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Condo Prices Surge as Vancouver Real Estate Continues Relentless Pace: REBGV

Joannah Connolly
November 3, 2015

Metro Vancouver real estate sales hit another peak in October, with the annual price growth in condos accelerating as demand rises, according to Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) figures released November 3.

Total home sales were up 19.3 per cent annually in October and prices rose 15.3 per cent compared with October 2014. As in September, both these annual growth rates have slowed compared with the scorching spring market earlier this year. However, October saw year-over-year condo price growth surpass the 10 per cent mark.

The October sales figures were also a recovery from slower sales the previous month, up 9 per cent on September 2015.

October’s sales were 36.2 per cent above the 10-year average for the month, which the board’s president said was surprising given the lack of supply.

Darcy McLeod, REBGV president, said, “Home sales are more than one-third above what’s typical for this time of year, yet the supply of homes for sale is the lowest we’ve seen in five years.”

Sales and Listings

Greater Vancouver home sales rose 19.3 per cent to 3,646 units in October, compared with the 3,057 sales of October 2014. This is a 9 per cent increase compared to the 3,345 sales in September 2015.

Broken down by housing type, detached home sales increased 13.1 per cent year over year – a substantial increase but the lowest of the three property types. There were 1,437 single-family home sales in October, compared with the 1,271 sales in October 2014.

Unlike in September, when this honour was reserved for condo-apartments, it was townhomes and other attached properties that saw the biggest annual sales rise in October. The 666 units sold represented a 28.6 per cent increase over the 518 units in October 2014.

Sales of condominium-apartments continue to rise strongly, totalling 1,543 in October, an increase of 21.7 per cent compared with October 2014 and the largest total unit sales of the three property types.

New listings in Metro Vancouver continued to fall year over year, totalling 4,126 in October, an 8 per cent drop compared with the 4,487 new listings reported in October 2014. This was also a 14.9 per cent drop over the previous month’s spike in new listings.

The total number of properties listed for sale on the board’s MLS® at the end of October was 9,569, a 30 per cent decline compared with October 2014 and an 11.4 per cent drop from September 2015.

The board added that this was the lowest active listing total in Metro Vancouver since December 2010.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in October was 38.1 per cent – far higher than the norm for the region. This is also the eighth consecutive month that this ratio has been above 30 per cent in Metro Vancouver, meaning that the sellers’ market conditions continue to strengthen.

McLeod confirmed, “This activity has created favourable market conditions for anyone considering selling their home today.”

Benchmark Prices

The benchmark price for combined MLS® residential property types in Metro Vancouver continued to set its monthly new record, now at $736,000. This represents a 15.3 increase compared with October 2014.

The price of a detached single-family home in Metro Vancouver increased 20.1 per cent from October 2014 to $1,197,600. This was again the highest annual price growth rate of all the property types, further demonstrating the decreasing supply and increasing demand for these homes.

The benchmark price of a townhome or other attached unit increased 9.3 per cent between October 2014 and 2015 to $526,700.

Condo-apartment benchmark prices increased a surprising 11.4 per cent from October 2014 to $425,800 – this from a property type that has historically had relatively modest annual rises of 4 or 5 per cent. This is likely to reflect both an increase in demand from buyers pushed out of the house market, and the dramatically rising cost of land for new condominium development.

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.

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.