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Real Estate Trends

Sharp Drop in Vancouver Home Sales Leaves 2016 Shy of Records: REBGV

By Joannah Connolly January 4, 2017

Despite a record-breaking spring market, last year turned out to be just the third-busiest on record for Greater Vancouver home sales, falling just shy of both 2015 and 2005, according to Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) data released January 3.

Resales of residential properties in 2016 totalled 39,943 units, which was a 5.6 per cent drop from the 42,326 sales recorded in 2015, but still 20.6 per cent more than the 33,116 transactions in 2014.

“It was an eventful year for real estate in Metro Vancouver,” said Dan Morrison, REBGV president. “Escalating prices caused by low supply and strong home buyer demand brought more attention to the market than ever before.”

Metro Vancouver home listings rose less than one per cent year over year in 2016. Morrison added, “The supply of homes for sale couldn't keep up with home buyer demand for much of 2016. This allowed home sellers to raise their asking price. It wasn’t until the last half of the year that prices began to show modest declines.”

The benchmark price for all residential properties in the region stood at $897,600 as of the end of December – slightly down from November, but still nearly 18 per cent higher than December 2015.

Also on January 3, the board issued resale statistics for December 2016, reporting a sharp drop in home sales of nearly 40 per cent compared with December 2015.

Sales and Listings

Greater Vancouver home sales across the year totalled 39,943 units, a 5.6 per cent drop from the 42,326 sales recorded in 2015 but a 20.6 per cent increase over the 33,116 sales in 2014.

In December 2016, Greater Vancouver home sales fell 39.4 per cent to 1,714 units, compared with the 2,827 sales recorded in December 2015. This was a month-over-month drop of 22.6 per cent compared with the 2,214 sales in November 2016, and 8.1 per cent lower than the 10-year average for the month.

Looking at individual housing types, single-family home sales in December fell 52.4 per cent year over year, totalling just 541 units, compared with the 1,136 single-family home sales in December 2015. This was a decline of 15.3 per cent month over month, which is a typical seasonal slowdown for December.

There were 258 townhomes and other attached properties exchanging hands in December, a 44.6 per cent decrease from December 2015’s 466 units, and a sharp 31.3 per cent drop compared with November.

Sales of condominium-apartments in December totalled 915, as usual the property type with the highest total transactions. This was a slide of 25.3 per cent compared with 1,225 condo sales in December 2015, and a 23.8 per cent fall month over month.

The dearth of home listings that has dogged the market for more than a year continued in December.

As the market slowed for the holidays, new home listings in December totalled just 1,312 units – a drop of 35.1 per cent from the 2,021 units listed in December 2015, and a 58.3 per cent decrease from November 2016, when 3,147 properties were listed.

That brought the total number of properties listed for sale as of December 2016 in Greater Vancouver to 6,345, which because of very slow December sales was 5.3 per cent higher than the 6,024 of December 2015, but a 24.3 per cent decline over the previous month.

The total number of Greater Vancouver homes listed for sale in the whole of 2016 was 57,596. This is an increase of 0.6 per cent compared with the 57,249 properties listed in 2015 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to the 56,066 properties listed in 2014.

Benchmark Prices

The combined residential benchmark price (all property types) in December stood at $897,600. This is a 1.2 per cent decrease compared with November, and a 2.2 per cent fall over the past six months, but still 17.8 per cent higher then December 2015.

The price of a Metro Vancouver single-family home increased 18.6 per cent over December 2015 to $1,483,500. This was a drop of 1.8 per cent compared with November 2016.

The benchmark price of a townhome or other attached unit increased 20.4 per cent year over year to $661,800, a decline of 0.8 per cent from November.

Condo-apartment benchmark prices rose 17.3 per cent year over year to $510,300, which is a drop compared with November 2016 of just 0.3 per cent.

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.

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