real estate news

Houses For Sale During a Pandemic

by Bevony on September 16, 2020 No comments

We see people bidding up house prices even though we are in a pandemic and what may turn out to be one of the deepest recessions in history. This is not only true for British Columbia, but we can also see a lot of the real estate market across Canada which is red-hot especially in the market for single-family homes. While this defies all rational logic, it is where we are. People are looking for the security of owning a home even with people losing their jobs and getting pay cuts. 

Herd Following

Herd Following is a theory stumbled upon in 1906 when Francis Galton observed a competition. The competition was for persons to guess the weight of an ox. When all the guesses were averaged, the total average gues was 1,197lbs. The actual weight of the ox was 1,198lbs. Since then, there have been a lot of studies on the theory of collective intelligence which have shown similar results. 

Information from the Canadian Bankers Association indicates that around 15% of mortgages have been deferred, this is a total of 743,000 mortgages. As the days go by, we see that “the reopening” is not going as well as we would’ve wanted it to go. We see infections getting higher and more businesses are going back to closed doors and working from home. Look at Apple, they have closed seven of their area stores in Houston and 14 of their stores in Florida since the reopening. Of course, they have enough cash to afford to close their stores, but other businesses are not as fortunate with a lot of white-collar jobs been axed. 

What are the Banks Doing? 

We see central banks flooding the system with liquidity so much so that free-market price discovery is almost entirely out of the window. And so now we see cash finding its home in hard assets. 

What Does This Mean for Society on a Whole?

We are getting to that tipping point and this is certain to have long-lasting effects on our society. There are several possible outcomes that we must be ready for. 

What We’re Watching

  1. Bond Yields Trading – these are currently at their lowest level in history. 
  2. The US is currently not showing a V shape recovery in current business conditions and this is right across the country. 
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  1. Small businesses that are bringing back all employees account for only 50% of the total small businesses in the US. 
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BevonyHouses For Sale During a Pandemic

Scaling Down Homes is Trending

by Bevony on September 10, 2020 No comments
Mighty building

There has been an increase in the interest of small homes and RV model homes in the past couple of months. A factory in Oakland California is offering homeowners the option for a 3D print. They can print a 350 square foot studio in under 24 hours.  The company is called Mighty Buildings, and they have a focus on the accessory dwelling unit market. 

With a lot of uncertainty due to the pandemic more people are looking into this avenue, not just an accessory dwelling but as their main dwelling. They came up with the technology as a way to address the shortage of housing in California. They boast that they are offering a 21st-century technology to solve a crisis. 

The material being used in these structures is a quick, curing, freeform architecture that can support its weight safely. The structure you end up with an energy-efficient structure that is extremely strong. 

Sustainability

One of the key driving factors behind this printing technology is sustainability. With this technology, 3 to 5lbs of waste per square foot will not end up in a landfill.  With 3D printing, the only thing that is printed is the things that are needed. 

Cost Reductions

By cutting waste, this new technology also cuts the overall cost of the building. The average building costs with this technology are reduced by approximately 45%. The cost of labor is one of the things that affect the cost of a house the most. 3D robotics can do the more complicated and dangerous aspects of building, but human workers are still needed to complete the task, so this initiative is not taking jobs away. 

With COVID-19 motivating more people to seek financial freedom, many are downsizing their lives as a means of downsizing their expenses. In Vancouver, 3D models can be had from Mint Tiny Homes. They note that they have seen an increase in interest over the past couple of months with persons looking to downsize as they are concerned about the possibilities of job loss.  People don’t want to have large bills, and they don’t want to have large liabilities, so they are trying to get in a better financial position while they can before things get worse. We also see where people are looking more towards homes outside of the city and away from the crowds. With more people engaging in flexible working arrangements they need for living or near, the city is no longer necessary. 

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BevonyScaling Down Homes is Trending

Lower Demand Expected for the Housing Market

by Bevony on September 4, 2020 No comments

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) has indicated that they are bracing for the COVID-19 pandemic to further impact the Canadian housing market. The short term uncertainty is significant as housing demand falls with household incomes becoming weaker and weaker. 

The sales and price records were broken in July 2020, but this was after the shut-downs in spring. So we can say the market played a little catch-up if we may say so. CHMC is noting however that the economic shock of the pandemic has not been fully reflected in the latest data on the housing market. They note that the process of the pandemic could still have a huge effect on new buildings as well as the prices and sales of existing buildings. 

