what to do when you inherit property in victoria bc

What To Do When You’ve Inherited Property

Inheriting Real Estate – Should you Keep or Sell?


Inheriting property can be an emotional event. In one way, your family just lost a loved one. On the other hand, you’ve possibly been gifted one of the biggest contributions of your life. Dealing with whatever life throws at you can be complicated, but luckily there are professionals to help you every step of the way while you grieve and process. It’s common practice for parents or grandparents to leave their home or cottage to a child or grandchild. However, that means the taxman could expect a share of the transfer proceeds, as the value of the property has now transferred from one owner to another. Another aspect is whether or not it is a primary residence or a secondary residence. This will factor into how much tax you potentially pay. How much can you expect to pay? That depends entirely on what you do with the inherited property, and this is why appraising the property is so important.

What Utilities Do I Keep Running?

Track down all of the utility accounts, and cancel the ones that aren’t necessary. Keep the electricity, heat and water running. Be sure to update the homeowner’s insurance policy. Contact the insurance company immediately, because it can potentially lapse if the house is unoccupied. It’s also a good idea to change the locks to make sure the property is secure, just in case someone you may not know has a copy of the house key. Other things to consider would be arranging upkeep around the property, and dealing with the belongings left behind.

What Taxes Do I Pay on Inherited Property?

Capital Gains Tax on Inherited Real Estate

Capital gains tax is considered taxable income in Canada and this is what you’ll pay on the profit of the sale of the property. You will be taxed on the “Fair Market Value”, at the time of inheritance to the time you decide to sell. It’s important to note that you will be taxed 50% of the capital gain.

Real Estate Inheritance Tax

In Canada, there are no inheritance taxes. Which means you don’t have to pay in order to take over a property. However, you do take over property taxes, repairs, mortgage payments, and insurance. If you have inherited a primary residence, you do not have to pay to have the residence transferred to your name. If it’s considered a cottage or vacation home, you may have to pay for property transfer tax. If siblings share an inherited property, they split the cost of the capital gains tax.

Should I Rent Out My Inherited Property?

If you plan on renting out the property, you’ll need a real estate appraisal. In theory, you would owe capital gains tax on the difference between the value of the inherited home, and the fair market value of the home when you chose to rent the property out. This is changing it from a primary residence to an investment residence. In other words, you will owe on the difference of the inherited value and the fair market value when you started to rent out the property. While renting out an inherited property can provide a steady cash flow, you’ll also be taking on the role of a landlord! One other option before selling is if one or more siblings wants to stay in the inherited home, they can simply rent it from the others.

What Happens When I Sell My Inherited Property?

One benefit of selling shortly after inheritance is that the capital gains tax would be nominal. There would be little difference between the assessed fair market value when you inherited the property and the sale price. The easiest way to calculate the capital gains tax is to subtract the sale price from the fair market value price and 50% of that is how much tax you owe. If siblings have inherited the property and have agreed to sell, they would all have to share the capital gains tax. One important detail is if one sibling wants to sell but the others do not, they are still entitled to sell their share. However, they may have trouble finding a buyer interested in a portion of a property. Keep in mind if you sell the property, and you already own a primary residence, you will be subject to capital gains tax. 

What If I Want To Move In?

The most common scenario here is if one inheritor wants to keep the home, the others will have to be bought out in order for them to become the sole owner. If that inheritor buys them out and considers the property their principal residence, they don’t have to pay the capital gains tax. 

Do You Need An Appraisal For Newly Inherited Real Estate?

It’s important to note that your own circumstances will dictate whether owning the property is a financial burden or an improving investment. Is it too far away? How much maintenance and upkeep does it require? Do you need the money, or is it a worthwhile long-term investment? Be sure to discuss all options with your relatives, siblings, and anyone else who has ownership.

At D. Fritz Appraisals Inc., our team has over 40 years of experience appraising homes, offering the most accurate valuation according to the market today. Our appraisers are certified, professionally insured and committed to the most precise property valuations possible. Contact us today for an expert appraisal of your newly inherited property.

canadian housing prices to decrease in 2022

Housing Prices are Forecast to Decrease 20% Next Year

According to Industry Experts, Housing Prices May Fall in 2022


There Were Major Price Increases in Single-Family Housing and Multi-Family Housing in 2021

Housing prices have seen a huge increase over the last few years, with a particularly large leap this year. The median home prices in Greater Victoria surpassed a million dollars, at $1.2 million. Elsewhere on Vancouver Island, home prices also rose sharply. This rise has caused rental rates to spike, increased demand for housing and has made it very difficult, if not impossible, for first-time buyers to get their foot in the door of home sweet home.

The Housing Bubble May Already Be Shrinking

Thankfully, according to numerous reports from financial analysts, this overinflated housing bubble has begun to shrink in metro areas and will continue to shrink in 2022. Quelling fears that the bubble will burst, causing economic disaster, reports are showing only a slight decrease, with home prices being predicted to rise an average of only 3.7%, down from the original prediction of 4.0%. Still, any reduction is great news!

Why Are Real Estate Prices Forecast to Decrease?

Factoring into this decrease is a rise in mortgage interest rates. 2020 and 2021’s low interest rates have driven high amounts of investor activity, causing homes to be bought up in just moments after listing, or even before hitting the market. In an article by the Vancouver Island Free Daily, pent-up demand and extremely low inventory have also been driving factors for the rapid-fire sales.

“Fiscal stimulus, accelerating inflation and lessening support from the Bank of Canada all signal higher interest rates in the year ahead. Rising borrowing costs may also cool down housing market activity,” said Brendan LaCerda, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. Part of rising borrowing costs is an increase in the Mortgage Stress Test, which has increased uninsured mortgage rates to 5.25%

Buyers who could snag a $900K home at a low interest rate will have a much tougher time qualifying for, and paying for, a $900K home at a higher, more standard interest rate. The positive changes to the CMHC’s First-Time Homebuyer’s Incentive certainly might help as well.

What Caused the Housing Buying Boom in the First Place?

