Have you been experiencing higher than normal humidity levels in your home?

The Okanagan has been experiencing higher relative humidity over the last few months. This is an excellent resource for figuring out any moisture problems occurring in your home:


Taxable Regions for the Speculation and Vacancy Tax

Only those owning property classed as residential and located in a designated taxable region in B.C. must complete a declaration for the speculation and vacancy tax.

Following are the designated taxable regions, including maps for each region. The maps are for your convenience only. Refer to the legislation for details.

Reserve lands, treaty lands and lands of self-governing Indigenous Nations are not part of the taxable regions.

Islands that are accessible only by air or water are not part of the taxable regions, except for Vancouver Island.

Some residential properties are excluded from the speculation and vacancy tax even though they are located within a taxable region. These include residential properties owned by:

  • An Indigenous Nation
  • Municipalities, regional districts, governments and other public bodies
  • Registered charities
  • Housing co-ops
  • Certain not-for-profit organizations

You can also refer to the legislation for a list of exclusions.

If your residential property is excluded for one of these reasons, you only need to complete a declaration if you have received a declaration letter.

The speculation and vacancy tax has received Royal assent in the Legislature. This information is not a replacement for the law.

Tax Rates for the Speculation and Vacancy Tax BC

The speculation and vacancy tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency. In addition, the tax rate varies based on whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a satellite family.

For 2018, the tax rate is:

  • 0.5% of the property’s assessed value for all properties subject to the tax

For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:

  • 2% for foreign owners and satellite families
  • 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are not members of a satellite family

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

A speculation and vacancy tax year is the same as a calendar year. Tax levied on December 31 is due the following July. For example, for a property owned as of December 31, 2018, the 2018 tax rate of 0.5% applies and the tax is due on July 2, 2019.

The speculation and vacancy tax has received Royal assent in the Legislature. This information is not a replacement for the law.


BC residential sales stats

BC Home Sales Show Little Change in April

Vancouver, BC ? May 14, 2018. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,203 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in April, a 16.8 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $730,507, up 0.2 per cent from the previous year. Total sales dollar volume was $5.99 billion, a 16.7 per cent decline from April 2017.

?BC home sales were essentially unchanged in April compared to March, albeit up nearly 1 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA’s Chief Economist. ?The impact of more burdensome mortgage qualifications for conventional borrowers is expected to soften over the next several months as potential buyers adjust both their finances and expectations.?

The supply of homes for sale in April increased 4 per cent from the previous month. However, total active listings on the market continue to remain low from a historical perspective. Most regions of the province have begun trending toward more balance between supply and demand, causing less upward pressure on home prices.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 6.7 per cent to $19.9 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 11.8 per cent to 27,135 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 5.7 per cent to $731,661.

Vancouver market update for April

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says market conditions in the city are changing as sales in April fell to a 17-year low for the month.

The board says 2,579 detached properties, townhouses and condominiums sold last month in Metro Vancouver, down 27.4 per cent from April 2017 and 22.5 per cent below the 10-year average for the month.

About 18.6 per cent more properties were newly listed last month than in April last year, giving buyers more selection.

Still, prices moved up with the composite benchmark price for all properties at $1,092,000 — up 14.3 per cent from the same month last year and 0.7 per cent from March 2018.

Detached houses saw the smallest price gains, with the benchmark price at $1,605,800 — up 5.1 per cent from April 2017 and down 0.2 per cent from March 2018.

The benchmark price for an apartment rose 23.7 per cent from the same time last year to $701,000, while the townhouse benchmark rose 17.7 per cent to $854,200.

South Okanagan Real Estate update

April 2018

Positive market forces

Amidst all the changes for our industry & consumers at large, the Okanagan Valley continues to have strong market dynamics. Tight supply has led to rising home prices over the last year (vast majority), with incredible gains made over the previous five years.

The supply of new homes is growing. Although modestly, the availability of newly constructed homes is providing a much better mix for potential homeowners to consider in the South Okanagan. This is a significant improvement and we are very thankful for the builders out there, who continue to develop the supply of homes we need. Coupled with this, the rising value of existing inventory of older homes has encouraged owners to renovate & upgrade. This is great for the longevity of the housing stock. Better condition & quality for the consumer is always a win.

Even with recent changes, interest rates are still at benign levels of around 3.0% see chart and most can qualify for their desired purchase amount. Some dreams were indeed curtailed by mortgage rule changes of January 1. This said, banks continue to have an appetite for residential mortgages bolstered by the more modest qualification environment.

The South Okanagan is a provincial and regional bright spot. Given the latest policy changes (speculation tax) our region will benefit from its exclusion from the tax. Kelowna, our superstar neighbour of relocation & retirement has been caught in the NDP’s tax zone. Those looking to relocate to the Okanagan will surely see the benefits of buying in the South (Details of the tax here).

We also continue to see buyers cashing in on their Vancouver property and relocating to the Okanagan Valley. I would expect this trend to continue for some time as the differential in prices remain significant.

