Buyers have a serious advantage in the winter months! If you’re into that sort of thing…


It might seem counter-intuitive, but moving in the winter—from house-hunting to getting all your worldly belongings from point A to point B—can actually be easier, cheaper and more convenient than any other time of the year. Here’s why it pays to move during the colder months.

Canada vs. US home price comparisons


The price of homes in Canada’s largest cities varies significantly less than south of the border, where Americans face an average anywhere from $86,000 to $3.3 million, new data suggests.

The data was released Thursday by RentSeeker.ca, one of Canada’s largest real estate websites, and was created with information released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Unsurprisingly, the average cost of a home in Canada this year was highest in Metro Vancouver, at $864,556. To afford a home in that range, Canadian families must bring home an annual salary of approximately $140,000.

  • Based on the latest census, the median family income in Canada is $78,870. The infographic suggests that those earning the median income can afford a house priced between $460,000 and $490,000 – slightly more than half of the cost of the average home price in Metro Vancouver.

Outside of Vancouver, the next most expensive Canadian market analyzed is in Kelowna ($785,415), followed by Toronto ($755,755). Abbotsford is fourth, and Victoria is Canada’s sixth-most expensive city based on average home price.

While the prices seem high, a move to some cities south of the border would cost homeowners even more. For sake of comparison, the below prices are listed in Canadian dollars (see note below for more information on conversion).

Just south of Vancouver, the average home price in Seattle is approximately $977,000.

The most expensive city in the U.S. that RentSeeker looked at is Saratoga, Calif., where the median home price is $3,305,158.

Recent statistics from the U.S. list the average annual household income as approximately $72,000. A family bringing in the median annual income could afford a home between $398,000 and $440,000.

The top five most expensive Canadian and American markets are as follows:

  1. Vancouver – $864,556; Saratoga, Calif. – $3,305,158
  2. Kelowna, B.C. – $785,415; San Francisco, Calif. – $2,252,319
  3. Toronto – $755,755; San Jose, Calif. – $1,362,990
  4. Abbotsford, B.C. – $753,939; Brooklyn, N.Y. – $1,074,474
  5. Mississauga, Ont. – $640,108; Seattle, Wash. – $978,136

But heading south could also save Canadians some money, depending on where they chose to live. In some cities, like Detroit, the median home price is as low as $86,356.

The average home price in the Las Vegas area is only $377,934 Canadian.

The least expensive medians of the cities looked at are as follows:

  1. Fredericton – $159,370; Detroit, Mich. – $86,356
  2. Moncton, N.B. – $235,961; Memphis, Tenn. – $213,219
  3. Trois-Rivieres, Que. – $248,503; Columbus, Ohio – $246,127
  4. Sherbrooke, Que. – $251,387; Oklahoma City, Okla. – $263,562
  5. Winnipeg – $284,799; Indianapolis, Ind. – $273,096

RentSeeker looked at a sample of cities across Canada and the U.S. based on highest populations but did not list costs in the Canadian territories because the information was not readily available through the CMHC.

Canadian prices in the infographic are in Canadian dollars, and American prices are listed in U.S. dollars. For the sake of comparison, all U.S. prices have been converted to Canadian dollars in the article above, based on an exchange rate of US$0.74 per C$1 as of Thursday afternoon. Prices have not been converted in the infographic below.

The above story has been edited to reflect that the Vancouver housing price is an average of all types of homes across the Metro Vancouver area. A previous version of this article stated incorrectly that the price was the median for detached homes only.

Affordability in Canada


This report, provided by the Conference Board of Canada & described as, “A new vision for housing in Canada” gets to the point of housing affordability. It’s worth the read, even a glance.

 

South Okanagan historical sales volume


The best way to figure out where we are headed sometimes is to look in the review mirror. Where have we been? This is a look at the total volume of transactions back to 1980. As you can see, the peak year for the number of transactions have been 2007, 2015 and beaten again in 2016. Since the 2007 peak we had a massive decline in both the number of transactions & naturally, the overall sales $ volume. It had been a similar period of correction to the 1980 decline, with the number of transactions cut by 50%. Although following a different path to decline, what took 3 years to bottom from 1980, took us 6 years this time around.

As can be seen from the trend line, we are now above the trending number of sales per year. This indicates a robust market and one that is ‘operating on all cylinders’. This effective and efficient market has not always been the case and we are bound to fluctuations.

Previous times of below trend activity such as the 1998-2001 slowdown & even further back to 1986 (which was more of a recovery period) shows insightful periods of contraction!

We have hit a period of pent up demand where both the number of transaction & sales $ volume increase substantially. As of October 2016 we continue to experience a mismatch; buyers without the appropriate product to sell them.

It’s currently a healthy and stable market right now, a great time to be selling & for that matter, buying if you know what you’re after. Given demand, the overall supply of homes for people to view is narrow! (right click graph below & open in new window for full image)

sales volume

South Okanagan historical real estate prices


Here are historical real estate prices for the South Okanagan dating back to 1980. It gives perspective to how out of control things got leading up to 2008 & what has ensued since!

Also included in the graph is the M2 money supply of Canada, which is the broadest measurement of money circulating in Canada & a good indicator of inflation. I believe, this tends to correlate well with backstopping real estate prices, as can be seen in the graph. We have advanced significantly from 2013 (up 25% to Oct 2016) and I feel we have burnt up much of the price acceleration for now. I believe a significant moderation is still a years time away for our region.

I hope you find this informative! (For larger image, right click and select open in new window)

Historical Prices