For thousands of people, 2022 is the year that they take possession of a brand new home.

While it’s exciting to turn the key for the first time in your new home’s front door, there’s several national and global influences at play that will shape the closing and possession phase of buying a property this year.

If you’re preparing to move into new digs in 2022, here are a few things that you may want to take into consideration.

Furniture and appliance orders are still delayed

If you’re waiting on that sectional to arrive or the bed frame you love to come back in stock, you belong to the many people who have been impacted by furniture delivery delays and shortages.

Several countries around the world have been experiencing long delivery times thanks to a host of COVID-19 and global supply chain problems, from backed-up shipping ports to factory closures overseas. The red-hot real estate market, which has seen renters and homeowners move to new digs throughout the course of the pandemic, has also contributed to the demand for home furnishings.



Experts are hopeful though that things will return to business as usual this year as supply chain challenges ease in 2022.

Mortgage interest rates are staying low, for now

Since the Bank of Canada started cutting its mortgage-influencing overnight rate back in March 2020, new and existing mortgage holders have been able to take advantage of some of the lowest interest rates in history. That could come to an end this year, impacting those looking to lock in a mortgage on a new property.

In its final policy interest rate announcement for 2021, the BoC said that it intends to hold its 0.25 per cent overnight rate at that level until mid-2022. Between Canada’s Big Six banks, predictions have been swirling around a potential four quarter-point rate hike by the end of the year.

This could have a ripple effect on the housing market altogether, with some experts drawing comparisons to 2018, when interest rates increased three times and the stress test was introduced, dropping sales volume by 19 per cent. The current stress test rules for uninsured mortgages in 2022, so far, remain unchanged.

Labour shortages are leading to higher costs

The residential construction industry has experienced widespread labour shortages, making new builds and home renovations take longer to complete and cost more money than usual.

Many tradespeople are hitting retirement age, and there aren’t enough young people or immigrants signing up to fill those jobs. Buildforce Canada estimates the construction industry will need to add more than 116,000 workers by the end of the decade to keep pace with expected demand growth and retirements.


Those labour shortages have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic fuelling Canada’s hot housing market, producing labour imbalances and geographic mismatches. According to Statistics Canada, construction job vacancies increased by more than 34,000 — or 83.7 per cent — between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2021.

The lack of skilled labour has increased demand for tradespeople to complete projects like kitchen and bathroom remodels, as well as flooring and electrical work. Keep that in mind and expect increased costs if you plan to begin any projects this year.

Surging lumber prices make construction more costly

Supply chain issues and reduced inventory resulting from natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have sent lumber prices skyrocketing once again.

According to Random Lengths, lumber prices have nearly tripled since August, surging to more than $1,000USD per thousand board feet. As a result, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates the average price of a new single-family home has increased by more than $18,600USD, with Canadian consumers experiencing similar cost increases.

Inventory issues stem from strong housing markets and a destructive summer wildfire season along the West Coast, while B.C.’s record November rainfall snarled supply chains and produced a backlog at the Port of Vancouver. The resulting project delays and increased demand for lumber led to the recent spike in prices.

Prospective homeowners will have to factor in rising lumber costs before choosing whether to proceed with new construction or renovation projects.


There are still rules around showings and indoor gatherings

With the fifth wave of the pandemic forcing provinces to resume COVID-19 restrictions, those moving into a home in 2022 may need to think about current safety requirements in their region, especially those that impact real estate and communal living areas.

For instance, in Toronto, COVID-19 bylaws were recently extended to April 2022, requiring that masks be worn indoors in shared spaces such as lobbies, elevators and stairwells inside apartment and condo buildings. Under Ontario’s modified ​​Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, real estate open houses are prohibited and showings are by appointment only. Meanwhile, indoor gatherings are now limited to just five people.

These are important to keep in mind if you’re doing final walkthroughs, inspections or other business that might impact the possession process. Be sure to review guidelines from your local public health unit or provincial government for the most up-to-date COVID-19 restrictions.

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If you own a Strata property, you may have questions about owners renting out their units and the implications on the Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT).



Until now, strata owners who were not permitted to rent out units may have qualified for an SVT exemption. That changes in 2022.


Strata owners should be aware that they may be required to pay the SVT in 2022 if their property is unoccupied.


Prior to the 2022 tax year, if a strata owner had a covenant or a bylaw preventing property from being rented out, then they would qualify for an SVT exemption. This only applied if the rental restriction was in place on or before October 16, 2018 and the owner also purchased the property before that date.

For example, if a BC resident purchased a strata property prior to 2018 but under their strata bylaw they are not allowed to rent it out, they will have qualified for the SVT exemption between 2018 and 2021, but they will have to pay the tax for 2022 if the unit remains unoccupied.


The SVT is an annual tax based on how owners use residential properties in major urban areas of BC. The annual tax rate is two per cent of the assessed property value for properties owned by foreign owners and satellite families, and 0.5 per cent for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

The minimum residency requirements to avoid the SVT are that the unit be occupied for six months (180 days) out of every year.


Last month, the BC Government released data on the SVT.


BC residents who are captured by the tax rose by 51 per cent in the last year, while the number of non-BC residents captured by the tax fell by 24 per cent.


The objective for the SVT was to discourage housing speculation and encourage people with vacant homes in BC to convert them to long term rentals. To learn more about the economic impacts of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax, read BCREA's Market Intelligence report.