We expect it to take months for these impacts to materialize, but we can see some factors already coming to play. CMHC has noted a seeing the difference in provisions for insurance claims. This is showing up in the financial results proving that the impact is far-reaching. 

CMHC’s net income for the three months prior to June 30, 2020, was $566 million. This is up from $379 million during the same period from the previous year. The arrears rate for which is 0.34%. 

While they saw this income, they also saw an increase in claims expenses, jumping to a 711% increase up by $256 million. This was due to an increase in COVID-19 related claims including mortgage deferrals. 

As part of a government program, CMHC this year purchased $5.8 billion insured mortgage pools. They also administered the small business Canada Emergency Commercial Rent assistance program. 

In the next report from CMHC, we will see what impact the stricter underwriting criteria had overall. As of July, requirements for insured mortgages have become tighter and requirements for down payments have also become tighter.  The corporation has even suspended dividends in an effort to save money in the event further action is needed by the government. 

Stick around to read more as the information unfolds. 

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BevonyLower Demand Expected for the Housing Market

Private Mortgage Insurance Providers Seeing Growth

by Bevony on August 21, 2020 No comments

The Canadian housing market is at a very interesting point. The current housing market in Canada is one of the biggest in the world. As a matter of fact, the growth of 88% since 2005 makes Canada’s Housing market one of the highest growing markets of any other G7 country. 

The FIRE sector; Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate make up approximately 25% of the country’s GDP. Household debt to GDP has increased significantly over 100% of GDP. With the striking of the global pandemic crisis, what are policymakers to do now?

The current home ownership rate in Canada is approximately 69%, and we can see the wealth of Canadians now hanging in the balance. Evan Siddall, Canada’s Mortgage, and Housing corporation have expressed his concerns about the elevated levels of debt and the unsustainable increase in prices. He expresses that there is a possibility for home prices to fall between 9 and 18% based on the information from recent forecasts on the market. 

What Are Mortgage Lenders Doing?

Siddall made the decision to tighten lending standards in a bid to protect mortgage insurance providers that are taxpayer-backed. He is hoping that the other private mortgage lenders in Canada will follow his lead. But this is not what took place. 

Lenders have continued to issue new loans and are now directing their new business to the private insurers. Both private entities are of course happy about the growth they are experiencing, and we can’t fault them for that. They are only taking 10% of the risk as the government covers the other 90% of the loss. 

Siddall sees this as blind disregard and moral hazard. He recently wrote a letter to Canadian banks expressing his concern. His letter included the following request “… I’m asking for two things, first, we would hope you would reconsider highly leveraged household lending. Please put our country’s long-term outlook ahead of short term profitability. Second, please don’t aggravate the impact of undermining CMHC’s market presence unnecessarily.” 

Siddall’s letter was not well-received and was referred to by some bank execs as “alarmist and a bit extreme” but are we really surprised by all this?

What are your views on this matter? We’d love to hear them, please leave them in the comments below.

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BevonyPrivate Mortgage Insurance Providers Seeing Growth

Vancouver Mortgage Delinquencies: What Are The Numbers?

by Bevony on August 14, 2020 No comments
Mortgage Delinquencies on the Rise

 Even before the pandemic, there was a trend towards higher figures in Toronto and Vancouver. These two municipalities have seen record lows in 2018 and prior. But the mortgage delinquency numbers across Canada, on the whole, are rising. 

Better Dwelling tracks the Canadian Real Estate Market. The Better Dwelling entity was founded by Stephen Punwasi, who is an analyst. They indicate that mortgage delinquencies are rising. 

How are Mortgage Delinquencies Measured?

In Vancouver, mortgage delinquencies are measured by looking at the number of mortgages that are overdue for more than 90 days. In the first quarter of 2020, this number reached 0.13%. These numbers show an increase over the same quarter for 2019, rising from a percentage rate of 0.1% in 2018. 

In Toronto, the numbers are showing a 10% increase between 2019’s first quarter and 2020’s first quarter. The first quarter’s last few weeks were the beginning of the pandemic and the start of lockdowns in Canada. But the trend towards higher numbers was already established in Toronto and Vancouver before this, so we can’t say COVID-19 is to blame. 

What is a Mortgage Delinquency Anyway?

Mortgage delinquency refers to how quickly a home can be converted to its cash value. When the market is hot, homes are selling rapidly. So owners who cannot make their payments can typically, list their home, get an offer and close within three months. If this model is in play in the market, the delinquency rates are kept low. When the process takes longer, then the prices get higher.  

