Fraser Valley Home Sales Recover in October, But Listings Slow: Board

Joannah Connolly
November 3, 2016

Fraser Valley real estate sales were down again year over year in October – but they were higher than September’s figures, as buyers returned to the market, according to statistics published by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) November 2.

Home sales in the region dropped 15.9 per cent from last October but were higher than the previous month, rising 11.9 per cent overall.

The annual drop in sales was entirely driven by a decline in detached home transactions, as attached home and condo-apartment sales rose both year over year and month over month.Of the 1,302 residential sales in October, 389 were townhouses and 400 were apartments, representing a significant portion of October’s activity.

“Sales activity was healthy in October, especially in the townhome and apartment categories,” said Charles Wiebe, president of the board. “With prices beginning to level off, it appears that buyers are becoming more motivated to explore the Valley’s available inventory.”

Total available inventory in October hit the lowest level for that month in a decade. The numbers of new home listings and active listings as of the end of the month were both down year over year, although new listings crept up slightly over September’s figures.

The average sale price of a Fraser Valley property (all property types combined, including commercial and industrial) in October was $616,402, an increase of 3.4 per cent compared with October 2015 and a slight rise of 1.7 per cent since September. But the board’s benchmark home prices deviated from this (see “Benchmark Prices” below).

Sales and Listings

There were 1,302 residential property sales in the Fraser Valley in October, down 15.8 per cent compared with October 2015 but up 11.9 per cent month over month as transactions recovered from a slower September.

The annual decline was entirely because of a 45.3 per cent drop in single-family home sales in October, to 513 transactions – which was nevertheless up 4.1 per cent over September. The average number of days a Fraser Valley detached home took to sell was 31 days in October, compared with 36 days in October last year, and 17 days in June this year.

Fraser Valley attached home sales in October turned around after dropping off the previous month, rising 10.2 per cent year over year to 389 sales, which was 13.7 per cent higher than September’s 342 attached home sales.

There were exactly 400 condo-apartment units exchanging hands in the Fraser Valley in October, as this property type continued to seem unaffected by changing market conditions. That sales figure is a leap of 56.3 per cent compared with October 2015’s 256 units, and a rise of 21.6 per cent compared with 329 condo transactions in September.

New home listings in the region were down 19.9 per cent compared with one year previously, totalling 1,817 in October. This was a slight boost of 1.1 per cent compared with September’s even-lower figures.

These low new-listings figures, along with a monthly rise in sales, meant that at the end of October there were 4,141 active home listings on the MLS®, which is a drop of five per cent compared with the previous month, and 7.8 per cent fewer than the 4,492 active listings in October 2015.

Correspondingly, the sales-to-active-listings ratio in the Fraser Valley reversed its decline, rising to 24 per cent in October from 20 per cent in September. This takes the region back towards the recent sellers’ market it has seen, after looking like it was moving towards a balance market. A balanced market is achieved when the ratio has been between 12 and 20 per cent for several months, according to analysts.

“It seems that there’s no bad time to sell a home in 2016, as demand for Fraser Valley real estate remains strong,” added Wiebe.

Benchmark Prices

The benchmark sale price of a typical Fraser Valley home (all residential property types combined) in October was $636,500, a very slight drop of 0.1 per cent compared with September’s figure, but a rise of 32.5 per cent over October last year.

As with last month, October’s month-over-month decline in the overall Fraser Valley benchmark home price was driven entirely by a cut in the benchmark price of a typical single-family house. At $872,100, this is 0.8 per cent lower than the price set in September ($879,200), but an increase of 34.3 per cent compared with one year previously.

The typical price of a townhome or other attached property also rose 34.3 per cent year over year in October, to $421,300. This was a rise of 0.4 per cent over September’s benchmark price.

The cost of a typical condo-apartment in the Valley was up 25.3 per cent over October 2015, at $254,300, which was also up 1.8 per cent over the previous month.

Prices in the Fraser Valley differ by city, neighbourhood and property type. To see home prices, sales and listings broken down by community, see the FVREB October 2016 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.