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Sales and Listing Report December 2022: A year ends with a flourish and a new year begins with confidence.

We will all remember the 2022 housing market as one of the most volatile that Metro Vancouver has ever seen, rising to unprecedented highs early in the year only to fall to a near 40-year low by December. Along the way the year crushed every cliché in the residential market. January and February sales, normally the slowest sales months of the year, were among the strongest. September, traditionally a stellar month, posted lower sales than August.

Year-over-year sales fell about 50% but prices proved amazingly resilient, with a mere 3.3% decrease in the benchmark composite home price. Most strata prices increased. And, to cap it all off, the normally sedate December posted a sales-to-new-listing ratio of more than 100% to put an exclamation point on an unforgettable year.

It is all rather reminiscent of 2018, and for a similar reason: anti-demand government policies - – including seven consecutive interest rate increases in 2022 – putting the brakes on eager buyers. The one major difference from 2018, sellers were far more absent as new listings were far more scarce.

We all must deal with continued government intervention in 2023, none of which address the underlying problem of a lack of supply in Metro Vancouver’s housing market. The shortage of both resale listings and new home construction was starkly apparent in December 2022, when total listings of homes was down 41% compared to a year earlier and new listings plunged 60% from November 2022. 

At the same time, starts of new non-rental homes in Metro Vancouver fell to 13,950 units as of December 1, down from 17,708 in the same period in 2021. And the government’s response to this dramatic shortfall? The complicated new and largely unnecessary B.C. Land Owner Transparency Registry, which  became mandatory on November 30 on residential purchases and require a lawyer’s assistance to complete;  a two-year federal ban on foreign homebuyers, which began January 1, 2023 and will discourage new speculative construction as immigration levels reach record highs; and B.C.’s unnecessary three-day cooling off period for homebuyers, effective January 3, 2023, in a market where the average listing now takes 31 days to sell. While giving buyers 3 days to decide if they want to move forward, it doesn’t technically allow for due diligence by a buyer and imposes a penalty on buyers if they want to rescind. As well, several Metro municipalities are increasing development cost charges on new home construction, even as developers are reeling from higher construction costs and land prices and slowing pre-sales of new strata units. 

When you consider what this market deals with, its resiliency is amazing and quite encouraging as we enter a new year, especially for homebuyers. The bottom line is that, with more than 50,000 new immigrants expected to arrive in B.C. in 2023 and governments pushing to stunt the housing supply, Metro Vancouver home prices will continue to face upward pressure.

December was likely a harbinger of what is to come. With just 1,240 new listings in the month, there were 1,303 sales, resulting in a sales-to-new-listing of a startling 105%. This is not indicative of slowing demand or owners desperate to sell.

We’ve not seen new listings for the month of December this low going back as far as 1991 in Greater Vancouver. If anyone thinks sellers are panic selling, this suggests the exact opposite and sets up 2023 to be a year with a skinny selection in front of hungry buyers. While the story of the real estate market tends to be the lack of sales that occurred in the second half of 2022, the drop in listings is the true underlying theme in the real estate market.

December benchmark prices are also an eye-opener. Despite all the angst in 2022, the forecasts of recession and a crash in values, average home prices are virtually the same now as 12 months ago. The overall average composite home price in December was $1,183,802, only $57,000 (or 4.2%) below the near-record price a year earlier. Some markets and housing types have higher average prices now than 12 months ago, including the bellwether Westside of Vancouver, where condo apartment prices have increased $30,000 and the East Side of Vancouver, where average townhouse prices in December were up about $120,000 from the end of 2021.

Based on current trends, 2023 looks like more of the same: gently rising home prices against a background of increased demand and a tight supply. Without more listings on the market, the true strength of this emerging buyer’s market will not be fully realized.

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

Greater Vancouver:

This is a balanced market, with only a low supply keeping it from tipping to a full-blown buyer’s market. Total units sold in December were 1,303 and total new listings were 1,240, resulting in a 105% sales-to-new-listing ratio, one of the highest in all of 2022. New listings were down 61% from November 2022 and 38% lower than in December 2021, which hampered many buyers. More listings would have resulted in higher sales, without a doubt. The low supply assured prices would remain constant, with the composite benchmark price in December at $1,131,600, down less than $20,000 from December 2021. With a further 55,000 international immigrants expected to arrive in 2023, listings in short supply and rents at record highs, the price pressure on homes is becoming intense.

Vancouver Westside:

This is the most-watched housing market in B.C. and it provides all the evidence needed that we are heading into a buyer’s market, with eager purchasers held in check only by a lack of supply. Despite an average price of nearly $3,489,1341 in December, 78% of new listings for detached houses sold. In the condominium apartment market, the sales success ratio was 114% and the average price of $993,400 was 3.1% higher than both a month and a year earlier. The townhouse sector saw December sales sag to 16, largely because new listings dropped to just 28 units, the lowest monthly level in at least two years. Still, the average Westside townhouse price in December was $1,566,761, the highest since July 2022.  The supply of total residential listings is still at 8 month’s supply, representing perhaps an irresistible buyer’s market as we head into 2023.

Vancouver East Side:

Next year is when it all comes together for the East Side housing market. The Broadway Plan is pushing density higher from Renfrew Street to Mount Pleasant with the new SkyTrain Subway as the development of the 450-acre False Creek Flats and its new St. Paul’s Hospital kick into high gear. Relaxed zoning allows three housing units on each detached lot and rental rates are soaring. Heady times indeed and savvy buyers and investors have started early. In December, 38 detached houses sold, representing 103% of the new listings available. Yet the average detached house price, at $1,766,997, is the lowest since December 2020 and half the price as the neighbouring Westside. Condos are also attractive for East Side buyers: the sales-to-new-listing ratio in December was 97% and the benchmark price has barely budged (down 0.5%) from a year ago. This is the market to get into now, while there is seven-month supply of homes available and prices are holding steady. We doubt that will be the case three months from now. 

North Vancouver

The overall sales-to-listing ratio in December was a startling 132% and there is only a 4-month supply of listings on the market, setting the stage for a very competitive market. Total sales were down 45% from a year earlier, to 107, but new listings dropped 32% year-over-year and were down nearly 70% from November 2022. The condo market is a sector to watch. The Lonsdale Quay/ Lower Lonsdale area is now a destination and was responsible for many of the 1,208 North Vancouver condo sales in 2022. Benchmark condo prices at $756,000 in December are up 1.6% from a year ago but have been declining an average of 1.5% per month since the spring. Be careful shopping in the new pre-sale strata market in North Vancouver City and District, which have brought in the Step 5 (net-zero) building code, which adds expenses and delays due to new super-energy-saving construction. All homes are in short supply, with just 385 active listings as of the end of December, down from 529 a month earlier. 

West Vancouver:

Total housing sales in December, with 40 transactions, were down 34% from December of 2021 but up from the 28 sales in November 2022. Active listings were 448 at month end, but new listings in December were down 58% from November and 6% lower than a year earlier. This market is defined by its detached housing, which posted an impressive 124% sales-to-new-listing ratio in December as 26 houses sold at an average price of just slightly under $3 million. The supply of total residential listings is down to an 11 month’s supply (buyer’s market conditions) and the sales to listings ratio of 85% compares to 25% in November 2022. This is a buyer’s market but don’t expect dramatically lower prices. The overall December benchmark, at $2,559,400, was still nearly 19% higher than in pre-pandemic 2019.

Richmond:

If any market will feel the brunt of the two-year foreign homebuyer ban it will likely be Richmond, but the ban is rather toothless because of exceptions to the federal legislation in force from Jan. 1, 2023. Foreigners with a spouse or common-law partner who is a Canadian are exempt as the spouse or partner would be the purchaser, as are permanent residents (those who have immigrated but are not yet citizens), foreigners with temporary work permits, refugees and most long-term international students can take advantage of exemptions depending on their situation. December sales in Richmond, at 171, were the lowest in three months and down 56% from December 2021. But there is a good selection for buyers, with 919 total listings at month’s end, compared to 723 a year ago. The benchmark price for a detached house is $1,978,200, down nearly 3% from November 2022. A total of 96 townhouses sold in December at a benchmark of $1,049,800, a price unchanged from three months earlier. Condo apartment sales benchmarked at $689,400, up 6% from December 2021. With a sales-to-listing ratio at 99% and a 5-month supply of listings, this is a balanced market.

Burnaby East:

This sub-market posted just 12 sales in December, a small share of the 183 transactions across Burnaby in the month, but it also had the highest benchmark home price in the municipality, at $1,082,300. Detached house prices, benchmarked at $1,657,400, were down 5.1% from a month earlier and 6% lower than a year ago. Total active listings of 74 at month’s end were more than doubled a year earlier, but new listings dropped 62% from a month earlier. There is a 6-month supply, and the sales-to-new-listing is running at a quick 86%, up from 38% in November 2022.

Burnaby North:

Housing sales continue to track lower, with 78 December sales down from 92 a month earlier and 50% lower than in December 2021. Prices are holding fairly firm, however, with the condo apartment price at $692,500, up 2.7% from year earlier. (The sixth residential tower – 396 units – at Brentwood started in December after the first five towers sold out). This is overall a balanced market with a 5-month supply, but the sales-to-listing ratio of 111%, the highest in at least four years, and solid prices mark it as a seller’s advantage.

Burnaby South:

Most of Burnaby’s housing sales – 94 – were in the South in December and this may continue due to the explosion of condo construction in the Metrotown area. Sales were down 20% from November 2022 and 49% lower than in December 2021. Prices are sticky, though, with composite benchmark price at $ $965,300, virtually unchanged (down 1.1%) from a year ago. Detached house prices have held rock-steady for the year at $1,889,000, down 0.5% from December 2021. There are 344 total listings in this seller’s market, down from 425 in November 2022, and the sales-to-new-listing ratio is a robust 159%, one of the highest in Metro Vancouver.

New Westminster:

The Royal City remained a seller’s market in December, with a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 183% - up from 164% a year ago – and just a 4-month supply of homes on the market, with 219 total listings. A total of 53 properties sold in December, down 18% from November and 61% below December 2021. The detached house benchmark price is $1,402,600, down 4.3% from a year ago, but townhouse ($872,800) and condo apartment ($619,400) prices are up by same amount year-over-year. Incidentally, New Westminster’s new council has been moving to speed residential developments with some sharp new ideas on quicker approvals. A market to watch in 2023.

Coquitlam:

All Tri-Cities communities are raising or considering increases in development cost charges for residential development, so we will likely be seeing higher prices for new product in 2023. Meanwhile new listings in December were down 69% from November and active listings, at 452 at month’s end, were down from 582 a month earlier, while the sales-to-new-listing ratio is running hot at 107%. Total sales in December were 81, down 40% from November and 42% below December 2021. The composite home price in December, at $1,044,700 is down 3.1% from a year earlier, while detached house benchmarks have slipped down 2.6% year-over-year to $1,698,400, in what is considered a balanced market.

Port Moody:

Total sales in this seller’s market were 41 in December, up 24% from November and down a modest 7% from a year earlier. Active listings were at 155 at month’s end compared to 97 at that time last year and 194 at the end of November. But, with the sales-to-new-listing ratio at 98%, listings are disappearing. The composite home price is at $1,079,300, up 1% from December 2021. 

Port Coquitlam:

The small city has posted its 2023 fee increases, including for residential development, and they remain relatively modest (a multi-family rezoning amendment costs $2,500 plus $200 per unit for each of the first 20 units, as an example). In December 37 residential properties sold, down 65% from December 2021. The sales-to-new-listing ratio is 84%, a reflection of the very low new listings, with just 11 houses, 9 townhouses and 24 condos added to the market in December. This is tight seller’s market, with just a 4-month supply of total listings and the composite home price down just 0.5% from a year ago, at $886,300.

Pitt Meadows:

Pitt Meadows was a popular destination during the pandemic, and the housing market has kept strong this year. Only 23 properties sold in December, compared to 33 at the same time a year ago, but were higher than in both October and November 2022. A 57% drop in new listings month-over-month led to a blistering 191% sales-to-new-listing ratio in December, the highest in years. With just a 2-month supply on the market, the composite benchmark home price is down 8.1% from a year ago at $853,400, but it could increase if the supply remains tight

Maple Ridge:

At $1,666,600 the benchmark price of a detached house dropped 15.4% in December compared to December 2021, the biggest year-over-year price decline in Metro Vancouver. Still, with sales of 78 in December and new listings down 65% from a month earlier, the sales-to-new-listing ratio was 120%, compared to 50% in November this is considered a balanced market. But buyers may start looking, as the composite home price is now $915,800, down 24.6% from six months ago.

Ladner:

Total units sold in December were 9, down from 16 (-44%) in November 2022 and down from 21 (-57%) in December 2021. Benchmark prices are lower across the board, with detached houses down 12.3% from six months ago at $1,299,400; townhouses down 11.2% from June 2022 at $880,200; and condo apartments selling in December at a benchmark of $670,400, about 9% lower than six months ago, but still 34% higher than in pre-pandemic 2019.

Tsawwassen:

With 23 sales in December, transactions were 47% below the same month last year and the composite home price fell 13.4% from six months ago and was down 4.4% year-to-year at $1,143,900. Overall home prices are still 26% above pre-pandemic December 2019. Active listings were 130 at month’s end compared to 68 at that time last year and 150 at the end of November 2022. The sales-to-new-listing ratio is a robust 115% in this balanced market, but slowing sales indicate further price corrections could be coming.

