“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” Charles Dickens
 

The worst of times; the best of times in the Metro Vancouver housing market

 

Highlights of the September 2022 Dexter Report

  • Five markets have composite home prices under $1 million

  • Home prices down for the sixth month in a row

  • Detached housing now firmly in a buyer’s market

  • Total residential sales in September test a 30-year low, but not as low as 2018, 2012 and 2008

  • Greater Vancouver condo sales are down 45.2% from a year ago

  • Surrey detached house sales tumble 67% year-over-year

 

To paraphrase Charles Dickens – as it relates to the housing market – these are the worst of times, these are the best of times, as we enter an Autumn that is also an anomaly.

 

Like the weather, the housing market is glorious for some but unnerving for others. We welcome the mild weather but wonder what it means in the long term. While we are happy to see a slight increase in homes for sale and prices coming off all-time highs, we are saddled with a lack of buyers and the market’s direction for inventory of homes. Many of us are also concerned about the political impact on the housing supply following upcoming municipal elections and the replacement of the provincial premier this year. There’s talk of supply, but we all know what talk really means.


September underscored all these concerns and contradictions. The benchmark price of a home in Metro Vancouver marked the six consecutive monthly decline to settle at $1,555,300, yet it is still the highest in the country and up nearly 4% from a year ago.


New listings of homes in September were 18% below the 10-year average, though the total number of active listings increased to 10,424 at month end (up 3% from August), because only 40% of new listings sold.

Sales of apartments, which had been leading the market for months, suddenly dropped 45.2% in September compared to September 2021, to just 888 transactions. Sales of detached houses and townhouses in Greater Vancouver totaled just 799 in September, down 44.7% and 52.6%, respectively from the same month a year earlier.

While balance is the theme based on the supply of homes available, the market is very much acting like a buyer’s market in many areas and product types.  Yet we are hearing of more multiple offers occurring as buyers bid on properties just as other buyers want in as well. 

A strange market indeed, and little wonder that many buyers and sellers have decided to sit it out and wait for the drama to settle. But, that may be a mistake for those buyers looking to (finally) get into a detached house in some municipalities. 

Consider this: as the bellwether 5-year mortgage bank rate increased by 1.95% in the last six months, the price of a detached house in East Vancouver has fallen 10.6% at the same time; it has dropped by 13.4% in North Vancouver and by double-digits in East and South Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Ladner, compared to April 2022. 

The benchmark detached house price in Greater Vancouver is now $173,400 less than it was six months ago, and it has fallen by $270,000 in the Fraser Valley.
That covers a lot of mortgage payments.
 
Political moves: There are politics at play in the housing market with upcoming elections and the change in the premiership of the province as both will intrude on the Metro Vancouver housing market. 

At the municipal level, it seems assured that any new governments elected October 15 will try to increase the supply of new homes (or at least they should), but they will be primarily rentals, not strata houses. As of September 1, across Metro Vancouver, starts of new townhouses were down 30% from a year earlier and condo starts had plunged 42%, while new rental housing starts had increased 30% compared to 2021. Think about how townhouses have been the most sought-after product in our market over the last few years. Perhaps they this report should be part of required reading.

At the provincial level, the pretty much decided incoming premier, in fact, issued a new housing policy. It will likely face pushback from municipalities and strata corporations. And, if it ever does become law, it will prove more of a boon to real estate investors and speculators than to those seeking to buy more affordable homes.
Two examples: the new provincial housing policy includes a $500 million taxpayer fund to allow non-profits and tenants to purchase old “affordable” rental apartment buildings that come up for sale. This will simply increase the price of these aging properties and put taxpayers and former tenants on the hook for repairs and upgrades. The province has a record of paying far above assessment values for rental property. The policy would also allow the province to remove any ban on rentals in strata projects, despite Strata Corp.’s regulations; opening more supply for investors and allow for them to rent out their investment. 


Bottom line: Buy the dip. Lower home prices since the spring now trump the modest rise in mortgage rates; and the modest increase in supply of homes for sale coupled with decreased demand allows room for careful shopping and price negotiations. Further, with immigration expected to hit record highs over the next two years and the price of residential land continuing to rise – it is now at $20 million per acre in most of Greater Vancouver – long-term home prices will go up again.

 

Here is a close-up of regional markets

 
Greater Vancouver: September total housing sales, at 1,701 were still higher than in September of 2018, 2012 and 2008, which were the lowest levels for that month in 30 years. Sales were down 47% from September 2021. The composite home price, at $1,155,300, was up 3.9% from September 2021, but down 8.5% over the past six months, including a 2.1% decline compared to August 2022.  The composite home price has been falling by about $6,000 per week since April.  The good news is that new listings were up 27% from August 2022, and active listings at end of September were at 10,424, compared to 9,728 at that time last year and 3% higher than at the end of this August. The supply of total residential listings is up to 6 month’s supply, while the sales-to-listings ratio of 40% compares to 56% in August 2022 and 60% in September 2021.  This market is technically balanced but leaning towards a buyer’s market, especially in the detached house sector. 
 
Fraser Valley: The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed a total of 897 sales in September, a decrease of 11.8% compared to August 2022 and down 51.9 % compared to this time last year. With 2,272 new listings added in September, total listings were 5,805, up 52.3 per cent from a year ago. The sales-to-active listings are down to 15%, which the Board claims is ‘balanced’ but it looks more like a buyer’s market. All sectors saw benchmark price declines from a month earlier, with detached house prices down 3.4% to $1,462,000; townhouses off 2.3% to $822,400 and condo apartments slipping down 2.1% to $530,400.  Prices have been decreasing month-over-month since April and the Board stated: “we anticipate prices may continue to decline across all categories.” 
 
Vancouver Westside: Prices are defying the sales dip. In the first nine months of 2022, detached house sales on the Westside have fallen 24% compared to a year earlier and September detached sales reached just 54 transactions, down from 82 in September 2021. Yet the median detached house price in September was up more than 10% from both a month and year earlier, at $3,395,000. In fact, despite slower sales, the median price of both townhouses and condos were also higher in September than in the same month last year, with townhouses also up an average of $300,000 compared to a month earlier at $1,619,500, based on 33 sales in September. Apartment median prices are holding steady in the $810,000 range. The price resilience on the West Side is the envy of Metro Vancouver. Total sales in September were 301, down 21% from August 2022 and 47% below September 2021. Active Listings were at 2,378 at month end, up 4% a month earlier and new listings were up 23% compared to August 2022. The Westside is now a buyer’s market, but do not expect to see lower prices, despite the sales-to-listing ratio falling to 33%, the lowest level since 2018.
 
Vancouver East Side: The East Side is a relative bargain right now, but based on zoning, non-residential development and what land is selling for, expect prices to rise over the next few months. In September, for example a 1.2-acre land assembly for new townhouses in the Grandview-Woodlands area sold for the equivalent of $20 million per acre. Add in high construction costs, city development fees and other soft costs, and we are talking about perhaps the most expensive townhouses ever marketed east of Quebec Street. With the incredible job-generating development on the 450-acre False Creek Flats ramping up, and the density zoning along the new Broadway subway line, this could be the last year that the East Side is considered relatively affordable. This September, the median price of a detached house was $1,660,000, down more than $100,000 from both August 2020 and September of last year. At a median of $612,500, East Side condo apartments are less expensive than in Burnaby, North Vancouver, Coquitlam, or Richmond and nearly $200,000 less than on the Westside. The East Side is considered a balanced market, with a total 6-month supply of listings, a sales-to-listings ratio at 40% and total sales down 51% from a year ago. But don’t be fooled: the East Side is a prime market for savvy buyers who see where Vancouver is heading, 
 
North Vancouver: Affordable housing is the main election issue for 50% of North Vancouver residents, according to a recent survey. And for good reason. Housing starts of all types are down this year and, as of the end of September, there were only 639 homes listed for sale. It is only a low 32% sales-to-listing ratio that is keeping the inventory at a 5-month supply. The result is that, despite slower sales, North Vancouver benchmark detached house prices have barely budged in a year, down 0.5% from September 2021 to $2,092,700 in September 2022. Only West Vancouver and Vancouver West Side have more expensive houses.  In September total North Vancouver home sales reached 128 transactions, up 4% from a month earlier but down 44% from September of last year. Condo apartment sales are down 50% from a year ago, but the benchmark condo price is $787,200, up 6.5% from September 2021. 
 
West Vancouver: It may be because, with the highest household incomes in B.C., rising mortgage rates have less effect on the housing market, but West Vancouver appears to blithely ignore the current turmoil. Total housing sales in September were down 41% from a year earlier, to 42 transactions, but total listings are almost the same, at 599. The sales-to-listing ratio is a sluggish 22%, the lowest in four years. Yet the benchmark home price is up 1.2% from a year ago and a West Vancouver detached house price has also remained constant from September 2021, up 2.6% to $3,264,900. This is technically a buyer’s market for those who can afford it.
 
Richmond: The current inventory of 1,279 active listings is among the healthiest in suburban markets and low sales – just 210 in September, down 51% from September of last year and down 4% from a month earlier – should keep the supply growing. New listings were up 25% from August 2022 and the sales-to-listing ratio is running at 45% in what is seen as a balanced market. The benchmark detached house price is down a modest 5.2% from six months ago to $2,081,500; townhouses benchmark at just over $1 million and 115 condos sold in September at a benchmark price of $703,900.
 
Burnaby East: Only 17 homes of all types sold in September, down 55% from the same month last year and the lowest level since September 2018, when an avalanche of government anti-demand measures came into force. The composite home price is $1,113,200, down 6.6% from six months ago, and the detached house price has dropped 11.2% in the same period to $1,784,800. New listings in September are flat compared to August 2022 and down 45% compared to September 2021. The inventory of total listings is steady at a 4 month’s supply, which is seen as a seller’s market with a sales-to-listings ratio of 63%. 
 
Burnaby North: Total housing sales in September were down 41% from a year earlier to 111 transactions, while total active listings were 431 at month’s end, down 4% from a month earlier and 41% below September 2021. This is a seller’s market with just a 4-month supply of listings and the sales-to-listing ratio of a robust 57%. The composite benchmark home price is down 5.8% from six month ago to $997,800, the only Burnaby market below $1 million. 
 
Burnaby South: Detached house prices dropped 10.2% over the past six months to $2,079,400 as total sales in September dropped 22% from a month earlier and 48% from a year before, to just 96 transactions. Condo benchmark prices are down 6.6% since April, when interest rates began increasing, to $750,300. Active listings were 454 at month end compared to 547 at that time last year, and up 5% at the end of August 2022. This is considered a balanced market with a sales-to-listing ratio of 44% and a 5-month’s supply of homes for sale.
 
New Westminster: Just 9 detached houses, 7 townhouses and 51 condo apartments sold in the Royal City in September. Total transactions are the lowest in decades, 4% below even the slow market in September 2018. Prices have been falling about 1% since April and settled at $808,500 in September. Condos, the biggest seller, have seen benchmark prices drop 5.2% in the last six months and were down 2.6% from August to $633,800. The housing inventory is holding at a 4-month supply and the sales-to-listing ratio was 39% in September, a sharp drop from 65% a month earlier. For these reasons, New Westminster remains a seller’s market, despite the slow sales and price declines.

Coquitlam: A huge increase in new homes is coming to Central Coquitlam as a total of 18 towers, including six condo towers with 3,000 homes, was approved for the corner of Lougheed Highway and Barnet Highways in late September. The first of the new units are two to three years away from occupancy, however. Currently, there are about 683 total active listings on the Coquitlam market, including 151 new listings for condo apartments in September. Total home sales in September reached 142 homes, down 10% from a month earlier and 43% below September 2021. Condo sales are down 40% year-over-year and the benchmark price is 5.6% lower at $661,900. Detached houses, with 52 transactions, are selling at a benchmark of $1,779,200, down 8.4% from six months ago. This remains a seller’s market, however, with a sales-to-listings ratio at 44% and just a 4-month supply of homes.

Port Moody: Bucking a Metro trend, Port Moody saw total home sales leap 61% in September from a month earlier, though they were down 21% from a year before, with 53 transactions in September. The composite benchmark price was 5.4% lower than in April and 3% below August 2022, at $1,140,500. Detached houses are selling at a benchmark of $2,073,900, one of the highest prices in the region, but the price has been dropping slightly and steadily for six straight months. The inventory of total residential listings is down to 4-month’s supply in this seller’s market with a high sales-to-listing ratio of 60%.

Port Coquitlam: Just 40 homes sold in the smallest Tri-City community during September, down 36% from August 2022 and 49% lower than in September of last year. The benchmark house price posted the biggest drop in the Tri-Cities, falling 15.9% over the past six months to settle at $1,314,200. Townhouse prices are down 10.6% in the same period to $910,400, while condo prices have dropped 7.6% to $603,900, which is exactly the same as in the smaller Pitt Meadows community. The inventory is rising – new listings were up 20% from August 2022 and the sales-to-listing ratio is running at 40%. Technically a seller’s market, the sales and price trajectory indicate that buyers may find bargains this fall in Port Coquitlam.

Pitt Meadows: A mild sales rally in September, with transactions up 18% from a month earlier, disguises a quiet housing market as just 20 properties sold, down 51% from a year earlier. More homes are being listed, with 108 now on the market and new listings up 28% from August 2022. With the composite benchmark home price at $897,000, down 15% in the past six months, and the sales-to-listing ratio at 36%, this market is trending from a balanced to a buyer’s market. 

Maple Ridge: One of the hottest housing markets over the past two years, activity as slowed as the pandemic eased. Sales were down 37% from year earlier, despite a 12% bump from August, for total transactions of 115 in September. Active listings, at 614 as of month end, were up from 320 at the same time last year and 2% higher than at the end of August. The composite benchmark home price has dropped 16.5% since April, the biggest price correction in Metro Vancouver. The typical detached house is down 17.1% in the same six-month period to $1,229,800. With a 5-month’s supply of total residential listings and a sales-to-listings ratio of 40%, compared to 79% in September 2021, Maple Ridge looks very welcoming to buyers.

 
Ladner: Ladner, where the local government is trying to revitalize the waterfront area downtown, has lost its bloom from the roaring housing market of a year or two ago. Total residential sales in September reached just 20 transactions, down 26% from a month earlier, 47% lower than in September 2021 and 62% below the pace in the midst of the pandemic in September 2020. Virtually no new homes, aside from subsidized rentals, are underway. Benchmark prices for detached houses are down 12.7% from six months earlier and dropped nearly 5% compared to August 2022, at $1,355,600. Townhouse prices have been declining about 1.5% month-over-month since spring, but condo apartment prices are holding relatively steady, up 1.1% from a year ago, at $708,900. This a balanced market with a sales-to-listing ratio of 50% and a 5-month’s supply of homes.

Tsawwassen: Total housing sales in September were down 63% from a year earlier and 16% lower than a month earlier to just 21 transactions, lower even than in September 2018, which is considered a 30-year low. Condo prices are holding their value – up 14% from a year ago and down just 0.4% over the past six months – but detached house benchmark prices have declined 8.4% since April to $1,540,500, and townhouse prices have dropped 10.3% in the same period to $932,900. New listings in September were down 8% compared to August 2022 and down 21% compared to September 2021. This is a buyer’s market, with a 9-month’s supply of homes for sale and a sales-to-listing ratio of 36%, down from 78% a year ago.

Surrey: B.C.’s second-largest city saw detached house sales drop by 67% in September compared to a year earlier, and down 18% from August 2022 to just 125 transactions. The average detached house price in September was down 4.6% month-over-month to $1,561,275. Both townhouse and condo apartment sales are now down 52% from a year ago and down about 20% from August 2022. Strata prices are holding firm, with the average townhouse price up 5.4% year-over-year and unchanged from a month earlier at $837,617. The average price for a condo apartment is down 4.1% from August 2022 to $517,742.

 

Download September Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download September Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Highlights of our August 2022 report 

  • Total new listings in August the lowest in more than 28 years 

  • Ladner townhouses and condos fall to 1-month supply 

  • At least six major condo projects have stopped or stalled this year

  • Existing condos, townhouses can’t be replaced at their current value 

  • Surrey strata housing starts fall 69% this year compared to 2021

  • Port Coquitlam is down to 2 months supply overall and 1 month supply for townhouses

The major takeaway from the Metro Vancouver housing market is that both the number of new listings and the numbers of new homes being built are flirting with record lows. New listings of homes for sale fell to 3,383 in August, the lowest level in more than 28 years, while starts of new strata units plunged 43% year-over-year as of August 1, to just 6,596 new units – and this includes all Greater Vancouver plus Surrey and Langley.


Understanding the pull back in resale listings is not difficult.  This August offered the distraction of splendid weather and the lifting of COVID travel and other restrictions for the first summer in two years. Plus, a slowdown in home sales, rising interest rates and flatlining prices convinced many potential sellers to hesitate in listing their property.  We fully expect that the return to school and work this fall will see the traditional rise in home listings and sales. 


Reasons for the dramatic drop in non-rental homes being built are more complicated and it is harder to estimate when starts will begin to increase. Without a dramatic adjustment, we could be looking at a shortage of new homes in Metro Vancouver to continue for months, perhaps years, despite all the calls to increase the housing supply. At the end of 2021, 17 new strata projects in Metro Vancouver were being advertised as “coming soon” and had plans to begin marketing in early spring. Of these, six have been delayed and the other 11 could not provide an opening date for a launch, or the developers said marketing of pre-sales would not proceed until this fall. 


Of the 8 new strata projects that did decide to test pre-sales in August – with, of course, no construction underway – average sales totaled about 20% of the units offered – the same as in June and July and down from the 30% to 40% sales success in the summer of 2021. The simple reason is that developers, facing historically high land prices, higher government fees and charges, and soaring construction costs, cannot deliver a new condo or townhouse that is priced anywhere close to that of the resale market.


One of the last big condo tower blowout sales in downtown Vancouver – which sold out in 2020 – had an average price per square foot of more than $2,000.  New projects going up the Cambie/Oakridge area are asking $3,000 per square foot, as are new towers planned for Coal Harbour. The average new condo or townhouse price is more than $1,600 per square foot, while resale prices on Vancouver’s West Side average $1,200 per square foot and are $837 per square foot or less in East Vancouver and most suburban markets. 


Dexter Realty alone has an existing downtown Vancouver condo on Howe Street listed at $1,200 per square foot; a Kitsilano 724-square-foot wood-frame condo on West 3rd Avenue listed at $699,000 ($965 per square foot); and an exceptional 836-square-foot 2-bedroom concrete condo in New Westminster priced at $529,000, the equivalent of $632 per square.


Based on current developer costs, none of these existing condos could be reproduced today at the current listing price. For example, in the city of Vancouver, city development fees and charges alone average $186,000 on a new condo, and this does not include the federal GST which nails another 5% to the cost to the consumer, or the 30% increase in building material costs over the past year.


How crazy are residential development land prices getting? This August, a 1.3-acre land assembly of three detached house lots in Langley near a proposed new SkyTrain extension sold for $18 million – the equivalent of nearly $14 million an acre. The assembly has potential for 159 new townhouses, but each would have more than $118,000 baked in just for land costs. Similar scenarios are seen across the Metro region.


