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Posted: 09/02/2015 4:21 pm EDT Updated: 09/02/2015 5:59 pm EDT 

Metro Vancouver's sky-high real estate prices continued to rise in August, with much higher sales than normal for the summer month, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.


The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 17.5 per cent from the year before, to nearly $1.16 million.


In some neighbourhoods, prices rose even more sharply: East Vancouver, parts of Burnaby, Tsawwassen and Ladner all saw prices rise more than 20 per cent on single-family detached homes over the past year.


Overall, sales were 28 per cent higher than the ten-year average for August, according to the board.


"There was no summer lull in our market this year," said Darcy McLeod, board president, in a release. "[Buyers] are motivated, but they're competing for a smaller supply of homes for sale than is typical for this time of year."


The one part of the region that saw falling prices was Whistler, where the benchmark price dropped 0.5 per cent last month, and prices for apartments have fallen 21.6 per cent in the past five years.

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Open House

Greg Quinn and Ari Altstedter, Bloomberg News | August 26, 2015



The Bank of Canada will cut interest rates at its Sept. 9 meeting, National Bank Financial says, becoming the first major bank to call for a cut amid signs market turmoil threatens an economic recovery.

Speaking by phone from Montreal on Wednesday, economist Paul-Andre Pinsonnault predicted Governor Stephen Poloz will cut the policy rate by a quarter point to 0.25 percent next month, matching a record low set in 2009 during the global financial crisis.


The odds of a September rate cut have risen to 31 percent from 18 percent a week ago based on trading in swaps markets. Signs of global economic turmoil are being seen from falling stock market and crude oil prices to the weakest Canadian dollar since 2004.


“If over time the international situation improves and Canadian skies clear, the Bank could always withdraw some of its accommodation,” National Bank Financial economists wrote in a research note Wednesday. “Better one rate cut too many than sorrow for not having acted sooner.”

The government’s ability to offer quick fiscal stimulus is limited by campaigning for a federal election on Oct. 19, the report said.


After the September announcement, the Bank of Canada’s next rate decision is scheduled for Oct. 21.

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Postponing buying a home in Greater Vancouver over fears (or hopes) of a price crash? Mortgage expert Atrina Kouroshnia goes over the pros and cons.


August 18, 2015

Real estate in Vancouver is pricey and getting more so by the minute, with few signs of slowing down. In fact, prices have doubled in Vancouver in less than a decade and continue to rise.


A lot of Vancouverites have postponed homeownership not because they can’t afford it, but because they’re concerned about (or waiting for) a house price correction. Meanwhile, they’re paying rent each month while their peers who own homes are building equity so they can eventually upgrade in the future and will be mortgage-free when they retire.


Here’s a look at the reasons to stay on the fence and keep renting versus entering our hot real estate market.

Reasons to Get Into a Hot Market

One of the major downsides of postponing homeownership is not being able to afford the property in future that you can afford now. Many of the people who sat on fence about buying in the Greater Vancouver area a few years ago can no longer afford the home they could have bought, not to mention the thousands of dollars they’ve spent on rent. There’s no reason to think that will change any time soon – so the longer you wait, the further you get left behind, and you’ll end up paying off your landlord’s mortgage for the rest of your life instead of your own. What’s more, rental prices in Vancouver are skyrocketing too, and rental vacancies are extremely tight, so renting is no longer a cheap or secure option.


If you buy a home, even in the unlikely event of real estate prices subsequently crashing, with the equity you are creating and current low rates, you could still break even on your housing costs when you consider the amount you would have paid every month in rent. Plus eventually the market will go back up again – it’s only a temporary loss of value and is only a problem if you wish to sell before the price has recovered. (And the chances of a major crash are low, according to all the market indicators and economic forecasts.)

Reasons to Sit on the Fence

There is only really one situation where it makes financial sense to continue renting, and that is if buying would truly stretch your finances to the point where you wouldn’t be able to deal with an emergency like a job loss or a major repair bill. If that’s the case, and there’s definitely no option for you to buy a home at a lower price that doesn’t stretch your finances, then you should save what you can and wait until you’re more stable financially, and then buy. Many people take pride in owning a home and making it their own, but there are additional costs that aren’t associated with renting such as maintenance, strata fees and the potential for special assessments, and you do have to be able to pay for them.


Each individual’s financial situation is different, so even if you’re not sure about buying, go to a mortgage broker to go over your budget and fully understand what you can afford based on your income and expenses (here’s the useful expenses worksheet I use with clients). Your broker can run different scenarios to show how different rates, terms and amortization schedules would impact your monthly payment. Then you can make a fully informed decision about whether it’s time to buy instead of waiting for a crash that may never come.

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