Surrey:  

Sales continue to tumble in B.C.’s second-largest city. Detached house sales fell nearly 70% in December from the same month a year earlier and were down 13.6% compared to November, to 102. The benchmark detached house price is feeling the sales slump, dropping 8.5% year-over-year to $1,510,400. Condo apartment sales plunged a stunning 79% from December 2021 and townhouse sales are down 69% year-over-year, with prices down about 2.5% to $502,800 for condos and $812,200 for townhouses. Even with new listings coming down, we call this a buyer’s market because of the lower prices being seen in one of B.C.’s fastest-growing city.

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Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty



Read

Sales and Listing Report for October 2022

“There is always a ray of light at the end of every dark tunnel.”

Tink

Positive signs emerge as buyers’ market strengthens

Highlights of the October Report

  • Lowest benchmark home price: New Westminster at $809,800

  • Highest number of Greater Vancouver sales since June 2022

  • Benchmark home price is down 9.2% from six months ago

  • North Vancouver average home prices up 8.5% from September

  • West Side detached house sales highest in six months

  • Immigration surge will drive housing demand higher

The October housing market in Metro Vancouver revealed an economic truism: ‘the cure for higher prices is higher prices’ and that cure is bringing local housing sales and starts back to balance after a rollercoaster year.

This has swung to a buyers’ market that is gaining momentum and may soon appear irresistible.

Cast your memory back to the misty past of 9 months ago, when the benchmark detached house price in Greater Vancouver was $2.04 million, multiple offers were more common than not, property sales were cresting over 3,400 a month and monthly new condo starts were running above 650 units.

Higher prices and interest rates changed everything.

By October 2022, the detached house price had fallen to $1.89 million, housing sales were down to 1,903 for the month and multiple offers are less common. New condo starts dropped 30% from February to just 458 in October as builders struggled with soaring land and construction costs. The only number higher is the mortgage rate, which has basically doubled after six increases, the latest on October 26.

We are now seeing the ramifications of higher prices and the news for home buyers is now quite positive.

There are now five Greater Vancouver mainland markets where the overall composite benchmark home price is below $1 million: New Westminster, Burnaby North, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. Six months ago there was 1.

Those seeking to buy a Greater Vancouver home in virtually any market now can expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars less than just a few months ago. The overall benchmark detached house price in October, for example, was $201,500 lower than in May; townhouse prices are $97,500 less expensive; and the benchmark condo apartment price is $52,600 below the level of six months ago.

While home prices have fallen by 9.2% in six months, the average mortgage rate has increased about 3%.

Meanwhile, easing land prices and construction costs promise to bring cancelled or delayed strata projects back to life, likely at lower prices.

Altus Group reports that the average commercial land prices in Metro Vancouver this year have fallen from a high of $4.7 million an acre in the second quarter to $3.3 million in the third quarter, according to preliminary data, which is a dramatic change. Demand for multi-unit residential development land has also fallen with the dollar volume down 50% year-over-year as of mid-2022, to less than $1 billion, while a slowdown in new strata buildings has led to less demand and lower costs for construction materials and labour.

Also, the 50-basis point increase in the Bank of Canada rate on October 26 is a signal that rate increases are slowing and may stop this year. The rate increase was widely expected to be even higher. On October 26,  Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said, ” This tightening phase will draw to a close.”

With Canadian housing sales falling year-over-year and inflation fears easing, we may have seen the last interest rate hike for this year, perhaps even into 2023.

Then we have the rental pressure that may drive more tenants into homeownership and more condo investors into the market.

Right now, due to the continual shortage, average rental prices in Metro Vancouver are the highest in Canada. As one landlord confided recently, there is little incentive to improve rental stock because, without other options, most renters pay what the landlord feels the market can bear. New or renovated one-bedroom apartments in Vancouver are now asking rents of $3,000 per month, which is enough to cover a $600,000 mortgage.

At this rate, it is now, or soon will be, less expensive to buy an apartment than to rent one. This, in turn, will encourage more investors to purchase a condo to place on the rental market, especially if the provincial government, as planned, legislates that all Strata Corporations must allow rentals.

As well, with the federal government announcing that it wants to increase immigration numbers to 500,000 by 2025, the demand for housing in B.C. is only going to grow. In 2023 Canada hopes to see immigration at 465,000, with skilled labour being a focus.

Governments now realize it must work on supply to increase housing – demand side measures just aren’t going to cut it anymore.

What we have today is a leaner and less mean residential market that should draw nimble buyers back into action and allow listings to increase as sellers and developers become more confident. We can thank higher prices earlier this year.

Here is a look at regional markets for October 2022

Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in October, at 1,923, were 13% higher than a month earlier and the highest for any month since June 2022, yet still down 45% from October 2021. Compared to October 2021, townhome sales are 49% lower, condo sales 46% lower, and detached home sales down 52%. Detached house sales made up 30% of all transactions in October, while townhouses had a 17% share. Apartment sales accounted for the bulk of the market, with 52% of sales. Total sales were 33% below the 10-year average for the month. The overall average (not benchmark) price for all residential properties was $1,231,759. This is down about $110,000 from the peak in February 2022 and approximately $10,000 below the average price in October 2021. (Average prices often give a raw and accurate example of market performance.)  Active listings were at 10,305 at month end compared to 8,492 at that time last year and 10,424 (down 1%) at the end of September. New listings in October were down 5% compared to September 2022, down 0.5% compared to October 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 5 month’s supply, considered a balanced market, but leaning towards a buyer’s advantage. October’s sales-to-listings ratio of 47% compared to 39% in September 2022 and 86% in October 2021. What’s really telling is that in October 2018 when sales were at a similar level as this October, new listings were 19% lower this October compared to 2018.

Fraser Valley: The Fraser Valley saw 901 total residential sales in October, down 53.5% from a year earlier, but up a scant 0.4% from September 2022. October ended with a total active inventory of 5,642 properties for sale, up 63.7% compared to October 2021. With a sales-to-active listings ratio of 16 per cent, this is a buyer’s market for the fifth straight month. Benchmark detached house prices are down just 0.8% from a year earlier and off 1.8% from September 2022, at $1,436,400.  At $809,800, the benchmark townhouse price decreased 1.5% compared to September 2022 and increased 7.7% compared to October 2021. Condo apartments sold at a benchmark of $527,900, down 0.5% compared to September 2022, but up 11.5% compared to October 2021.

Note to landowners, including detached house owners and those with small acreages along the new SkyTrain corridor to Langley are seeing record-setting land prices. In October, a one-acre assembly near the planned 152nd Street transit station sold for $6.5 million.

Vancouver Westside: Despite all the angst and hand wringing, a look into the Westside detached housing scene – which, let’s be honest, is Canada’s bellwether market – shows October was a lot better than most would think.  The 73 detached sales in the month represented 50% of the new listings last month – the highest sales-to-listing ratio since February – and the average sold price was $3,494,589. Fairly impressive. Total residential sales in October were 342, down 43% from a year earlier but up 14% from September 2022. Condo apartment sales led the October curve, posting 236 transactions at a benchmark price of $827,700, up 0.7% from September 2022, the first month-to-month price increase in at least 6 months.  Townhouse prices have been rising for three months, to reach a benchmark of $1,477,700 in October. With an overall sales-to-listing ratio of 40% or a 7 month supply availalbe, the Westside is close to a balanced market, but we see an opening for buyers in this aspirational community.

Vancouver East Side: Total detached house sales in October were down a startling 51% from a year earlier to just 56 houses, the same as in Coquitlam. But the East Side detached house price was less than in Coquitlam. In fact, it is less expensive to buy a house on the East Side than in any suburban market except Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam or South Delta. East Side house prices now cost 11.5% less than 6 months ago, and we think, at a benchmark of $1,719,100, they offer perhaps the best value in the Lower Mainland. East Side condo apartment prices are now benchmarked at $678,900 and have been declining an average of 1% per month for six months. East Side benchmark townhouse prices in October were 2% lower than a year ago, at $1,028,500. Total East Side housing sales in October were 194, up 9% from a month earlier. The sales-to-listing ratio is running at 44%, fairly healthy, and there is about a 6 month supply of listings in this balanced market.

North Vancouver: A total of 195 residential properties sold in October, up a thundering 52% from September 2022, and the composite benchmark home price rose 0.8% month-over-month to $1,330,800. Detached house prices increased 1.5% from September to $2,124,600. With a 56% sales-to-listing ratio in October and the total inventory down to a 3 month supply, this is perhaps the strongest seller’s market in the Lower Mainland.

West Vancouver: Only 47 residential properties sold in October, up from 42 a month earlier but 48% less than in October 2021. This is a buyer’s market for those who aspire to live in one of Canada’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. There is a generous 13 month supply of homes on the market, 589 in all, and the sales-to-listing ratio is a low 22%, about the same as in October 2018, which was one of the slowest months on record. Despite all this, the composite home benchmark price in West Vancouver is $2,732,300, up 1.1% from September 2022 and nearly 2% higher than a year ago. The typical detached house sold in October for $3,317,500, also slightly higher than in September 2022.

Richmond: Richmond will likely see an influx of buyers, especially from Hong Kong, which has already sent a huge flow of residents this year. Total home sales in Richmond shot up 16% from September to 243 in October though they were down from 49% from the hectic pace of October 2021. The composite home benchmark price has declined 6.6% over the past six months to settle at $1,121,200 in October. There is just a 5 month supply of homes on the market, and the sales-to-listing ratio is a healthy 53%. This is technically a balanced market, but buyers and investors should be paying attention.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East, which borders New Westminster, has the lowest benchmark detached house price in Burnaby, at $1,826,700, but it also has the fastest rising house prices in the municipality. In October detached prices were up 2.3% from a month earlier and 7.6% higher than a year ago. This is a smaller market, with just 22 total residential transactions in October, but this was up 47% from October 2021, a rare increase for any Metro market. The supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month supply and the sales-to-listing ratio is 63% for the past two months. This is a seller’s market to watch.

Burnaby North: Some of the most amenity-rich condo projects in Canada are in North Burnaby’s Brentwood area – a new development will boast a 2.75-acre outdoor “beachfront” and running track plus an indoor bowling alley – so it is not surprising that condos sell well. Yet the benchmark condo price is $711,900, the lowest in Burnaby and well below the Greater Vancouver benchmark. Total residential sales in October reached 96, down 14% from September and 50% lower than in October 2021. Detached houses sold in October at $1,946,300, down 8% from six months earlier. Yet this is a seller’s market, with just a 4 month supply of listings and a sales-to-listing ratio of 48% in October.

Burnaby South: Burnaby South posted 122 housing sales in October, up 27% from a month earlier but 46% lower than in October 2021. The composite benchmark home price, at $1,064,300, has declined 10.3% over the past 6 months but remains 4.4% higher than a year ago. This is also a seller’s market, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 50% and only a 4 month supply of homes for sale as of October.

New Westminster: After a severe slump in September, housing sales rallied 6% in October to a still low 71 transactions. This compares with average sales of more than 166 per month in the same month one and two years ago. The low sales are a bit of a puzzle. The Royal City has proved a magnet for Millennials and the composite home price, at $809,800, is the lowest in Greater Vancouver. Condos led October sales, with 58 transactions at a median of $575,000, about $100,000 less than in neighbouring Burnaby. The Royal City also has SkyTrain service, a riverfront esplanade and a central location in the region so we expect sales will increase. Right now, it is technically a seller’s market with just a 4 month supply of listings and a sales-to-listing ratio of 49%, based on a tight inventory of just 310 homes for sale. But those looking at location and value may decide the city offers an advantage to buyers.

Coquitlam: In October, Coquitlam had more condos for sale (186) than every Greater Vancouver market except Burnaby and Vancouver, a reflection of the SkyTrain-linked strata developments on the Burnaby border. Coquitlam’s condo sales-to-listing ratio is a strong 59% and the median condo price in October was $638,000, third highest in the region. The 56 detached house sales in October were down nearly 50% from a year earlier, but the benchmark price was up 5% in the same period to $1,750,400. Townhouses are benchmarked at more than $1 million. With a total inventory of 619 listings and 3 months supply of listings, this is a seller’s market and has been for quite some time.

Port Moody: Total residential sales, at 44 in October, have not been this low for the month since October of 2018 and active listings, at 179, were down from 187 in September 2022. The composite home price was down 2% from September, and 8.6% lower than six months earlier, at $1,117,500 in October. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 54%, however, and a slim inventory of just a 4 month supply, this remains a seller’s market.

Port Coquitlam: This is one of the least-expensive housing markets in Greater Vancouver and the city saw sales rally in October as transactions increased 24% from September to 62 sales. This was down 49% from a year earlier, however, and the benchmark composite price continued a six-month slide to land at $917,000 in October, the lowest price in the Tri-City region. Active listings were at 187 at month end compared to 190 at the end of September.
This is a seller’s market with only a 3 month inventory at the current sales pace. Buyers, though, may consider PoCo an affordable option.

Pitt Meadows: With a current composite home price of $818,700, this small town attracts value-seeking buyers, including young families. With prices down 11% from six months ago, it will continue to be a draw. October total sales were up 5% from September to 21 transactions, but the total inventory of listings, at 107, and steep 25% drop in new listings in October from a month earlier means supply is limited. There is a 5 month supply of homes available so buyers should start looking early in this affordable market.

Maple Ridge: The benchmark price of a Maple Ridge townhouse in October was $732,000, but first-time buyers and young families should not get discouraged. In a recent search we found 9 active townhouse listings under $500,000, including some priced under $450,000. We also found more than a dozen condo apartments listed at less than $350,000, though the benchmark condo price is $525,500. A total of 99 sales were posted in October, down 14% from September, and the total inventory is a healthy 592, about double what it was a year ago. With a 6 month supply of listings and composite home prices down 17% in the past 6 months, this is a balanced market that is tilting sharply to a buyer’s advantage.