Better Dwelling notes that the market as it stands is stalling. The longer it takes to make a sale, the more the delinquencies will rise. With high default rates, many homeowners are unable to exit their real estate in a fast manner.

Steve Saretsky, a realtor in Vancouver, notes that the change in a rising and falling delinquency rate is something we should be watching into 2021. Saretsky thinks the foreclosure rate will also increase in the next couple of years and that the process will be very long and drawn out for British Columbia. In a recent report he notes that “From the time you miss a mortgage payment to the time the house sells in court, it takes an average of between 12 to 15 months,”

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BevonyVancouver Mortgage Delinquencies: What Are The Numbers?

Steady Activity for the Metro Vancouver Housing Market this Summer

by Bevony on August 7, 2020 No comments

The July 2020 buyer and seller activity for Metro Vancouver exceeded historical levels. This was published in the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)  monthly market report. The report indicates that the total residential home sales increased by 22.3 % from 2,557 sales in July 2019 to 3,128 sales in 2020. The increase in July was a 28% increase over June 2020, where 2,443 homes were sold compared to the 3,128 sold in July. In total, the sales for July 2020 were 9.2 % higher than the 10 year average for sales in July. 

REBGV Stats Graph July 2020
Image Credit: REBGV

Colette Berger, Chair at REBGV,  notes that these numbers are a result of the pent up activity that both home sellers and buyers have been holding in. Couple that with limited supply overall and lower interest rates makes the market more competitive. 

The July 2020 Metro Vancouver MLS saw an addition of 5,948 attached, detached and apartment properties being listed. In July 2019 only 4,613 properties were listed so July 2020 is showing a 28.9 % increase in listings compared to the same month of 2019. In June 2020 a total of 5,787 homes were listed showing a 2.8% increase from the previous month as well. 

Currently, there are 12,083 properties listed for sale on the Metro Vancouver MLS system which is showing a decrease of 15.1% compared to the 14,240 properties that were on the list as of July 2019. The number is showing an increase though when compared to June 2020 which had a total of 11,424 properties listed. 

Reaching Potential HomeBuyers Despite the Restrictions

We understand that everybody must take new strides to ensure that social distancing is being observed. As such companies are using a variety of technology solutions to keep home buyers and sellers safe with their interactions. We are all trying to limit in-person interactions as much as possible. As much as can be done virtually is done to ensure the safety of our nation as a whole. 

Sales to Active Listings Ratios

For July 2020 we are seeing a sales to active listing ratio of 25.9% for all property types. We can further break that down by property type. Detached homes have a ratio of 25.1% while townhomes have a ratio of 31.1% and apartments have a ratio of 24.7%

REBGV Stats Graph July 2020
Image Credit: REBGV

The experts note that when the ratio dips to less than 12% for a sustained period is when there is downward pressure on home prices. On the flip side, home prices will rise when the ration passes 20% over a period of multiple months. 

The benchmark price for residential properties on the Metro Vancouver MLS Home Price Index is currently $1,031,400. This is showing an increase over July 2019 of 4.5% and an increase over June 2020 of 0.6%. 

Sales of Different Types of Properties 

Detached home sales reached 1,121 in July 2020 which was an increase of 33.3% over the detached home sales that were recorded (841) for July 2019. The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,477,800. This price is showing an increase of 5% from prices in July 2019 and 0.9% from prices in June 2020. 

Apartment home sales prices reached 1,400 in July 2020 showing an increase of 12.6% when compared to the sales(1,243) of July 2019. The benchmark price for apartments is currently at $682,500 indicating an increase of 4.2% from July 2019 and an increase of 0.3% when compared to June 2020. 

Home sales for Attached homes were at 607 for July 2020 indicating an increase of 28.3% over the 473 sales for July 2019. The benchmark price is $797,700 indicating an increase of 3.7% over prices at July 2019 and a 0.9% increase over prices at June 2020. 

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BevonySteady Activity for the Metro Vancouver Housing Market this Summer

Townhome Availability in Vancouver

by Bevony on June 10, 2020 No comments
Townhome Availability in Vancouver

Vancouver home prices have seen a modest growth of 1% for 2020. This city still stands as the most expensive place to live in Canada. With the current health crisis, the supply of real estate has been further depressed. Some weary sellers are pulling their listings from the market and as such prices can get even higher. What will you find for sale in Vancouver? 

