“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.

 

Download December Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download December Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

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.

 

Download November 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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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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Balanced market seen holding this summer

 

June housing sales in Greater Vancouver were down 11.4% from May to the lowest level since January this year as the market wilted in the record-setting heat. Yet, with 3,842 transactions in the month, it remained the eighth-highest June on record in Greater Vancouver.


More telling, perhaps, is the direction of prices, which increased just 0.2 per cent from May, the lowest month-over-month increase in at least a year. As June ended, the composite price of all homes sold in Greater Vancouver was $1,175,100. The value of detached houses sold was unchanged from a month earlier at $1,801,000.

But sharp eyes will notice an anomaly: outlying markets that had been posting the highest year-over-year price increases reported the biggest month-over-month decline in detached house prices in June.

Detached house prices on Bowen Island, which had soared 34% annually as of May, posted a 0.9% price decline in June compared to May. Whistler, where prices had jumped 38% from a year earlier, had prices drop 1.8% in June from a month earlier. Ladner prices fell 0.6% from May to June, after seeing an annual acceleration of 27%.


Across the Fraser Valley, total sales fell 24% from May to June and the average detached house price dropped by 4% month-over-month.


Meanwhile on Vancouver’s West Side – the epicenter of B.C. urbanity – the benchmark price of a detached house increased 2.2 per cent in June from May, the highest increase in Greater Vancouver.

We don’t think this is surprising, or a short-term trend. September is expected to welcome in the fourth and final phase of B.C.’s post-pandemic reopening. This means international borders will open, all businesses will be back in action and thousands of workers will return to the office. The big city will look increasingly tempting as hockey games open to crowds, major concerts tune up and Vancouver’s restaurants, pubs and theatres are open for business.

Expect to see home sales and prices, not just in Vancouver but across the entire region, continue to increase. The reason is quite simply the undeniable law of supply of demand.

From 2010 to 2020, B.C.’s population increased by 737,206 while only 316,510 housing units were built. In 2020, just 39,000 housing units were completed in B.C., up just 3% from 2019.

Some catch-up is taking place. In the first five months of this year, Metro Vancouver new home registrations were up 69% compared to the same period in 2020. About 18,000 new non-rental homes were registered in Metro Vancouver so far this year.

Still, with resale home sales averaging more than 4,000 per month and 50% of new-multi-family strata projects selling out – a pace of around 2,800 per month – supply is barely keeping pace with demand. In fact, the number of active listings in June were down 1% from a month earlier and new listings down 18% compared to May.

The number of Metro Vancouver properties sold in the first six months of the year is the second highest on record, just below the first half of 2016. Without a substantial supply in homes available, that demand continues to create pressure on prices. 

The revised mortgage “stress test” rules came into place June 1, but with multiple offers still significantly occurring below $1 million, the effects of this change don’t seem to have had much effect. Demand is strong at the lower price levels and the continued lack of homes available for sale will continue to create an extremely competitive landscape.

And remember, you only have to qualify for the stress test 5.25% mortgage rate, not pay it.

Right now, it is possible to secure a five-year variable mortgage at 0.99%, perhaps the lowest rate in Canadian history.


While this summer is likely to lead to less activity in the real estate market, it will provide opportunity. Sellers should consider listing during this time as there will be less new listings compared to the last four months, and buyers that are looking will likely be serious. With the Real Estate Council of BC and the Superintendent of Real Estate consenting to open houses and in-person showings again, access to homes will be also much easier.

 

Metro Vancouver June highlights


• Highest detached house price increase from May: West Vancouver, up 3.4%

• Highest condominium price increase from May: Maple Ridge, up 3%

• Biggest decrease in detached house sales from May: Surrey, down 29.8%

• Lowest price detached houses in June: Sunshine Coast, at $838,300

• Highest price detached house in June: Vancouver’s West Side, at $3.38 million

• Top small market for investors to watch: Ladner
 
Vancouver Westside: Total West Side housing sales in June, at 616 transactions, were down 16% from May, but 51% higher than in June 2020. New Listings in June were down 13% compared to May 2021, yet up 10% compared to June 2020. The result is a 48% sales-to-new-listing ratio, and a subsequent price increase. In June the benchmark West Side detached house price, for example, was $3,458,300, up 16.3% from a year earlier and 2.2% higher – that is $76,000 – than a month earlier. The total current inventory of residential listings is steady at a four month’s supply, signaling a continued seller’s market. Condo investors should note that West Side apartment prices have not budged much in two months and are now less expensive, at $831,200, than they were three years ago, while average rents have increased.

