Maggie Prince



Happy new year! As we head into 2018, let’s take a quick look back at the trends from last year in the real estate market.
November and December were busy months, although December sales did drop off a bit, as is typical for that time of year. Still, December activity was well above the 10-year average for that month.
The main change in 2017 was the pricing increase. By the end of the year we were back to a balanced market for detached homes; nonetheless, region-wide they experienced an eight percent increase year over year.
The big news was the condo and townhouse market. As people scrambled to get into something before they were priced out of the market entirely, demand drove up the price of strata properties. Region-wide, townhouse pricing was up 18 percent, and condos a whopping 26 percent. Definitely a seller’s market for them!
Let’s have a look at a couple of specific markets: the benchmark price of a typical home in Coquitlam in December was $1,282,000 (up 14 percent over the year); townhouse $662,600 (up 21.1 percent); condo $502,900 (up 33.9 percent). In Maple Ridge, benchmark for a detached home was $827,000 (up 16.8 percent); townhouse $527,500 (up 27.3 percent); condo $282,200 (up 35.5 percent).
Proportionately, prices went up more in Maple Ridge than in Coquitlam, as people from other areas of the Lower Mainland rushed to scoop up that area’s (relatively) inexpensive real estate. As a result, prices in that market are now becoming more reflective of regional pricing. We see the same trend as we head out into the Fraser Valley; prices in Mission, Abbotsford and Chilliwack are up, too.
For 2018, new developments now in the planning and construction phases will mean an increased supply of condos and townhomes. That should help to ease the demand for those properties. An increase in mortgage rates could cool the market a bit, as well as the new lending restrictions that came into effect at the beginning of the year.
If you’re planning to buy or sell this spring, I advise you to be ahead of the curve, and do it sooner rather than later. Spring typically brings more activity, so whether you’re buying or selling, that means more competition.
If I can help in any way, please let me know!





November 2017

September 2017

May 2017

March 2017

January 2017


The high price of detached homes has created a stable, balanced market for that real estate segment, but condos and townhouses are still a seller’s market, with the number of recorded sales well above average this fall.
October was very busy, after the federal government announced at the middle of the month, a tightening of mortgage lending rules for uninsured mortgages.
Changes have been made previously to tighten up the rules for buyers who require an insured mortgage with an agency like CMHC, because they have less than 20 per cent to put down.
These new changes will impact everyone else… people who are likely already in the market and have a down payment of 20 per cent or more to apply to a new purchase.
As of January, these buyers will have to meet the qualifications for the current five-year rate, or the contract rate plus two percent, whichever is higher. The new rules will also require lenders to tighten up the formula that they use to qualify borrowers.
At this point, this new ‘stress test’ will not apply to home owners renewing their uninsured mortgage with their existing lender, or for those who borrow from a credit union.
Home owners that move to a different lender will be treated as new borrowers and will have to qualify at the higher, stress-test rate, adding hundreds of dollars to the amount of income needed to qualify for most mortgages.
This will likely lead to less shopping around for the best rate, as buyers opt to maintain the status quo and stay with their current lenders.
If you will be shopping for a new mortgage that will be in place in 2018, I recommend doing it early to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Traditionally November and December are slower months for real estate, but these new rules will likely stimulate sales, as buyers rush to beat the new qualification levels.
If you would like more information on this, or the market in general, please let me know. I’m just a quick email or phone call away.




The volume of home sales in British Columbia is forecast to end the year down 10 percent from 2016, but still well above the 10-year average.
The BC Real Estate Association expects 100,900 units to be sold through its MLS system this year, down from a record-breaking 112,209 last year.
Despite the decline, sales are well above the 10-year average of 84,700. For 2018, the association expects sales to remain elevated with a forecast of 99,000 sales.
Growth in employment, migration from other provinces and the aging of the millennial generation have increased demand for housing, but the limited supply of homes for sale is causing prices to rise significantly in many regions, particularly in the Lower Mainland condo market.
First-time home buyers led a surge in demand over the summer in the condo and townhouse market, causing intense competition and multiple offers across the region.
The number of condos sold last month, compared to the number of units actually available, was 76.3 percent, driving prices up. As a comparison, the sales-to-active listings ratio for townhouses was considerably behind that, at 44.8 percent, but definitely still a seller’s market.
Sales of detached homes, on the other hand, have entered a more balanced market, where supply and demand are more in sync; the sales-to-active listings ratio is just 16.3 percent.
In this more balanced market, buyers of detached homes have a little more selection to choose from, and generally a little more time to make their buying decisions.
Prices of detached homes have moderated from the wild increases we were seeing, although they are still inching up.
The average price for a home is expected to rise by 3.5 percent in 2017 and then pick up pace to 4.1 percent in 2018.
If I can help you in any way - either selling your home, or helping you to find a new one - please give me a call. I would love to hear from you!