Types of Real Estate Available for Sale

You will find many a condo on sale in Vancouver. If you are looking for a single-family home, you will be able to find your fair share of those as well. That is of course if you can afford it. But if you are searching for a townhome, you may be up for an uphill battle. There are multiple reasons for this. 

In Vancouver, we can see clearly, that there is a difference between what people want and what they can afford when it comes to real estate. Vancouver has not built a lot of townhomes historically and this affects the market in more than one way. 

Within the past few years, there has been new zoning in Marpole for example that just allowed the building of townhomes. Other than availability, there is also the price factor. Buying a single-family home is too expensive for most families and buying a small condo won’t provide adequate space. 

Families may have some hope in the future for purchasing two and three-bedroom townhomes princesses less than 2 million and ranging in size from 631 to 1840 square feet. The last decade shows that a lot of families have left the city of Vancouver due to the cost of real estate and their inability to find appropriate housing at affordable costs.  This solution will provide families with the opportunity to get a home that is bigger than a condo but still more affordable than the typical single-family offerings in the Vancouver area. 

Change is the new constant in the current real estate market. And all stakeholders are feeling this currently. We are all weathering the storm and hoping for the best outcome, always ensuring that safety is the priority. Some of you must still brave the Vancouver housing marketing during this crisis. Here at SilverBeam Homes, we can help.  If you are wondering “will Vancouver house prices ever drop“? Maybe it is time for you to look at alternatives.

Get in touch with us today, and let us know what your needs are. We can help you navigate these changes both safely and effectively. 

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BevonyTownhome Availability in Vancouver

How the COVID Pandemic is Affecting Home Design

by Bevony on May 21, 2020 No comments

The home design industry experts have always had to be at the forefront of innovation. It is necessary for the nature of their work. They have to be innovative to find ways around roadblocks such as clients’ budgets, regulation restrictions as well as size restrictions. They have to be creative and quick with their thinking in order to find alternative ways to do things. The current COVID pandemic has made it necessary for those in the home design industry to start thinking of ways for us to move forward with the changes in lifestyle that must be brought about due to the COVID 19 outbreak. 

Home Builders and designers are now having to strategize innovations into new home designs. With many people now needing to work from home there is the need for home offices more than ever. We also find many couples sharing whatever office space was already present in the home. This has created the need for additional space. With many people not having the financial or time capital to expand their homes, now we have to be looking into designing flex rooms. 

A flex room can be used in an office during working hours and can double as a guest room at other times as well as a game or playroom for kids as well. Bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms are ideal for cross use as an office as they allow for working individuals the type of environment they need to work in especially if there are kids at home. These bedrooms are also ideal for persons that may need to self-isolate if showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. 

Equipping your Home with a Decontamination Room 

We can kick things up a notch by investing in ultraviolet light incorporations for foyers or mudrooms. Ultraviolet light is currently being used in hospital settings as a means of decontaminating items. There are of course safety implications so these rooms would have to be entirely lockable if ultraviolet light will be used within. 

Equipping Your Home for Deliveries

The option is being explored to have a lockable box built into an exterior envelope on your home. This will allow delivery people to securely leave your deliveries without having to come into contact with you, your home, or vice versa. 

Considering New Materials to Use

Surfaces, paints, and other materials that can handle a lot of cleaning will now be essential. This may mean more synthetic materials than natural products. We would have to be moving away from porous surfaces such as natural stones. The move would be towards surfaces such as standard quartz which may prove more durable to repetitive chemical cleaning.  

When it comes to color, white may be better for kitchens and bathrooms which must be cleaned often. 

New technology comes at a cost. There are now door handles that self sanitize but it is still very early for residential projects. The cost of these times and implementing these new designs could add up and many people are already low on income. We see where people have had to cut costs. We now see more people planting vegetable gardens even when working with limited outdoor space. Those who don’t have space are looking towards growing vertical gardens, garden walls, and garden windowsills.

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BevonyHow the COVID Pandemic is Affecting Home Design

Housing Regulations Around the Globe

by Bevony on April 1, 2020 No comments

If you thought British Columbia had a lot of housing regulations, you are in for a shocker. Today we bring you a different type of blog post. When you learn what other places have for their regulations you will understand that BC regulations are not too extreme.

We went around the globe to see what kinds of limits have legislators have placed on potential homebuyers and renters.

Housing Regulations

We found that China and  India do not allow non-residents to purchase real estate. Now, China and India are the most populous countries in the world. Their regulations protect the residents. It also allows them a better chance of being able to afford a home whether they are renting or buying.