Vancouver East Side: The East Side of Vancouver continues as a hot market, with June sales up 5% from May, to 451, a 61% increase from June 2020. New listings dropped to just 1,071 homes, down 17% from a year ago. The composite benchmark home price was down 0.2% from May and the detached house price fell 0.8%,month-over-month to $1,695,500. There is now a 3-month supply of listings on the East Side market and the sales-to-listing ratio is 66%, one of the strongest levels in Metro Vancouver. With prices moderating this summer despite the healthy sales, buyers may want to take advantage.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver saw listings of homes for sale drop 21% in June from a month earlier. June sale transactions fell 10% from May, to 322, and composite benchmark prices was up just 0.6 per cent from a month earlier, to $1,123,800, with detached houses also virtually unchanged at $1,914,000. On the resale market, there is about a 2-month supply of homes for sale, and the sales to listing ratio is 70%, signalling a seller’s market. There are 33 new condo projects and 25 townhouse developments underway across North Vancouver City and District, so future supply, albeit more expensive, is coming.

West Vancouver: West Vancouver is primarily a detached house market, so city proposals that would reduce the size of new houses and at the same time allow coach houses and secondary suites are worth watching. Plans call for the floor-space ratio on large lots reduced from 0.35 to 0.30, with a maximum of 2,200 square feet of house allowed on smaller lots. However, the city is also considering allowing an 800-square foot ‘bonus’ for a separate coach house (or laneway house) and 500 square feet for a secondary suite. The bonus would also be applied on lots with homes built prior to 1976, provided that the original house is retained. The new rules, if all approved, would come in January of 2022. Meanwhile, there was little change in West Vancouver’s housing market in June: sales were down 1% from May and active listings dropped by just 7 homes from a month earlier. West Vancouver’s detached house price is now $3,152,500, up just 0.4% from May, but 21.5% higher than in June 2020.

Richmond: You may not notice because of the construction dust coming from 1,000 new multi-family homes being built at the Richmond Centre shopping centre site, but Richmond housing sales dipped 7% in June from a month earlier, to 472 transactions, and new listings were down 15%, month-over-month. The sales-to-listing ratio is a healthy 66%, however, which keeps this a seller’s market. Richmond is considered a major destination for foreign buyers and new immigrants so the expected opening of international borders by this September is reason for confidence for home sellers and developers. The June detached house price in Richmond was unchanged from May at $1,910,500, but up almost 20% from a year earlier.

Ladner: A game-changing decision is expected “shortly”, 16 months after the federal government said funding is available for either an eight-lane new tunnel or an eight-lane bridge to replace the aging Massey Tunnel. When approved the decision could have a profound effect on Ladner property values. Ladner is a small market – just 52 home sales and 100 active listings in June – but developers and the local council apparently have big plans for the waterfront community. Buyers do too. In June, Ladner’s sales-to-listing ratio was 98%. I humbly suggest that Ladner may the prime sleeper market in Metro Vancouver.

Tsawwassen: Total June housing sales in Tsawwassen reached 70, down 26% from May but up 100% from June of last year. Active Listings were 185, compared to 270 at that time in 2020, and 182 at the end of May; New listings in June were down 22% compared to May 2021 and down 14% compared to June 2020. This remains a strong seller’s market, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 70% compared to 74% in May.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East, like many areas, saw housing sales decline in June, dropping 8% from May to just 49 total sales. What is different here is that the sales-to-listing ratio is a scorching 89%, as new listings dropped nearly 30%. There is only a 2-month supply of homes for sale if the current trends continue. The benchmark house price in East Burnaby is now $1,440,000, down 2% from May, the biggest month-over-month drop and the lowest house price in Burnaby.

