Vancouver spring market moving along softly

MarketUpdateOn April 3, 2013 the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) put out a news release with a headline reading, Home sale activity improves but remains below historical averages. They go on to state that, “Lower levels of both supply and demand in recent months are holding home prices in check in the Greater Vancouver housing market.” My anecdotal experience in the market shows that there are buyers looking for just the right property but they are remaining somewhat on the fence (there is no pressure to make a move at this point.) As well, sellers continue to hear the message that “now is not a good time to sell” or “the market is bad…” the fact is in certain area’s there is such a low volume of inventory that we are seeing pockets of a sellers market for well put together homes that are priced right and presto we are seeing competitive offer situations.

Sales numbers

The REBGV reported that in March residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached a total of 2,347 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). Year over year there was an 18.3% drop compared to the 2,874 sales captured in March 2012. The silver lining of it all is when we compare those numbers to the month before we saw a 30.6% jump compared to the 1,797 sales in February.

Over all we are still dragging along at historical lows (likely because of changes to the mortgage rules instituted last year combined with a slowing stream of Asian buyers with immigration rules tightening up and China making it harder to get money out of their country. We saw sales volumes last month at the second lowest March total in the region since 2001 (which was 30.2% under the 10-year sales average.)

Market conditions

When looking at the sales-to-active-listings ratio for Metro Vancouver in March we were sitting at 15.2% which was 3% higher than February. Just for a bit of context the market is considered balanced when between 15-20%. The REBGV noted that “this is the first time this ratio has been above 15 per cent since May 2012.”

Sandra Wyant, REBGV president stated, “While home sales were below what’s typical for March, we are seeing more balance between the number of sales and listings on the market in the last two months, which is having a stabilizing impact on home prices.” A balanced market is really the healthiest place for the market as both buyers and sells have to give and take to make a deal instead of being slanted all in one parties favour.

Listing Inventory

There was 4,839 new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver in March. When looking at the 2012 level numbers we were 17.2% lower than 5,843 new listings recorded for the same time last year. When compared to February however, things were pretty even with a 0.1% increase from 4,833. Again when looking at the 10 year average we were 14.4% below the mark.

When evaluating the total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver there were 15,460 which was 1.5% higher when compared to March 2012 and a 4.5% more than February 2013.

Housing Price Index (HPI) numbers

The MLS® Metro Vancouver Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties for March was $593,100. When comparing to recent times, this was 3.9% less compared to last year but up 0.9 from January 2013.

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

– 933 units – ↓ 21.1% compared to 1183 sales in March, 2012.

The benchmark price ↓ 5% from the year before to $906,900.

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

-982 units – ↓ 17.5% compared to 1191 sales in March, 2012.

The benchmark price of an apartment property ↓ 3.3% from the year before to $362,100.


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

-432 units – ↓ 13.6% compared to 500 sales in March, 2012.

The benchmark price of an attached property ↓ 2.5% from the year before to $454,300.

As of April 1, 2013 we have now returned back to the GST and PST tax structure in the BC.

Here is what you need to know when it comes to tax and real estate:

• Sales tax on a new home is reduced to 5 per cent GST plus 2% “BC Transition Tax” totalling 7% (down from 12% which was due under the HST) until April 1, 2015; and
• tax on real estate commissions (typically paid by the seller) has been reduced to 5% (from 12% we paid under the HST.)

*These reduced tax rates apply to transactions payable on or after April 1, 2013.
Download the complete stats package by clicking here.

Reference: New Release April 3 from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

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