Ladner: Ladner’s new multi-family construction this year is mostly subsidized rentals, which won’t ease the tight inventory of market housing. With just 91 total listings on the market and a sales-to-listing ratio of 57%, supply is running low. In October, 21 residential properties sold at a benchmark of $1,110,600, a price up 0.6% from September, the first month-over-month price increase in at least six months. The detached house benchmark price, at $1,354,900, is 12.5% lower than in May 2022 but nearly unchanged (up 1%) from a year ago. With a 4 month supply of homes available, this is a seller’s market where prices are balancing.

Tsawwassen: The red-hot Southlands community helped drive sales and prices of townhouses in the area higher this spring, but prices have eased since. The benchmark Tsawwassen townhouse price in October was $1,218,400, still higher than in Richmond, Burnaby and even East Vancouver, but down 9.4% compared to 6 months earlier, when multiple offers were still being seen. Total home sales in October reached 28, up 33% from a month earlier but down 56% from October 2021. Detached houses are selling for $1,536,100, down 10.8% over the past six months. This is considered a balanced market with a 7 month supply of listings and a sales-to-listing ratio of 45% as of October.

Surrey: October sales of all types of homes were down sharply in October compared to a year earlier: detached sales fell 64.5% to 129 transactions; townhouse sales were down 52% and condo apartment sales dropped by 49.4% to just 146 units. Prices have stabilized, however, virtually unchanged from a month earlier. Detached houses sold in October at a benchmark of $1,584,100, up 2% from a October 2021; 128 townhouses sold at a $828,100 benchmark; and the condo apartment price was up 11% from a year earlier at $527,700. Still, with a huge inventory of homes listed and sales down at least 50% from a year ago, there are deals to be had. For instance, there were 111 active detached-house listings in Surrey priced at $900,000 or less and 24 condo apartments listed at $275,000 or less as this Dexter report was put together.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report: September 2022
Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.”
Charles F. Kettering

New listings, housing starts flirt with record lows in August

Highlights of the August Report

  • Total new listings in August the lowest in more than 28 years
  • Ladner townhouses and condos fall to 1-month supply
  • At least six major condo projects have stopped or stalled this year
  • Existing condos, townhouses can’t be replaced at their current value
  • Surrey strata housing starts fall 69% this year compared to 2021
  • Port Coquitlam is down to 2 months supply overall and 1 month supply for townhouses

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

Understanding the pull back in resale listings is not difficult.  This August offered the distraction of splendid weather and the lifting of COVID travel and other restrictions for the first summer in two years. Plus, a slowdown in home sales, rising interest rates and flatlining prices convinced many potential sellers to hesitate in listing their property.  We fully expect that the return to school and work this fall will see the traditional rise in home listings and sales.Reasons for the dramatic drop in non-rental homes being built are more complicated and it is harder to estimate when starts will begin to increase. Without a dramatic adjustment, we could be looking at a shortage of new homes in Metro Vancouver to continue for months, perhaps years, despite all the calls to increase the housing supply. At the end of 2021, 17 new strata projects in Metro Vancouver were being advertised as “coming soon” and had plans to begin marketing in early spring. Of these, six have been delayed and the other 11 could not provide an opening date for a launch, or the developers said marketing of pre-sales would not proceed until this fall.Of the 8 new strata projects that did decide to test pre-sales in August – with, of course, no construction underway – average sales totaled about 20% of the units offered – the same as in June and July and down from the 30% to 40% sales success in the summer of 2021. The simple reason is that developers, facing historically high land prices, higher government fees and charges, and soaring construction costs, cannot deliver a new condo or townhouse that is priced anywhere close to that of the resale market.One of the last big condo tower blowout sales in downtown Vancouver – which sold out in 2020 – had an average price per square foot of more than $2,000.  New projects going up the Cambie/Oakridge area are asking $3,000 per square foot, as are new towers planned for Coal Harbour. The average new condo or townhouse price is more than $1,600 per square foot, while resale prices on Vancouver’s West Side average $1,200 per square foot and are $837 per square foot or less in East Vancouver and most suburban markets.Dexter Realty alone has an existing downtown Vancouver condo on Howe Street listed at $1,200 per square foot; a Kitsilano 724-square-foot wood-frame condo on West 3rd Avenue listed at $699,000 ($965 per square foot); and an exceptional 836-square-foot 2-bedroom concrete condo in New Westminster priced at $529,000, the equivalent of $632 per square.Based on current developer costs, none of these existing condos could be reproduced today at the current listing price. For example, in the city of Vancouver, city development fees and charges alone average $186,000 on a new condo, and this does not include the federal GST which nails another 5% to the cost to the consumer, or the 30% increase in building material costs over the past year.How crazy are residential development land prices getting? This August, a 1.3-acre land assembly of three detached house lots in Langley near a proposed new SkyTrain extension sold for $18 million – the equivalent of nearly $14 million an acre. The assembly has potential for 159 new townhouses, but each would have more than $118,000 baked in just for land costs. Similar scenarios are seen across the Metro region.Now, there is concern that rental projects will also be put on hold because the cost of development outstrips the level of market rent that can be achieved. One rental developer explained that her input costs totaled $200 per buildable square foot meaning “the pro-forma for a rental doesn’t work at all.”Of course the elephant in the room continues to be supply. Even with the discussion turning to the need to produce more, immigration levels are only beginning to ramp up and the need for homes is only going to intensify. This month we’ll see what the allowable rental increase for 2023 will be, and for a rental market that is seeing extreme pressure due to a lack of rental supply, that’s only going to lead to higher rents and competition in that part of the market.The best advice for first-time buyers or investors is to purchase right now while there is a clear buyer’s advantage and to purchase a resale condo in transit-rich areas like East Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey, where we are seeing a ballooning shortage of both new rental and strata properties.Meanwhile for family buyers, it is time to refocus on the detached market, which has seen the sharpest sales slowdown this year of any property type.August sales of detached houses in Greater Vancouver fell 45.3% from August 2021 and benchmark house prices have been dropping an average of 2.2 % month-over-month since February. In August, only 12.2% of detached active house listings sold (8 months supply), compared to 25% for strata units (4 months supply).In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark price for a single-family detached house decreased 5.1% (about $71,000) compared to a month earlier.Detached houses are in a buyer’s market right now and serious buyers should take full advantage. Markets to watch for detached house values are the West Side of Vancouver, where the median house price fell by $400,000 from July to August, even as sales increased; and North Vancouver and Richmond, where median prices for detached houses were down $185,000 and $100,000, respectively, in August from July.Detached house values are largely based on the value of land, which is becoming a scarce and expensive commodity across Metro Vancouver. So, think long term as always in real estate.

Regional highlights for August 2022

Greater Vancouver: There were a total of 1,891 home sales in August, down just 1% from July 2022 but 23% lower than in August 2021 and even 14% lower than in August 2019. Active Listings were at 10,099 at month end compared to 9,494 at that time last year and 10,734 (down 6%) at the end of July. New Listings in August are down 17% compared to July 2022 and 13% lower than in August 2021. The total supply of residential listings is down to 5 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and the sales to listings ratio of 56% compared to 47% in July 2022 and 77% in August 2021. The benchmark composite home price was $1,180,500. This was down 2.2% compared to July 2022 but a 7.4 per cent increase over August 2021.The market is very much acting like a buyer’s market in many areas and product types. Subject to sale is coming into play more and more, and buyers can have time with subjects. Multiple offers will happen but not to the same extent we saw earlier this year. And certainly not with the same fever that has been occurring in the last two years. And while the condo market in the last few months has been stronger, in August in many areas sales of detached and townhouses outpaced the number of sales in July. Perhaps settling into the interest rate climate we are in and buyers taking advantage of price declines that have happened in that market segmentFraser Valley: In August, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,017 sales, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to July 2022 but a 51.3% decrease compared to August 2021. New listings reached 2,045, down 14.3% from July and 2.9% below August 2021. While all benchmark prices were up from a year earlier, detached house prices were down 5.1% from July 2022, to $1,513,500; townhouse prices were down 3.9% month-over-month and condo apartment prices fell 2.1% from July 2022.Vancouver Westside: Detached houses on Vancouver’s Westside have long been the poster child of B.C.’s high housing prices and soaring sales. That changed somewhat as of August. With 57 sales in the month, detached house transactions were slightly higher than a month earlier but nearly 50% below August 2021, when 107 houses sold. But the median price of a Westside detached house in August, at $3,050,000 was down $300,000 from July 2022 and more than $280,000 less than in August of last year. Total sales of all property types in August reached 380 transactions, up 3% from July 2020 but down 15% from a year earlier. Townhouse prices, at a median of $1,300,000 were down more than $200,000 from both a month and a year earlier. Condos, which led sales with 282 transactions in August, saw the median price reach $829,000, down slightly from July 2022, but up from the median of $775,000 in August 2021. Total active listings were at 2,279 at month end compared to 2,389 at that time last year and 2,453 (down 7%) at the end of July 2020. New listings in August are down 12% compared to July 2022 and down 19% compared to August 2021. The current sales-to-listings ratio of 52% compares to 44% in July 2022 and 65% in August 2021. This remains in a balanced market, but the detached housing sector is into a buyer’s advantage.Vancouver East Side: We believe the East Side represents one of the best housing markets in the Metro region and August proved the point. There were the same number of detached sales on the East as the West side of Vancouver, at 57, but the median house price on the East Side, at $1,768,000 was $1.28 million less than on the Westside – and East Side detached prices, unlike the Westside and most of Greater Vancouver, were higher than in July 2022 and in August 2021. A further surprise is that East Side townhouse prices, at a median of $1,384,500 in August, and sales, at 52, were the highest of any market in Metro Vancouver, including the Westside. Total housing sales were 196 in August, down just 1% from a month earlier. Active listings were at 1,103 at month end compared to 1,090 at that time last year and down 7% at the end of July 2022. New listings in August were down 24% compared to July 2022, and 22% lower compared to August 2021. The overall sales-to-listings ratio is 59% compared to 45% in July 202 and 69% in August 2021. While detached homes show buyer’s market sales, the other sectors remain a seller’s market and that is not likely to change anytime soon.North Vancouver: There is new residential construction underway in North Vancouver this year, but it is dominated by rentals. As of August 1, for instance, 742 rental units had started, compared to just 202 strata units, including just 39 townhouses. Meanwhile, new listings of homes for sale in August were down 25% compared to a month earlier and total listings were only 524 at month end, down 8% from July. With 126 total sales in August, down 27% from a month earlier, prices for all types of property were also lower, despite a healthy sales-to-listing ratio of 56%. The median detached house price in August was $1,835,000, down from $2,020,000 in July; while townhouse prices were slightly lower at a median of $1,300,000; and condo apartment prices were down about $25,000 from July, at $700,219.West Vancouver: Due to policy changes late last year which caused a rush of permit applications to beat a January 31 deadline, West Vancouver is facing a huge backlog of applications so don’t expect many new homes to start this year. The entire housing market is down, with 53 sales in August, 13% lower than in July and down 21% from a year earlier. The overall benchmark composite home price, at $2,774,00 has barely budged in six months and was down 1.3% from this July. Active listings were at 565 at month end compared to 536 at that time last year and 580 (down 3%) at the end of July. The August sales-to-listings ratio of 35% compares to 32% in July 2022 and 52% in August 2021. This buyer’s market remains relatively slow but stable.Richmond: Richmond August housing sales, at 226, were higher than in July, increasing just 1% month over month, but down 33% from August 2021. Benchmark detached house prices have been slipping lower each month for six months and dipped a further 1% from July to $2,111,300. A shortage of strata units is looming, however, which may put a floor under strata prices. Richmond has seen several condo projects put on hold and the result is that just 282 new condo units have started this year, compared to 916 at the same time in 2021. Townhouse starts fell about 12% from last year to 96 units. Total new listings in August were down 13% compared to July 2022 and down 30% compared to August 2021, and even 27% lower than in August 2019. The supply of total residential listings is steady at 6 month’s supply and the sales- to-listings ratio of 60% compares to 52% in July 2022 and 82% in August 2021. This is technically a buyer’s market but appears to be leaning this summer to a buyer’s advantage, especially in the detached-house sector.Burnaby East: Burnaby East posted the lowest sales of any Burnaby area, with just 20 transactions in August, the lowest level for that month in at least three years and down 9% from July 2020. The benchmark composite home price has now dropped nearly 8% over the past six months to settle at $1,109,000 in August. Active Listings were at 75 at month end compared to 83 at that time last year and 68 at the end of July. New listings in August are down 18% compared to July 2022 and 47% lower compared to August 2021. This remains a seller’s market, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 74%.Burnaby North: By this time next year, giant Grosvenor will have construction underway for 3,500 homes, including about 900 strata units in the Brentwood Block in the Brentwood Town Centre. Meanwhile the benchmark price for a Burnaby North condo apartment in August was down 2.4% from a month earlier to $717,300, but still 11.5% higher than a year ago. Total housing sales in August were 120, down 3% from July 2022, and 34% lower when compared to August 2021. Active listings were 448 at month end, 6% less than at the end of July. New listings were down 22% compared to July 2022, and the lowest level for August since 2019. The sales-to-listings ratio of 63% is down from 76% a year ago but this market retains a seller’s advantage.Burnaby South: Benchmark prices for detached houses and townhouses have been tracking down steadily, with detached houses shedding 9.2% in value since June to $2,105,200 in August, while townhouses have dropped 9.5% in the past three months to $964,300. Still, with active listings down 12% from July, total sales down 2% in the same period and the sales-to-listing ratio running at 73% in August, Burnaby South remains a hot seller’s market. The condo market is especially strong with benchmark prices down just 1.2% from the February peak at $776,300, the highest condo price in Burnaby.New Westminster: If it were not for 452 subsidized rentals, few new housing starts would have registered in New Westminster this year. As it was, starts of strata units fell to just 185 homes through the first seven months of 2022, compared to 1,255 strata starts – including 65 townhouses – at the same time in 2021. This may be bad news for future buyers because active listings in August were down to just 280 homes and new listings were down 20% from a month earlier to the lowest level since at least August 2019. With 77 sales in August, the sales-to-listing ratio was 65%, compared to 88% a year earlier. Benchmark prices for all property types have been declining, however, led by a 11.1% reduction in detached house prices from six months earlier to $1,450,100 in August. Townhouse and condo apartment prices have been slipping down for three months to settle at $922,800 and $651,000, respectively.Coquitlam: More strata housing starts are being seen this year – a total of 1,342 units as of August 1 – in the Tri-Cities than any other market in the Lower Mainland and the bulk of the activity is in Coquitlam. This bodes well for a municipality where August sales – at 157 – were up 11% from July and where the sales-to-listing ratio is at 59%. This is down from 93% a year ago, but still one of the strongest in Metro Vancouver. Both active and new listings were down slightly from a month earlier, with a total of 616 homes available at the end of August. The benchmark composite price was down 2.6% from July and off nearly 6% from six months earlier, at $1,104,000 in August. Detached houses sold at a benchmark of $1,794,700n in August, while townhomes fetched $1,058,000 and condo prices were down 1.7% from July at a benchmark of $669,200.Port Moody: Total homes sold in August were 33 – down from 45 (- 27%) in July 2022 and down from 57 (-42%) in August 2021. Active listings were at 202 at month end compared to 155 at that time last year and 203 (down just 0.5%) at the end of July. New Listings in August are down 7% compared to July 2022. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 6 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 43% compared to 54% in July 2022 and 73% in August 2021. The benchmark composite home price in August was $1,175,200, reflective of the higher detached-house values in the Belcarra neighbourhood.Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales in August were 78, up 10% from July 2022 but, down 20% compared to August 2021. But total active listings dropped 16% from a month earlier to 178, resulting in a sales-to-listing ratio of 76%, one of the highest in Greater Vancouver. There is just a 2-month supply of homes on the market. Benchmark prices, however, remain relatively low at a composite price of $917,200 in August, with detached houses selling for $1,328,100 a price down 13% from six months earlier and nearly 5% lower than in July 2022.Pitt Meadows: Just 17 homes sold during August, down 13% from July and 56% lower than in pre-pandemic August 2019. The surge in sales and prices seen through the pandemic has clearly eased. The August benchmark detached house price was down 17.6% from six months earlier, at $1,253,800 and townhouse prices were down 5.6% in the same period to $905,500. Active listings nearly doubled from July to 96 at the end of August and new listings were 16% higher than a year earlier. With a sales-to-listing ratio at 39% – compared to 85% during the height of the pandemic in August 2020 – this market is tracking towards a buyer’s advantage.Maple Ridge: With 113 total sales in August, up 5% from a month earlier, Maple Ridge posted a respectable 48% sales-to-listing ratio, indicating a balanced market but with sellers having a slight advantage. There were 602 active listings at the end of August, down from 655 at the end of July. The detached house benchmark price was down nearly 13% from six months earlier, at $1,279,200. Townhouses sold in August at benchmark of $750,700, down 5.3% from a month earlier and 14.6% below the price six months ago.Ladner: Anyone who has driven past the exit to Ladner this year has seen the profusion of strata units, primarily townhouses, that sprang up over the past two years. And they continue to sell well, posting a 128% sales-to-listing ratio as 9 townhouses sold at a benchmark price of $884,800 in August, a price down, however, from $965,444 a month earlier. There is only a 1-month supply of townhouses on the Ladner market. Total sales in August of all properties were 27, up 108% from July. Total active listings were 99 at the end of August, down 12% from July and disappearing at sales ratio of 88%, compared to 32% a month earlier. Ladner remains a seller’s market, but there is just a total of 4-month’s supply of homes available.Tsawwassen: Just 9 detached houses sold in Tsawwassen in August, the lowest level of any month since January of 2020. Yet, the average detached house price in August was $1,704,988, up 4% from a month earlier and well above the average of $1,540,600 in August of last year. Total August sales of all property reached only 25 transactions, down 11% from July and 66% below August of 2021. So far, prices are sticky, but this may change if sales continue to decline. The sales-to-listing ratio fell to 40% in August, down from 112% a year earlier and the lowest ratio in at least three years.Surrey: The bloom came off the rosy Surrey housing market in August as detached house sales fell to 152 transactions, down 60.8% from a year earlier. Townhouse sales were down nearly 45% year over year and condo apartment sales, at 169, were 41.7% lower than in August 2021. Still, total sales were slightly higher than in July 2022 and benchmark prices held their own. The average detached house price in August was $1,636,086, down just 1.6% from July, with townhouse selling for $837,902, down 4.4% from a month earlier. The 169 condo sales in August traded at an average of $539,597, virtually unchanged from July 2021 but up nearly 12% from August of 2021. Surrey, however, has seen a fast decline in strata starts this year, with a total of 698 condo and townhouse started so far, compared to 2,321 in the first seven months of 2021.Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report: August 2022

