What’s Going on in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Market?

Is the Fraser Valley real estate market about to experience “fading momentum” and “some cooling” in the second half of 2021? After posting record gains over the last 15 months, including in May, it is widely anticipated that the housing sector in Fraser Valley and outside the Metro Vancouver area will begin to witness a decrease in sales activity and a slowdown in price growth.

While demand has not diminished, new housing inventories are popping up across Fraser Valley. In fact, homebuyers have witnessed a dramatic increase in new real estate supply this spring; welcome news in this competitive market.

Despite this easing of tight supply levels, valuations and transactions ballooned over the month of May in the Fraser Valley real estate market, suggesting that the momentum only seems to be growing stronger! Hardly the “cooling” that homebuyers hoped for.

Let’s take a peek at what happened to close out the typically busy spring real estate season.

What’s Going on in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Market?

According to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), residential sales soared at an annualised rate of 267 per cent in May to 2,951. This represented the ninth consecutive month of gains and a record high for the month of May. Month-over-month, housing transactions slipped two per cent.

Fraser Valley real estate prices continued to balloon both year-over-year and month-over-month in May:

Single Family Detached: $1,323,300

  • YoY: +33.6 per cent
  • MoM: +2.3 per cent

Townhomes: $670,000

  • YoY: +20.7 per cent
  • MoM: +2.7 per cent

Apartments / Condos: $488,500

  • YoY: +12.6 per cent
  • MoM: +2.0 per cent

The housing industry in the Fraser Valley has endured the same developments as other places in the province of British Columbia and across other Canadian real estate marketslimited supply and strong demand.

New residential listings in Fraser Valley advanced 78 per cent year-over-year to 3,926, while active listings tumbled nine per cent to 5,868. The average number of days it took to sell a single-family detached home was 14. Townhomes took 12 days, while apartments took 20 days to sell.

“Demand hasn’t changed. What’s changed is supply. In the last three months, buyers have 40 per cent more inventory to look at in the Fraser Valley and it’s allowed them to take back a little control,” said Larry Anderson, president of the FVREB, in a news release. “We’re seeing resistance to multiple offers and buyers adjusting their offers, or even waiting, because they have more selection. We’re a long way from a balanced market, but supply is helping us to head in the right direction.

Could fresh housing stocks be coming to the region? In Chilliwack, the principal municipality in Fraser Valley, housing starts rose 122 in May, up from 98 at the same time a year ago, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). In the first five months of 2021, housing starts have surged 651, more than double from 2020.

Vancouver Real Estate Fire Spreads Across British Columbia

Across British Columbia, housing markets are trending at levels unseen in many years. A substantial number of these places are indeed experiencing the same fundamentals of shrinking supplies and growing demand. But where is the demand coming from? Vancouver.

It turns out that the province’s real estate market is attracting homebuyers who were unable to tap into the Metro Vancouver area, whether it is because properties became too expensive or young families no longer wish to reside in an ultra-dense municipality (instead craving the larger living space found in suburban and rural properties). Whatever the reason is, households are setting homebuying sights upon communities outside Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver Area. From Okanagan Valley to Victoria to Fraser Valley, the entire British Columbia real estate sector has turned into an attractive alternative for Canadians attempting to turn their dreams of homeownership into a reality.

For example, an FVREB survey conducted between December 2020 and February 2021 found that nearly 13 per cent of recent homebuyers say they were originally from Vancouver. This is up from 9.16 per cent the same time the previous year.

“Anecdotally, what I’m hearing from my colleagues is, yes, not only are they seeing buyers move from Vancouver out to the Fraser Valley, but if they have listings in the valley, and [they have] multiple offers, they’re seeing a lot of those offers are coming from Vancouver realtors,” said Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) president Chris Shields in an interview with Business in Vancouver.

But with reports that the Vancouver real estate market is beginning to slow down, with some properties selling below asking price, will this trend start to reverse as we approach the fall of 2021? Industry observers are keeping a close eye on homebuyer movement to better predict the fate of the Vancouver housing market.

For now, whichever ultra-hot BC housing market you’re navigating, make sure that you have a trusted, experienced REALTOR® by your side, because trust us, it’ll be a scorching summer for Canadian real estate!

If you’re selling your home, are you allowed to ask prospective purchasers to show proof of vaccination before opening your door to them? And as a homebuyer, must you oblige? We asked Canadian real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder, Senior Partner at Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP, to weigh in on these issues.

Proof of Vaccination Requirements Taking Effect Across Canada

Canadian provinces are starting to roll out their “proof of vaccination” plans, requiring patrons of non-essential indoor establishments – such gyms, sporting events and restaurants – to show that they’ve received the jab. Manitoba and Quebec were the first to institute policies, followed by British Columbia on September 13 and Ontario on September 22. Meanwhile, officials in New Brunswick, P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon Territory have confirmed that they, too, will likely follow suit.

What Are Your Legal Obligations When Engaging in the Canadian Real Estate Market

As Canada grapples with the fourth wave of COVID-19 and further lockdowns unlikely (at least, for now), many are now wondering what their legal rights are with respect to proof of vaccination requirements when engaging in the Canadian housing market, either as a homebuyer or seller.

Can a home seller require prospective buyers to show proof of vaccination before granting entry into the listed property?

“In my opinion, the answer is yes, subject to any real estate board rule about showings,” says Weisleder. “If the board rule specifically does not require this, then the home may not be permitted to be shown on the board MLS system.”

Ask your realtor or contact your provincial real estate board to see if they have any specific policies in place concerning open houses, private showings and vaccine passports. Below are some quick links that may be helpful:

Weisleder adds, “Practically speaking, I question whether a seller understands that this may in fact cause many buyers not to want to even see the property.”

Is requiring proof of vaccination enforceable? And if so, by who?

“If permitted by the board rules, a seller can authorize the listing brokerage to ask for proof of vaccination, similar to rules about wearing masks and gloves that have already occurred,” Weisleder says. As calls for “vaccine freedom” get louder, Weisleder says he’s not aware of any legal implications on the seller’s part, resulting from requesting proof of vaccination.

Are there legal obligations to comply, on the part of the buyer?

“If those are the terms, the buyer can comply or just refuse to see the home,” Weisleder says.

With that being said, Weisleder wonders if proof of vaccination is even necessary, given the Canadian real estate industry has continued to operate safely through COVID-19.

“Real estate agents have already been very successful in making showings safe, during the entire period of the pandemic. This is the real story,” says Weisleder.

As we navigate this every-changing landscape, it’s not uncommon for questions to arise about vaccine passports and Canadian real estate. Ultimately, consumers should feel safe and comfortable when deciding how to show and view homes. Whether that means requiring proof of vaccination or not, discuss your concerns and possible solutions with your real estate agent. Remember, this might be the first time you’re buying or selling a home during a global pandemic, but if you’re working with an experienced realtor, they’ve likely done this many times in the last 18 months, and have a feasible solution that puts your safety, needs and goals first.

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