Listing Hiatus Pushes Greater Vancouver Back to Sellers’ Market: REBGV

[Source: Real Estate Weekly, March 2, 2017]

Home sales in February much lower than last year’s scorching market, but signs of spring are in the air, according to latest statistics

Sellers holding off listing their properties was a major factor in a decline in February sales activity, according to the latest market figures published by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) March 2.

Sales on the MLS® in February were nearly 49 per cent lower than the unseasonably hot February 2016.

“February home sales were well below the record-breaking activity from one year ago and in line with our long-term historical average for the month,” said Dan Morrison, president of the REBGV. “Limited supply and snowy weather were two factors hampering this activity.”

However, early signs of spring were in the air, with resale transactions nearly 60 per cent higher than January’s.

But it seemed to be a lack of new inventory that prevented the market recovering further, with new listings in February at their lowest level for that month since 2003. This meant that active listings as of the end of February were up a relatively modest four per cent year over year and 4.9 per cent over January.

The monthly increase in sales, without a corresponding increase in supply, pushed the market firmly back to sellers’ advantage in February, with the sales-to-listing ratio jumping 10 points to 31.9 per cent.

February’s composite benchmark price was $906,700 – up 1.2 per cent over the previous month, and 14 per cent higher than February 2016, according to the board.

Morrison added, “While home sales are not happening at the pace we experienced last year, home seller supply is still struggling to keep up with today’s demand. This is why we’ve seen little downward pressure on home prices, particularly in the condominium and townhome markets.”

Sales and Listings

After a chilly January, some 2,425 homes exchanged hands on the MLS® in February, a fall of 41.9 per cent compared with February 2016, but a rise of 59.2 per cent over January’s 1,523 sales.

The total was 7.7 per cent below the 10-year average for February, with the last two Februarys’ figures skewing the 10-year average to new heights. February’s home sales were just 100 units short of those in February 2014, for comparison.

As usual, market trends varied when broken down by property type. Some 745 single-family homes traded in February – a drop of 58.1 per cent from the scorching detached home market of last February, but a leap of nearly 68 per cent over January this year.

Attached properties such as townhomes, rowhomes and duplexes saw 404 unit sales in February, a 33.1 per cent decrease from February 2016, but a 59 per cent rise month over month.

Condo sales ruled the market again, with 1,275 units sold in February. This was a decline of 28.8 per cent compared with February 2016, but a 54 per cent rise over January.

Having seen a rush of New Year listings in January, sellers seemed reluctant to make a move in February, with just 3,666 homes coming on the market – 36.9 per cent less than in February 2016 and 11.4 per cent lower than January this year.

Active listings as of the end of February totalled 7,594 homes, a modest four per cent increase compared with February 2016 and a 4.9 per cent increase over January.

Due to sales rising month over month but supply remaining comparatively constrained, the sales-to-active listings ratio is back in seller’s market territory at 31.9 per cent, having moved towards a more balance market in January.

Benchmark Prices

The combined residential benchmark price (all property types) in Greater Vancouver in February was $906,700 – a rise of 1.2 per cent over the previous month, and 14 per cent higher than February 2016.

Looking at the different home types paints a more revealing picture. Detached home benchmark prices last month were 12.9 per cent higher than February 2016 at $1,474,800 – virtually flat with January’s figure at $600 lower. Once again revealing that this property type is almost entirely driving the recent composite price decline, detached houses are now priced at 6.5 per cent less than six months ago.

Ever-popular and in tight supply, attached home benchmark prices once again saw the biggest year-over-year rise, up 18.3 per cent to $675,500, a rise of 1.3 per cent over January. Compared with six months ago, townhome prices were then just 0.3 per cent higher.

Condo-apartment prices took the prize for biggest month-over-month rise, up 2.7 per cent to $526,300, which is 15.8 per cent more than a year ago and up 2.3 per cent over the past six months.

Home prices vary widely throughout the REBGV region. To get a good idea of home prices in a specific location, check the detailed MLS® Home Price Index in the REBGV full statistics package.


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