“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.”

Charles F. Kettering

New listings, housing starts flirt with record lows in August

Highlights of the August Report

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

  • Ladner townhouses and condos fall to 1-month supply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regional highlights for August 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report for July 2022

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Dale Carnegie

Homebuyers, investors take advantage in this market

Highlights of the July Report

  • Average 5-year mortgage rates are up just 1.4% from six months ago.
  • First-time homebuyers in B.C. are down 46% compared to a year ago.
  • Foreign homebuyers now account for just 1% of Metro transactions.
  • July benchmark detached house price is up $47,500 from January 2022.
  • The number of active listings are in decline

There are two sectors of homebuyers in Metro Vancouver’s market: owner-occupiers buying for their own use and investors buying homes for rental income or appreciation, with the latter traditionally accounting for about 20% of transactions. The current calming of the housing market represents an historical opportunity for both parties.

The current calming of the housing market represents an historical opportunity for both parties. For homebuyers who plan to purchase a property to live in for a long time, the current hysteria over rather modest mortgage interest rate hikes shouldn’t impact their purchase decision. After the drama of three Bank of Canada rates hikes, the average five-year fixed-rate mortgage at Canada’s six big banks has increased by just 1.4% in the last six months. Buyers purchasing into a five- or 10-year ownership horizon will be glad they bought during this lull in the summer of 2022.

It is rather ironic that, as strong economy creates near full employment in B.C. some look back to the global pandemic as the good old days.

But those who bought a Greater Vancouver home in pre-pandemic July 2019 – when the market was quite sluggish – would have experienced an average lift in benchmark value of 21% as of this month, or a cash increase in excess of $212,000. A detached house returned 41%, or a typical increase of $583,600, despite the recent easing of detached prices.

Since the start of this year, the typical detached house price is up by $47,500, though prices have declined over the past four months.

Of course, there is the psychological, counterintuitive factor at play, as many homebuyers pull to the sidelines just when they should be buying and then plunge in just when the market is peaking. It is a consistent phenomena that defies logic or change. The winning homebuyers in the current market cycle, as in the sleepy summer of 2019, will be those who act while others hesitate.

Some buyers, however, are being shunted aside in the current cycle: first-time homebuyers and foreign buyers. This may prove a boon to investors.

During the first half of this year, the number of B.C. first-time buyers fell 46% compared to the same period last year, accounting for just 4,426 purchasers. A key reason is the federal government’s mandatory stress test, which requires buyers to qualify at an unrealistically high five-year mortgage rate that many first buyers have difficulty meeting. Instead of buying, more than 4,000 will remain renters.

Also, while foreign homebuyers before the Foreign Buyer Tax may have accounted for 6% or more of all sales, they now make up only 1% of Metro Vancouver transactions, according to the BC Finance Ministry. The reason is a 20% of a home’s value tax on foreign buyer and the looming two-year ban on foreign homebuyers next January by the Federal Government.

So, investors who are purchasing investment condominiums now are enjoying lower prices, zero competition from global investors, a captive audience of renters and rising rental rates.

Investors realize that, despite all the government chest thumping over increasing the supply, Metro Vancouver housing starts as of July were down 23% from a year earlier and the new strata shortage is getting worse.

Part of the reason for this is government fees and taxes on new condos and townhomes, which, according to a survey released July 5 by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., account for up to 20% of a new strata price in Metro Vancouver. The Government Charges on Residential Development in Canada’s Largest Metropolitan Areas survey found a typical developer’s profit on a new condo is estimated at between 10% to 15%, so Metro Vancouver municipalities can make more money on a new home than those who build it. That’s not right, but it is reality.

The City of Vancouver, CMHC reported, has Canada’s highest average cost per-square-foot on new strata buildings, at $143 per square foot, owing entirely to density payments.

When the market was surging, private developers could handle such disparity. With sales and prices slowing, projects are being delayed or cancelled, which will lead to a further shortage of new condos and townhouses this fall.

We are now in a brief and government-induced buyer’s market that both homebuyers and savvy investors should take advantage of. While the market is slower now, like every market, this one will turn too. Buyers, enjoy it now!

Here is a look at the regional numbers:

Greater Vancouver: With the total inventory of homes for sale now at 6-month supply, the market has moved into balanced territory with some regions into a buyer’s market, especially for detached houses. The sales-to-listing ratio for detached houses in July fell to 39% and there are 8-months supply of homes available, which, if it persists, generally means prices are heading lower. A total of 1,904 residential properties sold in July, down 33% from a month earlier and 44% lower than in July 2021 and lower than even July 2019 and 2018. The composite benchmark home price in July is $1,207,400. This is a 10.3% increase over July 2021 but a 2.3% decrease compared to June 2022. Benchmark prices have been slowly declining, month-over-month since February. The July benchmark price for a detached home is $2,000,600, a 2.8 per cent decrease compared to June 2022. Active listings were at 10,734 at month end compared to 10,367 at that time last year but nearly unchanged from June 2022 at 10,839; New listings in July were down 25% compared to June 2022 and 10% lower than in July 2021.

July saw 4,067 new listings come to the market which was below the 5,410 that came on the market in June 2022 and less than the 4,514 that came out in July 2021 – sellers are beginning to hold off as well as many aren’t prepared to sell at prices below what they could have obtained earlier this year. And with less, listings, there are more properties coming off the market that were listed which is resulting in lower active listing counts. The number of new listings in July were 19% below the 10-year average (down from 3.5% below the 10-year average last month).

Fraser Valley: In July, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board reported 993 sales, a decrease of 22.5% from the previous month and a 50.5% drop compared to July 2021. July new listings totalled 2,385, down 28.4% compared to June 2022 and a decrease of 1.9% from July 2021. Active listings, at 6,413, were unchanged from June and up 30.9% over last July – bringing the sector into balance for townhomes and detached homes (sales-to-active ratios: 18% and 12% respectively); and favouring sellers slightly for apartments. Benchmark prices dropped for the fourth consecutive month, most notably for detached homes which ended the month with a benchmark price of $1,594,400, down 10.2% since peaking in March 2022. Residential combined properties benchmark prices are up year-over-year by 18.1 per cent. Clearly the biggest gain earlier this year is seeing more of a pull back.

Vancouver Westside: There were only 368 total residential sales in July, down 18% from a month earlier to the lowest July level in at least four years. The Westside now has a 15-month supply of detached houses on the market, signally a buyer’s market in this sector. The July benchmark price of the 43 detached house sales was down 3.4% from June 2022 to $3,381,800. That is a drop of about $115,000 in a single month. Total active listings were 2,453 at month end compared to 2,558 at that time last year and down 3% from June 2022. New listings in July were down 23% compared to June 2022 and lowest level since at least July 2019. Condominiums now dominate the Westside, accounting for 294 sales in July at a benchmark price of $844,300.

Vancouver East Side: As the Broadway subway, the new St. Paul’s Hospital medical campus and a growing tech sector take shape in the area, the East Side could be the right side for investors this year. The median price of the 101 detached house sales sold in July was $1,790,000, almost exactly half the house price on the Westside. The East Side is a rare market where developers continue to assemble residential lots for higher-density strata (there are at least six land assemblies underway) and rentals. The July sales-to-listing ratio for detached houses was 39%, with condo sales ratios at 53%. With 1,191 total active listings and just 198 sales in July, there is an opportunity to find very good investments amid a healthy inventory. Look to the East 12th and Renfrew area and Commercial Drive to Main Street for condo rental and detached-house investor opportunities. The inventory of total residential listings is up to 6 month’s supply in a market seeking balance but favouring sellers.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver appears to have lot of construction underway, but nearly all the apartment starts this year are rentals, including 536 of the 750 new apartments. Actually, new strata starts are at near record lows. This is a concern, because new listings were down 35% in July compared to a month earlier and the total inventory of homes for sale is at just 573, while the sales ratio was running at 57%, up from 43% in June 2022. In July, 44 houses sold at a median price of just over $2 million, virtually unchanged from June but up $125,000 from a year earlier. With only a 3-month supply of listings on the market and steady prices, North Vancouver remains a seller’s market.

