Bob Moore

Real estate is better with Bob

call: 604-506-8965


call: 604-506-8965


The Greater Vancouver Market - Spring 2019

A general sales decline for all home types over the past 9 months with soft buyer demand has led to a decline in home all prices since summer 2018.

Detached home prices softened more and are now off from peak pricing by 15%  to 25% depdending on the area and on the price range. Peak pricing in the detached maket was during the summer 2017. Peak pricing in the attached home market was spring 2018 and prices are now off by about 10% since then.

Downward Pressure on Prices?

Strict mortgage lending requirements

New real estate taxes

High home prices

Global change, concern about trade, tariffs

Despite the very low total unit sales during late 2018, the total number of listings then was remarkably steady. Spring 2019 is seeing a nomal and expected increase to the total listings supply. With fewer buyers transacting, sales volumes are only moderately improved in early spring 2019 and it remains a buyer's market even with a normal supply of listings.

With the price compression occurring in the market, buyers can qualify for mortgages which they could not qualify for a year ago. Federal Gov’t mortgage stress test still an inhibiting factor.



Rising Construction Costs

The cost of new construction is on the rise, labour, materials and financing rates. New real estate taxes only add to the cost of real estate in BC. A slowdown in the pre-sales condo market is resulting. If the pre sales condo market were to remain slow, some developers indicate they will either slow down or defer launching some projects.


Consider a typical new built condo in Vancouver costing about $750,000 to an end user,. The total amount of tax paid on this purchase price is almost 30% including GST to Ottawa, Property Transfer Tax to Victoria and all the fees and taxes developers pay to municipalities. The City of Vancouver ask developers to pay $300 per buildable square foot in "community assessment contributions". No wonder new condo buildings downtown are being marketed at $1800 per square foot!

Average Home Price

The biggest change that has occurred in our market is the mix of homes which is selling. Sales of high-end luxury homes are very slow with few sales to report compared to several years ago. To calculate the average home price, just take the total dollar value of all homes sold and divide it by the total number of homes sold. With fewer expensive homes selling, the average price of sold homes has to be significantly lower. It’s an irrelevant number for 95% of us.

1911 - RJ McDougal, writes about Greater Vancouver Real Estate 

“Land prices are high, it is said, higher than anything would warrant. ’Why, the workingmen cannot afford to pay at the rate demanded for these tiny outside lots,’ asserted one man recently. The same thing was said here twenty years ago, answer the pioneers; others of us know that it was repeated ten years ago and five years ago, and our children and our children’s children will hear the same tale of woe decades hence.”

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Bob Moore



About Bob:

Vancouver Real Estate Development & Changes – Sept 1, 2018

Here’s an interesting City of Vancouver link taking you to all the rezoning applications. Zoom in, move the map around to see the various applications for proposed and approved condo or townhouse developments. If you are a property owner, it’s important to know what’s going on around you.

You’ll also see a link to plans for the Arbutus Greenway, reimagining historic rail transportation, cycling, walking and rolling.

Change is the Name of the Game

Greater Vancouver has changed a lot in the past 10 years and we are going to see even more change in the next 10 years as municipalities gear up for increased housing density including new purpose-built rental buildings. From listening to presentations from the GM of Planning for Vancouver and all 3 North Shore Mayors, changes to land use, planning and development will continue.

Changes to Land Use

  • Vancouver is studying the Broadway corridor as far west as Vine Street and from W 2nd up to W 16th Ave much like they did the Cambie corridor as part of the Millennial Line Skytrain expansion.  Opportunity?
  • Vancouver is proposing a change to all RS zoned houses, allowing for conversion to a duplex or triplex and the possibility of strata title. There are about 65,000 RS zoned homes in Vancouver. Opportunity?
  • Earlier this year, Vancouver previously enacted changes for pre-1940 built single-family RS zoned houses, if they have character merit, allowing for greater density and strata titling if converted to a duplex or triplex. Opportunity?
  • North Vancouver and Burnaby are both very busy with changes to land use, master planned communities and new development.
  • West Vancouver, the only municipality with a declining population, knows they have some catching up to do regarding land use changes in order to address the needs of citizens who need to downsize and prefer to remain in the District of West Van.
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Sometimes the market changes on a dime, that happened just this month. 

