May 24 Market Update

Weekly stats update courtesy of the VREB via Marko Juras.

May 2016
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4
Unconditional Sales 320  644 979
New Listings 392 760 1082
Active Listings 2533 2499 2431
Sales to New Listings  82% 85% 90%
Sales Projection 1340 1199 1310
Months of Inventory


Market conditions are completely off the rails now.  90% sales/list is unbelievable in May.    To see how completely nuts it is, just look at the normal range throughout the year.  It doesn’t hit north of 90% until December normally when nothing gets listed.

Sales per day down a bit but that’s probably the long weekend messing with the stats.

Quite a bit of construction popping up around town that I’ve noticed.  Especially single family and townhouse construction seems to have picked up quite a bit to add to the mini rental building boom downtown.  Despite the efforts of our neighbourhood serial arsonist, these units are going to be hitting the market at an increasing rate.  Article on this coming later this week, stay tuned.

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75 thoughts on “May 24 Market Update

  1. $580 for a 2 bed 1 bath 900sqft house on Ryan street near shelbourne. Impressive given these homes are typically sold near lot value.

  2. It would be nice if you could buy 3 months together, like June July August. But timeshares, er fractional ownership, dont allow that. You get your 13 weeks spread over the year and most often not more than 2 weeks at a time. Of course your units in the rental pool will be rented last.

    In other countries I’ve seen developers contract all services to family members and cronies at inflated prices to ensure the sucker, er buyer, never makes a dime on the “investment”.

  3. Now that there’s talk of charging Vancouver drivers per the km so they can pay for more boondoggle transit projects I’d say the flood gates will really start to open.

  4. Two different business models.

    Buy a condo for $300,000 and rent it as an Airbnb
    Buy a quarter ownership for $75,000 and keep it in the Hotel rental pool

    One is a success and the other, as one poster called it, a “timeshare with lipstick”.

    The problem lays with the hotel chain. The hotel chain still has its own suites and those will be rented before your fractional ownership unit The hotel chain is not looking after your interests until theirs are met.

    And that’s why you have to buy these units cheap.

    However they were not cheap when first offered for sale.

    Originally there was only one seller, the hotelier, of say 100 quarter ownership units. And that allowed the hotel chain to keep the prices high. An imperfect competition much like a new condo complex being sold by one developer. If you wanted one of the units then you had to pay the developer/hotelier price. Now there are many individual ownership units that are for sale in the same hotel/complex and competition among them has driven the market value down.

  5. My take is that fractional ownership when commodified through a developer makes the developer money. It is more akin to a timeshare but given that you own the land/building it should have better resale value and be easier to finance. However, when you only have 1/4 use of a property whether fractional or timeshare this significantly takes away from what you can do with it and how valuable it is overall. Having 100% use of a separate space in the same overall building through a co-ownership agreement is a much better bet imo.

  6. Don’t give up too early on these quarter ownership units. You would have to review the income and expense statement for the last few years. And then determine an appropriate market derived rate to apply to the net income excluding mortgage debt servicing.

    Then compare that to the kind of return you want. 2%, 5% maybe 10%

    Might be worth a look.

  7. @Vicbot

    I was more thinking in town as a rental investment. There are a bunch at 810 HUMBOLDT ST. on sale for 1/4 of a property.

    I think I’ll let this idea go.

  8. @yeahright, fractional ownership = fractional risk, fractional lucre.

    Could also be increased risk. Always a potential source of trouble to have another party in the transaction

  9. @admin

    Excellent. I’ll check that out.

    On a side note: Anyone have any view on how lucrative “fractional ownership” could be?

  10. Where can I get information on Condo buildings? For instance, what the strata is going to be and is the building concrete or not, and what is included in the strata, etc.

    THere is some info here:

    Unfortunately it seems more geared towards marketing for developers rather than an evaluation of condos for consumers. However there is some good info there like construction type, state of sales, etc.

  11. Vicinvestor,

    You did time it when the condo market was able to make you enough money to buy a house that you say you got undervalue, versus a year or two ago when condos were selling for less. Call it what you want, but that’s what it was.


