The Metro Vancouver resale real estate market is primed for a comeback!

Never have we seen the market with sales and listings numbers like we are experiencing right now. Even with monthly sales below that of a typical May and the 10-year average, fundamentals shown by new and active listing counts that there is significant confidence. And with sales in May 44% above those in April, it’s not a slumping market, but one with a gasp of breath! Ask REALTORS® how many multiple offers they have experienced in the last month. Supply is the story!

The market is always right—supply and demand ultimately dictates it and the recent intervention on the demand side by the provincial government through taxes and the federal government through the stress test only serve reduce prices significantly in the high end for those the government wanted out of this market and prevent home buyers from getting into homes in the bottom end—affordability has not improved and will not get any better without a serious look at the supply side.

Supply Side of the Equation Continually Ignored!

Supply of homes will continue to be an issue without being addressed by government at all levels. With increased taxes, costs and restrictive zoning, developers are pulling back and we’ll see a lack of new supply and especially the right supply in the next 2 to 3 years. That coupled with low resale inventories now, significant pent up demand, a growing population and Metro Vancouver being a region where people gravitate to, the cycle will continue with demand outstripping supply and prices rising.

When you look at the numbers, we’ve seen 3 previous significant slow downs in Vancouver real estate. During 1997 to 1999, 2008 to 2009 and 2010 to 2013 home sales in Greater Vancouver persisted below 2,000 units. In each of those first two periods, there were over 20,000 listings and close to it in the last. This recent slow down we’re seeing the market struggle to get over 15,000 active listings—at a time when the overall housing stock is at it’s highest!

The lack of homes listed during one of the slowest markets we’ve encountered in 30 years shows that sellers are not looking to “panic sell”—some will sell out of need and agree to prices below what they would like, others will hold and wait.

There is confidence in the Metro Vancouver real estate market—with more buyers and fewer sellers, it will lead to stabilization in the market.

We may be seeing prices bottom out in the lower and middle end of the market, but there are still great opportunities for buyers, but they are diminishing.

Since Dexter Realty released Kevin’s analysis of recent sales data, news outlets are taking note and the story being told is starting to change. The Daily Hive has already posted their own article on Metro Vancouver’s real estate, drawing heavily upon Kevin’s expertise. The the Vancouver Courier, Business in Vancouver and Western Investor have done articles as well. We won’t be surprised to see even more outlets following soon following suit.

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The speculation and vacancy tax is a key measure in tackling the housing crisis in major urban centres in British Columbia, where home prices and rents have skyrocketed out of reach for many British Columbians.


The provincial government is taking action because people who live and work in B.C. deserve an affordable place to call home. This new annual tax is designed to:


  • Target foreign and domestic speculators who own residences in B.C. but don’t pay taxes here
  • Turn empty homes into good housing for people
  • Raise revenue that will directly support affordable housing


The tax applies to residential properties in Capital Regional District (Victoria), Metro Vancouver Regional District excluding Bowen Island, Village of Lions Bay but including the University Endowment Lands and UBC, City of Abbotsford, District of Mission, City of Chilliwack, City of Kelowna and West Kelowna, City of Nanaimo and District of Lantzville


The tax will 0.5% for 2018 and 0.5 for Residents of British Columbia and Canadian Citizens and 2% for Foreign Nationals in 2019 and going forward from there.


All residential property owners on title in designated taxable regions of B.C will have to complete an annual declaration for the Speculation and Vacancy Tax to claim any relevant exemptions. Where there are multiple owners of a home, a declaration must be completed by each owner.


For more information and exemptions see the link below: 

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/speculation-and-vacancy-tax


Vancouver Empty Homes Tax


  • The City of Vancouver Empty Home Tax "EHT" became effective January 1, 2017. The Empty Home Tax is applied annually with the first taxation year beginning January 1, 2017. The tax for 2017 was payable by April 2018. The tax rate is 1% of the assessed value based on the assessment in the year the tax is paid. For 2019 the tax if applicable will be due by April 12, 2019.

  • The EHT does not apply to a home used as a principal residence or is subject to a long term tenancy agreement of at least 180 days accrued in a calendar year with a minimum of 30 day terms for the tenancies.

  • There are various exemptions for the EHT for situations such as major renovations, major illness, death of the owner, ownership of the property changed curing the previous year, strata rental restrictions that were in place prior to November 16, 2016, homes used for work orders, homes subject to a court order. Explanations for these can be found on the City of Vancouver website https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/will-your-home-be-taxed.aspx
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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.