Burnaby North: The next phase of what will be 13 new residential towers at the Amazing Burnaby site in North Burnaby goes to public hearing June 29, so this area will apparently continue to see a good supply of strata product. This is welcomed because new listings of existing homes for sale fell 21% in June compared to May and there was only 519 active listings in June compared to 215 sales. The sales-to-listing ratio is 70% so there is no shortage of demand in what is a strong seller’s market.

Burnaby South: Townhouse buyers looking for value should consider South Burnaby, which borders three municipalities and has lower townhouse prices than any of them. In June, the typical South Burnaby townhouse sold for $702,200. This is $300,000 less than in East Vancouver; $223,000 less than in Richmond; and $120,000 below the benchmark price in New Westminster. Also, Burnaby South townhouse prices are up just 8% from a year ago, compared to double-digit increases in its three neighbouring municipalities. Burnaby South also has Burnaby’s lowest priced detached houses and condo apartments. This may help explain why Burnaby South total home sales posted the smallest sales decline of all Burnaby markets in June, down 6% from May.

New Westminster: The Royal City is becoming a condo market, seen in the tower construction on the Quay and the sales performance so for this year, which has seen 702 condo apartments sell, up from 340 at the same time last year. Of the 154 total residential sales in June in New Westminster, 106 were condos, which sold for a median price of less than $550,000, the second-lowest price in Greater Vancouver. A key reason is that younger buyers have embraced New West. A recent national survey ranked New Westminster as the No. 1 B.C. city for Millennial home buyers. There is only a 2-month supply of all types of homes in New Westminster, however, as 61 per cent of listings sold in June. If you want to get into the New West action, you may want to get moving.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam, where the mayor is the former president of the B.C. homebuilders association, is doing a lot of little things right and big things brilliantly. Coquitlam was an early adapter of smaller lots and laneway houses.

Its giant Burke Mountain residential community is a huge success, its multi-faceted development at SkyTrain-linked Coquitlam Centre is forging ahead with major partners and now the city has plans for a rural-type subdivision in its Hazel-Coy area along the Coquitlam River. Details to be announced later this year, but plans call for 950 new homes over 100 acres. Coquitlam home sales were 329 in June, up 52% from June 2020, even though active listings were down 12% in the same period. The sales-to-listing ratio is 72%, an indication that many buyers are eager to buy into Coquitlam’s vision.

Port Moody: Port Moody appears to have more interest in approving rental apartments than strata projects, but the condos being developed are increasingly sophisticated: one will boast a waterfall, another a day care; another with Inlet views from a rooftop patio. Most Port Moody condos are fairly new, dating to just before and after the arrival of SkyTrain. This explains the current median condo price of $680,000, the highest in the Tri-Cities. Still, 263 condos have sold in the city in the past six months, more than double the number in the first half of 2020. The entire housing market is solid, with sales of 95 units in June, up 50% from June 2020, and a sales-to-listing ratio of 62%.

Port Coquitlam: The biggest residential development planned for Port Coquitlam is social housing, but buyers can also find comfort here, with median condo prices at under $500,000 and both detached houses and townhouse prices the lowest in the Tri-Cities. Comfort is appealing: the sales to listing ratio in June was 84%, the highest in the Tri-Cities and among the top in Greater Vancouver. Port Coquitlam is in close proximity to the giant Coquitlam Centre development, but at lower cost.

Pitt Meadows: Like many more rural markets, Pitt Meadow saw a sharp drop in total residential sales in June, with transactions dropping 19% from May to just 44 units. New Listings in June were down 6% compared to May 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 1-month’s supply, but the strong sellers’ market is a bit muted, with 73% of new listings selling in June, down from 84% in May.