Now, there is concern that rental projects will also be put on hold because the cost of development outstrips the level of market rent that can be achieved. One rental developer explained that her input costs totaled $200 per buildable square foot meaning “the pro-forma for a rental doesn’t work at all.”


Of course the elephant in the room continues to be supply. Even with the discussion turning to the need to produce more, immigration levels are only beginning to ramp up and the need for homes is only going to intensify. This month we’ll see what the allowable rental increase for 2023 will be, and for a rental market that is seeing extreme pressure due to a lack of rental supply, that’s only going to lead to higher rents and competition in that part of the market.


The best advice for first-time buyers or investors is to purchase right now while there is a clear buyer’s advantage and to purchase a resale condo in transit-rich areas like East Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey, where we are seeing a ballooning shortage of both new rental and strata properties.


Meanwhile for family buyers, it is time to refocus on the detached market, which has seen the sharpest sales slowdown this year of any property type.


August sales of detached houses in Greater Vancouver fell 45.3% from August 2021 and benchmark house prices have been dropping an average of 2.2 % month-over-month since February. In August, only 12.2% of detached active house listings sold (8 months supply), compared to 25% for strata units (4 months supply).


In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark price for a single-family detached house decreased 5.1% (about $71,000) compared to a month earlier. 


Detached houses are in a buyer’s market right now and serious buyers should take full advantage. Markets to watch for detached house values are the West Side of Vancouver, where the median house price fell by $400,000 from July to August, even as sales increased; and North Vancouver and Richmond, where median prices for detached houses were down $185,000 and $100,000, respectively, in August from July.

Detached house values are largely based on the value of land, which is becoming a scarce and expensive commodity across Metro Vancouver. So, think long term as always in real estate.

 

Regional highlights for August 2022 


Greater Vancouver: There were a total of 1,891 home sales in August, down just 1% from July 2022 but 23% lower than in August 2021 and even 14% lower than in August 2019. Active Listings were at 10,099 at month end compared to 9,494 at that time last year and 10,734 (down 6%) at the end of July. New Listings in August are down 17% compared to July 2022 and 13% lower than in August 2021. The total supply of residential listings is down to 5 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and the sales to listings ratio of 56% compared to 47% in July 2022 and 77% in August 2021. The benchmark composite home price was $1,180,500. This was down 2.2% compared to July 2022 but a 7.4 per cent increase over August 2021.


The market is very much acting like a buyer’s market in many areas and product types. Subject to sale is coming into play more and more, and buyers can have time with subjects. Multiple offers will happen but not to the same extent we saw earlier this year. And certainly not with the same fever that has been occurring in the last two years. And while the condo market in the last few months has been stronger, in August in many areas sales of detached and townhouses outpaced the number of sales in July. Perhaps settling into the interest rate climate we are in and buyers taking advantage of price declines that have happened in that market segment


Fraser Valley: In August, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,017 sales, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to July 2022 but a 51.3% decrease compared to August 2021. New listings reached 2,045, down 14.3% from July and 2.9% below August 2021. While all benchmark prices were up from a year earlier, detached house prices were down 5.1% from July 2022, to $1,513,500; townhouse prices were down 3.9% month-over-month and condo apartment prices fell 2.1% from July 2022.


Vancouver Westside: Detached houses on Vancouver’s Westside have long been the poster child of B.C.’s high housing prices and soaring sales. That changed somewhat as of August. With 57 sales in the month, detached house transactions were slightly higher than a month earlier but nearly 50% below August 2021, when 107 houses sold. But the median price of a Westside detached house in August, at $3,050,000 was down $300,000 from July 2022 and more than $280,000 less than in August of last year. Total sales of all property types in August reached 380 transactions, up 3% from July 2020 but down 15% from a year earlier. Townhouse prices, at a median of $1,300,000 were down more than $200,000 from both a month and a year earlier. Condos, which led sales with 282 transactions in August, saw the median price reach $829,000, down slightly from July 2022, but up from the median of $775,000 in August 2021. Total active listings were at 2,279 at month end compared to 2,389 at that time last year and 2,453 (down 7%) at the end of July 2020. New listings in August are down 12% compared to July 2022 and down 19% compared to August 2021. The current sales-to-listings ratio of 52% compares to 44% in July 2022 and 65% in August 2021. This remains in a balanced market, but the detached housing sector is into a buyer’s advantage.


Vancouver East Side: We believe the East Side represents one of the best housing markets in the Metro region and August proved the point. There were the same number of detached sales on the East as the West side of Vancouver, at 57, but the median house price on the East Side, at $1,768,000 was $1.28 million less than on the Westside – and East Side detached prices, unlike the Westside and most of Greater Vancouver, were higher than in July 2022 and in August 2021. A further surprise is that East Side townhouse prices, at a median of $1,384,500 in August, and sales, at 52, were the highest of any market in Metro Vancouver, including the Westside. Total housing sales were 196 in August, down just 1% from a month earlier. Active listings were at 1,103 at month end compared to 1,090 at that time last year and down 7% at the end of July 2022. New listings in August were down 24% compared to July 2022, and 22% lower compared to August 2021. The overall sales-to-listings ratio is 59% compared to 45% in July 202 and 69% in August 2021. While detached homes show buyer’s market sales, the other sectors remain a seller’s market and that is not likely to change anytime soon.


North Vancouver: There is new residential construction underway in North Vancouver this year, but it is dominated by rentals. As of August 1, for instance, 742 rental units had started, compared to just 202 strata units, including just 39 townhouses. Meanwhile, new listings of homes for sale in August were down 25% compared to a month earlier and total listings were only 524 at month end, down 8% from July. With 126 total sales in August, down 27% from a month earlier, prices for all types of property were also lower, despite a healthy sales-to-listing ratio of 56%. The median detached house price in August was $1,835,000, down from $2,020,000 in July; while townhouse prices were slightly lower at a median of $1,300,000; and condo apartment prices were down about $25,000 from July, at $700,219.


West Vancouver: Due to policy changes late last year which caused a rush of permit applications to beat a January 31 deadline, West Vancouver is facing a huge backlog of applications so don’t expect many new homes to start this year. The entire housing market is down, with 53 sales in August, 13% lower than in July and down 21% from a year earlier. The overall benchmark composite home price, at $2,774,00 has barely budged in six months and was down 1.3% from this July. Active listings were at 565 at month end compared to 536 at that time last year and 580 (down 3%) at the end of July. The August sales-to-listings ratio of 35% compares to 32% in July 2022 and 52% in August 2021. This buyer’s market remains relatively slow but stable. 


Richmond: Richmond August housing sales, at 226, were higher than in July, increasing just 1% month over month, but down 33% from August 2021. Benchmark detached house prices have been slipping lower each month for six months and dipped a further 1% from July to $2,111,300. A shortage of strata units is looming, however, which may put a floor under strata prices. Richmond has seen several condo projects put on hold and the result is that just 282 new condo units have started this year, compared to 916 at the same time in 2021. Townhouse starts fell about 12% from last year to 96 units. Total new listings in August were down 13% compared to July 2022 and down 30% compared to August 2021, and even 27% lower than in August 2019. The supply of total residential listings is steady at 6 month’s supply and the sales- to-listings ratio of 60% compares to 52% in July 2022 and 82% in August 2021. This is technically a buyer’s market but appears to be leaning this summer to a buyer’s advantage, especially in the detached-house sector.


Burnaby East: Burnaby East posted the lowest sales of any Burnaby area, with just 20 transactions in August, the lowest level for that month in at least three years and down 9% from July 2020. The benchmark composite home price has now dropped nearly 8% over the past six months to settle at $1,109,000 in August. Active Listings were at 75 at month end compared to 83 at that time last year and 68 at the end of July. New listings in August are down 18% compared to July 2022 and 47% lower compared to August 2021. This remains a seller’s market, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 74%. 


Burnaby North: By this time next year, giant Grosvenor will have construction underway for 3,500 homes, including about 900 strata units in the Brentwood Block in the Brentwood Town Centre. Meanwhile the benchmark price for a Burnaby North condo apartment in August was down 2.4% from a month earlier to $717,300, but still 11.5% higher than a year ago. Total housing sales in August were 120, down 3% from July 2022, and 34% lower when compared to August 2021. Active listings were 448 at month end, 6% less than at the end of July. New listings were down 22% compared to July 2022, and the lowest level for August since 2019. The sales-to-listings ratio of 63% is down from 76% a year ago but this market retains a seller’s advantage.


Burnaby South: Benchmark prices for detached houses and townhouses have been tracking down steadily, with detached houses shedding 9.2% in value since June to $2,105,200 in August, while townhouses have dropped 9.5% in the past three months to $964,300. Still, with active listings down 12% from July, total sales down 2% in the same period and the sales-to-listing ratio running at 73% in August, Burnaby South remains a hot seller’s market. The condo market is especially strong with benchmark prices down just 1.2% from the February peak at $776,300, the highest condo price in Burnaby.


New Westminster: If it were not for 452 subsidized rentals, few new housing starts would have registered in New Westminster this year. As it was, starts of strata units fell to just 185 homes through the first seven months of 2022, compared to 1,255 strata starts – including 65 townhouses – at the same time in 2021. This may be bad news for future buyers because active listings in August were down to just 280 homes and new listings were down 20% from a month earlier to the lowest level since at least August 2019. With 77 sales in August, the sales-to-listing ratio was 65%, compared to 88% a year earlier. Benchmark prices for all property types have been declining, however, led by a 11.1% reduction in detached house prices from six months earlier to $1,450,100 in August. Townhouse and condo apartment prices have been slipping down for three months to settle at $922,800 and $651,000, respectively.


Coquitlam: More strata housing starts are being seen this year – a total of 1,342 units as of August 1 – in the Tri-Cities than any other market in the Lower Mainland and the bulk of the activity is in Coquitlam. This bodes well for a municipality where August sales – at 157 – were up 11% from July and where the sales-to-listing ratio is at 59%. This is down from 93% a year ago, but still one of the strongest in Metro Vancouver. Both active and new listings were down slightly from a month earlier, with a total of 616 homes available at the end of August. The benchmark composite price was down 2.6% from July and off nearly 6% from six months earlier, at $1,104,000 in August. Detached houses sold at a benchmark of $1,794,700n in August, while townhomes fetched $1,058,000 and condo prices were down 1.7% from July at a benchmark of $669,200.


Port Moody: Total homes sold in August were 33 – down from 45 (- 27%) in July 2022 and down from 57 (-42%) in August 2021. Active listings were at 202 at month end compared to 155 at that time last year and 203 (down just 0.5%) at the end of July. New Listings in August are down 7% compared to July 2022. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 6 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 43% compared to 54% in July 2022 and 73% in August 2021. The benchmark composite home price in August was $1,175,200, reflective of the higher detached-house values in the Belcarra neighbourhood. 


Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales in August were 78, up 10% from July 2022 but, down 20% compared to August 2021. But total active listings dropped 16% from a month earlier to 178, resulting in a sales-to-listing ratio of 76%, one of the highest in Greater Vancouver. There is just a 2-month supply of homes on the market. Benchmark prices, however, remain relatively low at a composite price of $917,200 in August, with detached houses selling for $1,328,100 a price down 13% from six months earlier and nearly 5% lower than in July 2022.


Pitt Meadows: Just 17 homes sold during August, down 13% from July and 56% lower than in pre-pandemic August 2019. The surge in sales and prices seen through the pandemic has clearly eased. The August benchmark detached house price was down 17.6% from six months earlier, at $1,253,800 and townhouse prices were down 5.6% in the same period to $905,500. Active listings nearly doubled from July to 96 at the end of August and new listings were 16% higher than a year earlier. With a sales-to-listing ratio at 39% - compared to 85% during the height of the pandemic in August 2020 – this market is tracking towards a buyer’s advantage. 


Maple Ridge: With 113 total sales in August, up 5% from a month earlier, Maple Ridge posted a respectable 48% sales-to-listing ratio, indicating a balanced market but with sellers having a slight advantage. There were 602 active listings at the end of August, down from 655 at the end of July. The detached house benchmark price was down nearly 13% from six months earlier, at $1,279,200. Townhouses sold in August at benchmark of $750,700, down 5.3% from a month earlier and 14.6% below the price six months ago. 


Ladner: Anyone who has driven past the exit to Ladner this year has seen the profusion of strata units, primarily townhouses, that sprang up over the past two years. And they continue to sell well, posting a 128% sales-to-listing ratio as 9 townhouses sold at a benchmark price of $884,800 in August, a price down, however, from $965,444 a month earlier. There is only a 1-month supply of townhouses on the Ladner market. Total sales in August of all properties were 27, up 108% from July. Total active listings were 99 at the end of August, down 12% from July and disappearing at sales ratio of 88%, compared to 32% a month earlier. Ladner remains a seller’s market, but there is just a total of 4-month’s supply of homes available.


Tsawwassen: Just 9 detached houses sold in Tsawwassen in August, the lowest level of any month since January of 2020. Yet, the average detached house price in August was $1,704,988, up 4% from a month earlier and well above the average of $1,540,600 in August of last year. Total August sales of all property reached only 25 transactions, down 11% from July and 66% below August of 2021. So far, prices are sticky, but this may change if sales continue to decline. The sales-to-listing ratio fell to 40% in August, down from 112% a year earlier and the lowest ratio in at least three years. 


Surrey: The bloom came off the rosy Surrey housing market in August as detached house sales fell to 152 transactions, down 60.8% from a year earlier. Townhouse sales were down nearly 45% year over year and condo apartment sales, at 169, were 41.7% lower than in August 2021. Still, total sales were slightly higher than in July 2022 and benchmark prices held their own. The average detached house price in August was $1,636,086, down just 1.6% from July, with townhouse selling for $837,902, down 4.4% from a month earlier. The 169 condo sales in August traded at an average of $539,597, virtually unchanged from July 2021 but up nearly 12% from August of 2021. Surrey, however, has seen a fast decline in strata starts this year, with a total of 698 condo and townhouse started so far, compared to 2,321 in the first seven months of 2021. 

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” Eleanor Roosevelt
 

Which Way Do We Go?


So, what’s changed since May? Certainly not the headlines and continued anticipation and anxiety about real estate? The US Feds have increased their interest rate by 75 points this week, not too much of a surprise. As well they have started the discussion of another 75 point hike in July. And the Bank of Canada raised their rate by 50 points at the start of June, but now the talk is about whether they will move to a 75 point increase as well. Interest rate increases this year were expected as we moved into 2022, so we shouldn’t be too surprised to see them increasing. The question for real estate will be what effect it will have on the market – both activity and prices. What is clear at this point, sales activity is decreasing – as expected. Prices, some moderation is happening. Although it surprising that the changes are not equal through the market. And when the Cullen Report on money laundering came out yesterday, it spoke to the lack of supply and interest rates as driving unaffordability issues in our real estate market. Even with interest rate increases, supply will still continue to be an issue. 


Here is some perspective on Metro Vancouver’s real estate market. If you are reacting to month-to-month swings? Don’t. Longer term, values hold and increase. There will always be troughs and peaks, that’s what markets do. The last three peaks lead to troughs as shown below.

In 2008 it was the financial crisis. In 2016 it was the provincial government introducing measures to cool the market, in the form of a foreign buyer’s tax of 15%, restrictions on assignments followed up by the City of Vancouver Empty Homes Tax. In 2018 the foreign buyer’s tax was increased to 20% and expanded to other locations in the province, the Speculation and Vacancy Tax was introduced, Property Transfer Tax and annual property taxes were increased for values above $3M. As well, federally the mortgage stress test was introduced. Attempts to deflate the housing market were in the sights of government. But you can’t keep prices down in an area that lacks supply and is extremely attractive to so many and by early 2020 real estate values were on the rise. This is what the real estate market does, and it will do it again and again.

What’s happening with housing inventory in Greater Vancouver? We continue to see active listings on the rise: albeit not as much as many would think. After an all-time low of 5,000 active listings to start the year in Greater Vancouver, moving to 9,770 at mid-May, we now have 10,780 active listings. This in comparison to last year, when there were 11,659 active listings in mid-June. While an increase overall so far this year, the rate of increase is slowing which could point to the effects of current market trends of not only buyers, but sellers considering a wait and see approach. Perceived instability can put a pause in consumers’ plans, and while everyone tries to predict where the market is going, some will adopt this wait and see approach. As was said last month, the rate of growth in active listings will likely have peaked in April, up 15% from the month before, to a 13% in May. Right now, active listings are up 10% month over month. A trend likely to continue or possibly drop off as sellers focus on the end of school and summer travel instead of selling their home. 

The sales to listings ratio of 42% is at a similar level of May, which was 43% at mid-month. With the level of sales activity being less, it is easy to say we are getting closer to balance in the market overall, but areas throughout Metro Vancouver are behaving differently. Burnaby North is still seeing multiple offers for detached homes above $2M, and some apartments are continuing to get multiple offers – sometimes not in the first week but in the second or third. Caution is certainly on the mind of many, but supply and the lack thereof continue to be a significant factor in the market. 

At mid-month in Greater Vancouver there have been 2,958 new listings, 8% below the mid-month pace in May which was 3,210 at that point. There continues to be fluctuation week by week, but the trend is a decrease. In fact, this is the lowest number of new listings at mid-June since 2019. There have been 1,252 home sales so far in June in Greater Vancouver at mid-month which will produce less home sales in June compared to May where we saw 1,381 sales at mid-month. In June 2021 at mid-month there were 2,028 sales. June will likely finish with 2,500 home sales, which would be about 25% below the 10-year average. Richmond is showing resilience with more sales at mid-month in June compared to May, while New West is hovering around the same as last month. North Vancouver is having a very sluggish start to the month in terms of sales levels, perhaps preparing for the typical summer lull. Much like 2018 and 2019 when uncertainty was on the minds of many, sales activity slowed but so did the number of listings that came on market. So again, we must keep in mind that sales activity and prices do not always move in the same way. 


Here’s a summary of the numbers:


Greater Vancouver 

1,252 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to:
1,381 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
1,797 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
2,028 sold at mid-month in June 2021
1,064 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
1,052 sold at mid-month in May 2019

2,958 new listings so far in June compared to:
3,210 at mid-month in May 2022
3,202 at mid-month in April 2022
3,405 at mid-month in June 2021
3,043 at mid-month in June 2020
2,651 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 10,780 compared to 11,659 at mid-month in June 2021, and 9,770 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 42% compared to 60% at mid-month in June 2021 and 43% at mid-month in May 2022.

Vancouver West 

211 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
271 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
334 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
341 sold at mid-month in June 2021
167 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
190 sold at mid-month in May 2019

599 new listings so far in June compared to:
619 at mid-month in May 2022
639 at mid-month in April 2022
732 at mid-month in June 2021
637 at mid-month in June 2020
498 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 2,543 compared to 2,728 at mid-month in June 2021, and 2,386 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 35% compared to 47% at mid-month in June 2021 and 43% at mid-month in May 2022.

