According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), “Stability and regional ‘hot spots’ characterize the January housing market.” In other words, over all, The Metro Vancouver housing market remained balanced in January, although higher levels of buyer demand were seen in some of the region’s largest communities. The number of properties listed “for sale” and those “sold” on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) last month outpaced the 10-year average in both categories for January. The areas of interest were single detached houses on the Westside of Vancouver, and in Richmond where building lots are in high demand. Jake Moldowan, President of the REBGV stated, “There was a healthy balance between the number of home buyers and sellers in our market in January, but there’s always variation in activity from region to region.”
Over the last year, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price of detached homes increased a whopping 22.6% in Richmond and 12.2% on the Westside of Vancouver. The rest of the region only saw an increased of 2.7% for detached home prices.
Moldowan also stated, “When you’re looking to buy or sell a home, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the wider trends in the market. It’s equally important to seek out knowledge of your local area so you understand current market conditions in your neighbourhood.” That is good advice but keep in mind the market should only be part of your decision and there are many factors to consider when looking to buy or sell.
Looking across the region, the REBGV reports that January’s residential property “sales” in Metro Vancouver decline 4.2% compared to the December, and a 5.4% drop from January 2010. Of course mind winter is typically the slowest season of the year. If you take a historical approach, the number of homes sold this January slightly surpassed the sales average for the last ten years.
The total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 5.8% in January, 2011 compared to December, 2010 and increased 2.2% from this time last year. This supports the idea of a steady and balanced market as we had been seeing a consistent down trend in listing numbers since the height of the market in April, 2010. As the spring market picks up and more buyers come to the market, more listings will be needed to keep this balance.
Sales of single detached properties on the MLS® in January, 2011 rose 12.5% from January 2010, and rose up a massive 171.6% from units sold in January 2009!
Condo’s and Townhouse properties are a different story. Sales of apartment properties in January, 2011, decreased by 20.8%, compared to January, 2010, and increased 97.5% compared to the low sales numbers in January, 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.4%. Attached property sales in January, 2011, decreased 4.3% compared to January, 2010, and increased 187.2% from January, 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 2.6% between January, 2010 and 2011.
A point to Consider: Lower sales volumes and muted increase in price indicates that the normal drivers of the market (first time buyers) are noticeably quiet. This could be a signal for slower growth in the market as the process of moving up will be slower for local buyers and sellers. However, higher priced inventory is still selling due to high net worth buyers from Asia.