Home buyers remain active despite reduced selection

Barry Thomas Market Update

February 3, 2015 – The first month of 2015 saw home sale activity above historical

norms, while the number of homes listed for sale trended below typical levels.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 1,913 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2015. This represents an 8.7 per cent increase compared to the 1,760 sales recorded in January 2014, and a 9.6 per cent decline compared to the 2,116 sales in December 2014.

Last month’s sales were 14.9 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“While demand remains steady, we’re seeing fewer homes for sale at the moment,” Ray Harris, REBGV president, said. "This is creating greater competition amongst buyers, particularly in the detached home market. The number of detached homes listed for sale today is the second lowest we’ve seen in four years.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver1 totalled 4,737 in January. This represents an 11.4 per cent decline compared to the 5,345 new listings reported in January 2014.

Last month’s new listing count was 1.2 per cent higher than the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the REBGV MLS® is 10,811, a 14.2 per cent decline compared to January 2014 and a 4.8 per cent increase compared to December 2014.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $641,60022. This represents a 5.5 per cent increase compared to January 2014.

With the sales-to-active-listings ratio at 17.7 per cent, the region remains in balanced market territory.

“The Bank of Canada’s recent announcement to lower its benchmark interest rate is an important one for home buyers, sellers and owners to note,” Harris said. “A reduced rate could allow you to pay down your mortgage a little faster, save some money on your monthly payments, or change the amount you qualify for. It’s important that you do your homework and understand how these announcements impact your situation.”

Sales of detached properties in January 2015 reached 781, an increase of 7.3 per cent from the 728 detached sales recorded in January 2014, and a 44.1 per cent increase from the 542 units sold in January 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 8.4 per cent from January 2014 to $1,010,000.

Sales of apartment properties reached 809 in January 2015, an increase of 7.4 per cent compared to the 753 sales in January 2014, and an increase of 40.5 per cent compared to the 576 sales in January 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 2.5 per cent from January 2014 to $382,800.

Attached property sales in January 2015 totalled 323, an increase of 15.8 per cent compared to the 279 sales in January 2014, and a 38.6 per cent increase from the 233 attached properties sold in January 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.3 per cent between January 2014 and 2015 to $479,600.

Greater Vancouver Home Price Index Barry Thomas

Editors Notes:

  1. 1.)  AreascoveredbyRealEstateBoardofGreaterVancouverinclude:Whistler,SunshineCoast,Squamish,West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

  2. 2.)  ThenationalMLS®HomePriceIndex(MLS®HPI)operationsgroupunderwentanannualreviewofthe model in January. This led to the following changes:

  • Neighbourhoods where home sales over the past three years totaled 12 or less have been removed from the model. Neighbourhoods where sales have increased to 20 or more over the past three years have been added. Historical MLS® HPI data has been recalculated to reflect these changes.

  • The benchmark property descriptions have been updated to reflect current buying trends.

    Background: MLS® HPI benchmark prices represent the value of a ‘typical’ property within a market. When the HPI was developed in 2011, a composite description was created for every neighbourhood and property type based on MLS® sales data for that specific area. What people typically purchase can change over time due to changes in affordability and buyer preferences. Therefore, it’s necessary for these descriptions to be occasionally updated.

    The MLS® HPI methodology has been updated to reflect these changes and is available at http://homepriceindex.ca/hpi_tool_en.html 

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