Vancouver East

146 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
149 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
186 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
227 sold at mid-month in June 2021
121 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
102 sold at mid-month in May 2019

332 new listings so far in June compared to:
346 at mid-month in May 2022
331 at mid-month in April 2022
406 at mid-month in June 2021
349 at mid-month in June 2020
254 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 1,203 compared to 1,377 at mid-month in June 2021, and 1,128 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 44% compared to 56% at mid-month in June 2021 and 43% at mid-month in May 2022.

North Vancouver

89 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
127 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
150 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
173 sold at mid-month in June 2021
106 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
102 sold at mid-month in May 2019

259 new listings so far in June compared to:
241 at mid-month in May 2022
231 at mid-month in April 2022
273 at mid-month in June 2021
279 at mid-month in June 2020
233 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 600 compared to 677 at mid-month in June 2021, and 519 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 34% compared to 63% at mid-month in June 2021 and 53% at mid-month in May 2022.

West Vancouver 

32 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
38 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
25 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
48 sold at mid-month in June 2021
28 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
22 sold at mid-month in May 2019

107 new listings so far in June compared to:
122 at mid-month in May 2022
104 at mid-month in April 2022
109 at mid-month in June 2021
117 at mid-month in June 2020
88 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 583 compared to 616 at mid-month in June 2021, and 533 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 30% compared to 44% at mid-month in June 2021 and 31% at mid-month in May 2022.

Richmond

178 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
153 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
234 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
239 sold at mid-month in June 2021
101 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
144 sold at mid-month in May 2019

344 new listings so far in June compared to:
373 at mid-month in May 2022
433 at mid-month in April 2022
417 at mid-month in June 2021
324 at mid-month in June 2020
354 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 1,401 compared to 1,650 at mid-month in June 2021, and 1,244 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 52% compared to 57% at mid-month in June 2021 and 41% at mid-month in May 2022.

Burnaby East 

15 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to

16 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
19 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
19 sold at mid-month in June 2021
4 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
7 sold at mid-month in May 2019

24 new listings so far in June compared to:
29 at mid-month in May 2022
36 at mid-month in April 2022
35 at mid-month in June 2021
30 at mid-month in June 2020
25 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 83 compared to 125 at mid-month in June 2021, and 74 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 63% compared to 54% at mid-month in June 2021 and 55% at mid-month in May 2022.

Burnaby North 

74 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
95 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
89 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
114 sold at mid-month in June 2021
42 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
43 sold at mid-month in May 2019

140 new listings so far in June compared to:
166 at mid-month in May 2022
180 at mid-month in April 2022
170 at mid-month in June 2021
132 at mid-month in June 2020
133 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 477 compared to 535 at mid-month in June 2021, and 431 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 53% compared to 67% at mid-month in June 2021 and 57% at mid-month in May 2022.

Burnaby South 

73 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
79 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
104 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
115 sold at mid-month in June 2021
33 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
60 sold at mid-month in May 2019

145 new listings so far in June compared to:
141 at mid-month in May 2022
181 at mid-month in April 2022
206 at mid-month in June 2021
140 at mid-month in June 2020
148 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 485 compared to 535 at mid-month in June 2021, and 487 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 50% compared to 56% at mid-month in June 2021 and 56% at mid-month in May 2022.

New Westminster 

55 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
56 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
74 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
73 sold at mid-month in June 2021
47 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
46 sold at mid-month in May 2019

113 new listings so far in June compared to:
135 at mid-month in May 2022
98 at mid-month in April 2022
141 at mid-month in June 2021
129 at mid-month in June 2020
100 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 313 compared to 379 at mid-month in June 2021, and 296 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 49% compared to 56% at mid-month in June 2021 and 41% at mid-month in May 2022.

Coquitlam 

104 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
111 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
148 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
176 sold at mid-month in June 2021
110 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
82 sold at mid-month in May 2019

191 new listings so far in June compared to:
218 at mid-month in May 2022
263 at mid-month in April 2022
259 at mid-month in June 2021
218 at mid-month in June 2020
219 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 638 compared to 759 at mid-month in June 2021, and 609 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 54% compared to 68% at mid-month in June 2021 and 51% at mid-month in May 2022.

Port Moody

27 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
25 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
35 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
55 sold at mid-month in June 2021
33 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
23 sold at mid-month in May 2019

71 new listings so far in June compared to:
61 at mid-month in May 2022
56 at mid-month in April 2022
82 at mid-month in June 2021
81 at mid-month in June 2020
42 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 228 compared to 187 at mid-month in June 2021, and 162 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 38% compared to 67% at mid-month in June 2021 and 41% at mid-month in May 2022.

Port Coquitlam 

42 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
44 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
55 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
74 sold at mid-month in June 2021
39 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
37 sold at mid-month in May 2019

84 new listings so far in June compared to:
99 at mid-month in May 2022
101 at mid-month in April 2022
86 at mid-month in June 2021
82 at mid-month in June 2020
98 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 238 compared to 244 at mid-month in June 2021, and 199 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 50% compared to 86% at mid-month in June 2021 and 44% at mid-month in May 2022.

Ladner 

17 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
14 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
17 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
30 sold at mid-month in June 2021
14 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
15 sold at mid-month in May 2019

29 new listings so far in June compared to:
24 at mid-month in May 2022
26 at mid-month in April 2022
34 at mid-month in June 2021
29 at mid-month in June 2020
34 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 109 compared to 107 at mid-month in June 2021, and 91 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 59% compared to 88% at mid-month in June 2021 and 58% at mid-month in May 2022.

Tsawwassen

24 units sold at mid-month in June 2022, compared to
19 units sold at mid-month in May 2022, 
23 units sold at mid-month in April 2022, 
41 sold at mid-month in June 2021
21 sold at mid-month in June 2020 
20 sold at mid-month in May 2019

41 new listings so far in June compared to:
56 at mid-month in May 2022
41 at mid-month in April 2022
53 at mid-month in June 2021
51 at mid-month in June 2020
42 at mid-month in June 2019

Total active listings are at 166 compared to 182 at mid-month in June 2021, and 157 at mid-month in May 2022.

Sales to listings ratio is at 59% compared to 77% at mid-month in June 2021 and 34% at mid-month in May 2022.


Download Mid-June Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download Mid-June Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

Highlights of the May 2022 report

 

  • Is a buyer’s market looming in Metro Vancouver? 

  • Vancouver detached house sales down 42% year-over-year

  • Fraser Valley sales drop 54% from a year earlier

  • Stress test increased on June 1: could touch near 7%

  • There are more than 16,000 homes now listed for sale in Metro Vancouver (10,400 in Greater Vancouver) 

We are not statistically into a buyer’s market in Metro Vancouver but, for all the right reasons, this is when smart buyers are becoming active.


As of the end of May there were 10,389 homes listed for sale in Greater Vancouver, including more than 6,400 new listing, the most generous supply in months and the answer to the hopes of homebuyers and economists who had been screaming for more inventory. But it’s still not enough. In the Fraser Valley, May listings had more than tripled from December 2021, with 6,183 homes on the market, up 14.2% from a month earlier.

The new supply is welcomed and needed because in the 12 months ending December 31, 2021, B.C.’s total population grew by 100,566 mostly due to international migration. Immigrants accounted for an increase of 67,141 while net interprovincial migration added another 33,656 to B.C.’s population growth. This means that, on average, B.C. is welcoming more than 8,300 newcomers every month – and an estimated 90% of them settle in the Lower Mainland.

Aside from a welcoming climate and natural beauty, migrants are drawn to B.C. by one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada and a projected 2022 economic growth of 4.3%, one of the highest in the country. 

Despite the influx of people, a combination of price fatigue and higher interest rates slowed housing sales across Greater Vancouver in May compared to the frenzied record-setting pace of 2021. With 2,947 transactions, May 2022 sales were 33% below May of 2021 and nearly 10% lower than in April 2022, which in turn had been 34% lower compared to a month earlier.

Fraser Valley sales in May had dropped 54% from a year earlier, to just 1,360 transactions.
This has helped to increase the supply of existing houses and thank goodness because new home starts across Metro Vancouver, which includes Surrey and Langley, were down 22% as of May 1 from a year earlier to only 6,924 units.
 
May benchmark composite home prices, meanwhile, were just 0.4% lower than a month earlier and up nearly 15% from May of 2021, at $1,261,100. The Fraser Valley saw the first month-over-month home price contraction since September 2019. This market calming was expected, even forecasted here two months ago, but it still has caused a degree of panic in some sectors of the housing market. Let’s take a deep breath here. This is not some global economic crisis, such as the 2008 financial meltdown, or the 2016 and 2018 downturns that were coldly engineered by government policy meant to stifle housing demand. 

What we are now seeing is a natural market reaction. The best solution to high prices is high prices, because they eventually stop consumers from buying a product believed to be overpriced. In this case, it is largely the perception of suburban home prices and a sharp increase in lending rates that has halted the most dramatic sales and price increases ever seen in Metro Vancouver. I believe that the current dip in the market is transitory and will perhaps be even shallower than the three corrections we have seen over the past two decades.

And, just as in those cases, those who bought in the dip rode the market to new price and sales highs.

In May of 2008, with Greater Vancouver sales down 34% year-over-year and headlines blaring recession warnings, the benchmark detached house price was $771,250 and a typical condo apartment sold for $389,600. In May 2018, with sales down 35% year-over-year after the introduction of 20% foreign-homebuyer tax, the speculation and vacancy tax, a super property tax on expensive homes and the federal mortgage stress test, the composite benchmark price for residential properties in Greater Vancouver was $1,094,000; the typical detached house sold for $1,608,000. 

This May, the composite benchmark price is $200,000 higher than in 2018 and typical detached house is worth $2,093,000, nearly $500,000 more than four years ago. We are not technically into a buyer’s market, since the sales-to-active listing ratio is 29.2% (it is 18.3% for detached houses) in Greater Vancouver and 22% in the Fraser Valley, but for those with their eyes wide open are seeing the best buyer conditions in at least three years. As Bob Dylan once cautioned, changing times means those who are first will later be last and that was apparent in Metro Vancouver’s May housing market. Frankly put, it is suburban markets which are seeing the biggest contraction in home sales and prices.

Maple Ridge, which was posting the highest sales and price increases a year ago, had the largest month-over-month composite price decline in Greater Vancouver in May, dropping 2% from April and it was the only market where prices are now lower than three months ago. May sales of detached houses in Maple Ridge decreased 48% from a year earlier and total sales are down nearly 15%.

Pitt Meadows’ total sales dropped 47% in May, year-over-year. Price exhaustion is kicking in, especially in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge with average prices up about 34% year-over year. These areas are likely to be more impacted by interest rate increases as buyers try to stretch their budget to get more. But you can only push so far.

And the push back for some buyers, such as young first-time buyers, became rougher on June 1 as the mortgage stress test was increased to 5.25%, or 2% above the five-year fixed mortgage rate, whichever is higher. As we write this, the typical five-year rate at big banks is 4.59%, which translates to a stress test qualifying rate of 6.59%.  This will sideline some homebuyers in the short term, at least.

For all buyers, however, the increased supply of resale listings, flatlining prices and a lack of new housing starts means that right now is the time to be seriously shopping the market and negotiating the best deal possible. Buyers are not yet in the driver’s seat, but the market is steering in that direction.


Here’s a summary of the numbers:


Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in May were down 10% from April and 33% lower than in May of 2021, at 2947 transactions. The composite benchmark price for all homes was $1,261,1001. This represents a 14.7%c increase over May 2021 and a 0.3% decrease compared to April 2022. This marks the first month-to-month decline in composite home prices since the autumn of 2019. Active Listings were at 10,389 at month end compared to 11,483 at that time last year and 9,176 (up 13%) at the end of April; New Listings in May were up 4% compared to April 2022. The supply of total residential listings is up to 4 month’s (seller’s market conditions) and the sales to listings ratio is 45% compared to 52% in April 2022, and 60% in May 2021.

Vancouver Westside: There is now a healthy 7-month supply of detached houses and 4-month supply of all homes on the Westside, as sales declined. Total May transactions, at 582, were down 27% from year earlier and 5% lower than in April 2022. The composite benchmark home price was down 0.6% from April 2022 and the benchmark detached house price is 1.2% lower at $3,490,000. Condo apartment were the only sector with rising prices month-over-month, up a modest 0.6% to $884,900. Total new Listings in May were down 0.5% compared to April 2022 and down 14% compared to May 2021. The sales-to-listings ratio was 46% compared to 48% in April 2022 and 50% in May 2021 in what remains a weakening seller’s market.

Vancouver East Side: May total sales, at 318, were down 10% from April to the lowest level since January, which is reversal of a normal market. Overall home prices, at $1,249,000, were 0.3% lower, month-over-month, but remain nearly 13% higher than a year earlier. New listings in May were up 4% compared to April 2022 and down 18% compared to May 2021. The supply of total residential listings is up to 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions). The sales-to-listings ratio in May was 45% compared to 53% in April 2022 and 56% in May 2021.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver was the outlier performer in May as more properties sold compared to April, with apartment sales up 23% leaving it with just 1 month supply of condos. Total sales in May were 280, up 2% from April 2022, but down 22% compared to May 2021. The benchmark detached house price has been tracking down for 3 months and settled at $2,368,600 in May. Condo prices continue to increase, up a further 1.4% from a month earlier, to $841,600. Total active Listings were at 525 at month end compared to 677 at that time last year and up 6% at the end of April 2022. The sales-to-listings ratio is 58% unchanged from April 2022 and nearly equal to the 60% in May 2021 in what remains very much a seller’s market.

West Vancouver: The most exclusive detached housing market in B.C. is proving itself nearly immune from rising lending rates and higher prices that bedeviled lesser markets in May. Sales of houses were down just 9 units from April but the 46 sales this year were at a median of $3,322,500, $100,000 higher than in April and nearly $200,000 higher compared to May of last year. Total sales in May, at 69, were down 23% from a year earlier. Active listings were 568 at month’s end compared to 611 at that time last year and up 13% from April. New Listings in May were down 9% compared to May 2021. The supply of total listings is up to 8 month’s supply and the sales-to-listings ratio is 28% compared to 30% in April 2022 and 34% in May of last year. Despite the lofty prices, West Vancouver is now seen as a buyer’s market.

Richmond: We were seeing a few price reductions near the end of May as total sales dropped 20% from a month earlier and were down 32% year-over-year, to 341 transactions in the month. The benchmark price for a detached house was nearly 1% lower in May than a month earlier, at $2,178,300.  The benchmark price for a condo apartment, which dominated May sales, was up 0.9% from April 2022 at $739,000. Condo sales are tracking lower, however, and won’t be helped by the hike in the mortgage stress test rate on June 1. Total residential new listings were up up 6% compared to April 2022 but down 3% compared to May 2021. The sales to listings ratio also slipped, down to 42% in May as compared to 56% a month earlier.

Ladner: Ladner saw May housing sales drop 43% compared to a year earlier and 18% from a month earlier, to just 28 units as the sales-to-listing ratio fell to 42%, below even pre-pandemic 2019. Meanwhile, active listings increased 23% from a month earlier to 106 at the end of May. Benchmark home prices have flatlined for three months. The typical detached house sold in May for $1.545,000, down 0.1% from a month earlier. There is about a 4-month’s supply of homes on the market., 

Tsawwassen: Sunny Tsawwassen experienced a 44% sales decline in May from a year earlier, with sales also down 3% from April 2022, at 44 transactions. The composite home price was up a slim 0.7% from a month earlier, at $1,353,600. Active listings were at 165 at month end compared to 182 at that time last year and 130 (up 27%) at the end of April; New Listings in May were up 38% compared to April 2022. May’s sales to listings ratio of 39% compared to 56% in April 2022.

Burnaby East: May total housing sales were down 44% in May compared to May 2021 and, at just 30 transactions, were 25% lower than in April. The composite home price was 0.3% lower than a month earlier, led by 0.7% decline in detached house prices to a benchmark of $1,931,700, the lowest house price in Burnaby. The supply of total residential listings is up to a 3 month’s supply and the sales to listings ratio in May was 47% compared to 58% in April 2022 and 68% in May 2021. 

Burnaby North: Burnaby North was one of only two markets with more sales in May compared to April, driven by the townhouse and apartment market – a testament to the popularity of this part of Greater Vancouver. The benchmark townhouse price continued to ascend, rising 3.1% from April – the largest increase in Greater Vancouver. Typical condo prices rose 0.8%, month-to-month, to $750,800, the lower condo price in Burnaby. Detached house prices, though, dropped 0.4% from April.  This is a strong seller’s market with the sales-to-listing ratio running at 53%, with 175 sales in May and new listings down from both April 2022 and May 2021.


Burnaby South: The rapid appreciation in detached house prices halted in May as benchmark prices dropped almost 1% from a month earlier after rocketing 21.5% over the past year. Still, at a $2,318,000 benchmark, these are Burnaby’s most expensive houses. Total housing sales in May, at 163, were down 12% from April and nearly 30% lower than in May 2021. The supply of total residential listings is steady at 3 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio is a solid 54% in this seller’s market.

New Westminster: The Royal City is one of the suburban markets that was posting impressive sales numbers during the pandemic, but that changed in May. Total sales, at 117, were down 40% from May of 2021 and 13% lower than in April 2022. The overall sales-to-listing ratio dropped to 47% in May, still strong, but well below the 65% in April or the 72% in May of last year. The overall composite benchmark home price was down 0.5% from April to $862,400, the lowest level in Greater Vancouver. This remains a seller’s market, but buyers may soon take the wheel.

Coquitlam: Total housing sales in May were down 39% from a year earlier and 13% from a month earlier. Benchmark prices are down about 1%, month-over-month, across the board to a composite home price of $1,200,600. New Listings in May were down 5% compared to April 2022 and 19% lower than in May 2021. Coquitlam has been one of the stronger markets and buyers are advised to buy the dip. The sales-to-listing ratio is a steady 53% and Coquitlam has a strong upside in all housing sectors.

Port Moody: Port Moody has finally seen an increase in supply, with active listings at 209 as of the end of May, up 48% from a month earlier, with new listings 13% higher than in May 2021. This was partially due to sale slowdown. With 57 transactions, May sales were down 44% from a year earlier. The benchmark composite home price was nearly unchanged from April at $1,225,600, but the sales-to-listing ratio slumped to 34%, down from 55% in April 2022 and the lowest level in at least three years.

Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales in May, at 91, were down 22% from April 2022, and down 45% from May 2021. Active listings were 229 at month’s end compared to 270 at that time last year and up 31% from April 2022. The composite home price dropped month-to-month for the first time since the pre-pandemic, down 1.2% from April at $1,023,900, led by townhouse and detached house prices. The sales-to-listing ratio in May was 43%, down from 62% in April and 66% in May of last year. This market is slowing, and modest price reductions may continue.