Some industry experts believe a lot of the market demand this year could have been due to fear of missing out (FOMO), particularly for investors. It’s a classic case of supply vs. demand. It’s just like when you’re in a store and you see one item that you’re particularly drawn to and it appears to be the last one. It’s more appealing because it seems to be rare. You buy it, and as you walk out of the store, you see an identical item on the display. Suddenly, your one-of-a-kind item doesn’t have the same shine to it!

For home buyers, it’s roughly the same experience. The market scarcity is driving buyers to purchase pretty much whatever they can get, even if it’s well above asking. These buyers tend to believe that these prices are the new normal and this is their chance. Between record-high sales and record-setting low inventory, there’s a worry that buyers might be taking on more than they can afford, due to the low interest rates, according to Susan Perrey, a realtor and Zone 3 Director for the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB.)

It hasn’t just been existing homes either, plots of land and new developments have been selling just as fast as the listing goes live. Now, according to the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) levels of home sales will come back down to 2016 levels, the former peak level for home sales across BC.

According to an article by Western Investor, Brendan Ogmundson, BCREA’s chief economist said “we are coming off a record-smashing pace” where sales could reach 130,000 units or more this year following 94,013 sales in 2020, compared to the regular levels of about 80,000 transactions each year.

10 of 14 analysts said an interest rate hike would significantly tame the Canadian Real Estate market and housing demand. This supports all this speculation that a soft landing is expected for the market province-wide, with a slower pace in buying and selling and more balanced home prices.

In the latest real estate news, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg, Pedro Antunes, Chief Economist with the Conference Board of Canada, says that we can now “expect a 10% decline in average home prices over the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.”  This is great news, since a smaller decline in prices will help protect the market from a catastrophic crash – like the housing market crash in the US back in 2008 that sent shockwaves through the entire financial sector across the country, into Canada and around the world.

In all the reports for the future of Canada’s real estate market, the overarching message is that of hope. As long as the increase in interest rates and decrease in home prices are incremental, experts are hopeful that real estate markets on Vancouver Island and across the country will balance out.

Considering an Appraisal for Your Home?

If you’re considering selling or refinancing your home in the near future, it’s still very much a seller’s market. Wondering how much your home is worth? At D. Fritz Appraisals Inc., our team has over 40 years of experience and we’ve been the go-to appraiser during all sorts of market conditions. We can appraise your home for the most accurate valuation according to the market today. Our appraisers are certified, professionally insured and dedicated to providing the most precise property valuations possible. To help boost your home’s appraised value, take a look at our post on 8 ways to increase the value of your home, gather as much information as you can with our handy pre-appraisal checklist and then give us a call to book your home appraisal.

First-Time Homebuyers

First-Time Homebuyers Incentive Changes: What You Need to Know

Exciting New Changes to the CMHC First-Time Homebuyers Program

First-time homebuyers, we have great news! As of May 3rd, 2021, new updates to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)’s First-Time Homebuyers Incentive have come into effect. Victoria is now one of the few cities that has been given enhanced eligibility criteria to help you qualify for a lower monthly mortgage payment.

What Is the First-Time Homebuyers Incentive?

The First-Time Buyers Incentive can lower your monthly mortgage payments.

As explained by the National Housing Strategy, the First-Time Home Buyers Incentive is a program that lets you borrow 5% or 10% of the sticker price of a home. When you decide to sell your house (within a 25 year period) you pay back that same percentage of the value of your home.

How Does the First-Time Homebuyers Incentive Work?

The incentive works just like putting a second mortgage on your home. 

To qualify for the incentive, your mortgage must be greater than 80% of the value of the property subject to a real estate loan premium. Your mortgage must also be eligible for mortgage insurance through Canada Guaranty, CMHC or Sagen (previously known as Genworth.) 

The mortgage insurance premium is based on the loan-to-value ratio of the first mortgage only. So, the first mortgage amount is divided by the purchase price. The good news is you don’t pay mortgage insurance on the incentive, since it’s included with the total down payment.

What Are the Updates to the First-Time Homebuyers Incentive?

First-time homebuyers purchasing in Toronto, Vancouver, or Victoria are now eligible for an increased Qualifying Annual Income of $150,000 instead of $120,000, an increase of $30,000. This can mean the difference between being able to buy a home or having to save up for a larger down payment. 

First-time homebuyers are also eligible for an increased total borrowing amount of 4.5 rather than 4.0 times their qualifying income, meaning you can buy that bigger, better home. 

Not sure if your preferred neighbourhood is included in Victoria proper? The location maps and tools on www.placetocallhome.ca will help you be sure the home you want is in the right location to qualify for the First Time-Home Homebuyers incentive.

How Does the First-Time Homebuyers Impact My Mortgage?

There are two options, 5% or 10%, depending on what you qualify for as a buyer. Your mortgage lender can explain how the amount of your down payment, purchase price of the home, annual income and more can help influence which incentive you’re eligible for. Here are two scenarios that help to explain what happens when your home’s value increases versus what happens when your home’s value decreases after you get the incentive.

Scenario 1 – You receive a 5% incentive and your home’s value increases

As the buyer, you receive a 5% incentive of the home’s price. If you were purchasing a $200,000 home, you’d receive $10,000. If that home’s value increases to $300,000, your payback will be 5% of the current value (or $15,000.)

Scenario 2 – You receive a 10% incentive and your home’s value decreases

You receive a 10% incentive of the home’s price of $200,000, or $20,000. If your home value decreases to $150,000, your repayment value will be 10% of the present value (or $15,000.)

Am I A First-Time Homebuyer?

You are considered a first-time homebuyer if:

  • You have never purchased a home before.
  • You didn’t live in a home that you (or your current spouse or common-law partner) owned within the last 4 calendar years. Note: the 4-year period begins on January 1 of the fourth year. 
  • Your marriage or common-law relationship has recently ended and you’re going through a separation or divorce requiring a division of assets.