West Vancouver: With 30 of the total 43 sales in July, detached houses remain the draw for buyers in Metro’s most exclusive community. The benchmark price of a detached house in West Vancouver dropped 3.3% in July from a month earlier, yet remained at $3,376,200, second highest behind the Westside. Condo prices in West Vancouver, however, posted the biggest price drop – 6% – in Metro over the past three months, to $1,243,300. With total July sales down from a month and a year earlier and the inventory up to a 12-month supply, a mild buyer’s market is emerging in this aspirational market.

Richmond: Perhaps no other Metro market will feel the sting of a two-year foreign homebuyer ban as much as multicultural Richmond. The ban is to begin January 1, 2023, though surveys show that foreign-home buyers now account for only 1% of transactions. The ban has notable exemptions for permanent residents and temporary residents, including temporary workers and international students. Still, Richmond sales were down 44% in July from June 2022 and 48% lower than in July of last year, to just 223 transactions. The composite benchmark price is $1,162,400 after declining 3.2% over the last three months. Active listings were at 1,356 at month end compared to 1,380 at the end of June 2022. Total supply of residential listings is up to 6-month’s supply, which signals a balanced market, and the sales-to-listing rate is a very balanced 52%. Richmond could go either way, but we believe it could tilt into a buyer’s market this fall.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East is a fine family neighbourhood with two large parks, good schools, transit and shopping but it was looked over by buyers in July. 
Total housing sales were just 22, down 52% from a year earlier to the lowest monthly level this year. However, with a very tight supply – just 68 total listings – new listings down 42% from a year ago and a sales-to-listing ratio of 67%, this remains a seller’s market. Composite prices have been dropping for three months and were down 2.1% from June 2022 at $1,154,200; detached house have declined to $1,805,400, the lowest in Burnaby.

Burnaby North: With U.K.-based Grosvenor proceeding with a 7.9-acre land assembly in Brentwood for a “car-free” high-density rental and condo development, and Shape Properties marketing its sixth tower in the area, high-rise condos will continue to define Burnaby North. In July, the benchmark condo price was unchanged from June 2022 at $734,800, but 15% higher than a year earlier. The biggest price drop has been in townhouses, which shed 4% from June 2022 to a $942,600 benchmark. Total housing sales, at 124, were down 37% from a year earlier and lower than in both May and June of this year. Despite the surging condo construction, there is only a total inventory of 4 month’s supply of total listings and the sales-to-listing ratio is holding steady at 51%. This is seller’s market, with slightly lower prices.

Burnaby South: With the sales-to-listing ratio at 61% in July, local buyers may be surprised that sales were down 12% from a month earlier and 38% below July 2021, at 126 transactions. Yet, prices are also down, posting the biggest drops in Burnaby this year. Detached house prices are down 7.2% from June 2022, at $2,108,600; townhouse prices are down nearly 5% at $990,500. July condominium benchmark prices were off 3.2% from three months earlier, at $778,600. New Listings in July were down 27% compared to June 2022 and 24% lower compared to July 2021. This is technically a seller’s market but it is leaning towards a buyer’s price advantage.

New Westminster: The July composite home benchmark price in the Royal City was $834,200 after falling 3.7% since April to the lowest price in Greater Vancouver, below even Maple Ridge and the Sunshine Coast, both of which are much further from Vancouver’s SkyTrain network. A detached house in New Westminster is now benchmarked at $1,487,200, down 8.2% from three months earlier. Condo apartment prices are holding steady at $661,500 as are townhouses, down just 0.7% from June 2020 at $945,300.

Total July sales reached 82 transactions, down 50% from a year earlier and 26% below June 2020. Total inventory is 293 listings, which equates to about a 4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is posting a sales-to-listing ratio of 55%. Buyers may find some lower-priced deals in New Westminster this summer, but we expect the market to firm in September.

Coquitlam: Total housing sales have cooled sharply, dropping 25% in July from a month earlier and down 51% from a year earlier. Blame it on the summer heat, perhaps, but new listings are also fading, down 23% from June. The sales ratio is sitting at 50% and there is about a 5-month supply of active listings in what has become a balanced market. Benchmark prices for detached houses have fallen 5.5% since April to $1,853,500. Townhouse prices have been dropping 2% per month since March to reach $1,080,700 in July. Half of the new listings sold in July and we expect family-friendly Coquitlam home sales to pick up after kids are back in school.

Port Moody: Total units sold in July were 45 – down from 57 (21%) in June 2022, and down 52% from July 2021. Active Listings were at 203 at month end compared to 161 at that time last year and 218 (down 7%) at the end of June; New Listings in July are down 31% compared to June 2022, but unchanged from a year earlier. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 5 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio is 54% compared to 48% in June 2022. The composite benchmark price has slipped down about 2% from April to $1,197,300.

Port Coquitlam: Total units in July were 71 – down from 94 (24%) in June 2022 and 31% lower than in July 2021. Sales were also lower than in July 2020 and July 2019.
Active listings have held steady for two months at 212, representing a 3-month supply.
The sales ratio is at 52%. PoCo is having a quiet summer, but this remains a seller’s market with some bargain prices surfacing: the composite benchmark price has fallen 8.7% over the past three months to $946,100; and detached house prices are down 12% so far this year to $1,395,500.

Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows had been one of the hot markets during the pandemic, but things change. Total housing sales this July, at 22, were down from both May and June of this year and 44% below July 2021. Active listings were 91 at the end of July, nearly double the 54 in July of last year, and new listings are up 31% from a year earlier. Detached-house benchmark prices have been falling since January and were down 9.3% from April to $1,335,900 in July. However, with a sales-to-listing ratio of 45% – compared to a sizzling 100% a year earlier – and about 4-month’s supply of homes on the market, this remains a seller’s advantage in a slow summer.

Maple Ridge: The benchmark detached house price in Maple Ridge apparently peaked in January and has been dropping ever since, down 8.7% since April to $1,343,800, which is also 3.4% lower than the start of this year. We may see more price corrections. Total sales in July were down 20% from June 2020 at 110 transactions, and 43% lower than in July 2021. Meanwhile, active listings increased to 638, up from 386 in July 2021. Maple Ridge is balanced and leaning towards a buyer’s market, with the sales-to-listing ratio dropping to 38% and a 6-month’s supply of homes for sale.

Ladner: Ladner is remaking its downtown and the waterfront village has perhaps too many summer distractions since homebuyers took a breather in July. Housing sales dropped 55% from month earlier and were down 67% from July 2021, one of the biggest declines in the Metro region. Total listings are rising and the sales-to-listing ratio is at 32%. This is a buyer’s market, with the composite home price falling steadily for six months and down 1.7% from a month earlier in July at $1,169,300, with an estimated 9-month’s supply of homes for sale.

Tsawwassen: With the popular Southlands development, townhouses have been one of the top housing sectors in Tsawwassen this year. We were seeing multiple bids in April and May of this year. Buyers will have noticed that prices have dropped since, with the typical townhouse selling in July for $989,600, the lowest price since January and down 4.6% since April. Detached house prices are also at the lowest level in 2022, down nearly 8% from three months ago, to $1,595,700. This is reflected in a sales decline, with July transactions of 40 homes down 30% from a month earlier and 52% below July 2021. We consider this a balanced market, with a 6-month’s supply and the sale success ratio at 50% in July, down from a ratio of 89% in the hot market of July 2021.

Surrey: B.C.’s second largest city has seen a dramatic shift in its housing market this year. Starts of new condos and townhouses have plunged 75% this year, dropping from 2,105 in the first six months of 2021 to just 509 units so far in 2022. Condo starts fell 77% year-to-year, based on CMHC data. July detached sales were down a startling 64% from July 2021 and were down 25.4% from June 2020 as the average price dropped 5.8% month-to-month to $1,662,928. Listings are down from 30% to 63% from a year earlier in the six Surrey neighbourhoods, but prices are holding steady in the townhouse ($876,500) and condo ($540,651) sectors. We are calling Surrey a buyer’s market that could get very active over the next few months.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report for June 2022

On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.

Gregory S. Williams

Buyer’s emerging with a market advantage

Highlights of the June Report

  • Biggest drop in month-over-month house price Port Coquitlam down 5.9%
  • Biggest increase in month-over-month house price: West Vancouver, up 0.4%
  • Total housing starts are down 45% so far this year compared to 2021, at 24,531.
  • Composite home price in Greater Vancouver is $186,900 higher than in June 2020

It is not the change that we have seen in Metro Vancouver’s residential market but the speed of that change that has caught so many off guard. After two years of near-record sale and price increases, purchasers scrambling to top competing bids and a dramatic shortage of housing that has senior governments trying to speed new home construction, the current calm comes across as a bit unnerving.

Yet, when you dig down into the numbers, it reveals a very stable market that is gently shifting from a balanced environment to one favouring buyers – but not all markets are reacting the same. Still, the physiological effects should not be understated, and it will take some time for sellers and buyers to process it all.

We see it in homebuyers emerging into markets which are now tilted in their favour. Rather than facing multiple offers, they now enjoy multiple properties to choose from. Rather than concern about missing out, they can now be confident of getting into Canada’s most dynamic and rewarding housing market.

Half-way into this year, the June benchmark composite home price is $1,235,900, down 2% from May and 2.2% lower than three months ago. The benchmark is up 12.4% from a year ago, however, and is $186,400 higher than it was in June 2020 as the super cycle began.

There were 2,466 residential properties sold of all types in Greater Vancouver in June this year compared with 2,947 sold last month, 3,824 sales in June last year, 2,497 sold in June 2020 and 2,098 sold in June 2019 (the end of the last down cycle in the real estate market). These are not dramatic sale swings. June’s downturn in sales is a minor correction from the 10-year June average and was expected following three increases in the Bank of Canada lending rates since March. (A fourth is expected July 13).

The market remains active, just at different levels with the advantage now shifting to buyers. The lower end of the market is still a struggle for lack of inventory and continued strong demand, however.

The slowdown in sales is not yet creating a large surplus of homes for sale, as some sellers are holding off as they prepare for summer vacations with reduced COVID-19 restrictions and new housing starts remaining below demand.

June saw 5,410 new listings come to the Greater Vancouver market which was below the 6,491 added in May 2022 and less than the 5,981 new listings in June 2021. The number of new listings in June were 3.5% below the 10-year average (down from 4% above the 10-year average a month earlier). The total number of active listings rose to 10,839 at the end of June compared to 10,389 at the end of May.

The rate of increase was only 4% above the total in May compared to the 13% increase in active listings from April to May.

The inventory build-up is seen in the detached housing market, where the sales-to-active- listing ratio in June was 14.3%, as compared to 31.5% for townhomes and 30.2% for condo apartments.
In most areas and especially at higher price points, it is already a buyer’s market for detached houses. Vancouver’s Westside detached sector has a 10 month’s supply available currently, West Vancouver is sitting with 14 months of inventory, Richmond 8 months and Whistler/Pemberton with a 10 month’s supply. Again, on the higher-price side, Vancouver’s Westside has seen townhouses and condos go up to 5 month’s supply from 3 months. What a switch and opportunity from a year ago. Buyers, your time is now!

Outlier markets

As we have noted previously, outlier suburban markets that had led the sale and price parade are now seeing the biggest price corrections. Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, for example, saw the composite benchmark home price fall about 3.8% from May to June, compared to a 2% decline across all Greater Vancouver.

In the Fraser Valley, June benchmark detached house prices dropped 5.5% month-over-month in Cloverdale, 3.8% in White Rock/South Surrey and were down 4.4% in North Delta. In South Delta, the June median price for a detached-house price fell $100,000 from May to $1,499,000.

As pandemic measures ease, the revival of big-city events and more people returning to the office may convince more homebuyers to purchase closer to Vancouver, especially if city prices continue to moderate.

Other takeaways from the June market reveal the truth that real estate is regional, with contrasting performance among Metro municipalities.

  • Richmond sales in June are on par with May, townhouse sales were up 33% and months of supply dropped down to 3. Active listings for townhouses dropped 8% from last month – an anomaly in the market.
  • New Westminster also saw active listing totals drop from May to June – new listings were down more so than other areas and demand was strong. One of the highest absorption rates in Greater Vancouver.
  • Coquitlam saw sluggish sales for townhouses in June while condo sales were strong resulting in a drop in the number of active listings.
  • Port Moody had the same number of total sales in June as May with 29% less new listings with townhouses back down to 1 month supply.
  • Port Coquitlam saw more sales in June, even in the detached market which resulted in a 20% drop in the number of active listings, but detached benchmark prices fell 5.9% from May, the sharpest decline in Greater Vancouver.
  • Ladner saw a drop in average prices of close to 25% with the lower end of the market driving it thus producing less volume of dollar sales.
  • Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge continue to see increases in the number of active listings over last year – the outlier for this in Greater Vancouver.

Despite the moderating sales, the supply of housing remains a major concern. B.C. is seeing record levels of immigration and the provincial unemployment rate is 4.6% – which equates to near full employment and the second-best rate in Canada, so the demand for homeownership will increase. Yet housing starts in Metro Vancouver (which includes Langley and Surrey) were just 24, 531 as of June 1, down 45% from the 44,966 starts as of June 1, 2021 – and nearly 30% of new starts this year are rentals.

