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An interesting report release by the BCREA today predicts a rise in home sales in 2011. Though their forecast for this year shows a 7% decline compared to 2009, they expect to see a 5% rise in 2011. Stating a slowly falling number of listings heading into the second half of the year (which, while contrary to many media, is quite accurate), it looks like the current Buyer's market may be shorter-lived than originally thought and balance could be restored by early next year.

Read the full article below:

For a PDF version of this news release, including data table, follow this link:

For immediate release

BC Home Sales to Rise in 2011  
BCREA Housing Forecast Update - Third Quarter 2010

Vancouver, BC – July 30, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its Housing Forecast Update for the third quarter of 2010 today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to decline 7 per cent from 85,028 units in 2009 to 79,500 units this year, before increasing 5 per cent to 83,400 units in 2011.

“The volatility in consumer demand characteristic of the past 24 months is expected to give way to more gradual improvement through 2011,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Housing demand has fallen back to earth from its break-neck pace at the end of 2009 and is expected to more closely match overall economic performance over the next 18 months.”   

“A larger inventory of homes for sale has created the most favourable conditions for home buyers in more than a year,” added Muir. “However, the buyers’ market is expected to be short-lived as total active listings peaked in May and are beginning to wane, with more balanced conditions set to emerge in the fall.”

The average MLS® residential price is forecast to climb 6 per cent to $492,800 this year and remain relatively unchanged in 2011, albeit declining by 1 per cent to $489,500.

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Vancouver, BC – June 14, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 4 per cent to 7,950 units in May compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province declined 11 per cent in May from April 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 7 per cent to $498,294 in May compared to the same month last year.

“A slower pace of home sales combined with an increase in the inventory of homes for sale has quelled upward pressure on home prices,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. A total of 54,362 MLS® residential listings were recorded in May, up 26 per cent from January on a seasonally adjusted basis. “Moderating market conditions in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria are reducing the number of multiple offers as a greater selection of homes for sale lessons competition amongst home buyers,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 50 per cent to $17.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales rose 31 per cent to 34,619 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 14 per cent to $505,468 over the same period.

For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, follow this

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Article from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver...

The Greater Vancouver housing market experienced increased activity in April thanks to a steady balance of home buyers and sellers entering the marketplace.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 3,512 in April 2010, the fifth highest-selling April on record. The figure represents an increase of 18.5 per cent compared to the 2,963 sales in April 2009; 9.1 per cent more than April 2008’s 3,218 sales; and 3.7 per cent more than April 2007’s 3,387 sales. April 2010 sales also represent a 12 per cent increase compared to last month.

“We’re in the midst of another strong spring season thanks to high levels of activity on both the buyer and seller side of our market,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said. “The number of homes coming on the market has increased significantly in recent months, which is providing a healthy level of choice for those looking to buy during this busy period.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 7,648 in April 2010, a 64.5 per cent increase compared to April 2009 when 4,649 new units were listed, and a 9.2 per cent increase compared to March 2010 when 7,004 properties were added to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).

At 15,901, the total number of property listings on the MLS® increased 17 per cent in April compared to last month, and is up 11 per cent compared to this time last year.

Over the last 12 months, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased 18.9 per cent to $593,419 from $499,021 in April 2009.
“It was at this time last year when home prices in our region began their recovery from the declines that occurred during the recession period,” Moldowan said.

Sales of detached properties in April 2010 reached 1,370, an increase of 15.1 per cent from the 1,190 detached sales recorded in April 2009 and a six per cent increase from the 1,293 units sold in April 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 21.2 per cent from April 2009 to $818,403.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,526 in April 2010, an increase of 29.4 per cent compared to the 1,179 sales in April 2009 and an increase of 15.9 per cent compared to the 1,317 sales in April 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 16.9 per cent from April 2009 to $397,779.

Attached property sales in April 2010 totalled 616, an increase of 3.7 per cent compared to the 594 sales in April 2009 and a 1.3 per cent increase from the 608 attached properties sold in April 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 16.4 per cent between April 2009 and 2010 to $502,399.
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Article by Anna Vozza in the Vancouver Sun...
Selling your home may be difficult, considering that you must open your doors to potential buyers. Your privacy and security may become an issue when showing your home to buyers, so it is important to consider all your options before you welcome someone into your home.

