Home values across Metro Vancouver have taken quite a beating over the past 12 months, cutting much of the equity gained by homeowners during the peak market conditions just a few years ago.
A new analysis released today — commissioned by homeowner advocacy group STEPUP and created by Paul Sullivan, a senior partner at Burgess, Cawley, Sullivan & Associates Ltd., a commercial real estate and property tax appraisal firm — indicates the region saw an estimated $89.2 billion loss in homeowner equity for the period between April 2018 and April 2019.
Losses within Vancouver, the jurisdiction with the highest number of residences, amounted to $43.6 billion — a nearly 13% drop.
The highest percentage decrease was in West Vancouver, where home values dropped by $7.64 billion or 14.68%.
The average loss per household in Vancouver and West Vancouver is $153,873 and $451,385, respectively. Richmond saw the third highest drop per household, with an average loss value of $95,750.
Port Coquitlam’s small suburban market also saw a significant decrease of 10.23%, worth over $1.5 billion.
While first-time homebuyers may benefit from the current downturn and the resulting drop in home prices, the analysis makes an argument that longtime homeowners are relying on their equity to fund home renovations, post-secondary education, senior care costs, and retirement. Their homes are usually their largest investment, and they rely on their equity in their home to get through retirement and leave something for their children.
They believe this loss in equity will result in a “devastating” impact on the economy and jobs, citing a recent BC Real Estate Analysis that estimates a 10% equity loss equals to 26,000 jobs lost, a $1.8 billion reduction in retail sales, and lost tax revenues.
The provincial government’s interventions, in particular, to use the housing market to generate revenue to fund its programs have been deemed as the culprit for the losses.
“While the government’s goal may indeed be to bottom out the housing market in an attempt to somehow address the complex issue of affordability, they are simply removing billions of dollars from the BC economy, to everyone’s detriment,” said Sullivan.
“This provincial government suggests you don’t deserve to have that real estate ‘wealth’ and should pay even more, on top of rising income taxes, the highest gas prices in North America and ballooning ICBC and utility fee increases.”
The school tax surcharge, one of several new housing tax measures, for homes assessed at over $3 million will result in an average 35% increase across Vancouver, even though many of those home have seen their assessments drop since the BC NDP gained power.
“We have been taxed out of our home,” said Point Grey resident Ric Pow, in the report. “My wife and I are life-long residents of Vancouver, and have owned and lived in Point Grey for 33 years. We have been careful with our retirement funds, and own our home mortgage-free, which has been a cornerstone of our retirement plan.”
“Our home, along with most others in David Eby’s riding, has lost 25% of its value since the NDP took power,” continued Pow. “We have been forced to defer the unaffordable taxes, and are now in debt to the city and province because of the fiscal policies of the NDP. This will have a serious impact on our financial well-being during retirement years.”
Here is a full market breakdown of the equity loss across Metro Vancouver from April 2018 to April 2019: