More Sales, Fewer Property Listings in November

December 2, 2010

Greater Vancouver residential home sales improved in November compared to the previous four months, with the number of sales posted on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) coming in slightly higher than the 10-year average for that month.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that the number of residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,509 in November 2010. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase compared to October 2010 and an 18.6 per cent decline from the 3,083 sales in November 2009.

Looking back further, last month’s residential sales represent a 187.1 per cent increase over the 874 residential sales in November 2008, a 13 per cent decline compared to November 2007’s 2,883 sales, and a 6.4 per cent increase compared to the 2,358 sales in November 2006.

“Housing sales numbers were fairly typical for a November and indicate a fairly balanced market. Activity on the buyer side has been stable, with slight increases, over the last few months while the number of homes listed for sale in our region has declined each month since we reached a peak in June,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said.

Total active residential property listings in Greater Vancouver currently sit at 12,384, a 12.1 per cent decline from last month and a 12 per cent increase from November 2009. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 17.1 per cent to 3,030 in November 2010 compared to November 2009 when 3,653 new units were listed.

“Home values have been relatively stable over the last five months compared to the summer period when we were seeing some downward pressure on prices,” Moldowan said. “It’s the homes priced accurately for today’s market that are receiving a lot of attention and selling right now.”

The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 4.1 per cent to $580,080 in November 2010 from $557,384 in November 2009. This price has remained virtually unchanged since June of this year.

Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in November 2010 reached 1,050, a decrease of 9.8 per cent from the 1,164 detached sales recorded in November 2009, and a 226.1 per cent increase from the 322 units sold in November 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 5.6 per cent from November 2009 to $799,312.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,052 in November 2010, a decline of 24.6 per cent compared to the 1,396 sales in November 2009, and an increase of 156.6 per cent compared to the 410 sales in November 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.9 per cent from November 2009 to $389,168.

Attached property sales in November 2010 totalled 407, a decline of 22.2 per cent compared to the 523 sales in November 2009, and a 186.6 per cent increase from the 142 attached properties sold in November 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.1 per cent between November 2009 and 2010 to $488,733.

– from REBGV


Vancouver Home Sales Trend Higher

November 16, 2010

Vancouver, BC – November 15, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 36 per cent to 5,507 units in October compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province increased 2 per cent in October from September 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 6 per cent to $521,859 in October compared to the same month last year.

“BC home sales have posted moderate gains since the summer months,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Consumer demand was bolstered by double-dip in mortgage interest rates and the associated increase in purchasing power.”

“Total active residential listings in the province have declined 18 per cent since June,” added Muir. “However, the housing market remains tilted in favour of homebuyers.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume declined 2 per cent $32.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales declined 10 per cent to 64,735 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 9 per cent to $502,353 over the same period.

– from BCREA


Market Conditions Beginning to Improve

October 13, 2010

Vancouver, BC – October 13, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 36 per cent to 5,511 units in September compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province increased 2 per cent in September from August 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 4 per cent to $493,846 in September compared to the same month last year.

“BC home sales increased for the second consecutive month in September,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, consumer demand is still noticeably lower than last fall’s frenetic pace.”

“Market conditions have improved, with the months of supply declining from 11.1 in June to 8.9 in September,” added Muir. A balanced market typically exhibits five to seven months of supply.

“The current downward pressure on mortgage rates is expected to bolster housing demand this fall as consumers take advantage of a second opportunity to secure near record low interest rates,” noted Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 2 per cent to $29.6 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales declined 7 per cent to 59,228 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 9 per cent to $500,539 over the same period.

– from BCREA


Low Mortgage Rates Boost August Home Sales in Vancouver

September 15, 2010

Vancouver, BC – September 14, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 35 per cent to 5,590 units in August compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province increased 7 per cent in August from July 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 4 per cent to $487,804 in August compared to the same month last year.

“August home sales posted the first month-to-month increase since March of this year,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Lower mortgage interest rates and an improving labour market are inducing additional consumer demand.”

“The number of new residential listings in the province has fallen 30 per cent since April,” added Muir. “With fewer new listings, total active listings are now on the decline, signaling that an end to the buyer’s market may be on the horizon.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 8 per cent to $26.9 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales rose 2 per cent to 53,717 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 10 per cent to $501,226 over the same period.

– from BCREA


BC Housing Forecast Update

September 10, 2009

The BC housing market has rebounded dramatically, with residential sales having climbed steady from an annualized rate of 43,000 units in January to more than 97,000 in July, seasonally adjusted. Read more here.


People Power & Affordability

August 26, 2009

It’s been a difficult twelve months for BC’s housing markets. No question. However, while we wait to hear the latest unemployment figures or government stimulus packages it might be fun, or perhaps even refreshing, to take a look at two things that are working in BC’s favour. The first is population growth, without which the housing stock wouldn’t need to expand; and housing affordability, the quiet redeemer of markets.

BC’s population grew by an impressive 14,440 from October to January, second only to Alberta. This was the highest fourth quarter of growth since 1996. The largest contributor to this growth was international migrants, netting BC 10,255 individuals during the fourth quarter, 64 percent more than a year ago. In fact, net international migration broke the record books in 2008, even surpassing 1996 when the province experienced a significant influx of Hong Kong immigrants. However, weaker economic conditions have slowed migration from other provinces, as BC’s economy is no longer the brightest light in the country. Net interprovincial migration fell to 6,450 individuals in 2008 from 15,520 in 2007, but nonetheless remained in positive territory.

Despite the current challenges in the economy, migration will become increasingly important over the coming decades as BC’s population ages, and deaths begin to outpace births. By 2026/2027, migration may be the only source of population growth for the province. If BC Stats current population projections are any indication, the recent level of migration will be the norm and not an exception. Annual net migration is expected to range between 50,000 and 60,000 individuals over the long term. In twenty years, this could add another 1.27 million people to the province. This means that demand for housing will be robust over the long-term, despite the current weakness.

Housing affordability is the relative difference between household income and the carrying cost of ownership, in other words — your mortgage payment. Lenders typically limit the carrying cost to a maximum of 32 percent of the borrower’s pre-tax income. Since incomes tend to grow very slowly compared to short-term changes in mortgage interest rates and home prices, the carrying cost of the average home in the market is a great indicator of housing affordability.

Many market watchers concentrate solely on home prices relative to income and ignore the impact of interest rate changes, which can be significant. You may be surprised to learn that while the average price of a home in BC is down 11 percent from a year ago, the carrying cost has actually declined 23 percent, the difference being lower mortgage interest rates. The combination of lower home prices and lower interest rates means buying a home in BC is now more affordable than at any time in the last three years, which coincidently was the last
time the carrying cost of housing made sense relative to income.

So, population growth is very much in BC’s favour for at least the next few decades. This will keep our homebuilders building despite brief downturns in the market. In addition, housing affordability makes a lot more sense today. A typical home buyer’s mortgage payment has been slashed by nearly one-quarter over the last twelve months. No wonder so many potential buyers are kicking tires.

Article reprinted from the June 2009
issue of BC Homes Magazine.
By Cameron Muir,
BCREA Chief Economist
Economics