Fraser Valley Real Estate Market: April 2013

May 3, 2013

"Balanced," "steady" and "slower than average" are how FVREB president Ron Todson describes the current real estate market in the Fraser Valley. The spring rush has been later and more subdued than usual, but home sales did increase by almost 20 per cent over March.

New listings picked up too, increasing the active inventory by over 5 per cent compared to March.

However, April's sales, new listings and active listings are all below the levels of last year. Keep in mind, April of 2012 was the second-lowest April in 10 years for sales, and third-highest for listings. That makes April of 2013 a very sluggish market indeed.

According to Todson, "What's different this year is that a number of external factors, such as tighter credit rules and the government's spotlight on consumer debt have made some consumers more cautious about buying or selling a property. However, for those who need to move to a bigger or smaller home or to another community before summer hits, its business as usual because when you need a home, you need a home."

Sales and Listings

Overall MLS® real estate sales*in April reached 1,366, and increase of 21.1 per cent over March, but down 4.8 per cent compared to the 1,435 sales in April of 2012.

Of the April 2013 sales reported, 1,203 were residential property sales. They were up 18.5 per cent from March's home sales, but down 5.2 per cent from those of last April.

Detached houses made up the majority of the April home sales784 houses changed hands compared to 256 attached properties and 213 condo apartments. For comparison, in the Greater Vancouver market, condo sales are almost as high as house sales: 1,064 houses sold last month compared to 1,052 condos.

New residential listings in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board region were down 7.3 per cent from last April: 2,454 compared to 2,645 in April of 2012. Compared to March, new listings of homes were up 10.1 per cent.

That helped boost active residential listings. They're up 5.4 per cent compared to March, and down 2.6 per cent from last April, when listings were very high. There were 7,466 homes for sale in the Fraser Valley last month compared to 7,662 in April 2012.

Despite the slow sales, the overall sales-to-active listings ratio reached 14 per cent in April, up from 12 per cent in March. By the FVREB's standards, that's still well within buyer's market territory. It would need to reach 18 per cent to hit the balanced market category.

What's Up, What's Down - At a Glance
  Apr / Mar 2013 Apr 2013/ Apr 2012
Overall Home Sales +18.5% -5.2%
- Detached +35.7% -6.4%
- Townhouse +1.6% -6.6%
- Apartment +13.3% +1.4%
New Listings +10.1 -7.3%
Active Listings +5.4% - 2.6%

The balance between listings and sales is keeping prices stable, so it's a good time to be a buyer: enough properties to look at, not too much competition to buy, and little likelihood of a bidding war breaking out.

MLS® Benchmark Prices

Fraser Valley MLS® Benchmark Prices, % Change
  Apr 2013 Mar 2013 Apr 2012
Detached $547,300 +0.6% +0.4%
Townhouse $299,100 +0.3% -2.2%
Apartment $203,900 -0.1% +0.04%

Ron Todson says, "Depending on the market area and property type, prices are either slightly up or down based on desirability and availability of product, underscoring the importance of understanding what's going on in your specific area, which is exactly where Real Estate Agents can help."

This table can also give you an idea. It shows price movements in the MLS® Home Price Index by municipality.

* FVREB's overall sales numbers include all types of property including commercial, agricultural and industrial.

You can view the full FVREB statistics package for April 2013 here.

See also:

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market: April 2013

As an writer and editor, Elizabeth spends every day immersed in real estate news and opinion so she can deliver fresh, relevant articles to our visitors. She comes from a varied background in Internet marketing, book publishing, multimedia writing and radio, but what prepared her best for this position is her experience as a renter, seller and buyer in the Vancouver real estate market.
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