Other eligibility requirements for the First-Time Homebuyers Incentive:

When determining whether you are eligible for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive in Victoria:

  • Your total annual qualifying income will not exceed $150,000.  
  • You’re borrowing no more than 4.5 times your qualifying income.
  • You or your spouse / partner are first-time homebuyers.
  • You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident authorized to purchase a property in Canada.
  • You meet the minimum down payment requirements with traditional funds—this could be savings, withdrawal/collapse of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), or a non-repayable financial gift from a relative/immediate family member.

What else should you know?

If you’re considering applying for the incentive, you should be prepared for some potential additional costs. These can include:

  • Additional legal fees- Since you will be closing on two mortgages, your fees may increase.
  • Appraisal fees – To repay your incentive, you’ll need to have an appraisal done to work out the fair market price of your home. (Need some pointers? We’ve curated a pre-appraisal checklist just for you.)
  • Property insurance premiums – Extra costs may factor in since there is an additional mortgage registered on the property. Talk to your insurance agent or insurance provider for more details on these types of fees and premiums.
  • Other fees – Additional documentation or admin fees could also be incurred if you switch your mortgage to a replacement lender or if you refinance the mortgage.

Lastly, the type of home / property that you are looking to purchase is going to play a factor in the incentive amount that you are given. A new construction home may qualify for an incentive amount of 5% or 10%. An existing home or a mobile/manufactured home will be a flat 5%. 

Also, any residential property with 1 to 4 units can qualify, which means the options are endless: You are eligible with anything from a single-family home, a semi-detached home, a duplex, triplex, fourplex, townhouse, condominium unit, or a mobile home. The caveat is that this must be your residential property that you live in, year-round. Income properties will not qualify.

Applying for The First-Time Home Buyers Incentive is Simple

Once you’ve been preapproved for a mortgage, you can fill out the two forms found on A Place to Call Home. Under “How Do I Apply” you’ll find these forms.

  1. The First-Time Home Buyers (FTHBI) SEM Information package
  2. The SEM (Shared Equity Mortgage) Consent form

These PDFs can be printed and filled out, or filled out digitally. Once they are complete, give them to your lender. They will submit the application for you. If you need any help with the forms, just let your lender know. They’ll be able to help you dot the i’s and cross the t’s. 

The final signed copy of the SEM package will go to your lawyer or notary. Once you’re accepted for the Incentive program, you just need to activate your incentive. It’s as easy as a phone call. Just call Fidelity National Financial Canada at 1 (855) 844-4535 and give them the name of your lawyer or notary. The sooner you can do this, the better, since you’ll need to activate your incentive at least 2 weeks before the sale of your home closes.

The First-Time Homebuyers Incentive changes make purchasing a home in Victoria a little bit easier. With this new eligibility criteria now in place, it may just be the perfect time to consider becoming a homeowner. At D. Fritz Appraisals Inc., we can help you with that. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, or just looking to get that appraisal done, our experienced and professional team of appraisers offer the most accurate and comprehensive residential real estate appraisal service around Victoria, central Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands. To order an appraisal, call us at (250) 413-7319. You can also send us an email and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

New mortgage stress test for Canadians

New Increase in Mortgage Stress Test

Rate Hike Will Affect a Large Number of Borrowers

The Mortgage Stress Test will be increasing as of June 1, 2021. Under the new requirements set by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), uninsured mortgages will increase to a qualifying benchmark rate of 5.25%.

The Mortgage Stress Test Rollercoaster

If you were refinancing or purchasing last year, you probably noticed that the stress test decreased in 2020, to 4.79%, just 15 basis points above the record low of 4.64%. In finance, especially real estate, a bit of a rollercoaster is common. That said, the general consensus within the industry is that no one really expected to see such a drastic change in Canadian housing market conditions in a one-year time period. 

Real Estate and financial speculators have been predicting everything from catastrophe to smooth sailing as more investors purchase luxury homes. Now experts say that increasing the mortgage stress test requirements for potentially riskier, uninsured mortgages can help to smooth the curve. They also say it can help rebalance supply and demand in the residential real estate market as well as overall economic conditions.

Why is the Mortgage Stress Test Increasing?

The OSFI hopes that imposing a higher mortgage stress test rate will help to cool down an overheated real estate market. Throughout the pandemic, supply and demand have become extremely unbalanced, with much less supply of residential homes than in past years. Those homes that are listed are often sold for well over asking, driving the average home prices higher and higher as a result.

According to stats from the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) In April 2021, median house prices in Greater Victoria increased to $996,500, up from $884,600 in April 2020.

“We’ve seen an imbalance in our market for quite a few months, says VREB President David Langlois. We continue to see huge pressure on single-family homes,” he adds. “New listings are snapped up as soon as they are listed.”

The good news is that the mortgage stress test increase will not be implemented across the board for all house hunters. Only those trying to qualify for an uninsured mortgage will be subjected to the new, higher mortgage qualification rate as of June 1, 2021.

What is an Uninsured Mortgage?

Canada has three default mortgage insurers, CMHC, Sagen (previously Genworth) and Canada Guaranty. Bank of Canada guidelines dictate that these insurers can not insure specific types of mortgages.
These are:

  1. Refinanced mortgages – Increasing the existing mortgage for access to additional funds is called refinancing. Mortgages are often refinanced when the homeowners want to renovate, access the equity in their mortgage to pay for schooling, a secondary property or finance a small business. Of course, the rules and regulations vary per borrower and lender, the type of mortgage, the amortization period and more.
  2. Purchases with a 20% or higher down payment, on 30-year amortizations (terms)
  3. Purchases of $1,000,000 or higher, with any amortization period
  4. Purchases of a rental / income property

What Does this Mortgage Stress Test Rate Increase Mean for Homeowners?

The stress test rate increases will make it more difficult to refinance, since homeowners who wish to increase their mortgage loan must be able to qualify with these new, higher interest rates. It could also mean the difference between finally being able to purchase your first home or needing to wait a little while longer until you can meet the new 5.25% requirement.

Also, because uninsured mortgages account for approximately 70-75% of all mortgages issued by Canadian Financial Institutions (CFI), a huge chunk of mortgage applications will potentially be rejected due to their higher financial risk to lenders.