The market for all property types and for all price ranges under about $ 3million is basically flat! There is also some softness to pricing in some but not all situations. I do not expect prices to rise anytime soon. 

Condos and townhouses are experiencing mostly balanced market conditions now, however, that is not what the statistics say. The stats say its still a sellers market, but that is not what public sentiment says. For the time being, public sentiment is winning out.  

Take a look at the sales figures below over the last 3 years. It looks like 2018 will see even fewer sales than was reported in 2017. Before you guess that it must be the absence of forieign buyers, that's only partially true. What's having the biggest effect is the mortgage stress test which took effect this year. The the banks are bound to follow the new mortgage stress test rules. This is the one government policy change that is having the largest effect on the market this year.  

All the BC Government's new taxes and policy changes are mostly affecting the very high end of the real estate market. However, BC's unpopular and widely misunderstood "Speculation Tax" has succeeded in creating confusion, unknowns and uncertainty and that is not usually good for markets. 


Detached Houses:




Vancouver West Side




Vancouver East Side




North Vancouver




West Vancouver













Vancouver West Side




Vancouver East Side




North Vancouver




West Vancouver













Vancouver West Side




Vancouver East Side




North Vancouver




West Vancouver














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Forces keeping home prices in check:


  • Existing High Prices
  • Rising Interest Rates
  • A mortgage lending Stress Test designed to ensure new mortgagees can afford rising interest rates
  • The Vancouver Empty Homes Tax
  • The BC Provincial Government stating that they want to see prices not just soften, but fall!
  • A speculation tax in the recent BC Provincial Government aimed at curbing real estate price growth by taxing homes not fully occupied or rented out
  • The new school tax on properties valued over $3 million, really just a wealth tax. Unpopular with the pensioners for starters
  • Increasing capital controls by China limiting money coming out of mainland China; hindering foreign buyers
  • The 20% foreign buyers tax applicable to Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Nanaimo and Victoria area, also hindering buying


Forces driving the market forward starting with the 3 most important:


  • Increased immigration, up from 250,000 per year to 330,000. The Gov’t of Canada plans to welcome 980,000 immigrants between 2018 to 2020 and Greater Vancouver tends to get a disproportionate share of the wealthier immigrants
  • Demographics which show that the Millennial generation has now surpassed the baby boomers in total numbers and they are now entering their prime household formation years
  • An interest rate environment that remains moderate to low
  • Our low Canadian dollar
  • Rising construction costs and competition for labour amidst the on going building boom ensures all new built homes will remain expensive
  • BC having the strongest economy in Canada with low unemployment
  • BC’s vibrant hi-tech sector and film industry lures many well paid young professionals to the province
  • Growing political uncertainty in China, which has been the major source of the foreign capital invested in BC real estate to date, a surge will happen


Government Policy

Federal policies may well eventually overwhelm anything done at the Provincial or Municipal levels. While the strongest forces against the market are driven by government policy, so are most of the forces that are driving the market forward. Of course, the most powerful force is generated by supply / demand economic fundamentals.



Doing something about affordability is not unique to BC. A similar discussion is going on in many coastline cities around the world. 


Municipalities are struggling to keep up. In Vancouver, even though the zoning allows for the conversion of many detached houses into ½ duplexes or even 3 unit conversions with an infill coach house or laneway house, the permit approval process for these conversions is sufficiently slow that it’s impacting the supply of these highly in demand and much needed properties.


2018 Spring Market Conditions

This spring, condo and townhouse prices have risen on strong demand and low supply. This trend appears poised to continue although sales volumes are moderating and so are price increases. Detached house values on Vancouver’s west side are down by about 15%. North Van and East Van are slightly down. 


CIBC issued a report saying that the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next in Canada over the next 10 to 15 years is estimated to be $750 billion. Well, that’s a lot of shekels going to about 5 or 6 million people, which won’t hurt demand!


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What to Expect in 2017!

In 2016, we had a record breaking first half of the year and then a shift in the opposite direction for the last half. In Greater Vancouver there were 26,439 properties sold in the first six months and 14,441 sales in the last six months of 2016. So while demand declined through the last half of the year, an accumulation of listings for sale did not happen. 


Greater Vancouver is Very Much a Regional Market

Not just in regional or geographic terms but by price range and by home type. Vancouver is a diverse market with all types of housing and prices ranging very widely. 


