Vancouver Greater Vancouver Real Estate Consumer Confidence Survey

March 26, 2013

It's a better time to buy a home than to sell, say the people who responded to our spring Real Estate Consumer Confidence Survey.

We asked 561 people from across the Lower Mainland three questions:

Do you think it's a good time to sell a house or a condo in the next three months?

Do you think it's a good time to buy a house or a condo in the next three months?


If you had exactly a million dollars to buy your only residence in the Lower Mainland, what type of home would you buy? And where?

Which would you choose? Here's what's available for one million dollars in: Vancouver North Vancouver Burnaby Coquitlam Richmond Langley Surrey Area Abbotsford

We ask the first two questions twice a year when we do our spring and fall surveys, and they demonstrate that Lower Mainlanders are pretty savvy about what goes on in the real estate market... probably because they spend about as much time talking about real estate as they do about the Canucks.

Good time to sell?

People have been getting increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for selling a home in the Lower Mainland. In all, 30 per cent more people say "not now" to selling than did so in March 2012. This spring, 63 per cent of our respondents said the next three months would not be a good time to sell. Of those, 12 per cent say it's a buyer's market with too many properties for sale. 20 per cent of the pessimists say the housing market is soft and sales have slowed down. Almost half of those saying "don't sell" (49 per cent) say prices will go down.

Interestingly, 29 per cent of those who thought now is a good time to sell also thought prices would go downmaking it a good idea to sell now before they dip further.

Good time to buy?

Meanwhile, more people say now is a good time to buy: 54 per cent compared to 46 per cent last march. Among those who said yes, a variety of reasons were given: "prices are reasonable" (12 per cent), "the market has softened" (12 per cent), "it's a buyer's market" (18 per cent), "interest rates are low" (20 per cent) and the ever-popular "prices will go down" (23 per cent).

Those who said it's not a good time to sell overwhelmingly cited two reasons: "prices will go down" (32 per cent) and "prices are high" (also 32 per cent).

Click through the slideshow to see details of the survey.

If you had a million dollars...

Who doesn't love to fantasize about having a million bucks? We asked this question:

Suppose you had exactly $1 million dollars to buy the only residential property you would have in the Lower Mainland area. Knowing that you can live anywhere in the Lower Mainland area, and that the farther you get from the City of Vancouver the less you pay, which one of the following types of property would you be most interested in buying?

We gave five choices:

  • A large house in a suburban setting
  • A small detached house
  • A townhouse or duplex in a city
  • A luxury condo in city centre
  • Keep the million bucks and rent real estate survey asked what property type people would buy with $1 million

We were a bit surprised that, despite all the talk about densification and walkability, despite the fact that condos have taken over from houses in many parts of our region, the overwhelming choice was for a large house on a big suburban property.

There's an old real estate saying, "The value is in the dirt." And our respondents agreed. Over half wanted dirt, i.e., a detached house with a yard. Those who didn't were evenly split between buying a townhouse or condo and keeping the money.

Who'd Buy What?

Let's break the respondents down into different demographic groups.

No battle of the sexes here. Men and women agreed on everything.

Male and female choices of Vancouver real estate given $1 million

Age mattered. Boomers 55 and older were the most likely to keep the money, and the only group to choose a small detached house over a large suburban home.

GenY, from 18-34 years old, were the most likely to choose either a large suburban house or a downtown luxury condo.

The generation in the middle, from 35 to 54 years old, were the most likely of all to want dirt.

Vancouver real estate choices depending on age group survey

It's no big surprise that families with children were the hottest to buy and least likely to keep the money. (They know a million bucks doesn't go that far when you've got kids.) Just over four in ten wanted a large suburban home where the kids could play. On the other hand, over one-third of singles would keep the dough. And couples with no children were most likely of all groups to buy a modest house or luxury condo although over one-fifth of them liked the money, too.

Household demographics and real estate choices in Vancouver given $1 million

There were big differences depending on where people live. Those most likely to keep the money lived in Abbotsford and Chilliwack or the North Shore. Burnaby and New Westminster had the most buyers, followed closely by Surrey, Delta and Langley. Of the latter, over half wanted a big suburban house. In Vancouver, 14% were after the large house and property.

If you had a million dollars would you buy a house or condo in Vancouver Lower Mainland?

And Where?

Based on people's choice of property, where would they go? "Hey, if I'm going for a luxury condo, it's gonna be in Vancouver!" say the condo folks. And for those after a large house and property, Langley is the hands-down winner.

Vancouver real estate survey-where would you buy based on property type

Which would you choose? Here's what's available for one million dollars in: Vancouver North Vancouver Burnaby Coquitlam Richmond Langley Surrey Area Abbotsford

Here's GM Ian Martin on CTV talking about the survey:

The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Consumer Survey was conducted by Mustel Group Market Research. is the local real estate search engine for Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack and Whistler/Pemberton. It 's the most complete way for home buyers and sellers to search MLS® and new home listings, find local Real Estate Agents and save, automate and share real estate searches.

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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