2017 has been a year to remember in the local real estate market. This year, price records were smashed and previous price highs of 2016 became like distant memory. Years like this have become common in Metro Vancouver. In the 25 years I’ve been selling homes, I’ve seen 9 years that I can recall that did not have a “spring market”. If prices are going to increase in any year, it’s going to happen in the spring. Since 1992 there has always been a spring market price except for 1996 to 2001 and then 2009-2010 and 2012. In reality, the years since 2001 have been one long real estate party aside from a few years after the financial crisis of 2008. The run up in Metro Vancouver real estate prices has been nothing short of extraordinary, some might even say unimaginable. However, we are a global city, desirable and respected. We enjoy a great climate, fabulous scenery and a great outdoor experience, in addition to excellent big city amenities like restaurants, entertainment and cruise ship terminals. That’s what makes the region attractive to people from all over the world and Canada itself. Prices of any asset depend on supply and demand. Demand is high and supply is short. And it’s not just international demand. People from all over Canada are coming here to find work, retire, enjoy the scenery and they all need a place to live. In fact, projected population growth in Metro Vancouver is expected to be 30,000 new residents per year until 2040. As I’ve pointed out before, our region is bordered by ocean, mountains and the ALR (agricultural land reserve). We literally can’t grow “out”. We have to densify existing land supply. Coquitlam, for example, is looking at densifying one of it’s oldest neighbourhoods, Central Coquitlam. Last year, the Maillairdville area was up-zoned to allow multiple housing choices on formerly single family residential lots. The Housing Choices Plan, implemented by Coquitlam allows for carriage homes, duplexes, fourplexes and lots as narrow as 33 feet. Central Coquitlam, home to some of the areas finest neighbourhoods will see a similar transformation over the next 2-3 years. Port Coquitlam now allows carriage homes on most lots. Port Moody will be transformed over the next 10 years as St Johns Street and surrounding areas have been up-zoned to allow for apartments and townhomes.
What does this all mean for land values, and detached homes in particular? In my opinion, if population growth projections are accurate, land values and detached home values will increase. In some areas, of Coquitlam, an 8,000 sq ft lot that is suddenly able to support a fourplex will be in high demand, and there are plenty of 8,000 sq ft lots in Central Coquitlam. Look for housing to get more expensive.
November 2017 Highlights
The real estate market in the Tri City area was once again the tale of two markets. Detached home prices softened while attached home prices remained high or increased, depending on where you were. One trend that was seen across both attached and detached markets was a reduction in inventory levels as homeowners held property off the market. Declining inventory is typical for this time of year but buyers do find it frustrating.
Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody detached markets all got tighter as sales increased month over month and inventory levels fell.
Port Coquitlam sales were down 21% in October over September.
Port Moody, a smaller housing market, saw a 47% increase in detached home sales while attached home sales were up 42%.
The most active price range was $1M to $1.5M in Coquitlam, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam.