Vancouver Real Estate - No Need For Alarm But......


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I’ve had conversations lately regarding activity levels in the current market and thought it might be useful to pull out some specific stats. It’s always interesting for me to read the board’s stats and see media reporting on the “Vancouver Market”. The reality of the current market is that different sub-areas and property-types are experiencing very different activity levels and resulting pricing trends and these trends do not always relate closely to the Board’s averages. Here are a few examples:

Condo activity in the following areas:

Coal Harbour – active listings 212 (this is actually down from the same period last year when we hit 275 some months).  Sold last 30 days: 8. Months of active inventory: 27. Last year same period sales: 37. That’s a 78% decrease in sales volume year over year.

All of Downtown:  active listings: 1402. Sold last 30 days: 99. Months of active inventory: 14. Last year same period sales: 216. That’s a 54% decrease in volume year over year.

West End:  active listings: 275. Sold last 30 days: 18. Months of active inventory: 15. Last year same period sales: 51. That’s a 65% decrease in volume year over year.

So in the “Downtown” area, sales volume is off between 54% - 78% while according to the Board’s latest stats summary (see attached) they publish a year over year decrease of 18.8% in sales volume for the condo category and an increase of 0.3% in the Benchmark Price of condos for June 2012 vs June 2011. Given these stats and the recent sale of a north-west corner suite at Fairmont Pacific Rim at a price more than $1,000,000 below two more or less identical suites that sold in the same building a year and a half ago, it’s difficult to convince Coal Harbour buyers that prices are up.

Detached housing activity in the following areas:

East Vancouver – active listings: 722. Sold last 30 days: 59. Months of active inventory: 12. Last year same period sales: 152. That’s an 61% decrease in volume year over year.

West Vancouver  – active listings: 550. Sold last 30 days: 22. Months of active inventory: 25. Last year same period sales: 114. That’s an 8o% decrease in volume year over year.

North Vancouver  – active listings: 416. Sold last 30 days: 44. Months of active inventory: 9.5. Last year same period sales: 102. That’s an 57% decrease in volume year over year.

Vancouver West - active listings: 1038. Sold last 30 days: 48. Months of active inventory: 22. Last year same period sales: 151. That’s an 68% decrease in volume year over year.

The Board publishes a 37.4% decrease in sales year over year for detached houses with an increase in values of 3.3%. Again, it might be difficult to convince a West Van detached buyer, where there are 25 months of active listing inventory, that prices are up. I’m not in any way suggesting that the Board is incorrect or inaccurate when it comes to board-wide averages. What I am suggesting is that different properties in different areas may not be experiencing fluctuations in value in line with the averages so one must look at each property on a case-by-case basis.

I don’t want to set off alarm bells but this current market has created a moving target in terms of valuations and in the minds of most buyers I have spoken to recently, prices are well off their previous highs and condo-buyer motivation seems to be quite low. The media is not affecting values positively, at least not from a seller’s point of view. Where the market goes from here is unclear but it is becoming clear that in order to sell in the current market one must price sharply and be willing to adjust if one wants to sell within a reasonable timeframe. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to discuss these stats, current market conditions etc.

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