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

Greater Vancouver: Total June housing sales, at 2,466, were down 16% from May to the lowest monthly level this year, down 36% from June 2021. Active listings were at 10,839 at month end compared to 11,359 at that time last year and 10,389 (up 4%) at the end of May; New listings in June were down 17% compared to May 2022 and 10% lower compared to June 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 46% compared to 45%. The benchmark composite in June was $1,235,900, down 2% from May and 2.2% lower than three months earlier. Detached house prices have declined 1.8% over the past three months to $2,058,600, while June townhouse prices, at $1,115,600, were off 2.2% from May. Condo apartment prices were down 1.7% in June from a month earlier, at $766,300. Interestingly, the overall composite home price in Greater Vancouver is now about $210,000 higher than in June 2020, when the super cycle was beginning, but the number of sales is almost exactly the same.

Fraser Valley: The Valley market is experiencing a more dramatic change than Greater Vancouver. In June, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,281 sales, a decrease of 5.8% compared to May and a 43% decrease compared to June of last year. This June ended with a total active inventory of 6,474, a 4.7% increase compared to May, and 18.3% more than June 2021. Prices are also in play: the benchmark detached house price in June was down 3.5% from May at $1,653,000; townhouse prices dipped 2.7% from May to $894,300 and condo apartment prices fell 2.2% from a month earlier to $568,700.

“The combination of higher rates and low inventory will present a barrier to first-time buyers and could result in even slower sales over the coming months and erase price gains from the past 10 months or so,” cautioned Baldev Gill, chief executive officer of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.  Compared to June 2020, benchmark detached house prices in the Valley are up $658,500; townhouse prices are $304,700 higher and the typical condo apartment has increased in value by $133,400.

Vancouver Westside: For all of us who aspire to a detached house on the prestigious Westside, that potential has increased slightly over the past few weeks. With detached sales down 23% in June from a month earlier, to 448 transactions, the benchmark price has increased just 3.7% from a year ago, the lowest for detached houses in Greater Vancouver markets. At $3,499,700, the benchmark price was down 1% from three months earlier. While shifting to a buyer’s market in June, the detached house market remains tight, with new listings down to 206 houses in June from 253 a month earlier. Meanwhile total residential sales on the Westside in June reached 448, down 21% from June 2021, with both townhome and condo apartment sales lower than a month earlier. The median townhouse price was $1,405,0000, while 323 condos sold at a median of $828,000. The total inventory of residential listings is up to a 6 month’s supply and the sale-to-listings ratio in June was 42% compared to 46% in May 2022 and 48% in June 2021.

Vancouver East Side: More detached houses are selling on the East Side than any other market in Greater Vancouver, with 77 transactions in June at a benchmark price of $1,904,000, a price down 2.2% from a month earlier and about $1.5 million less than in the neighbouring Westside and less expensive than houses in Richmond, the North Shore and Port Moody. With a relatively large inventory, with 253 new listings in June, this is a welcoming market with perhaps the best upside potential in the region. The new Vancouver Plan envisions higher density close to the new Broadway Skytrain and Millennium Line which will fuel detached lot assemblies and higher house prices on the East Side. Total residential sales in June, at 265, were down 17% from May and 41% lower than in June 2021. Condo apartment sales lead the East Side market, with 1,058 units sold in the last six months, including 137 in June at a median price of $680,000, a price that is higher than in May 2022 and from a year earlier, which is rare in Greater Vancouver. This remains a seller’s markets, despite active listings rising from May to 1,210 homes to June. June’s sales-to-listing ratio was a healthy 46% and new listings slipped 15% compared to a month and a year earlier.

North Vancouver: Existing condos and apartments may be the best strata buy in North Vancouver District because new “climate ready’ building codes will make construction more expensive. District council decided July 4 that anyone seeking to rezone a lot for higher-density housing will have to show an accounting for the embodied carbon in their project, which will be monitored over the life cycle of the project. This new policy, combined with strict new ventilation and air conditioning regulations will add considerable cost to new strata and rental buildings. (Wood emits less carbon than concrete, but wood prices have soared this year.) North Vancouver condo sales were down sharply in June, dropping to 97 transactions, down from 154 in May and 135 in June 2021. At $819,600 in June, the benchmark price for a condo was down 2.6% from a month earlier. Townhome prices are also tracking lower, down 4.3% from three months ago, to $1,347,200. Detached-house prices, benchmarked at $2,325,800, are down nearly 4% over the past three months. The supply of total residential listings is up to 3 months in this modest seller’s market, where the sales-to-listings ratio is running at 43%.

West Vancouver: Despite the turmoil in the Lower Mainland market, West Vancouver’s detached house prices appears bullet-proof. The benchmark house price in June was $3,490,000, up 5.3% from three months earlier to lead Metro Vancouver in price appreciation. Detached house sales in West Vancouver, at 32, were down from 46 in May. In the first six months of this year, 284 detached houses have sold, down from 405 in the same period last year. West Vancouver is now a buyer’s market for detached houses. There is in fact a swelling inventory of West Vancouver total listings, with a 10 month’s supply as of June and a sales-to-listing ratio falling to 30%, down from 42% a year ago.

Richmond: We have seen price reductions in Richmond recently, but the benchmark composite home price held fairly steady in June at $1,187,000, down just 1.2% from three months earlier. Total residential sales in June were 337, unchanged from May 2022 but down 29% from a year earlier.

Active Listings were at 1,380 at month end compared to 1,613 at that time last year and 1,385 (down 0.5%) at the end of May 2022. The inventory of total residential listings is steady at a 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions), with a sales to listings ratio of 54%.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East has the lowest detached house prices in Burnaby, and benchmark prices slipped again in June, dropping 3.8% from May after falling 6.1% over the previous three months. Total home sales in June were down 17% from May and nearly 50% lower than in June 2021. This is technically a seller’s market, with a 63% sales-to-listing ratio and lower inventory, with just 81 active listings as of the end of June for the second month in a row. Condo prices remain the highest in Burnaby, at $816,700 in June, but the benchmark price was down 2.3% from May 2022.

Burnaby North: Brentwood in North Burnaby is one of the largest high-rise condo construction sites in B.C., with the sixth tower now rising after the first five sold out. Grosvenor Canada is also developing 7.8 acres for 900 condos and 2,000 rental units. Condos are the big play in North Burnaby but the high supply has kept benchmark prices in check, dropping to $740,500 in June, virtually unchanged from three months earlier. Burnaby North detached house prices are holding firm at $2,128,000 in June, up 1.8% in three-months and 17.4% higher than a year earlier. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 4 month’s supply with a sales to listings ratio at a healthy 52% in this seller’s market.

Burnaby South: Total Units Sold in June were 144 – down 12% from May 2022, and down from 217 (34%) in June 2021. New Listings in June were down 7% compared to May 2022 and 20% lower compared to June 2021. The composite home price has been declining an average of 2.3% per month since April and is now at $1,149,100. There is an estimated 3 month’s supply of total listings and this seller’s market is seeing a sales-to-listing ratio of 51%.

New Westminster: Earlier this year, less than acre in uptown New Westminster zoned for high-density housing sold for $27.5 million – an indication of the potential being seen in the Royal City. We see this as promising market, especially right now. The composite benchmark home price is $845,300, down 2.4% from three months ago to the lowest level in Greater Vancouver. Condos are selling for $663,900, nearly $100,000 below the Greater Vancouver average; and detached house prices, at $1,541,100 in June, were down nearly 6% from April and down 4% from May. This is a technically a seller’s market, with a 60% sales-to-listing, but I would advise buyers to take a close look at New Westminster for true housing value.

Coquitlam: Total housing sales in June were 189, down 23% from May and 43% lower than June 2021. The composite home price, meanwhile, dropped 3.9% from May to $1,154,200, while detached prices fell by the same amount to $1,874,100.

Active Listings were at 642 in June, compared to 745 at that time last year and 642 at the end of May; The June sales-to-listings ratio was 51% compared to 53% in May 2022 and 72% in June 2021. This remains a seller’s market, despite recent drops in sales and prices.

Port Moody: Sales of detached houses were down 50% in June, to 14, compared to June 2021, but the detached house price remains 22% higher than a year ago at $2,201,300, the highest in the Tri-Cities. This reflects the higher values seen in the Belcarra neighbourhood. Port Moody remains very much a seller’s market. Total housing sales in June were 57 – the same as in May 2022, but down from 40% from June 2021. Active Listings were at 218 at month end compared to 203 at that time last year and 209 at the end of May; Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 4 month’s supply and the sales-to-listings ratio is 48% compared to 34% in May 2022.

Port Coquitlam: Detached house prices have been tracking down for three months and dropped 5.9% from May to a June benchmark of $1,427,900. Condo prices are holding firm at $648,300, virtually unchanged since March. Total housing sales in June reached 94, up from 91 in May 2022, but down 33% from June 2021, The inventory of total residential listings is down to a 2 month’s supply and the June sales to listings ratio of 61% compares to 43% in May 2022 and 84% in June 2021 in this seller’s market.

Pitt Meadows: The composite home benchmark price was down 3.9% in June from a month earlier, at $988,000, after tracking down 2.1% per month since the end of March. Total units old in June were 23 – down from 24 (4%) in May 2022 and down from 60 (62%) in June 2021. Active listings were at 98 at month end compared to 65 at that time last year and 84 (up 17%) at the end of May. June’s sales to listings ratio was 38% compared to 30% in May 2022 and 73% in June 2021 in this calming market.

Maple Ridge: The housing market has cooled considerably, with total sales down 45% in June from the same month last year and falling 24% month-over-month in June to just 135 transactions, Detached house prices dropped 7.1% from March to $1,379,700. June townhouse prices are down 3% from May at $833,400, with condo prices down 1.8% to $564,300. New listings in June were down 10% compared to May 2022, but up 49% compared to June 2021. The sales-to-listings ratio was 32% in June, compared to 39% in May 2022 and 89% in June 2021.

Ladner: Total homes sold in June were 29 – up from 28 (4%) in May 2022 but down from 52 (44%) in June 2021. The composite home price in June, at $1,189,200, was down 3.6% from May but still 16.6% higher than a year earlier. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 53% compares to 42% in May 2022 and 64% in June 2021.

Tsawwassen: This is primarily a detached market, but detached house prices fell 2.7% in June from a month earlier to $1,687,700. Total housing sales in June were 40, down 9% from May and a sharp 43% drop from June 2021. Total active listings had been holding steady at 175, but new listings dropped 30% from May and were down 21% compared to Jube 2021.The sales-to-listing ratio is a respectable 51%, as it appears that the seller’s advantage is holding.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report for May 2022

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Faith Trumps Fear in This Market Cycle

Highlights of the May 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.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report for April 2022

“Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant.“

Anthony J.

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 investors 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 Metro 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.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report for March 2022

“You may delay, but time will not.”

Benjamin Franklin

This housing cycle is ending. What’s next?

The sales super cycle that the Metro Vancouver housing market has been in for two years is ending. It is nearly over in Fraser Valley, where March sales were down 22.5% from a year earlier and average prices dropped nearly 6% from February 2022, and similarly in Greater Vancouver where home sales were down 25% from March 2021 and averages prices were down 13%. A sure sign that the lower end of the market is thriving more.

This does not mean a major market correction is coming. It does mean that we could be moving back to a calmer, more friendly environment for homebuyers, which would be a welcome relief to many. March saw a number of Greater Vancouver buyers moving quickly to purchase before the next round of lending rate increase, but we expect the sales and price increases to slow in the months ahead comparative to where we have been. Housing sales in March across Greater Vancouver totalled 4,405, down 25% from March 2021, but a 27% increase from February 2022 and 31% above the 10-year March sales average.

More listings were added in March, with 6,802 new listings, still down 20% from a year earlier but 20% above the 10-year average. There were 7,970 total active listings on the Greater Vancouver market at month end which further dropped to 7,851 at the start of April as some listings expired. The after-spring break activity brought an increase of listings to the market that will continue as we move through April.

However, we are still sitting with just a 2-month’s supply of homes available for sale in most areas, with North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Tsawwassen, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Squamish all at or less than a 1 month’s supply. And while townhouses continue to be the most challenging type of property to find across the region, apartments are fast becoming a scarce product. Even on Vancouver’s West Side, there are only 2-month’s supply of apartments and areas such as Vancouver East and Richmond have dropped down to 1 month supply. It’s even worse in Pitt Meadows where this is half a month’s supply (7 apartments for sale, down from 22 last March), just over half a month’s supply in Maple Ridge and only 6 apartments available for sale in Ladner, again under 1 month’s supply. The number of apartment sales in Coquitlam in March were actually the highest we’ve seen in March at 211, eclipsing the previous high of 187 in March 2021.

It will take a surge in new listings to get this market back to balance, but the question is, will that happen and if so, when? Realistically we would need to see 15,000 to 18,000 active listings to get to a balanced market.

The rest of 2022 may look a lot like it did just before a global pandemic created the most dramatic counterintuitive housing boom this region has ever seen. We seem to forget that, in 2019, Greater Vancouver March housing starts had plunged 31% from a year earlier and were averaging about 1,800 transactions per month, less than half of what they are today. When 2020 started, we saw the market firing at the 10-year average. Perhaps average would be welcome to many.

The true test of the market will be over the next month as interest rates continue to rise, with the Bank of Canada making its next announcement on April 13. It’s a forgone conclusion that the overnight rate will increase. It just remains to be seen whether it will be up 0.25% or 0.5%, thereby increasing variable rate mortgages. Fixed interest rate mortgages have been on the rise with a 5-year interest rate now approaching 4%. Since the federal mortgage stress test qualifying rate is 2% higher, it will be nearly 6% on a 5-year rate. That negatively affects a borrower’s debt-service ratio and their purchasing power.