Maple Ridge: Affordable, growing Maple Ridge saw 244 home sales in June, down 15% from May but 85% higher than in June 2020. The benchmark composite home price is $996,800, up 27.5% from year ago, but virtually unchanged from May at among the lowest in Greater Vancouver. Condo prices dipped 0.4% from May to $428,400 in June, the lowest in the entire region. Seller’s market conditions continue, with a sales-to-listing ratio at a startling 89% in June. With just 383 active listings on the market, prices will likely increase this summer.

Surrey: The second-largest city in the Lower Mainland saw price increases cooling in June, with average house prices, which had soared 27% from a year earlier, eking out a 0.5% increase from May to $1,511,707 in June. Sales of detached houses plunged 29.8% from May, to 421, however, an indication that the cooling may become a chill. Townhouse transactions, down 19.5% month-over-month, and condo apartment sales, down 25.3% from May, followed the downward trend. The average Surrey townhouse price in June was $747,256, while the average condo sold for $468,319, with both prices down fractionally from May.


Download June Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download June Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

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Potential Immigration the wild card in Metro housing market


“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

 

March housing sales skyrocketed more than 126% higher than in March 2020 – the month the COVID-19 pandemic began – to the highest monthly sales pace ever recorded in Greater Vancouver.

The composite benchmark home price leaped 9.9% in March from a year earlier and detached house prices surged nearly 18% higher to all-time high of $1.7 million.

The unprecedented action of 5,843 sales in the month – more than 174 sales every day – blew past housing forecasts and eclipsed the former all-time sales record set in March of 2016, long recognized as the peak year for housing sales in the region.

Dexter agents have been running on the frontline of the current pace, and we are detecting some buyer fatigue, which is understandable. This market can’t continue at this level forever and, as we’ve seen in previous years, March can be the high point of the year for housing sales.

There could be some truth in that theory, but this year and this market is consistently shattering all the traditions.


We believe there is one wild card yet to be played and it could shift the housing market into hyperdrive later this year. This is a potential rebound of international buyers and immigration, which were credited for sparking high home sales in the mid-1980s and in 2016-18 and could do so again in 2021.


In March of 2020 foreign buyers accounted for 24 residential property transactions in Metro Vancouver, despite the provincial 20% tax on homes. But, after COVID-19 travel restrictions hit, that dropped to single-digits per month. We believe pent-up demand and a war chest is building and it could be unleashed on the Vancouver-area housing market later this year.

For instance, according to recent report from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), $43.6 billion was transferred from troubled Hong Kong to Canada in 2020, and this, FINTRAC said, does not include transfers via cryptocurrencies, between financial institutions, or transfer under $10,000.

As well, Canada was posting the highest population growth in the developed world prior to COVID-19, according to Statistics Canada, with its 1.4% annual growth rate in 2019 more than twice as high as the U.S. and Great Britain, which tied for second place. The Canadian government has increased its annual immigration quota to 400,000 people per year. The inflow has been stalled by the pandemic but when that ends the rush into Canada will begin. Wild as the current Metro Vancouver market is right now, it may be the calm before the storm.

And with some calls to cool the market, and concern over low interest rates creating challenges when rates do eventually rise, we have to remember that Canada has one of the soundest lending practices in the world and with the current Stress Test in place, buyers are qualifying at rates much higher than we are seeing in the market place right now. So, while demand side measures are easy for governments to tinker with and implement, supply side realities need to be a focus or this rush of demand will once again be pushed into the future and create challenges yet again.

Greater Vancouver: There was a welcome uptick in new listings in March compared to a year earlier, but the new arrivals were not enough to match buyer demand. Listings for detached houses increased 122% from March 2020, but sales increased 124% Townhouse listings were up by 122%, but that was nearly matched by the 112% increase in sales. In the condominium market, 64% more apartments were added to the market compared to a year earlier, but March sales surged 128% higher.

