Blog by Patricia Houlihan - Personal Real Estate Corporation

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Vancouver real estate prices seem to be staying strong

I have been surprised to see that the real estate market in Vancouver is still very hot and hasn't really slowed as would have been expected in December and January.   People keep asking me if I think it is heading for a slow down because of what has happened/is happening in a lot of the US-I answer not anytime soon and I list the reasons why.  This morning I found something that backs me up-although it is not as detailed as I would like (and not entirely accurate, especially with the comment that all mortgages in Canada are insured-they are not!). Anyhow, here it is-if you would like more information or would like to discuss, please contact me.

 

Real estate hurdles expected in 2008

New incentives launched for first-time homebuyers

Phil Dorner, Special to The Windsor Star

The meltdown of the U.S. real estate market has many homebuyers wondering if and how it will affect the housing market in Canada, but market analysts feel the problems the U.S. is experiencing should have little impact on real estate in this country.

In fact Statistics Canada recently reported that the home ownership rate stands at its highest on record. Given the combination of consistent and relatively low interest rates, the availability of longer mortgage amortizations periods, and the fact that Canada's population continues to grow, it's not surprising that more and more people continue to enter the real estate market here.

In The Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report 2008, released by U.S.-based Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers, it sheds light on some of the fundamental differences on why Canada isn't expected to experience the same downturn as the U.S. market. Interviews with real estate executives in both Canada and the U.S. help explain a few of the reasons.

In The Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report 2008, released by U.S.-based Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers, it sheds light on some of the fundamental differences on why Canada isn't expected to experience the same downturn as the U.S. market.View Larger ImageView Larger Image

In The Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report 2008, released by U.S.-based Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers, it sheds light on some of the fundamental differences on why Canada isn't expected to experience the same downturn as the U.S. market.

Canada benefits from a simpler economy and a more conservative investment environment than the United States, avoiding the consequences of lax underwriting and speculative building. Secondly, Canadian federal surpluses have given consumers more confidence which has led to increased spending on homes, retail goods and business expansion.

Another big difference has to do with mortgage loans. Unlike the U.S., the Canadian housing market has not been artificially driven by bad lending practices.

As well, all mortgages in Canada are insured which is not the case in the U.S.

This may explain why according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, MLS resale housing activity in Canada's major markets broke all previous annual records by the end of 2007. In many areas it was a sellers market with the residential average price rising 11.6 per cent. This, however, was not the case for our area.

Windsor and Essex County proved to be a soft market in December 2007 with 179 properties sold, down 17.89 per cent compared to the 218 sales December 2006, however up 1.5 per cent (4,732) for year-to-date figures. December's average sale price was $159,261 with the year-to-date figure coming in at $166,196.

It was a challenging year for our region and according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation it will continue to be so.

Full-time employment is key to housing demand so the loss of an estimated 6,300 local full-time jobs predicted is concerning, although they say Windsor unemployment is still much less than the 13-14 per cent range seen in the early 1980s.

So yes, it's likely a few bumps are still ahead, but there's good news, too! The Ontario Real Estate Association has been lobbying the government for the past five years to expand the Land Transfer Tax refund. This newest incentive should help make homebuying a little more affordable.

For complete details on changes to the LTX refund, the new GST reduction and other incentives available to hombuyers, contact any realtor member of The Windsor-Essex County Real Estate Board.

More now than ever is the time to seek the professional services of a realtor to take advantage of WECREB's market power including access to all the MLS services this organization has to offer.

Phil Dorner is president of the Windsor-Essex County Real Estate Board. Phone 519-966-6432.

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