    The US markets have gone nowhere for 2 years, and the TSX is down 1500 points from 2 years ago. Markets didn’t just exist since January. Nice try though, as usual another fail. Try the weekly tab next time. 😉

  12. Mania is an interesting phenomenon. Some people act like lemmings and get sucked along then tout themselves as knowledgeable experts; while others relish the mania as free advertising and capitalize on the lemmings.

  13. Where can I get information on Condo buildings? For instance, what the strata is going to be and is the building concrete or not, and what is included in the strata, etc.

    Does this info exist to the general public somewhere?

  14. @Hawk:
    My condo sale was NOT market timing. It was a lifestyle decision. Condo swapped for a detached house. Period. Stopping talking nonsense. It was also ‘re-balancing’ of my overall portfolio to ensure it was properly diversified. I didn’t feel comfortable being over-exposed to R/E.

    Bubbles exist, yes. However, predicting time/extent of a crash is next to impossible. Imagine you call Vancouver R/E a bubble in 2006 & you stay out. Prices go from $800K –> $2million from 2006-2016. Now in 2016, it corrects 25% back to $1.5 million. So what? You’re still up 700k if you bought in 2006. The guy who bought right before the crash is obviously screwed but that is where diversification & prudence comes in.

    I don’t have my head in the sand. I realize there is risk. But, there is also upside potential. I have to park my $$ somewhere: stocks, bonds, R/E, cash, etc. Unlike you, I am not some extremist with a doomsday view of the world. I try to stay diversified & almost fully invested. Unlike you, I don’t pretend to know the future or timing a bubble burst. I simply admit to the truth: I don’t know. I do, however, know my risk tolerance & my day-time income potential.

  15. I also find it odd that people have started equating news with predictions.

    Maybe it’s the growth of 24 hour news channels that need to fill their vacuums with false prophets and self promoters like Tony, where any media attention makes them more money.

    eg., Roubini is an economist that helps us see the relationships between world events and provides warnings if necessary and if asked. He’s not there to predict.

    There’s a huge difference between a warning of unsafe territory and a prediction.

    It would also be crazy to react to either one in isolation with your own money.

  16. “The media did not drive this. They were full swing with burning houses on the cover with the word CRASH emboldened somewhere but a short time ago. The media is driven by getting eyes to sell advertising.”


    Damn right they did, they took a hot market and pushed it to a new level of extreme. What burning houses in Victoria/BC media did you see “crash” ? Please post. I saw one a few weeks back for first time.

    All the local media have never posted a negative article or segment ever unless it came from a national outlet. Just kept rolling out the agents to pump the story they need to keep it going as they know the local buyers are getting priced out and they desperately need filthy rich Vancouverites and Asians to keep this game going to create bidding wars. Why do you think Tony is pumping to out of towners ? They have the cash to keep his pockets full.

    Incase you missed the local media rely heavily on real estate advertising, they are probably their largest accounts. They call the shots and influence reporting. The Province is the only major to take on the money laundering and fraud going on, while Victoria media runs the other way.

  17. VicInvestor1983, people read financial news to get “news” – period. Not for predictions or advice. I’ve read all the popular financial books as well, to understand the tools needed for investment.

    You need both news and tools to make good decisions for yourself. Just like a doctor’s or mechanic’s education doesn’t stop when they put their books down. They learn from changes that come in real life – hence, the reason for news.

    Not to mention for an understanding of what works in other countries, which can apply to Canada or yourself personally.

    There’s no way to invest wisely unless you’re aware of changes happening to the world in general.

  18. Vicinvestor,

    You flip one condo/market time and you’re an authority on what is and isn’t cause you read a few books ? You play the fence by claiming bubbles exist but if you dare call for one to explode in the future and it didn’t happen last week you’re wrong ?

    The evidence is produced and you continue to slag it with your head in the sand. Ever hear of a parabolic blow off ? Look it up, it’s in one of your books but you probably skipped that chapter.