For example, after the changes take place on June 1, your mortgage qualification of x amount will decrease. A $400,000 mortgage qualification will slip down $15,000 to $385,000. The higher the home price reaches, the larger the difference. That $15,000 difference in the $400,000 mortgage can mean the difference between lenders being able to provide the loan or not. It could also mean the difference between the homeowner being able to refinance their existing home or purchase an income property, which for many, can be a great way to increase their investment portfolio. 

The Mortgage Stress Test Increase Will Not Affect Everyone

Rest assured, the increase won’t affect first-time homebuyers with less than 20% down, since their mortgages will be insured (usually with CMHC). It also won’t affect buyers who put more than 20% down AND who amortize over 25 years. The maximum mortgage term will be 25 years for insured mortgages and 30 years for uninsured mortgages. Also, the stress test will stay at 4.79% for insured mortgages, preventing any additional mortgage debt.

 

The mortgage stress test increase is just around the corner. If you’ve been considering refinancing to access funds for the renovation you’ve been dreaming about, now is the perfect time. Give our team at D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. a call to book your residential appraisal. We’ll help you uncover the value in your home with our comprehensive and accurate evaluations. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or refinance or just have an up to date appraisal for your records, our property value estimations can help you get ready for the next step in your real estate journey. Located on Royal Oak Ave in Victoria, BC, we’re open Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Give us a call at (250) 413-7319 or contact us via email.

pre-appraisal checklist for homeowners

Pre-Appraisal Checklist for Homeowners

Be Prepared for an Appraisal for a Positive Impact on Your Home’s Valuation

Whether you’re selling, refinancing, dividing assets, settling an estate, or determining capital gains on an income property, it pays dividends to be prepared for your home appraisal.

The benchmark for your home’s worth, an appraisal is a legal document that determines the fair market value of a property. It takes the home itself, the neighbourhood and the available historical data into account to determine the most accurate valuation. If you want to refinance, sell, or buy, the appraisal provides mortgage lenders with straight facts so they can underwrite loans based on the purchase price or the appraisal (whichever is lower.) If you’re selling or dividing assets post-divorce, the appraised value ensures that you’ll receive a fair sale price.

How Do I Get Ready for the Appraisal on My House?

Thinking back to when you first listed your home, you likely cleaned it top to bottom and got it looking as good as new for the marketing materials. You’ll want to do this again for your appraisal, so your home makes the best impression possible.

To prepare, gather up all the details about your home relevant to its value. Have a record of comparable properties in the neighbourhood, plus information about neighbourhood amenities. Once that’s done, you can turn to the home’s appearance, doing any repairs and getting estimates for any larger repairs or updates that are needed. Also, don’t overlook the general condition and upkeep of your home. Essentially, you’re going to want to pretend you’re listing your home for the first time and get it looking its best, attending to anything that may have been missed when it was placed on the market.

A good rule of thumb is the $500 rule. Anything that needs to be repaired or updated usually detracts from a home appraisal in $500 increments. Things like cracked tiles, broken fixtures or an outdated countertop can add up to thousands less in your home valuation. Before your home appraisal, you’ll want to go through your home and take care of anything that costs less than $500 to fix. You’ll be able to recover those costs in your home appraisal.

On the day of the appraisal, make sure the appraiser will be able to move around the full perimeter of the home and that all rooms are accessible. You may also want to contain any pets who may be a disturbance. We’ve prepared a complete checklist to make preparing for your home appraisal as simple as possible:

Full Residential Pre-Appraisal Checklist

Information About the Home

  • List of improvements made in the last 15 years, with costs and completion dates.
  • Plot/blueprint or property survey.
  • Home inspection reports (current and previous). If you’re unsure about the difference between each, we have a helpful blog post on home inspections vs. home appraisals.
  • Copies of any previous appraisals – this can help the appraiser see how the value has changed over the years. This can help to pinpoint any trends when combined with the BC Property Assessment information.
  • HOA documents – if you live in an HOA neighbourhood, the appraiser will need to see the costs, regular maintenance schedule, history of fee increases, etc.
  • Any known inconsistencies with data – if your assessed property value has been fluctuating wildly over the years, this needs to be looked at. This will help ensure a fair market value.
  • Any non-permitted additions – if you’ve added a permanent structure without a permit, this can impact the value of your home and pass an unwanted issue on to the buyer. It’s important to note that any undisclosed additions can cause a breach of conditions in your sale contract.
  • Any easements or encroachments – any part of the property should be accounted for to get the most accurate estimate of the land value.
  • The CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) from your Realtor – review this document to see if you know of any homes that were renovated after purchase. Their newly increased value can increase your neighbourhood’s benchmark prices and potentially, that of your home. Properties that have undergone significant changes may no longer be useful for the CMA.

Neighbourhood Features

  • Nearby schools and any special notes about their programs
  • Nearby parks and green space
  • Amenities and shopping
  • Public transport locations
  • Any infrastructure that’s been added since you bought the house


Interior Care

  • Clean up and repaint areas where paint is peeling and discoloured
  • Repair or replace broken hardware
  • Replace outdated fixtures
  • Clean carpets and mop hard flooring
  • Repair any loose floorboards, broken blinds, etc.


Installations

  • Are smoke detectors working?
  • Are carbon monoxide detectors working?
  • Is the water heater strapped?
  • Is the security system in good working order?
  • Are all appliances properly installed and working?


Repairs

  • Note any major repairs and how much it would cost to complete them.
    The appraiser will be able to factor that cost into the appraisal as if the repair or upgrade were already completed.
  • Any leaks in roof or key parts of the home
  • Cracks in walls or foundation
  • Damage to flooring
  • Damage to drywall or exterior stucco/siding
  • Peeling paint
  • Visible damage to doors, windows, screens, etc.


Exterior Care

  • Remove clutter and stray toys from the front and back yards
  • Mow the lawn
  • Tidy the garden and do a little light landscaping
  • If possible, add colour with flowers
  • Touch up paint where it’s needed
  • Replace any broken gutters
  • Update older fixtures and address numbers
  • Remove any outdated décor

 

If you have any questions or concerns about the appraisal process, we recommend looking through our FAQ section, or contacting us by phone or email for assistance. You may also want to speak with your real estate agents about your appraisal preparation.