Here is my Prediction for 2017 

Supply to remain restricted and that will change very slowly. Detached housing will continue its gradual decline leveling off in the spring, but not really reaching a balanced market. Strata title properties to experience strong demand with price increases due to short supply. BC's economy is strong and diverse. Constuction is booming.  With 300,000 immigrants entering Canada each year, most end up in Ontario or BC. There is little any government can do about property prices in Greater Vancouver without increasing the supply of buildable land.

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Insights for one of the Most Interesting Real Estate Markets in the World. 


With sales volumes being down 37% consistently for the past 5 months does this mean that foreign buyers have been accountable for about 37% of all sales? Definitely not. For the most part,  buyers have taken a wait and see approach, sitting on the fence as a result of government intervention and because of the unprecedented run up in sales volumes and market value increases over the the first half of 2016, all of 2015 and part of 2014. It’s believed that foreign buyers have been accountable for something more like 10% of all sales but, this varies significantly by area and by price range. Obviously the high end in West Vancouver, Coal Harbour or Yaletown or homes in Point Grey for example saw more foreign buyer activity than places like East Vancouver or North Vancouver.  


Detached Homes:

657 single family detached homes sold in November, of these, 74 homes sold above the asking price. The House Price Index (for all of Greater Vancouver) is down 1 per cent month over month for Greater Vancouver and down 3 per cent over the past 3 months. West Vancouver is showing the biggest decline with the House Price Index down 10 per cent over the last 3 months. 


Attached Homes:

1589 condos, townhouses and 1/2 duplexes sold in November, of these 332 sold above the asking price.  Prices have remained stable, or flat, for townhouses, apartments and 1/2 duplexes. 


New Listings:

Sales volumes in East Vancouver were actually 25 per cent higher in November compared to October. And while the number of sales have held steady for November, the number of new listings coming on market in most areas are down for November compared to October as well down from November 2015. The result is a dropping Active Listing count – finishing in November at 9,051 listings compared to 9,826 at the end of October. The number of new listings coming on market was 10.5 per cent below the average for November going back to 1991. 



Distraction can have its effects on markets and that has certainly been the case for Metro Vancouver and beyond. Perhaps the pull back in demand, that actually started before the Foreign Buyer Tax, mortgage rule changes and the new City of Vancouver Vacant Home Tax announcement, had more to do with the market reacting to its own conditions than those imposed by the government.


Generally speaking, look for 2017 to be a normal year for the Metro Vancouver housing market with supply and demand being closer to balanced conditions but supply still remaining low. While detached homes are currently seeing a modest month-over-month decline, its still hard to predict how long this will continue. Attached housing will outperform detaching housing for the foreseeable future but then take into account that 2017 and 2018 will see more new condo completions than we saw in 2015 and 2016. Yet again, many of the new buildings coming to completion are expensive and they are not large buildings. Just look at all the main east/west arteries across the city for evidence of boutique sized buildings. 


Growth in the total active listings count would be a healthy for the market as it would create opportunities for new buyers to enter the market.  One thing is certain, there is a lot of confidence in our market. Canada's immigration policy, Vancouver’s position within the global marketplace, that the Vancouver Real Estate Board is a recognized leader in North America and that our MLS system provides buyers and sellers with transparency and visibility are all fundamental to the confidence and stability that a proper functioning market needs. 


If you’d like more information on the current value of your home or homes in other neighborhoods, you are welcome to call me anytime. Thank you very much! 


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November 2016 Market Update: 

Have you ever had to compete when buying a home with other buyers? Good chance the answer is yes. Read on!


In Greater Vancouver we had a grand total of 2,233 sales for all housing types in October, 2016 or a decline of 38.8% compared to 3,646 sales for October 2015. The slow down in trading volumes is in response to the record sales volumes during the first half of this year and significant increases in home values. Sales for the month of October were 13% below the 25 year average while New Listings for October were 11 percent below the 25 year average. 

The market update below shows how many properties SOLD for or above the asking price in October 2016 versus October 2015. 



