BC’s housing market has been on quite the run over the past 18 months. The pandemic and monetary policies that were influenced by the economic uncertainty pushed home prices up significantly, as demand continued to outpace supply. Most of the primary market drivers remain in place, and though the summer months have been relatively quiet compared to the beginning of 2021, the fall housing market could have more movement in store for buyers in BC.
BC’s pre-construction market should continue to be busy this fall, with buyers looking to lock in low interest rates with a relatively small initial deposit. In city centers and the suburbs alike, interest in new builds has surged in recent months.
There are many reasons why new developments in BC are becoming more attractive, especially in regards to their flexibility. In most cases, presale properties can take years to build. This gives first-time buyers the opportunity to save more for a down payment, and current homeowners the time to renovate or fix up their existing home for sale. With many homeowners being wary about selling their homes during the pandemic, investing in a prebuild has been an attractive option here in BC.
Though much of the talk for the last few months has been about the cooling of Canada’s real estate market, a lack of supply has been one of the main drivers of the declining month-over-month sales numbers. A decline in new listings on the national level has left buyers with limited options to choose from, which could drive prices higher as more buyers enter the market. CMHC has stated that the annual pace of housing starts slowed in July, another indicator that supply may not be able to keep up with demand in the coming months. A limited supply continues to be one of the main stories in BC, and a potential fourth wave could keep more sellers on the sidelines if last year’s selling trends continue. More COVID-19 cases could potentially mean fewer sellers in BC.
You will not see many people calling for a market correction as long as interest rates remain where they are, and the Bank of Canada has indicated that a rate hike is not coming in 2021. When the cost of borrowing remains low, activity typically remains high. As we head into the fall and winter months, low interest rates should continue to drive buyers to search for homes in BC.
In the CBRE’s Global Living Report last year, Hong Kong ranked as the most expensive residential market globally and the third most expensive city for renters. Vancouver is a top destination of choice for the roughly 300,000 Canadian passport holders who live in Hong Kong, and new buyers from this part of the world can be expected in the months to come. Hong Kong’s expensive real estate market gives Canadian sellers in Hong Kong enough capital to enter BC’s hot market, which could drive prices in the province even higher. We’ll be monitoring this trend closely throughout the fall and winter months.
Though the current immigration targets set by the government of Canada aren’t yet being fulfilled, there’s reason to believe that numbers could begin to increase. Canada has set a goal of welcoming 400,000 immigrants per year through 2023, or 1.2 million people in total. New immigrants often settle in major cities like Vancouver, which would have a ripple effect on BC’s real estate market. New renters mean higher rents and a busier rental market, leading to more investors purchasing condos in city centers in BC. Average rents in Canada have been rising for three consecutive months in a row, with Vancouver having the most significant annual increase for apartments and condo rentals, up 19 percent in July.
Tourism workers, hospitality workers, and students will also have an impact on the rental market, as they return to city centers to be close to work and school. Together, these conditions should attract more investors, as they are signs of a stabilizing rental market in BC.
At the beginning of 2021, it was common to see single-family detached homes for sale receive offers numbering in the double-digits, in some cases with no subjects. Though things have changed since then, BC buyers and sellers can still expect to see competition from other quality offers. While fairly priced homes will still likely sell for their asking price, the good news for buyers is that they won’t be competing with dozens of offers in most cases. Adding subjects should also not be a deal-breaker in BC’s real estate market this fall, giving buyers the confidence that their purchase will not be a disappointment.
Low interest rates, low inventory, and high demand were the story of BC’s real estate market throughout the pandemic, and none of those conditions have changed going into the fall. A Leger study conducted on behalf of RE/MAX Canada at the beginning of the year indicated that over 50 percent of Canadians viewed real estate as a top investment option. That optimism should continue across BC, regardless of a fourth wave. If interest rates remain depressed - as the Bank of Canada has indicated - we should be in for steady prices and sales throughout the end of the year.
