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Neighbourhood Markets

Vancouver Real Estate Sales in March Smash All Records: REBGV

By Joannah Connolly 2016-04-04

The number of residential real estate transactions last month in Greater Vancouver was the highest on record – for any month, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported April 4.

At 5,173 unit sales, it was the first time more than 5,000 transactions has ever been recorded in a single month, said the board.

March’s sales were 27.4 per cent higher than March 2015, 56 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and 24 per cent higher than February 2016’s already-high figures, as the spring market reached full frenzy.

“March was the highest selling month the REBGV has ever recorded,” said Dan Morrison, the new REBGV president. “Today's demand is broad-based. Home buyers are active in neighbourhoods across our region.”

Unsurprisingly the benchmark price of a home (composite property types) in the region set another new record in March, at $815,000. This is a 23.2 per cent increase compared with March 2015.

The number of homes newly listed on the Greater Vancouver market rose 5.2 per cent compared with the March 2015, eight per cent higher than February 2016. This ended the recent dearth of listings as sellers increasingly took the plunge into the hot market, but is still not enough to keep up with demand. Total active listings at the end of March were down more than 40 per cent year over year, as buyers snapped up all the new listings and more besides.

Sales and Listings

March home sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,173, a 27.4 per cent rise compared with the 4,060 sales recorded in March 2015 and an increase of 24 per cent versus February 2016, when 4,172 homes were sold.

Split by property type, 2,135 single-family homes exchanged hands, an increase of 24.8 per cent from the 1,711 detached sales recorded in March 2015, and a rise of 20.1 per cent compared with the previous month.

Townhouse and other attached home sales also increased year over year although, as with recent months, they continued to slow down their rate of annual growth in March. The total of 786 sales was a relatively modest increase of 8.9 per cent over the 722 transactions in March 2015, reflecting the limited inventory of this housing type. However, this was the biggest month-over-month rise, of 30.1 per cent over February's sales.

Sales of condominium-apartments totalled 2,252 in March 2016, an increase of 38.4 per cent compared with the 1,627 sales in March 2015. Condos kept their status as recording the fastest annual sales growth of the three home types, and were again the property type with the highest total sales. March's figures was also a 25.8 per cent increase over February's condo-apartment sales.

What's Up, What's Down - At a Glance
  Feb/Mar 2016 Mar 2015/2016
Overall Sales +24% +27.4%
- Detached +20.1% +24.8%
- Attached +30.1% +8.9%
- Apartment +25.8% +38.4%
New Listings +8% +5.2%
Current Listings +0.8% -40.5%


Property inventory improved in March, as increasing numbers of sellers jumped into the scorching hot market. New listings for all home types in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,278 in March 2016, an increase of 5.2 per cent compared with the 5,968 units listed in March 2015, and a rise of eight per cent compared with the 5,812 new listings in February 2016.

However, buyer demand completely outstripped seller supply. The total number of properties currently available for sale on Metro Vancouver’s MLS® as of the end of March is 7,358. This is a 40.5 per cent drop from the 12,376 active listings at the end of March 2015 and a meagre 0.8 per cent increase compared with February’s 7,299 total listed properties.

Greater Vancouver’s sales-to-active listings ratio for March 2016 is now a whopping 70.3 per cent, making it the 13th consecutive month that the sales-to-active-listings ratio has been above 30 per cent in Metro Vancouver, as sellers maintain their stranglehold on the market.

Benchmark Prices

Metro Vancouver’s combined residential property type benchmark price predictably set another new record in March, at $815,000 – a jump of 23.2 per cent compared with March 2015 and a 2.4 per cent rise over the previous month’s price of $795,500.

The area’s typical detached home is now priced at $1,342,500, a rise of 27.4 per cent compared with the same month last year, and once more the sharpest rise in prices of all the property types. This was a rise of 2.8 per cent over February’s $1,305,600.

The benchmark price of a townhome or other attached unit in Greater Vancouver increased 20.1 per cent over March 2015 to $589,100, up 3.4 per cent compared with February.

Condo-apartment benchmark prices rose 18.8 per cent from February 2015 to $462,800. This property type reversed February’s month-over-month decline in its benchmark price, rising again in March by 1.8 per cent compared with February.

Greater Vancouver MLS® Benchmark Prices % Change
  Mar 2016 Feb 2016 Mar 2015
Detached $1,342,500 +2.8% +27.4%
Townhome $589,100 +3.4% +20.1%
Apartment $462,800 +1.8% +18.8%

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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