Maple Ridge: Total housing sales reversed in May, dropping 38% from a year earlier and down 7% from April to 178 transactions. After posting a 25.3% price increase over the past 12 months, the benchmark composite home price in May dropped 2% in May from April, the biggest month-over-month decline in Greater Vancouver. Still, this remains a seller’s market, with just a 3-month supply of listings and a sales-to-listing ratio of 39%, up from 36% in April. 

Pitt Meadows: With a 28% increase in benchmark prices from a year ago, Pitt Meadows detached houses set the highest price increase this year, but prices slipped 1.2% from a month earlier in May to $1,454,800. Condo apartment price were down 0.5% from April to $649,500, while townhouse values were unchanged at $922,900. Active listings were at 84 at the end of May, compared to 63 at that time last year and 51 at the end of April. The sales-to-listings ratio of 30% compares to 77% in April 2022 and 84% in May 2021 in this cooling market.

Surrey: Housing sales in every sector were down dramatically in May, with detached-house transactions dropping 67.7% from May 2022 and down 25.7% from April. Townhouse sales were 49% lower, year-over-year, and sales of condo apartments dropped 42% from a year earlier and 18.9% from April. However, prices held fairly steady. The average detached house price, at $1,848,699, was down 2.7% from April 2022. Condo prices took the biggest hit, dropping 8,4% from April to $592,180, while the average townhouse price slipped 5.5% to $908,527.


Download May Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


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Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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APRIL GREATER VANCOUVER SALES AND LISTING REPORT

May 4th, 2022
Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

 
 
“Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant.” Anthony J. D’Angelo
 

Welcome back to a balanced market.
Don’t be afraid.


HIGHLIGHTS OF THE APRIL REPORT

• Immigration at record high; housing starts down 41% 
• April housing sales down 34% from a year earlier
• Price resistance as detached house tops $2.1 million
• Markets where detached house prices are down from March 2022: 5 
• Markets where detached house sales are down from a year ago: 14


As we noted here last month, the residential super cycle is over in Metro Vancouver. April’s action confirmed that, after two years of blistering sales and price increases, we are back to more balanced conditions.

As befitting a housing market that has defied all traditions since March 2020, the current calming is happening in midst of what, conventionally, is the most active selling season of the year.

The president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, which saw April housing sales plunge 45.7% year-over-year and drop 36.6% from a month earlier, summed up what is happening:


“We would typically see a flurry of activity around this time of the year,” Sandra Benz said. “However, that’s not been the case so far. While it’s still too early to say whether this trend will endure, the slowing of sales combined with an increase in active listings is helping to restore a semblance of balance to the market.”


Just as very few predicted the latest super cycle, no one really knows how long the current moderation will last. There are clues to suggest this will not be a temporary lull. It will likely last until rising in-migration levels collide with a consistently low inventory of homes available.  

So far this year, in-migration is near record highs while housing starts have fallen 40% from a year ago.

In the past couple of months, a combination of factors helped to slow Metro housing sales. These include clumsy government threats and actions, an increase in bank lending and mortgage rates and a push back against record-high home prices. While the former affected markets across Canada, the latter – price resistance - was seen locally first in the Fraser Valley and outlier B.C. markets before it surfaced in Greater Vancouver.

In Kelowna, for example, March sales were down 25% after prices soared 30% from a year ago. The Fraser Valley has experienced a near 50% drop in sales once prices had increased by more than a third from a year earlier.

In Maple Ridge, which had been posting the highest year-over-year price increases in Greater Vancouver, sales plunged 37% in April from a year earlier.

Across Greater Vancouver it is no coincidence that April sales of detached houses have fallen faster than any other type of residential property, down 41.9% from a year ago, after the benchmark price leapt 21% year over year to $2,139,200.

On the bellwether West Side of Vancouver, sales of detached houses dropped to just 93 houses in April – down from 124 a month earlier and 139 in April 2021 – after the median price increased $258,000 from March 2022 to a record high of $3,768,000. 

Since March, government measures to cool demand are mostly threats, but they have had an impact. The City of Vancouver plans to increase its empty home tax to 5% from 3%; the province plans to bring in a homebuyer “cooling-off” period to fix a problem that no longer exists; and the feds plan to ban foreign home buyers for two years, just as it is attempting to attract a record number of new immigrants.

None of these measures are needed and all are counterproductive, but they have helped to scare some buyers and builders out of the market.  

Since investor are very active in the new condominium sector, government action and plans to tax pre-sales and speculation will have a direct detrimental impact on multi-family development. 

Eventually, however, the fact that the housing supply is not close to keeping pace with population growth, largely due to immigration, will kick off another super cycle in Metro Vancouver housing sales and prices. This may not take long. 

In the first quarter of 2022, total housing starts in Metro Vancouver had fallen to 4,308 units, down a shocking 41% from the same period last year. However, in the first quarter of 2022, B.C. also welcomed a net increase of 14,885 persons, including 12,606 immigrants. In 2021 B.C. net international migration accounted for an increase of 67,141 while net interprovincial migration added another 33,656. Most of these 100,00 plus newcomers settled into Metro Vancouver, where only 26,013 homes were built last year, including just 6,600 rentals.
 
Townhouses: The effect of low supply and high demand is and will be felt acutely this year in the townhouse sector.

Townhouses are very popular but just 481 have started construction this year across Mero Vancouver, down from 773 at the same time in 2021. Only 25 new townhouse units have been started this year in the entire City of Vancouver. 

The benchmark price of a townhouse in Greater Vancouver is now $1,150,500, up 25% from April 2021 and nearly 12% higher than in February 2022. The low supply and high prices combined to drive townhouse sales down 40% in April compared to the same month last year. Without a dramatic supply increase, which seems unlikely, townhouse prices will keep climbing.
 

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in April, at 3,281, were down 26% from March and 35% lower than in April 2021.  But they were 193% higher than in April 2020, as the pandemic became a reality, and 77% higher than in April of 2019, so this April was still a strong month for sales. Active Listings were at 9,176 in April, compared to 10,749 at that time last year and 7,970 (up 15%) at the end of March 2022. If we take out the anomaly of 2021 and 2020, the number of new listings in April are only 2% above the 10-year average, as normal as normal can be.

This is still a seller’s market with an overall sales-to-listing ratio of 52% and just a 3-month supply of total inventory. and the composite benchmark price hitting a fresh high of $1,374,500. This represents an 18.9% price increase over April 2021 and a 1% increase compared to March 2022. 
 
Fraser Valley: The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,637 sales in April, a decrease of 45.7% compared to April 2021 and a 36.6% decrease compared to March 2022. The Valley saw 3,622 new listings, down 27.8% compared to April 2021, and a decrease of nearly 21% compared to March 2022. The total month-end active inventory in April, however, was 5,387, 14.6 per cent higher than in March and up 38.3% from April 2021. Benchmark prices are up an average of 1 per cent from March 2022 but about 38% higher than a year earlier, with detached houses selling in April at $1,713,000; townhomes at $902,500 and condominium apartments at $649,500, all record highs. With Fraser Valley sales falling for the second straight month, we expect to see price corrections coming.

Vancouver Westside: The Westside now has a healthy 7-month supply of detached houses, reflecting lower sales in the past few months, at least partially due to sticker shock. The April detached house benchmark was $3,643,100, which, despite the sales slowdown, is 2%, or $72,800, higher than in March 2022. Houses accounted for only 93 of the 619 transactions in April, which was dominated by 465 condo apartment sales that sold at a median of $887,500.  Townhouse sales accounted for 60 transactions from 148 listings, at a median price of $1,614,950.  Total active listings were at 2,313 at month end compared to 2,434 at that time last year and 2,065 (up 12%) at the end of March. New Listings in April were down 6% compared to March 2022.

Vancouver East Side: As the median price of an East Side detached house crested over $2 million for the second month, detached sales plunged 50% from a year earlier and dropped 36% from March 2022, to just 110 transactions. Sales of condominium apartments were also lower, at 178 units, as the median condo price held steady from a month earlier at $680,000.  The sales-to-listing ratio for townhouses dipped to 41%, the lowest level this year, even as the median price of the 65 sales dipped to $1,350,000, down from a four-month average of $1.4 million. Active listings were at 1,038 at month end compared to 1,244 at that time last year and 946 (up 10%) at the end of March; New Listings in April were down 8% compared to March 2022 and the supply of total residential listings is up to 3 months in what is cooling seller’s market.

North Vancouver: Despite pressure from senior levels of government to bypass public hearings on housing projects that already fit the official community plan, North Vancouver City recently pushed two proposals with a total of 118 strata units to such hearings. So far this year just 390 multi-family units have started in the city and most of these were rentals. Sales in April, at 275, were down 42% from a year earlier and 20% lower than in March 2022 Active Listings were at 497 at month end compared to 624 at that time last year. New Listings in April were down 3% compared to March 2022, down 30% compared to April 2021, with the overall sales to listing ratio at 58%. The composite home benchmark in North Vancouver is $1,438,000 and the typical detached house sold in April at $2,231,000, both virtually unchanged from March.

West Vancouver: Total housing sales in April, at 72, were down 18% from March and 38% lower than in April 2021 in a fairly balanced market. West Vancouver is primarily about detached houses, which accounted for 54 of the April sales. The benchmark detached house price is $3,380,200, which was up 2% from a month earlier. Active listings were at 502 at April’s end, compared to 554 at that time last year and 423 (up 19%) at the end of March 2022. New listings were up 32% compared to March but down 16% compared to April 2021. Total supply of residential listings is up to 7 months, with a relatively modest sales-to-listings ratio of 30%. 

Richmond: Richmond has seen new townhouse active listings double since January, with detached houses now at 5-months supply while townhouses remain at 2-months supply. If April sales are an indication, supply will remain healthy. Total sales, at 557, were down 24% from March 2022 and 36% lower than in April 2021, while active listings were up 13% from March 2022 to 1,197. The sales-to-listing ratio is holding at 56%, down from 63% in March but the same as in April 2021. Condo apartments led the April market, accounting for 223 of the 426 transactions. The typical condo now sells for a median of $675,900, compared to $1,960,000 for a detached house and $1,165,000 for a Richmond townhouse.

Ladner: Outlier markets are seeing the largest sales slump and Ladner was no exception as April transactions dropped 39% from March 2022 to just 34. There could be price resistance, as the benchmark detached house price fell 0.6% from March to $1,517,800, the first month-over-month decline in more than two years. Condo apartment prices rallied, however, increasing 6.2% month-over-month to $692,600, reflective of the new condo construction in 2021. Total active listings were 86 at month end in April compared to 117 at that time last year and 79 at the end of March. The total supply of residential listings is up to 3 month’s supply, with a sales-to-listings ratio at 61% compared to 63% in March 2022 and 80% in April 2021.

Tsawwassen: Total housing sales in April at 46 had fallen 41% compared to a month earlier and down 44% from April of last year. The benchmark detached house price is $1,688,800, 25.6% higher than a year ago but up just 0.9% from March 2022. Active Listings were at 130 at month end compared to 188 at that time last year and 105 (up 24%) at the end of March. The supply of total residential listings is up to 3 months. April’s sales-to-listings ratio of 56% compares to 82% in March 2022 and 66% in April 2021. This market is cooling but sellers still hold the advantage.

Burnaby North: This market posted one of the largest sale declines in April, with total transactions down 46% from a month earlier and 48% below the pace in April of 2021.  Just 164 homes sold in April, while active listings were up 33% from March at 419. The detached house sector posted the second-lowest sales this year, at 38, which may reflect price resistance as a house is now selling for an average of $2,048,300. But the condo market is also waning with the 111 April sales and average price, at $754,034, both at the lowest level since January. The total sales to listing ratio is running at 47%, well below the 72% in March and the 68% a year ago.

Burnaby South: Total units sold in April were 186 – down from 213 (-13%) in March 2022, and down 31% compared to April 2021. The average price of the 36 detached houses sold in April w    as $2,304,966, down marginally from a month earlier. Townhouse average prices were up slightly from March, at $1,245,205 based on 60 sales in April. Condo apartment sales, at 116, were down from 142 a month earlier but the average price hit a new high of $808,030. The supply of total residential listings is now at 3 month’s supply, and the April sales-to-listings ratio was 55%, compared to 59% in March 2022. 

Burnaby East: Just 40 homes sold in April, down 29% from March 2022 and 47% below April of 2021, but active listings were also lower, down to just 67 compared to 112 in April of last year. New listings were down 38% year-over-year but up 3% from March. Detached house sales dropped to 11 transactions, the lowest since January 2022, at an average price hit $2,126,808. The supply of total residential listings is up to 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and April’s sales- to-listings ratio was 58% compared to 84% in March 2022 and 68% in April 2021.

New Westminster: The Royal City saw housing sales drop to 134 in April, down 34% from a month earlier and 23% below sales in April 2021. Each sector was down, including the condo apartment market, which posted 102 sales at a median price of $630,000. There were 24 detached housing sales, at a median of $1,701,500 and half of the 14 townhouses listed sold at just under $1 million each. Total new listings in April were down 21% compared to March 2022 and down 31% compared to April 2021. With the sales-to-listing ratio at 65%, there is only about a 2-month supply of homes on the market.

Coquitlam: April housing sales, at 279, were down 30% compared to March and 11% lower than in April 2021, but Coquitlam’s housing future appears solid, with several large new developments coming. These include the 91.5-acre Fraser Mills waterfront site where 5,100 strata homes and 400 rentals are planned, and new strata homes at Burke Mountain. New listings in April were down 20% compared to March 2022 and down 21% compared to April 2021. The benchmark price for a detached house reached $1,847,800, up 25% from a year earlier but virtually unchanged from March. Condo apartments are selling for $712,500 and townhouses are benchmarked at just over $1 million.

Port Moody: The giant Coronation Park development was reluctantly approved in April, but the city added a costly last-minute demand that 15% of the homes – about 400 units – be below-market rentals, so the project may be delayed again after years of debate. Meanwhile, April housing sales plunged 39% from March and were nearly 50% lower than in April 2021. The detached house price is now benchmarked at $2,314,900, the highest in the Tri-Cities. There is just a 2-month supply of total listings available in this seller’s market.

Port Coquitlam: Total units sold in April were 117 – down from 141 (-17%) in March 2022, and down from 167 (-30%) in April 202. New Listings in April were down 9% compared to March 2022 and 27% below that of April 2021. Detached house prices have flatlined at $1,614,600, unchanged from March 2022. The supply of total residential listings is steady at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and April’s sales-to-listings ratio of 61% compares to 67% in March 2022 and 64% in April 2021.

Pitt Meadows: The Pitt Meadows market has calmed down but remains a seller’s advantage with just a 1-month supply of homes on the market and sales-to-listing ratio at a strong 77%.  April sales were 45 units, down 18% from March and just 6% below April 2021, which is a relatively strong performance. The benchmark price of a detached house dipped 1.5% from March, rare in Metro Vancouver, to $1,540,000. Total active listings were 51 at month’s end compared to 63 at that time last year and 53 at the end of March.

Maple Ridge: What was one of the hottest markets in 2021 has cooled this year, with April sales, at 166 homes, down 37% from March of this year and a 52% plunge from April 2021. The benchmark detached house price, however, increased a further 2.2% month-over-month to $1,447,600 in April, which is 31% above the price a year earlier. Maple Ridge townhouse buyers saw the benchmark price fall 1.5% from March to $889,200, while condo apartments were unchanged at $546,600. The supply of total residential listings is up to 3 month’s supply as April’s sales-to-listings ratio dipped to 36% compared to 60% in March 2022.

Surrey: Price resistance has surfaced in Surrey.  April detached house sales plunged 56.6% year-over-year and nearly 40% from March 2022, to 261, and the average house price dropped 3.9% from March to $1,898,677. This is the first such decline in years. Townhouse sales were down 56% from a year ago, to 225, and the average price was down 3.1% from March of 2022. April condo apartment sales also declined, dropping 28% from a month earlier and 18% from a year earlier, though the average condo price was up 1.8% from March 2022 at $581,879.


Download April Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download April Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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February signals March will come in like a lion


Highlights of this Greater Vancouver report

  • Biggest year-to-year detached price increase: Pitt Meadows, up 40.4%

  • Why a ‘cooling-off period’ would mean market chaos

  • Month-over-month home price increase forecast during 2022: $9,000

  • Month-over-month home price increase from January to February: $60,000

  • Most inexpensive composite home price: New Westminster: $816,900

February, with the highest increase in listings in eight months and the fourth-highest home sales for the month in history, set the stage for what should be barnburner in March, traditionally one of the strongest months in the Metro Vancouver housing market.
March of last year produced the highest number of new listings and the highest number of sales by month in 2021, which ended up posting the all-time annual high of almost 45,000 sales.

 

With a series of rate increases already started – the Bank of Canada lending rate increased 25 basis points to 0.50% on March 2 and a second increase is expected in April – and a continued lack of inventory, we don’t expect 2022 sales to top last year’s record. But we do believe that sales could go higher over the next two months as buyers try to get into a market with historically low mortgage rates.

In reality, even the most pessimistic forecasts for a Bank of Canada rate increases this year –175 basis points - will not have much effect on what a buyer can afford.

The average mortgage amount in Canada, according to Equifax, is approximately $371,500. For a homeowner carrying a variable-rate mortgage of 1.5% with a 25-year amortization, the monthly mortgage payment would be $1,485. A rise of 175 basis points would increase the rate to 3.25%, making monthly payments $1,807, a difference of $322 per month.

Even doubling the average local mortgage means about a $650 per month increase. But the composite home price in Greater Vancouver is projected to increase by 0.75%, or an average of $9,000, per month during 2022.

Officially, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver expects total 2022 sales to decline 12.2% compared to 2021, but prices are expected to rise on average 8.9% compared to last year, with detached prices leading the way at 13% (to $2.23 million) townhouses following at 9.5% (to $1.16 million) and condo apartments posting an 8% price increase to $781,000.
 
Sales: There were 3,451 properties sold of all types in Greater Vancouver in February this year compared with 2,329 sold a month earlier and 3,852 sales in February 2021. Sales in February were 30% above the 10-year average for the month and nearly 50% higher than in January 2022.

Listings: February brought 5,573 new listings to the market which was above the 5,191 that came on the market in February 2021. The number of new listings in February were 15% above the 10-year average. This still left only 7,062 active listings in Greater Vancouver at the end of February – an all-time low for the month. The one glimmer of hope is that week-by-week in February, the number of new listings increased. There was an average of 251 new listings a day in the first week to an average of 350 new listings a day in the last week of February.

But even with the increase in new listings we are still sitting with 2-month’s supply of homes available for sale in most areas. North Vancouver, New Westminster, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Tsawwassen, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are among markets with just a 1-month’s supply of homes for sale.

So, barring a huge increase in listings, the start of the spring buying season should continue to see the higher prices and multiple offers that characterize a lack of supply amidst high demand. 
 

Cooling off period means chaos

 
We can only hope that a provincial government proposal for a ‘cooling off’ period does not arrive to skew and confuse the spring housing market.

The main result of the cooling off period would be less listings on the market, which is the exact opposite of what is needed.

The government proposal is for a period (length yet to be determined) after an accepted offer in which the buyer could get out of the transaction.