Some Risks

Liberal & NDP governments seem to be tripping over themselves to whom can curb Canada’s growth the fastest. Ill conceived new taxes (most recently the speculation tax; changes to small business taxes & the foreign buyers tax) are having a policy driven effect on the BC economy & real estate market. Fundamentals suggest that the will of the consumer is still strong, but we do expect these policy initiatives to moderate expectations at some point. Some in government would say “it’s working” and others would say, “be careful what you wish for”…

All of these factors aside, a significant rate of monetary expansion is having a predictable effect, as the cash must find somewhere to go. See this illustrative chart… This does however pose an inflation risk. Given this, and the more competitive bond market globally, we will likely see rate increases ahead.

Trudeau’s government has adopted a hostility towards foreign investment that beggars belief. With a 26% Decline in foreign direct investment, I am concerned at what motivations the Liberals are taking off the table for would be investors. The decision to meddle in markets can have a long tail and last years if not decades… we can only hope the leading edge of investment confidence is not eroded further by our governments.

Moving Motivations

Irrespective of what the market appears to be doing at any given time, our lives are dynamic and constantly changing. You may need to sell a property that you once thought you’d never part with to finance a new venture or goal in life. For others, the motivation is a growing family. Sometimes, it’s a move to downsize & be closer to loved ones and grandkids. Whatever the occasion, let me know how I can be of service to you! I am always available to talk, even when it’s “just an idea”, it may be helpful to have that conversation!


Thanks for your continued loyalty & I look forward to hearing from you!


The Numbers 

Sales figures through January and February were dislocated & would have led to more confusion than clarity, So I waited for the March statistics as they became much more reflective of what we are seeing ‘on the ground’ in aggregate. Below are the latest Yr-over-Yr, YTD figures. 


Summerland YTD 

Unchanged Single family home price at $601,387

Unchanged Condo/Townhome price at $298,944

Down -1.3% Total residential price at $492,125

Down -28% Sales Volume at $19,684,982

Down -20% Current Listing Inventory at 63


Penticton YTD

Up 7.1% Single family home price at 549,402

Up 11.8% Condo/Townhome price at $318,682

Up 10.2% Total residential price at $410,241

Up 5.8% Sales Volume at $100,098,816

Up 18.4% Current Listing Inventory at 289


South Okanagan Total YTD

Up 1.3% Single family home price at $490,823

Up 13.1% Condo/Townhome price at $310,156

Up 6.1% Total residential price at 396,971

Up 1.5% Sales Volume at $181,812,921

Unchanged Current Listing Inventory at 833   (Near historic lows) we need more listings!


Haleakala National Park, Maui (pictured above) A favourite experience (of mine 😉 while on winter holiday with Becky this year. I was graciously allowed to do a ‘bucket list’ ride from Paia to the top of the crater. 57km and 10,000 vertical feet of climbing! If you’re looking for a thin air challenge, this is it!

510 – 250 Marina Way
Enjoy the beautiful views of Okanagan lake from this spacious, east facing, 2 bedroom 2 bathroom condo. Lakeview Terrace offers its residents some of the most unique architecture in the Okanagan.

13014 Cartwright Avenue

Estate zoned 7 acre property, ideally situated within 15-minute walking distance to downtown Summerland. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, don’t miss it!

6788 Indian Rock Road

Naramata. 2,900 sqft 4 bed 4 bath home on 1.30 acres nestled in a stunning rock canyon with a beautiful year round creek for your peace & rejuvenation.

3 new mortgage rule changes. January 1, 2018

OSFI (The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) has implemented 3 new mortgage rule changes. January 1, 2018


Qualifying rate stress test to all uninsured mortgages

Uninsured mortgage consumers must now qualify using a new minimum qualifying rate. The rate will be the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada OR the lender contractual mortgage rate +2.0%.

How does this affect the mortgage consumer with a down payment/equityof 20% or more?
The biggest impact will be on the amount for which the home buyer/owner will be able to qualify. Previously, the home buyer/owner qualified at the contract rate offered by the lender. While the actual mortgage payment will still be paid at the contract rate, a higher calculation will be used for qualification purposes.

For example:

Do I still have the option to refinance my home?
Yes, home owners will still have the ability to refinance up to 80% of the value of their property. You will have to pass the same stress test which is the higher of the BoC five-year benchmark rate (currently 4.89%) OR the contract rate from the lender plus 2%.


Lenders will be required to enhance their loan-to-value (LTV) measurement and limits to ensure risk responsiveness

Mortgage lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) must establish and adhere to appropriate LTV ratio limits that are reflective of risk and updated as housing markets and the economic environment evolve. We are awaiting more details on this policy from lenders. As we have new information, we will update this document.

What does this mean?
OSFI directs lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) to have internal risk management protocols in higher priced markets (sometimes called “hot real estate markets” like Toronto and Vancouver). This is a continuation of a policy already in place. Many mortgage lenders have been following the principles of the policy for the last 10 to 12 months.


