December 2023 Real Estate Update

I trust this message reaches you in good health as we approach the Christmas season. November sales have demonstrated a commendable performance, aligning closely with, and even slightly surpassing, the figures from the previous year. For a more in-depth analysis, please continue reading to explore detailed statistics on Cowichan Valley sales, updated regulations for short-term housing such as Air B&B, and key highlights from recently announced housing measures from the Government. I'm more than willing to engage in a conversation about our present market. Please don't hesitate to reach out.

Warm regards, Paul

November Sales Stats for Single Family Homes in the Cowichan Valley

November saw a total of 42 single-family homes sold in the Cowichan Valley, down from the 46 that sold in November of last year, and up from the 36 in the preceding month of October. There were 69 single-family homes listed on the market in November 2023 compared to 65 last year, up just over 6%. There were 678 sales in our valley over the past 12 months representing a 6.6% decrease in comparison to the 715 sales in the 12 months ending in November of last year.

Average prices for single-family residential homes in November 2023 were at $788,506, up about 8.6% from $726,264 in November 2022, and down from October’s average of $783,375 as well. The median price of a single-family home in the Cowichan Valley for the 12 months to date ending in November 2023 was $768,000.

In November, the active inventory of single-family homes on the market in the Cowichan Valley was 349, pretty much the same as the 345 homes at the end of November 2022.

We had a 6.1-month supply of single-family homes on the market last month, while November 2022 had a 5.5-month supply. The average days to sell a single-family home in November was 48 days, just down from 46 days last November.

Condos & Townhouses

Condominium apartment sales in November saw 10 units sold, up from 5 sales in the previous month of October, and up almost 43% from the 7 that sold last November. Condo apartments in the valley saw the average price for the 12 months ending in November 2023 at $335,383, down 5.4% for the same period as last year.

The inventory of Townhomes on the market saw 3 sales in November, down from the 9 that sold in the month of October, and way down from the 12 sold last November, that’s a 75% decrease. Townhomes in the valley saw the average price for the 12 months to date ending in November at $563,252, down 7.4% from $608,460 for the same period last year.

New Legislation for Short-Term Rentals

Date: December 6, 2023

On October 26, 2023, the Government of B.C. passed new legislation that changes how short-term rentals operate in the province. The changes regulate the short-term rental market in the following ways:

    Stronger enforcement tools for local governments;
    New requirements designed to transition short-term rentals to long-term residences;
    The establishment of provincial regulations and enforcement mechanisms;
    New regulatory authorities to oversee compliance and registration; and
    Information sharing and coordination agreements.

The changes apply to all short-term rentals being offered to the public and will come into effect through a phased approach:

Immediately upon Royal Assent (October 26, 2023):

    Increased fine and ticketing powers for local governments;
    Granting business regulation and licensing powers to regional districts;

May 1, 2024:

- Limiting short-term rental units to be located in the host's principal residence plus one secondary suite or accessory dwelling units in municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more and adjacent communities;
- Removing "legal non-conforming use" protections to stop "legacy" short-term rental units from continuing to operate in spite of municipal bylaws;
- Requiring business licences to be displayed on listings on short-term rental platforms;

Summer 2024 and beyond:

    Data sharing agreements between government and short-term rental platforms; and
    Establish a provincial short-term rental registry for hosts and platforms.

To learn the full extent of the changes, please refer to the links provided in the Additional Information section of this Advisory.

For the complete article please click here to visit BCFSA.

Housing Measures Announced in 2023 Fall Economic Statement

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is encouraged by the unprecedented emphasis on housing in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, which announced several measures aimed at enhancing existing housing programs, as well as the government’s commitment to increasing housing supply across the entire housing continuum, through various new programs.

On Tuesday, November 21, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tabled the statement which included its first-ever housing-related chapter titled Canada’s Housing Action Plan, focused on mitigating the housing crisis and restoring housing affordability for Canadians. The government introduced new measures to: incentivize the construction of new rental housing; protect homeowners and renters; and ensure all Canadians have a safe, affordable place to call home.

Highlights from the 2023 Fall Economic Statement

The government committed to numerous measures, including many positions and recommendations CREA has lobbied on over the last few years, such as tying funding for infrastructure projects to building more homes, and prioritizing permanent residency for construction workers from abroad, with skills that can help build more homes faster.

The following measures were introduced:

Building Homes

- Reaffirming the commitment to tie infrastructure funding to actions by provinces, territories, and municipalities to increase housing supply where it makes sense to do so;
- Expanding the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from new, purpose-built rental housing projects, to include co-ops;
- An additional $15 billion in new loan funding, starting in 2025–26, for the Apartment Construction Loan Program, bringing the program’s total to $40 billion;
- An additional $1 billion over three years, starting in 2025–26, for the Affordable Housing Fund, supporting non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers, to build more homes;
- Increasing the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) annual limit of support for low-cost financing by $20 billion per year and designating the increased amount for funding mortgages on multi-unit rental projects insured by CMHC;
- Repurposing surplus federal properties to be developed into new homes;
- Investing $309.3 million in new funding for the Co-operative Housing Development Program; and
- Introducing legislation to establish the Department of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities (currently Infrastructure Canada), in recognition of the link between housing and infrastructure.

More Construction Workers to Build More Homes

- Prioritizing construction workers with skills to expedite the home building process, for permanent residency.

Supporting Renters, Buyers, and Homeowners

- Introducing various measures to crack down on non-compliant short-term rentals.

The Mortgage Charter

- Introducing a new Canadian Mortgage Charter, which will enforce fair, reasonable, and timely mortgage relief measures, from federally regulated financial institutions to mortgage holders, which includes a long-term REALTOR® position to not require insured mortgage holders to requalify under the insured minimum qualifying rate when switching lenders at mortgage renewal.

The government stated it intends to propose new amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Criminal Code to strengthen Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing framework. The government is also consulting on several changes to the Underused Housing Tax (UHT) to help facilitate compliance.

CREA will continue to monitor these measures, as well as the others announced, and assess the impact they have on the housing continuum, including homeowners, renters, and REALTORS®.