This is among the most unthinkable ideas this government has come up with, which is saying a lot. The effect would be chaos, with a cascading effect. A seller would not know for a week or so whether the sale was actually going through. If it didn’t, the next buyer would also have a mandatory grace period, and so on.

Meanwhile, the seller would be trying to buy another home, but that transaction would also be delayed by the cooling off period. And given all offers would have this same mechanism, the only strategy left for buyers is to compete on price, and price alone. How is that going to tame our housing market? We would recommend, that, at least the government allow sellers and buyers to agree to drop the cooling off period. Which we think nearly every buyer and seller would agree to. 
 

Breakdown of the February numbers, by market

 
Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in February, at 3,451, were up nearly 50% in February compared to January, but the performance was mixed.

As we predicted here, condo apartment sales continued to dominate housing sales across Greater Vancouver in February. Buyers are moving towards apartments more than we have seen in the last two years. There was an increase of 5% in the number of apartments sold compared to February 2021, while there was a decrease of 24% in the number of townhomes sales and detached house transactions were down 17% compared to February 2021.

The key reasons for the condo sales surge are a greater supply and lower prices – at a benchmark of $807,900 in February - than other property types, plus demand from investors. With vacancy rates back to their record lows, investors know there is a need for rental housing – something the governments in all cities haven’t been able to adequately supply.

But the condo apartment supply was down 29% year-over-year in February and some larger new condo projects have stalled, stopped or are completely pre-sold. A shortage is looming and benchmark prices have risen15.9% from a year ago.

After 10 years of consultation and seven presentations from the developer, in February Port Moody sent the city’s largest housing development to a further round of public hearings. The biggest housing project on the Burnaby-Coquitlam border, Lougheed Town Centre,  closed its presentation centre March 1after selling out 95% of 1,500 condos in the first phase. (The last 3 bedroom units start at $1.4 million). In Richmond, a planned 800-unit condo project has stopped and the site was fenced in and closed in February.

An indication of the future of new condo values is the prices being achieved for suburban multi-family land: in Burnaby’s Metrotown a 1.4-acre potential condo site recently sold for the equivalent of more than $31 million per acre; less than an acre of multi-family development land in New Westminster sold in February for $27.5 million. In Surrey, a 0.8-acre residential assembly sold for $12 million. These are unparalleled land prices that must eventually be reflected in the end product.

Investors remain active in condo sales, which is fortunately increasing the rental supply in a market where the rental vacancy rate has fallen to around 1 per cent.

The number of active listings for townhouses continues to be a challenge with only a 1-month’s supply in Greater Vancouver, and active listings down 26% year-over-year. The February benchmark price for a townhouse increased nearly 6% - that is more than $64,000 – from January to $1,090,000. Yet only 90 new townhouses had started in all of Metro Vancouver (which includes Surrey and Langley) this year as of February 1.One issue that adds to the cost of townhouses is civic fees. For instance, a new 39-unit townhouse project in Richmond, which is offering innovative townhomes with small secondary rental suites, is ironically being charged $358,000 for the city’s “affordable housing fund.”

Meanwhile, the number of detached home listed for sale is at 3-month’s supply. Sales dropped year-over-year in February due to a lack of choice and buyer resistance to a record high benchmark price of $2,044,800.
 
Fraser Valley: There were 1,352 sales through the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board in February, up 38% from a year earlier and 39% higher than in January 2022. New listings, however, dropped 15% year-over-year to 2,557, and total active listings were down to 5,741 homes. The strata shortage is severe in some markets. In Langley for example, for every 10 active townhomes in February, six sold and in Cloverdale there were only 26 total condo listings and 20 of them sold.

The Board reports more traffic at open houses, more multiple offers and a slight increase in year‐over‐year prices. At $971,300, the benchmark price for a detached house was up 1.1 per cent compared to January. The benchmark townhouse price increased 1% from January to $523,200. At $414,500, the benchmark price for condo apartments in the Fraser Valley increased 1.5 per cent compared to January.
 
Vancouver Westside: We are seeing a few detached house price corrections on the West Side – in one case a 10% reduction on $3.4 million February listing – but don’t believe it is a trend, just something to watch. Detached sales reached 102 houses in February, up 56% from January and 17% higher than in February 2021. The median detached house price in February was $3,655,000, up from $3,332,000 a year earlier. Total residential sales were 665, up 49% from January 2022  Active listings were 1,942 at month’s end compared to 1at the end of January 2022. With 131 townhouse listings and 73 sales, the sales-to-listing ratio for townhouses was 56%, indicating a seller’s market. The benchmark townhouse price is now $1,371,300, up 4.5% from January. With 498 sales and a sales-to-listing ratio of 64%, condo apartments were by far the most active Westside sector in February, even as the benchmark condo price reached $871,500, up 11.1% from a year ago.
 
Vancouver East Side: The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is forecasting that East Side home prices will rise a further 10.5% this year and February indicated that may be conservative. Composite home prices were up 4.5% from a month earlier. If that pace even slowed by half, the annual price increase in 2022 would surpass the 21% price rise in 2021. Despite a new benchmark high of $1,860,900, the East Side led every sub-market but Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows with 117 detached house sales in February. Total residential sales on the East Side in February were 359, up 30% from January and 12% higher than a year earlier. The 190 condo sales led the action, with the benchmark condo price rising 4.4% from January to $678,900. New listings in February were up 35% compared to January 2022 and up 12% compared to February 2021. There is about a 2-month’s supply of total residential listings, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 55%, a ratio that has held steady for the past year.
 
North Vancouver: Even with an unprecedented median price of $2,303,500, 75% of the detached houses listed for sale sold in February. The 80 detached sales were up from 37 in January and down 10% from February 2021. Townhouse and condo apartment sales were also higher than a month earlier, with townhouse sales more than doubling to 46 at a benchmark of $1,292,000; and 134 condos selling at a benchmark of $716,700. Total active listings were at 380 compared to 469 at the same time last year and 291 at the end of January. New listings in February were up 55% compared to January 2022. Month’s supply of total residential listings is back down to 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and the sales-to-listings ratio is running at a tight 64%. Congratulations are in order for North Vancouver City: after 10 years of delays, the $201.8 million Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre and Silver Harbour Centre in central Lonsdale starts construction next month.
 
West Vancouver: Total February housing sales soared 78% from January to 80 transactions, while active listings increased to 417 units, up from 358 in January. Detached house sales naturally dominated the market, accounting for 58 sales in February at a benchmark price of $3,273,200. West Vancouver, which had 18 condo apartment sales in the month, is the only Metro municipality where the benchmark condo sells for more than $1 million: it was $1,181,200 in February.

West Vancouver has fairly healthy 5-month supply of listings and is one of the few balanced markets in the Lower Mainland, with a sales-to-listing ratio at 37%.
 
Richmond: There is a bit of a condo boom in Richmond, with 400 condo apartments selling so far this year, including 225 in February. Total condo listings were down in February compared to January, to 311, but the sales-to-listing ratio had risen to 72%. The benchmark condo price has shot up nearly 9% since December 31, 2021, and is now at $800,300. Total Richmond sales in February were 397, up 17% from 2022, but down 12%  from February 2021. New listings in February were up 27% compared to January 2022, and the sales-to-listings ratio is 56%, a mild seller’s market.
 
Ladner:  The number of detached listings in February rose to 45, an increase of 14 from January. There was only a slight increase in townhome listings (4, compared to 2) and apartments (8, compared to 2) from the previous month. Prices continue to ascend with the benchmark price of a single family detached home in Ladner increasing 5.8% from January to $1,543,800. Ladner townhouses increased by 6.1% to a benchmark price of $915,500 while apartments went up 2.7% to $620,200.Total units sold in February were 26, up 18% from January 2022, but down 67% from February 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 2-month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and the sales to listings ratio is 46% compared to 61% in January 2022 and 74% in February 2021.
 
Tsawwassen: The benchmark price for a single-family detached house in Tsawwassen rose by 4.9% from January to 1,637,500. Townhouse benchmark prices climbed 6% to $992,800 and apartments rose 2% month to month to $672,400. New listings in February were up 29% compared to January 2022, but down 2% compared to February 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to a 1-month’s supply in this seller’s market. The sales to listings ratio is72% compared to 54% in January 2022.
 
Burnaby East: Burnaby East has the highest condo apartment prices in Burnaby, at $801,000, and condo prices were up 5.1% in February compared to January and are 19.9% higher than a year earlier. The action reflects the condo construction action that has defined the Edmonds area over the past few years. The benchmark townhouse price in Burnaby East is $794,900, the lowest among Burnaby’s three distinct markets. The typical detached house sells for $1,729,300, also the lowest for a house in Burnaby. Total new listings in February were up 86% compared to January 2022. February’s sales-to-listings ratio of 52% compares to 71% in January 2022, and 64% in February 2021.
 
Burnaby North: Total residential sales in February were 226, up 59% from January and 17% higher than in February of last year. Despite a rally of new listings, total active listings in Burnaby North reached only 283 in February and the sales-to-listing ratio of 72% compared to 60% in January 2022. Burnaby North’s market is dominated by condominium listings and sales. The benchmark condo price is $799,900. 
 
Burnaby South: This is overall the most affordable housing enclave in Burnaby, but the gap is narrowing. In February, the composite home price was $1,157,200, up 5% from a month earlier and the lowest in Burnaby. The benchmark detached house price, however, jumped to $1,983,000, the highest in the municipality. Townhouse and condo prices are both lower than the Burnaby average, at $836,200 and $749,200, respectively. Total active listings were at 312 in February, compared to 528 at that time last year and 283 at the end of January. The current sales-to-listing ratio in this seller’s market is 70%.
 
New Westminster: The Royal City is seeing amazing tower condo construction and sales. On March 11, the second 24-hour concrete pour in a year takes place as 429 concrete trucks will pour in rotation for a 46-storey condo tower, which is flanked by a 53-storey condo high rise, one of the largest in Metro Vancouver, which is under construction and totally sold out. In February, 103 resale condos sold in New Westminster, up from 73 in January and the median price rose about $30,000 in the month to $640,000. Condos are the dominate sector, accounting for nearly 80% of all sales in the city. The sales-to-listing ratio for condos is 72%. The emphasis on condos means that New Westminster has the lowest composite home price in Greater Vancouver at $816,900.
 
Coquitlam: Coquitlam, the largest of the Tri-City markets, saw an increase in listings, sales and housing prices in February compared to a month earlier. Total sales were up 52% from January, at 264 transactions, while new listings increased 69% in the same period and the benchmark composite price increased 5.2% to $1,265,700.  As in most markets, condo apartments led the parade, accounting for 143 of the sales and posting a 5.4% month-to-month price increase to a benchmark of $674,400. The supply of total residential listings is steady at a 2-month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and the sales to listings ratio is 59% compared to 66% in January 2022.
 
Port Moody: There are 59 nervous single-detached owners in Port Moody, and their concern is a lesson to owners who get involved in a land assembly. In this case, the Coronation Park-area owners sold to a major developer, but payment for the houses is tied to the developer getting final approval from Port Moody council for a large strata development. So far that has taken seven years and seven presentations to the city, but the latest attempt was sent back to another round of public hearings at the end of February. We can only hope the house owners will be paid the current value, because the benchmark price of a Port Moody detached house has increased 56.8% in the last five years alone, to $2,102,100 as of February, and is increasing by 5% per month so far this year.
Port Moody saw total sales of 87 homes in February, up 53% from a month earlier. Active listings were 97 at month end compared to 140 at that time last year and 93 at the end of January. There is just a 1-month supply of residential listings, and the sales-to-listings ratio is 73% compared to 71% in January 2022.
 
Port Coquitlam: Port Coquitlam has posted the highest price increases in the Tri-Cities over the past year, with the composite benchmark up 29.5% to $1,085,600 in February, while its benchmark detached house surged 35.8% to $1,542,600, still the lowest price among the three municipalities. Total units sold in February reached 108, up 40% from January, but down 122 from a year earlier. New listings were up 46% compared to January 2022, but down 11% compared to February 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio is 71% compared to 73% in January 2022 and 71% in February 2021.
 
 
Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows, along with Maple Ridge is expected to post the highest price increases in Metro Vancouver proper this year, according to a Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver forecast, with the composite price rising 12.5% to $1,007,000 by the end of this year. Pitt Meadows was once among the most affordable markets. But that has changed. The benchmark detached house price in Pitt Meadows in February reached a record high of $1,497,200 after a 40.4% increase from a year earlier, the highest year-over-year increase in Metro Vancouver. Meanwhile, listings are vanishing: there were just 37 active listings in February and 35 of them sold.  The overall sales to listing ratio is running north of 70% and there is only a 1-month supply of homes on the market.
 
Maple Ridge: 
Maple Ridge is seeing a population boom, with the 2021 census showing the population increased to 90,990 last year, up 10.6% from 2016. This is twice as fast as the Canadian average. By comparison, Vancouver grew at a rate of 4.9%, and Surrey 9.7% in the same time frame. The housing supply is trailing population growth, though listings are rising. In February, there were 301 active listings, down from 352 last year, but up from 201 in January 2022. The sales-to-listing ratio is 62%. A seller’s market, the detached house price in February had soared 40% from a year earlier and was up 6% from January to $1,361,600. With the exception of the Sunshine Coast, this is still the lowest detached house price in Greater Vancouver.
 
Surrey: Surrey is expected to reach a total population of 714,300 by 2031, at which time it will have surpassed Vancouver as B.C.’s largest city. But Surrey is already the bigger player when it comes to delivering key homes and keeping housing prices relatively low. As of February 1, for instance, there were 1,005 new townhouses under construction in Surrey, compared to 134 in the city of Vancouver. The benchmark price of a Surrey townhouse is $565,000. It is $1.1 million in Vancouver. The overall composite price of a Surrey home is $836,800, compared to $1.35 million in Vancouver. This is a major reason why Surrey’s population is growing twice as fast as Vancouver’s.

 

Download February Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download February Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Brace for an interesting year in the housing market


As the Metro Vancouver housing market comes off a record sales year, we are entering what could be the most interesting 12 months this region has ever seen. The term ‘interesting’ can be seen in relation to the age-old curse of “may you live in interesting times,” but we believe it will also be a blessing because the blinders that have obscured some real estate realities will be ripped away in 2022.

The first expose will be that Canada does not have the supply or the political gumption to provide the housing needed for the biggest surge in immigration this country has ever seen.


The second expose will be that the federal government continues to look at ways to tax homes in Canada as evidenced by a recent CMHC study to add an annual tax on homes valued above $1M, will they slap a capital gains tax on the sale of principal residences next, despite its strenuous denials?

The final reality that every home buyer, seller and renter in Metro Vancouver will face is that the cost of housing here is never going to come down, despite the barriers to demand that every level of government has thrown up over the past 10 years.

It is up to the private market – that is you, me and everyone else who aspires to homeownership – to prepare and prosper in a future characterized by a low supply of housing, greater property taxation and accelerating land and property values.

It won’t be easy, but Metro Vancouver has never been an affordable market. Yet it has remained Canada’s leading residential environment for decades.  There is nowhere better to live in Canada and it certainly has no match when it comes to achieving real estate success.

Let’s look at immigration. According to Statistics Canada, this country absorbed 123,000 immigrants in the third quarter of 2021 alone: the highest level for any quarter since 1946, at the end of World War II. For all of 2021, Canada welcomed 403,000 new residents. To put this in perspective, the United States brought in only 300,000 immigrants for all of last year. Due to immigration, Canada now has the fastest-growing population of all G7 Nations.

If former immigration surges are any indication, up to 30% of newcomers to Canada will immediately or eventually – usually within two years – locate to B.C. and 95% of these will come to Metro Vancouver.
But the supply of housing in Metro Vancouver has fallen to record low levels and, due primarily to local governments, construction of new homes is not keeping pace with the current population, let alone meeting the needs of a hundred thousand newcomers every year.

Considering the lowest we have seen the number of Greater Vancouver active listings go in the last 30 years was 6,200, to hit below 5,000 is truly astonishing. Criticize the supply side discussions all you want but a fundamental flaw in the Metro Vancouver and many other real estate markets that we are experiencing right now is a significant lack of homes. Demand side measures clearly are not the long-term answer. At some point there needs to be real effort to increase supply and allow it to be increased in a meaningful way. And yes, the right kind of supply. We can’t keep wishing for it, there needs to be real work behind any kind of resolution to this issue.

As of December 1, 2021, only 6,000 more homes had started construction in Metro Vancouver than in the same period a year ago in 2020. Townhouse construction increased by just 98 units; and starts of detached houses fell by 300 homes. The only big increase was in apartments, but 30% of the 17,745 units started in 2021 were rentals, not strata homes.

This is despite a federal housing ministry pronouncement back in January 2021 that “We have a rock-steady focus on increasing the supply of housing in Canada.”

Of course, it is local municipalities that really decide how many homes will be built. And that is where the problem lies. Not to belabour the point, here is a snapshot for Metro Vancouver of some recent  development non-decisions.
 
Vancouver: In 2016 the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan was approved, and the late and iconic Vancouver architect Bing Thom presented plans for the anchor development, his last big proposal, The plan now has been scaled back to 438 secured rental units, including 93 units at below-market rates, and 215 strata residential units, all across from the Broadway-Commercial SkyTrain hub. After three presentations and revisions over four years, the proposal has now been sent for future public hearings. “We have not received rezoning approval,” a developer spokesperson said in December 2021. “We have no idea when it will come.”

As of December 1, 2021, the City of Vancouver had seen total starts of less than 5,000 homes for the year, just 1,500 more than a year earlier, and 90% of 2021 starts were apartments. Only 135 new strata townhomes have started in Vancouver in the past two years.
 
North Vancouver District. The development of the Maplewood Town Centre was included in the 2006 official community plan. Five years ago, a plan was submitted by two major developers for 535 homes, including 80 below-market rentals. In December 2021, the entire proposal was voted down by District council.
A proposal to develop 420 housing units, half of them rentals at below market rates, in Lynn Canyon has been submitted three times to District council starting nearly two years ago. As of December 2021, it was referred to another round of public hearings.

As of December 1, 2021, North Vancouver District has posted just 423 housing starts, down from 611 in the same period in 2020. Only 17 townhouses were started in 2021.
 
West Vancouver: Council recently voted down an eight-story condo building with seven strata units. It would have been the first-ever zero emission, mass-timber housing development in the district.
 
Burnaby:  First presented under the official community plan in 1988, the Bainbridge Urban Village Community Plan and the Lochdale Urban Village Community Plan, meant to increase density around the Sperling SkyTrain station and Hastings Street, began consultations in 2020.The Latest update indicates that final plan to council sometime this year, subject to more public hearings.
 