For many individuals, it is very important for them to protect their privacy, while others are simply concerned that buyers will make assumptions about them and judge them instead of simply judging their home. However, the importance of protecting your privacy is all the same and that goes for anything personal from financial information, such as check books to banks statements and personal letters.

Private documents: Is it snooping to open a drawer? Not if the drawer is part of a built-in such as a kitchen cabinet or a dining room china cabinet. Buyers can innocently tug on a drawer to inspect its construction or depth and find important documents that you might not intend for anyone to see. If you have a lock on your file cabinet or desk drawer, now is the time to use it.
Don't leave mail where anybody can find it. Lots of sellers leave piles of opened mail neatly stacked on the kitchen counter. Buyers could find out how much you owe department stores or other credit cards. They can tell if you're late on your mortgage payments or other bills.
Remove diplomas and wedding photos from walls: Remove personal effects from your walls. From diplomas and religious artifacts to wedding certificates and personal photos, don't provide buyers with any personal information about yourself or your family. De-personalizing is also an important move to make when staging your home for sale anyway, so you can actually accomplish two things by removing the personal effects from your home.
Wedding photos might give away the seller's religion, as do certain religious artifacts left in the home. Buyers can be prejudiced. Don't give buyers a way to form any opinion about you at all. Don't let buyers form ideas about you from the type of music you like or the literature you read.
Don't leave your computer up and running during showings. Gaining personal information from your computer takes only moments for a professional hacker or thief, so be proactive and shut your computer down before your guests arrive.

Before you put your home in the market, prep it, empty out drawers, stage closets and pack up anything remotely personal including medications. Disassociate yourself with your home - remind yourself that it is a house - a product to be sold on an open market that is bound to see plenty of new faces throughout the term of the selling process.

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Interesting thoughts on HST from Mark Fidgett...

H.S.T. will apply to realtors’ services for work done after July 1, 2010. The full 12% H.S.T. will apply on listings that start after July 1, 2010.
The confusing part arises when work is done on listings that commence prior to July 1, 2010, and the house sells after July 1, 2010.
For situations like this, the realtor must determine what percentage of the work was performed prior to July 1, 2010 and what percentage is performed after. Generally there are two ways to measure the work that was performed. A realtor can use the number of days after July 1 as compared to the number of days prior to July 1. Alternatively, the realtor could use the actual work performed. There is nothing expressly in the transitional rules on this but we have checked with Revenue Canada on their helpline on H.S.T. (1 800 959 8287). It was confirmed to one of my lawyers that the realtor, in calculating the percentages, would have the discretion to choose either the number of days listed or actual amount of work done, as long as it was a reasonable determination.
If the realtor determines that 90% or more of the services are performed before July 1, 2010, the H.S.T. will not apply. G.S.T. will continue to be charged at 5%.
For example, a listing commences June 1, 2010 and the realtor performs the initial work in taking the listing, placing it on MLS and all of the other functions. A Contract of Purchase and Sale is negotiated and subjects are removed prior to July 1, 2010. The Completion Date is July 2, 2010 at which point the commission becomes due and payable. Using either method of calculation more than 90% of the realtor’s services were performed prior to July 1, 2010. Thus only the 5% GST would apply on the commission.
If the realtor determines that less than 90% of the services were performed prior to July 1, 2010, the services and the resultant tax on the commission will have to be prorated as per the work that was performed. Let’s use two examples.
There are two different listings with the same realtor. The vendors are different but both are listed June 1, 2010 on MLS.
On the first listing, an offer comes in quickly and there is an accepted offer by approximately June 10. The Vendor is unable to vacate for a considerable period of time and therefore the Completion Date is September 1, 2010. In this example, the realtor would choose the actual amount of work done option which would be reasonable as most of the work would have been done in June prior to July 1, 2010. Therefore most of the commission would be subject to GST only.
For the second listing, a Contract of Purchase and Sale has its subjects removed on July 2, 2010 but the Completion Date is July 10, 2010. In this example, the realtor would in all likelihood choose the actual number of days listed option so that only about 25% of the commission would be subject to H.S.T.
Note that in any issue with taxes Revenue Canada may argue that more taxes ought to have been charged. Realtors should ensure proper notes and documentation is kept so that they can support their position of the percentage that was charged.
written by: Mark Fidgett An independent Mortgage Specialist associated with the Verico Mortgage Network
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