We are into April and, as expected, the market is showing signs of picking up. While there is much talk in the news of March sales being down up to 30% over the 10 year average, sales have increased substantially compared to the first two months of 2013. This is a trend is likely to continue through April and May. Interestingly, and perhaps a result of some Seller's believing too much of what they hear on the news, the number of listings in most market segments are decreasing. I suspect we will see inventory start to climb again slowly as the both consumer confidence, and the weather, begin to improve.
You will note that our numbers are presented slightly differently this month. Due to a couple of technical changes with the real estate board, we are no longer able to pull the information in the same way we did before... at least not with proper accuracy. As the real estate board does not separate townhomes from condos, which we find extremely valuable, our price breakdowns have become more limited for those segments. We apologize for the change.
Let's start with the Detached market this month:
On the Westside, March 2013 look remarkable similar to March of 2012. Sales, inventory and active listings remained virtually the same, though we did notice an increase in time on market. Compared to February, we noted a big 46.2% uptick in sales, perhaps spurned by some more realistic sellers - as evident in the slip in Median Pricing of 11.9%. The sub-$2m market remains quite active here with a marked down turn in the higher end properties.
Moving to the Eastside, we note a few differences to what we are seeing on the Westside. Here, March showed a substantial drop of 39.4% in sales compared to 2012, in spite of the 22.1% increase over last month. Inventory increased only slightly, while Median Pricing sat 5.1% below the same time last year. The entry level price bracket remains to hottest product here, but there was some healthy movement in the $1.5 - 1.75m range as well.
Over in North Van, we are seeing more inventory start to hit the market, but we also saw sales spike 48.7% over last month. Median Pricing is down 8% over last year and slipped slightly compared to February. Basically all price segments are moving swiftly at the moment here, with the exception of the upper end $1.75m+ market.
The townhome market is more consistent across market segments. Year over year, we are seeing inventory remain relatively stable, while sales have fallen 14.7% - 29.3%. Median pricing has slipped in all three segments as well, though all three have been less than 4%. We also noted inventory drops and a substantial uptick in sales activity compared to last month, so the townhome market as a whole is showing signs of strength.
On to the condo market: Sales have increased between 14% and 47% in every area of town, with the number of listings and median, average & price/sqft holding relatively steady. Breaking down the price categories, we see a very balanced market, meaning every type of condo has interested Buyers. The one bedroom and sub $425k market (where new Buyer's can get a Property Transfer Tax exemption) is performing best, with condos in Vancouver East being the lowest priced (and having the biggest increase in sales).
As noted above, all markets are showing rising sales and lower inventory, which is leading to a more balanced market and stabilizing prices. We've noticed that if you have a unique property that's priced sharp and marketed well, it will sell quickly. The change from PST to GST will decrease the tax on new construction, as well as real estate commissions, which may add some movement as well.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.