    Millions will be made on the next crash, and I’ll be making some of it while you will have your ass handed to you on a platter. 😉

  19. The media did not drive this. They were full swing with burning houses on the cover with the word CRASH emboldened somewhere but a short time ago. The media is driven by getting eyes to sell advertising. The story shifted enough on it’s own to provide just enough fuel to shift the story the other way. Plus Hawk, there is pump on the negative side too. To only be skeptical of of one side is not skepticism at all….

  20. @Hawk: Couple issues regarding your belief in ‘Financial News’ & ‘Market timing & predictions’:

    1) Who are you to pick out fact vs fiction? Even world-renowned economists & experts have divergent opinions at any given time. If they can’t agree on the future of the markets, what makes you able to pick the ‘right’ side? Read Daniel Kahneman’s book & perhaps you will gain more insight into your cognitive biases. You are delusional to think that you can pick out the ‘correct’ experts.

    2) There are numerous academic studies on market-timing & future prediction skills of experts. The basic summary: no one can consistently predict future events, recessions, market bull runs or crashes, etc. No one. Not you, not Roubini, not Shiller, & not Harry Dent! Hawk, if you have credible evidence to the contrary, please share. Let’s take Roubini who is credited with predicting 2008. He called for recession in 2004 (nope), 2005 (still not), 2006 (no again), and 2007 (oh let’s see, yap, NO!). Seriously? Let’s call for a crash year after year and eventually you’ll be ‘right’! Reminds me or Garth Turner & his joke of a website or that idiot Ross Kay!

    Oh, but there were signs in 2007 blah blah blah. There are always signs Hawk. There have been signs re: Vancouver crazy R/E bubble since 2001 & you’ve lost millions because you gave into the ‘signs’ & didn’t buy

    Listen, no one is saying that bubbles don’t exist. No one is saying that reckless borrowing, over-spending, under-diversification, or real estate porn are prudent behaviors. But, please please stop spreading misinformation on this blog that you can somehow time markets or know the future. Let’s be rational, evidence-based, & balanced.

    As to why I follow this blog: it’s entertaining, fun, and a good pastime.

  21. It’s a media thing, not a cultural thing. Haven’t you noticed it was only a few months ago a headline or two says Vancouverites are cashing out (at the top), and moving here. Shortly after every second day on CHEK or CTV they have a paid segment by the local agents all touting “my phones been ringing off the hook”, or “calls about interest from Vancouver has risen sharply unlike any other year”. They didn’t happen out of the blue as if a light bulb went off in hundreds of Vancouverites heads, the media pumped it and the new mania is born.

    Media driven mania’s via the real estate bizz always end ugly. This is and Nortel rolled into one big ticking time bomb.

  22. Does anyone know what 2451 Oregon went for? My PCS died this week and I don’t have the details myself. Thanks.

  23. “@Vicbot: financial news & predictions are nothing but a waste of time & completely misleading. ”

    You have to sift the paid pump from the facts, but most financial news information is knowledge. Saying “in for the long term” and cutting down anyone who called a major market turn as just shit luck is lame. The signs were everywhere in 2007 and 2008 and most ignored them, just like they are now. Why bother following and posting on this blog if you truly believe all financial news or information on changing trends in the market is BS ?

  24. It’s a cultural thing to say 1.2 million in reference to a rotting bungalow and not have your neck stick forward, your eyes pop and your jaw drop…. It’s a powerful thing. How fast 500k turned into cheap!

  25. @randvan – what do you mean by “it’s a cultural thing”? I get that it’s an economic thing in Vancouver to decide to leave due to unaffordability, but why would it be cultural? Thanks.

  26. My favourite part about financial journalism (e.g. Globe investor) is how they will run articles about buying and holding ETF’s being the most sensible way to invest and build wealth. Then right next to those articles: “check out these hot stock tips!!”

    Nothing wrong with following the news and economists’ predictions but it’s difficult to convert any of it into sensible personal finance or house buying decisions.

