Monday, July 13, 2009

Housing Starts Increase in June

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts increased to 140,700 units in June from 130,300 units in May, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
“The increase in housing starts in June is broadly based, encompassing both the singles and multiples segments,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC. “In addition, Western Canada experienced an increase this month.”
Housing starts are expected to improve throughout 2009 and over the next several years to gradually become more closely aligned to demographic demand, which is currently estimated at about 175,000 units per year.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 9.5 per cent to 120,100 units in June. Urban multiple starts increased 11.3 per cent to 67,000 units, while urban single starts also moved up by 7.3 per cent to 53,100 units in June.
June’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased 59.4 per cent in the Prairies, 25 per cent in British Columbia, and 3.1 per cent in Ontario. Urban starts declined 6.3 per cent in Quebec, and 3.9 per cent in Atlantic Canada.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 20,600 units in June.


Home Sales Climb for Fifth Consecutive Month

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province rose 40 per cent to 9,970 units in June 2009 compared to the same month last year. Activity in the month of June marked the fifth consecutive month of rising sales and the highest level of activity since January 2008, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“Housing markets around BC continued to post higher sales in June, fuelled by attractive mortgage rates and lower prices,” said Bryan Yu, BCREA Economist. “The larger urban regions of Greater Vancouver and Victoria exhibited balanced market conditions in June, while others have recorded improved market stability. Stronger demand and a decline in home listings are stabilizing home prices in many BC markets.”

Year-to-date, MLS® residential sales dollar volume was down 20 per cent to $16.3 billion over the same period last year. A total of 36,329 units were sold in the first six months of 2009, down 15 per cent from 2008, while the average MLS® price declined 5 per cent to $448,381.

“Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.”

Friday, July 3, 2009

Green is Good for Property Specialists

What does the word “greenhouse” mean to you? Traditionally, it meant a building made of glass, where plants are cultivated. More recently the terms “green” and “house” have congered up very different meanings—that of a home that uses sustainable building materials and energy efficient design. And now for realtors and other property industry professionals, the growing green housing movement is significantly changing how property is marketed and managed.
People are recognizing that a green building is efficient, and efficiency has real economic, as well as social and environmental value. Organizations in the UK, the US and Australia have agreed to cooperate and develop common metrics for measuring CO2 emissions. These leading green building ratings are now available internationally for measuring the environmental sustainability of new and existing homes and buildings.
Here in Canada, the movement towards going green is growing exponentially, especially in British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces. Recent findings show that about one out of three BC residents has already taken steps to make their homes more environmentally friendly (Source: BCREA, January 2009).
Unfortunately there is little consistency or standardization amongst the various degrees of ‘greenness” within a market. Some type of consistency will make it easier for property developers and building owners to monitor the energy performance of their buildings. But when it comes to individual homeowners—that is not so easy.
Consumers looking to purchase eco-friendly homes have limited options to obtain detailed information on the green aspects of a home, often relying on the information provided by the current homeowner which may or may not be accurate.
And while green is good for consumers and for our planet, industry professionals benefit as well. Right now, brokers knowledgeable in green practices can really distinguish themselves from their competitors. It won’t be long, however, before the basics of green brokerage will be considered minimum training for the profession. CREA promotes creative and innovative broker training programs, like those of NAR and the Associação dos Profissionais e Empresas de Mediação Imobiliária de Portugal (APEMIP) , by sharing best practices among its member Associations.

"Copyright Canadian Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.”