For even more ways to increase your home’s appraisal value, be sure to read our post on 8 ways to increase the value of your home.

D. Fritz is your residential appraisal expert for Vancouver Island, Victoria and the Gulf Islands. If you’re considering refinancing, buying or selling, our professional team will provide the most accurate and comprehensive evaluations. With a combined half century of experience across the industry in business administration, lending and real estate sales, you can trust in D. Fritz for your real estate appraisal. To order your appraisal, contact our team today.

canadian real estate trends 2020

Cost Comparison and Trends in Canadian Real Estate

2020 has been a year of highs and lows for the Canadian Real Estate Market

Fitting with the times we’re in, the CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) couldn’t even publish a quarterly trend forecast in June. Instead, a notice on the webpage stated that “as providers of the most accurate and timely housing data and statistics, CREA believes the outlook to still be too uncertain to release a forecast at this time.”

However, there are still monthly forecasts. As of August 2020, the CREA’s monthly stats and forecast was quite positive, showing home prices and sales increasing across Canada (on average).

Canada’s Real Estate Market is Still Hot

July 2020 was a record-breaking month for many markets, which otherwise floundered during April and May. In fact, according to the CREA monthly stats report, home sales rebounded by 26% in July 2020. Transactions increased country-wide on a month over month basis.

At this point, supply has exceeded demand in many markets, creating a competitive and busy market as we close out summer 2020. Major markets like London-St Thomas, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver have seen large jumps in average home prices in the past year.

Sales Increases in the 11 Largest Markets

  • 49.5% in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
  • 43.9% in Greater Vancouver
  • 39.1% in Montreal
  • 36.6% in the Fraser Valley
  • 31.8% in Hamilton-Burlington
  • 28.7% in Ottawa
  • 16.9% in London and St. Thomas
  • 15.7% in Calgary
  • 12.1% in Winnipeg
  • 9.7% in Edmonton
  • 5.4% in Quebec City

Housing Prices Across Canada

Note that this statistical information includes all housing types. This average price information is used for determining trends over time and doesn’t account for price ranges between dramatically different neighbourhoods or geographic areas.

  • Home prices have been rising nearly constantly for the past 17 years and between 2016 and 2019, pricing rose by 27.8% (18.5% adjusted for inflation).
  • Across Canada, the average home price rose to $571,471 in July 2020, compared to $500,164 in July 2019. B.C and Ontario are currently the most expensive markets, with average pricing of $699,300 and $606,400.
  • During 2019, Ottawa’s home prices rose the most at 7.38% (on average). Next was Halifax at 7.35%, Montreal at 6.37% and Toronto at 4.48%
  • There were also smaller increases in Quebec at 1.49%, Victoria at 1.13% and Winnipeg at 1.02%
  • Pricing fell in Vancouver at -4.05% and in two of Alberta’s major markets: Edmonton at -1.49% and Calgary at -0.94%

Average Housing Prices in Major Canadian Cities

East of Saskatchewan, most markets have seen strong sales and increasing prices. While prices have also risen in B.C. and Alberta, they haven’t been as distinctive. According to the CREA’s monthly statistical report, the actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in July 2020 was $571,500, up a record-setting 14.3% from July 2019.

This number is influenced by the increases in Canada’s two hottest and most expensive markets- Greater Toronto (GTA) and Greater Vancouver. Without the increases in these markets, the national average home price would be around $117,000 less.

View CREA’s National Price Map

Greater Vancouver

Average Price- $1,031,400 in July 2020 compared to $987,200 in July 2019

Fraser Valley

Average Price- $858,300 in July 2020 compared to $824,500 in July 2019

Victoria

Average Price- $724,600 in July 2020 compared to $700,300 in July 2019

Edmonton

Average Price- $319,000 in July 2020 compared to $323,800 in July 2019

Calgary

Average Price- $411,200 in July 2020 compared to $417,200 in July 2019

Regina

Average Price- $272,200 in July 2020 compared to $269,000 in July 2019

Saskatoon

Average Price- $296,900 in July 2020 compared to $291,300 in July 2019

Winnipeg

Average Price- $284,000 in July 2020 compared to $270,500 in July 2019

Hamilton-Burlington

Average Price- $687,000 in July 2020 compared to $608,600 in July 2019

London-St Thomas

Average Price- $485,802 in July 2020 compared to $406,125 in July 2019

Montreal

Average Price- $401,300 in July 2020 compared to $351,700 in July 2019

Greater Toronto

Average Price- $880,400 in July 2020 compared to $800,200 in July 2019

Ottawa

Average Price- $506,700 in July 2020 compared to $428,100 in July 2019

Quebec City

Average Price- $258,000 in July 2020 compared to $244,800 in July 2019

Halifax- Dartmouth

Average Price- $363,692 in July 2020 compared to $310,251 in July 2019

St John

Average Price- $202,297 in July 2020 compared to $185,632 in July 2019

The Price Gap Between Condos and Single-Family Homes is Shrinking

The mortgage stress test is potentially making it tougher for home buyers to get into single family and more expensive types of homes (particularly in major cities). First time buyers in major markets may opt to purchase a condo over a single-family home. Condo prices are rising due to increased demand (4.2% year over year) and single-family home prices remain relatively similar – the gap between condo pricing and single-family home pricing is narrowing.

Single Family Homes Under Development

In 2018, there were 46,747 units under construction, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This was down from 55,000 units in 2017. As people move further away from the larger cities (Toronto and Vancouver) there are more opportunities for development and more affordable housing prices.  Within pricier markets, home buyers may often look for properties with rental income potential to offset the cost of the mortgage.

