Traditionally in the Metro Vancouver Real Estate Market spring is the busiest time of year. While this market place has seen huge growth and excitement over the last few years this spring market has had a softer launch with more balance. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) had March 4, 2013 headlines stating, Home sales continue at below average pace. We are not seeing the proverbial bubble burst here but what we are seeing is moderation and correction in the market which has been expected for some time. It is important to understand the difference between lower sales volume and sale prices although we are seeing both.
The sales volume for homes in Metro Vancouver have been trending below historical averages for a year now. The sales volume for this February were the second lowest total in the area since 2001 measuring in at 30.9% below the 10-year sales average. The general consensus in the Media has been that now is not the greatest time to be selling. However, it is important to understand a broad brush application of this information is not entirely correct depending on local area’s and segments of the market (i.e. condos vs. single detached houses or Vancouver East vs. Vancouver West). Now may be a good time to buy for some categories, however, the inventory may not be available. In some cases we are seeing competition for desired properties as the lack of inventory pushes demand in certain areas.
According to the report by REBGV, residential property sales in Metro Vancouver totaled 1,797 on their Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February 2013. Comparing to the same month the year before this represents a 29.4% drop compared to the 2,545 sales completed in 2012. Interestingly, the sales numbers in February were a 33% jump compared to the 1,351 sales in January of this year, signaling interest coming out of the winter market. In fact, Eugen Klein, the current president of the REBGV noted, “Sales in February followed recent trends and were below seasonal averages, though our members tell us they saw more traffic at open houses last month compared to the previous six to eight months.”
With a broad sales-to-active-listings ratio currently siting at 12.2% in Metro Vancouver, we have seen a 2% increase from January. The REBGV stated, “This is the first time this ratio has been above 11 percent since June of 2012,” with Klein further commenting, “With a two-point increase in our sales to active listings ratio and a reduction in the average number of days it is taking to sell a home, February showed some subtle indications of a changing sentiment in the marketplace compared to recent months.”
New listings for all property types in Metro Vancouver reached 4,833 in February. Compared to the same month the year before this represented a 13% decline when there were 5,552 new listings reported. When looking at February compared to January of this year there was a 5.8% drop from 5,128 new listings in January. Currently, the total number of properties listed for sale on the Greater Vancouver MLS® is 14,789. When comparing this to the past it is 5.2% more than February of 2012 and 11.6% more than this January of 2013.
When looking at overall pricing trends, we can now see there was “a peak in May, 2012 at $625,100, for the MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver” according to the REBGV. Since May there has been a modest decline in pricing of 5.6% to $590,400. When evaluating year over year, “this represents a 3.3 per cent decline compared to this time last year.”
Sales of detached properties in February, 2013 for Metro Vancouver:
– 704 units – ↓36.1% compared to 1,101 sales in February, 2012.
The benchmark price ↓ 4.5% from the year before to $901,500. Since the peak in May the benchmark price has ↓6.8%.
Sales of apartment/condo properties in February, 2013 for Metro Vancouver:
-760 units – ↓ 25.5% compared to 1,020 sales in February, 2012.
The benchmark price of an apartment property ↓ 3% from the year before to $360,400. Since the peak in May the benchmark price has ↓5.1%.
Sales of attached property/town homes in February, 2013 for Metro Vancouver:
-333 units – ↓ 21.5% compared to 424 sales in February, 2012.
The benchmark price of an attached property ↓ 0.7% from the year before to $455,500. Since the peak in April the benchmark price has ↓6.5%.