Despite a record-high benchmark price of $1,700,200, detached houses led the March market, accounting for 34% all transactions, compared to a 46% share by the condominium sector. Townhouse buyers accounted for only 19% of the market, but this is partially due to a severe lack of inventory. As of March there was only a one-month supply of townhouses in all of Greater Vancouver. This resulted in multiple offers that drove benchmark townhouse prices in March up 10.4% from a year earlier and nearly 5% higher than in February 2021, to $872,000, a record high.

As we predicted last month, strata sales are ramping up, led by condominium apartments which continue to represent the most affordable housing option. With the benchmark condo price rising an average of 3% per month since last October, it reached $715,800 in March, also an unprecedented high.

Vancouver Westside: The price of a Vancouver Westside detached house in March was $3,286,200. That is up nearly 4% , or about $131,000, from the start of this year, but benchmark detached prices are still 5% below what they were in 2018, so there appears room for further appreciation. There were 148 detached sales in March, which was up from 87 in February and 108 in March 2020. Sales of townhouses in March were very strong, with the 108 sales more than double the 56 sold in the same month last year. The townhouse price reflects this, at a median of $1,550,000 in March, it was nearly $200,000 higher than a month earlier. Wow. The real action was in the condo market, however. With 628 transactions in March – by far the highest of any Metro Vancouver community – the median price spiked to $816,700, up 7.5% , or about $61,000, from January 1 2021.

As an aside, anyone interested in Point Grey real estate should plan to attend a series of public sessions on the development of the 90-acre Jericho Lands ( bound by West 4th Avenue, Highbury Street, West 8th Avenue, and West Point Grey Park) that will run from April 10-19 and outline plans for the biggest residential development in recent Westside history. Register through shapeyourcity.ca

Vancouver East Side: Vancouver’s East Side is seeing an acute shortage of housing, and the entrenched NIMBYism in key SkyTrain-served neighbourhoods will likely keep the supply in check. In March, for instance, there were 384 listings for East Side condos but there were 313 sales, or 82% of all the listings. There is now less than a one-month supply. A major developer has issued a proposal to build 520 condos in three towers on the old Safeway site across from the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station but it has already been met with protests. It will be years, before supply matches demand, which points to further increases in East Side condo prices, which were already 3% higher, year-over-year, in March to $619,000.

The townhouse supply is even tighter. Only 11 new townhouses are under construction in East Vancouver and, in the first three months of this year there were just 348 listings of resale townhouses and 68% of them sold. As a result, the median townhouse price reached $1,210,000 in March, the highest level in history. Median detached house prices on the East Side in March hit $1,780,000 as sales more than doubled from a year earlier, to 244 transactions, which, incidentally, is 40% higher than on the neighbouring Westside.

North Vancouver: About 63% of all new listings for detached houses in North Vancouver in March sold, a clear seller’s market, with the benchmark price tracking 19.4% higher from a year earlier to $1,853,000, and up 8.8% from the start of the year.

Townhouse sellers were often dealing with multiple offers in March, a reflection of low supply and high demand, which drove the benchmark price of the 87 sales to $1,075,000, up nearly 10% from a year ago. North Vancouver has a total of 2,863 under construction, but reports show that the inventory of complete and unsold condos was just 25 units available as of March 1. A big new project is underway just west of the Lonsdale Quay, but it will take at least a decade for those 700 new condos to complete. Meanwhile, condo sales were up 105% in March from a year earlier, to 203 transactions, but price increases are moderate, advancing 5.2%, year-over-year to a benchmark of $615,200.

West Vancouver: Detached houses are dominant in exclusive West Vancouver, where the benchmark price for a detached house in March was $3,043,400, up a startling 19.2% from March of last year, a cash increase of more than $540,000. Detached house sales increased 139% from March 2020, to 98, which was more than townhouse and condo sales combined.

Sixteen townhouses sold in March, while 32 condo apartments transacted at a benchmark of $1,143,300, up 11% from the same month last year. This is a sustained seller’s market with the supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply in March.

Richmond: There is now only a 2-month inventory of total residential units on the Richmond market after sales surged 128% in March from the same period last year, to 786 transactions.

