Despite all the talk of unaffordability, the Greater Vancouver housing market continued its inexorable rise in January, with sales up 8.7 per cent year over year, according to Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) figures released February 3.
There was an expected dip in sales across all property types compared with December 2014, as few transactions close in January after the holiday season.
The year-over-year increase in sales pushed the benchmark price for a residential property in Greater Vancouver up to $641,600, a rise of 5.5 per cent compared with January 2014, consistent with the annual lift seen in home prices every month for the past year.
However the unexpected story comes from January's sales of townhouses and other attached properties, the growth of which considerably outstripped that of detached homes, which usually see the most growth.
Sales and Listings
Greater Vancouver MLS® home sales totalled 1,913 in January, an increase of 8.7 per cent compared with January 2014, although a decline of 9.6 per cent compared with December. Sales were 14.9 per cent higher than the 10-year average for January.
Detached single-family home sales increased 7.3 per cent, and were uncharacteristically outshone by sales of attached homes, which were up nearly 16 per cent compared with January 2014.
Condo sales kept their growth consistently steady, rising 7.4 per cent year.
New listings in Greater Vancouver in January were 11.4 per cent below those of January 2014, and active listings were down 14.2 per cent, reflecting the tightened inventory.
“While demand remains steady, we’re seeing fewer homes for sale at the moment,” said Ray Harris, REBGV president. "This is creating greater competition amongst buyers, particularly in the detached home market. The number of detached homes listed for sale today is the second lowest we’ve seen in four years.”
Nevertheless, with the sales-to-active-listings ratio at 17.7 per cent, the region remains in balanced market territory.
|Jan 15/Dec 14||Jan 15/Jan 14|
Broken down by area, West Vancouver had the largest overall jump in home sales in January, with sales up 8.1 per cent compared with January 2014. This was driven by townhouse sales in the neighbourhood, which rose more than 10 per cent year over year.
However, the biggest rise in detached home sales was in East Vancouver, where sales of single-family properties rose 12.2 per cent year over year as West Side inventory tightened further and pushed buyers east.
The sharpest jump in condo sales was in Whistler, where the recovering real estate market saw apartment properties up 18.9 per cent compared with January last year.
Benchmark Price (MLS® Home Price Index)
The benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver now stands at $641,600, which is up 5.5 per cent year over year and up 0.2 per cent compared with December.
Although the growth in townhouse sales far outstripped growth in detached home sales in January, the same could not be said for benchmark prices of those property types.
The composite benchmark prices by housing type are:
|Jan 2015||Dec 2014||Jan 2014|
Harris added, “The Bank of Canada’s recent announcement to lower its benchmark interest rate is an important one for home buyers, sellers and owners to note. A reduced rate could allow you to pay down your mortgage a little faster, save some money on your monthly payments, or change the amount you qualify for. It’s important that you do your homework and understand how these announcements impact your situation.”
Home prices vary widely throughout the REBGV region. To get a good idea of home prices in a specific location, check the detailed MLS® Home Price Index in the REBGV full statistics package.
For our infographic with headline statistics and benchmark prices broken down by area, click here.
- The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver covers Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.
- The board covers only homes being resold through the Multiple Listing Service, and does not record sales of newly built homes unless they are listed with the MLS®, so the house prices in the Home Price Index don't reflect all of the residential real estate sold in the area.