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Vancouver Home Sales in October Flat vs. September – But Below Norms: REBGV

By Joannah Connolly2016-11-02

Greater Vancouver’s home sales in October were virtually flat with September’s figures – but well below historical averages, according to Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) figures released November 2.

Resale transactions fell by nearly 40 per cent year over year, but by less than one per cent compared with September 2016, said the board.

October sales figures traditionally tend to be higher than September’s, so the sales figures for the month were well below norms for the month, at 15 per cent below the 10-year average for October (see infographic below).

“Changing market conditions compounded by a series of government interventions this year have put home buyers and sellers in a holding pattern,” said Dan Morrison, president of the REBGV. “Potential buyers and sellers are taking a wait-and-see approach to try and better understand what these changes mean for them.”

The composite benchmark home price in October was also down less than one per cent compared with September, at $919,300 – which unlike sales figures is an increases of 24.8 per cent compared with one year ago.

Home inventory also saw the effect of the current “wait-and-see approach,” with the reluctance of sellers to make a move in the market causing new and active listings to drop compared with not only the previous month, but also the same month last year and historical averages.

Sales and Listings

Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,233 in the 2016, a decline of 38.8 per cent compared with the 3,646 sales in October 2015, but just 20 units fewer than September this year, a drop of 0.9 per cent. October’s transactions were also 15 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.

“While sales are down across the different property types, it’s the detached market that’s seen the largest reduction in home buyer demand in recent months,” added Morrison.

Indeed, the steepest annual drop in sales was once more in the single-family home market, which saw 652 houses exchange hands in October, a decline of 54.6 per cent from the 1,437 detached sales of October 2015, and 1.4 per cent lower than September this year.

Attached properties such as townhouses and duplexes saw 403 sales in October, a 39.5 per cent fall compared with the 666 sales in October 2015, and a drop of 1.1 per cent from the previous month.

September’s condo-apartment transactions totalled 1,178 in October, a fall of 23.7 per cent compared with the 1,543 sales in October 2015. However, this was an increase of 0.3 per cent over September 2016.

Home inventory patterns remain in flux with sellers unsure of their next move as market conditions change. New listings on the Greater Vancouver MLS® in October were down 3.5 per cent year over year to 3,981 units. This is a drop of 17 per cent compared with September this year, when the selling market became slightly more active after a summer lull.

The total number of active listings available for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver, as of the end of October, stood at 9,143 homes – 4.5 per cent lower than October 2015’s 9,569 units, and a drop of 2.3 per cent compared with from September this year.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio for October stood at 24.4 per cent, slightly higher than the 24.1 per cent seen in September, which had been the region’s lowest figure since February 2015. To achieve a balanced market, the ratio needs to be between 12 and 20 per cent, according to analysts.

Benchmark Prices

As with September, the board set a slightly lower composite benchmark price in October, reflecting the changing market conditions. The price of a typical Greater Vancouver home now stands at $919,300, 0.8 per cent lower than September’s $931,900, which was itself slightly less than the record price set in August ($933,100). However, October’s price was 24.8 per cent higher than that of October 2015.

Broken out by housing types, the benchmark price of a Greater Vancouver single-family home was $1,545,800 – down 1.4 per cent compared with September’s record $1,579,400, but a rise of 28.9 per cent year over year.

The benchmark price of attached properties such as townhomes and row homes fell slightly in October to $669,200, 1.1 per cent less than September’s $677,000. The October price is 25.7 per cent higher than October 2015.

The board’s condo-apartment benchmark price stood at $512,300 in October, which was a rise of 20.5 per cent over October 2015. Reflecting the month-over-month increase in condo sales, the benchmark price was 0.3 per cent higher than September’s typical condo price of $511,800.

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.
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