Though unforeseen circumstances will always come into play, a correction this fall seems unlikely at the current moment. The conditions that accelerated BC’s housing market over the past year and a half continue to put pressure on buyers, and limited supply should maintain the current seller’s market conditions for the province’s foreseeable future. Those hoping for a change of pace may have to wait longer as BC’s housing market continues to push to new heights in 2021.
Almost exactly four years after the 10-lane bridge project to replace the George Massey Tunnel was cancelled, the BC NDP provincial government signalled today it is proceeding with revised plans for a new immersed tunnel crossing.
The new toll-free tunnel is currently expected to carry a $4.15 billion cost, with construction beginning in 2026 for completion in 2030.
In contrast, the previous 10-lane bridge project carried a $3.5 billion budget, although the provincial government received bids as low as $2.6 billion. At the time of cancellation in 2017, it was just months away from commencing construction, and had it followed the original timeline, it would have reached completion in 2022. This cancelled project cost, funded by tolls, also included extensive upgrades to 24 km of Highway 99 and major new interchanges.
For the immersed tunnel option chosen, two side-by-side tubes will each contain four vehicle lanes, with two lanes dedicated for bus rapid transit. A smaller third tube with a width of five metres will be dedicated for pedestrians and cyclists.
The new tunnel will have a depth equal to that of the existing tunnel to meet navigational requirements in the Fraser River, and to reduce construction costs. It will have a length of 1.054 km, with 660 metres being the immersed tunnel segment under the river.
The footprint of the new tunnel will be upstream from the existing tunnel, which will be removed between 2030 and 2032.
Along Highway 99 between the south end of Oak Street Bridge and Delta, $6 million will go to a new Bridgeport Road bus-only lane for completion by 2022, $88 million will go to an expanded Steveston interchange by 2025, $7 million will go to off-ramp widening on Highway 99 and Highway 17A, and $36 million will go to bus-only lanes on the shoulder along segments of Highway 99. Construction on some of these supportive projects on the highway corridor will begin later this year.
In its analysis, the provincial government also explored the option of an eight-lane, long-span bridge but determined it would cost $4.22 billion, about $70-million more than the immersed tunnel. However, it would be ready for use two years earlier, with construction beginning in 2024 for completion in 2028.
The immersed tunnel has a longer implementation timeline than the long-span bridge, partially due to the requirement of performing a new rigorous environmental assessment.
The immersed tunnel was chosen after municipalities north of the tunnel opposed the previous concept for a 10-lane bridge by the previous BC Liberals government. After consultation with municipalities, Metro Vancouver Regional District, and TransLink, a business case supporting the immersed tunnel was finalized in Fall 2020.
“A new crossing to replace the George Massey Tunnel will improve traffic flow and make travel by transit, walking and cycling more convenient and attractive, without costing commuters hundreds of dollars a year in unfair tolls,” said Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure this is the right project for the region, and along with the other Highway 99 improvements getting underway, we͛re getting people moving around in the region.”
This past spring, the provincial government submitted the business case to the federal government for a draft funding request.
Fleming says the provincial government’s discussions to date with the federal government to cover a share of the construction cost have been “very productive.” He described the route as a “nationally significant trade corridor,” specifically noting that it is just as important as the $3.8-billion Gordie Howe Bridge from Windsor to Detroit and the $4.2-billion Champlain Bridge in Montreal, which both received significant federal funding.
A replacement for the 1959-built, four-lane tunnel is necessary not only to reduce congestion and introduce goods movement but also to provide the highway corridor’s critical crossing with the latest seismic design standards. On an average day, the existing tunnel sees about 80,000 vehicles per day.
“I’m so pleased to be a part of this announcement and see this project move forward to support our communities and economy. A new George Massey Crossing will deliver significant benefits for Delta residents and the entire region by addressing the traffic congestion along the crucial Highway 99 corridor,” said George Harvie, mayor of Delta.