Price increases have been dramatic. The median price of a detached house sold in March was $1,850,000, up nearly $100,000 from a month earlier and $250,000 higher than in March of last year. History has shown that Richmond attracts more buyers from abroad than nearly any other market in Metro Vancouver, so we expect detached prices will continue to accelerate when borders open up, because the 106% year-over-year March surge in new listings is not enough to meet demand. Condominiums, which dominated the Richmond market with 384 sales in March, have seen relative price stability with median prices advancing 6.7% year-over-year to $588,000. But, with a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 74% in March, condos are in a strong seller’s market with multiple offers being seen.

Burnaby East: One of the more affordable markets in Greater Vancouver is seeing intense buyer demand, with total sales up 159% in March compared to a year earlier, the highest increase in Burnaby. Even with a 58% increase in new listings in March, there were just 100 total homes for sale in the community, or about a 1-month supply as of month’s end. The sales-to-listing ratio is running at 69%, which means the supply is dwindling in a seller’s market and prices are rising. If you are a detached-house owner in Burnaby East and have considered listing, now may be a prime time to come to market. The benchmark price of a house was $1,380,700 million in March, up nearly 5% or about $65,000, from a month earlier.

Burnaby North: The final major-brand retailers are moving into the recently completed Brentwood shopping centre development, where thousands of new condominiums have already been built. The massive mixed-use project has spurred demand for all types of homes in the area, with total sales up 158% in March from a year earlier and 74% higher than in February. The large inventory of condominiums – 237 new listings in March – has kept price increases restrained. The benchmark condo price is now $637,600 – about $50,000 below the Lower Mainland average - but with 84% of listings selling in March and most of the new Brentwood condo towers complete, condo values are forecast to increase.

Burnaby South: If you have driven through Metrotown recently you have seen the incredible construction pace that now defines the future of Burnaby’s official downtown. The blast radius of the development is apparent in the sale prices of both detached houses – which have been rising by 7.4% month-over-month this year and reached $1,696,200 in March – and townhouses, where the benchmark price is up 6.6% from a year ago to $819,000. Burnaby South is also as one of the hottest condo sales markets in the Lower Mainland, yet condo price increases are relatively stable, still 6.1% below the 2018 peak at $682,700 as of the end of March. This may represent an opportunity for condo investors.

New Westminster: Condominium investors, I hate to say, will want to keep an eye on condo rentals in the Royal City. On March 30, the city won a BC Supreme Court ruling that cements B.C.’s first bylaw that allows retroactive rezoning of condos to rental units in six specific rental buildings. So far about 270 units are affected, but there is no guarantee the bylaw won’t be extended. This may explain a 54% increase in condo listings in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2020, including 209 new listing in March. We expect condo listings to increase, which should keep the current median price of $547,200 from increasing dramatically. Detached house prices in New Westminster, meanwhile, were up 14.4% in March from a year earlier to $1,230,000, with the sales-to-listing ratio at 51%, reflecting a modest seller’s market.

Coquitlam: There is a plan that owners of older stratas and detached houses in Coquitlam should be aware of as the vaccine rollout brings an end to the pandemic. This is the developer demand for property that can be developed into higher density residential, either aging strata projects on large lots or houses that can be drawn together into land assemblies. Demand waned during the pandemic but is now coming back to life, due primarily to an aggressive City of Coquitlam development strategy that covers 1,789 acres radiating from the Coquitlam Town Centre near Lougheed Highway and Pinetree Way. Any potential buyers should get up to speed on the master plan by visiting the city’s web site. (There is even a virtual-reality tour available.)

Total Coquitlam housing sales soared 129% in March compared to a year earlier, and detached houses led the price increase, up a startling 20% to $1,433,800. Townhouse prices advanced 11.2% to $757,000 and condo prices were up 6% year-over-year to $560,700.

Port Moody: Savvy owners of older townhouses in the Woodland Park area are likely watching closely as a new 23-acre planned development inches through Port Moody’s approval process.