Restrictions will be placed on certain lending arrangements that are designed, or appear designed to avoid LTV limits

Mortgage lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) are prohibited from arranging with another lender: a mortgage, or a combination of a mortgage and other lending products, in any form that circumvents the institution’s maximum LTV ratio or other limits in its residential mortgage underwriting policy, or any requirements established by law. This is often referred to as “bundling” or “bundle partnership”.

What does this mean?
For example: a consumer applies for a mortgage with an 80% LTV and the lender can only approve 65%. The lender then partners with a second lender for the additional 15%. The original lender then “bundles” the 15% LTV mortgage with the original 65% mortgage to form the complete 80% LTV loan. This is no longer permitted as per OSFI.

Chart - New Mortgage Rules 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For


Market Intelligence BCREA Economics April 4, 2018

Careful What You Wish For – The Economic Fallout of Housing Price Shocks

The desire of some well-meaning British Columbians for government to drive down the price of homes through demand-side policy may sound practical at first blush. However, when you consider the broad and deep economic toll that a negative shock to home prices would exact on both homeowners and renters, it quickly becomes apparent that such an approach is at best, a mug’s game. BCREA Economics analysis* shows that even a relatively modest negative price shock will produce significant consequences to the BC economy.

Nearly 70 per cent of British Columbian households own their home. A relatively minor 10 per cent negative shock to home prices would extinguish $90 billion of their wealth, or $70,000 of the average homeowner’s equity. While some may see this as a paper loss, it will have a significant impact on the economy, as declining household wealth reins in consumer spending. Retail sales would suffer, with an estimated $1.8 billion in forgone revenue in the first year after the shock.

Home construction activity would fall dramatically. Home builders would cut back production 25 per cent; that’s 10,000 fewer housing starts in the first year alone. A negative price shock would markedly slow the expansion of the housing stock, creating even more critical housing supply problems down the road.

Across the economy, a negative home price shock will slow growth. Tens of thousands of jobs will be forfeited. The unemployment rate will shoot up. A 10 per cent negative price shock will slow real GDP growth to 1.5 per cent from a baseline of 2.7 per cent. That’s $3 billion in lost activity. If home prices fell 35 per cent, a level some activists are championing, the BC economy would collapse into recession. The average home owner would have lost $245,000 in equity, housing starts would fall by half, 64,000 jobs would be forfeited – sending the unemployment rate to 7.5 per cent with $4.4 billion in forgone retail sales and a colossal $8 billion loss to GDP in the first year.

This analysis does not account for the negative impact on provincial tax revenues, expanding deficits, ballooning debt and credit downgrade risks.

Think seriously about what you want when asking the government to intervene in a market system. You are playing with fire. Loss of GDP has an extremely long tail of destruction.

Building Permits

February 7, 2018

The value of building permits grew 27.3% (seasonally adjusted) in December from the previous month. Increases in permits for residential (+50.6) and industrial (+12.8%) projects offset decreases for institutional (‑36.3%) and commercial (‑13.5%) buildings. The value of permits rose in Vancouver (+38.9%), where most of the province’s building activity occurs, while Abbotsford-Mission (+167.1%) and Victoria (+69.2%) both saw large increases as well. Kelowna (‑31.6%) saw a decrease in the value of permits issued.

Nationally, building permits increased by 4.8% in December. There was growth in Saskatchewan (+31.5%), British Columbia (+27.3%), and Quebec (+20.6%). Conversely, the value of permits contracted in Manitoba (‑25.4%), Alberta (‑10.5%), and Atlantic Canada (‑5.4%).

Regional Building Permits

Through December of 2017, the value of building permits issued in the province’s regions climbed 17.5% (unadjusted) above the level recorded in the same period last year. Investment intentions were up in most regions ranging from 7.3% in Kootenay to 156.0% in Nechako. Planned spending rose in Mainland/Southwest (+16.8%), where increases were seen for institutional and governmental (+64.9%), industrial (+60.2%), commercial (+17.2%), and residential (+12.2%) projects. Overall permits continued to increase in North Coast (+79.6%), Thompson/Okanagan (+23.4%), and Vancouver Island/Coast (+22.3%), while the only regions to see declines were Northeast (‑30.3%) and Cariboo (‑9.8%).

Data Source: Statistics Canada (Regional data produced by BC Stats from unpublished data)

Housing starts

 March 9, 2018

Housing starts in urban areas (areas with population of at least 10,000) in British Columbia fell by 26.1% (seasonally adjusted at annual rates) in February compared to January. The decrease was widespread with every housing type start registering declines in the month.

Across British Columbia’s census metropolitan areas, Victoria (+175.5%) was the only one in which housing starts grew in February. Kelowna saw the biggest decrease at 64.5% for the month.

Despite falling in half of the provinces, urban housing starts across Canada went up (+7.1%) in February. The increase was led by Prince Edward Island (+184.6%), Ontario (+25.8%) and Quebec (+17.2%). The increase was concentrated in apartment units (+22.8%) with all other housing types starts declining in the month. Saskatchewan (‑40.0%) registered the largest housing starts decline in February.

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