There are other signs of a cooling market. Continued lack of supply is keeping buyers from being able to find their next home and list their current one. Despite record-setting demand and prices, B.C. housing starts decreased by 4,000 to 31,300 new homes, seasonally adjusted, in February 2022 from a month earlier. Metro Vancouver home starts are down 23% so far this year, compared to 2021. A key reason is developers’ fear of proceeding with projects because of soaring construction costs, especially for wood frame multi-family.

Then there is the uncanny ability for the government to bring in new regulations just when they are not needed. The B.C. finance minister has confirmed that a mandatory ‘cooling-off’ period is coming as their way to protect buyers, especially when competing in multiple offers, which could very well be at a reduced level by the time the legislation is law. The rules will then stick around and simply frustrate buyers and sellers. This in effect will give a buyer a period of days to reconsider their offer and walk away from it. While no details were provided, a monetary penalty could be part of that ability to walk away, which in effect would lock in first time buyers and those without the resources to utilize that strategy. The other option is complete freedom to walk away, but imagine how many properties would be tied up in that process and the potential confusion of that. In an already supplied starved market, what purpose will this really serve? And through all this, there are still some that contend we don’t have a housing supply crisis and in fact supply is keeping pace with population growth. These two wrongs certainly don’t make a right. Mechanisms to supposedly limit demand and a contention that supply isn’t an issue will only further exacerbate the issues we see in the housing market.

Finally, we are seeing price exhaustion. This is apparent now in outlier suburbs, which had seen dramatic price hikes since 2020, but we will also see price increases slowing in central areas, at least through the first half of 2022. Prices can only go up so much.

If you thinking of selling, list now. If you are buying, enjoy the greater selection on the market.

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in March were 4,405 – up 27% from February 2022 and down 25% from March 2021. Active Listings were 7,970 at month end compared to 9,633 at that time last year and 7,062 at the end of February. New listings in March were up 22% compared to February 2022, but down 20% compared to March 2021. The sales to listings ratio of 65% compares to 62% in February 2022 and 69% in March 2021. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,360,500, is up 20.7% year-over-year and 3.6% higher than in February. A typical detached house now sells for an all-time high of $2,118,600, up 23.4% from March of 2021.

Vancouver Westside: Total Units Sold in March were 800 – up from 665 (20%) in February 2022, up from 445 (80%) in January 2022, down from 883 (9%) in March 2021, up from 467 (71%) in March 2020 and up from 333 (140%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 2,065 at month end compared to 2,124 at that time last year and 1,942 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 24% compared to February 2022, down 10% compared to March 2021, up 61% compared to March 2020 and up 37% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 59% compared to 61% in February 2022, 59% in March 2021, 55% in March 2020 and 34% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,469,200, is up 10.3% year-over-year and 2.7% higher than in February.

Vancouver East Side: Total Units Sold in March were 497 – up from 359 (38%) in February 2022, up from 257 (93%) in January 2022, down from 661 (25%) in March 2021, up from 297 (67%) in March 2020 and up from 174 (186%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 946 at month end compared to 1,027 at that time last year and 891 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 13% compared to February 2022, down 27% compared to March 2021, up 58% compared to March 2020 and up 44% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 68% compared to 55% in February 2022, 66% in March 2021, 64% in March 2020 and 34% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,348,800, is up 14.8% year-over-year and 3.4% higher than in February.

North Vancouver: Total Units Sold in March were 345 – up from 261 (32%) in February 2022, up from 143 (141%) in January 2022, down from 470 (27%) in March 2021, up from 204 (69%) in March 2020 and up from 165 (109%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 432 at month end compared to 572 at that time last year and 380 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 20% compared to February 2022, down 31% compared to March 2021, up 37% compared to March 2020 and up 25% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 70% compared to 64% in February 2022, 66% in March 2021, 57% in March 2020 and 42% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,418,900, is up 19.9% year-over-year and 3.2% higher than in February.

West Vancouver: Total Units Sold in March were 87 – up from 80 (9%) in February 2022, up from 45 (93%) in January 2022, down from 148 (41%) in March 2021, up from 56 (55%) in March 2020 and up from 34 (156%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 423 at month end compared to 491 at that time last year and 417 at the end of February; New Listings in March were down 16% compared to February 2022, down 37% compared to March 2021, up 9% compared to March 2020 and up 9% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 5 month’s supply (seller’s to balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 47% compared to 37% in February 2022, 51% in March 2021, 33% in March 2020 and 20% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $2,677,500, is up 7.7% year-over-year and 2.7% higher than in February.

Richmond: Total Units Sold in March were 557 – up from 397 (40%) in February 2022, up from 340 (64%) in January 2022, down from 768 (28%) in March 2021, up from 337 (65%) in March 2020 and up from 178 (212%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 1,076 at month end compared to 1,411 at that time last year and 924 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 26% compared to February 2022, down 18% compared to March 2021, up 69% compared to March 2020 and up 31% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 63% compared to 62% in February 2022, 56% in March 2021, 64% in March 2020 and 27% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,249,500, is up 20.2% year-over-year and 3.0% higher than in February.

Burnaby East: Total Units Sold in March were 56 – up from 34 (65%) in February 2022, up from 25 (124%) in January 2022, down from 70 (20%) in March 2021, up from 27 (107%) in March 2020 and up from 17 (229%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 59 at month end compared to 100 at that time last year and 56 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 3% compared to February 2022, down 34% compared to March 2021, up 40% compared to March 2020 and up 31% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 84% compared to 52% in February 2022, 69% in March 2021, 56% in March 2020 and 33% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,282,300, is up 24.8% year-over-year and 4.0% higher than in February.

Burnaby North: Total Units Sold in March were 257 – up from 226 (14%) in February 2022, up from 142 (81%) in January 2022, down from 335 (23%) in March 2021, up from 130 (98%) in March 2020 and up from 77 (233%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 315 at month end compared to 461 at that time last year and 283 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 13% compared to February 2022, down 22% compared to March 2021, up 59% compared to March 2020 and up 57% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 73% compared to 72% in February 2022, 74% in March 2021, 59% in March 2020 and 34% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,262,100, is up 19.6% year-over-year and 3.2% higher than in February.

Burnaby South: Total Units Sold in March were 213 – up from 200 (7%) in February 2022, up from 150 (42%) in January 2022, down from 325 (34%) in March 2021, up from 143 (49%) in March 2020 and up from 97 (120%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 395 at month end compared to 565 at that time last year and 312 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 26% compared to February 2022, down 23% compared to March 2021, up 64% compared to March 2020 and up 117% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 59% compared to 70% in February 2022, 70% in March 2021, 65% in March 2020 and 33% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,192,400, is up 18.2% year-over-year and 3.0% higher than in February.

New Westminster: Total Units Sold in March were 204 – up from 159 (28%) in February 2022, up from 102 (100%) in January 2022, down from 245 (17%) in March 2021, up from 118 (73%) in March 2020 and up from 81 (152%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 215 at month end compared to 345 at that time last year and 190 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 15% compared to February 2022, down 22% compared to March 2021, up 30% compared to March 2020 and up 28% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 78% compared to 70% in February 2022, 73% in March 2021, 59% in March 2020 and 40% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $846,000, is up 23.0% year-over-year and 3.6% higher than in February.

Coquitlam: Total Units Sold in March were 400 – up from 264 (52%) in February 2022, up from 174 (130%) in January 2022, down from 462 (13%) in March 2021, up from 202 (98%) in March 2020 and up from 142 (182%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 508 at month end compared to 574 at that time last year and 419 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 36% compared to February 2022, down 2% compared to March 2021, up 55% compared to March 2020 and up 47% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 66% compared to 59% in February 2022, 74% in March 2021, 52% in March 2020 and 35% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,325,900, is up 27.7% year-over-year and 4.8% higher than in February.

Port Moody: Total Units Sold in March were 107 – up from 87 (23%) in February 2022, up from 57 (88%) in January 2022, down from 134 (20%) in March 2021, up from 54 (98%) in March 2020 and up from 38 (182%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 121 at month end compared to 162 at that time last year and 97 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 25% compared to February 2022, down 19% compared to March 2021, up 44% compared to March 2020 and up 58% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 71% compared to 73% in February 2022, 72% in March 2021, 52% in March 2020 and 40% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,256,300, is up 24.9% year-over-year and 6.7% higher than in February.

Port Coquitlam: Total Units Sold in March were 141 – up from 108 (31%) in February 2022, up from 77 (83%) in January 2022, down from 205 (31%) in March 2021, up from 96 (47%) in March 2020 and up from 59 (139%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 146 at month end compared to 209 at that time last year and 102 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 37% compared to February 2022, down 33% compared to March 2021, up 48% compared to March 2020 and up 25% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 67% compared to 71% in February 2022, 65% in March 2021, 68% in March 2020 and 35% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,146,600, is up 28.9% year-over-year and 5.6% higher than in February.

Pitt Meadows: Total Units Sold in March were 55 – up from 35 (57%) in February 2022, up from 30 (83%) in January 2022, up from 53 (4%) in March 2021, up from 35 57%) in March 2020 and up from 24 (129%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 53 at month end compared to 53 at that time last year and 37 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 62% compared to February 2022, up 3% compared to March 2021, up 23% compared to March 2020 and up 47% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is just under 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 67% compared to 70% in February 2022, 67% in March 2021, 53% in March 2020 and 43% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,142,600, is up 32.4% year-over-year and 5.1% higher than in February.

Maple Ridge: Total Units Sold in March were 264 – up from 224 (18%) in February 2022, up from 124 (113%) in January 2022, down from 437 (40%) in March 2021, up from 170 (55%) in March 2020 and up from 116 (128%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 390 at month end compared to 398 at that time last year and 301 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 22% compared to February 2022, down 19% compared to March 2021, up 47% compared to March 2020 and up 69% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 60% compared to 62% in February 2022, 80% in March 2021, 57% in March 2020 and 44% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,275,300, is up 37.3% year-over-year and 5.4% higher than in February.

Ladner: Total Units Sold in March were 46 – up from 26 (77%) in February 2022, up from 22 (109%) in January 2022, down from 104 (56%) in March 2021, up from 32 (44%) in March 2020 and up from 25 (149%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 79 at month end compared to 115 at that time last year and 62 at the end of February; New Listings in March were up 28% compared to February 2022, down 45% compared to March 2021, up 9% compared to March 2020 and down 5% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 63% compared to 46% in February 2022, 78% in March 2021, 48% in March 2020 and 32% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,247,800, is up 27.3% year-over-year and 2.9% higher than in February.

Tsawwassen: Total Units Sold in March were 78 – up from 73 (7%) in February 2022, up from 42 (86%) in January 2022, down from 106 (26%) in March 2021, up from 39 (100%) in March 2020 and up from 15 (420%) in March 2019; Active Listings were at 105 at month end compared to 166 at that time last year and 101 at the end of February; New Listings in March were down 8% compared to February 2022, down 33% compared to March 2021, up 24% compared to March 2020 and up 9% compared to March 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 82% compared to 72% in February 2022, 77% in March 2021, 52% in March 2020 and 18% in March 2019. The benchmark composite home price, at $1,356,100, is up 23.0% year-over-year and 3.1% higher than in February.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report for February 2022

“Every choice you make has an end result.”

Zig Ziglar

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.

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.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Sales and Listing Report for January 2022

“If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”

David Viscott

So you need to buy a home. Now is a good time to do so.

There have always been challenges purchasing in one of the most expensive housing markets on the planet. It is still possible, though, to find the home or investment of your dreams in Metro Vancouver, and despite the headwinds, this is actually a good time to be purchasing, with the help of an experienced and connected real estate company.

The main challenge is finding a home to purchase.

The big question in today’s Metro Vancouver housing market is not ‘where will the new supply’ come from?’ but ‘why is there such a shortage of homes for sale?’ especially in an environment where buyer demand and price increases are at such a feverish pitch.

This past month we have seen houses and townhouses sell within days for well over the asking price. It is not uncommon for a single listing to attract a dozen or more offers.

The demand is coming from conventional buyers wanting to buy their first home or trying to move up to investors and families hoping to buy a second or perhaps a third property as a smart hedge against the highest inflation rate in more than 30 years. But let’s not forget, the investment properties become rentals for a starved rental market and allow developers to build more supply.

Caught in the headlights of this traffic is homeowners who are fearful that if they sell, they won’t be able to purchase a similar or better home because of the shortage of listings and the amazing price parity being seen across the region.

In January, for example, the benchmark price of a detached house was the almost exactly same on Bowen Island – $1.48 million – as in North Delta at $1.45 million. A typical townhouse sells zin Squamish, at $936,000, the same as the average price in the Fraser Valley. At just under $600,000, a Sunshine Coast condo apartment is priced at the same level as in New Westminster or Ladner or Cloverdale. This is the time when a great buyer’s agent is very much worth working with.

Why buy now?

