Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Canada strength at risk from U.S. slowdown

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund believes the risks to the Canadian economy from the U.S. housing slowdown remain a threat to recent strong growth rates, according to a report on Tuesday.

"The strong recent performance of the Canadian economy is likely to continue, although growth risks are tilted to the downside given the possibility of a larger-than-expected U.S. slowdown," the IMF said in an annual assessment of the Canadian economy. Full Article.

Buyer's Market Sets In - Lower Mainland Housing.

By Jeff Nagel Black PressFeb 11 2007

Lower Mainland home sales were down again in January while the number of real estate listings was up and prices tended to either hold steady or sag.

New statistics released for last month by area realtor groups continue the recent trend of softening home prices and less of the frantic buying pace seen up until last summer.

The average length of time to sell a home climbed from 49 days a year ago to 58 days last month, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported.

“Buyers are realizing they have an increase in home selection and are taking more time when making a decision to buy,” said president Rick Valouche.

New listings were 17% higher than a year ago in Greater Vancouver and 14% higher in the Fraser Valley. Sales in January dropped 6% and 14%, respectively.

“We’re currently seeing double-digit increases in both our new and carried-over listings inventory, a continuation of the trend started last September,” Valouche said.

A typical detached house in Greater Vancouver sold for $641,600 in January –– down from $643,800 in December and off from a peak of around $650,000 last fall.

The benchmark price is still up 13.5% from a year ago.

Typical attached homes and apartments edged up slightly to $411,500 and $332,500 respectively.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said median prices for detached homes dipped to $450,000 from $455,000 in December. That’s still also up nearly 13% from a year ago.
Median apartment prices in the Fraser Valley edged up 0.5% from December to $190,000 and median townhomes climbed 4.7% to $300,000. Link.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Home Sales drop 14% YOY in the Fraser Valley

FVRB notes drop in January sales
Feb 11 2007

"Multiple Listing Service sales and listings were down in January, over the same month last year. "

"According to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board the total number of sales processed in January was 1,001, a decrease of 14 per cent compared to the same month last year when 1,165 sales were processed. However, it is an 18.8 per cent increase compared to the 842 sales processed in January 2005. "

"New listings in January increased by 14 per cent compared to 2006. As well, the Fraser Valley MLS saw an increase in the number of expensive properties listed. "

"More than 75 single family homes listed at one million or more entered the Fraser Valley market in January, says David Rishel, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. "

“There is also a range of choices for average home buyers, with almost 600 homes valued between $250,000 and $500,000 listed last month.”

"The Board received 2,425 new listings in January compared to 2,127 during the same period last year, bringing the total active inventory in the Fraser Valley to 6,099, an increase of 29 per cent over last year. "

"The average price of a single-family detached house in the Fraser Valley in January was $494,177, an increase of just over 11 per cent compared to the same month last year. In January 2006, the average price was $444,771. "

"Townhouses sold for an average of $302,591 in January, an increase of 16.2 per cent from 2006 when they sold for an average of $260,445. The average apartment price went up 18 per cent in one year, from January 2006’s average of $169,473, to $199,995 in 2007. "

A Home's Real Value

We obsess too much about whether our houses earned or lost value and ignore the longer view our elders took.
By MARK POTHIER February 11, 2007

"These days, people tend to think of houses as places to stay while waiting to go somewhere else. Maybe they anticipate corporate headquarters moving jobs out of state or fear layoffs will arrive with the next quarterly report. Maybe a marriage has started to fray. Perhaps they covet a bigger house with more amenities. Judging by the displays at Home Depot and Lowe's, everyone seems to require the same gleaming appliances, stone counters, and hangar-sized bathrooms. But to homeowners of my in-laws' generation, the attachment to where they lived was as secure as a foundation. Houses were not acquired primarily for investment purposes or seen as banks to tap for debt consolidation and cars. They would not have considered buying one with the idea of “flipping” it for profit. And the only growth trends they followed were their children's and, later, grandchildren's, with each additional inch of height etched in pencil on a wall. But they also bought during a time when prices were modest, job security was the norm, pensions were still intact, and marriages usually lasted longer than the mortgage. Home ownership was less complicated then." Full Article.

Fraser Valley RE Board wants housing taxes lowered.

Taxed through the roof
By Monique TammingaTimes ReporterFeb 11 2007

"Is it time for governments to start cutting some slack on overtaxed home buyers? "

"The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board thinks so. "

"Anyone looking to buy the average-priced home in Langley Township ($530,000) is going to pay $8,600 in property transfer tax (PTT) to the province, up front. "

"If that person is looking to buy a new home, the buyer will also pay $31,000 in GST to the federal government. " Full Article.


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