Learn more about other SVT exemptions here.

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Make 2022 the year of finance by improving your financial direction from the start!
Even if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, a few changes to the way you spend and look at money can make all the difference. It’s never too late to start again and reverse course! 
Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

  • Create a Budget: In order to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck , you need to know where that paycheck is going. Creating a budget is simple with Google docs, or look into other online tools and sites to get started.
     
  • Pretend You Earn Less Than You Do: Give yourself a cut in pay. The goal is to put 10% in savings from each paycheck into your savings account. The easiest way is to do an automatic direct transfer from your chequing account to your savings every pay period.
     
  • Pay Down Debt: If you have a lot of credit card or unsecured debt, try paying the minimum on all but one of them and aggressively pay down that one card. Once it's paid off, attack the next one. If you're so deep in debt that you can't fight your way out, consider consulting with myself or your local mortgage broker about your debt consolidation options and if your mortgage can be used to help you clean the state. They will be able to review your debt and possibly recommend a way to consolidate it into one simple payment with a single point of interest charges.
     
  • Build an Emergency Fund: Once you have your budget in place, review it and break it down into non-discretionary expenses (rent, groceries, utilities, etc.) and discretionary expenses (eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.). See where you could cut down on discretionary spending and put that money towards your emergency fund. Even starting with just a little amount is great and helps you build the habit of saving.
     
  • Don’t Forget Your Future: Putting at least 3% of your paycheck into a retirement fund is a great idea, or maybe when you get your first raise instead of thinking of it as free money, simply put it into a fund and forget about it. You'll be glad it's there when you need it in the future.
     
  • Consider Downsizing: It may be time to consider a lifestyle change. Consider moving to a smaller place. Get rid of that cost of going to that expensive gym with a trip to the local park. Think about if you really need that brand new car or if a used one would work just as well.
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December summary


REBGV reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,688 in December 2021, a 13.1 per cent decrease from the 3,093 sales recorded in December 2020, and a 21.6 per cent decrease from the 3,428 homes sold in November 2021.


Last month’s sales were 33.4 per cent above the 10-year December sales average.


There were 1,945 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver in December 2021. This represents a 19.3 per cent decrease compared to the 2,409 homes listed in December 2020 and a 50.9 per cent decrease compared to November 2021 when 3,964 homes were listed.


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2021 is 51.3 per cent.


By property type, the ratio is 35.1 per cent for detached homes, 75.6 per cent for townhomes, and 60.8 per cent for apartments.


Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.


Sales of detached homes in December 2021 reached 794, a 22.6 per cent decrease from the 1,026 sales recorded in December 2020. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,910,200. This represents a 22 per cent increase from December 2020 and a 2.1 per cent increase compared to November 2021.


Sales of apartment homes reached 1,464 in December 2021, a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to the 1,474 sales in December 2020. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $761,800. This represents a 12.8 per cent increase from December 2020 and a 1.2 per cent increase compared to November 2021.


Attached home sales in December 2021 totalled 430, a 27.5 per cent decrease compared to the 593 sales in December 2020. The benchmark price of an attached home is $1,004,900. This represents a 22 per cent increase from December 2020 and a 1.5 per cent increase compared to November 2021.

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VANCOUVER, BC – January 5, 2022 


Metro Vancouver* home sales reached an all-time high in 2021 as housing needs remained a top priority for residents in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 43,999 in 2021, a 42.2 per cent increase from the 30,944 sales recorded in 2020, a 73.6 per cent increase from the 25,351 homes sold in 2019, and a four per cent increase over the previous all-time sales record of 42,326 set in 2015.


Last year’s sales total was 33.4 per cent above the 10-year sales average.

“Home has been a focus for residents throughout the pandemic. With low interest rates, increased household savings, more flexible work arrangements, and higher home prices than ever before, Metro Vancouverites, in record numbers, are assessing their housing needs and options,” Keith Stewart, REBGV economist said.


Home listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 62,265 in 2021. This is a 14.7 per cent increase compared to the 54,305 homes listed in 2020 and a 19.9 per cent increase compared to the 51,918 homes listed in 2019. Last year’s listings total was 11 per cent above the 10-year average. “While steady, home listing activity didn't keep pace with the record demand we saw throughout 2021. This imbalance caused residential home prices to rise over the past 12 months,” Stewart said.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 5,236, a 38.7 per cent decrease compared to December 2020 (8,538) and a 26.7 per cent decrease compared to November 2021 (7,144).

“We begin 2022 with just over 5,000 homes for sale across the region. This is the lowest level we’ve seen in more than 30 years,” Stewart said. “With demand at record levels, residents shouldn’t expect home price growth to relent until there’s a more adequate supply of housing available to purchase.”


The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $1,230,200. This is a 17.3 per cent increase compared to December 2020.


Both detached home and townhome benchmark prices increased 22 per cent in the region last year, while apartments increased 12.8 per cent.


Looking across Metro Vancouver, Maple Ridge saw the largest increase in benchmark prices at 34.7 per cent, followed by Pitt Meadows (29.8 per cent), and Whistler (27.8 per cent).


Looking at area and property type, detached homes in Pitt Meadows saw the largest benchmark price increase at 42.2 per cent, followed by detached homes (38.5 per cent) and townhomes (35.2 per cent) in Maple Ridge.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.