Greater Vancouver Real Estate Sees Biggest Price Drop and Fewest Sales Since 2009

Greater Vancouver real estate has been getting major price cuts this year. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) numbers show prices made a large drop in February. The price declines came as sales dropped to recession level lows, and inventory hit a multi-year high for the month.

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Prices Are Down Over 6%

Greater Vancouver real estate prices continued to drop last month. REBGV reported the benchmark (a.k.a. typical) home cost $1,016,600 in February, down 6.1% from the same month last year. In the City, the trend was even worse. Vancouver East saw the price of a typical home fall to $1,031,700, down 6.7% from last year. Vancouver West fell to $1,260,100, down 8.3% from last year. Prices in the city are leading the region lower.

Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price

The price of a typical home across Greater Vancouver, in Canadian dollars.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

The rate of price growth (or lack of), is reaching multi-year lows. REBGV’s decline of 6.1% is the largest decrease since July 2009. The typical home across Greater Vancouver is now down 7.12% from peak. That’s about $78,000 lower, which is a decent chunk of change to save in less than a year.

Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price Change

The annual percent change of a typical home across Greater Vancouver.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Sales Fall To 2009 Levels

Greater Vancouver real estate sales slid to multi-year lows. REBGV reported 1,484 sales in February, up 34.5% from the month before. This also represents a 32.8% decline compared to the same month last year. The monthly increase is typical, but the annual decline is not. The number of sales seen this February is the lowest since 2009, which topped last month by just 4 sales.

Greater Vancouver Composite Sales Vs. Listings

The number of homes sold vs total inventory in Greater Vancouver.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Inventory Rises Over 48%

The number of homes listed for sale in Greater Vancouver continues to rise. REBGV had 11,590 active listings in February, up 7.2% from the month before. This represents a 48.2% increase compared to the same month last year. February’s inventory is the highest for the month since 2015.

Falling sales and an increase to listings meant relative demand slipped. The sales to active listings ratio (SALR) fell to 12.8% in February, down 54.28% from last year. Generally speaking, prices are expected to rise when it’s above 20% (a buyer’s market). Prices fall when it’s below 12 (a seller’s market). When it’s between 12% and 20%, the market is considered “balanced” and priced just right. The market is currently just on the edge of balanced for the month. It’s not foolproof, so exercise caution – especially after a sudden move in either direction.

Greater Vancouver real estate prices are in price discovery mode. Sales are falling to the lowest levels in a decade, as more buyers balk at sky high price tags. Meanwhile, more sellers are listing their homes for sale. Combine that with the increasing number of distressed homeowners in the high end, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting start to the year.

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  • Reply
    ken 5 years ago

    And still builders are putting up spec detached houses. We need a new word to describe the delusion and mania of Vancouver’s housing market.

  • Reply
    Bob Bobson 5 years ago

    The problem is, i’m seeing strong support in the detached market (in North Vancouver at least) at around $1.4M, it doesn’t seem to be falling much below that? It’s come down a bit, but maybe 15% from peak, but it doesn’t seem to be continuing. Stuff is still selling in that range, open houses are busy. Add to that the country’s stance on immigration (targeting 330-400k immigration levels each year), much of which flows to the urban centers, and you have strong support holding up prices.

    I wish it wasn’t like this as i’m looking to buy in and don’t really want to be buying at $1.4-1.5M for a detached home in North Van, but that’s looking like the reality. What is going to push things down? Interest rates are more likely to cut that increase over the next couple of years, and the economy seems to be holding up ok (although a relatively mild housing led recession is possible 2019/2020) – what gives with this place and the ridiculous house prices!?

    So irritating!

    • Reply
      Grizzly Gus 5 years ago

      BC’s economy is more dependent on RE than Alberta’s economy is on oil. Do not think any housing led recession would be mild.

      • Reply
        george 5 years ago

        I agree 100% with Bob with North Shore prices. Houses that were $850k in 2015 are now $1.4M…WHY? Who the fuck can afford these now?? Run any mortgage calculator and you need $280k as a minimum down-payment to qualify with approx $6,000/monthly mortgage payment….No wonder this is the most unaffordable place on the planet since salaries here are shit.

        The recession needs to hit really hard for something to happen which I doubt it will….too many important people are vested in RE.

    • Reply
      Joseph 5 years ago

      The Vancouverr real estate agents who made off like bandits over the last 5-10 years, have to live somewhere.

      In all reality, I wish I had an answer. The early 90’s happened. From my understanding, none of the Canadian markets were spared. Maybe it’s starting to happen again.

  • Reply
    Sarab 5 years ago

    I kind of agree with Bob, I am seeing the same trend in Surrey. At least for now sellers are holding on to the inventory with some correction in overly priced houses. Again from numbers perspective you are seeing a correction in line with the average of 78K but that is it for now. Sellers are holding on to the prices not sure though for how long as I see quite a few empty houses on the market and I believe an empty house is a drag on the seller. Hoping for the correction to be more steep so that the prices are more realistic.
    I have waited for this correction for few years now to get into the market. Hope the predictions come true.

  • Reply
    Sarab 5 years ago

    Detached homes depending on the year built, size and lot size are still hovering around 1000 k to 1.2 m

  • Reply
    qt 5 years ago

    Housing Bubble EXPLODES…See USA 2007

  • Reply
    mick 5 years ago

    People talking about how “strong” the market is because open houses are busier. Who cares how many are at open houses? They aren’t buying and sales are even lower than 2018, which was a disastrous year.
    And even if the few houses which sell are “holding their value” it’s still only a very few. Hundreds and hundreds are not selling.

  • Reply
    Grim Reaper 5 years ago

    How about an article about the price of Vancouver housing that the average income person in Vancouver can afford and the market stats for that?

  • Reply
    Jk 5 years ago

    Everyday I meet professionals – doctors, lawyers and engineers -who struggle to buy a house in Vancouver. People who make over 100k find it challenging.
    Something is not right. It will be fixed. It is a little too late, and it will be painful. When people start to fear, it has already started.

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