Last week we looked at the explosion of Vancouver buyers that happened in 2016 and despite having looked at these numbers before, I was surprised at the magnitude when compared to previous years. Now the VREB have released their updated stats on buyer origin for all of 2016, so let’s take a look at who is buying in Victoria and how that has changed from last year.
While locals still accounted for three quarters of the over 10,000 buyers last year, they dropped a bit from 2015 (which was down a smidge from 2014). Based on this data, we can see that:
- Vancouver buyers increased massively in 2016. In fact they doubled, from 600 in 2015 to 1221 in 2016.
- Buyers from the rest of Canada did not arrive in Victoria in any greater numbers than they usually do. Percentage wise they are down, and in absolute numbers there were only 24 more buyers from the rest of Canada in 2016 than the year before. If the boomer wave is coming, they definitely did not arrive yet.
- Buyers from outside of Canada are not a large factor based on these stats (less than 2% of buyers). Note that this is not measuring nationality and is different than what the province collects (which indicates about 4-5% foreign buyers)
- There were a total of 2927 out of town buyers, which accounts for 28% of the market. However the percentage is less important than the number of buyers, because out of town buyers represent pure demand. And that pure demand has been growing.
It will be interesting to see if the Vancouver wave continues this year (so far it doesn’t seem to be).
The VREB also surveys their members on some other buyer characteristics of interest.
These percentages are fairly stable across years with 20% of buyers being first timers, and 15-20% requiring high ratio mortgages to buy. Suprisingly enough the percentage of buyers using high ratio financing actually seems to be declining (2013 was 21.8%, 2011 was 23.6%) but the low response rate on this survey in earlier years makes year over year comparisons questionable.
From a demand perspective, the first timers, the out of towners, and the second home buyers are the most important players in the market. However many locals want to up or downsize is essentially irrelevant in comparison.