I hope you have all recovered from the holiday season and are back into the swing of things to start 2012 off on the right foot.
The December stats showed the expected dips in sales volume and new listings we would expect for this time of year and the numbers were consistent across the board. So, rather than looking back this month, let's look forward to what we can expect in the coming year:
(1) Look for a strong start to the year. There are a lot of eager buyers out there looking for good product and inventory levels have disappointed many of them the past few months. They are ready to buy if they can find what they are looking for.
(2) Listing inventory will climb. And it's about time. Those eager buyers from the previous point should finally have some options to choose from come February.
(3) Mortgage rates remain low. Likely right through to the end of the year and possibly beyond.
(4) The chaos in the global markets will not have a huge impact in Vancouver... yet. I would bet that we make it through the first half of the year unscathed. I will have to re-evaulate as we move forward before making any predictions beyond that point.
The holiday season is upon us and the Vancouver real estate market is starting its seasonal slow down. As I'm sure you are all busy putting up Christmas decorations, shopping and attending/recovering from parties, I'll keep it short this month and get straight to the numbers.
Active listings are down across the board, in most cases more than 10%, as most potential Sellers are now waiting until the new year to put their home on the market. Look for this number to dip even further in December before beginning a steady climb to start the year. Not surprisingly, sales activity also dipped in all markets, with the exception of downtown (up 5.9%). Median pricing was all over the map. Vancouver West saw prices hold relatively flat while Vancouver East saw dips in both the attached and detached markets. Despite the busier sales numbers, downtown actually showed the biggest price drop at almost 10%. North Vancouver showed a surprising bounce back in prices across the board.
What lies ahead? Look for December and January to be predictably slow, both with active listings and sales, while prices sit fairly flat. The big boost to inventory will hit come February and that is when we will see how the Buyer demand matches up and impacts affordability. If the market follows typical seasonal trends and Buyers are out in full force, look for prices to stay flat through the first half of the year. Should demand not live up to expectations, we may see a slight dip in prices across the board.Have a safe and happy holiday season!
After a somewhat surprising September, one that showed decreased sales rather than the typical upswing of activity, we were very curious to see what would the market would do in October. As it turns out, it completely depends on the neighbourhood. Last month's statistics show a large segmentation developing between individual markets and the 'overall picture' does not give a very clear sense of what is happening in each sub-section of the market place. Let me explain...
Starting with detached houses:
The Vancouver East market showed a substantial drop in sales (-24.3%), a slight drop in active listings (-5.4%) and a minor slip in median pricing (-2.7%)
The Vancouver West market displayed a healthy boost in sales activity (+16.9%), a negligible slip in inventory (-0.9%) and an increase in median pricing (+4.4%)
The North Vancouver market noted a noticeable increase in sales (+12.7%), a small dip in listings (-6.1%) and marginal price drop (-1.9%)
In the condo/townhome markets:
Downtown Vancouver was marked by a healthy increase in activity (+10.1%) and pricing (+3.6%), with an insignificant drop in inventory (-1.2%)
In the Westside, median prices rose (+7.0) while both active listings (-4.0%) and sales activity (-2.6%) trended downwards
The Eastside showed an rise in sales activity (+10.7%) and median price (+3.9%) while inventory dropped (-3.9%)
North Vancouver experienced a huge lift in sales activity (+42.6%), thanks in part to significant price drops (-15.4%), while inventory remained flat (-0.9%)
So what can we take from all this? In general, with the obvious exception of the Eastside detached market, sales activity is up substantially. This is the trend we expected to see in September and it finally materialized. Another interesting trend is that inventory levels seem to be slipping. Not by a lot, but if that downward trend continues, it would certainly help keep prices up. And speaking of prices... there is not really a consistent trend to attach on to. Price variance is very specific to the individual market at the moment and extra care should be taken to ensure that you are really aware of what is happening directly in the market you are focused on. The broad statistics of Vancouver as a whole just don't tell an accurate story anymore.
With the summer market in full swing, it appears we are still waiting for the summer weather to catch up. As expected, it is much more of the same this month compared to last. Sales are down across the board, with the exception of the North Vancouver attached market which appears to be bucking the trend. Expect that to correct next month. Average sale prices and active listings are fluctuating across the board, but prices in most markets slipped slightly without enough dip to cause alarm. Everything we are seeing is typical for the seasonal nature of the Vancouver market and I expect to see a continuation of these trends for the next two months before an upturn in September.
Looking at the bigger picture, predicting the local market is beginning to require more and more knowledge of international financial markets. Using local trends to predict the market has quickly become a fool's game and many more factors must be taken in to account. We will have to keep an eye on foreign markets in the coming months, as they will likely play a larger role in the Vancouver market moving forward than rising mortgage rates will.