Spring continues to be busy in the real estate world… there are lots of buyers scrambling to get into the market now, but not a lot of new listings for them to choose from.
In my office alone, there’s been a handful of new listings in the past couple of weeks, with nearly 10 times as many sales. No wonder buyers are having such a challenge!
Home prices escalate or moderate in response to consumer demand. No surprise there, and you don’t have to be an economist to know that when demand is high, so are prices. When the ratio between the number of home sales and the number of active listings surpasses 20 per cent, industry analysts describe it as a seller’s market.
For March this year, though, that ratio was more than double that… it was a whopping 47.2 per cent, leaving no doubt that sellers are firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to determining house prices in today’s market.
I think it will be quite some time before we see a moderating of prices, so my recommendation to potential buyers is get out there and do your best (and make sure you have a good realtor working for you, to let you know about all the brand-new listings as soon as they hit the market).
If you’re thinking of selling your home, I would love to hear from you. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised to learn what your home is worth right now. This is a great time to sell, especially if you’re planning to downsize or move out of the area.
Part of the conversation about escalating prices blames foreign demand for driving up prices, and while I do think that’s a contributing factor, it’s not the only one.
You’ll recall that the provincial government introduced the 15 per cent Foreign Buyer’s Tax last fall in response. They modified that tax a month or so ago, to make it fairer for foreign nationals that wish to make Canada their home, rather than just purchase here.
Those people must apply to the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, and receive confirmation of acceptance in order to qualify. The buyer must be a confirmed B.C. Provincial Nominee before the title changes hands and the property must be used as a principal residence.
Further, this exemption may only be claimed once. If the foreign national purchases another property, they will pay the additional property transfer tax.
For more information on the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, visit




The snowy conditions this year have meant a slower start to real estate sales, certainly very different from the crazy pace of last year’s market.
Market activity in January and February was more in line with the average for those months, but the big change between this year and previous ones is the jump in real estate prices. Driven up the high demand throughout most of 2016, prices of detached homes, townhouses and condos are up considerably from where they were.
We often refer to benchmark prices when we talk about real estate values. Put simply, the Housing Price Index is used to determine the sale or benchmark price in a certain area for a general property. It is considered a typical sale price and doesn't take the lower or higher-end properties into account.
Here are some benchmark prices for February, for different parts of the the Lower Mainland, as well as the increase from this time last year (in brackets). The first price is for detached homes, then townhouses, then condos:

Fraser Valley: $859,300 (+20.4%); $422,400 (+ 25.2%); $267,000 (+ 26.5%)
Coquitlam: $1,120,800 (+11.3%); $527,200 (+11.8%); $359,100 (+14.9%)
Port Coquitlam: $860,000 (+10.7%); $535,100 (+15.7%); $319,400 (+ 21.2%)
Pitt Meadows: $771,500 (+21.0%); $480,000 (+24.8%); $310,000 (+ 22.2%)
Maple Ridge: $710,400 (+22.8%); $395,600 (+26.5%); $209,100 (+22.2%)

Some the largest increases are in communities a little further out, that have traditionally had more affordable pricing because of their distance from Vancouver. People have been travelling farther in search of affordable housing, and that has forced prices up as far out as Chilliwack.
Townhouse and condos have had some of the most robust gains, as new buyers rush to get into the real estate market, before being priced out of the market altogether.
For new buyers, just a heads-up that rates for high-ratio mortgages (purchases with less than 20 percent down) will be going up effective March 17, 2017, when CMHC raises their lending rates.
For people that already own real estate and are thinking of selling, I suggest you move quickly to beat the spring rush. There are buyers out there looking already… why wait till everyone else lists their home, when you have more competition for those buyers?


The year-end stats are in now, and no surprise that 2016 was one of the busiest years on record. March had the highest sales ever recorded by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver!
According to the Board, there was a 17.8 percent annual increase in market value of properties across the Metro Vancouver area in 2016.
A market where supply and demand are relatively balanced is described by a sales-to-active-listings ratio of between 12 and 20 percent, but in last year’s sellers’ market, that ratio soared to a whopping high of 70.3 percent!
Fortunately, things have settled down now, and that ratio is more like 27 percent.
The government has taken various measures to try and mitigate the soaring house prices, like introducing the foreign buyers tax and raising the eligibility threshold to receive the homeowner’s grant.
One of the measures that I’m encouraged by is the introduction of the BC Home Loan program, which offers matching funds for first-time homebuyers, to help them come up with the minimum five percent down payment required to purchase a home.
The loan is interest and payment-free for five years, on homes valued at $750,000 or less. Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and have a combined annual income of less than $150,000.
Young millennials now have a helping hand to get into the real estate market, an important step when you consider that’s where previous generations created much of their net worth.
Trouble is, many of those millennials have given up the dream of ever buying a home, thinking they could never save enough money for a down payment. To them I say, “Start saving now! It’s a great way to get ahead. Maybe mom and dad can even help a bit.”
If they can come up with 2.5 percent of their purchase price, this new generation can also become homeowners. And, in five years time if they have enough equity in their home, I suggest they consider selling, repaying the loan in full, and going into their new home purchase without the extra debt.
I’ve been very fortunate to have helped several of my clients’ children get into their first homes. I love the young people’s energy and enthusiasm, and am grateful for those referrals.
If you know a young person who would like to buy, please have them give me a call. I’m happy to answer their questions and walk them through the process, one step at a time.

The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.