Mike's Spotlight

Prices are Down – Sales are Way Down

and the Horizon Looks Ominous. Money Save is Money Earned.

May 2020 will be remembered as the month CMHC finally turned negative. They stated the two major markets in Canadian Real Estate will be going lower for the remaining portion of 2020 and into 2021. Something Eitel Insights has been stating correctly since 2017. The CMHC forecast sounds very familiar if you think about it.

Eitel insights stated in 2017 prices had peaked and would decline until 2021 dropping from 1.830Million to 1.4Million. In 2018 we stated, if 1.4Million does not hold as a bottom then as low as 1.225Million would be tested.

The CMHC forecast as of May 2020 calls for a 9% – 18% drop. Interesting, since the average sales price in Vancouver was 1.6Million that would put their forecast at 1.45Million for 9% drop or 1.3Million at an 18% drop. Just a bit of a rosier colour than our forecast offered years ago.

The exactness of Eitel Insights forecasts been unmatched, while others have continued to flip flop their positions, we have remained true.

Greater Vancouver detached prices in May dropped to 1.585Million which is the middle threshold of the market cycle. Seemingly breaking the uptrend that has been prevalent since September 2019 and instigated with an average sales price of 1.5Million.

CMHC tightening the purchasing restrictions for mortgages with less than 20% down will only perpetuate the tough market conditions. With the old normal, prices were in decline, and our new normal is not very promising. Prices will continue to search for lower prices as the market goes forward. We do anticipate a test of 1.4Million in 2020 with 2021 confirming the market bottom.

Gone are the days of 10 year outlooks, Eitel insights has advised potential purchasers to steer clear from buying at the market peaks. To date over $245,000 (from 1.830Mil – 1.585Mil) saved if the temptation to purchase has been resisted through our analytical interpretation. The 10 year outlook, if purchased in 2016 after 5 years will be down by $430,000, once 2021 realizes the 1.4Million forecast. Meaning your investment is negative, which forces you to put more time and money into an asset that is underwater.

Once the bottom is confirmed by our analytical process, prices will begin to increase back up to the old market high and beyond. This is how Eitel Insights clients invest, we analyze and observe, and then step to the plate buy at the low echelon of the market cycle. We cannot wait to offer the opportunity to make money in the Real Estate market rather than saving you money like we have been, but remember, money saved is money earned.

Sales are the headline, with only 544 detached sales taking place at land titles in May 2020. The accepted offers in May were only at 525. Which has been quoted as a great number compared to 370 in April and true enough but beating a lame duck doesn’t make you a champ.

Let’s take a look at the past 5 years of May accepted offers. 2015 had 1837, 2016 had 1820, 2017 had 1503, 2018 had 839, 2019 had 839, and of course we just had 525 accepted offers last month. This epitomizes what we have been try to explain would transpire. After peaks comes valley’s. The peak was frenzied, the bottom will look deserted. We advise purchasing during the desertion, while there is copious amounts of inventory and prices at the lower end of the market cycle.

The historically low sales numbers experienced recently, are occurring during the usual peaks, you can imagine what the sales number will look like during the seasonal market lulls.

Inventory has hit an artificial ceiling of 4200 active listings across Greater Vancouver. This number has been tested twice thus far. Once the 4200 level is broken we anticipate the next levels to be broken with relative ease. The upcoming levels are 4500 and then of course 5000, at the 5800 level the market will meet up with the 15 year average.

One interesting point on the chart is the high levels of inventory during the market peak of 2017 was the seller’s choice to trade their property for an all-time high sale price. This upcoming high level of inventory will largely be out of need to sell. These upcoming sellers will have a very different modus operandi.

Once inventory return to normal levels which will inevitably occur, we anticipate the downturn in prices to return with gusto bringing the average price down an additonal $185,000 lower than the current price.

Again, Eitel Insights has saved a potential purchaser $245,000 to date with more savings on the horizon. Stick with the industry leader, since inception Eitel Insights have led all contemporaries.

Not all markets in Greater Vancouver are created equal, some areas are closer to the bottom. While others still have significant percentage losses upcoming. Become an Eitel Insights client to find out which are which.

Dane Eitel, Eitel Insights

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Condo Prices are expected to drop until 2022

The condo market just gave back the 5% gain in the previous month. After months sitting inside of a 1% range the condo market made its move in March. Only problem, it was the wrong way. Prices had shot up to just $699K, one month later the Condo market has recognized its mistake has come back to the $661K pricing threshold.

No so coincidentally, at the price point where the market spent 6 months deciding whether to rise or fall. The resulting short lived retest to the upper echelon got optimists excited. The challenge, the move was a head fake.

The technical feature of the divergent trend is over, next we forecast a prolonged downtrend of lower highs for the reaming months in 2020 and a further decline in 2021. Ultimately the Condo Market will test the $525,000 threshold, which hasn’t been seen since 2016. Signalling that 5 years of investment will have netted an investor zero increase of equity.

