Nanci Fulton

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As we coast into the end of 2017 and as real estate moves into its traditional holiday slumber, many people are questioning what the market will do in 2018 off the back of several big announcements and conditions that will likely affect the real estate industry throughout BC and the rest of Canada. Here in BC we will see the end of limited dual agency, a situation where an agent represents the buyer and the seller in a transaction. Interest rates are expected to continue rising in 2018 and the new stress test on un-insured loans will affect affordability of people with substantial down payments. Affordability will continue to be a trending topic in the new year as we see an evolution towards smaller living becoming the norm.

 

 

Despite many big changes next year, Vancouver is still forecasted to have the strongest market in Canada with a 2.5 percent growth rate expected in 2018 according to the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC).  If you’ve been pondering what the Squamish market will do next year, here are five things to watch for in 2018.


1.       End of Limited Dual Agency


The new superintendent of real estate announced in September the end of limited dual agency as of January 2018. Dual agency is defined by the real estate council of BC as, “where a brokerage, acting under brokerage agency, acts both for the buyer/tenant and for the seller/landlord, with their agreement, the nature of the relationship created by contract is one of limited dual agency.”

Due to the potential conflict of interest that can arise from this situation this type of agency relationship will no longer be allowed in 2018. Michael Noseworthy, BC’s superintendent of real estate said in a media release on the topic, ““These rules will significantly change the way that real estate services are provided in British Columbia. … Ending dual agency removes the potential for conflict and serious problems. We want to create transparency for both consumers and licensees to ensure everyone understands in whose interest licensees must be working.”


2.       Rising Interest Rates

Interest rates have been raised by the Federal Reserve Bank three times in the last quarter of 2017 with more rate increases expected in 2018 and 2019. After enjoying nearly a decade of historically low interest rates, these marginally higher rates can feel like a bit of a shock. According to CBC the rate outlook for the coming years has remained unchanged expect about three more rate hikes in 2018 and 2019 before a long-run 2.8 percent rate is reached.

Although there was some initial panic about rising interest rates in the real estate industry the sentiment now seems to be expectant with a realization that interest rates are still very low, much lower than previous generations have seen and experienced. It is doubtful that the rate rises to come in 2018 and 2019 will negatively affect the real estate industry, and those concerned about how rising interest rates could affect their loan or mortgage affordability should consult with their lender or mortgage broker for more info.


3.       New Stress Test on Uninsured Loans

As of January 1st, 2018, borrowers of uninsured loans will need to qualify at the Bank of Canada benchmark rate, or about two points higher than posted mortgage rate. This new stress test will come into place to ensure borrowers are able to afford their loans as we enter a period of rising interest rates and as housing debt is at high levels throughout the province. The new stress test won’t apply to mortgage renewals if borrowers stay with their current lender and will only be mandatorily enforced for federally regulated lenders. For more information on the new stress test and how it could affect the local market see here.


4.       Affordability a Trending Topic

Housing affordability will continue to be a trending topic in 2018 as governments around the province work hard to find solutions to the escalating home prices in BC. Although the market is expected to steady in 2018, prices will continue to rise as new inventory becomes a priority along with new housing models that offer below market rents and opportunities for new buyers to enter the market.

We will continue to see an influx of buyers in Squamish who are fleeing the Lower Mainland in search of more affordable housing. This will continue to push up prices here in Squamish as we’ve seen over the last few years. Expect sustained demand at the lower end of the market (condos and townhomes) as young buyers seek affordable living here in Squamish.


5.       Condos and Townhomes will continue to sell as smaller living gains appeal

The forecast for the condominium market in 2018 according to Price Waterhouse Cooper is that it will perform the best in the year to come. Attracting young professionals with a live-work-play lifestyle and retiring boomers looking to downsize, both ends of the market are now seeking a condo lifestyle. Single family residential will still see growth in 2018 however affordability is affecting British Columbian’s ability to buy new homes. A norm throughout Canada is the construction of multi-family over single family with two thirds of all new homes built today being multi-family while in the mid 2000’s this style of housing made up less than half of new construction.

 

If you have any questions about the real estate market coming into the New Year, are wondering if now is the time to sell, or are hoping to buy into the Squamish market we’d love to chat. With 30 years of experience in the local real estate market we are always happy to chat real estate and answer any questions that you have, contact us today.