The pandemic created by Covid-19 has affected every facet of society, but its ultimate mark on real estate values has yet to be determined, says a BC Assessment representative.
Ramaish Shah said the full effect of the current pandemic will ultimately affect property values in Nelson and across the province, but the extent to which won’t be known until the figures are tabulated later this year.
He said the provincial organization has been “looking very closely” at the effect of the virus on the real estate market, but after delivering the latest assessment roll for Nelson and the province, he could not predict what it will be.
“There will be some appeals where people are bringing this (virus) into play over the next few months, but it’s still very early, in our experience with the Covid-19 pandemic, so I don’t know what the impact of that will be on real estate markets down the road,” he told city council at the April 20 committee-of-the-whole meeting.
“(I)t’s impacting everything we do as a society, the real estate part of it is going to be part of that puzzle.”
He said the real estate sales for the first three months of the year had been in the works before the virus erupted in Canada and are now complete, so the next few months will be the telling tale of the virus’ effect.
What is BC Assessment
BC Assessment develops and maintains real property assessments throughout British Columbia in addition to providing real property information.
BC Assessment maintains real property assessments in compliance with the Assessment Act which requires that properties be assessed as of July 1 each year.
To do this, BC Assessment produces assessment information annually to provide tax authorities with a tax base and other information collected about property.
The assessment information is the product provided to local governments and other taxing authorities containing all of the information on the individual assessments.
BC Assessment was established in 1974 as a non-partisan commission tasked with examining property assessment and taxation.
It operates independent of property taxing function and independent of provincial politics.
— Source: BC Assessment
The average value of a home in Nelson for 2020 — for the 4,760 “folios” contained within the city — was pegged at $588,617 by BC Assessment.
Nelson was divided into six neighbourhoods for the assessment, and of the four residential neighbourhoods, the highest average for a home was Fairview at $530,223 (1,712 folios).
Next was Uphill at $503,535 (1,508 folios), with Rosemont third at $427,851 (869 folios). The North Shore extension was fourth with $367,222 based on 72 folios.
The commercial core was averaged at $774,740 (553 folios) and the power plant extension was $6,697,187 with 46 folios.
Strata units — condominiums — went up a little more than single family homes and the commercial properties in Nelson, up to 10 per cent compared to five per cent for residential and commercial.
“And that’s reflected in the market in what we are seeing in terms of demand and selling prices relative to single family dwellings,” said Shah.
The city saw an increase in total properties by .5 per cent (4,760 properties), with a 4.3 per cent increase in total value from the 2019 roll to $2.8 billion. The total non-market change was an 18.5 per cent increase from the 2019 roll ($25.68 million).
Although total properties in the province rose by 1.06 per cent, the total value dropped from the 2019 roll by 2.5 per cent.
Market value of a home according to BC Assessment is the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, “each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.”
The work of BC Assessment
BC Assessment provides an annual list of property values and identifies ownership, value, classification and exemptions for each property.
BC Assessment represents over two million properties in the province with total value of $1.94 trillion, providing a base for local governments and taxing authorities to raise approximately $8 billion annually in property taxes for schools and important local services.
— Source: BC Assessment
What Is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation that serves as the national housing agency of Canada and provides mortgage loans to prospective buyers, particularly those in need.
Understanding the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) serves as the national housing agency of Canada. CMHC is a state-owned enterprise, or a Crown corporation, that provides a range of services for home buyers, the government, and the housing industry.
CMHC’s stated mission is to “promote housing affordability and choice; to facilitate access to, and competition and efficiency in the provision of, housing finance; to protect the availability of adequate funding for housing, and generally to contribute to the well-being of the housing sector.”1
A primary focus of CMHC is to provide federal funding for Canadian housing programs, particularly to buyers with demonstrated needs. CMHC, headquartered in Ottawa, provides many additional services to renters and home buyers, including mortgage insurance and financial assistance programs. CMHC acts as an information hub for consumers, providing information on renting, financial planning, home buying, and mortgage management.