  • Low mortgage rates are a prime reason to move into the market as soon as you can.
    The first step is to get a pre-approved mortgage. It is no secret that lending rates will be rising this year, likely with the first Bank of Canada increase coming by March. Lock in a pre-approval home loan at today’s historical low rates, good for 90 days, right now.
  • Restrictions coming: If you are an investor or are buying a second home, there is a very strong chance that the federal government is about to increase the down payment required, in a bid, it says, to curb speculation.
    Currently, about one in four homes in Canada is purchased as an investment. With home prices in Metro Vancouver rising about 25% over the past year, investing in real estate is naturally more popular here than in most of the country.
  • Federal housing minister Ahmed Hussen said in a January statement: “By developing policies to curb excessive profits in investment properties … and reviewing the down payment requirements for investment properties, we are targeting the issues the market is facing from multiple angles.”
    Today, an investor can buy a home with a 20% down payment, but this could be increased to 25% or even higher. It is better to buy that investment condo, perhaps a suite for the university student in the family, or other secondary home now before tighter restrictions kick in.
  • Then there is appreciation. The BC Real Estate Association forecast in January that the average home price in Metro Vancouver, now at $1.2 million, would increase a further 8.1 per cent this year, compared to 2021, and rise again by 3.2% by 2023.  This means that a typical buyer could make at least 10% or about $120,000 in appreciation over the next two years. Across the province the composite home price is predicted to top $1 million this year for the first time.
  • Little competition: Finally, there is little fear of the Metro Vancouver housing market seeing a huge increase in supply. Listings of homes for sale have been declining for months and hit an all-time low in January as just 4,251 homes were added to the market, 19th lowest amount for the month of January. However, 2,329 homes sold, the third-highest for January sales in history.
  • Despite all the government pledges to increase the supply of homes, total housing starts in Metro Vancouver last year reached 26,103 units while immigration to the area totaled more than 35,000 people.  One of the barriers to new detached house construction in Metro Vancouver is that average municipal fees and taxes on a new house which now total $199,000, according to a survey released by the Homebuilders Association of Vancouver in January.
    Short story is that when you buy a home this month, it will likely have little competition when you go to sell it or rent it. B.C. has only 425 housing units per 1,000 people in a country that has among the lowest average housing supply per capita in the G7. The Metro Vancouver rental vacancy rate is around 2% and the rental costs are the highest in Canada.

Unnecessary costs and delays continue to hurt supply and contribute to the added price of housing. In January, a local developer lamented that they have waited five years for building approval from the City of Vancouver on a project that includes 20% below-market homes around the SkyTrain. And while the city delayed building permits, they were also being charged $250,000 in annual Empty Home Taxes. This can make affordable rental projects financially unviable.

Highlights of this Report:

  • Why now is the time to buy. Really.
  • Only market where townhouse prices dropped from December 2021: Vancouver East Side (down 3% after a 21.5% increase in the previous 12 months) – expect that to swing the other way in the months to come as lack of available townhouses push prices up again.
  • Greater Vancouver benchmark home price appreciation year-over-year: $234,900
  • Biggest year-over-year detached house price increase: Surrey, up 43%
  • Biggest year-over-year detached house sales decline: Surrey, down 38%

A summary of the January numbers:

Greater Vancouver: 

Total housing sales for the first month of 2022 were 2,329, which was down 15% from December and 5% lower than in January of last year.

But the slow sales are linked to a lack of inventory: active listings for the month reached just 5,987 properties, compared to 8,831 at that time last year and 5,588 at the end of December 2021. New listings in January were down 8% compared to January 2021, though up 6% compared to January 2020. The result was a sales-to-listing ratio of 55%, the highest for a January in two years, and sharply higher prices. The composite residential benchmark price in January – which combines all property types was $1,272,000, up 2% from a month earlier and 18.5% higher than in January 2021. This is a staggering annual cash increase of $234,900. The typical detached house sold in January for a record benchmark high of $1,953,000, up 22.7% – or $438,000 – from a year earlier. This level of performance is the best evidence of why there is such an insatiable demand for Greater Vancouver housing. Total housing starts across all of Metro Vancouver in 2021 were 26,013 homes, up just 3,000 starts from 2020. It is the townhouse sector that is seeing the highest demand and price growth, with a year-over-year increase of 24.3% in January to $1,029,000. Yet only 236 new townhouses began construction in January and 186 of these were in Surrey and Langley.

As January ended, the inventory of total residential listings was at a 3-month supply, signaling the seller’s market will continue.

Fraser Valley: 

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed a total of 1,310 sales of all property types on in January 2022, a decrease of 23.7% compared to January 2021, and 27.5% lower compared to December 2021. The Board received 2,135 new listings in January, an increase of 67.1% compared to December 2021, and a decrease of 23.3% compared to January of last year. Total active listings for the month were 2,332, down 44.6% compared to January 2021, however an increase of 19.2% compared to December 2021. Fraser Valley benchmark prices are up sharply, year over year. At $1,569,300, the benchmark price of a detached house increased 41.8%; the townhouse benchmark is up 37.2% to $796,500; and the typical condo price has increased 30.6% from a year ago to $574,300.

Vancouver Westside: 

There was a modest January listing rally for Westside townhouses, a property species that has been hunted to near extinction. New listings rose to 123, compared to just 47 in December 2021, and the benchmark price increased 15% from a year earlier to $1,311,000, based on 49 sales. But only 68 townhouses started construction on the Westside during all of 2021 and no townhouses started on the Westside in January 2021. If you own a Westside townhouse and have considered listing, it would likely attract multiple offers this month. The benchmark price for a detached house on the Westside is now $3,445,400, yet an average of more than two houses sold every day during January, trailing only Richmond for the highest house sales in Greater Vancouver. Condo apartment sales dominated the buyer action on the Westside in January, however, with 330 transactions at a median price of $856,000 and a sales-to-listing-ratio of 47%.

Vancouver East Side: 

A total of 257 residential properties sold in January, unchanged from the same month a year earlier and up 13% from December 2021.

This included 65 detached houses that sold for a benchmark price of $1,805,100, which was 2% higher than in December 2021 and up 16.8% from a year earlier.

Total new listings in January were down 5% compared to January 2021. The overall sales-to-listings ratio of 54% compared to 51% in January 2021. The sales-to-listings ratio for townhouses is 59%, yet the benchmark townhouse price dipped 3% from December 2021 to $1,053,400 in January, the only Metro sub-market to post a month-over-month price decline in townhouse prices. Of course, the 21.5% increase in the previous 12 months may have had something to do with this. Expect more price gains to come.

North Vancouver:

North Vancouver joined the $2 million house price club in January as the benchmark detached house increased 2.9% from a month earlier to $2,025,800. This may have spooked some buyers, as detached sales dropped to 37 transactions, down from 56 in December 2021, despite new listings rising to 74 houses, up from 25 a month before. The detached house and townhouse sales-to-new-listing ratio are both at 50%. In January, 59% of the 109 listings for condo apartments sold at a benchmark price of $695,000. Total new listings in January were down 24% compared to January 2021 in this seller’s market.

West Vancouver: 

This remains an exclusive market, where the benchmark home price is among the highest in Canada at $2,605,000 in January, due to the dominance of detached houses, which now sell for a median of $3,080,000. West Vancouver home prices have remained fairly stable over the past year, inching up just under 1% per month. West Vancouver condos remain the most expensive in the Metro region, at a January benchmark of $1,151,200, based on a dozen sales. Total new listings in January were down 27% compared to January 2021. There is, however, a relatively healthy 8-month’s supply of total residential listings in what is one of the rare balanced markets in the region.

Richmond: 

Richmond kept the real estate market active as sales were up 23% this January compared to January 2021, while they dropped in most other communities. Richmond detached house prices reached a benchmark of $2,032,000, remaining above the $2 million level for the second straight month. There were 108 detached sales in January, higher compared to both December 2021 and January of last year. Richmond posted the highest townhouse sales in Greater Vancouver in January, with 56 selling at a new record high of $1,027,300, up nearly 4% from December and 24% higher than a year earlier. Total new listings in January were down 7% compared to January 2021. The overall sales to listings ratio is 61% compared to 47% in January 2021 in this strong seller’s market.

Burnaby East: 

Total housing sales in January were 25 – down from 32 (22%) in December 2021, down from 33 (24%) and from 28 (11%) in January 2021. Active Listings were at 34 at month end compared to 67 at that time last year and 32 at the end of December; New listings in January were down 19% compared to January 2021. The sales to listings ratio of 71% compares to 65% in January 2021. The composite home price is now $1,157,100, up 16.4% from January 2021 and 2.6% higher than in December 2021.

Burnaby North: 

Total housing sales in January were 141, down from 157 (10%) in December 2021, and down from 144 (1%) in January 2021. Active Listings were at 262 at month end compared to 448 at that time last year and 229 at the end of December. New listings in January were down 2% compared to January 2021. The sales-to listings ratio is 60% compared to 59% in January 2021. As could be expected in a market where 2,514 apartments started construction last year, tower condos are very popular in Burnaby North, where the benchmark condo price is now $764,800, up 13.4% from a year ago.

Burnaby South: 

After a slow 2020, a successful pre-sale condo launch late in 2021 spurred Metrotown land development action in January. The land prices give an indication of where new Burnaby South condo prices are heading. In January, a 1.4-acre site that falls under the new Metrotown Official Community Plan, which allows greater density, sold for more than $45 million: yes, that works out to about $32 million per acre for a site that could potentially developed into about 396,000 square feet of tower apartments. In January, condos in South Burnaby sold for a benchmark of $710,700, a price up 2% from a month earlier. Total new listings in January were down 7% compared to January 2021. The sales-to listings ratio was 62% compared to 55% in January 2021.

New Westminster: 

The Royal City is the only community in Greater Vancouver where the composite benchmark price is under $1 million, because condo sales dominate transactions. The composite price was $773,600 in January, which was $500,000 below the Greater Vancouver benchmark of $1,255,200. The median price of a condo apartment, which accounted for nearly 80% of January sales, is $598,600; townhouses sell for $925,800; and the typical detached house sold in January for $1,419,000. Total new listings in January were down 22% compared to January 2021. The overall sales to listings ratio is 61% compared to 47% in January 2021.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam residential sales tallied 174 in January, down from 216 (19%) in December 2021 and down from 225 (23%) in January 2021 Active listings were at 299 at month end compared to 538 at that time last year and 267 at the end of December; New Listings in January were down 22% compared to January 2021. January’s sales-to-listings ratio of 66% was exactly the same as a year earlier. Price increases have been remarkable with the benchmark price of a detached house rising 26.9% from a year earlier to $1,675,000 in January and the overall composite home price up nearly 24% from a year earlier and 3.5% higher than in December 2021 to $1,203,100. Coquitlam was recently named the No. 2 best city in which to work in B.C. by BC Business magazine.

Port Moody: 

Port Moody managed to see a slight increase in new listings this January compared to last year, but with 24% more sales. active listings dropped. Total units sold in January were 56, up from 37 in January 2021.; Active Listings were 93 at month end compared to 140 at that time last year and 97 at the end of December 2021. New Listings in January were up 5% compared to January 2021. The sales to listings ratio of 71% compared to 61% in January 2021. The most active sector in January was the condo market, with 24 transactions at a median price of $680,000.

Port Coquitlam: 

Sales generally declined in January compared to December 2021, dropping 28% to 77 transactions. New listings in January were down 33% compared to January 2021 as the city got off to a slow start in the year of the Tiger. Despite the lull in action, the benchmark home price increased 27%, the biggest year-over-year increase in the Tri-Cities, to $1,022,500. There is only about a one-month supply of listing in Port Coquitlam and the sales-to-listing ratio of 73% is eating it up quickly

Pitt Meadows: 

Once one of the most affordable communities in Metro Vancouver, the 2022 assessment value of a Pitt Meadow detached house rose 34% from a year earlier, from $843,000 to $1.13 million, for a hike of $283,000 for the typical house, according to BC Assessment data. The actual sale price of a detached house in January was even higher, at $1,432,600. Total sales in January were 30, nearly level with both January 2021 and December 2021. The sales to listings ratio of 73% compared to 70% in January 2021 in this seller’s market.

Maple Ridge: 

Total units sold in January were 124 – down from 159 (22%) in December 2021, and down from 194 (36%) in January 2021, Active Listings were at 210 at month end compared to 342 at that time last year and 143 at the end of December; New Listings in January were down 4% compared to January 2021, and the sales to listings ratio of 51% compared to 77% in January of last year. The benchmark price of a Maple Ridge detached house posted one of the highest year-over-year increases in the Metro region, escalating 38% to $1,284,300 in January which may be the reason for decrease in sales in January comparative to last January.

Ladner:

With a remarkable 35.6% surge in the benchmark detached house price, compared to a year earlier, the typical Ladner house sold in January for $1,459,000, remarkable for such a small community. Total home sales in the month were 22, up 5% from December 2021 and 10% higher than a year earlier. New Listings in January were down 31% compared to January 2021, and the sales-to-listings ratio of 61% compared to 38% in January 2021. This a tight seller’s market.

Tsawwassen: 

Total housing sales in sunny Tsawwassen were 42 in January, down 28% from January of last year and level with the sales in December 2021. The benchmark detached house price was up about 28% from year earlier at $1,561,600. Townhouse prices are up 21.5% in the same period to $936,600. New listings in January were down 13% compared to January 2021, and the sales-to-listings ratio of 54% compared to 60% in January 2021.


Surrey: 

Watch for a major new multi-family housing developments in the Semiahmoo Town Centre of South Surrey, where Surrey council recently approved a plan that sets building height limits of up to 28-storeys. The plan also allows for a corridor of six-story buildings along 152 Street from 18 Avenue to 23 Avenue. Surrey, which has led new home construction over the past year, saw housing sales contract in January. Detached sales were down 33% from a year earlier; townhouse sales slid 35.4%, though condo apartment sales increased 20% to 291 units. The drop in detached house sales may be a reaction to a 43% surge in average prices from a year earlier to a new all-time high of $1,986,959 in January. Townhouse prices rocketed up nearly 44%, rising from $670,044 a year ago to $936,844 in January 2022.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
Read

Sales and Listing Report for December 2021

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”

Jim Rohn

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 it 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 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 of some recent for Metro Vancouver 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 housing 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 n 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 only19 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 available.

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.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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