The 2015 investor with a zero equity increase will be the envy of all those who invested during the market frenzy of 2017-2018. The average purchaser in January 2017 paid $584K (upper orange line) and by January 2018 prices had increased to $751,000(upper green line). Every Condo purchased during these times will technically be under water in the upcoming years as prices test the 2015 threshold of $525,000. Meaning the 2017 investor who purchased at an average price of $584K will be down $59,000 and the $751K Investors purchases during the peak, will be down $225,000 in 2021 on average.

Investing in real estate is not for the feint of heart. I vividly recall in 2017 the line ups for presales and the amount of complaining that occurred from those who didn’t get a chance to purchase because some investor bought multiple units. Thank your lucky stars for those investors. Now it is them on the hook instead of you. In the upcoming months as those pre sold buildings are completed you can purchase that same unit at a discount. Crazy how life works out.

That being said we do not advise any investment purchases or even owner occupied purchases in the current market. We would prefer buyers wait until prices are much lower than $661K. Prices will continue lower as the inventory increases. Supply demand factors cannot be ignored.

As for the investor owners who are about to be caught in this chaotic market, our advice, sell in May and go away… for years. Wait until prices reach the lower echelon of the market cycle before re-entering the Greater Vancouver condo market.

The inventory remained similar from the previous month. April finished with just under 4000 active condos for sale across the lower mainland. Over the next quarter we anticipate an additional 1000 active listings to join and remain on the market.

Age isn’t just a number, by that we mean elder buildings will have a tremendously hard time in the upcoming years. As the presale properties work their way onto market which will cause added competition, add the insurance concerns, and common sentiment to like a new shiny object. The resale market will be living the hard knock life.

The April totals for condo sales across Greater Vancouver was 508. Marking the lowest April data on the record. April’s sales historically fall around 1100. The forecasts gets even worse, as we have stated in the past, sales numbers come from land titles meaning the recorded sales for April actually came from the previous months accepted offers.

The 508 April completions could have possibly come out of the accepted offers earlier in the year. January had over 900 accepted offers, February had over 1100 while March saw just under 1000. The gloom and doom of April 2020 only realized 257 accepted offers across all of Greater Vancouver. Buckle up condo owners it’s about to become a bumpy ride.

Not all markets in Greater Vancouver are created equal, some areas are closer to the bottom. While others still have significant percentage losses upcoming. Become an Eitel Insights client to find out which are which.

Dane Eitel / Eitel Insights
Founder & Lead Analyst
604 813-1418

Watch Eitel Insight’s Latest Video

Student Housing, One of the Most Hyped Asset Classes, Runs Out of Students

Here’s the story of two student housing REITs in the UK that crashed.

Wolf here: In recent years, student housing, a subcategory of Commercial Real Estate, became one of the hottest asset classes in the US, in the UK, and elsewhere. Big money piled in. Wall Street raked in the fees by securitizing the mortgages into commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). Large firms spun off their portfolios of student housing buildings into publicly traded REITs. The article below is about two of those REITs in the UK, but the issues are the same in the US. This asset class is risky even in good times because students are not stable renters. Last fall, long before Covid-19 showed up, delinquencies and special servicing rates on US student housing CMBS already spiked. The pandemic has now been heaped on top of it….CLICK for complete article

Evolving Today, Strategizing for Tomorrow – A Webinar Invitation

Looking to gain clarity on the current environment and its implications for the real estate market? Join Justin Smith of Hawkeye Wealth on Wednesday May 27th @ 11am. They have spent many hours analyzing data, perspectives, and strategies from some of the best minds in real estate to help us all make better investment decisions.

Registration is limited. Reserve your access today – CLICK HERE

Specifically, this webinar covers:

1. The State of the Nation
What’s the damage to the economy? How are various assets in commercial real estate performing? We will focus on Multifamily and Industrial. What’s the data for rent-collection rates?

2. How is industry adapting?
What are some best practices we’ve seen out there? How much of a difference is superior management making in terms of property performance?

3. What might the future look like?
What trends might emerge or accelerate due to Covid-19? How might they uniquely impact various property types?

4. Based on that future, what are Hawkeye’s plans for their investors?
Where do they potentially see the greatest opportunity for investors? What do they need to see before recommending a deal in today’s environment?

Multi-unit housing starts up in some parts of Canada in April despite COVID-19

OTTAWA – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says construction of multi-unit housing projects remained strong in some provinces last month despite the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMHC estimates a 10.8 per cent month-over-month increase in its national seasonally adjusted annual rate last month compared with March, excluding…click for full article.

Pop-up retail could help save firms hit by pandemic effects

An Alberta/B.C. greenhouse nursery was facing what its owner called a “catastrophic” situation three weeks ago after learning it would be sitting on millions of dollars of inventory due to COVID-19 pandemic retail shutdowns.

However, Lawrence Jansen, owner of Darvonda Nurseries with facilities in Langley, B.C., Redcliff, Alta., and Mundare, Alta., received a lifeline recently with the help of commercial real estate experts at Avison Young. They’ve helped him arrange for pop-up garden shops…Click for full article.