Demand for Metro Vancouver Condos Skyrockets: REBGV

April saw even detached homes in a sellers’ market, as board sets new record benchmark home price
Joannah Connolly
May 2, 2017

Demand for condos in Metro Vancouver is skyrocketing, according to monthly statistics released May 2 by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio for condos in the region stood at 82.2 per cent in April – for context, a balanced market would be between 12 and 20 per cent.

Although condo sales in April were 18.3 per cent lower than in April 2016’s hot market, a near-16 per cent annual decline in condo listings last month meant that relative demand is soaring for a limited inventory of condos.

“Our overall market is operating below the record-setting pace from a year ago and is in line with historical spring levels. It’s a different story in our condominium and townhome markets,” said Jill Oudil, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president. “Demand has been increasing for months and supply is not keeping pace. This dynamic is causing prices to increase and making multiple offer scenarios the norm.”

Like last spring, overall home sales in the region this April were slightly down from the high point of March – at 3,553 transactions, this total was less than one per cent lower than March 2017, but 25.7 per cent below April 2016.

Still, April could be described as a healthy market, with last month’s total sales number 4.3 per cent higher than the 10-year average for April, according to the board.

Condo units also led the overall year-over-year increase in benchmark home prices, which were up 11.4 per cent for all property types combined, and nearly 17 per cent for condos.

Sales and Listings

Following robust spring-market activity in March, there were 3,553 sales on the Greater Vancouver MLS® in April, virtually flat with the previous month at just 0.7 per cent lower, but a year-over-year decline of 25.7 per cent compared with record-breaking spring market of 2016.

April’s total was 4.3 per cent higher than the 10-year average for the month.

Looking at different property types, there were 1,211 detached home sales in April – a decline of 38.8 per cent from the hot detached home market of last April, but another monthly increase, of 5.3 per cent, compared with March.

There were 620 townhome, row home and duplex properties trading hands in April, a 10.8 per cent decrease from April 2016, but a 5.4 per cent rise month over month.

Even though condo sales are seeing the tightest supply relative to demand, condo sales fell slightly to 1,722 transactions in April, down 6.4 per cent from the 1,841 units sold in March. This was a fall of 18.3 per cent compared with April 2016.

Would-be sellers continued to hold back on listing their homes in April, creating a vicious circle of low inventory. There were 4,907 new listings in April, which is a drop of 19.9 per cent from the same month last year. Still, it was a slight improvement of three per cent compared with March. However, this increase was driven by a monthly rise in the number of new detached and attached home listings, with new condo listings down more than six per cent since March. Despite this, total active listings as of the end of April stood at 7,813 for all housing types, an overall rise of 3.5 per cent compared with April 2016 and three per cent higher than March.

The overall sales-to-active listings ratio remains a seller’s market at 45.5 per cent, down only slightly from March’s 47 per cent. Broken down by property type, detached homes are at 26 per cent, townhomes 58.2 per cent and condos a staggering 82.2 per cent.

Benchmark Prices

After faltering through fall last year, the combined residential benchmark price (all property types) in Greater Vancouver set a new record in April at $941,100. This is an increase of 2.4 per cent from the previous month, 11.4 per cent higher than April 2016, and even higher than the previous bar set in August 2016 of $933,100.

The single-family home benchmark price did not break records, however, with the board setting it at $1,516,500, slightly lower than in July and August last year. However, the new typical detached home price is 8.1 per cent higher than April 2016 and 1.8 per cent higher than March 2017.

It was the in-demand townhome and condo markets that caused the overall benchmark price to reach new heights. Attached home benchmark prices saw another year-over-year rise, up 15.3 per cent to a record $701,800, a rise of 2.4 per cent since March.

Condos, which did not see a price decline through last fall, continue to rise in value. Once again, typical condo prices saw the biggest monthly and annual increase, now standing at $554,100. This record price is 16.6 per cent higher than a year ago, and a rise of 3.1 per cent over the previous month.

“Until more entry level, or ‘missing middle’, homes are available for sale in our market, we’ll likely continue to see prices increase,” Oudil added. “There’s been record building this past year, but much of that inventory isn’t ready to hit the market.”

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.