Three major real estate market-watch organizations released their latest statistics today, and all reported a very healthy late summer in BC, including an unusually busy September.
The British Columbia Real Estate Association, and Canadian Real Estate Association monthly reports, along with the Royal LePage Q3 House Price Survey all noted that historically low interest rates and a strengthening economy are major factors supporting local and national resale housing markets.
BC Real Estate Association (BCREA)
Chief economist Cameron Muir says, “More homes traded hands last month in BC than any September since 2009, while the Okanagan had its most robust September in nine years.”
Across BC, there were 7,636 residential sales in September compared to 6,498 in September of 2013, a 17.5 per cent rise. Sales on the Okanagan Mainline and South Okanagan real estate boards showed increases of 34.3 per cent and 31.7 per cent respectively from last September. And in the Lower Mainland, unit sales grew by 24.7 per cent in the Fraser Valley, 17.7 per cent in Victoria and 17.5 per cent in Greater Vancouver.
Compared to September 2013, average prices increased across the board. The Greater Vancouver price for all housing types averaged $836,735, up 6.4 per cent. The Fraser Valley saw 5.8 per cent growth, to $520,477. In Chilliwack the average price increased year over year by 6.4 per cent, to $520,477, and in Victoria the average price is up 4.7 per cent to $509,667.
Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)
Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan were among the sales leaders across the country, both on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.
In general, September cross-Canada sales rose by 10.6 per cent over September 2013, but fell by 1.4 per cent from the previous month. That was the first sales dip of 2014. However, sales rose in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan, along with several southern Ontario markets and northern Nova Scotia.
Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto continue to be Canada’s most expensive markets, to such an extent that they skew the national average price. (This figure is based on the MLS® benchmark prices rather than average sales prices.) An aggregate average price for a home in Canada is $408,795. However, if Toronto and Vancouver prices are ignored, the average price drops to $325,406, which is up 4.5 per cent over September of 2014.
The report also noted the growing gap between single-family houses and other property types — something Vancouver has been experiencing for years.
Nationwide, two-storey single family homes continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+6.52 per cent), followed closely by townhouse/row units (+5.51 per cent) and one-storey single family homes (+5.07 per cent). Price growth for apartment units remains comparatively more modest (+3.05 per cent).
“Affordably priced single family homes are in short supply in some of Canada’s hottest housing markets, which contributed to the monthly decline in national sales activity in September,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie.
Royal LePage Q3 House Price Survey
The Royal LePage survey confirmed that there’s a gap in demand between detached houses and condos, in particular. Looking strictly at the City of Vancouver, Q3 average prices increased 6.1 per cent for bungalows, and 5.6 per cent for two-storey houses, but dropped by 0.2 per cent for standard condos.
It’s interesting to compare Vancouver house prices to those of other cities across Canada. For a two-story bungalow in Canada’s hottest markets:
Vancouver | $1,220,909
Calgary | $499,811
Edmonton | $379,463
Toronto | $733,317
St. John’s | $424,167
The Q3 House Price Survey also says the pace of price appreciation is slowing across the country.
“In the seven years since the Canadian housing market began its recovery from the worldwide recession, home price growth has been robust, often greater than the long-term average of approximately five per cent,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage. “We are now experiencing a natural slowing in the rate of year-over-year price appreciation, with real estate markets moderating in most parts of the country, a transition to what our agents refer to as a ‘Goldilocks market,’ one that is neither too hot, nor too cold. To be clear, we expect home prices to continue to grow in the months ahead, but at a slower rate than we have seen in recent years.”