Highlights of the December 2021 housing market report:

 

  • West Side detached housing prices may have
    peaked for now at $3.4 million
     

  • Immigration has hit the highest level since the
    end of World War II
     

  • Richmond is considering “rental only" zoning

 

A summary of the amazing numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in December were 2,737 – down from 3,492 (22%) in November 2021, down 23% from October 2021 and down 13% from December 2020, due totally to a lack of listings.
For all of 2021 sales totaled 43,999 homes, a 42.2% increase from the 30,944 sales recorded in 2020, and a 4% increase over the previous all-time sales record set in 2015. Last year’s sales total was 33.4% above the 10-year sales average.

The composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ended the year at $1,230,200. This was a 17.3% increase compared to December 2020. Both detached home and townhome benchmark prices leaped 22% last year, while condo apartment prices increased 12.8% from year earlier.

The price increases are being fueled by the housing shortage, and the shortage is because of rising prices. The benchmark price of a detached house in Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver and Whistler is now more than $2 million. It is over $1.8 million in North Vancouver, Port Moody and most of Burnaby, and has reached $1,756,700, up nearly 30% from a year ago in the Lower Mainland. Sticker-shocked home owners are reluctant to list their home because they don’t know where they can afford to move to. New listings in December were down 51% compared to November 2021 and 20% lower than in December 2020.

Meanwhile, buyers are eager to purchase in a market where the average detached house is increasing in value by $35,000 per month. The result is multiple offers with December’s sales-to-new-listing ratio at a startling 138%, up from 87% in November 2021 and 127% in December 2020. Basically, every new listing sold in December and the total inventory was further whittled down. In some communities, the inventory of homes for sales in now measured in days, not months.

The bottom line: buyers will continue to struggle in 2022. We will see a rush of new listings in January and into the spring, despite COVID conditions. But given the hole we are starting from; it won’t be enough. Immigration has hit record levels. A large supply of housing is absolutely vital to meet the needs of a growing population and our expanding economy.
 
Fraser Valley: Home sales in the Fraser Valley in 2021, with 27,692 transactions, blew past the previous annual record of 23,974 sales set in 2016 and were 39% higher than in 2020. Unlike Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley also saw a rush of new listings, with 35,629 added – the second highest on record and 12.4% more than in 2020, but demand quickly ate up the supply.

In December 2021, 1,808 homes sold second only to December 2020’s record‐setting 2,086 sales. New listings in December were 1,278. By month’s end, however, the active inventory finished at 1,957 units, the lowest in 41 years. The year ended with detached house prices up 39% from a year earlier at a benchmark of $1.5 million; townhouse prices up 32.9% to $765,800; and condo apartment prices 25.3% higher at $549,200.
 
Vancouver Westside: We may be seeing peak prices, at least through the next few months, for detached houses right now on the Westside of Vancouver, with December’s benchmark at $3,433,600. Detached house prices are up 8.2% from a year ago, but have been declining steadily for the past six months. The Westside was the only sub-market where detached house prices were actually lower, down 0.4%, in December than five years earlier.

For those who see the Westside as a bellwether market, this could be a harbinger for detached house prices. Just 79 detached houses sold in December, down from 100 in November 2021 and 84 in December 2020, in part a reaction to a low supply. With only 82 new listings of houses added in the month, December’s sales-to-new listing ratio was 96%. More listings would have boosted sales, but one wonders if price resistance is in play. Total Westside home sales reached 468 in December, down 28% from a month earlier and 4% below December of last year. Total listings in December were down 54% compared to November 2021 and down 6% compared to December 2020. The action is now dominated by condo apartment sales, which reached 344 transactions in December to post a sizzling 128% sales-to-listing ratio, despite benchmark condo prices rising to $842,900. The townhouse inventory is close to vanishing: there were 47 new listings in December and 45 sales; driving the median townhouse price to $1,650,000, up about $340,000 from a year earlier.
 
Vancouver East Side: It takes a few minutes to drive from the heart of the Westside to the centre of Vancouver’s East Side but the short journey was a $1.7 million migrations for a December house buyer. The benchmark house price on the East Side as 2021 ended was $1,770,100, almost exactly half the price of a Westside house. This is perhaps the widest price-to-proximity gap in the Lower Mainland. It helps explain why nearly 1,800 East Side houses sold in 2021, compared to 1,210 on the Westside and why the benchmark East Side detached house price increased 23.9% in the past year while it increased just 8.6% on the Westside. The East Side saw the sales-to-listing ratio for detached houses hit 125% in December, showing the price pressure will likely increase going into 2020. East Side condo apartments may offer the best deal in Greater Vancouver for those seeking some level of affordability. The median East Side condo price in December was $618,500, lower than in Burnaby, the North Shore or Coquitlam and about $200,000 less than on the Westside. East Vancouver, however, is also seeking a housing shortage, with total active listings at year-end of 690 homes, down from 921 in November.

North Vancouver: Despite all the handwringing about rising home prices, BC Assessment data shows that demand is driving prices even higher in prime neighbourhoods. For instance, assessment values for homes on the exclusive Dollarton waterfront and in Grousewoods in North Vancouver were up 30% over the past year, while they increased just 16% in more affordable Norgate and Pemberton. Across all of North Vancouver, the composite home price in December was up 14.2% from a year earlier to $1,273,100, while the typical detached house price was $1,968,000, up 15.6% year-over-year. New Listings in December were down 58% compared to November 2021 and down 26% compared to December 2020.Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month with the sales-to-listing ratio at a stunning 163%.

West Vancouver: Total housing sales in December were down 23% from a month earlier to 62 transactions, as new listings dropped 67% compared to November 2021, and 25% from December 2020. There is now about a six-month supply – 371 active listings – on the market, but the December sales to listing ratio was running at 124%. The benchmark detached house price is $3,224,500, up 13.1% from December of 2020. The big gain is in Ambleside, where the typical house price rose an average of 34% over last year, according to B.C. Assessment.

Richmond: Richmond is considering ‘rental-only zoning’ of 60 rental properties to discourage the potential development of strata homes. The targeted properties are all rentals, including 17 housing co-operatives. This could discourage development and cause values to fall for land where only rentals are permitted, if developers caution. City staff is recommending the move. This is something for property owners to keep an eye on. Meanwhile, Richmond total housing sales were up 13% year-over-year- in December to 481 transactions, while new listings dropped 9% in the same period. The sales-to-listing ratio is at 140%, which has translated into multiple offers and the composite home price increasing 17.4% from a year ago to $1,132,600. 

Burnaby East: Total housing sales in December were 32 – down 3% from November 2021 and down from 22% compared to December 2020 New listings in December were down 44% compared to November 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at a 1 month’s supply, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 145% compared to 85% in November 2021 and 216% in December 2020. The composite home price is up 13%, year-over-year, to $1,127,600.
 
Burnaby North: The benchmark detached house price jumped to $1,802,600 in December, up 17.3% from a year earlier, reflecting intense demand in the face of lower inventory across every sector. Total new listings in December were down 45% compared to November 2021 and down 27% compared to December 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month as the sales-to-listings ratio rose to 130% compared to 84% in November 2021.
 
Burnaby South: The detached house market edged closer to the $2 million club in December, as benchmark prices edged up 1.9% from a month earlier to $1,868,000, the highest house price in Burnaby. Total housing sales, however, dropped 17% from November to 225 units, likely due to a severe shortage. Active listings were at 257 at month end compared to 574 at that time last year and 358 at the end of November. The total sales-to listings ratio is a blistering 138% compared to 100% in November 2021 and 103% in December 2020.
 
New Westminster: The benchmark detached house price in the Royal City in December was $1,393,800, up 21.5% from a year earlier, but prices are higher in some neighbourhoods, based on recent BC Assessment values. A property in Queensborough has been assessed at $3,009,000 and at least 10 other properties in New Westminster topped $2.5 million, according to assessment values released January 4. Detached house prices will likely increase, because the sales-to-listing ratio hit 183% in December, among the highest in Metro Vancouver, because only 12 new listings hit the market in the month. Total listings of all properties in December were down 53% compared to November 2021 and down 9% compared to December 2020, but the sales-to-listing ratio is 164%. 

Coquitlam: Total housing sales fell 25% in December from a month earlier, to 216, but a lack of inventory drove the composite benchmark home price up 2% in the same period to $1,162,400. Detached house prices were up 25.1% from a year earlier to $1,616,200, while townhouse prices shot up 23% to $904,500. Total new listings for all properties in December were down 52% compared to November 2021 and down 27% compared to December 2020, as the sales-to-listing ratio hit 140%.
 
Port Moody: This market is experiencing some of the highest price increases in Greater Vancouver. The benchmark condo price in December was $767,600, up 16.9% from year earlier and the typical detached house sold for $1,948,800, 24% higher than in December of last year and by far the highest price in the Tri-Cities.

Total sales in December were down 33%, year-over-year, to 52 units, and active listings fell to just 97 homes, compared to 155 at the end of 2020. The result is a sales success ratio of 133%, meaning virtually every new listing is selling. The bottom-line numbers, there were only 19 townhouses and 22 apartments available for sale.

Port Coquitlam: For now, this is the most affordable of the Tri-Cities, with a composite benchmark home price of $988,800 in December. There are no big housing developments planned for 2022, but a number of civic projects, including a downtown upgrade and a civic centre makeover are underway. More housing supply is badly needed, though, as the total inventory is down to two-weeks and the sales-to-listing ratio is a sizzling 162% with 4 townhouses and 17 apartments available. An idea of the price direction in Port Coquitlam is the December sale of a 1.2-acre rental building downtown that sold for $18.2million.

Ladner: Total housing sales in December were 21 – down 49% from November 2021, and 39% below December 2020. Active Listings were at 33 (with only 1 townhouse and 3 apartments) at month end compared to 66 at that time last year and 50 at the end of November. New listings in December were down 70% compared to November 2021 and down 60% compared to December 2020. The composite home price has surged 25% from a year ago to $1,103,000 and the typical townhouse price is up 26% to $826,100.
 
Tsawwassen: Detached house prices are up 28.2% from a year ago and rose 3.3% from a month earlier to reach $1,525,300, understandable as total housing sales are running at sales to listing ratio of 215%. Active Listings were at 68 at month end compared to 176 at that time last year and 97 at the end of November.
 
Pitt Meadows: Total Units Sold in December were 33 – up from 32 (3%) in November 2021, down from 34 (3%) in October 2021, up from 26 (27%) in December 2020, up from 27 (22%) in December 2019; Active Listings were at 29 at month end compared to 47 at that time last year and 37 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 36% compared to November 2021, up 20% compared to December 2020 and up 115% compared to December 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 117% compared to 72% in November 2021, 130% in December 2020 and 207% in December 2019. The shocking numbers: 16 detached homes, 8 townhouses and 2 apartments were available at year end.
 
Maple Ridge: Total Units Sold in December were 159 – down from 198 (20%) in November 2021, down from 187 (15%) in October 2021, down from 214 (26%) in December 2020, up from 130 (22%) in December 2019; Active Listings were at 143 at month end compared to 371 at that time last year and 235 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 50% compared to November 2021, down 33% compared to December 2020 and up 4% compared to December 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 145% compared to 90% in November 2021, 129% in December 2020 and 123% in December 2019.

 

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Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Condos alone can’t meet buyer demand


Sales of condominium apartments accounted for 53 per cent of all housing sales in Greater Vancouver in November 2021, with a 33.3% surge in transactions compared to November of 2020, but the record-setting sales pace may underline desperation in the market.

In the Fraser Valley, November sales of condo apartments were up 42.8% from November of 2020 and the benchmark price was up 21.7 per cent compared to November 2020.


We suspect more buyers are opting for a condo apartment because there is simply such little choice amidst unprecedented low inventory across all of Metro Vancouver. As well, apartments attract more investors than other sectors of the housing market, which further reduces the inventory. This is seen in pre-sales of new condo projects, in both Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

At least six new condo projects in Surrey, for example, completely pre-sold a total of 1,400 new condos since the summer. One high-rise project in central Surrey pre-sold 365 condos in a single weekend in mid-November.

Metro Vancouver saw 15 new condo projects, with a total of 2,525 units, released in October and this was followed by 1,796 pre-sale condos released in 13 projects in November. Yet Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports that, even with 25,000 new condos under construction across Metro Vancouver, there were less than 1,500 condo units unsold as of November 1, the lowest level in three years.

As the demand increased, the price of the most affordable housing option has risen in step. As of November, the benchmark price for a resale apartment in Greater Vancouver was $752,800, up 11.1% from November of last year and 0.9% higher than in October 2021. In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark price for a apartment is now $530,400.

The average pre-sale price for a new condo in Metro Vancouver is now $1,050 to $1,150 per square foot, based on recent pre-sales. This means that a typical one-bedroom 480-square foot new condo costs around $500,000, and this average holds steady throughout most Metro Vancouver suburbs. Investors and owner-occupiers continue to buy due to expectations that prices will be even higher in the months and years ahead, which does appear certain due to the stubbornly low inventory.

The housing supply issue in Metro Vancouver is seriously out of whack with market demand. We have seen recent municipal and provincial government attempts to increase supply, but it is too little and too late to correct the current shortage any time soon.

Across Greater Vancouver the total inventory of homes for sale is stuck at a two month’s supply while the sales-to-listing ratio is running at 83% on average and cresting at over 100% in many markets.

With December looming, a month when listings traditionally fall to the lowest level of the year, Greater Vancouver will likely see the smallest ever inventory of homes to begin a New Year. The lowest we’ve seen at the start of a year is at 6,200 active listings. We will likely have less than 6,000 at the end of December which would translate into less than 5,000 active listings in Greater Vancouver when 2022 starts, after all the expired listings come and go at the end of December.

To put this in perspective, over the last six years, the average number of active listings to finish the year has been 8,440 while in the previous 20 years it’s been 12,015 homes.

If you have considered selling any type of property, list now and prepare for offers. If you need to wait until after the seasonal holidays, list early in January.

 
Highlights of the November 2021 house market:

 

Highest year-over-year detached house price increase in Greater Vancouver: Maple Ridge, up 34.1%
Biggest year-over-year detached house sales drop: Surrey, down 33.1%
Most expensive condo market: West Vancouver ($1.16 million)
Least expensive condo market: Surrey ($433,000)
Average sales-to-listing ratio, Greater Vancouver: 87%

 
 

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: A total of 3,492 homes sold in November 2021, virtually unchanged (up 1%) from October but 15% higher than in November 2020. Active listings, however, crashed to 7,570 homes, down from 11,716 in November of last year. Here is a snapshot example of what is happening: New listings continue to decline as they have for months, slipping a further 2% from October to November. The month’s supply of total residential listings is still at two month’s (seller’s market conditions) and the overall sales to listings ratio is at 87% compared to 86% in October 2021 and 75% in November 2020. The composite home price in Greater Vancouver is now $1,211,200. This represents a 16% increase over November 2020 and a 1% increase compared to October 2021.
 
Vancouver Westside: A total of 647 homes of all types sold in the Westside in November, up 38% from November of 2020 and 9% higher than in October 2021.
New listings in November were down 11% compared to October 2021, but up 8% compared to November 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio is 75% compared to 61% in October 2021 and 59% in November 2020. The price of detached houses on the Westside is slowly declining. The benchmark price of the 100 detached houses sold in November was $3,413,800, down 1% from October and tracking down about 1% over the past six months. The benchmark townhouse price is now $1,296,900, unchanged from a month earlier and up 12.7% from November of last year. The benchmark price for a Westside condo apartment in November was $835,500, 9.6% higher than in November 2020. With more inventory on Vancouver’s Westside, it’s keeping prices more in check compared to other areas. Funny, more supply does help keep prices down.
 
Vancouver East Side: The City of Vancouver claims it is speeding up residential building permit approvals. As an example, the city claims that it should now take 12 weeks less time to get a permit for a new house to be built. As a comparison, Surrey, which is the second largest B.C. city, guarantees that will take no more than 12 weeks for new house building permit to be approved. In Vancouver it can still take seven years for a permit for a new condo or townhouse development to work through the city process. Meanwhile, housing demand is increasing and supply is falling. Total East Side housing sales in November reached 385, up 6% from November 2020, but active listings were down to 921 homes, compared to 1,232 in November of last year. With the overall sales to listing ratio at 76%, there is now just a two-month supply of homes on the East Side. As a result, the benchmark detached house price in November was $1,744,700, up 20% from a year ago; the typical townhouse now sells for $1,070,700, up 18.8%, year-over-year; and the benchmark condo price is now $639,600 and has been rising by 1% month-over-month this year in this seller’s market.
 
 
North Vancouver: The benchmark price of a detached house this November in North Vancouver was $1,955,300, up 17% from a year ago, but for 88 house owners in central Lonsdale, detached house prices may soon be rising faster. That’s because the City of North Vancouver ruled on November 15 to upzone the 300 block (St. Andrews and Ridgeway avenues) from East 15th to East 19th Streets for duplexes. Even higher density zoning, to include row houses, is being eyed for the area. This plan has been in the works for seven years. Under the change, the 88 lots can be converted to duplexes without going through the usual time-consuming zoning process. It is a start, at least. So far this year, no townhouses have been approved to start in North Vancouver city and there are only 27 under construction in the entire city. Meanwhile, there were only 40 new listings for townhouses in all of North Vancouver City and District in November and there were 42 sales, resulting in a sales-to-listing ratio was 105%, meaning every townhouse listing is selling. I know we keep beating the same drum, but when will municipalities realize that more housing supply is desperately needed?
 
West Vancouver: While overall housing sales were down in November, with the 81 transactions off 10% from both October 2021 and from November 2020, West Vancouver also posted a dubious award: provincial data shows West Vancouver homeowners will pay the fourth-highest speculation and vacancy tax in the province for 2020, at $5.9 million. The onerous speculation tax is supposed to lower both the rental vacancy rate and the price of housing. There is no evidence of either since the tax was introduced, in fact it appears to have had the exact opposite effect. The composite home price in West Vancouver was up 12% from a year ago, at $2,552,100 in November. A lack of supply may cause prices to increase: new listings in November were down 30% compared to October 2021 and the sales-to-listing ratio is at 70% compared to 54% a month earlier.
 
Richmond: How time and opportunity slip away. In November, nearly nine years after a plan was first discussed, the City of Richmond has booted a proposal for a large residential development in the Capstan area – 1,300 homes – for further discussion. The developer has already agreed to save more trees, add more rentals and pay $205,000 for an “owl and hawk hunting area.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for a new townhouse or condo in the that area, despite the intense demand. In November, a total of 481 homes sold in Richmond, up 43% from November of 2020, but the total active listings plunged to 997 homes, down from 1,637 at that time last year and 1,155 at the end of October 2021. With just a two-month supply on the market, the sales-to-listing ratio is a startling 94%. The current composite home price in Richmond is $1,116,200, up 16.3% from November of last year. We fully expect Richmond home prices to increase as the supply dwindles.
 
Ladner: Okay, I know we have heard this before, but Ladner may actually be moving towards completing a downtown makeover plan – discussed for decades and in planning for two years – that would increase density and encourage redevelopment of the waterfront. In November the city gave preliminary approval for projects of up to six storeys. A public hearing on the plan is set for December 14, starting at 6 p.m. In November, 41 homes sold in Ladner, up 8% from October, but new listings fell 20% in the same period. There is about a one-month supply of homes on the market, and the sales-to-listing ratio is at a remarkable 103%. The composite home price was $1,077,700 in November, 23.5% higher than in November 2020.
 
