it’s the bond market and a credit crisis as I have posted before. You don’t seem to get that you don’t need interest rates to rise to have this happen.

    From Wikpedia: “A credit crunch generally involves a reduction in the availability of credit independent of a rise in official interest rates.”

    From the IMF a few weeks back:

    “$3 trillion corporate credit crunch looms as debtors face day of reckoning, says IMF
    A poisonous “triad” of global risks is pushing the world to the brink of a new financial crisis, says stark IMF report”

    This is what the real world looks at Canada when they see personal debt levels at historic levels of 163%. It’s a house of cards, with no known tipping point but plenty of red flag warnings but carry on drinking the real estate industry kool aid. When you can’t borrow, then what happens to prices ?

  75. It’s surprising how Vic prices went up over 60% as variable rates finally started rising from 7%-14% between ‘87-‘90.

    I think it’s uncanny the parallels now to ~late ’86… so much so that I’m convinced rates will have the opposite effect bears are hoping for… if they finally begin rising next year. I think bears underestimate Vic household balance sheets, and the amount of outside money starting to pour in that has no need for financing.

  76. I think a big drop could be triggered by higher interest rates or significant changes to lending criteria/CHMC policies. I’m not sure about a stock market downturn.

    While a stock market crash would reduce available equity it also reduces confidence in the stock market itself and my recollection is that with big downturns people turn to real estate to invest instead.

    I think inventory will climb significantly in spring. There are people waiting to buy, but there are also people who have been waiting for prices to rise for seven years to sell too, and spring will be a pretty good time to do this.

  77. For the market to correct I think we need a large macro event. I.e., stock market tanks 50%, interest rates go up to 5%, etc.

    Good point, but it may have to be worse than one of history’s largest events…the ‘87 stock crash. Vic prices quickly doubled following that crash and right in the face of spiking interest rates (mtg rates went up 400 bps from ‘87-’90 as Vic prices soared).

  78. lack of quality inventory is making it challenging to actually find something that fits their need

    And inventory isn’t even that low compared to the early 2000s when we had only about 2100 properties on the market. Still lots of room to drop.

  79. From 2011 to 2014 I would say about 75% of the homes I sold the sellers secured a subsequent purchase within 6 months (of those that were staying in Victoria). This year the number is probably closer to 25% in my personal business. A lot of my successful sellers are renting, living with family, etc., and it isn’t so much prices on the subsequent purchase but lack of quality inventory is making it challenging to actually find something that fits their needs without getting caught up in a bidding war where someone is going in unconditional.

    My personal feeling is that there are a lot of people sitting on the sidelines ready to absorb inventory when it finally hits the market.

    For the market to correct I think we need a large macro event. I.e., stock market tanks 50%, interest rates go up to 5%, etc.

    But does it matter anyway, in the unlikely event that such an opportunity to buy presented itself not many people would buy anyway. There was a solid buying opportunity in early 2009 and early 2009 also had the lowest unit sales in the last 25 years (since we’ve been keeping monthly stats).

    I don’t think more new inventory in the spring will be enough to do the trick.

  80. YOY YTD Calgary buyers up from 185 to 188; Edmonton buyers up from 70 to 91; Toronto buyers up from 30 to 42; Vancouver 176 to 281. In this YTD sample size of 602 from these four cities 83 have purchased properties over one million.

    The average sold price of this sample buying SFHs has been $855,000.

    Yes, the majority of the market is local but I don’t think we can get completely ignore out of town buyers. Once you add in China, US Cities, etc., we will be pushing well over a 1,000 for the year with an average SFH purchase price north of $850k.

  81. Awesome stats Jack. That dispels a lot of bullshit on here of late, as well as the real estate industry pumping misleading beliefs on the local media.

  82. There have been 25 buyers from Vancouver in the last month and here’s where they bought there houses. That’s out of a total of 383 purchases

    6 bought in Victoria
    1 in Vic West
    2 in Oak Bay
    3 in Saanich East
    1 in Saanich West
    1 in Sooke
    1 in Langford
    1 in North Saanich
    2 in Sidney
    1 in Central Saanich
    6 in the Gulf Islands

    Purchase prices varied from a low of $332,000 to a high of $1,668,000. Half of them paid less than $650,000.

