A Knuckle Rapping For Venturing An Opinion

Yes, I always receive a consensual vote on all my suggestions  –  notttt !  Someone penned an unflattering commentary on what, they were convinced, was my political defection to their averred ‘dark side’ [my words]. So in order to restate that which I might have stated in a more euphemistic manner, I’ll attempt to clarify my position.

Foreign investment in Vancouver’s housing stock and certain negative outcomes might have been avoided (or impact diminished), had intelligent discussion been encouraged. How did Australasian policy become just that bit more “protective” of the citizens of the antipodean sector of the Western World than we are witnessing here? Was the decision a wise one to allow the foreign investor  citizen-like access while eschewing any serious vetting of the source of the proceeds flowing into our Province (mainly Metro Vancouver) OR at a minimum, undertaking competent record keeping. In a passionate desire to “not offend” and thereby miss a portion of the foreign investment monies, may we have created a monster totally insensitive to, or uncaring of, our citizens’ housing needs. One of the names for that many headed monster is “reduced affordability”, another may well be “shrinking accommodation (or housing stock)”.  Any elected government/governor that totally ignores opinions of, not only their “opposition” but also bodies such as business trade associations and skilled practitioners cannot be totally surprised that the provincial electorate may point accusative fingers at those ‘governors’. Sad that one such business trade association has now been singled out for significant blame by the current governor/s. Overall government competence does not turn on merely one aspect of the challenges a jurisdiction faces but SOME collegial cooperation may be part of good governance.

Before we embark on the “figures” part of this monthly treatise, I want to make an observation sensed by not only this scribe but by many of my associates. Overall listings for sale (inventory) is starting to increase, not necessarily in every jurisdiction and not for all housing types. As Supply edges upward we should see some easing in the frantic need to “win the race at all costs” i.e. the overly prevalent ‘Bidding wars’ of late. This will be followed with keen attention.

June 2016 Numbers

Now to the YTD figures, or 5/12ths (with only weeks to the 2016 halfway-point) of this year so far. The general direction of 2016 seems set. North Van detached homes sold are 704 vs 697 last year on a YTD basis, attached (t/hses) up from last year by 6% and apartments up 21%. The detached median price is up 30% and inventory is up 3% from 2015. Median prices (t/hses) up 29% and up 12% for (apts). Inventory (t/hses) down 8% from  May 31st 2015 and (apt) down 13% from last year for the same date.

In West Van, detached number of sales YTD for May 31st 2016 is up by 23% from last year at that time. Median price of what has sold is up 42% from last year and inventory now up 6% from May 31st 2015. On the condo side, attached (t/hses) sold by May 31st 2016 are down 23% from 2015. Active listings at 60 are down by 24% from last year at May 31st (79). Apartments reflect a 30% increase in 2016 vs.  2015  – median price for (apts) sold increased by 6% for this period.