Tsawwassen: The benchmark price of a Tsawwassen detached house in November was up 26.8% from a year earlier to $1,476,700, which is also 5.5% higher than just three months ago, one of the higher price increases in Greater Vancouver. Townhouse prices have shot up 13.4% year-over-year, to $872,500, which is higher than in Burnaby or New Westminster. This underlines the price parity we noted last month that may be keeping new listing in check. At one time, a seller could cash out of home in Burnaby or Vancouver and be confident of buying for much less in areas like South Delta. Also, a first-time buyer would look to the outer suburbs for more affordable homes to get onto the real estate ladder. But today, home prices are quite similar across all of Metro Vancouver. Like many suburbs, the law of supply and demand is driving Tsawwassen prices higher. With new listings down 14% in November from a month earlier, the sales-to-listing ratio was 106% and multiple offers have become common.
 
 
Burnaby East: It was more expensive to buy a condo apartment in Burnaby East than a townhouse this November, a rarity in Greater Vancouver. I suspect it is because of a lack of townhouse sales in a market where there is only a one month’s supply of homes on the market, plus the recent resales of fairly new condos. In any case, the benchmark condo price in November was $742,400, while the townhouse benchmark was $704,400. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is 85%, creating a seller’s market in Burnaby East.
 
Burnaby North: The benchmark price of a North Burnaby detached house has increased about $238,000 over the past year to a November benchmark of $1,769,000. And yes, we are still seeing multiple offers on prime houses in this strong seller’s market. Total sales in November were 185 homes, up 19% from November 2020, but the total active listings were down to 322, compared to 439 at the same time last year. The sales to listing ratio is running at 84%, up from 63% in November 2020. Burnaby North is a very strong condo market, due to the ongoing Brentwood area developments, with the benchmark condo price in November at $738,300, 11.1% higher than a year ago.
 
Burnaby South: Total housing sales in November reached 225 transactions, up 42% from November of last year and virtually unchanged from October 2021. Active listings were at 358 at month end compared to 669 at the same time last year, and 438 at the end of October 2021. New listings in November were down 2% compared to October 2021.The sales-to-listing ratio was 100% in both November and in October, showing that supply is not close to meeting demand. Townhouses are posting the strongest price growth, increasing an average of 2% per month for the last six month to reach $772,600 in November.
 
New Westminster: One potential developer has been waiting six years for a small townhouse development to achieve zoning through New Westminster’s approval process. Another, a rental project which even the mayor said “checks all the boxes,” was dissuaded from proceeding in November because city staff are concerned the site “is problematic from a livability perspective.” Meanwhile, only 12 new townhouses have been completed in New Westminster this year and, of the 16 condo apartments completed, there is only one that has been “unabsorbed”, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. There are 1,522 apartments under construction in the Royal City, but most will not complete until 2023 since 1,200 of them just started this year, and many of which are rentals. What is badly needed is strata townhouses. In November there were only 17 new listings for townhouses, but the sales-to-listing ratio was 142% due to 24 sales. As a result, the median price of a townhouse has soared $120,000 from a year ago to $854,000 this November. New Westminster currently has only a one month’s supply of all types of housing and the over sales-to-listing ratio is running at 99%.
 
Coquitlam: With total listings down nearly 50% in November, to 383, compared to the same month a year earlier and down from 430 at the end of October 2021, even Coquitlam is facing a housing shortage. This is reflected in prices in a market where the November sales-to-listing ratio was a high 89% and touched 110% in October. The benchmark condo price is up 14.2% year-over-year to $607,000; the typical townhouse is transacting at $890,100, up 22.2% from the same time last year; and detached house price are 24% higher to $1,577,900.
 
Port Moody: A flashpoint for the development community is close to ignition in Port Moody, where a major developer is apparently prepared to walk away from a large multi-family development because of repeated delays and changes from the city. The overall plan, more than two years in the works, involves replacing 58 detached houses that were assembled for a new development with hundreds of condos and townhouses. Meanwhile, total active listings have fallen about 40% from a year ago to just 125 homes in November. There is an estimated two-month’s supply on the market and the overall sales-to-listing ratio has been over 84% for two months. The composite price for a Port Moody home was up 16.6% from a year ago at $1,086,700 in November.
 
Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales in Port Coquitlam reached 127 homes in November, up 6% from a month earlier and 25% higher than in November 2020. Active listings were at 107 at the end of November, compared to 199 at that time last year and 138 at the end of October; new listings in November were down 13% compared to October 2021. Once by far the most affordable TriCity community, Port Coquitlam’s detached house price, at a benchmark of $1,323,500 in November, is narrowing the gap with Coquitlam and Port Moody, after increasing 27.3% from a year earlier. Based on its 111% sales-to-listing ratio, there is only a one-month supply of homes on the Port Coquitlam market.
 
 
Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows is still relatively affordable for home buyers, but only in relation to the rest of Metro Vancouver. Just three years ago the benchmark detached house price in Pitt Meadows was $702,000. This November it was $1,310,200. This may help explain why total sales in November were down 30% from the same month a year ago and 6% lower than in October 2021. New listings increased 13% in November from a month earlier, but total active listings, at just 37, are 40% lower than a year ago. The sales-to-listing ratio calmed to 72% compared to 106% in October 2021, but this remains a seller’s market.
 
 
Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge holds the distinction of posting the highest detached house price increase in Greater Vancouver, with the November benchmark price up 34.1% from a year earlier to $1,204,000.The entire Maple Ridge market is quite active, with November sales of 198 homes up 6% from a month earlier and 12% above the pace in November 2020. While total active listing are 55% lower than a year ago, new listings in November were up an encouraging 27% compared to October 2021. Yet, with the sales-to-listing ratio at 90% in November and 109% in October, prices may be forced higher.
 
Surrey: Speaking of price parity, the benchmark price of a detached house in Surrey in November was $1,557,900 after increasing 34.7% from a year earlier. But, and we have to blame the spike in prices, sales of detached houses plunged 33.1% in the same period and have remained static at around 320 sales for the last three months. Townhouses have seen the same trajectory, with year-over-year prices up 30.3% and sales falling by 20%. Lovely as Surrey is, when property prices begin to challenge suburban markets closer to Vancouver, it appears buyer resistance sets in. The outlier is Surrey condos, which are priced at a benchmark of $433,000 – far lower than in Greater Vancouver where the condo price is now $752,000. Surrey condo sales soared 52.5% in November, to 305 transactions, compared to November 2020. I would suggest that many first-time buyers and investors are being drawn to Surrey’s condo market.

 

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Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Suburban safety valves close as prices rise in step


The shocking shortage of homes for sale across Metro Vancouver has had the unsettling effects of levelling residential prices and stunting supply from Burrard Inlet to well south of the Fraser River. The suburban safety valves for those seeking more affordable homes have nearly vanished.


The price gap between the average home price in Greater Vancouver and the eastern Fraser Valley was once a canyon: today it is a creek.

In October 2019, just three years ago, the composite home price difference between Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley was $272,500. This October that had narrowed to less than $150,000. In the detached housing market, it now costs nearly the same to buy a house in North Burnaby ($1.74 million) or East Vancouver ($1.71 million) as in South Surrey-White Rock, where the October benchmark was $1.76 million. A house in Langley ($1.45 million) is higher than in New Westminster or Port Coquitlam and within $50,000 of a detached house in East Burnaby.

The composite benchmark price in Chilliwack in October, at $800,000, was higher than in New Westminster ($749,200); and within $200,000 of most of the Tri-Cities market.

This price-gap shrinkage is the result of and a key reason for the current lack of new listings on the Metro Vancouver market. In the misty past – like 36 months ago – Greater Vancouver homebuyers could count on selling and downsizing to a smaller, pleasant Fraser Valley community and pocketing a healthy premium. First-time buyers would start their real estate ascension buying in the eastern Valley and, if desired, leverage up to a place in Greater Vancouver.

Now, though, many homeowners are reluctant to list because their exit strategy has been blocked. It is difficult to downsize or upgrade to a place 30 or 60 kilometres away when the home prices are nearly identical or you are you don’t feel you will be able to find a home to purchase.
The effect has been devastating.

In October, Greater Vancouver saw 3,455 homes sell but only 4,120 new listings were added to the market. With an 86% sale- to-listings ratio in the month, nearly every listing that came on the market sold – and in some areas like Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Tsawwassen, there were more sales in the month than there were new listings.

In the Fraser Valley in October there were 1,938 total sales and a mere 2,188 new listings. That is a sales-to-listing ratio of 88.5%.

Will there be any properties for sale on the Metro Vancouver market by the end of 2021? At the rate of decline in the number of active listings, it would seem we could very well run out. For years, there’s been a concentrated, coordinated push by all three levels of government to hold back housing demand. But now we’re left with a complete lack of supply, the lowest levels ever recorded at this time of year.

Maybe one day we’ll stop saying how low the number of active listings is and that each month won’t be setting a record for how low they are. Likely not in the near term though. At the end of October there were 8,492 active listings available for sale in Greater Vancouver, which was less than the 9,728 active listings at the end of September. Sales for the month, however, were up 11% from September and 22.4% above the 10-year October average.

In the Fraser Valley, there were just 3,447 active listings in October, down a stunning 49.8% from October 2020 and nearly 10% lower than in September 2021. But total sales were the third-highest for October on record, 18.2% higher than in October of last year and nearly 5% higher than in September 2021. 

As we have seen for some months, year-over-year condominium apartment sales in October tracked above last year while detached and townhouse markets are showing less sales than in the same month a year ago.
Compared to October 2020, the number of apartment sales in October this year were up 14%, while townhouses were down 22% and detached home transactions down 18%. On the supply side, the number of new listings for detached homes in October was down 29% year over year with active listings down 24%, townhouse new listings were down 22% with active listings down 47% and apartment new listings down 25% and active listings down 38%.

And, unlike other years, we can’t expect a surge of new housing starts to provide the necessary inventory. Across all of Metro Vancouver, total starts as of September were down 37% from August to just 14,109 units ­– and 24% of these were rental units.
 

Highlights of the Metro Vancouver market October 2021

 

  • Communities with less than one-month inventory of homes: Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Ladner

  • Markets with sales-to-new-listing ratios higher than 100%: Coquitlam, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Sunshine Coast.

  • Biggest month-over-month detached house price increase: Pitt Meadows (up 4.6% from September.)

  • Biggest month-over-month detached house price decline: Vancouver West Side (down 1.3% from September).

  • Condominium sales as a percentage of the total market: 50%

 

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: There were a total of 3,545 residential transactions in October, up 11% from September 2021, but down 6% from October 2020. Active listings were at 8,492 at month end compared to 13,066 at that time last year and 9,728 at the end of September. New listings in October were down 22% compared to September 2021 and 28% lower when compared to October 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 months, signalling a strong seller’s market with a sales-to-listing ratio of 86%, compared to 60% a month earlier. The composite home price in October was $1,199,400, up 1.1% from a month earlier and 14.7% higher than in October 2020.
 
Fraser Valley: There were a total of 1,983 home sales in October, up 3.9% from a month earlier, but down 18.2% from October 2020. After rebounding slightly in September, new listings decreased in October. Only 2,188 new listings were added, a decrease of 29% compared to last year, and a decrease of 6.6% compared to September 2021. The month ended with a total active inventory of 3,447, which is a 9.6% decrease compared to September, and down 49.8% compared to October 2020. The average composite home price is now $1,053,635, up 2.8% from September 2021 and 24.6% higher than in October of last year.
 
Vancouver Westside: The October benchmark price of a Westside detached house was $3,450,000 and the composite home price was $1,365,300, which is double the Canada-wide composite average. Yet Westside detached house sales were up 31%, at 108 transactions, from September 2021 and total sales, at 595, were 7% higher, month over month. A lack of supply – new listings in October were down 21% from September – has had a counterintuitive effect on prices. The benchmark detached house price was down 1.3% from a month earlier and remained slightly lower (down 0.5%) from three months ago. Townhouse benchmark prices, at $1,300,300, have increased just 0.7% from August and the benchmark condo apartment price, at $823,300, is virtually unchanged from six months ago. The sales-to-new listing ratio for houses was 68%; it was 55% from townhouses and 61% for condo apartments, all up marginally from the monthly averages this year.
 
Vancouver East Side: More detached houses sold, 137, on the East Side of Vancouver in October than in any other sub-market in all of Greater Vancouver, including the West Side. The key reasons are price and potential. At a benchmark price of $1,717,400, East Side houses are less expensive than across Greater Vancouver and remain about half the price of homes west of Quebec Street. As for potential, the
City of Vancouver has new plan to scrapping the rezoning and public hearings for six-storey rental projects along arterial streets from Hastings-Sunrise to Dunbar, with most of the action expected on the East Side. This could encourage developers. The East Side will also soon have the new Broadway Corridor transit hubs; the $2 billion new St. Paul’s Hospital is underway and Mount Pleasant East is undergoing a high-tech job explosion, as is the emerging False Creek Flats. East Vancouver’s sales-to-listing ratio is running at 87% for both houses and townhouses, due to severe shortage of new listings, while 76% of new listings for condos sold in October. Its median condo price, with 178 sales in October, was $662,000.
 
North Vancouver: North Vancouver’s need for more housing supply is underlined by the sudden spike in school enrollment this year, with 440 more local students when schools opened in September compared to a year earlier. International student enrollment shot up to 531, though projections were for less than 380. This is enough students to fill two elementary schools. All these children and their parents need places to live but total new listings for detached houses in October were down about 40% from September to just 94 houses, and the sales-to-listing ratio was 100%. There was a slight uptick in townhouse listings, at 54, while new listings for condo apartments fell to 142 units, down from 224 a month earlier. The sales-to-listing ratio for condos hit 96%, the highest monthly level so far this year. The total supply of North Vancouver homes is down to 2 months, while the composite home price in October was up 0.5% from September, at $1,245,600. The benchmark detached house price led the increase, with a 1.4% month-to-month rise to $1,939,500.
 
West Vancouver: Attempts to build more multi-family strata supply in West Vancouver is mixed. A 68-unit condo project was recently approved at Taylor Wave and Marine Drive but a similar development on Bellevue Avenue was refused in mid-October. Only 24 strata homes have started this year. Meanwhile, the total supply of homes for sale is down to a 6-month inventory, as total new listings in October dropped 23% from a month earlier. West Vancouver posted 60 detached sales in October, up from 41 in September while the benchmark detached price increased 1.9% to $$3,201,200 and the sales success ratio hit 48%. Only 14 townhouses and 22 condo apartments were added to the market in October, created a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 64% and 86%, respectively for the sectors.
 
Richmond: Provincial legislation introduced in late October is meant to speed up residential developments at the municipal level, and Richmond could use such help to get more homes started. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 86% in October, Richmond has just 2 months of total housing inventory. October saw total sales increase 11% from September to 479 transactions. This was led by 243 sales of condo apartments, at a benchmark price of $731,100, a price up 0.9% from a month earlier. The benchmark detached house price in Richmond, at $1,950,600 in October, was unchanged from September. Sales of townhouses were up about 10% from September, to 117 transactions, while the benchmark townhouse price held steady at $961,200.
 
Burnaby East: Burnaby East is the most affordable of the Burnaby markets, with the October composite price at $1,099,000 and detached houses selling for $1,501,700, nearly unchanged from a month earlier. Total housing sales reached 44 in October, up 16% from September, but new listings were down 33% month-over-month and 47% below October 2020. The supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month with a sales to listings ratio of 133% in October compared to 78% in September 2021.
 
Burnaby North: Burnaby North could be the multiple-offer centre of Greater Vancouver as a 51% drop in new listings collided with a 16% increase in sales, month-over-month, in October. The result was predictable as eager buyers competed for scant opportunities. Strata prices are steadily rising and the composite home price, at $1,122,900, is now 11.7% higher than in October 2020.

There is an acute shortage of townhouses, seen in the average 1.1% price increase month-over-month this year, to an October benchmark of $841,500. Not a single new townhouse has started construction this year in North Burnaby and just 16 new townhouses under construction. Condo apartments dominate the market, selling for a benchmark of $733,200, up 4.4% from six months ago. More supply is coming, with 2,274 new condos under construction as of October 1. Detached house prices have levelled off at $1,743,700, up just 2% from six months earlier. The overall sales-to-listing ratio hit 102% in October in this strong seller’s market.
 
Burnaby South: Total October housing sales were up 25% from September to 228 transactions, while new listings were down 20% in the same period, a common story across the entire region. With a total inventory at a 2-month supply, the sales-to-listing ratio in October hit 100%, which is as tight as you can get. The composite home price in October was up 9.2% from a year earlier at $1,057,200.
 
New Westminster: The Royal City posted a 95% sales-to-listing ratio in October, compared to just 56% a month earlier, as sales increased 27% and new listings dropped 26% in the same period. The supply of total residential listings is down to 2 months. Prices continue to rise across the board, with detached houses up 1.3% from September at $1,364,600; townhouse prices up nearly 2% month-over-month to $$864,300; and the typical condo apartment selling for $568,000, 7.6% higher than a year ago and up 0.2% from September 2021.
 
Coquitlam: The City of Coquitlam has put a 4.4-acre townhouse site on the market, with RFO bids being accepted until November 10. Let’s hope some developer bites, because there were only 29 townhouses added to the MLS service in October while there were 34 townhouse sales, resulting in a 134% sales-to-listing ratio. The benchmark townhouse price is now $878,100, up 20.9% from the same month last year and they have been rising about 2% month-over-month since then. The housing shortage is being seen right across Coquitlam, with just 434 total active listings, down about 50% in October compared to October 2020. The resulting sales-to-listing ratio is 111%, which is unsustainable unless a fresh supply is added.
 
Port Moody: The City of Port Moody, which has earned a recent reputation as anti-development since 2018, appears to have seen the light, because it is running out of housing inventory which is driving prices higher. At $1,878,400 in October, detached house prices are nearly 24% higher than a year ago and among the highest of all suburban markets in Greater Vancouver. Strata prices are also rising, ascending an average of 14% over the past 12 months. The city is now hoping to increase strata supply and, as one city councillor put it “stop beating builders with a stick.” So far in 2021 only 28 townhouses have started construction in Port Moody, along with 378 condo apartments.
 
Port Coquitlam: This enclave of relative stability and affordability has been discovered, resulting in a 24% spike in sales in October, to 120 transactions, compared to a month earlier. The benchmark detached house is $1,289,000, the lowest price in the Tri-Cities market. The median condo apartment price, however, increased $40,000 from September to October when it reached $543,900. Total new listings in October were down 10% compared to September 2021, and 26% lower than in October 2020, which will increase price pressure. Port Coquitlam has a total inventory of just one month supply of homes, and the sales ratio is running at 92%, so buyers looking at this market should act quickly.
 
