I hope you’ve had a great start to the new year so far. How has our Metro Vancouver market done this January compared to December 2017, though?
House sales remained the same as last December, with an active ratio of 15%. Home prices are still negotiable, and some are even selling below their tax assessment. This may mean a great opportunity to buy a house this spring.
For condos, the active-to-sales ratio dropped from 58% to 27%. This drop in activity may be related to new mortgage stress-testing rules and higher interest rates. As a general rule, we tend to see decreases in home prices when we get consecutive months of active-to-sales ratios below 12%. If you own a condo, this means you’re still safe and prices are still trending upward.
If you’ve been stressing out about the new mortgage stress testing that took effect January 21, I have an update for you. Some credit unions are still not adhering to the stress test. I also found out from a mortgage broker that if you purchased a home before November 2016, you can refinance without stress-testing.
Also, if you’re thinking about increasing your down payment up to 20% to avoid the insurance premium, you may be able to get a lower mortgage rate—up to 0.5%—with a higher ratio insured mortgage. You may end up saving more money throughout your mortgage term with the lower interest rate versus a larger down-payment. So make sure you work out your calculations properly.
If you have any questions about our market or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home soon, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.