  27. @vicbot: yeah, mostly a waste of time. Read any good investment book & you’ll get what I mean. “The media’s job is not to inform you; it is to get eyeballs”. Gurus, pundits, & ‘experts’ get it wrong, wrong, and wrong again and again. You want your mind blown: 60/60 economists got interest rates wrong a few years ago in US. Financial news is just noise, that’s all. Invest for the long term, diversify, & use common sense.

  28. Wow financial news is a waste of time? Maybe for you but not for most people.

    By the way, Roubini isn’t predicting anything in that article. He’s just saying that we’ve entered a period of economic stagnation that’s not beneficial to anyone long term. If cars suddenly increased in cost by 200% no one would be cheering that on. Many of us were lucky to buy before the madness but that doesn’t make us gloat, it just makes us aware of of the unstable times were in.

  29. @Vicbot: financial news & predictions are nothing but a waste of time & completely misleading. Roubini is no exception. He might have lucked out with 2008, but many of his other predictions have been useless. No one can predict the future.

  30. Vancouver escapee here. It’s a cultural thing that’s happening, everyone I know is bailing on van and moving to Vic. Prices here are up 100-200k recently, but still prices are sooo cheap even compared to Surrey.

  31. It seems that Nouriel Roubini holds a grim world view too … an asset bubble isn’t a good time to break out the champagne.

    “The recent market turmoil has started the deflation of the global asset bubble wrought by QE, though the expansion of unconventional monetary policies may feed it for a while longer. The real economy in most advanced and emerging economies is seriously ill …”

  32. Vicinvestor,
    The market has never been more dangerous for a crash when idiots are running around tossing $200K plus like it’s candy. You seriously need a wake up call on economics. This is where things blow up out of the blue when the last fool is left holding his wanger when the tide rolls out.

  33. I know two people who bought recently: one in Langford and the other in Colwood. They both gave up on trying to find something in the core areas.

  34. I love how JJ & Hawk cherry pick a few homes that haven’t been as popular. Stop focusing on your grim world views fellows. The market is absolutely on fire & the stats + anecdotal reports back that up 100%. Where we go next, no one knows. But, don’t worry folks, the world is not gonna blow up as Hawk or Garth Turner would want us to believe!

    And your 1.2 million, and now $1.1 million Rockland house, Hawk, while in a prime location, may just be over-priced. Assessed at $800K & now listed $300k over that with many needed renos. So please don’t use that house as an example of a weakening market.

  35. Can’t figure out why Tony hasn’t got a sale on that place in Rockland for $1.2 million. Been for sale for over a month now. Needs a reno but right across from Government House doesn’t get much more prime than that. Maybe the Feng Shui isn’t up to snuff or Tony’s town pump has back fired.

  36. A couple of weeks back, one of the posters was mentioning how they thought fractional ownership condominiums may be good purchases.

    This month there has been a sale of a quarter ownership on Bear Mountain,of a 1,071 square foot suite, for $25,000. Leave it in the rental pool and sit back and collect your cheques.

    Condo sales in Langford haven’t improved that much. A third floor suite in reflections that was purchased new in 2008 for $300,000 sold in a foreclosure proceeding at $185,000. It does seem strange that even in these days of crazy prices there are still court ordered sales.

    A home in the Uplands sold under asking price!!!! Listed for 25 days the offer was $290,000 under the list price of $2,590,000. Maybe Tony should have brought by a Chinese buyer or two.

    A Dallas Road ocean view home didn’t do much better. Listed for 80 days and sold under asking price at $1,335,000.

    And the cheapest house in Greater Victoria sold this month for $182,000 Located in Port Renfrew. Another home in Port Renfrew that was purchased in March 2007 at $230,000 has also resold at $180,000 in March 2016.

    This is a very difficult market to figure out. What makes some houses receive multiple bids over asking prices and others that might only get one or two offers that are well below asking and assessed prices.

  37. I like these ‘external’ views to keep perspective on what’s happening in Victoria.

    “…the housing market in the Bay area is bordering on insanity”. Later in the piece: “Just south of the San Francisco airport is the neighborhood of Nineteenth Avenue in San Mateo. There, not a single house can be found for under $1 million. This wasn’t the case in 2012, when only about 10% of houses were in seven digit territory.”