Pitt Meadows: After a year of quite strong sales, Pitt Meadows is running out of homes for sale, literally, which stalled total October sales at just 34 transactions, down 17% from September. There are just 34 active listings on the market, which means that virtually everything is selling. Detached house prices remain among the lowest in Greater Vancouver, but benchmark values are rising steadily and reached $1,268,000 this October, notching a 4.6% increase from September, the biggest month-over-month increase in Greater Vancouver. There is only a 1-month supply of listings and this could soon be lower as the sales-to-listing ratio is now running at 109%.
 
Maple Ridge: Total sales in October, at 182, were up 3% from September 2021 but down a stunning 36% from October 2020. The reason? Your guessed it: a supply shortage. New listings in October were down 26% compared to September 202, and 41% lower than in October 2020. We estimate, that with the current sales-to-listing ratio at 110%, the total inventory of listings could vanish in a month if the market remains unchanged. The detached house price jumped 2.3% from September to $1,176,600 and condo apartment values increased the same, to $451,000, up nearly 25% from October 2020.
 
Ladner: Hundreds of Delta detached-house owners remain under the old land use contracts, but council is taking steps to end the contracts, which restrict what can be done with a property. Mostly created in the 1970s, land use contracts were signed at the time of a property's original subdivision and outline various development guidelines. All of the contracts are to expire in 2024, but if the Ladner house you are planning to buy is still under the old rules, it is possible to receive permission for such things as adding a secondary suite. Ladner saw a total of 38 home sales in October, unchanged from a month earlier, but the total new listings increased 11% from September, which is rare in the region. The composite home price was up 2.6% from September to $1,074,100 in October, while the detached house price was 2% higher, at $1,134,200.
 
Tsawwassen: With a sales-to-listing ratio of 112% in October, the housing supply is being threatened. In October, 64 homes sold, up 12% from September, but new listings were down 22% month over month. The typical detached house sold in October for $1,460,700, up 3.6% (yes, that is about $44,000) from September. There is 2-month supply of homes in this seller’s market.
 
Surrey: Remember when Surrey houses were super affordable compared to most markets north of the Fraser River? Those were the days. In October, with 363 detached-house sales, the Surrey benchmark house price was $1,507,400, which is close to values in Burnaby and Coquitlam. Surrey house prices are now 32% higher than in October 2020. Townhouse benchmark prices, at $746,400, are up 26% for the year and 2.6% higher than in September. Benchmark apartment prices are now $462,200 in Surrey, but are rising an average of 1.6% per month. But note that, as in Greater Vancouver, active listings are down sharply from a year ago.

 

Download October Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download October Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Election over but the effects will linger in Metro Vancouver

 

The federal election is over and those who think nothing has changed should prepare themselves for some of the most intrusive legislation ever into the private-sector housing market. It has never been more apparent that this much housing policy is a reaction to headlines and social media. Common sense is trumped by the need to appear to be doing something, anything, to get elected.


For instance, foreign home buyers – already subject in B.C. the highest taxes in the world – are now virtually a non-entity in the Metro Vancouver real estate market, in both the commercial and residential sectors. Yet, at the same time that the federal government wants to increase immigration to 400,000 persons per year, it plans to ban foreign purchases of Canadian homes for two years. This means that someone planning to move to Canada cannot buy and prepare a home for their family’s arrival until they achieve citizenship without paying perhaps a hefty tax. A family will also be penalized if they purchase an apartment for their foreign student in Vancouver. Please come but don’t touch.

Then there is the plan to reduce the cost of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. insurance by 25 per cent while increasing the ceiling on eligible mortgages to $1.25 million, from $1 million.

Hello? This is clearly an inflationary measure, convincing more entry level buyers to purchase while doing nothing to increase affordability.
There is also the planned anti-flipping tax, which is politically palatable but a disincentive to increasing the much-needed supply of affordable strata homes or rentals. This is because land assembly of existing houses or strata windups is often the first step in multi-family development. These properties are, ideally, assembled and then sold within a year to speed the development process. Another layer of tax on homes bought and sold within 12 months will discourage development while adding higher costs to the resulting new strata or rental units.

Port Moody is among the markets that could be hurt. A large new residential development approved for the city’s Coronation Park area – updated in September to now include 2,650 strata units and a rent-to-own program– spurred single-family land assemblies in the area for higher-density homes, such as badly-needed townhouses. In September, only 19 townhouses were added to Port Moody listings, and 14 of them sold. A mere 28 new townhouse units have started construction in Port Moody for all of this year.

Port Moody has a dramatic shortage, but there is a pressing need for middle-market housing right across Greater Vancouver. In September the total active listings for townhouses was less than 1,100 units, down nearly 50 per cent from the same period a year ago. In fact, the total number of residential listings in Greater Vancouver hasn’t been this low in September going back to 1993 and beyond.

So what to do? As always, keep calm and carry on. Responsible people want and need to buy a home for their family’s comfort and financial security and will continue to do so, regardless of the barriers to their destination.
 

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2021

 

• Province eases regulations on ALR land
• Land assemblies increase in East Vancouver, suburbs
• Active listings plunge nearly 50% in the Fraser Valley
• West Side, West Vancouver tilting towards a buyer’s advantage

 
 
Greater Vancouver market summary: Total residential sales in Greater Vancouver in September were 3,200, down from 3,714 in September of 2020, but slightly higher than the 3,178 sold in August 2021. While not a spectacular month for sales, likely a reflection of the lower selection, September sales were 20% above the 10-year average for this month while the number of new listings was 1% below the 10-year average.

Year over year, condo apartment sales are tracking above September 2020, while detached and townhouse sales are slowing. Compared to September 2020, the number of condo apartment sales this year were up 1%, while townhouse transactions were down 20% and detached homes 27% lower.

It is no coincidence that the sector with the highest supply – condo apartments – is also seeing the highest sales increase. The slowdown in the townhouse and detached-housing markets in September can be traced to a lack of inventory in both sectors.

Overall average residential prices are lower now than at peak prices in April across Greater Vancouver, but there are variations among markets. The average home price in September was $1,174,305, compared to $1,211,233 in April of this year, when sales had hit more than 5,000 transactions for the second straight month.
 
Fraser Valley market summary: Sales in the Fraser Valley were down 10.6% in September from August, but the total of 1,866 transactions was still the second-highest September in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s 100-year history. September, however, ended with a total active inventory of 3,812 homes, down 48.3% compared to September 2020, which drove prices higher across the board. Average prices for single-family detached houses were up 31% from a year earlier and 1.8% higher than in August, to $1,491,989. Townhouse average prices were $773,728, up nearly 5% from August and 27.6% above September 2020. The Valley-wide condo price was $493,188, up 15.6% from September 2020 but virtually unchanged (up 0.7%) from August of 2021.
 
Vancouver Westside: Despite a 4% dip in total sales from August, September’s 567 total transactions were up 6% from a year earlier and the West Side saw a welcome influx of new listings. Total new listings were up 36% from a month earlier and active listings reached 2,554 properties, the vast majority of them condo apartments. The headline news for the trend-setting Westside, however, is that the total supply is now at 5 months, which is tilting it from a seller’s market to a balanced, even hinting at a buyer’s market for the first time in years.

The detached housing market, however, received only 220 new listings in September – up by just 40 from a month earlier – and the average house price settled at $3,573,268, down about $90,000 from both August of this year and September 2021. The sales to listing ratio was 37%, the lowest level since May and the lowest September ratio since 2019. If the active listings and sales of detached houses continue at the same pace, there is a 9-month supply on the market, which signals a buyer’s market. For those aspiring to a detached house on the Westside, this may be the time to take action.

Townhouse prices, at an average of $1,662,908, however, were $270,000 higher than in September 2020 and up $73,000 from August of this year. There were 66 townhouse sales in September from total new listings of 116, creating a sales-to-listing ratio of 57%, compared to 86% a month earlier. The lack of inventory is keeping prices high, resulting in some frustrated buyers retreating from the market.

Westside condominium apartment sales present a different story. With 892 new listings added in September and a total of 1,579 condos now on the market, the average price dipped slightly from August, down about $5,000 to $957,893 for the 416 sales in September. Condo sales were down slightly from August, and September’s sales-to-listing ratio of 47% was well off the monthly pace this year and indicative of the cooling market we are seeing this autumn across most of Greater Vancouver. Perhaps that’s why CMHC’s risk report put Vancouver at low compared to high in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax and Moncton.
 
Vancouver East: Regular readers will know my belief that Vancouver East is the current and housing market of the future in Greater Vancouver. September emphasized that confidence. Sales in the month surged 25% from August and new listings were up 47%. The result was a great selection and a sales-to-listing ratio of 58%. There is a 3-month supply of inventory in East Vancouver as this strong seller’s market continues.

Vancouver East detached houses, I believe, present good value. The average detached house price in September was $1,846,657. This is lower than the North Shore, Richmond and most of Burnaby, and a startling $1.6 million less than in neighbouring West Side. But none of these markets have the new St. Paul’s hospital underway, the rapidly-growing tech sector or the coming SkyTrain twin-subway extension seen in East Vancouver. Take a drive through Mount Pleasant or visit the 450-acre False Creek Flats north of Great Northern Way to see where Vancouver’s future is heading. East Vancouver detached house owners should be aware that land assemblies will become a major factor in this market over the next few years, if not months.

East Vancouver had 187 townhouses for sale in September, the highest inventory seen in most Greater Vancouver markets. September townhouse sales, at 75, were up 92% from August and the average sale price of $1,258,332 was the highest level this year, and $120,000 above September 2020. The sales-to-new-listing ratio held steady at 53%, close to the average since May of this year.

Condo apartment sales in East Vancouver, at 115 in September, were up from 97 in August but lower than the monthly average this year. With 224 new listings, the sales ratio was 51%, the lowest since January. Despite this, the average condo price reached $808,000, up $34,000 from August and $100,000 higher than a year earlier.
 
North Vancouver: Total housing sales were up 9% in September from a month earlier, to 230 homes, which was 30% higher than in September 2020. Active listings were up from August, with a 70% surge in new listings to a total of 507 homes for sale at the end of September. With a mere 2-month supply, North Vancouver is very much a seller’s market.
Detached houses sales, at 70, were the highest in three months and the average detached house price in September was $2,227,213,the highest level this year and up a startling $435,000 from September 2020. The sales ratio for detached houses was 53% with 144 new listings added to the market in the month.

City-centre detached owners should watch for land assembly action that has started near the massive civic redevelopment planned for the Harry Jerome community centre in Central Lonsdale. The new complex won’t complete until 2025. The city does not allow higher-density zoning in the area today, but some developers are assembling lots in anticipation of future potential such as townhouse zoning.

North Vancouver townhouse listings added just 46 units to the market in September and new listings have not reached 50 townhouses a month since May. Sales in September, at 35, resulted in a 76% sales ratio. The average North Vancouver townhouse sold for $1,332,543, up $195,000 from September 2020, reflecting the high demand and low inventory.

Condominium apartment sales dominated the September market, with 115 sales, but the sales-to-new-listing ratio dropped to 51%, the lowest level this year. The average condo price is now $808,207, up more than $100,000 from a year ago.
 
West Vancouver: One of the most prestigious markets in Canada is moving towards a buyer’s market with an 8-month supply of homes on the market, but buyers still pay premium prices. The average sale price of the 41 detached houses sold in September was $3,536,476. This price is up 13% from a year ago, but below the monthly average this year. With a total of 440 detached houses for sale, there is healthy selection and buyers can take advantage. There were only 11 new listings for townhouses in September and 10 of them sold at a benchmark price of $1,292,000. There were 20 condo apartment sales, unchanged from August, at a benchmark of $1,162,000, up 5.5% from a month earlier.
 
Richmond: Richmond housing sales and listings were down in September, rather dramatically, with sales dropping 32% compared to a year earlier and total active listings down nearly 50% year-over-year to just 320 properties, yet strata prices are soaring. September townhouse prices broke the $1 million average-price barrier for the first time in Richmond as 90% of the 107 new listings sold. Richmond has only a 2-month supply of townhouses in a white-hot seller’s market.

Condo sales led Richmond’s September action, with 230 transactions and 584 active listings, with average condo prices up nearly $100,00 from a month earlier at $641,218.

Detached houses posted 106 sales from 184 new listings in September, and the average price was down slightly from August, at $1,935,761.
There is a buzz in Richmond due the easing of rules regarding the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR). The province recently ruled that smaller farms (100 acres or less) can add a secondary residence, if approved by the local municipality. Richmond has many small ALR parcels, many less than an acre, and the ruling may increase their attraction to buyers. The changes, which come in December 31, 2021, represent a slight opening in restrictions that have limited residential use on about 150,000 acres of ALR land in Metro Vancouver for 45 years.
 
Ladner: Forget for a moment that a gigantic 8-lane replacement for the Massey Tunnel is coming to its doorstep or that the City of Ladner launched a program in September that is unapologetic about aiming to attract higher-density residential development. Instead, think of living in an historic riverside community with startling real estate potential. A lot of people have: 84% of the new listings in Ladner sold in September – a sales ratio that has held steady for months - and total sales were up 9% from August, to 38 transactions. Detached houses sold in September at a benchmark in the $1.3 million range, but Ladner has been posting among the highest month-over-month price increases over the past six months. Something is stirring in sunny Ladner.
 
Tsawwassen: Ladner’s neighbouring Tsawwassen saw total sales dip 23% in September from a month earlier and its sales-to-new-listing ratio is also more subdued 78%, down from 112% in August. Active listings have plunged, with 133 this September compared to 308 at the same time last year. Detached-house prices are benchmarked at $1,409,800, 7% from six months ago but unchanged (up 0.3%) from August 2021. Tsawwassen townhouses are in high demand, even at the current benchmark price of $856,000.
 
Burnaby East: Total housing sales reached 38 units, not much changed from a month or a year earlier. Total active listings also held steady, though low, at 83 per month for two months straight. Townhouses supplied the drama in September as the sales-to-new-listing ratio hit 131% due to a mere 13 new listings compared to 17 sales. The average townhouse price shot up to record high of $1,006,000 as a result. The overall sales-to-new-listing ratio for all homes is 78%, as the housing shortage becomes apparent in this seller’s market.
 
Burnaby North: This market has seen a lot of new housing starts over the past three years, but most have been condos, not townhouses, which remain in high demand. In September, 31of the 36 new listings for townhouses sold and a lack of inventory is all that is keeping sales in check. Multiple offers are still common here, as the average townhouse price jumped $50,000 in a single month to $956,712 in September. The detached-housing action was more subdued with a 62% sales-to-new-listing ratio, and the 32 detached sales seeing an average price of $1,782,633, the lowest monthly level since January 2021. The condo apartment market posted 125 sales, highest in four months, at an average price of $681,673, with a sales-success ratio of 66%.
 
Burnaby South: Home prices in Burnaby South have barely budged in three months and sales, while historically high, where down 8% in September from August. The composite benchmark home prices is just over $1 million as it has been since the early summer. The overall housing inventory is steady at a 3-month’s supply and the sales-to-listing ratio is also solid at 64 per cent in September. This is a seller’s market, and a stable one.
 
New Westminster: The Royal City was one of the hottest markets earlier this year, but the pace slowed in September, with overall housing sales down 10% in as compared to August and new listings up 42% in the same period, resulting in a 52% sales-to-listing ratio, which is about as balanced as it gets. In August, the same ratio was 80%. An opportunity could be opening in the New Westminster detached housing market, with the sales ratio down to 35% in September, the lowest since mid-2020, and the average price tracking down to $1,333,614. There is a six-month supply of detached houses on the market – 81 houses – which is trending towards a buyer’s advantage.
 
Coquitlam: Coquitlam saw total sales dip 13% in September, to 247, compared to a month earlier and were 19% lower than in the same month last year, while the supply of homes is increasing. There are 577 total active listings, up from 551 in August, though they are down about 40% from a year ago. The condo sector posted a 76% sales-to-new-listing ratio to lead the market, with 133 sales at an average price of $634,777, the highest level of any month this year. Townhouse sales dipped to 37 units, down from a three-month average of 48, but 74% of the new listings sold at an average price of $955,854. September saw 74 detached-house sales, the lowest level this year, and average price, at $1,599,752, has been fairly constant since the start of the year.
 
Port Moody: Port Moody has been flirting with a housing boom for three years, with plenty of plans for new development but a lack of actual construction. That could change over the next few months and the supply would be welcomed. There were only 158 active listings in September and that included only 14 new listings for townhomes and just 50 condo apartments available for sale. The sale-to-listing ratio is in the 75% range for both strata sectors. The planned new developments, including the 2,500 homes planned for the Coronation Park area, has increased interest in single-family lot assemblies. The average detached-house price in September was $1,736,346 and 80% of the 30 new listings sold.
 
Port Coquitlam: Good, stable Port Coquitlam saw a total of 97 home transactions in September, unchanged from August 2021 and up 15% from the same month a year ago. New listings increased 25% from a month earlier and the sales-to-listing ratio was a steady 64%, meaning a seller’s market. More detached house listings are needed, because all 34 new listings in September sold. Unlike many markets, more detached houses sell in Port Coquitlam each month than townhouses or condos. Note to first-time buyers, though: the average price for a Port Coquitlam condo is now $495,000, among the lowest in Greater Vancouver.
 
Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows is a small housing market and it is among the tightest for supply in Metro Vancouver. The total inventory of homes for sale is down to a 1-month supply as sales leaped 71% in September from a month earlier. There are only 47 active listings, compared to 100 at this time last year. Detached house prices are 6% higher than six months ago, at an average of $1,212,000, and average townhouse prices have risen 12.2% in the same period to $759,000. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is a stunning 93%. If you want to buy in Pitt Meadows, better hurry before all the listings have disappeared.
 
Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge has been attracting many buyers from Vancouver and the inner suburbs this year due to its lower prices and increasingly sophisticated new strata housing. In September, buyers were purchasing detached houses for a benchmark of $1.2 million and condo apartments for $441,000, the lowest prices in any Metro market north of the Fraser River, save for neighbouring Pitt Meadows. There is only a 2-month supply of total residential listings and sales to listings ratio in September was 84%, an indication that Maple Ridge could see a continual elevation in home prices.
 
Surrey: Anyone fortunate enough to take a tour from South Surrey’s Crescent Beach to Central Surrey’s high-rise downtown would have to admit this city on pace to surpass Vancouver as the biggest metropolis in B.C. About 1,000 new business open every year in Surrey and 1,000 people move in every month. In September, 308 detached houses sold in Surrey at an average price of $1,606,000, a price up 28.6% from a year earlier and 2.7% higher than in August 2021. But Surrey is suffering from a lack of listings, with detached listings down as much as 50% and active listings for townhouses down 64% in north Surrey and 40% in South Surrey-White Rock from a year ago. Even condo listings have fallen up to 40% in key markets like Central Surrey and North Surrey, though condo prices remain relatively affordable across Surrey at an average of $485,000 in September. But if even forward-looking Surrey is facing a shortage of housing, you know something must be done to increase the supply across Metro Vancouver, or we will all be facing much higher prices in the near future.

 

Download September Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download September Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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