Multi-Family Homes Under Development

Condos are the leader for new home construction. In 2018, inventory still under construction reached almost 121,000 units (54% of new builds). Condos also eclipsed single family and rental homes (apartments) at 46,747 units and 56,394 units, respectively. Condos purchased by investors also supplement and supply the rental market. Thinking about getting into the market this fall? Whether you’re considering buying or selling or just want to know what your home is truly worth, our team offers accurate, comprehensive and professional residential real estate appraisal services. D. Fritz Appraisals serves clients from South to Central Vancouver Island (Victoria to Nanaimo) as well as the Gulf Islands. For any questions or to order an appraisal, contact us today.

eco friendly house - tesla solar roof

Top Tips for Eco-Friendly House / Green Homes

Translating into energy savings, increased property value and a reduced carbon footprint, green homes are more sought-after than ever

Now a mainstream concept, eco-friendly homes provide incredible energy savings and contribute to lowered living costs and a positive impact on the environment.

Home buyers now look for smart features and eco-friendly options meant to reduce their carbon footprint, such as the new Tesla solar roof, smart thermostats, energy smart appliances and tankless hot water heaters. These initial investments in new technology dramatically reduce consumption and increase property value.

The Sustainable Home

Sustainability can be separated into passive sustainability and active sustainability

Passive Sustainability

A passively sustainable home is developed to take advantage of its surrounding environment. For instance, a home built with the most exterior surface facing north and south allows it to take advantage of the most sunlight possible. This simple solution reduces the need to turn on heaters and lights during the majority of the day and keeps the temperature comfortable during the evening.

You can also look to the landscape to create passive sustainability. Strategically planted trees add shade to the home, reducing the need to use air conditioning by approximately ten percent. As long as the trees don’t block out any solar panels, they’re an excellent natural way to cool the air both inside and out.

As a bonus, trees provide an excellent anchor for clotheslines to reduce reliance on clothes dryers. Ask your local garden centre for recommendations about the species of trees that would be best for your landscape and region.

Unsure about the permanence of trees? Homeowners can also plant gardens based around native species and grasses. These require much less water and create a naturally thriving green space.

Active Sustainability

The Tesla roof is a prime example of active sustainability. Made of sleek solar tiles, the Tesla roof completely replaces an existing roof with materials three times more durable than standard roofing tiles, but less than the cost of a new roof and new solar panels. The innovative Tesla tiles absorb natural light while the battery banks store extra power for when it’s needed, such as during a power outage (eliminating the need for a fuel generator.)

With the capability to power a home for decades and monitor/control power consumption in real time, the Tesla roof is an ideal solution for reducing energy consumption and costs.

Advancements in smart home technology also make it possible to monitor and lower energy usage. Controlling a thermostat while you’re away from home, using automated window and deck covers (awnings or permanent covers) to shade or heat the house at will, and setting lights on timers are all great ways to spot-reduce energy consumption using smart home technologies. Most commonly managed via smartphone apps, these technologies easily create customized control over your home’s energy expenditure.

Purpose-Built Sustainability During Renovations or New Construction

Green Options for Your New or Improved Home

Windows

Adding larger double or triple paned windows will allow your home to absorb as much sunlight as possible, while keeping the temperature at a comfortable level. Floor to ceiling windows will not only frame the views, adding more beauty to your home, but they will help fill your home with natural light.

Exterior

Sustainable building materials and reclaimed wood are a few other ways that you can lessen environmental impact. For exterior finishing, reconsider vinyl siding and look to a material like fiber cement instead. Sustainable and cost-effective, fiber cement is made from cement, sand and wood fibers. It’s also non-toxic, durable, holds paint well and is designed to last 50 years, much longer than vinyl. In comparison, vinyl is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) a toxic material that cannot easily be recycled and has a long afterlife.

Paint

Low VOC and no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints are also becoming increasingly popular. These “green” paints are low in or free of chemicals that off-gas into your home and degrade the air quality. These paints also biodegrade more easily and have a much shorter afterlife than their toxic counterparts.

Flooring

Look to sustainable flooring options like engineered bamboo flooring, rather than traditional hardwoods. Harder than maple and oak, bamboo is a renewable material that grows at a much faster rate than hardwood trees, which can take decades to grow. In comparison, a stalk of bamboo only takes five years to grow large enough to be harvested. If you do opt for bamboo flooring, make sure that the flooring you choose is top-quality and manufactured using chemical-free materials.

Upgraded Water Heater

When adding or replacing a water heater, consider a tankless model. These heat water on demand, rather than continuously heating a large supply of water—a drain on energy and resources.

Simple Ways to Improve the Sustainability of Your Home

Not Quite Ready to Renovate? Shrink Your Home’s Carbon Footprint with These Small Changes

  • Cold water wash and skip the clothes dryer- This will save roughly 90% in energy used during the wash cycle, and 100% on the drying cycle. Your clothing will have a longer lifespan as well.
  • Use a programmable or smart thermostat- Climate control reduces excessive energy use and being able to turn AC off or on at the touch of a button can make a huge difference in consumption.
  • Use natural cleaning products- Since cleaning products are used every day, it makes sense to invest in chemical free cleaners. Many eco-friendly products are refillable as well, reducing packaging waste.
  • Add LED lighting- As your lightbulbs fade out, swap them with LED bulbs. These use approximately 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and they last for about 25,000 hours – that’s 3 years if they’re used 24/7!

When you’ve invested in major home improvements and would like to know what your residential property is worth, we can help. With decades of experience, our team of expert appraisers at D.Fritz serves Southern and Central Vancouver Island as well as the Gulf Islands. Contact us today to get a clear picture of your home’s value in today’s marketplace.

real estate market trends 2020

Current Real Estate Industry Trends

COVID-19 Halts the Vancouver Island Real Estate Marketplace

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, no aspect of the Canadian economy was left untouched and the real estate market felt this acutely with a major slump during March and April. During this period, many British Columbians experienced layoffs, placed themselves in social isolation and were hesitant to open their homes to strangers. For many, listing their homes or searching for a new home took a backseat to navigating the “new normal” during this very odd time in history when schools, workplaces, and all public spaces shut down, seemingly overnight. Also, as restrictions on rental properties were put into place to protect tenants from eviction during the lockdown period, owners of these properties were unable to list these homes. With realtors also self-isolating and avoiding in-person meetings, the market in the Victoria Real Estate (VREB) region was uncharacteristically quiet during what would normally be peak season. Live-streamed open houses, virtual walkthroughs, masks and sanitizer waiting at listed homes became common as the first weeks wore on.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Bounces Back

