Predictions that the Metro Vancouver residential real estate market is in recovery mode may be realized, as home sales in September were up a whopping 46.3 per cent from one year earlier.
There were 2,333 home sales in the region last month, which is also 4.6 per cent higher than August’s count, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported October 2.
That total was just 40 units, or 1.7 per cent, shy of the 10-year sales average for the month (see interactive graph below).
The board described September’s activity as a “return to more historically normal levels” compared with the highs of 2015-17 and the relative lows of early 2018 to spring this year.
(Story continues below)
“We’re seeing more balanced housing market conditions over the last three months compared to what we saw at this time last year,” said Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “Home buyers are more willing to make offers today, particularly in the townhome and apartment markets.”
With more homes coming on the market in September, up 29.9 per cent over August, there was a slight increase in the total number of Metro Vancouver homes for sale on the MLS. As of the end of September, home listings totalled 13,439, a 2.7 per cent increase compared with September 2018 and a 0.3 per cent rise from August this year.
For all home types combined, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September is 17.4 per cent, which is a solidly balanced market (12-20 per cent). When broken out by property type, the ratio is 12.7 per cent for detached homes (rising back into balanced territory from a buyer’s market), 18.9 per cent for townhomes, and 21.9 per cent for condos (rising back into a seller’s market).
“This is a more comfortable market for people on both sides of a real estate transaction,” added Smith. “Home sale and listing activity were both at typical levels for our region in September.”
As price trends lag sales trends, the benchmark price of a typical Metro Vancouver home continued to correct, now pegged at $990,600. This is a 7.3 per cent decrease over September 2018 but just a 0.3 per cent slip compared with August 2019.
Sales and prices by property type
There were 745 sales of single-family homes in Metro Vancouver in September, which is up 46.7 per cent from September last year, and 5.5 per cent higher than August.
The price of a typical detached home in the region is now benchmarked at $1,406,200, which is 8.6 per cent lower than one year ago but only $500 less than August’s price.
Sales of attached homes such as townhomes, row houses and duplexes leaped an impressive 53.5 per cent year over year to 422 units, which is also 4.4 per cent up from August.
The benchmark price of an attached Metro Vancouver home now stands at $767,500, which a 7.2 per cent decrease from September 2018 and a 0.6 per cent slip from August 2019.
A total of 1,166 Metro Vancouver condos exchanged hands in September 2019, which is a 43.6 per cent jump over September 2018, and also 4.4 per cent higher than August.
The price of a typical condo in the region is $651,500. This is a 6.5 per cent decrease from September 2018 and a 0.4 per cent decrease compared with August 2019, said the board.
Don Kottick, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, recently told Glacier Media, “With the continued decline of prices over the last little while, it has brought potential buyers into the market who were previously priced out of that market. And the other thing we’re seeing is that people with million-dollar budgets are now able to buy the kinds of homes that they couldn’t a few years ago. So it’s opened up a bunch of options.”
Kottick added that, while price trends do tend to lag sales activity, he didn’t expect the price trend line to take long to turn around. “If people start to see all this activity, I don’t see that lag time being as long as it was on the way down.”
Fraser Valley also recovering
It was a similar, although not quite as extreme, story in the Fraser Valley, with the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) reporting sales of 29.8 per cent higher than one year previously.
There were 1,343 sales of all property types (residential and commercial) in September, which is also a 3.5 per cent increase over August 2019.
In the Valley region, the benchmark price of a detached home in September stood at $950,000, down 0.4 per cent compared with August 2019 and a drop of 3.9 per cent year over year.
The price for a typical attached home in the Fraser Valley was $520,000, a slip of 0.3 per cent compared to August 2019 and down 4.8 per cent compared with September 2018.
At $405,500, the benchmark price for a condo in the region was down 0.9 per cent from August 2019 and down 7.6 per cent compared with September 2018.
Home prices vary widely in different areas throughout the region. To get a good idea of home prices in a specific Metro Vancouver location and by property type, check the detailed MLS® Home Price Index in the full REBGV stats package. For Fraser Valley sales and prices by area and property type, see the full FVREB stats package.