The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) processed 1,379 sales in May, a decrease of 15 per cent compared to the 1,616 sales in May of last year and 1 per cent more than were processed in April. By historical comparison, sales in May were the slowest for that month since 2001.
Looking at inventory, the Board received 3,172 new listings in May – 4 per cent fewer than received during the same month last year – raising the volume of active properties to 10,651 the highest it’s been this year and 2 per cent lower than those available in May 2012.
Ron Todson, President of the Board, says, “We’re in a transitioning market. We’ve seen a significant improvement in activity compared to last fall, but by historical standards we’re lagging. Sales are about 20 per cent lower than normal for this time of year, while the number of new listings coming on stream is right on average.”
An industry standard for measuring the health of the real estate market is comparing the ratio of number of sales to the number of active listings. The British Columbia Real Estate Association describes the Lower Mainland market as balanced when that ratio is between 15 and 20 per cent. In the Fraser Valley, that ratio has favoured buyers hovering between 10 and 15 per cent for most of the last three years.
Todson adds, “In order for there to be significant downward pressure on home prices, you need to have a sustained period of time when the ratio of sales-to-actives is in the single digits and because that hasn’t happened, prices are remaining relatively stable.”
In May, the benchmark price of single family detached homes in the Fraser Valley was $549,200, an increase of 0.2 per cent compared to $548,000 during the same month last year. For townhouses, the benchmark price was $298,000, a decrease of 2.9 per cent compared to $306,800 in May 2012 and the benchmark price of apartments was $203,400, virtually unchanged from $203,600 in May 2012.
“Real estate is specific to community and property type and conditions can change rapidly,” says Todson. “For example, the townhome market in Langley currently is brisk; the condo market in White Rock is not. The range in Fraser Valley alone is considerable, which is why it helps to have a local REALTOR® guide you and look out for your best interests.”