A developer’s plan for construction of about 1,840 homes over the next decade received first reading March 24 after more than a year of discussion. Today, 19 buildings with 200 townhouses, all of built more than 40 years ago, are on the site. The land is in the 1000-1100 block of Cecile Drive near Clark Road. Owners in the surrounding area should be aware that developers could be scouting for strata windups and land assemblies, but should also be cognizant of Port Moody’s lengthy and fickle approval process. Meanwhile, total home sales in

Port Moody increased 148% in March compared to a year earlier. The median price of a detached house is now $1,193,000, up 22.5% from March 2020, while townhouse values increased 7% to $694,700, but still remain less expensive that condo apartments, which were selling for a benchmark of $697,800 in March. This reflects the many newer condos on the market, and the aging stock of existing townhouses.

Port Coquitlam: Port Coquitlam offers the lowest house prices in the Tri-City area, with a detached house benchmark price of $1,226,400 in March, up 17.2% from a year earlier. Townhouses were up by similar amount, to $753,600, while condo prices saw a more modest increase of 8% to $501,500, or about $60,000 less than in neighbouring Coquitlam. However, with a lack of new construction recently and total sales up 114% year-over-year, there is only a 1-month supply of all type of homes in Port Coquitlam and the sales-to-listing ratio is 65%, an indication of a seller’s market and potential price increases.

Pitt Meadows: The sales bloom faded slightly in Pitt Meadows in March, with total homes transactions of 53, down 5% from February and up a relatively modest 51% from March of 2020 – a reflection on the amount of total stock available with there being half a month to 1 month’s supply of homes available. Detached house prices increased markedly, however, leaping 27.4% year-over-year to a record high of $1,143,000. The sales-to-listings ratio dipped to 67% in March, down from 85% in February, as new listing increased 65% from February to 53 units. Pitt Meadows is catching a trend towards people relocating from the city to smaller, more affordable towns. In March, buyers could find townhouses for around $640,000 and condo apartments for less than $400,000. However, with an extreme seller’s market, the lower-priced units are seeing multiple offers this spring.

Maple Ridge: Even with a 157% surge in total March sales compared to March of last year and detached house prices increasing 20.7% year-over-year, Maple Ridge remains a relative bargain. Its benchmark detached house price was $1,043,900 in March, nearly $500,000 below the Lower Mainland benchmark and $700,000 less than in Greater Vancouver. Yet, multiple offers are common as the sales-to-listing ratio has been north of 80% since the start of the year. New townhouse projects are selling out fairly quickly and the resale townhouse price has spiked 18.6% from last year to $634,400. The typical condo apartment sells for $403,900, up 12.3%, year-over-year.

Ladner: The small town of Ladner in South Delta posted a 225% increase in total sales in March, to 101, compared to March of 2020, the biggest increase in the Lower Mainland. Its 23.2% increase in prices for detached houses was also one of the highest, with March ending with house prices at $1,205,800, which is about $500,000 less than Richmond, the next biggest city. There has been a lot of new strata units built in Ladner over the past year, and more to come. The supply has kept townhouse prices at a benchmark of $702,000, still 3.2% below the 2018 peak, and condo apartment values at $548,400 in March, up about 9% from a year ago but 1.4% below the price three years ago. A total sales-to-listing ratio at 74% in March, however, portends increasing prices across the board.

Tsawwassen: Tsawwassen has been largely a no-go community for developers for many years. The long-delayed Southland community for about 850 homes is slowly taking place, but no large housing projects have been built in a decade. In the 16 months to the first of March 2021 only nine homes were started, all of them rental apartments. This is reflected in the current reality, with multiple offers on the mere 166 active listings available and a sales-to-listing of 77% in March in an extreme seller’s market. The benchmark detached house price soared 21.3% year-over-year to $1,312,100 in March, and is now 112% higher than 10 years ago. Many people want to buy in Tsawwassen, which has driven townhouse prices up nearly 8% from March 2020 and condo prices up 10.8%, year-over-year, to $588,800. For investors, this sunny community is one of the hottest market for potential price appreciation in Greater Vancouver because virtually no new homes are being built.

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