2015 – October - Detached

  • 164 detached homes SOLD
  • 59 homes or 36% SOLD for or above the asking price 

 2016 – October - Detached

  • 79 detached homes SOLD
  • 14 homes or 18% SOLD for or above the asking price


 2015 – October – Attached (excluding all downtown areas)

  • 249 condos, townhouses, duplexes SOLD
  • 95 homes or 38% SOLD for or above the asking price 

2016 – October – Attached (excluding downtown areas)

  • 167 condos, townhouses, duplexes SOLD
  • 74 homes or 44% SOLD for or above the asking price 



  2015 – October - Attached

  • 284 condos, townhouses, duplexes SOLD
  • 122 homes or 43% SOLD for or above the asking price 

2016 –October - Attached

  • 165 attached condos and townhouses SOLD
  • 48 homes or 29% SOLD for or above the asking price 



2015 – October - Detached

  • 149 detached homes sold
  • 82 homes or 55% SOLD for or above the asking price 

2016 – October - Detached

  • 66 detached homes SOLD
  • 22 homes or 33% SOLD for or above the asking price


 2015 – October - Attached

  • 205 condos, townhouses, duplexes SOLD
  • 103 homes or 50% SOLD for or above the asking price 

2016 – October - Attached

  • 138 condos, townhouses, duplexes SOLD
  • 72 homes or 52% SOLD for or above the asking price



2015 – October - Detached

  • 129 detached homes SOLD
  • 50% of homes SOLD for or above the asking price

2016 – October - Detached

  • 62 detached homes SOLD
  • 14 homes or 23% SOLD for or above the asking price


 2015 – October - Attached

  • 159 condos, townhouses, duplexes SOLD
  • 36% of homes SOLD for or above the asking price 

2016 – October - Attached

  • 106 condos, townhouses, duplexes SOLD
  • 50 homes or 47% SOLD for or above the asking price 



2015 – October - Detached

  • 115 detached homes SOLD
  • 22 homes or 19% SOLD for or above the asking price 

2016 – October - Detached

  • 24 detached homes SOLD
  • 3 homes 13% of homes SOLD for or above the asking price


Homes sell above the asking price either because they are sharply priced, they have all the right stuff or because of a supply shortage. Often all of the above. 


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September 2016 Update

The detached housing market continues to be slower than the attached housing market. Sales of detached homes in September represented 29% of all sales for all housing types compared to 38% in September 2015 and to 42% at the peak of our market last February / March 2016. 


Government Intervention

What the 15% foreign buyer tax has done and will do is accelerate a market normalization. Each week there seems to be a new government measure to ease pressure on the real estate market followed by a media feeding frenzy. Our real estate markets were normalizing even before the 15% Foreign Buyer tax came into effect.


New mortgage qualification rules introduced by Ottawa this week mean that buyers who take out an insured mortgage (a downpayment of 20% or less) will now have to qualify based on the “Posted 5 YR Qualifying Rate” (presently 4.64%) instead of the actual mortgage lending rate. 


Vacancy Rates and Short Term Rentals

This summer, New York City passed a bylaw completely banning Airbnb and other short term rentals. San Francisco has just imposed strict new rules and fines on owners who engage in Airbnb and other short term rentals. City of Vancouver will create an audit task force which will allow the City to declare victories against home owners who allow the property to sit empty or who engage in short term rentals of 30 days or less. 


British Columbia 

We still enjoy the strongest performing economy in Canada, with a diversified base of economic activity – film production, tourism, strong retail sales, a strong high tech sector, etc. The homeownership rate continues to climb in Metro Vancouver, and population growth is consistent. New home permit applications are at record levels right now and vacancy rates are at record low levels. By 2041, only 10% of housing stock in Vancouver will be single detached homes compared to 28% in 2011. 


The Future

Our market has been in overdrive for 2 years with all types of buyers being active in all market segments and all housing types. What to expect now?  Fewer buyers at the high end of the market and now new price sensitivity at the low end of the market as a result of Ottawa’s changes this week.  Once the high end of our market; (about $4 million and up) corrects by about 15% to 20%, some foreign buyers, now on the sidelines, will come back. 


Government is a Big Part of the Cost

New real estate developments and master planned communities will continue to be green, green and more green, making them very very expensive. The total municipal, provincial and federal government tax haul and permit fees on all new condo developments represents about 30% of the cost of a typical $500,000 condo. Vancouver has 103 different permits, taxes and fees that a developer must pay, ensuring that new housing into the future will be very very expensive. 

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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.