Vancouver Detached Real Estate Sees More Sales Than New Listings… Prices Still Drop

Greater Vancouver detached real estate buyers are jumping back into the market. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) data shows a big increase in sales for December. The increase in sales was accompanied by fewer homes for sale – but prices are still lower.

Vancouver Detached Real Estate Prices Are Still Falling

Greater Vancouver detached real estate prices are still falling. REBGV reported the detached benchmark, a.k.a. typical home, price fell to $1,423,500 in December, down 4.0% from the same month last year. In the city, Vancouver East prices fell to $1,390,100, down 3.1% over the same period. Vancouver West fell to $2,588,900, down 6.7% from a year before. These are hefty drops from a year ago, but there are some signs of stabilization.

Greater Vancouver Detached Benchmark Price

The price of a typical detached home across the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, in Canadian dollars.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

The rate of price growth, or declines in this case, are showing some signs of improvement. The 12-month decline in December is the smallest since September 2018. The detached benchmark is at the same level it was six months ago. Losses are getting smaller, but there are losses.

Greater Vancouver Detached Benchmark Percent Change

The 12 month percent change of a typical detached home across the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Vancouver Detached Real Estate Sales Are Back To Normal

Greater Vancouver detached real estate sales made a big increase from last year. REBGV reported 599 sales in December, down 27.39% from the month before. Compared to last year, sales were 72.1% higher. That sounds like a big jump, but last year was close to historic lows for the month. A reality check shows this past December was still 2.76% lower than the 5-year median sales volumes for the month.

Greater Vancouver Detached December Sales

The number of detached homes sold in the month of December, across Greater Vancouver.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Vancouver Detached Inventory Is Only 2% Below Typical

Greater Vancouver saw fewer people listing their home for sale last month. REBGV saw 522 new detached listings in December, down 50.52% from the month before. Compared to last year, this number was just 2.61% lower though. The monthly drop was significant, however, the annual decline wasn’t huge considering the volume.

Greater Vancouver Detached Sales Vs. New Listings

The total number of detached sales, compared to the number of new detached listings per month.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Fewer new listings and improved sales helped bring down total inventory though. REBGV had 3,941 active detached listings in December, down 17.65% from the month before. Compared to last year, this is a 19.59% drop. Big decline from last year, but only 2.74% lower than the 5-year median number of listings for December.

The same trend of fewer listings and more sales, might be pointing to some firmer footing for prices. The sales to active listings ratio (SALR) reached 15.2% in December, up 114.08% from last year. Generally speaking, the industry expects prices to rise when the SALR is above 20%. When it falls below 12%, the industry expects prices to fall. Between 12% and 20%, and the market is priced just right. The market is currently in the balanced area, so if it stays here – expect some price stabilization.

Greater Vancouver’s detached real estate market is seeing more sales, and fewer listings – but prices are still dropping. The rise in sales and drop in listings isn’t the big news it seems when looked at a longer context. Both sales and listings are closer to historically typical levels for December. Of course, these typical numbers are reached with buyers delayed by B-20 guidelines – so it’s tough to say if this is truly a return to normal.

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  • Reply
    Yan 4 years ago

    Is Vancouver one of the only cities still seeing prices fall, even with the latest “boom” and boost from the federal government?

  • Reply
    OM 4 years ago

    The government is trying to stabilize numbers and hoping inflation helps with the debt, but they can’t since there’s no other allocation class.

    Companies are really overvalued.

    You can’t start a business – commercial rents don’t make sense logically.

    Buyers can’t find a downpayment, without borrowing from their parents.

    How else are investors suppose to react? Start collecting rents, and squeezing people on necessities.

    • Reply
      Audrey Rowe 4 years ago

      Well, this is how investors lose money usually. When they have too much cash, and no where productive for it to land.

  • Reply
    Babou 4 years ago

    This spin on the data betrays your biases. Anyone looking at the graphs you show can see in a second that prices are climbing. Choosing to frame this as “ prices are still dropping” because they are still lower than this time last year is laughable, and a good illustration of the biased reporting that goes on about real estate markets, from all sides. “Losses are getting smaller, but there are still losses”… this is laughable. In other words, prices have been climbing for the past few months, but still haven’t caught up to previous highs. There, was that so hard to say?

    • Reply
      Trader Jim 4 years ago

      No, this is actually your bias clouding judgment.

      If you lose $115,000 from last year, and the next month it’s a loss of $100,000 – it’s still a loss. Realtors and middle class homeowners are the only ones that can lose money, and still think “oh, but if you just measure this tiny time frame, it’s better than another tiny time frame.”

      Your LTV would still be negative. You’re not even factoring seasonality in the adjustments. Seriously, if you know so little about money, why even bother to comment ?

      • Reply
        Babou 4 years ago

        Trader Jim,

        Respectfully, Trader Jim, one of the first sentences in this article is that “Greater Vancouver Detached real estate prices are still falling”.

        Do you agree with this statement, yes or no?

        I can show you the data from the past few months of sales which are showing small increases in prices, and even on the graph they use you can see the uptick at the end.

        What they should have said is “Greater Vancouver detached real estate markets prices are still below previous highs,” or something.

        Using their spin gymnastics we could look back to 5 years ago say with as much truthfulness that ” Greater Vancouver real estate markets are still climbing- prices are up 200%!”

        Anyhow, I hope you understand what I’m saying.

        What direction are prices headed right now as this article was published?

  • Reply
    alvi 4 years ago

    Prices in Vanouver and beyond have stablized and are beginning to rise. That does not mean they are at their all-time highs nor does it change the fact that people still have to live somewhere, irrespective of the current value of their home.( The real estate market is not the stock markety).
    The good news is that decine was policy- induced and has not\resulted in the economic collaspse in the province nor elsewhere as the ecomomic nihilist would have hopled for.
    . The real estate weakiness in Alberta and Saskatchewan owed more weakness inthe energy patch and even there it has not been exactly an armageddon. I

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