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Unseasonably Warm January for Vancouver Real Estate: REBGV

Joannah Connolly
February 2, 2016

Sales of residential real estate rose last month nearly 32 per cent compared with those recorded in January 2015, according to Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) data released February 2.

As has been the trend over the past few years, in which January has been the slowest month for sales (see infographic below), January 2016 saw a near-11 per cent drop in transactions compared with December 2015.

Nevertheless, January’s 2,519 sales were 46 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the second highest January on record for Greater Vancouver real estate transactions.

“Fundamental economics are driving today’s market. Home buyer demand is at near record heights and home seller supply is as low as we’ve seen in many years,” said Darcy McLeod, REBGV president.

The benchmark price of a home (composite property types) in the area hit another record in January, with the $790,200, a rise of 22.9 per cent over the price set in January last year.

The number of homes newly listed on the Greater Vancouver market fell 6.2 per cent compared with the 4,737 units listed in January 2015. However, this was a much-needed jump of 119.8 per cent compared with December 2015, as sellers took the plunge to list their homes after the New Year.

Sales and Listings                                             

Greater Vancouver home sales in January totalled 2,519, a 31.7 per cent increase from the 1,913 sales recorded in January 2015 and a 10.9 per cent drop compared with December 2015, when 2,827 homes were sold.

When analyzed by housing type, there were 1,047 detached home sales in the region in January, a rise of 34.1 per cent compared with the 781 detached sales recorded in January 2015. This was a decline of 7.8 per cent month over month.

Townhomes and other attached properties further slowed their rate of annual sales growth in January. The total of 376 units sold was a rise of 16.4 per cent over the 323 sales in January 2015, and a 19.3 per cent drop from December.

Sales of condominium-apartments totalled 1,096 in January 2016 (1,225), an increase of 35.5 per cent compared with January. This made this property type regain its position as the fastest annual sales growth of the three types, and once more the property type with the highest total sales. However this was a drop of 10.6 per cent compared with the previous month.

What's Up, What's Down - At a Glance
  Jan 2016/Dec 2015 Jan 2016/Jan 2015
Overall Sales -10.9% +31.7%
- Detached -7.8% +34.1%
- Attached -19.3% +16.4%
- Apartment -10.6% +35.5%
New Listings +119.8% -6.2%
Current Listings +10.1% -38.6


The number of property listings remained low in January, although it began to see a recovery compared with recent months. New listings for all property types in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,442 in January. Although this is a 6.2 per cent decline compared with the 4,737 units listed in January 2015, this is a lesser annual decline than in previous months and it is a 119.8 per cent increase compared with December 2015 when only 2,021 properties were listed.

The total number of properties listed for sale as of January in Greater Vancouver stands at 6,635, a 38.6 per cent decline compared to January 2015 (10,811) and a 10.1 per cent increase compared with the previous month (6,024).

Greater Vancouver’s sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2016 is 38 per cent, making it the 11th consecutive month that the sales-to-active-listings ratio has been above 30 per cent in Metro Vancouver, as the strong sellers’ market firmly persists.

Benchmark Prices

Metro Vancouver’s combined residential property type benchmark price once more set a new bar in January, at $790,200, a rise of 22.9 per cent compared with January 2015 and a 3.7 per cent rise over the price recorded in December 2015.

The area’s typical detached home is now priced at $1,293,700, a rise of 27.9 per cent compared with the same month last year, and once more the sharpest rise in prices of all the property types.

The benchmark price of a townhome or other attached unit in Greater Vancouver increased 16.4 per cent compared with January 2015 to $563,700.

The big story in prices is that of condo-apartment benchmark prices, which continued their recent trend of surging as quickly as houses. The benchmark price for a condo in Greater Vancouver rose 19.4 per cent year over year in January 2015 to $456,600, and 4.7 per cent in the single month since December 2015, the kind of figure traditionally reserved for annual condo price rises. This further reflects the increase in demand from buyers pushed out of the detached home and townhouse market, along with the dramatically rising cost of land for new condominium development.

Greater Vancouver MLS® Benchmark Prices % Change
  Jan 2016 Dec 2015 Jan 2015
Detached $1,293,700 +3.6% +27.9%
Townhome $563,500 +3.7% +16.4%
Apartment $456,600 +4.7% +19.4%

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.