Real estate numbers are up in the country thanks, in part, to the west coast. A recovery in the real estate market in British Columbia has increased overall numbers across the country. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) statistics for November show a marked hike in property sales. CREA says most of the good news can be attributed to a rallying market after last year's dismal numbers.
Stricter rules are set to come into effect regarding the west coast speculation and vacancy tax. British Columbia is expected to raise the tax from 0.5% to 2% before the new year. The tax affects foreign owners of real estate, satellite families -- those who don't report the bulk of their income on Canadian tax returns. The provincial finance minister said the provincial tax was introduced on Dec. 31, 2018, to offset what was then considered to be a real estate crisis in British Columbia.
It seems that students who come to the country from abroad for their educations are having an impact on the housing situation. Many international students flock to British Columbia and the latest data regarding real estate deals shows their pull on the industry. Each student pays about $12,000 a year for housing with foreign student enrolment in the province skyrocketing 300% over the last decade.
With home prices the way they are, more and more sellers are having to get innovative to sell their properties. That is especially true when it comes to high-end real estate. A couple in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley got creative recently to sell their multi-million dollar home, which had been sitting on the market for some time.
Even though residents of the Pacific Province continue to love their R&R, sales are down when it comes to recreational homes. In fact, recent statistic show the sales of recreational property in British Columbia are down more than 22% over the same time last year. Low inventory, however, has been keeping prices steady.
Buyers are finally getting a break when it comes to purchasing a home. There are more affordable homes on the market when it comes to residential real estate in Kelowna, British Columbia. Despite other areas still feeling the slump, homes in the $500,000 area or less are beginning to move again by an increase of about 10% as opposed to the same time last year.
Would-be purchasers of real estate always face the tough decision about when to make an offer on a property. Some British Columbia residents might think there is a best time to buy or sell real estate, but the truth is, the market doesn't really work that way. There will always be some uncertainty in housing markets and forecasts are just that -- forecasts. It is true there are times when prices ebb and flow, and if someone finds the perfect property for his or her situation, waiting to make an offer in case the price might fall is not necessarily the wisest idea.
Vancouver mansions are being rented out to students for what amounts to a paltry pittance. There is nothing in real estate law that says anyone has to charge a certain rate for rentals, and rooms in some of British Columbia's most luxurious homes are being rented to students. But when the upwards of $1,100 for each room is added up, landlords aren't doing too badly. Students, however, aren't complaining.
One of the nation's leading lending institutions says the housing market is not in as rough shape as many people believe it to be. BMO's CEO said the bank has seen continual growth in British Columbia as well as in other provinces, territories and even Stateside, where it's expanding its footprint. When it comes to real estate, the bank has seen healthy growth in people seeking mortgages, despite the naysayers who believe market activity is declining.
The federal Liberal government hopes its 2019 budget paves the way for more people to be able to afford homeownership. Buying real estate for the first time in British Columbia has been unattainable for many due to the federal government's mortgage stress tests rules. However, the new budget, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will help keep some purchasers' monthly payments lower by advancing them up to 10 per cent of the purchase price of a home. Buyers will need to have at least 5 per cent of the home's price as a downpayment.