    Now 25 is a lot of Vancouverites relative to last year and the year before when it was 16 and 6. Offsetting this increase are fewer buyers from Calgary and Edmonton now. It’s the same with condos only 7 Vancouver buyers that paid between $248,000 and $524,000.

    But even though there has been a 50 percent increase it’s only 6 percent of the market and they are spread out in all areas and in all price ranges.

    Local buyers are what’s driving our market. The low interest rate and lower lending regulations. A hundred thousand bucks costs you just $380 a month. No wonder there are bidding wars with money this cheap. You can raise your bid by a hundred grand just by collecting plastic bottles on the week ends.

    We might be getting more Vancouverites buying these days but we’re not attracting the rich ones.

  83. Yeah wait until spring when the listings pop up like mushrooms and so do prices. A wise strategy for a realtor looking for a comission.

  84. Perfect another fresh bear. Welcome to the party. I’ll be the first to predict when you’ll finally capitulate: in 1 year. Until then stick around!

  85. Looks like Michael’s family showed up. 😉 Prices have flatland til late for a reason. High paying jobs don’t grow on trees here. Besides the tech industry there is no real industrial job growth base. The shipbuilding jobs are two years late and wouldn’t be surprised to see them cancelled. LNG is a pipe dream that won’t create jobs here so that leaves the low paying tourism and retail sectors to carry the load. Government jobs have been getting slashed for years now with attrition the common theme. 5% pop is about max for this run folks but keep buying up the junk. People aren’t selling because they can’t afford to buy anything else for the most part. Come spring things will change as the economy slows and inventory increases.

  86. Just Jack

    What?????? “Looks to me like we are bouncing on a price ceiling”


    Prices went up 580-660 in a few months on average and are really high for the slow season, what about that says price ceiling???

    Looks like prices are finally moving after a decade of massive decline (23% if you account for inflation).

    Vic is always last to move, so we are going to whip up for a few years then stabilize. Average house price at 830k in a couple years, to match other similar places in near vacinity.

  87. You just answered your own question… Lots and lots of buyers with large down payments waiting in the sidelines. We know of 3 buyers personally that are waiting for a decent place, and they are willing to pay, just wanting to find the right land location, house quality doesn’t matter as most baby boomers will renovate anyways. Long term no one is worried if you are near the water in the core, there ain’t no land being made! Seriously, think about it, no land, more wealthy people. Prices will go up and up, they have gone down for 8 years now if you adjust for inflation (around 23% drop in value!)

    So anyone thinking prices will drop drastically right at the moment when you find that perfect house that you can’t afford, sorry but it’s better to buy out in Langford and deal with that literal nightmare of a commute, or, buy inside the wealth bubble and be protected.

    Rich get richer, stay inside the wealth bubble.

  88. Ouch, I’m really sorry to tell you that this market in Victoria has been flat for 7+ years only to tick up a tiny 5% during that whole time period (5% up in 7 years).

    Meanwhile the rest of Canada is up much much more then that in areas that are not landlocked.

    The upwards pressure on prices is just beginning. I would have bought if I could have sooner rather then later. If you think a house at 720 is going to drop to 570 by spring you are sadly living in some kind of delusion.

    I know it’s hard to try to fit the best area and the perfect house into your budget, but the reality is, landlocked, huge outside pressures on prices, great jobs in Vic that pay well, baby boomers retiring here (half the people liking at our house for sale this past spring were Alberta or Vancouver baby boomers that thought a million was super cheap).

  89. Jack said “How about the Fraser Valley and Vancouver real estate?”

    White Rock is probably a better example of what’s starting to happen to Victoria’s core.

    “That market is driven partly by boomers looking to cash out of Vancouver, and by buyers from Mainland China moving into South Surrey because of its high-calibre schools.
    Real estate agent Hamish Ross, who grew up in White Rock, says offshore money started flowing in around 2011, and it’s continued steadily. He’s seen houses go up $200,000 since the start of the year.
    “It’s hard to fathom,” he said. “The quiet sleepy town feel is definitely changing.”

  90. Very smart of you to wait. This is not a healthy market when you can’t find anything in the core that isn’t caught up in a bidding war or overpriced. The people I know who were looking have backed off for now too. I was surprised when their broker advised them to wait too.

  91. Hi welcome to HHV. Where did you move from? Unfortunately as you’ve noticed the market has been picking up again. However given the trend I would not hold out too much hope of a reversal in the spring barring external factors. CMHC is getting a bit worried about the national market so if they take action that could derail the market again. That is a total unknown though.