  38. We know some people from upisland that recently bought in Oak Bay for 900k but the place will need renos. They moved here to be closer to the hospital, and they’re established folks that sold their old place (which they had for a long time), so we don’t know if they need a mortgage.

  39. 1600 a month for a quality house to rent is far too low. 2000 might give you a whole house, but not a good one. The value is in places 2500 and up – at least it was when we were checking around a year ago.

    We do know people who have bought in Fernwood in the past 3 months. Had been looking for a year at least, and paid around 800K for a decent place with a 2 BR suite. not sure how they’ll be able to afford the mortgage, but that is their business, not mine.

  40. I would suspect the Alder buyers are going to need a very large down payment before a bank will finance that purchase.

    That presumes a cautious and sensible lender. I really doubt that is the case. Mortgage appraisals come in at purchase price plus or minus some amount so it appears they’re actually doing something. There is no critical analysis of what the place is actually worth and no caution about someone potentially overpaying.

  41. “higher end but still under 1600….” Way off on the expectations there. Entering the rental market recently I quickly learned that does not exist anymore. If it is advertised as such, expect to discover an unmentioned basement suite rented to students….

  42. article below said couple paid 3000 in home inspections. Wow not only do you have to pay top dollars for a house. You also have to do inspections on houses you have no offer for. Ouch

  43. I know a couple who have just sold their tiny condo (due to new addition to the couple). And now they are finding it difficult to find a rental. Wow, it is brutal out there.

  44. I know 3 people that sold since February. The first is a family that sold a house in Cordova Bay, is renting at 1800/mth and bought a lot in Westhills.
    The second is a family that sold a house on Christmas Hill, couldn’t find a rental that met their “needs” (no carpet, parking for 2 vehicles, close to school, higher end but still under 1600) so they moved in with her parents. They bought a lot in Bear Mtn after finding no lots in town under $500k. (the christmas hill lot was $330k back in 2010)
    The third just sold his house after divorce and will be looking to buy a condo.

    My husband has a co-worker who has been searching for a sfh for months. He is getting outbid and feeling discouraged.

  45. I would suspect the Alder buyers are going to need a very large down payment before a bank will finance that purchase.

    My guess is that the down payment is coming from the equity in another property in another city. And that is the bridge that connects various cities in a downturn. If one city has a correction that leads to other cities correcting.

    Six Degrees of Guangdong – a game the whole family can play.

  46. There will be a lot of bagholders on Alder St. and South Oak Bay when the Chinese market crashes. These numbers are fricking scary !

    Property loans, the glass chin of China banks

    “China’s top banks are lending more to homebuyers and developers than at any time since at least the global financial crisis, making them vulnerable to a property market downturn as prices overheat and real-estate firms struggle with a growing debt burden.

    China’s top five banks had mortgages and loans to the sector of 12.4 trillion yuan ($1.9 trillion) at end-2015, up 11 percent over the year, and representing 28 percent of total loans, a Reuters analysis of their balance sheets shows.

    That is the biggest exposure on their books, more than to manufacturing or transportation, and it exceeds 40 percent, up from about 26 percent seven years ago, if all loans secured on property are included.”

    “If there is a very sharp fall in prices, then the consequences could be quite serious,”

    “It’s a parabolic surge before the burst. It doesn’t reflect the real economy,” said Roshan Padamadan, an equities fund manager with Singapore-based Luminance Global Fund.

    “The property market may cause a serious destabilization of the Chinese banking sector,” he said, adding his fund had recently build up some short positions in Chinese banks.”

  47. @Alder sale. I think a good sized bungalow on Monterey in South oak bay just went for 900k….did the Alder buyers say “nah I’d rather live a stone’s throw from Toys R Us”?

    I think up until recently it was difficult to spend more than ~$500k on a bungalow in that area?

  48. Judging by the licence plates cruising the streets of south Oak Bay at 10km/hr gawking at each and every house, I’d say the newcomers buying expensive houses are coming from Alberta, Washington, Oregon, and California. And, lots of people driving cars from National Car Rentals.