“Advocating for an infrastructure project of this magnitude and scope requires collaboration, and today’s announcement reflects the collective effort and support of mayors and First Nations Chiefs in the region. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the provincial government in advancing this critical infrastructure project to help improve the movement of goods, people and overall liveability in the region.”
Early discussions in the rebooted planning process for the replacement crossing contemplated incorporating rail transit capabilities.
But according to the provincial government, bus transit will be more than sufficient to serve the 60-year ridership demand on the highway corridor. Rail transit has also not been identified as a priority for TransLink.
Planners believe bus rapid transit can better serve the dispersed populations in the South of Fraser communities, and services can be routed through these communities linking to the Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station.
“We did do a SkyTrain-like rail investigation, and we found that RapidBus created more flexibility and capacity for more ridership growth because the destinations vary differently. A fixed line did not provide the kinds of flexibility, it wasn’t the appropriate technology for this project,” said Fleming.
With that said, the aforementioned bus transit upgrades for the Highway 99 corridor are a downgrade from what was planned under the cancelled project. Instead of grade-separated bus transit flyover serving both Highway 99 directions between Oak Street Bridge and Bridgeport Station, ensuring optimal reliability, the revised plans now call for a ground-level bus lane only for the southbound direction from Bridgeport Road, with a signalled intersection where the bus lane meets both Sea Island Way and a bike lane.
The bus-only lanes on the shoulders of Highway 99 are also a drastic downgrade from the proper full lanes for the exclusive use of buses down the existing median of the freeway, with bus rapid transit stops at interchanges.
On top of the upcoming Highway 99 corridor upgrades, the provincial government recently completed $40 million in interim upgrades to the existing tunnel to improve its usability for the remainder of its lifespan, until the replacement tunnel is ready. This includes new LED lighting to improve visibility, and upgrades to ventilation, electrical, and drainage systems.
Affordable housing is the sweetener for a massive neighbourhood redevelopment in Port Moody and a third SkyTrain station for the city could be the kicker.
On Tuesday (July 20), Port Moody council gave third reading to changes that would — if given final adoption — allow Edgar Developments to build 2,053 units of housing on the Woodland Park property currently housing 200 older rental units on sloped land near Clarke Road.
What moved many councillors to approve the plan for 24 acres at 1142 Cecil Dr. and 300 Angela Dr. — despite significant neighbourhood opposition — was a proposal for 325 units of affordable rental housing, the largest provincial investment in affordable housing for the Tri-Cities in decades.
Only Port Coquitlam, with a 302-unit affordable housing project in the works has something equivalent, with its Kingsway Avenue project soon to be underway.
The Woodland Park non-market housing, backed by $140 million from BC Housing on five acres of land provided by the Edgar group, would be built first in the staged development.
It would “Increase Port Moody’s social housing supply by more than 50% and represents one of biggest investments the provincial government has ever made outside of Vancouver,” council was told by Keir Macdonald, CEO of the Phoenix Society, and a 10-year PoMo resident.
B.C. Housing Minister David Eby backs the affordable housing plan for Port Moody, commenting on CBC News it would be a “litmus test” for working with municipalities.
Mayor Rob Vagramov called on council to push now for SkyTrain as the project has significant provincial interest and more development pressures are coming for the west side of the city.
Vagramov said the city needs to find out what it would need to do — including obtaining money from future development — to get a third SkyTrain on TransLink’s radar.
He said such a study was necessary to “help him get to a place of third reading.”
Council agreed, as long as it didn’t tie up the Woodland Park development process.
Information on a third station, where and what it might cost could be available as soon as the new year.
The Woodland Park project drew one of the largest public engagements for the city in recent memory with a nearly four-hour public hearing and more than 100 pieces of correspondence.
But despite concerns raised about traffic and increased density — and a no vote from Coun. Steve Milani — council agreed to send the proposal to a fourth reading, likely this fall.
Approval will also allow the Edgar group to provide reduced community amenity contributions owing to significant contributions toward affordable housing and park amenities.
