Strategics MLS® Condo Market Mid-2013 Forecast

Frank Schliewinsky Strategics Vancouver Condo Report
July 12, 2013

MLS® High-Rise Forecast
MLS® Low-Rise Forecast
MLS® Townhouse Forecast

The quarterly migration figures for BC released last month show some improvements. Total net migration for the 1st quarter of 2013 was 8,144 persons; up from a loss of 1,504 persons in the 4th quarter of 2012 and up by almost 2,000 from the 1st quarter of 2012. The net interprovincial loss is down and net international migration is up from the same period in 2012. But a closer reading of the numbers shows that the gains in international migration are due to an increase in non-permanent residentsstudents, temporary workers, nannies, maids, etc. The number of immigrants was actually down from previous quarters.

What this means for the Vancouver condo market is a continuation of the "new normal." No quick return to the go-go days of 20052007. But on the bright side of an underperforming MLS® market, there should be growing pent-up demand for resale apartment and townhouse condos.

An analysis of the relationship between population in the prime home buying age group (25 to 64) and MLS® condo and townhome sales shows that MLS® sales of apartment and townhouse condos fell short of population-based sales estimates by 3,300 units in 2012, and will likely fall short by 4,800 units in 2013. Once the BC and Vancouver economy start to improve and net interprovincial migration turns positive again, expect to see this pent-up demand released.

MLS® High-Rise Market Forecast

Strategics' previous forecast for the MLS® high-rise market was in January of this year. At that time it looked as if high-rise sales in 2013 would be down by 25% from the previous year. After six months of sales, the sales forecast still shows a 25% drop in sales for 2013. Total high-rise sales in 2013 are expected to be close to 2,800 units. MLS® sales in April and May were higher than expected but total sales in June were down to 282 units.

The average selling price in June was $557,000 or $605 per square foot. Both figures are up from previous months. The average MLS® selling price is expected to remain fairly flat in 2013 at around $518,000 per unit. The average selling price per square foot should slip a bit to around $561 per square foot.

(For specific high rise markets see: Detailed Market Trends)

MLS® Low-Rise Market Forecast

Changes in the MLS® low-rise market over the past six months have left the mid-year forecast for overall sales and price per square foot pretty much as it was last January. MLS® low-rise sales in June were close to 370 units which was up slightly from the previous month and up by 27% compared to 12 months ago. Total MLS® low-rise sales in 2013 are expected to be just over 3,000 units, which is slightly better than the forecast made in January of this year.

Richmond is the only low-rise market that is expected to show any positive gains in 2013 when compared to 2012. Richmond MLS® low-rise sales in 2013 are expect to be up by 21% or close to 400 units in 2013. The sales outlook for low-rise condos has also improved in west side and east side Vancouver and Burnaby, but total sales in 2013 in these markets are still expected to be less than in 2012.

The overall MLS® selling price for low-rise condos in June was $342,000 or $387 per square foot. This is up slightly from the previous month and up by 6% from 12 months ago. The trend for the overall selling price for low-rise condos is still slightly positive but the average MLS® price per square foot is expected to soften by about 2% in 2013. Buyer preference for resale low-rise condos is shifting toward slightly larger units. The only major change over the past six months is in Langley where the average price per square foot is now expected to be down by 9% compared to the 2012 average price. This may be enough to stimulate MLS® low-rise sales in this market.

(For specific low rise markets see: Detailed Market Trends)

MLS® Townhouse Market Forecast

Over the past six months, the outlook for MLS® townhouse sales in 2013 has improved slightly. Overall townhouse sales are expected to be around 2,750; a 22% decline from 2012. The sales outlook has improved in Richmond, Langley, Westside Vancouver and North Vancouver but MLS® sales in all townhome markets are still forecast to be less than sales in 2012.

The average MLS® selling price for townhouse condos in June was $480,000 or $325 square foot. This is down slightly from the previous month and up by 4% compared to 12 months ago. The forecast change for the selling price per square foot for townhouses has changed little over the past six months. The average price per square foot and the overall average selling price are expected to change very little.

(For specific townhouse markets see: Detailed Market Trends)

Condo/Townhouse Price Calculator here.

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