  49. whoa – 3145 alder st. Asking $699, sold $852, assess $484

    I went through this house and wow at 852k! A brand new 3,066 sq/ft home sold just 14 months ago on Alder for $820,000 and it was a higher-end build –

    and at that time I was like, wow that is a lot of money for Alder…..that new house has to be $1.1 million now with this sale of $852?

  50. University professors, other than a few in Engineering/Business/Medical school, are never really the high earners compared to some other fields, especially given how much time they spent educating themselves, but it is a stable position with decent wages. By today’s G&M, some top Canadian Universities have issues hiring new professors due to local housing price. Maybe UVic will soon join them, if it is not there already 🙁

  51. The Hongcouver

    Panama Papers: Vancouver is Canada’s hotspot for secret tax haven firms, with hundreds of addresses in leaked papers

    The presence of Vancouver Westside addresses in leak database is more than 10 times the national per-capita norm

    “Vancouverites love secret tax haven companies.

    So much so that Metro Vancouver addresses are about four times as likely to feature in the Panama Papers and Offshore leaks database as Canadian addresses as a whole, per capita. Their presence on this basis more than doubles that of Toronto addresses, despite that city’s status as the financial capital of Canada.

    A few hours spent burrowing into the database of financial information leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveals even wider disparities. City of Vancouver addresses are 8.2 times as likely to appear as Canadian addresses as a whole (32 addresses/100,000 population vs 3.9/100,000), while Richmond addresses (34.1/100,000) were 8.7 times as likely to appear. But the epicentre of addresses linked to these tax haven firms, at least on a density basis, is West Vancouver. Long a bolthole of the rich and famous (and/or infamous), West Van addresses appear in the database at a rate of 75/100,000 population – some 19.2 times the Canadian norm.”

  52. Adding to the lack of contact with house buyers – I also know a couple of people who sold but I don’t know anyone who has bought. One family who sold completely regrets it because they are now renting in a tiny place and keep getting outbid. They won’t do a purchase without a condition for inspection and are frustrated because they lost their last attempt by $70k. They overbid the second person by $65k but the second one had no conditions so they lost out on the house. They don’t exaggerate so I’m confident this is accurate – and from my perspective – amazing information. No wonder there is such low inventory levels – it’s scary to think you could get left ‘out in the proverbial cold’.

  53. The weirdest thing about this market to me is if there’s record breaking sales, shouldn’t we all know of at least a couple people successfully buying houses? Whereas all I hear about is people missing out on houses/ giving up. Or saying “glad I bought last year”.

    Good question. I also knew people and saw people around sold their houses, but haven’t heard anyone I know bought one, even some of them are looking. Probably because lots successful buyers ARE from out of town after all.

  54. One thought I have is that, well there’s record breaking sales this cycle because there’s way more units available

    Even adjusting for population we are breaking sales records though.

    But then, why isn’t supply equally higher?

    New listings aren’t that low. They were a lot lower in the 2000s but sales are just insane so they all get bought up immediately.

  55. One thought I have is that, well there’s record breaking sales this cycle because there’s way more units available – most of the condos downtown didn’t even exist 15 years ago. But then, why isn’t supply equally higher?

    The weirdest thing about this market to me is if there’s record breaking sales, shouldn’t we all know of at least a couple people successfully buying houses? Whereas all I hear about is people missing out on houses/ giving up. Or saying “glad I bought last year”.

  56. @Dasmo. I love this, even with perfect hindsight and tons of info at our fingertips we’re still struggling to rationalize the craziness of the market.

  57. Crazy! I would not have called this! It’s the green rush combined with the last ditch exit of China money combined with millennials living too long at home with a dash of Vancouver lottery winners?

  58. It’s like squeezing an empty tube of toothpaste.

    My dad used to slice it lengthwise at the end and get the last little bits out. Similar to the housing market in that… well maybe this metaphor has run its course.

  59. The really amazing thing is the effect all of this is having on month to month median prices for houses in the core.

    It’s like squeezing an empty tube of toothpaste.

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