Friday, November 12, 2010

CMHC Vancouver Outlook 2010 - Grading the Market Ahead


Statistics, charts and predictions all formed part of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) "Vancouver Outlook Conference 2010".  That means excitement to an "armchair analyst" like me and plenty of insights.

The CMHC 2010 conference was presented to another "sold out" crowd, Wednesday, at the Hyatt Hotel.  I was there as a  a representative of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia eager to find out whether our Foundation's finances will improve in 2011 after a couple of disappointing years. Being a working real estate agent I was also looking for advice to share with my clients in the Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Spring real estate marketplaces.

I could develop a bunch of charts and graphs but for this blog I just want to keep it simple so I have elected to give a letter grade to a variety of factors affecting real estate in Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley as if they were in school.  To get a "C" is average, a "B" better than average and an "A" well that is exceptional.  If you are getting a "D" or "E" well then you have some explaining to do.

                                                                                 2010                  2011*
Mortgage Rates                                                            B                       B-
Long term rates good until 2012 but expect short term rates to edge upward.

Sales Volume                                                               C-                     C
The last half of 2010 has been quite a disappointment but 2011 will see a stronger sales uptake.  This uptake is the result of more employment, attractive mortgage rates, migration, family formation and the absorption of newly built projects.  2011 will remain very much a "working market" my advice here, if selling, is use the resources and skills of a professional real estate agent.

 Sale Prices                                                                  C-                     C
 The price of housing declined in 2010 and a small decline is expected again in 2011 but not too significant.  The CMHC "Fraser Valley" predicted final average estimate for 2010 is $438,000 and they are expecting a 1% drop to $435,000 for 2011.  Please note the Chilliwack market average sale price will be significantly less than the "Fraser Valley" average. Currently, the single family detached average is $350,000. This price difference makes Chilliwack a smart place for boomers to relocate to for a number of reasons; Chilliwack is still in the Valley, pocketing some cash and a great wilderness setting.

Market Conditions
The Fraser Valley market will hover in the Buyer to Balanced market territory.  There should be plenty of choices for buyers.  I have, however, observed that "prime" houses that are well kept and priced still can attract multi-offers be prepared to move on these properties.

As you can tell from the letter grades above it looks like 2011 will be a little stronger than 2010 but there will still be a lot of room for improvement.  I hope that the "letter grade" idea has not brought back too many bad memories for anyone.

* 2011 Predictions from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. A more in depth document on Vancouver and Abbotsford Housing, dated October 2010, this can be found at this address - click here.

If you would like to find out what I thought last year after the same event click here

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

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