Today’s Real Estate Report – Canada

Vancouver Island HouseAt Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas. If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at [email protected]. Today, in our ongoing series about local real estate markets, we’ll take a look at home sales and trends on Canada.

Starting in Alberta, the Edmonton Journal reports that homebuying intentions are down:

Most Albertans believe buying a house or a condo is a good investment, but their intention to purchase a property has dropped, according to the 20th Annual RBC Homeownership Poll released Tuesday. The poll revealed that 89 per cent of people in the province, higher than the 84 per cent national average, felt home ownership is a good investment. Buying intentions in Alberta dropped to 22 per cent from 31 per cent a year ago.

Over at the Vancouver Sun, they’re talking about resentment at foreign ownership of Vancouver real estate:

A recent survey by the respected Vancouver Foundation found three out of four Metro Vancouver residents who had an opinion agreed with the statement: “There is too much foreign ownership of real estate here.” And Simon Fraser University explored this hot-button issue Wednesday evening in Vancouver through a panel discussion at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre, which quickly sold out. The speakers did what they could to respond to heated discussion of the growing housing dilemma in Vancouver, which Demographia has ranked the second most unaffordable city of 325 around the world. The average cost of a single-family detached home has jumped in Vancouver to $1 million. Meanwhile, median incomes have barely budged for decades. Only Hong Kong is more expensive.

CJOB reports on the growing problem of marijuana grow-homes in the Winnipeg market:

A Winnipeg real estate agent believes the province need to beef up the rules surrounding the disclosure about the past of former marijuana grow operations. Year over year the province has seen a five to ten per cent rise in busts – the majority happening in residential homes.
RCMP Corporal Don Coker has taken down dozens ,”they’re very humid, there’s mold”. Officers entering the illegal operation wear ventilators for their own protection… But, after the issues are fixed up, the home can end up back on the market.

Over in Nova Scotia, the Chronicle Herald reports on a cooling real estate market in Halifax:

In technical terms, the Halifax real estate market has “flattened out” from the time the federal shipbuilding program was first announced back in October 2011 to today. There was a quick uptick in what some might describe as speculative real estate activity in the city in the six to eight months following the announcement that Irving Shipbuilding Inc. had won the right to negotiate for the bulk of the federal shipbuilding work.

But the Toronto Star says the Toronto real estate market is still hot:

Over the last four years, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has tightened mortgage lending rules in a desperate bid to bring reason to the red-hot housing market, especially in Toronto and Vancouver where prices have hit the stratosphere during the last decade, propelled largely by low interest rates. That, combined with surging supply of new condo projects, has definitely sent a chill through Toronto’s highrise housing sector since last summer, but demand for lowrise houses shows no signs of letting up. Although home sales were down 11.5 per cent and listings up slightly as of mid March over a year earlier, unrelenting competition among buyers for too few properties for sale — especially in the City of Toronto — saw prices jump six per cent across the GTA, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

The Gazette reports on Quebec’s unusual disclosure rules:

In Canada, Quebec real estate brokers are believed to be the only ones in the country required to divulge the “presence of an unexplained phenomenon” to a potential buyer. Although it’s easy to snicker at such rules, a landmark New York State Supreme Court case from 1991 ruled against sellers for not disclosing that the Nyack home they were selling had been featured in a haunted house tour.

Over in Saskatchewan, the Star Phoenix reports on an influx of Chinese real estate buyers in Saskatoon:

Chinese newcomers have started making big moves in the Saskatoon residential property market over the past year, local Realtors say. Realtor Henry Moulin said Chinese people began snapping up local homes in higher numbers in 2012, and the trend shows no sign of stopping. “The Chinese now know where Saskatchewan is,” he said. “I’m doing so much business with them I hired somebody that is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.”

UPI reports that home prices rose in January and in 2012 across Canada:

New home prices in Canada rose 0.1 percent December to January and have risen 2.2 percent over 12 months, Statistics Canada said Thursday. Toronto and Oshawa, both in Ontario, and the region of Calgary pushed the index higher, the data agency said. Market conditions contributed to higher prices in Toronto and Oshawa, while increased costs for building materials and labor added to prices in Calgary, builders reported.

And finally, the Winnipeg Free Press says the Canadian real estate boom is officially over:

Canada’s real estate bonanza of the past decade has come to an end and the long-term trend as one of the most profitable places to invest is also not encouraging, a new research paper from the TD Bank argues. The “special report” from one of Canada’s largest banks makes the case that gains in housing prices have been exceptionally strong over the last 10 years, even when accounting for a sharp drop during the 2008-09 recession. But now is the time for a bit of a payback. The report does not predict a collapse in house prices as some analysts have suggested. In fact, it sees prices rebounding after a few years of a correction to as high as eight per cent. However, the longer-term trend is for home price gains to average about two per cent over the next 10 years — flat once inflation is taken into account, says TD chief economist Craig Alexander.