Hot and Cold Markets keep Vancouver Real Estate Balanced


As always, The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) have provided a great general headline for the May New Release, Spring delivers greater balance to Greater Vancouver housing market. The market has been busy this spring and depending what you are looking for the market has been hot and cold. The bottom line remains that price is the key to getting sold in any market.

The REBGV reported, “A closer relationship between home buyer demand and the supply of homes for sale has been having a stabilizing impact on home prices in the Greater Vancouver housing market over the last three months.” This has certainly been the case to a certain degree but we have also seen prices again being “bid up” in some areas for single detached homes. The mounting inventory in the condo sector, however, has seen prices remain fairly stagnant.

Sales Numbers

When looking at the broad numbers, the REBGV reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver totalled 2,627 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in April 2013. This represents a 6.1% drop compared to the 2,799 sales recorded in April 2012 but an 11.9% increase compared to the 2,347 sales in March 2013. When looking at April from a historic point of view this was the lowest April totals in the region since 2001. The 10-year sales average was 20.9% below for the monthly average indicating that sales volumes are very low.

Sandra Wyant, REBGV president stated, “While the numbers of home sales remains below average, properties that are priced right are selling and we’re seeing greater balance between buyer demand and the number of homes listed for sale. This is having a steadying influence on home prices in the region…”

Listing levels

Over all 16,730 was the total number of properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver last April. This was an increase of 1.2% compared to April 2012 and an 8.2% jump compared to March 2013.

In Metro Vancouver the “sales-to-active-listings” ratio is used by the REBGV to measure the tempo of the market. They define a sales-to-active-listings ratio between 14-21% as a balanced market (above 21% is a sellers market and below 14% is a buyers market). Currently we are sitting at 15.7% sales-to-active-listings ratio. This is the second consecutive month that this ratio has been above 15 per cent. Previously, the last time this ratio was above 15 per cent was May of 2012.

A balanced market is a healthy place for the market to be with neither side of the transaction getting to have sway over the other side, and transactions can be reached in a fare and equitable way. Generally as the sales-to-active-listings ratio goes up there is more demand in the market which means prices will be shifting up (this is also a common seasonal trend for the spring time as more inventory comes on line. When more buyers head to the beach we will likely see a bit of a pull back in the summer market.)

Housing Price Index (HPI) numbers

“There have been modest increases in home prices across the region over the last three months. This comes on the heels of home price declines of approximately five to six per cent in Greater Vancouver during the last half of 2012,” Wyant said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $597,300. When comparing this April to last April, this represented a decline of 3.9%, although it was up 1.6% compared to the slower winter month of January 2013, typically expected. It you were waiting for the market prices to come down well they have!

Sales of detached properties in April, 2013 for Metro Vancouver:

– 1,064 units – ↓5.5% compared to 1,126 sales in April, 2012.

The benchmark price ↓ 5.2% from the year before to $914,000.

Sales of apartment/condo properties in April, 2013 for Metro Vancouver:

-1,052 units – ↓ 11.6% compared to 1,201 sales in April, 2012.

The benchmark price of an apartment property ↓ 2.6% from the year before to $365,900.


Sales of attached property/town homes in April, 2013 for Metro Vancouver:

-511 units – ↑ 5.8% compared to 483 sales in April, 2012.

The benchmark price of an attached property ↓ 3.5% from the year before to $455,200.

*Over all prices are down in the market year over year so if you have been looking to time the market on a purchase you may want to be looking.

Source: REBGV News Release May 2, 2013

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