Beyond Supply And Demand Or Just New Phraseology?

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has recently launched a new way of looking at our Canadian housing markets. I believe that this is a reasonable attempt to try to put some perspective on whether markets are ‘bullish’ or ‘bearish’. In their Quarterly Housing Market Assessment (HMA). To quote “(It)…considers four factors to assess the evidence of problematic housing market conditions: overheating; acceleration in the growth of house prices; overvaluation; and, overbuilding.” So far reasonably understandable and not too emotive, with the possible exception of ‘overheating’. That’s what grandma does when she’s cold but, do remember that from her perspective the ‘over’ doesn’t apply and it is just ‘heating’. They then categorise the 15 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) as Strong, Moderate or Weak.

Now here is where a new set of definitions – some not articulated – can lead to conveniently exaggerated conclusions. A Vancouver Sun columnists’ article early in November drew the following conclusions – I quote –

“The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has finally determined that Vancouver’s real estate prices are ‘overvalued.’ The housing corporation has consistently refused to peg the sky-high housing market on the west coast as excessively frothy or due for correction. It contends that underlying fundamentals justify and support Vancouver’s crazy housing prices and, earlier this week, CMHC officials asserted the region offers a range of affordability in its housing stock.”

That column continues… “For a lot of folks here, incredulous at bidding wars and lineups for pre-sales, that might seem an understatement. The activity around real estate in Vancouver, for many, reflects a state of madness involving deferral of all of life’s other temptations for the sake of owning some bricks and mortar.”

The use of ‘crazy’, and ‘mayhem and jostling’ ‘a state of madness’ and similar terms in this article, I do find difficult to deduce from the CMHC assessment headed  “Vancouver: Weak evidence of problematic conditions”. The descriptor Weak, defines 8 of the 15 CMAs. There are 3 Moderate [Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec] and 4 Strong [Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon]. Please visit the Vancouver Sun article at  “Hous­ing cor­po­ra­tion ac­knowl­edges some ex­cess in hous­ing prices”.

I add this question to those posed in last month’s Update. Will our city continue to be the envy of the world, hence keeping pressure on prices in the most desirable locations?

As I write this we are approximately seven weeks away from Christmas and therefore close to eight weeks from the end of 2015. We have a new government and, yes, our data is giving us a good read on the annual outcome!

November 2015 Numbers

North Van detached homes sold are up 19% from last year, attached (t/hses) up from last year by 37% and apartments up 44%. The detached median price is up 21% and inventory is down 16% from 2014. Median prices (t/hses) up 5% and up 5% for (apts) too. Inventory (t/hses) down 16% from Oct 31st 2014 and (apt) down 18% from last year for the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for Oct 31st 2015 is up by 29% from last year at that time. Median price of what has sold is up 23% from last year and inventory now down 24% from Oct 31st 2014. On the condo side, attached (t/hses) sold by Oct 31st 2015 are up 45% from 2014. Active listings are up 13% year over year. Apartments reflect 180 sold in 2015 vs. 161 in 2014 (up 12%) – median price now up 9% and active listings down 12% from Oct 31st 2014.

November 2015 Podcast

North Shore Real Estate Radio

On an ongoing basis I pledge both my continued personalized service and a commitment to my reduced  business ecological “footprint”. A significant part is the radio (podcast) library which I’m continually creating. All North Vancouver Real Estate “Updates”, reports and information articles, checklists etc. will be archived on my website and available for download or desktop listening 24/7. You can access the information you seek when the spirit moves and not when someone pushes yet another flyer into your mailbox. I am most excited about these developments. Input as to the topics for “programming” you feel would be of interest is strongly sought. Please e-mail. This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call me 604 988-7368 and 1-800-665-1455. Click on the “Podcast” Icon in the top right of this article to listen now.