Ever wondered what the market is doing in different neighbourhoods around the Lower Mainland? We have. So we turned to three expert Realtors to get their “in the trenches” perspective, starting with the diverse and vibrant East Vancouver area. Find out who’s buying, what’s selling, and where.
Known for its diversity and more affordable houses than its west-side neighbour, East Vancouver is bordered to the north by Burrard Inlet, to the south by the Fraser River, and to the east by the city of Burnaby.
The area attracts a lot of migrating west-side buyers moving up the property ladder, according to RE/MAX Real Estate Services Realtor Sayo Nickerson. “I see a lot of youngish families in their 30s wanting to trade their 2-bedroom condos for a family home.”
But even with prices coming down, single-family houses remain out of reach for many of those looking. This helps explain why Nickerson has seen detached home sales slide by 46% since last spring. As a result, people are buying townhouses or half-duplexes instead of a house.
It may be a buyer’s market in Van East, but buyers are in short supply.
Ken Chan, Realtor from RE/MAX Metro Realty, says that only 30% of his clients are buyers – and they’re not jumping on properties like they used to. “Last year, when people saw a property they wanted, they put in an offer right away,” says Chan. “Now people are looking more, wanting to buy, but just waiting.”
“Buyers are more cautious and price sensitive than they were last year,” says Glenn Warren, Realtor and General Manager of RE/MAX City Realty.
And Nickerson has seen a lot of buyers remove themselves from the market. While some are encouraged by price drops, others are saying “this is just the beginning… I’ll wait.”
So what is selling?
Despite the wait-and-see attitude of many buyers, well-priced properties in the lower price ranges are still moving. “Condos, townhouses, and affordable properties are selling,” Chan says, pointing out that renovated and staged homes have an edge. Detached house sales are slower moving, but this has led to a new standout.
“The half-duplex market is a hot spot right now,” notes Nickerson. “Instead of a run-down house where you have to put in money right away, you can get something newer and nicer. In fact, all of the half-duplexes we’ve listed have sold really quickly.”
But what does all this mean for high-end properties? “Luxury sales are not happening,” says Warren.
As with all things real estate, location drives sales. Nickerson sees renovated properties selling in the popular Commercial Drive, Main, and Fraser Street areas – as well as condos in Mount Pleasant. Chan sees more activity in the Killarney and Renfrew-Heights neighbourhoods, but not so much in other areas.
What about all those sellers?
“Sellers still haven’t come to grips with where buyers are at,” says Nickerson. “They’ll point to the asking prices of listings down the street, but those properties aren’t selling.” To help them come to terms with the new market reality, education is key – using numbers, graphics, and stats to show what’s happening.
In addition to using stats to educate buyers, Warren tells stories about people who didn’t take an offer and later regretted it. “For example, I have two properties for sale now where the asking price is less than an offer they refused two months ago.”
Chan works with sellers to price their property to sell in this market.
“After realizing where the market’s at, some people decide not to sell after all,” says Nickerson, including people who paid more two years ago.
So what does all this buyer/seller fence sitting mean for East Vancouver?
“People are being careful,” says Warren. “But nobody thinks that the Doomsday is going to happen like in the US.”
Coming soon… more neighbourhood news from the front lines.