The market experienced a stronger than expected bounce-back in late May and June, closely timed with the start of Phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan. As a result, in June the number of homes on the market was much closer to 2019 numbers and sales in June 2020 in the VREB region surpassed sales from June 2019. Despite a slow spring, home prices continued to rise. The sale price of an average single-family home in Victoria topped $1 million in June. Competitive/ multiple offers have also become common due to limited inventory. The BCREA, VREB, and VIREB, Real Estate professionals and other industry experts report this is likely due to a pent-up demand from buyers and sellers having to wait throughout the spring (normally the ideal time to buy and sell) to make their move.

real estate market trends 2020

Changes by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) may also have played a role in demand with new changes resulting in reduced borrowing power. The eligibility rules for a mortgage have now changed to include an inability to use borrowed funds for a down payment, requirements for a higher credit score, and a lower amount of debt that an applicant is allowed carry. Some buyers, particularly first-time buyers, may have felt a push to purchase a home before those changes came into effect July 1. “COVID-19 has exposed long-standing vulnerabilities in our financial markets, and we must act now to protect the economic futures of Canadians,” says Evan Siddall, CMHC’s President and CEO, of the changed eligibility rules for borrowers requiring mortgage insurance.

Changes in Pricing Could Lead to New Opportunities

Rising home prices are believed to be a result of limited inventory and more competitive/multiple offers seen through May and June as the market began to recover. Despite this initial rise, lower valuations may come into play as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and as we experience a potential second wave.

The Vancouver Island Market Moving Forward

The Real Estate market on Vancouver Island is a mixed bag and it remains to be seen how it will fare long-term, particularly after Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and other government assistance programs wind down during the next few months. The CERB benefit, for example, is available from March 15 to October 3, 2020 but can be applied for retroactively up until December 2, 2020. These programs have temporarily taken the pressure off to pay the mortgages and bills and even defer taxes Industry professionals believe it’s possible there may be a surge in sales as these programs phase out, forcing homeowners to list their properties.

A bit of good news: in the most recent market intelligence report by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCCREA), it is “anticipated that while the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak will be deeply felt, the bounce-back will be faster than in previous recessions. As the protection measures are lifted, as we have already seen in parts of the Province, the pent-up demand will return to local markets with buyers keen to take advantage of low interest rates.” The long-term effects remain to be seen, but on the positive side, a combination of lower interest rates, increased inventory and a drop in valuation have the potential to create an ideal buyer’s market and faster sales.

 

The Numbers:

  • In April 2020, sales in the VREB dropped by 58.8 percent compared to April 2019
  • Condo sales are down 3.2% with 209 units sold in June 2020- believed to be at least partly a result of rising Strata insurance costs.
  • Single family home sales are up 16.8% with 460 homes sold in June 2020
  • Sales in the VREB region were up in June at 808 properties sold, compared to 740 properties sold in June 2019
  • There are currently 2,698 active listings on the VREB Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as of the end of June 2020

Full VREB Stats

 

As one of Victoria’s longest-standing appraisal firms, rely on our years of expertise if you are considering buying, selling, or re-financing. At D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. located in Victoria BC, our expert team understands that these are uncertain times and its of utmost importance to have the most accurate and comprehensive valuations possible. To get the full picture of the value of your property, contact us today.

Purchasing an Income Property with Equity

Purchasing an Income Property

Appraising Your Home to Access Capital for Purchasing an Income Property

How to get the best appraised value possible out of your current home to help you purchase an income property.

Own your own home and thinking about buying another? Excellent idea! Purchasing a secondary property to use as an income property or rental property is a smart investment and is often more possible than you’d think, especially if you have capital or home equity building up in your existing property. A local appraisal company working with a mortgage broker local to Victoria BC, can help you find out if you have enough capital or home equity in your existing property to qualify for a mortgage refinance so you can purchase another property.

Using your existing home’s equity, or increased value, to purchase an income property is something financial advisor and mortgage brokers advise all the time in order to help homeowners get ahead and secure financial freedom into their retirement years. With an income property, you’re allowing tenants to pay down your mortgage for you, and once it’s paid off, you have a property that has increased in value that you can either sell, pass on to your grown children, or downsize into and enjoy yourself.

Owning more than one property is made easy with a simple refinance of your existing mortgage. Mortgage refinancing involves having your existing mortgage re-evaluated so that you can borrow additional funds (access your home equity) from your lender to put towards a second property, or spend however else you’d like. This borrowing of extra money is made possible only if you have enough equity on your first home built up – and that is precisely where a real estate property appraisal company comes in!

Here are 5 things you should know about getting your home appraised to access your home equity.

1. An accurate appraisal of your property’s current market value is essential to the refinancing of a home.

If you’re like most homeowners, you are likely already somewhat aware of your home’s value in the current market. After all, you get annual assessments from BC Assessment, and you may see your neighbours selling their properties for top dollar, or receive letters from hopeful realtors informing you of how much your home is worth.

However, when it comes to something as important as refinancing, you want to make sure your home’s indeed got enough equity to refinance. A property appraisal company can confirm what you already know to be true, and in many cases delight you with an even higher number than you or your lender were thinking possible.

Remember, the cost for a property appraisal is a flat fee – it is NOT calculated as a percentage of your home’s appraised value.

2. The higher your home is appraised for, the more money you can borrow for your income property.

When refinancing, homeowners can borrow up to 80% of their home’s appraised value, minus the amount that is left still owing on their mortgage. For example, if your home’s appraised value is $500,000 and you have $125,000 still owing on the mortgage, you can apply for a refinancing amount up to $275,000. (80% of $500,000 is $400,000, minus the $125,000 still owing). This is $275,000 you can put towards your income property.

3. A home appraisal company comes to see your home in person, which provides a more accurate appraisal for your lender.

Depending on the property, some lenders can tell when a homeowner has equity or not, without even having to step foot on the property. They use an automated system that computes enough of an appraisal for them to deem that you have equity you can access during a mortgage refinance.

