Real estate in the Lower Mainland is currently two distinct markets:
- a seller's market for affordable condos and townhouses, and
- a buyer's market for detached homes and higher end townhouses and condos.
Condos and Townhouses:
For affordable condos and townhouses there can be multiple offers, bidding wars, and often subject free offers with fast sales putting upward pressure on prices at the lower end of the market. This is true everywhere from North Vancouver, through Vancouver, Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, Langley and up the Fraser Valley.
Detached homes have a balanced market at the most affordable price ranges in each neighbourhood, but a buyer's market in the higher price ranges. Activity for detached homes is most brisk in the traditionally cheaper areas like parts of North Delta, North Surrey, Cloverdale, Langley and Abbotsford.
In contrast, for the high to luxury end, sales are very slow and properties are taking much longer to sell, if they sell at all. For example in parts of West Vancouver sales have almost ground to a halt.
If you are in the market to buy a detached home, it's a great time to be a cash buyer or have ready access to funding. Buyers are enjoying shopping for best value.
Sellers of detached homes are now often needing to consider subject to sale offers and potentially the chain reaction of one sale relying on a series of other sales. Prices have softened from two years ago.
Some of the new government measures are making the situation challenging for first time buyers and for families trying to move up from condos and townhouses to detached homes. The stress test to qualify for a mortgage has cut buyers' purchasing power by about 25% and means that buyers who previously may have aimed for a detached home are now often competing for a townhouse. And some townhouse buyers are being pushed into competing for condos. This cascading effect is making it much tougher at the more 'affordable' end of the market.
Expanded Foreign Buyer's Tax:
The newly increased 20% foreign buyers tax is pushing many who still desire property in this region into the lower range of the market in direct competition with young families, first timers and downsizers.
But it's not all bleak. Depending on your goals and which part of the market you are wanting to buy or sell in, you may be able to take advantage of the market dynamics and use them to your benefit to achieve a great price or find a great deal.