This month the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) sent out their monthly news release stating, “Housing market factors indicate stability in recent months.” The media has been reporting of: bubbles, buyers market or maybe a sellers market again…so what does all this mean?! Let us take a look at the numbers.
In the month of September, we did in fact see more of the same. Housing sales in the Metro Vancouver area mirrored similar sales activity to the last few months for condo, detached and attached homes.
The REBGV reported that the number of residential property sales in Metro Vancouver totaled 2,220 in September which was a 0.8% increase over August. Typically, the seasonal trends in Vancouver do tend to see a little more action in the fall. Currently the trend indicates a minor bump up in activity but really a steady pace with a balanced market remaining in place. A balanced market allows buyers to take their time to evaluate the market before writing offers and sellers to achieve sales in a reasonable amount of time but neither side really have an advantage over the other as supply (listings) and demand (buyers) are equally demanding. Over all this is a much healthier environment for buyers and sellers compared to previous Buyers or Sellers markets.
Moreover, Jake Moldowan, REBGV president did back up their headline by indicating, “We saw signs of more stability in our marketplace last month than we have seen since spring based on a variety of indicators that we look at each month.” For example he stated, “At 56 days, it took, on average, three days less to sell a home in our region compared to August. This is the first month-over-month decline we’ve seen in this category since April.” Moldowan also stated “We’ve seen fewer properties coming on to the market over the last three months. This trend, combined with the continued attraction of low interest rates, is likely having the effect of less downward pressure on home prices.”
Since spring, housing prices in the Metro Vancouver have edged downward slightly, (2.7%) off of the most recent high. Since last September, we have seen the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) benchmark price increase 5.5%. In September 2010, the benchmark price was $577,174 compared to $547,092 in September 2009. Over all we continue to see the ebb and flow of the market. If you are the type of person that is calculating on timing the market now is off of the high…so it may not be a bad time to make a move in the market as spring is typically a busy time of year which could see the tide start to rise on prices again (much like last year).
On the listings side, active property listed MLS® in Metro Vancouver are at 15,401. This level of inventory is pretty consistent with the August numbers seeing little change. It is interesting to note that over the last three months however, active listings in the Vancouver area have decreased by 12.3%. Keep in mind with a decrease in supply this could lead to pressure on prices eventually which could again be a good signal as a time to buy. With the decline in listings, quality properties are still moving relatively quickly (which you would expect in any market) and we do still see some competition for well presented homes that are priced right.