Many who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting were unhappy with that deal. However, the developer originally wanted to be exempt from providing the contributions.
As for a third SkyTrain station, it’s not unprecedented for a city to lobby for another station, with contributions from developers. That’s what the city of Coquitlam did to obtain the Lincoln Station outside Coquitlam Centre shopping centre.
For the developer, Tuesday’s agreement means it can continue to work on its development and although fourth reading is not guaranteed, council’s vote gives it some comfort that it’s on the right track.
“We are very happy that the city of Port Moody has demonstrated its support for affordable housing in their community,” said Peter Edgar, president of Edgar Developments, in a statement to the Tri-City News.
“Our partnership with BC Housing can serve as a template for how to bring together different housing options in one location, while rejuvenating a neighbourhood over time. I want to thank Council, staff, BC Housing, and everyone who has supported this project.”
In addition to 325 units of non-market rental housing, the proposal will provide 1,596 strata units and 132 market rental units, along with child care with 93 spaces, 19,000 square feet of retail space and 8.1 acres of parkland, trails and environmental preserve.
Your new trees will increase your property value, help the environment, provide shade and insulation for your home, and make your neighbourhood more livable. Each tree planted contributes to growing the urban forest and increases tree canopy coverage across the City.
All trees are $20. Our new online tree store will open at 9:00am on August 18:
You will receive an emailed confirmation of your order as well as a reminder prior to pickup on September 12 at the Surrey Operations Centre (6651 148 St, Surrey, BC V3S 3C7).
Sale opens September 29 at 9:00am, and all pickups are on Sunday, October 24 at the Surrey Operations Centre (6651 148 St, Surrey, BC V3S 3C7). A link to the store will be added to this page.
For help placing your order, call 604-501-5100.
For general inquiries, cancellations, and refunds, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your order number if you have placed an order.
Metro Vancouver’s* housing market saw more moderate sales, listings and pricing trends in July compared to the heightened activity experienced throughout much of the pandemic.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,326 in July 2021, a 6.3 per cent increase from the 3,128 sales recorded in July 2020, and an 11.6 per cent decrease from the 3,762 homes sold in June 2021.
Last month’s sales were 13.3 per cent above the 10-year July sales average.
There were 4,377 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in July 2021. This represents a 26.4 per cent decrease compared to the 5,948 homes listed in July 2020 and a 25.2 per cent decrease compared to June 2021 when 5,849 homes were listed.
July’s new listings were 12.3 per cent below the 10-year average for the month.
The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,850, an 18.5 per cent decrease compared to July 2020 (12,083) and a 9.1 per cent decrease compared to June 2021 (10,839).
“Low housing supply remains a fundamental factor in Metro Vancouver’s housing market,” Stewart said. "Home sales remain above average and we’re starting to see price increases relent as well. Going forward, the supply of homes for sale will be among the most critical factors to watch. This will determine the next direction for house price trends."
For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for July 2021 is 33.8 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 25.5 per cent for detached homes, 47.8 per cent for townhomes, and 37.3 per cent for apartments.
Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,175,500. This represents a 13.8 per cent increase over July 2020 and is unchanged from June 2021.
Sales of detached homes in July 2021 reached 1,050, a 6.3 per cent decrease from the 1,121 detached sales recorded in July 2020. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,801,100. This represents a 21 per cent increase from July 2020 and is unchanged from June 2021.
Sales of apartment homes reached 1,666 in July 2021, a 19 per cent increase compared to the 1,400 sales in July 2020. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $736,900. This represents an 8.4 per cent increase from July 2020 and a 0.1 per cent decrease compared to June 2021.
Attached home sales in July 2021 totalled 610, a 0.5 per cent increase compared to the 607 sales in July 2020. The benchmark price of an attached home is $949,400. This represents a 16.7 per cent increase from July 2020 and a 0.3 per cent increase compared to June 2021.
*Editor’s Note: Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, South Delta, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Whistler.