  92. Offering a comment here from a consumer perspective. We moved out to Victoria this past summer and the original plan for housing took a left turn – leaving us square in a market that doesn’t make much sense.

    Pricing for housing in Victoria is in my opinion is 100k – 150k overvalued at least. This is a gut feel comment on value for money on the properties we’ve looked at over the past 2 – 3 months.

    There has been too many panic/impulse buyers out there to compete with, so we’ve parked our down payment for the time being and looking forward to a more sane market in the spring.

    Thanks for keeping a really interesting board going here – lots of very valuable information, and some really well thought out discussion.

  93. Is Victoria real estate a substitute or compliment to Vancouver Real Estate? How about the Fraser Valley and Vancouver real estate?

    My intuitive guess would be that Victoria is not a substitute but the Fraser Valley is.

    But if you want to do the math…..

  94. All the bears here should chip in for Jack to go so he can give ‘em hell for choosing Vic as the best outlook in the country.

  95. Don’t mind Mike, he must have missed the Fed saying they could hike rates next month regardless of global problems. That’s a big statement for higher mortgage rates to come, just as Australia just popped theirs up.

  96. We have always had people moving to Victoria from Vancouver or other parts of the world. But our real estate market is dominated by Victorians buying in Victoria. The effect on the market of non Victorians on prices is minimal.

    The biggest mistake in your assumption is that non Victorians buying into our market are wealthy and purchasing the expensive homes. Non Victorians, as are Victorians, are purchasing at different prices levels from starter to upscale homes.

  97. Michael says he agrees with CMHC and also says Victoria is “soaring” in the same post. CMHC says Victoria has weak price acceleration. Anyone else see a contradiction there?

  98. CMHC is coming to Victoria. Well maybe not all of them.

    On November 13, 2015 at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe from 8:30 to Noon.

    CMHC will be giving its Housing Outlook.

    Robyn Adamache

    Principal Market Analyst (Vancouver), CMHC, B.C. Region
    Robyn introduces the methodology and results of CMHC’s
    House Price Analysis and Assessment Framework, which
    is designed to detect the presence of risk factors in the
    housing markets of Victoria and other CMAs across Canada.

    Cost $126 plus tax

    I was thinking about going to this, but only if I had a professional group pay for it and then I would make a report to the group. In that way I’d be on my best behavior and not ask questions. Or at least try my best not to ask questions.

  99. I truly love your price ceiling theory Jack 😉

    When do you revisit your theory…if/when we surpass $700k next year?

    I’ll let you in a little secret… the trend of Vancouverites cashing in and buying here continues to accelerate (it’s called the ripple or substitution effect).

  100. Did CMHC consider that BC has the highest levels of personal debt in the country ? If Victoria housing was a stock it would be in overbought territory and a sell rating. Every outsider in the world sees it pretty clear.

    “B.C.’s consumer debt per capita remained the highest in the country in 2014, almost $10,000 more than the national average of $49,624.”,-events-publications/news/cpa-news/b-c-%E2%80%99s-consumer-debt-remained-highest-in-country-i/

  101. That year on year increase is a little deceiving. House prices in late 2014 were in decline. It doesn’t mean our market is increasing every year at a rate of 8 percent. It’s better to look at the month to month trend to see if prices are increasing. The velocity of the marketplace

    And here they are.

    Month Median
    Jan $542,500
    Feb $597,500
    Mar $625,000
    Apr $631,200
    May $620,250
    Jun $629,900
    Jul $610,000
    Aug $659,000
    Sep $640,000

    To me, it looks like we are bouncing around at the top of a price ceiling.

    Prospective buyers are going to have to come up with larger down payments if the market is going to push past this price ceiling. Unlike Vancouver that has had significant appreciation over the last half dozen years, Victoria’s market has been flat.

    Unlike Vancouver, bigger down payments can’t be realized from appreciation but by mortgage pay down and personal savings.

  102. A hundred thousand dollars only costs $380 a month. With conventional financing and one hell of a down payment the monthly payment lays within a middle income households debt service ratio. That’s a monthly payment of $2,280 on a $750,000 home purchase.

    That makes the home both expensive and affordable. Does that make purchasing a home more or less risky?