In Berlin, we see where they froze rental prices for a period of five years. This is a legislation that protects some 1.5 million tenants.

In the Netherlands, the law protects tenants from eviction by a renovation. This legislation requires a minimum of 70% of tenants to agree with a landlord’s improvement plans. “Reno-victions” are very popular in a number of countries. As a result, this practice often displaces tenants and disrupt their lives extremely.

British Columbia Housing Restrictions

The Most Rigorous Housing restrictions in Canada today can be found in British Columbia. You should be familiar with the speculation and vacancy tax as well as the 20% foreign buyers tax. Many people do not like these measures but when you take a look at other rules that have been mandated in other places to deflate housing bubbles you find that our rules are not that bad.

Asian countries are not giving foreign nationals the ability to invest in their land. This gives them control over their property values, preventing them from going up. This is not the case in the western world. Instead, we allow foreign nationals to purchase real estate. This, in turn, has a very big impact on the value of our property.

European countries have a number of hard caps on rent. They also have direct financial top-ups that are offered to tenants who have to pay more than 30% of their income towards housing costs.

Canadian Housing Pressures

We see where a lot of the most desirable cities in the world are facing a lot of housing pressures similar to the ones being seen in Toronto, Victoria, and Vancouver. These places are seeing skyrocketing prices in homeownership and in rent. While these prices are increasing, wages are staying the same. The government must now implement policies that will provide protection to vulnerable tenants.

The regulations and taxes that are put into place are supposed to help to ensure that housing prices don’t continue to drive up. With a sharp rise in the number of global millionaires and an increase in flights from Asian countries into Western countries, coupled with a record low on interest rates for megaprojects, we see some amount of negative effects.

Population growth is a benefit to developers. They respond to this growth by building housings to increase density. But is this the true solution? If there is a continuous flow of cash into the markets house prices won’t fall.  And that is why going through the tax system is the choice of most governments. When there is no money to be funneled into expensive areas, the market will be forced to keep prices from rising.

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BevonyHousing Regulations Around the Globe

Things Looking iffy for Luxury Builders in Vancouver

by Bevony on February 5, 2020 No comments

We are looking at New York City luxury condos that are going unsold underneath a real estate market decline. In Manhatten we see almost 50% of luxury condos built and which remain unsold up to 5 years after their build date.

The future for Vancouver is looking similar as well. In the past decade, prices have risen three times faster than those in New York. With such high prices, we find that middle-class young people are finding their dreams of owning a home are getting slimmer and slimmer.

New York Vs Vancouver

Yes, the markets in New York and Vancouver are different. But both these cities are often ranked as some of the most sought after destinations in the world. So they do have a lot of similarities, enough to make the comparison useful. East and West Coast cities are also seeing a similar downward trend.

While the luxury condos and flashy highrises in New York are staying unpurchased. We over here are seeing the same. In Vancouver, our more expensive homes are going unpurchased too. Since the peak in 2017, prices have plunged more than a quarter. Single-family high-end residences in Vancouver are also seeing a plunge in prices as sellers try to get their houses off the market.

In the past two years across West, Vancouver prices have dropped more than 25%. This municipality is known for being one of the highest per capita income in the country. Vancouver and many of its suburbs are experiencing a similar dip were in 2019, values went down more than 11%.

What it All Means

While the luxury house market in Vancouver is not as badly hit as the one in New York it is undergoing a considerable amount of struggle. We see this very evident in the Oakridge neighborhood of Vancouver alone. Hundreds of units with price tags in the millions do not have buyers. With prices over $2400 per square foot, local wage earners cannot afford to own a home. Prices like these are very common as the city becomes more and more known as one of the most unaffordable cities in Canada. The truth is that the gap between the median wages and housing costs in Vancouver is even larger than those in New York City. 

Global Real Estate Consultants at Knight Frank estimates that there will be a price fall of approximately 10% in house prices in Vancouver. So sellers stand to lose more. Even with a decrease some buyers will still see certain homes out of their reach.

What Are Your Options?

Are you a potential homeowner with dreams that are looking out of your reach right now? Why not give us a try? Let us help you make your dream a reality. We can get you a custom-built home tailored to your housing needs and your housing budget. We may not be able to get you into the fanciest neighborhood in town but we have the expertise necessary to make your dream come through.

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BevonyThings Looking iffy for Luxury Builders in Vancouver