May 2013 Market Update

"Continued market stability," says the monthly press release from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Sheesh. When was the last time we had anything resembling continued stability? What will people talk about at cocktail parties?

Sales are slower than usual - 19.4 per cent below the 10-year average - but they're increasing every month. Benchmark prices are down a few percentage points from this time last year, but they've been standing still since January.

New listings are dropping off and we're not seeing the forest of For Sale signs that indicate panic selling.

You could call it a tortoise market: slow and steady.

Watch the video.

Sales and Listings

In Greater Vancouver, 2,853 homes sold last month, up 9.7 per cent from April and, for the first time this year, higher than in the same month the previous year, up 1 per cent.


Greater Vancouver real estate market sales 2011 through 2013 with 10 year average

As of the end of May there were 17,222 properties listed for sale in REBGV territory, which comprises Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, the North Shore, New Westminster, Tri-Cities, Richmond, the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky corridor.

The sales-to-active-listing ratio is tracking at 17 per cent, up 1.3 per cent from April. It's till a buyer's market, but barely.

"We've seen some steadying trends over the last three months," said Sandra Wyant, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president. "The number of homes listed for sale has been keeping pace with the number of sales, leading to a balanced sales-to-listings ratio. This is having a stabilizing influence on home price activity."

What's Up, What's Down - At a Glance
  May 2013 / Apr 2013  May 2013 / May 2012
Overall Sales +9.7% +1.0%
- Detached +14.1% +2.7%
- Townhome +4.5% +3.3%
- Apartment +8.0% -1.7%
New Listings -3.7% -18.3%
Current Listings +2.9% -3.4%


Benchmark Price (MLS Home Price Index)

Are Greater Vancouver real estate prices headed anywhere? Ask the experts.
The international news agency Reuters recently polled 21 economists and forecasters to learn their expectations for real estate in Canada. In general, they believe that home prices will fall, in Vancouver and Toronto especially, but they don't foresee a collapse like the one the US real estate market experienced in 2008. Instead the majority of them predict a "soft landing."

What about Vancouver? Predictions vary: some think the market will drop further and others are more optimistic. Right in the middle, the median rates predicted by the forecasters were a price drop of 3.1 per cent in 2013 and 3.4 per cent in 2014, with an eventual total drop of 10 per cent.

So far this year, benchmark prices have barely moved: the're up 0.3 per cent for detached houses, 0.1 per cent for townhouses and 0.2 per cent for apartments. But prices are still down a few percentage points from this time last year - well within the median range of the forecasters' predictions.


Greater Vancouver MLS Benchmark Prices % Change
  May 2013 Apr 2013 May 2012
Detached $917,200 +0.4% -5.2%
Townhome $455,200 -0.1% -3.2%
Apartment $365,900 -0.1% -3.7%


With stable prices, listings and sales, Vancouverites might just have to find a new topic of conversation.



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