    I don’t think you can tell with just this little information. As long as prospective purchasers can come up with big down payments, interest rates remain low and the market remains in favor of sellers there shouldn’t be a problem.

    But that’s one hell of a three legged stool to sit on.

  103. One of the things that CMHC tests the market for is “overvaluation”. I question that they can do this. The majority of properties sell at market value. There are some that sell under and some that sell over market value, but the majority of transactions are at fair market value.

    What the whiz kids at CMHC are probably considering is that in relation to historic price to rent and price to income ratios in different cities – home prices are overvalued. There are serious flaws to using historic averages to compare different times and different cities. It’s just wrong to do so.

    Let’s just forget this is real estate and say it was equities. Would you compare a companies price earnings ratio to what it was 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago? How about comparing Microsoft headquartered in California to Bombardier in Quebec? Would any of these calculations show that a stock is overvalued?

    What you would look at is the stock’s current price earnings relative to other similar companies. For real estate that would be recent sales of homes that have similar location and physical aspects. And that isn’t what CMHC is doing.

    If just this one factor is wrong, then CMHC’s entire risk assessment is simply garbage in and garbage out.

  104. I was surprised to see only two house listings under $750k in the area below Oak Bay Avenue and bordered by St. Charles. One for $699 and one for $749.

  105. I have to agree with CMHC that it’s all green lights for Victoria, but not so for places like TO. In a couple years TO probably swoons like 1990 while Vic keeps soaring. Even if we only maintain our “not changed much” 8% pace (as Jack calls it) we’ll reach a million median core by 2020.

  106. Since Mike previously says CMHC is always wrong I will have to agree with him, as Jack’s comments clearly fill the mandate for a market price reduction when inventory returns to normal levels.

    If you are going to include Greater Victoria in an entire CMHC report then overbuilding is showing signs of reaching saturation point. Just look at Bear Mountain, they are still trying to sell shacks out there for over a year with no buyers and new developments in Langford have to drop their asking prices by 10% just get sales. Previous corrections / crashes never came with a heads up, they just happened from the buyer pool finally running dry.

  107. How’s that bad for someone who waited to buy? It’s the bears that can take advantage of the extended amortization immediately.

  108. CMHC’s housing market assessment report aims to serve as an early warning signal by identifying problematic conditions that, if left unchecked, could lead to a correction in home prices later on down the road.

    The agency uses four factors to identify the level of risk present in Canadian real estate nationally and in 15 markets: accelerating price growth, overvaluation of prices, overbuilding and overheating of demand, which occurs when demand significantly outstrips supply.

    There are 355 house listings in the core districts with some 210 house sales in the last 30 days. That means if no other homes were listed, the core would run out of homes to sell in about 50 days. Half of the homes are sold within the first 3 weeks of being listed.

    New listings are being added to the inventory at the rate of 1.1 new homes for everyone that sells. Which is low when you consider how some people over price their properties or change their minds about selling.

    Despite all of this pressure on the market, the median price of homes has not changed much since the beginning of the year. Yet there are bidding wars on properties with some irrational purchases over fair market value on some of the better homes in better locations.

    Let just forget that this is real estate for a moment. If this were any other commodity like say food or water, we would be scared. The shelves would be half empty. No one would be starving but all it would take is for a couple of delivery trucks to be late and the population would panic.

    Prices could skyrocket up and that would be followed by a precipitous drop in sales. The phones at the real estate agent’s offices would stop ringing.

  109. I would have thought Van, Calg & Ed would be the risky ones… yet it’s TO, Sask & Winn that are on shaky ground.

  110. I’m projecting about 210 house sales and 140 condominium sales in the core for this month. Not much change in the median month on month house price at $650,000 or condominium at $282,000.

    Last October we had 175 house sales in the core. And that is so few that it skews both the median and the average. That leaves the HPI number to make sense of how prices are changing. Since that HPI number relies on an individual(s) at the board to make choices, I can’t estimate what that number might be.

    The best I can do is to look at how the median Sales to Assessment ratio has changed and how the last block of 500 sales has changed relative to last year .Those indicate that house prices in the core have increased between 5 to 12% over last year’s October prices. We’re having a lot of skewing in the data with a larger fat tail than last year due to an increase in the number of sales over a million. The mode though has only moved slightly so I suspect that the better indicator of price movement for the market is at the lower range of around 5 to 8% for houses in the core.

    Now let’s see what the media reports.

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