However, if you’re looking for a more on the nose appraisal, an on-site visit by a certified real estate property appraisal company is recommended and make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in your appraisal, and therefore how much capital you can access for your desired income property.

See: Home Appraisals vs Online Home Value Calculators

4. There are several things you can do around your existing property to better your chances of a high appraisal.

Again, the more your home is deemed to be worth, the more capital you’ll be able to access to purchase a second property. To get the highest appraised value possible, you might have to work with your appraiser a little bit to make sure they have all the details they need to complete a fair assessment. For example, be sure to point out any renovations, additions, or value-added features to the home. Pointing out these items to the appraiser should be done in addition to Doing These 8 Things to Increase Your Home’s Appraised Value.

5. When you receive an appraisal that was much higher than you expected, you don’t have to borrow the maximum 80%.

As mentioned above, you can borrow up to 80% of your home’s equity to put towards your rental property, but that doesn’t mean you have to take the full 80%. It’s up to you when it comes to what amount to borrow. Take only what you need!

On a similar note, you don’t have to spend the borrowed money right away. When you access your capital and your refinancing is completed successfully, you’ll receive a cheque with the amount of money you’ve decided to borrow, which can be put into a savings account until you are ready to buy that perfect investment property. So, there’s no need to rush into anything, but it can be a nice comfort in knowing you have the highest amount possible ready to go when needed – achieved through a top-notch property appraisal.

Contact D. Fritz Appraisals at 250-413-7319 to book your next appraisal in Victoria, BC. We offer the fastest turnaround time in the region and can often deliver an appraisal within 24 hours. specialize in real estate appraisals for all situations, such mortgage refinancing, new construction, division of assets, and estates.

 

choosing the right real estate appraisal company

Get to Know your Home Appraisal Company

What to Look for in a Home Appraisal Company

Looking for a Home Appraisal Company in Victoria, BC? Here’s a Quick Guide to Help You Decide Who to Hire

If you own your own home, there are four main reasons why you might be looking to hire a property appraisal company instead of going through the banks:

  • you are planning on selling your property and want to know how much it’s worth;choosing the right real estate appraisal company
  • you are looking into refinancing your home and want an idea of its current value;
  • you need to start dividing assets amongst family members or a former spouse; or
  • you want a second opinion to compare with what a previous company gave you.

In any of these situations, a property appraisal company can help, and it will be up to you to hire the right company for the job. (This is unlike when you’re buying a home and paying for a property appraisal to satisfy the bank lending you your mortgage – in this case the bank has a list of companies they work with).

So, when it’s up to you, how do you know what property appraisal company to hire? Start with our quick guide to choosing a home appraisal company. Here are some of the key things to look for:

Knowledge of Your Property Type

Before anything else, be sure you’re only considering real estate appraisal companies that specialize in your property type. Some companies specialize in commercial buildings, while others specialize strictly in residential properties.

Depending on where you live, there may be companies that further specialize in condos or heritage buildings over detached homes, so double-check you’re looking at companies that can meet your needs in this regard.

For example, if you are looking for an appraisal on two acres of farmland, someone specializing in Victoria’s downtown core might not be a good fit. If you are planning to list a three-bedroom house with a suite in Oak Bay, look for appraisal companies with expertise in that kind of property.

Knowledge of Your Neighbourhood

Confirm the appraiser’s knowledge of your specific neighbourhood. The appraisal company you hire should have a complete understanding of the local region, including its facilities, amenities, property types, and recent home sales and prices.

They should know about potential rezoning and redevelopment set to take place in the neighbourhood, as well as any future investments taking place or ongoing efforts to make the neighbourhood even more desirable.

Is the neighbourhood set to densify in the next 10 years? Is a major transportation upgrade destined to arrive? Are new schools and hospitals being built nearby? These are all things a knowledgeable property appraiser will be able to tell you, and factor into their appraisal report.

Longevity in the Industry

A good indicator of whether a company has some or all of the attributes listed above is how long they have been in the industry for. A company with decades of experience speaks to their reputation and knowledge of the market. D. Fritz Appraisals is one of Victoria’s longest standing appraisal firms, with more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of the real estate industry in Victoria, BC. We would be happy to show you how we got there!

Word of Mouth Recommendations

If your neighbours, colleagues, friends, or family have recently gone through the home appraisal process, ask them who they used and if they would recommend their services.

Online Reviews

Likewise, use things like online reviews to help you decide on which company will be best at meeting your home appraisal needs. Online reviews often highlight things like the company’s level of customer service and timeliness of correspondence – two major factors when timing is of the essence in the real estate game.

Credentials & Education

Ask an appraisal company about their staff’s education, certifications, and amount of insurance liability. Look for a company whose appraisers are certified with the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) and professionally insured for liability according to the Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP).

Level of Experience

Ideally the property appraiser you hire will have extensive industry experience, having worked as a mortgage broker, real estate agent, or otherwise in the past. It’s encouraged to evaluate the appraiser’s experience level and ask them for a short biography (often provided on the company’s website in the About Us section) and a list of two or three references (testimonials) from current or previous clients.

Level of Support

Confirm with the appraisal company what is included in their services, so you know exactly what you are paying for in the final report. If you have questions about the appraisal process along the way, and care to ask the appraiser for tips on how to improve the valuation, find out beforehand if this level of service is to be expected. Also make sure a copy of their report is included in the services you are paying for! This is especially important if this is your first time undergoing the process of having your property assessed.

Methodologies Used

Once you’re satisfied with all the above, the last step is asking the appraiser about their appraisal methodology. Find out what steps they take to determine the value of your home. Most appraisers start with their in-house database of recent sales and market trends, checking to see if prices are rising or falling. Next they supplement that data with data from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and then do a site visit of the property.

Up Next: Home Inspections vs. Home Appraisals

The property appraisers at D. Fritz Appraisals would be happy to provide you with more details on our real estate appraisal services in the Victoria region of Vancouver Island. Contact us today to learn more. We specialize in real estate appraisals for all situations, such mortgage refinancing, new construction, division of assets, and estates.