March 2011 Metro Vancouver Real Estate Update

Vancouver – March 2011 StatsMarketUpdate

  The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports increased housing demand in February. Demand for detached homes has continued to be strong across Greater Vancouver, with particularly high sales volumes occurring in Richmond and on Vancouver’s west side. Keep in mind that these types of headlines apply to only a segment of the market. Condo and townhouse sales (also called “attached”) continued to be more up tempo, due to the early spring market, but are not extraordinarily crazy like single detached homes. Attached housing is in more of a balanced state. It should also be noted that the March 18, 2011 deadline for the changing of the mortgage rules could be a cause of this strong early spring market.

Since the start of this year, both the number of properties listed for sale and those sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver outpaced the ten-year average. However, the strong activity in single detached houses is mainly fueled by investors from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which has skewed the numbers somewhat. 

When comparing the volume of sales of detached properties against apartments, using the MLS® numbers, the detached properties in February 2011 jumped 42.6% compared to the same time last year, while apartment properties only bumped up 12.3%. This comparisonis instrumental in creating a better understanding of where the momentum is in the market.

Jake Moldowan, president of the REBGV stated, “We saw an increase in demand across our region [in February] as more buyers entered the market in advance of the spring season,” and “[the] intensity of this activity varied between communities. Our statistics tell us that single detached homes in Richmond and the Westside of Vancouver remain the most sought-after properties in our marketplace.” Basically, the president’s comments reiterate that we should not paint the whole market with the same brush. 

In four months, between November 2010 and February 2011, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price of a detached home in Richmond increased $190,739 to $1,099,679; in Westside Vancouver, detached home prices increased $222,185 to $1,850,072. By comparison, detached home prices across the region increased $51,762 between November 2010 and February 2011 to $848,645. Again, please note that these are extraordinary times, with the influx of money coming from China. When will this flow of funds end? The answer is anyone’s guess! Moldowan also stated, “To effectively analyse real estate statistics for the purpose of buying or selling a home, it’s critical to focus on your neighbourhood of choice because, like we see today, conditions and prices can fluctuate significantly within the same city or municipality.” I agree with this advice. Make sure you are working with a professional who knows the market!

Analysing the Metro Vancouver area in February, the REBGV reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties increased 70.3%, compared to the sales recorded in January 2011. Comparing these numbers to the same month last year, there was an increase of 25.2%. Currently, there is significantly more confidence in the Metro Vancouver market compared to other countries and their global economics, many of which are still in recession or in slowly recovering economies.

On the supply side, new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver rose 18.6%  in January 2011, compared to last monthand were up 23.6% compared to February 2010. “With a sizeable increase in the number of properties coming onto the market, there’s a good selection out there for buyers to choose from,” Moldowan said. More supply will help to keep rising prices in check in certain parts of the market, but not in others.

February Stats source: Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board News Release March 2, 2011.


For the full February Stats Package click on this link.


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