CMHC also provides mortgage loan insurance for public and private housing organizations and facilitates affordable, accessible, and adaptable housing in Canada.2 Additionally, CMHC provides financial assistance and housing programs to First Nations and Indigenous communities in Canada.3
Professionals and Consumers
CMHC provides services to both professionals and consumers. For professionals, CMHC aims to work in collaboration with different groups to provide affordable housing. Services include project funding and mortgage financing, providing information to understand Canada’s housing market, innovation and leadership networks to access funding and talent to spur housing innovation and increase supply, and providing speakers and hosting events for the industry.4
For consumers, CMHC seeks to provide all the tools an individual would need to either buy a home or rent a home and a variety of information and assistance for current homeowners, such as managing a mortgage, services for seniors to age in place, and financial hardship assistance.56
For financial hardship and mortgage assistance, CMHC provides tools that include payment deferrals, extending the repayment period, adding missed payments to the mortgage balance, moving from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage, and other special payment arrangements.7
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the National Housing Strategy
In November 2017, the Canadian government announced the National Housing Strategy.8 Rooted in the idea that housing is a human right, this 10-year, $70 billion project will largely be administered by CMHC, although some services and deliverables will be provided by third-party contractors and other Canadian federal agencies.9
Strategic initiatives of the National Housing Strategy include:
- Building new affordable housing and renewing existing affordable housing stock
- Providing technical assistance, tools, and resources to build capacity in the community housing sector and funds to support local organizations
- Supporting research, capacity-building, excellence, and innovation in housing research10
History of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
CMHC was established in 1946 as the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation by the federal government in Canada with the primary mission of administering the National Housing Act and the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act and facilitating discounts to mortgage companies. Initially, CMHC began by providing housing to returning Canadian war veterans, and toward the end of the 1940s, CMHC began to administer a program providing low-income housing across Canada.11
In 1947, CMHC was responsible for opening Regent Park, a large low-income housing project, and Toronto’s first urban renewal project. By the 1960s, CMHC introduced co-op housing and multi-unit apartment buildings throughout Canada.11
In 1979, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation changed its name to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Canadian home price gains accelerate again in May
Canadian home prices accelerated again in May from the previous month, posting the largest monthly rise in the history of the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, data showed on Thursday.
The index, which tracks repeat sales of single-family homes in 11 major Canadian markets, rose 2.8% on the month in May, led by strong month-over-month gains in the Ottawa-Gatineau capital region, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Hamilton, Ontario.
“It was a third consecutive month in which all 11 markets of the composite index were up from the month before,” said Daren King, an economist at National Bank of Canada, in a note.
On an annual basis, the Teranet index was up 13.7% from a year earlier, the 10th consecutive acceleration and the strongest 12-month gain since July 2017.
Halifax led the year-over-year gains, up 29.9%, followed by Hamilton at 25.5% and Ottawa-Gatineau at 22.8%.
Housing price gains in smaller cities outside Toronto and its immediate suburbs again outpaced the major urban centers, with Barrie, Ontario leading the pack, up 31.4%.
On a month-over-month basis, prices rose 4.9% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 4.3% in Halifax and 3.7% in Hamilton.
The Teranet index measures price gains based on the change between the two most recent sales of properties that have been sold at least twice.
Canada‘s average home selling price, meanwhile, fell 1.1% in May from April, Canadian Real Estate Association data showed on Tuesday, but jumped 38.4% from May 2020.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
Bank of Canada seeing signs of cooling in hot housing market
The sector surged in late 2020 and early 2021, with home prices escalating sharply amid investor activity and fear of missing out. The national average selling price fell 1.1% in May from April but was still up 38.4% from May 2020.
“You are starting to see some early signs of some slowing in the housing market. We are expecting supply to improve and demand to slow down, so we are expecting the housing market to come into better balance,” Macklem said.
“But we do think it is going to take some time and it is something that we are watching closely,” he told the Canadian Senate’s banking committee.
Macklem reiterated that the central bank saw evidence people were buying houses with a view to selling them for a profit and said recent price jumps were not sustainable.
“Interest rates are unusually low, which means eventually there’s more scope for them to go up,” he said.
Last year, the central bank slashed its key interest rate to a record-low 0.25% and Macklem reiterated it would stay there at least until economic slack had been fully absorbed, which should be some time in the second half of 2022.
“The economic recovery is making good progress … (but) a complete recovery will still take some time. The third wave of the virus has been a setback,” he said.
The bank has seen some choppiness in growth in the second quarter of 2021 following a sharp economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the year, he added.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)