2019 property assessments will reflect BC's shifting housing markets

Gladys Abbott
January 6, 2019

"All markets were relatively strong as of July 1 2018, including single family, condominiums, and commercial properties".

While prices for detached properties in many neighbourhoods on Vancouver's West Side have declined to levels not seen since early 2016, the affordability crisis is far from over, said Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University's City Program. The board's composite benchmark home price (all property types combined) ended 2018 at $1,032,400, a 2.7 per cent decrease from that of December 2017.

"As 2018 has progressed, demand and home prices have now softened across all market segments and local geographies".

Transactions totalled 1,072 last month, tumbling 46.8 per cent compared with December, 2017.

Of the nine properties that also appeared in last year's top 10, only one has gained in value in that time - third-placed James Island, a private Southern Gulf island.

Condo prices were down 0.6 per cent from November 2018, while townhome prices fell 1.1 per cent month-over-month.

The total number of homes sold in Metro Vancouver in 2018 fell to its lowest level since 2000 as detached home prices fell almost eight per cent over the course of the year.

"As the total supply of homes for sale began to accumulate in the spring, we began to see downward pressure on prices across all home types throughout the latter half of the year", said Moore. Benchmark prices fell significantly by 7.8% for single-family detached homes throughout 2018, but condominiums saw an uptick of 0.6% during the same period, with most of the gains neutralized by a decline of 6.4% since June 2018.

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Looking at our most immediate neighbours, Quesnel's average value went up eight per cent and Wells went up 11 per cent, to the south; Vanderhoof went up three per cent and Fraser Lake up 17, to the west; McBride dropped by one percent but Valemount jumped 18 per cent, looking east; while Mackenzie and Chetwynd both held even, to the north.

Still, housing in the Vancouver area remains unaffordable, he said.

Sales of attached homes such as townhomes, rowhouses and duplexes in December 2018 totalled a mere 189 across the region, a 49.1 per cent plunge from December 2017 and down 32.9 per cent from November 2018.

New Westminster is still a star performer in the condo market, with benchmark prices up 7.4 per cent year over year, followed by Tsawwassen (+6.5 per cent) and Ladner (+5.8 per cent).

The top six highest-valued properties in the province saw exactly the same ranking as previous year, and there was just one newcomer in the top 10 (3489 Osler St., Vancouver, ranked ninth).

Home prices vary widely in different areas throughout the region.

That's not the case for those at the lower end of the market, he said - those sellers need to get their equity out of their home in order to move to another property or community.

The Property Assessment Review Panels are independent of BC Assessment, and are appointed annually by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

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